first family trip to Switzerland

Jun 7th, 2014, 01:19 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2014
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first family trip to Switzerland

Hello friends,

We are planning for our family vacation to Swiss this September.

Members : Me(30) , my wife(30) , My Mom (60) , my mom in law (55)

We plan to go to Zurich from Mumbai , India .

With a moderate budget what all places do you suggest that we must go.

No of days : 24 th Sept - 3 rd Oct. ( ~ 7 days)

Unless Must See, We would like to avoid crowded places and rather enjoy Scenic beauty.

We are interested in Scenic train journeys and because we have our Mom s with us so lot of hiking would not be possible.

Please advice the needful .

Thanks a lot.
Dipankar is offline  
Jun 7th, 2014, 01:25 PM
  #2  
 
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I think you need to consider that one of (not THE only one) the most "scenic" places in Switzerland is the Berner Oberland. In late September it may not be as busy with visitors as it often is earlier in the year but I suspect it will still be busy.

And if you chose to go there you will be adding to that visitor count. Try to ignore the number of people and concentrate on the scenery if possible and I think you will be happy (happier) about your trip.
Dukey1 is offline  
Jun 7th, 2014, 02:24 PM
  #3  
 
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With only seven days, I'd split the time between two places and suggest Lucerne and Lauterbrunnen.
From Lucerne you can take boat trips across the lake, go to Mt Rigi or Mt Pilatus (no hiking, easy going on the boat, funicular and cable car), and walk around the old town.
In Lauterbrunnen, you could go to Mt Schilthorn or Jungfrau, take the train to Wengen or Grindelwald, or the cable car to Murren or go into Interlaken by train for the day.
Switzerland is expensive but worth it - such a beautiful place. Investigate train passes - you may find that they could help with budgeting.
marg is offline  
Jun 7th, 2014, 03:00 PM
  #4  
 
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We are interested in Scenic train journeys and because we have our Mom s with us so lot of hiking would not be possible.>

The Jungfrau Region will more than fulfill any romantic pictures of a glacier-girdled soaring Alpine peaks set above lush cow-dotted valleys - it is the highlight of any first-time visit to Switzerland IMO bar NONE.

Split your time between there - say 4 days and Lucerne say 3 days - all convenient to Zurich Airport just a short train ride away. And the Golden Pass Scenic Train goes between Interlaken and Lucerne up and over the Brunig Pass - one of Switzerland's iconic themed scenic train rides with special panorama 'observation' cars with glass ceilings, commentary en route and speical nice seats, etc.

For loads of great info on Swiss trains I always spotlight these IMO superb sites - www.swisstravelsystem.com - www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com.

Investigate a Swiss Pass or Jungfraubahn Pass or Berner Oberland Pass - usually some kind of pass in that area is cost effective - there are so so many thrilling scenic train rides - like from Interlaken to Jungfraujoch and Europe's highest train station and a sea of snow and ice even in summer - anhyone who can walk can walk to the nearby glacier! And aerial cable ways, etc - no hiking needed to enjoy this rugged bu sorgeous Alpine Wonderland.
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 7th, 2014, 04:25 PM
  #5  
 
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Don't now what you mean by moderate budge t- but Swtiz is extremely expensive for anything (shocking sometimes evenfor someone from NYC).

The firs thing to do is ge tout of Zurich - which is a business city - and up into the mountains.

I like Lucerne - which has a quaint old town, a great lake with charming small villages and access to 3 different mountains (Pilatus, Rigi, Titlus). Also consider staying in one of the town in the foothills up from Interlaken so that you can ascend the Jungfrau and also take steamers on Lakes Thun and Brienz and visit various towns/castles around the lakes.

Hiking is not necessary - you can do short walks if you want - or just take the various trains, steamers, cog wheel railways and cable cars. Just be sure you are ready for snow and cold temps/thin air on the mountain tops. (Winter clothing is not necessary - but layers including a warm sweater and some sort of light jacket are - as well as sturdy non-slip footwear.
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 8th, 2014, 07:38 AM
  #6  
 
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There are many more economical accommodations in the Interlaken-Grindelwald-Lauterbrunnen area than in most Swiss cities - hotels in cities like Lucerne and Zurich can be a lot more expensive with little on the lower ends like there are many in the Interlaken area.
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 12th, 2014, 11:53 AM
  #7  
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Dear Friends, Sorry for delayed reply As I had issues on internet here..

Thanks all for your suggestions..

I being little Dumb..I planned to stay in Murren as my friend stayed there last year and said its " Awesome.."

I made it something like this below.

Day 1 : Mumbai ==> Zurich
DAy 2 : 25 th Sept ==> Zurich - Murren
(local hiking in murren, Gimmelwald if possible)
Stay @ Murren
Day 3 : Schilthorn & Lauterbrunen Day trip
Stay @ Murren
Day 4 :Jungfraujoch Day trip
(If weather is bad ?? Whats Plan B)
Day 5 : Luzern / Mt Titlis / Rigi ...
I dont want to stay @ Luzern due to Expensive hotels. Any suggestion ??
Day 6 / Day 7: Am not sure , Pls Suggest , If I am missing some important places. My Mom wants to see some Choc factory / cheese making.
We dont wanna go to Zermatt as I guess Jungfr. is good enough.
I want to have some nice boat cruise & scenic train journey as well.

Day 8 : We need one day in Paris as next morning ( Day 9) we got to catch 11: 30 Flyt from Paris to Mumbai India.

I asked too many questions and am sure this is a Dumb schedule. Please help me refine it.

Thanks a lot Friends..Dukey1, PalenQ, Marg, nytraveler.

Awaiting your response.
Dipankar is offline  
Jun 12th, 2014, 12:15 PM
  #8  
 
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Dear new Swiss Traveller - we two went to Switzerland for the first time last September and we are well over the age of your mothers. There are 'hikes' and then there are 'walks' -- most anyone can well enjoy the top splendors of Switzerland described by posters above without strenuous hikes -- namely, the Ridge Walk from Wengen-Mannlichen-Kleine Scheidegg (from which you can get down to Grindenwald too), and Schynige Platte, being two of them. Yes, Murren is a wonderful town but a day there is enough -- explore others. Basing in Lucerne & then in Interlaken or Lauterbrunnen is more convenient in my humble opinion to access other natural sights and splendors closer to the ground in case the peaks are clouded/misted over. We were fortunate to have 3 cloudless days in the Berner Oberland, but chose Interlaken for those 3-4 nights because accessing the lake's boat rides and also getting to capital of Bern, would have been easier. The trains were so frequent and efficient we did not lose much morning time accessing the peaks. Didn't find the hotels to be all that expensive but the food was; do your research and make plans for rooms and food now that fall within your taste and pocket. Pack layers, although we had glorious hot weather in Interlaken, we planned for very cool temps up top; you will not wish to buy jackets in these towns, trust me. If you feel strongly against Lucerne, then go right down on the Golden Pass to Interlaken; there are dozens of hotels near the train station which is right on the lake as well. (If you do, explore the old section of Interlaken, very charming but a few more blocks from the station known as 'west' -- mountain trains connect from 'east' station, but it's a quick transfer).
aliced is offline  
Jun 13th, 2014, 02:05 PM
  #9  
 
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If you do, explore the old section of Interlaken, very charming>

Yes indeedy - Interlaken is often maligned for its tourist schlock along its main drag but just a few blocks off that main drag which many tourists never get off - lies as charming and as quaint town as most in Switzerland - there is a lovely riverside walk between and Lucerne-esque humpbacked bridges, etc.
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 14th, 2014, 03:12 PM
  #10  
 
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Yes, Murren is a wonderful town but a day there is enough -- explore others. Basing in Lucerne & then in Interlaken or Lauterbrunnen is more convenient in my humble opinion to access other natural sights and splendors closer to the ground in case the peaks are clouded/misted over>

Great point about the weather in this weather fickle part of Europe - even in the dead of summer days of rain or wet weather can set in - being marooned in a place like Murren in that kind of weather means yes taking day trips down to Interlaken and about where weather is not as much a hindrance and it is to hiking or taking expensive trains to mountain tops. And that is also a value of some kind of pass - you can change your plans on a whim and not pay a fortune.
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 15th, 2014, 08:09 AM
  #11  
 
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Day 6 / Day 7: Am not sure , Pls Suggest , If I am missing some important places. My Mom wants to see some Choc factory / cheese making.
We dont wanna go to Zermatt as I guess Jungfr. is good enough.
I want to have some nice boat cruise & scenic train journey as well>

How about Montreux or Vevey for those days and then take the Chocolate Train - a specialty train using vintage Beaux-Arts Pullman cars that goes first to Gruyeres a perfect walled town - one of the best in Europe - then rolls to the Broc Nestle Chocolate Factory for a Willie Wonkaesque tour of that and then back to Montreux - a scenic train ride too - especially near Montreux.
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 15th, 2014, 08:17 AM
  #12  
 
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Ending in Montreux or Vevey or Lausanne puts you in a good position to then get the train to Paris on Day 8.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Jun 16th, 2014, 06:50 AM
  #13  
 
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Yes like Cathinjoetown says - from Montreux you have two choices for trains to Paris - the most convenient is from Lausanne, just a few minute train ride from Montreux or Vevey or Geneva, a tad farther but search www.voyages-sncf.com to see which has the cheapest offers - and even Basel if the price is much lower and you have a Swiss Pass to cover Lake Geneva to Basel.

Advance ticketing can mean deep discounted fares on TGV trains Switzerland to Paris - if one is not available from Lausanne check the others.
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 16th, 2014, 11:03 AM
  #14  
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Awesome Responses.

based on great suggestions I tried to rework the trip a little nit but still not happy about it and need your help in fine tuning it..

This is how it goes..


Day 1 : 25 => Zurich to Murren / Wengen / Lauterbrunnen => local hiking / walking
Day 2 : 26 => Schilthorn / Lauterbrunnen Day trip, over night @ Murren / Wengen / Lauterbrunnen
Day 3 : 27 => Wengen / Lauterbrunnen => Jungfraujoch day trip ,over night @ Murren / Wengen / Lauterbrunnen
IF weather is not good : Trip to Interlaken and boat cruise (lake brienz / Thun)
head up to Harder Kulm for scenic views to Lakes Brienz, Thun and the mighty Bernese Alps
visit Brienz and the Open Air Museum Ballenberg or the Beatus Caves instead, cruise Lake Thun or hike and bike along Lake Brienz
Bad weather options#160;Jungfrau park, beatus caves, Ballenberg.
Transfer to 2nd Base @ Interlaken / Luzern from 1st base @ Murren / Wengen / Lauterbrunnen
Day 4 : 28 => Proceed from Interlaken to Lucerne. Take the cruise from Interlaken to Brienz and the regular train from there to Lucerne (no reservation necessary - same route as Golden Pass). Explore Lucerne; over night @ Luzern / Interlaken
Day 5 : 29 => allow one full day for Mount Titlis / Rigi ..over night @ Luzern / Interlaken
Day 6 : 30 => visit Bern ..travel to Montreux by evening and Over night @ Montreux.
Day 7 : 01 => choc train in the morning and then Montreux / Lausanne to Paris Via TGV . 6 hours train . (Swiss pass Applicable ?)
Day 8 : 02 => Day Trip Paris , over night @ Paris.
Day 9 : 03 => Morning Flight from Paris to Mumbai, India Via Zurich [email protected] 07:00 AM

My questions:

2. Easy / economic accommodation @ Lucerne?
3. Swiss Pass for 8 days ? Is it worth for my kind of travel ?
4. Will I get some discount on TGV with that ??
5. Which boat cruize is better ? Brienze / thun?/ Luzern ?

Which pass suits best? For me .

Thanks guys and Appreciate your time to help me plan my trip of life time.. Thanks a lot..
Dipankar is offline  
Jun 16th, 2014, 01:08 PM
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3. Swiss Pass for 8 days ? Is it worth for my kind of travel ?since you are traveling about every day and sometimes long ones I think the 8-straight day Swiss Pass would be a neat deal - plus the flexibility it give you to go down from the hills is funky weather sets in.

If the French TGV fell within your 8-day period you could get a Pass 2 fare but you can get cheaper fares than that by booking really REALLY early at www.voyages-sncf.com.

You plan above looks awesome to me - would not tweak it at all as you have it now.
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 16th, 2014, 09:33 PM
  #16  
 
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Hi Dipankar,

Your itinerary has some back-and-forthing in it, specifically going from north (Zürich) to central than north again (Luzern) then south to Montreux.

I think your trip would make much more sense to go in a straight line:

Zürich - Luzern - Mürren - Montreux - Paris

Did you know that the Chocolate train takes the full day? It's not something you can do in a morning. It departs at 08.57 and returns at 17.34. The next train to Paris departs Montreux at 18.18, and it doesn't arrive in Paris until 22.52 (change in Geneva). Is that really going to be comfortable for you?

You can see the information for the Chocolate Train at this site:

http://www.goldenpass.ch/CMS/default.asp?ID=414

and then download the pdf brochure.

You can see Gruyeres and Broc enroute from Mürren to Montreux, if you wish. Just send your luggage separately on the train using the "Fast Baggage" service, and then take the train to Broc Fabrique, see the factory, and then take the train to Gruyeres to see the cheese demonstration, then take the train onward to Montreux. These places are between Mürren and Montreux, so it can make sense to do it that way.

Have fun as you plan!

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Jun 16th, 2014, 11:36 PM
  #17  
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Yes, This sounds good.. Rather than taking a full day train.. going to individual places would be great.

But , If at all Not expensive train rides like GExp. or BExp. do you see in my itinerary in any way I can manage a nice scenic train journey..

Pls suggest
Dipankar is offline  
Jun 17th, 2014, 01:04 AM
  #18  
kja
 
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Your new itinerary is so much better! Unfortunately, that does not mean that your plan is perfect -- but then, no plan for magnificent Switzerland could be perfect. Some thoughts:

Day 1 => Zurich to Murren / Wengen / Lauterbrunnen => local hiking / walking
... I don't know when you will arrive or with what degree of jet lag. Do allow some time to adjust!!!

Day 2 to 3: It seems that you have laid out plans for 2 wonderful days, and you have identified 2 decent back options -- but I don't think you have allowed any time for your "back-up" options if the weather is good on your first days! Do you really plan to skip Brienz and Thun, etc., if the weather is good on your first 2 days in the area?

Day 4 ... No time for Lucerne itself? IMO, it deserves a bare minimum of 1/2 day, if not a day or more... and I thought Bern warranted at least 1.5 days, but of course, it depends on your priorities...

Day 7 : 01 => choc train.... I think you said your mother considers the chocolate tour a priority. If we can help you talk her out of it, let us know!

2. Easy / economic accommodation @ Lucerne? -- have you checked booking.com ?

PLEASE get a good guidebook or two -- you'll learn all sorts of things that you won't even know to ask us.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Jun 17th, 2014, 01:20 AM
  #19  
 
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Hi again,

Unfortunately, you just don't have the time to do the Glacier Express or the Bernina Express -- they are on the other side of the country. And it takes two days to do the GE -- the trip itself is 8 hours, then you would have to get back to your origin.

Here's information about doing the Chocolate factory tour on your own:

http://cailler.ch/en/maison-cailler/visit-us/tarifs/

The cheese dairy in Gruyeres is right next to the train station, but I do hope you'll take the time to walk up to the village (about 10 or 15 minutes) and stroll through it. It's lovely.

Since you'll have some extra time in Montreux, I suggest that you stroll the gorgeous flowered lakefront promenade from town to the Chillon castle, about 45 minutes. You can take bus #201 back to town (your hosts will give you a card making the busses free; there are stops at just about every other corner, and the busses run every 10 minutes).

kja -- please note that the current plan isn't the best use of time/geography, and that there isn't really time to do the Chocolate Train and get to Paris on the same day

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Jun 17th, 2014, 01:26 AM
  #20  
 
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Oh, forgot to say --

Going from Mürren to Montreux and seeing the chocolate factory and Gruyeres enroute will put you on the route of the very scenic Golden Pass -- I think it's one of the top 2 scenic trains in Switzerland. So, you'll see all that gorgeous scenery as you leave the high Alps, run through the green, rolling hills, and finally drop down to the brilliant blue of Lake Geneva.

I also think that scenic trains themselves are over-hyped. You'll get the best scenery when you're outside standing on a mountain or walking on a nice trail.

s
swandav2000 is online now  

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