Q: My sister, a senior citizen, and her daughter are planning to visit Switzerland between June 3 and 13. They will be landing in Zurich and leaving from Geneva. I have been told that there are many places that can be visited with Zurich as the base: Les Diablerets, Lucerne, Grindelwald, Interlaken, Schaffhausen, etc. Is this right? Can these places be reached using public transport? How long should they stay in Zurich and how long in Geneva? Can Black Forest, Drubba, in Rhineland, Germany, be done as a day trip? Would it make sense to buy a Swiss Rail Pass? Do keep in mind that we are looking for a budget trip.

Marco Says: I’m not sure that using Zurich and Geneva as bases is the best way to go about it. They are expensive, and travelling for daytrips unnecessarily adds to travel time. Certainly, a day each in both cities to bookend the holiday and make for easy airport transfers is called for. A daytrip to Black Forest can be done from Zurich (see viator.com), but for the rest, they should consider basing themselves for at least a few nights in Lucerne or Montreux. Lucerne gives them access to Mt Rigi, Mt Pilatus and Mt Titlis, to Zurich, Bern, Basel, Grindelwald, Interlaken and Schaffhausen. Montreux is within easy reach of Geneva, Vevey, Lausanne, Zermatt, Villars, Glacier 3000and Verbier (see luzern.com/en andmontreuxvevey.com).

Switzerland has one of the best transport networks in the world, and some research and planning will make it easy to get around by train, bus and ferry (see sbb.ch/enfor schedules and fares). A Travel Pass is always handy but exactly which one depends on the details of the trip. The Swiss Travel Pass offers unlimited access to the Swiss Travel System’s network for 3, 4, 8 and 15 days, and allows free entry in over 480 museums and exhibitions. They could also go in for the more flexible Swiss Travel Pass Flex, which lets you choose your travelling days: 3, 4, 8or 15 non-consecutive days within a month. There is also the Half Fare Card. This website has all the details and a practical guide to help you plan: myswissalps.com.