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Eight day Wengen and Lucerne itinerary

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Jun 11th, 2016, 12:52 AM
  #1
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Eight day Wengen and Lucerne itinerary

We are planning an eight day stay in Switzerland before our Viking cruise from Basel to Amsterdam on 7 September. We would like to see some great Swiss scenery and after lots of reading have planned our time around four nights in Wengen and three nights in Lucerne. We will purchase an eight day Swiss rail pass. Does the choice of Wengen and Lucerne and the following combination of day trips make sense? We will make a decision each day depending upon the weather. Are we missing out on any great day trips using the train system? Is it possible to combine the William Tell Express and Centovalli Express as a day trip? Are there any other rail combinations that can be recommended as day trips with a lunch stop-over? Is there any way we can include the train trip from Chur and St Moritz in a day trip from Lucerne?

Wengen – 4 nights
Arrive in Zurich and transfer to Wengen. Stay at Bellevue Hotel and explore Wengen after check-in. Dinner at Schonegg.
Day trip 1- Lake Brienz - boat to Geissbach Falls stop and hop the antique funicular up to the falls. Take boat to Brienz – visit Huggler and Jobin for wood-carvings. Take the Brienzer Rothorn steam train to the summit. Return and then train to Meiringen and take a bus to nearby Reichenbach Falls. Return to Interlaken and Wengen by train. Question – is Ballenburg a better option than Meiringen?
Day trip 2 – Trip to Jungfraujoch and lunch at Kleine Schiedegg. After lunch walk to Mannlichen and then take cable car to Wengen. Question – Should we try to go down to Grindelwald and then return to Wengen ?
Day trip 3 – Train to Interlaken and then boat trip to Spiez and Thun. Return to Wengen by train. Question – Can we also visit Bern on the same day?
Last day – Schilthorn and then Lucerne. Ship luggage to Lucerne at Lauterbrunnen and then take aerial cableway up to Grutschalp, train to Murren, aerial cableway to Schilthorn/Piz Gloria and then back to Murren for a cableway to Gimmelwald - cablecar to Stechelberg and postal bus back to Lauterbrunnen with train to Lucerne.

Rain day options – train to Zermatt for lunch and return or train to Bern and return.

Lucerne– 3 nights
On arrival and during afternoons/evenings – explore Lucerne and Glacier Garden and Lion Monument
Day trip 1 - Mt. Pilatus Golden Round trip via Kriens and then down to Alpnachstad
Day trip 2 - Mt Rigi Majestic or Classic round trip.
Day trip 3 – Transfer luggage to Basel and then boat trip to Fluelen, train to Brunnen to see the Swiss Army Knife museum and then on to Basel.
Rain day option – train to Locarno or Lugano.
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Jun 11th, 2016, 03:58 AM
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Don't fix your jungfraujoch day in advance. Do it as soon as you will have a day with no clouds or rain.

Wilhelm Tell Express means boat trip from Lucerne to Brunnen - Fluelen. Don't plan that twice!

Timetable:
Lucerne dp 9.12 by historic paddle steam boat up to Fluelen ar 11.55, dp by train 12.14 via Reuss Valley - old Gotthard Tunnel - Leventina Valley - Bellinzona to Locarno ar 14.13. Enjoy Locarno and may be Ascona or the Brissago Islands.
Locarnbo dp by Centovalli Express 16.49 to Domodossola ar 18.36, dp by standard train 18.48 - Brig 19.16/19.20 (same platform) - Olten 21.02/21.30 - Lucerne ar 22.05
It's also possible to leave Locarno 1 hr earlier (not enough time at Locarno) or 1 hr later (it will get dark shortly after Domodossola; not a big problem as you will cross the Alps in 2 tunnels of 20 resp 34 kms of length).
Book 1st class for this day: much better seats on board of the steamboat and panoramic car in the Fluelen - Locarno train, easier to find good seats in the other trains).

Ballenberg open air museum needs half a day. Can only be combined with 1 of these other half day trips:
Aar Gorge and Reichenbach Falls
Brienzer Rothorn
Brienz and Giessbach Falls
Alpen Tower

It's perfectly possible to visit the St. Beatus Caves, the castles of Spiez, Oberhofen and Thun as well as the old city of Berne (without museums) in 1 full day.

After Jungfraujoch, Schilthorn will hardly bring something more.

Zermatt, in the middle of the highest mountains of Switzerland, is NOT a bad weather destination. The uncountable more tham 4000m high peaks and glaciers can only be enjoyed if the weather is fine.

If the weather is bad, go to Truemmelbach Falls, St. Beatus caves, Berne, Museum Castles, etc.
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Jun 11th, 2016, 08:37 PM
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kja
 
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I agree that the Ballenberg Open Air Museum needs a half a day -- if not more! if you decide to go there, note that when I visited, both Huggler and Jobin were open later than Ballenberg, so I visited them last.

You might be able to get to Bern on the day you suggest. Whether you would have time to see what you want to see there is another question.

Enjoy!
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Jun 11th, 2016, 09:31 PM
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If you want more of the feeling of being in the mountains, you can walk from the Jungfraujoch to the Mönchsjoch Hut and have lunch there. Takes about 45 mins each way. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%B6nchsjoch_Hut

It claims to be the world's highest-altitude mountain hut to offer meals.
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Jun 12th, 2016, 12:38 AM
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Many thanks for the feedback. We may drop the Schilthorn trip as neckervd suggests and replace it with a longer train journey to Lucerne via Brig and Locarno. This should let us travel on the Centovalli as well as see the spiral bends at Wassen. I have downloaded the SBB app but can't find the Centovalli Express between Domodossola and Locarno. Is Fast train 53 the same thing? Is Locarno the best place to break our journey for a lunch break?
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Jun 12th, 2016, 03:23 AM
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Centovalli Express/Treno Panoramico Vigezzo Vision is a brand for all trains between Domodossola and Locarno. The windows of the Italian (Vigezzo Vision) trains are slightly bigger than those of the (Swiss) Centovalli Express trains, but the views are good from both.
If you do the trip the other way around, you can begin with a steamboat ride between Lucerne und Fluelen. It will then be night after Domodossola, but that doesn't matter.
If you begin at Interlaken, it will be night at Fluelen and a steamboat ride wouldn't make any sense (there wouldn't be any boat at this time anyway).
Locarno is the most pleasant place for a break, but if you really want to enjoy the lake and the area, take a boat or a citybus from there to Ascona with it's famous lakefront restaurants.
BTW: you don't find spiral bends at Wassen only, but also below Iselle di Trasquera as well as above Giornico and above Faido.
Luggage lockers in the railway stations of Brig, Locarno and Belllinzona.
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Jun 12th, 2016, 06:17 PM
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You mentioned something about shipping luggage - can you please give more info on this?
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Jun 12th, 2016, 06:46 PM
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kja
 
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@ ebuni:

Go to the SwissRail website, sbb.ch
Select "Station & Services" from the options near the top
Select "services" below the main picture and text
Select "luggage and flight luggage" below the main picture and text
Under "luggage" (below the two tabs for more information) select
- "luggage" ... "more information" and also
- "express luggage" ... "more information"
- etc.
Everything you could want to know!
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Jun 12th, 2016, 11:45 PM
  #9
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Our train journeys from Wengen to Lucerne and then Lucerne to Basel wont be direct trips and we will travel the long scenic route. Rather than worry about our luggage as we change trains we will transfer our large luggage items to our final station using the SBB system that kja describes above. Cost is 12 CHF per piece of luggage.
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Jun 12th, 2016, 11:58 PM
  #10
kja
 
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I think the 12 CHF price only applies to next day service. There are same-day options; be sure you know what you need, how to achieve it, which stations are involved, and how much it will cost.
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Jun 13th, 2016, 01:44 AM
  #11
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You are correct. I just read the 'more information' section. "If you send your luggage at a station with luggage shipping facilities (currently 400) by 7 p.m., you can collect it from your destination station two days later from 9 a.m." I may have to rethink plans and avoid trips with many train transfers.
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Jun 13th, 2016, 05:49 PM
  #12
kja
 
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That same web-site gives information about your same-day options (available at fewer locations and for a higher cost) and about luggage storage options (manned, and if so, during what hours, or locker, and if locker, at what price and for what size). Your call, of course, but I found no difficulty with trips that included multiple train transfers. You might consider taking just an overnight bag for the more complicated trips, sending your main suitcase on for next day delivery....
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