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Finalizing plans for September trip - is this doable

Finalizing plans for September trip - is this doable

Old Aug 18th, 2014, 10:50 AM
  #1  
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Finalizing plans for September trip - is this doable

Hello,

My husband and I are in our mid 60s and making our first trip trip to Switzerland for 8 days in early September. With lots of help from these forums, I’ve got our plans pretty well laid out, but further suggestions would be most welcome.

We enjoy hiking and taking in all the gorgeous scenery. Throw in a bit of adventure. We’re neither big city people nor into museums.

Here’s our itinerary:
Fly into Zurich 8 am Wed morning and head directly for Luzern.
Luzerne 2 nights
Wengen 5 nights
Vevay 1 night
Catch 11:30 am flight to Genvea

Luzern.
Thinking that might need to keep activities light as recuperating from jet lag
Mt. Rigi with steamer boat trip to Vitznau and return via Weggis and train back
Enjoying the sights of Luzern
Considering Stadtkeller for Swedish folk music (will I hear it elsewhere?)
Wengen
A number of hikes/walks including:
Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidgg
Lauterbrunn to Trummelbach Falls
Grutschalp to Murren and combine with North Face Trail
Schynige Platte to First
Hike around Lake Bachalpsee

Trips up to Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn – weather permitting

Boat trip to Brienz and enjoy woodcarving town

Trotti bikes down to Grindlewald

Day trip to Bern for rainy day activity

Vevey
Goldnpass route to Montreux with side trip stop to Gruyeres – possibly cheese and chocolate tour nearby
Castle de Chillon

We are planning on buying the Half Fare Card. I have seen that Bernese Oberland pass has been offered at 2 for 1 in September. Is this something that they do every year?

What is the likelihood that I might see a cheese making operation outside of the factory tour in Gruyere’s?

With my last day being pretty full, should I change out the chocolate show in Interlaken for the chocolate shop at LeBroc?

Are my plans doable?

Thank you for your help.
ann0320 is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2014, 12:38 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2010
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I like that you are minimizing your base towns, but far too many activities to squeeze in...I got dizzy just reading! Review your hikes out of Wengen and prioritize the top three. What chocolate show in Interlaken are you referring to (I've never heard of one)?
Make a block chart of days available to realistically estimate where you could fit all these half-day or more options in. Then figure in transit time. If you are using trains, check www.rail.ch (English option) for train schedules to see how harried/hurried you might be. If its an activity that you CANNOT give up, then plan accordingly for a VERY fast tempo on that day. Figure out alternate rail connections in case you miss a connection or decide to linger in a place. Don't be disappointed if you must give up something. Maybe I'll see you there!
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Old Aug 18th, 2014, 12:45 PM
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Oops! See now that you said chocolate"shop" and not "show", though still don't know of anything 'special' re: chocolate in Interlaken. BTW, why would you go all the way to Switzerland for "Swedish folk music"? (See your original post..LOL!) But really, the Tourist Info office in Lucerne can help with suggestions on that score.
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Old Aug 18th, 2014, 01:46 PM
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Thank you mokka4 for your response.

I was hoping to start out early in the day for the excursions up to Jungraujoch or Schilthorn and combine them with the shorter hikes/walks. Do any of these mesh together for same day activities? Of course, how well we adapt to the altitude and our energy level will influence which hikes to focus on.


I was concerned that I was packing it too much for the last day to Vevey? Have I or is that more manageable?

The chocolate show is at the Grand Restaurant Schuh in Interlaken.

Yes. The Swiss folklore music I want to hear. Unfortunately we will not be in Wengen the evening that I could hear it at the Sunstar Hotel.
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Old Aug 18th, 2014, 03:55 PM
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I hesitated to comment on the Vevey part of your trip, because I have not been to that town yet. BUT, checking train schedules: Wengen to Vevey takes 3 1/2 hours, and Gruyeres is not 'on the way', but a fair detour. Of course, it CAN be done, probably in conjunction with either the Broc Fabrique chocolate tour (Villars chocolate) or a cheese-making demo in/around Gruyeres, but NO time for Chateau de Chillon too, and arriving to Vevey only in the evening. You just have to rank your "must-sees!"
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Old Aug 18th, 2014, 04:26 PM
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The Schuh chocolate "show" gets good reviews on Tripadvisor. I'd certainly consider it, to free up some time on the Vevey day.
Yes, certainly, you can combine a Jungfrau day with some good hiking, especially the North Face Trail if you are reasonably fit. See www.jungfrau.ch/en/tourism for descriptions of area hikes or www.wanderland.ch (choose English)for more hiking options in all of Switzerland.
Realize, you will have little time to explore Vevey if you choose to detour to Gruyeres.
Luckily, trains from Vevey to Geneve Aeroport take just over one hour for your morning of departure.
Have a fantastic trip! I'm sure the other Swiss experts will chime in soon.
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Old Aug 18th, 2014, 09:50 PM
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Hi ann0320,

Yes, it would be well worthwhile to take the Golden Pass route from Interlaken to Montreux -- the trip takes about 3h30. YES, it is just a quick detour to get to Gruyeres from the GP route; you change trains in Montbovon.

mokka4, the "rail.ch" doesn't work anymore -- don't know why. But now folks need to go to www.sbb.ch and then choose the "en" for English.

So, ann0320, just go to the Swiss rail site at

www.sbb.ch

choose "en" for English, and check the connections. Just ask for

From Wengen
To Gruyeres

and then

From Gruyeres
To Montreux (or Vevey)

and the journeys will come up.

I am also concerned that you'll have so little time in Vevey -- there's quite a lot to do. Your hosts will give you a Riviera Card that makes the busses free for you, so it'll be a snap to get from Vevey to Montreux (bus #201). I suggest that you get off the bus in Montreux, explore the town, then go to the lakeside and walk to Chillon, about 45 minutes. Walking along the flowered lakeside promenade is one of the best things about Motnreux! After Chillon, you can take a lake boat back to Vevey or the free bus again.

I hope you give yourself a few hours to explore Vevey; it's a lovely town. Its old town is right next to the lake, and you can enjoy getting lost in its tangled streets and popping in & out of the boutiques, shops, and cafes.

It would also be great if you could spend time in the vineyards of the Lavaux (between Lausanne & Vevey); hopefully you'll be back for another trip and will see them then.

Have fun as you plan!

s
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Old Aug 19th, 2014, 11:55 AM
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Glad to hear that Gruyeres is a quick detour. I have been so focused on Bernese Oberland so now I need to do my research on that final leg of our trip. Since my husband and I aren't big on shopping and we may skip on the cheese and chocolate factory tours, we hopefully will have some time to enjoy Montreux and Vevey. These towns sound like a nice way to end our trip.

It appears that most people go over to Brienz from Intelaken, but I was wondering if there were any drawbacks from going to Brienz from Luzern and then taking the boat over to Interlaken on our way to Wengen after exploring Brienz.

The planning is fun and having these forums is so beneficial.
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Old Aug 19th, 2014, 12:35 PM
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I don't have much to add, but just wanted to say we will also be in Switzerland in the beginning of September and may "bump "into you! We are doing 3 nights in Interlaken and 3 nights in Lausanne as base towns, with time to explore the Bernese Oberland and time to explore the French speaking part. Same as you, we are trying to prioritize hikes and other activities. Wish vacation could be as infinitely long as you wanted to be! I wish you a happy journey and a wonderful trip!
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Old Aug 19th, 2014, 12:52 PM
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You are traveling enough to take a strong look at the Swiss Pass or Half-Fare Card - actually an 8-consecutive-day pass may be great as it comports to your time traveling and would cover virtually everything that moves in Switzerland - valid in full to Murren, Gimmelwald, the lifts up to Grutschalp and Gimmelwald, lake boats on the lakes and free etnry to 470 Swiss museums like the popular Ballenberg Open-Air Museum on Lake Brienz (a short postal bus ride from Brienz).

the pass would be valid in full also on boats on Lake Lucerne (as well as the two lakes bookending Interlaken) and on the trains to Rigi and also the aerial cable way from Weggis (go one way and return to the lake the other!).

Anyway for lots of great info on Swiss trains, passes, etc I always highlight these IMO superb sites: www.swisstravelsystem.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.
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Old Aug 19th, 2014, 01:15 PM
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Yes, a trip from Luzern to Brienz is a viable option. Several direct trains daily, taking you along the lakeshore, then up over the Brunig pass to Meiringen (home of Sherlock Holmes fame), then finally Brienz. Travel time 1.5 hours one way. Of course, this takes away from your Luzern exploration...
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Old Aug 19th, 2014, 01:23 PM
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From Brienz, the boat departs MOST (not all) hours at 40 minutes past, arriving in Interlaken Ost one hour 20 minutes later. Last ship 5:40 pm during September. No drawbacks, except the lesser time to see Luzern!
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Old Aug 19th, 2014, 05:29 PM
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I would bag the cheesery. Have been to two - the one in Gruyere and one in Holland and all I found out is that making cheese is boring and stinky.

Yes, I like eating it - but no reason to watch it happening since I will never make any.
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Old Aug 19th, 2014, 05:30 PM
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Oh - and your days do seem VERY full, esp traveling by train when you will be limited by the schedules.

We fit in only one day like that - because it was raining and we didn't do much outdoors - but we had a car and could go where we wanted when.
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Old Aug 19th, 2014, 09:36 PM
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Hi again,

If you decide to skip Gruyeres but still want to go on the Golden Pass route, you need to ask for this at the SBB scheduler:

From Interlaken
To Montreux
Via Gstaad

It's that "via Gstaad" that puts you on the GP route; otherwise, it will take you via Olten & Lausanne.

Even if you don't want to see the cheese demonstration, the village of Gruyeres is a lovely place to see, though elbow-to-elbow with tourists. Or, stopping in Gstaad for a walk and gourmet lunch is also a fine way to spend a few hours.

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Old Aug 20th, 2014, 04:20 AM
  #16  
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Thanks for clarifying the Golden Pass train.

I think that we will skip Gruyeres and enjoy a more relaxed time in Montreux and Vevey. We saw a few castles on our only other trip to Europe in 2008 in Germany and also saw medieval Rothenburg de Ober and since the cheese tour and chocolate tours seem more like a shopping opportunity than a fun demonstration, I think we will pass. The Castle de Chillon I want to put on our list. Gstaad sounds like a nice place for lunch break.

Going in September (fewer crowded lift lines?)and hoping to get early starts and doing picnic lunches, I am hoping that we will find ourselves able to do most of the options that I had listed previously with the hiking.


I am working on prioritizing my must sees and blocking scheduling according to time, weather, and our endurance. To have so much available is such a treat!

I do appreciate the feedback. Thank you!
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Old Aug 20th, 2014, 06:25 AM
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If you do end up in Gstaad, here are two ideas for restaurants:

Chesery for a gourmet meal
http://www.chesery.ch/

The Posthotel Rössli used to operate a little garden restaurant across the pathway from the hotel. I loved to eat there in the beautiful and quiet garden -- the food was excellent. However, I can't find any reference that they are still operating it. It's worth looking for, though.

s
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Old Aug 20th, 2014, 11:22 AM
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I think you made a wise choice lightening up your last day before departing Switzerland. And yes, September is a bit less crowded than peak July and August months. You should be able to get a few nice hikes in, weather permitting (and P.S. I love Bern if you get rained out one day. Click on my name for last October's TR in Bern, if interested). I will be in Solothurn, then Luzern late September this year, just in time for the cow descent in Schupfheim. Have a grand trip!
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Old Aug 20th, 2014, 12:12 PM
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Thanks mokka4. I will take a look at your Bern TR.

Oh the cow descent sounds like so much fun and would love to be able to witness that. I understand it starts in early September for some on into October. Is there an easy way to see if there are any cow descents taking place while we are in the area - 11th to 16th of September, say within an hour of Wengen?
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Old Aug 21st, 2014, 11:05 AM
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Is there an easy way to see if there are any cow descents taking place while we are in the area - 11th to 16th of September, say within an hour of Wengen?.>

Well contact the Interlaken tourist office with info on the whole area:

Interlaken Tourismus
Höheweg 37
3800 Interlaken
Tel. +41 (0)33 826 53 00
Fax +41 (0)33 826 53 75
[email protected]
www.interlaken.ch
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