Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (https://www.fodors.com/community/)
-   Europe (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/)
-   -   8 days and Swiss Rail (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/8-days-and-swiss-rail-1001038/)

DirkN Dec 27th, 2013 06:37 AM

8 days and Swiss Rail
 
I would appreciate your help planning a trip for this summer.

1. Is this a good plan: Zurich to Lucerne- 2 nights, Wengen/area for 4, Zermatt for 2, to Locarno/to Ascona (then Italy).

2. Please recommend a nice medium priced hotel in Wengen - or would you stay in Murren or somewhere else?

3. Should two adults buy the full 8 day pass, half off card, Flex, or just buy individual tickets (which add up fast) if we want to spend 3-4 in Wengen and 2 or so in Zermatt . One hotel in Wengen will throw in a 3 mountain rail day pass and it's a little hard to tell what Swiss Rail covers in the mountains.

Thank you.

PalenQ Dec 27th, 2013 07:10 AM

Well Swiss Passes pass in full to Wengen and Murren both - 100% above those towns like to Schilthorn from Murren it's 50% or from Wengen to Jungfraujoch that portion is 25% off.

Hard to figure how much one will actually use a pass - I always use mine more than I think - like on a whim on a nice afternoon just hopping on a lake boat in Lucerne or Interlaken for a relaxed float - and little things like being valid on trams and buses in cities like Zurich and Lucerne and free entry to 400+ Swiss museums, etc.

If you know exactly what you will do and will do no more then it is easy to go to www.sbb.ch - Swiss Railways official site and figure it all out - Half-Fare Card costs about $140 to buy then 50% off just about everything that moves in Switzerland.

Generally Swiss Pass covers in full any conveyances between two places - towns or villages - thus the dramatic aerial gondolas to Murren - either via Stechel berg or Grutschalp then train is 100% covered but gondolas to mountain tops are 50% off usually.

But if staying in Murren or Wengen, two perpetual favorites with older folk, when the not so unusual rainy day sets in a pass gives you the freedom to say day trip to Bern, a highly underrated city IME - one of the nicest in Europe to me - then the pass would be better.

But even after all if the Half-Fare Card or regular tickets sans card are even remotely close to the cost of a Swiss Pass then opt for the pass - no waiting in ticket lines just hop on anything 100% covered.

anyone considering the Half-Fare Card should also investigate the Swiss Card, for many giving the exact same benefits but also two train trips to begin your trip and end you trip - some find it a bit cheaper overall than the Half-Fare Card.

And when pricing Swiss Passes price them booth in U S dollars if living in U S and Swiss francs - the same pass has often been cheaper here than there for the past several years when I have often compared prices. If not much difference just wait until Switzerland and buy it at any train station - figure in any foreign exchange costs your credit card or whatever may impose as well.

For great info on Swiss Passes I always spotlight these IMO superb sources - www.swisstravelsytem.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com.

Pepper_von_snoot Dec 27th, 2013 08:44 AM

What does "medium-priced hotel" even mean?

A medium-priced hotel for someone like Petra Ecclestone would be the Connaught in London.

Give a definite budget. How much do you want to spend for a hotel room in Wengen?

I always buy a Half-Fare Card at Zürich Flughafen Bahnhof and purchase 2nd-class tickets to travel by rail through Switzerland.


Thin

PalenQ Dec 27th, 2013 09:12 AM

I always buy a Half-Fare Card at Zürich Flughafen Bahnhof and purchase 2nd-class tickets to travel by rail through Switzerland.>

do you ever consider that the Swiss Card has everything the Half-Fare Card does and more and is often a better deal or do you blindly just buy the Half-Fare Card - do you know what a Swiss Card (not Swiss Pass) is - you may be missing out on saving a few francs!

Half-Fare Cards or Swiss Cards are great for folks basically going to one place in Switzetrland or two not traveling around the country as OP is - Swiss Pass will be a better deal for that I would think.

DirkN Dec 27th, 2013 01:08 PM

Thanks for the replies.

The hotel we were looking at, Silberhorn in Wengen, has a 4 night stay including the 3 days Jungrau pass and breakfast at CHF 1222, which I'm guessing is moderate for Switzerland.

Pepper_von_snoot Dec 27th, 2013 01:53 PM

I know the Silberhorn. It is the big yellow hotel next to the tennis courts in Wengen.

If you walk from Murren to Grutscalp you can see the Silberhorn across the Lauterbrunnen Valley.

Other hotels to look at in Wengen are the Schonegg, Alpenrose, and Baeren.

The Schonegg has the best chef in Wengen, Hubert Mayer.

Unfortunately, Herr Renee and Sina have retired to Bern.

If you go over to TripAdvisor, you can find comments on Wengen by Kim San Jose.

Kim is fabulous!

Thin

kja Dec 27th, 2013 04:00 PM

I stayed in both Wengen and Lauterbrunnen, and preferred Lauterbrunnen. I think that's an uncommon preference for this board.

I'm a little confused by your itinerary -- you say 8 days in the title, list 8 nights in your plan (so anything from 7 to 9 days), and then say you are also going on to Locarno/Ascona, but without saying for how long....

PalenQ Dec 28th, 2013 04:28 AM

I stayed in both Wengen and Lauterbrunnen, and preferred Lauterbrunnen. I think that's an uncommon preference for this board.>

which means that this forum is dominated by oldsters like me!

Younger folk like Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald a lot more than somnolent Wengen - those seeking peace and quiet and sidewalks rolled up at night love Wengen - those seeking more energy after dark prefer the others - and Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen both have just as awesome as views as Wengen or Murren - all views in this area are awesome - IME none more awesome than others - I mean from any of these towns you have the majestic ice-girdled Jungfrau Massif looming high above.

Pepper_von_snoot Dec 28th, 2013 06:36 AM

Lauterbrunnen is a tiny, tiny town.

Your insistence that it is becomes some sort of Times Square after dark is just plain daft.

There is obviously more nightlife in Interlaken with its casino and Hooters next door to the Hotel Victoria.

Thin

PalenQ Dec 28th, 2013 07:23 AM

Pepper you have to visit these places several times not once to make a general statement - Contiki Village brings a constant influx of younger folk into town - have you been in Lauterbrunnen after dark - if not you may be in the dark - no it is not Times Square after dark but does have younger oriented pubs, etc - something not found in Wengen.

Which is best is for what one wants and yes since Interlaken is only a 15-minute train ride from Lauterbrunnen folks can easily go there for yes more options - Grindelwald takes the cake for younger apres hiking or apres skiing scene.

One trip to an area does not make one an expert IMO.

kja Dec 28th, 2013 09:15 AM

My preference for Lauterbrunnen had nothing to do with nightlife. I liked being able to look down the valley and watch the ever-changing Staubbach Falls.

PalenQ Dec 28th, 2013 09:21 AM

watch the ever-changing Staubbach Falls.>

yes I agree Lauterbrunnen is also unfairly maligned for having no real views but the views though different are still stimulating - in summer however I have seen Staubbach Falls dry to a trickle that never changes!

PalenQ Dec 28th, 2013 01:43 PM

The other waterfall at Luaterbrunnen is Trummelbach Falls which uniquely cascades down into the cliff - very unique.

DirkN Dec 28th, 2013 07:57 PM

OK, so am I correct in wanting to stay in Wengen? We are not looking for night life, just a beautiful base up higher. A big concern is that we are both vegetarians.

Also, it looks like the Jungfrau rail pass will cost us about $400 on top of the Swiss Card or Pass, which is why I thought of staying at the Silberhorn which seemed to throw that in. Which other hotels do that that you'd recommend, in the $300 a night range?

DirkN Dec 28th, 2013 08:01 PM

We went inside T Falls on our first (and only) trip there on our honeymoon many years ago and enjoyed that. We stayed in Grindlewald which is why I thought I'd try a different town.

kja Dec 28th, 2013 08:18 PM

If you want higher up, either Wengen or Murren should meet your needs! I trust you've looked at booking.com and tripadvisor.com ?

swandav2000 Dec 28th, 2013 09:39 PM

Hi DirkN,

Yes, I think you are correct in choosing Wengen for your stay in the Jungfrau area -- or really Wengen or Mürren. They both are perched up on the mountains, with views *over* to the mountain peaks and down into the valley. Both places offer stunning views.

I personally am one of the of the folks who maintain that Lauterbrunnen doesn't have the best views. It sits on the valley floor, with cliffs rising above the town. Every time I go through the town on the train, I shudder; I would get claustrophobic staying there (if I had reserved a hotel there and no one told me about those overhanging cliffs, I wouldn't be very happy).

Oh, and the reason why Wengen rolls up its sidewalk after dark -- ISN'T because the town is full of old folks. It's because all of the sportive, active 30-somethings have expended their energies on hiking, climbing, skiing, sledding, etc. After doing that, most of them are happy to just have a drink in the hotel bar (exchanging stories of the day's climb or ski) and then dinner. I've stayed there twice (one week each time), and that's the atmosphere I always find there --

Have fun as you plan!

s

PalenQ Dec 29th, 2013 04:29 AM

With a Swiss Pass or Card you get a discount on the Jungfrau Pass - did you figure that in?

DirkN Dec 29th, 2013 09:59 AM

Yes, I did.

Yes, I live by Trip Advisor - just used it to book the Romantik Schoenegg in Wengen for four nights, and the Romantik Castello in Ascona on Lake Maggiore.

OK, so best hotel in Zermatt?

Thanks.


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:05 AM.