Day Tours or DIY in Piedmont & Lucerne

Old Jun 10th, 2014, 02:14 PM
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Day Tours or DIY in Piedmont & Lucerne

Hello everyone,

I will be in Alba & Lucerne for 3 nights each in early-to-mid August. I am 29 and I will be with my 70-something year old great aunt who is a ton of fun. This forum has helped me immensely in my planning, but I still have a few questions!

1. Should we use day tours or try and go it ourselves? This is my second time in Italy, first driving (which I am nervous about). We will have a car in Alba, not Lucerne. Last year I took a few day tours that I really enjoyed. In Alba, will we be able to figure out the vineyards and enotecas and where to go on our own? And in Lucerne, is the public transportation easy enough? I have seen several day tours to the Jungfrau, Interlaken, Pilatus, etc. Not sure what direction to go in! I was thinking maybe one in each location? ANY advice would be helpful as I am not sure what direction to head.

2. I have read that many places in piedmont may not be open in August. I completely understand that it is not an ideal time to travel, but as a teacher options are very limited
Last year I stuck to larger places and had absolutely no troubles. Will this be an issue? Is it a big enough issue to change our plans??
CatchK is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2014, 03:06 PM
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We didn't have a car in Alba and took 2 tours offered by the tourist office and then a truffle hunting expedition from a local truffle shop. More details here:
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Old Jun 10th, 2014, 05:49 PM
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You and your aunt are fortunate to be able to take this trip together!

I haven't been to Alba, but as for Lucerne, well, if ANY public transportation system beats Swiss public transportation, I'd love to know about it! You can check your options on the swiss rail web-site, which covers trains and buses and cable cars and paddle boats....

I must admit that I think a day trip to the Jungfrau from Lucerne would make for a very long day, but I'm not an expert -- maybe others will chime in. I'm pretty sure that Pilatus is a fairly easy day-trip from Lucerne, as is Mt. Titlis. You might want to aim for one OR the other, just so you can see a variety of things. For example, you might also want to consider spending a least a half day (or a whole day) on a steamer on Lucerne's lake -- it can be a beautiful and wonderfully relaxing way to spend a day while admiring some absolutely gorgeous scenery, and if you have the time, you should be able to get off in one or more locations to explore a bit. And be sure to leave time for Lucerne itself! (With 3 nights, I'm not sure whether you expect to have 2 days or 3 or 4 for that part of your trip.)

My guess is that both areas will be a bit crowded in August -- its summer vacation time for all sorts of people! But if that's when you need to go, and if you are prepared to face some crowds, I'm sure it could still be an enjoyable trip. Just give some thoughts to back-up plans if either the weather or the crowds prove inhospitable or if your great aunt wants to take a break along the way.
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Old Jun 12th, 2014, 07:43 AM
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"I have read that many places in piedmont may not be open in August"
August means holidays in Italy: everything at touristic places will be open whereas many (but never all)shops and restaurants in NON TOURISTY towns and in financial and business districts may be closed.

I suppose you realized that the train ride from Alba to Lucerne takes about 7 hrs, resp a whole day.

The train ride from Lucerne to Jungfraujoch takes 4 1/2 hrs OW; round trip fare 260 CHF.
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Old Jun 12th, 2014, 08:54 AM
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We are doing essentially the same trip but in reverse in July. If you want to see the Jungfrau, perhaps take the train from Torino to Interlaken via Birg (Speiz) which takes around 4.5 hours. Check the train schedules on and pick the trip with the shortest time.

Stay overnight in Interlaken and do the jungfrau the next day. We have enjoyed going to Murren and the Schilthorn in the past. The weather needs to be good to see anything up high in the mountains. Then go onto Lucerne the next day. But then you have used up your 3 days.
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Old Jun 12th, 2014, 02:04 PM
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There are basically 3 itineraries from Turin to Interlaken:
Turin - Aosta - Gd St-Bernard - Montreux - Golden Pass - Interlaken,
Turin - Novara - Lake Orta - Domodossola - Interlaken (cheapest solution),
Turin - Milan - Domodossola - Interlaken
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Old Jun 12th, 2014, 03:16 PM
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With only three days in Lucerne, I'd skip the Jungfrau trip and instead do a trip to either Mt Pilatus or Mt Rigi. Both involve a scenic cruise across the lake and then a variety of transport to get to the top of the mountain, to be rewarded with spectacular views. Lots to see in Lucerne - you could easily spend one day just wandering around the old town.
You could do the long trip to Jungfrau only to find it clouded out when you arrive.
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Old Jun 12th, 2014, 04:26 PM
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In August you are not going to find many wineries open in Piemonte, unless you go with a tour. For me, I would skip Piemonte in August. Most of the reasons people want to go there -- the robust red wine, the cheese, the chocolates, the truffles -- are not really summer friendly (no truffles at all in summer). I disagree with neckrvd that everything of touristic interest will be open. Most of Piemonte goes to sleep for August. It is just too hot and humid to any work.

If you and your aunt have never seen the Dolomiti of Italy, they are an absolutely spectacular sight. I am not sure what is the optimal way to get there from Lucerne, but it is worth the effort to see them. Since you are coming from the north, focus on staying in the Alta Badia area.
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Old Jun 12th, 2014, 06:16 PM
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Agree with marg, skip Jungfrau if you're in Lucerne. I'd also recommend looking into Mt. Titlis as a possibility for an alpine adventure as well as Rigi or Pilatus. Switzerland is beautiful. Enjoy,
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Old Jun 17th, 2014, 12:47 AM
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I'd also probably recommend you to go shopping in Italy and also in Lucerne. In Switzerland you can buy very delicious cheese, chocolate, perfect swiss watch... when we came to Luzern I didn't think about buying something, but when we went for a walk and sightseeing, I've visited a few stores and as a result, bought swiss watch in Sokolov( they also have very beautifull jewelry – it can be interesting for your grand aunt) this store is on the Weinmarkt st. 8. Also we visited RailCity and Zigerli, bought souvenirs and little pleasant things. I think it 's interesting to combine sightseeing in the old part of the city and shopping (besides it always takes the most part of my travel budget)))
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