Geneva to Interlaken

May 25th, 2007, 06:10 AM
  #1  
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Geneva to Interlaken

I am considering visiting Geneva in December with my family and, if we do, then I am considering hiring a car for a day and traveling to the Interlaken district (to Lauterbrunnen) and back to Geveva the same day. Is this a non-starter or is it do-able in one day? Also, is the weather that time of year (mid December)likely to make such a trip treacherous?
BazzaK is offline  
May 25th, 2007, 06:22 AM
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>then I am considering hiring a car for a day and traveling to the Interlaken district (to Lauterbrunnen) and back to Geveva the same day. Is this a non-starter or is it do-able in one day? Also, is the weather that time of year (mid December)likely to make such a trip treacherous?

Not treacherous, but inconvenient. You are rather probable to spend quite a lot of time in a major traffic jam if there is even light snowfall. Why not just take the train?
altamiro is offline  
May 25th, 2007, 07:19 AM
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Hi BazzaK,

When you say you want to go to Lauterbrunnen "for a day," do you mean to hire a car for the day or to make the trip and go back the same day?

As altamiro says above, no need to hire a car if your only intent is to get to Lauterbrunnen. Trains are fun & convenient -- you can find schedules at www.rail.ch.

If you mean you want to go to Lauterbrunnen and back in one day, I must say that's a bad idea. Lauterbrunnen itself is not a draw; folks go there to go on to the mountain villages & peaks, which are another hour or so up by train. If you only go to Lauterbrunnen, you'll be sitting at the base of the mountains, wishing you were up *there*! And I don't think you'll have time to do a full round-trip from Geneva up to the mountain peaks and then return also.

Good luck with your plans!

s
swandav2000 is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 07:21 AM
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The reason for the enquiry about driving rather than taking the train is because there will be four of us and I estimate that the cost of hiring a car and driving will be about a third of the cost of four train tickets. The idea is also not necessarily to go up Jungfrau or go skiing, but simply to show the kids (from South Africa) what the Alps are like up close and personal. Under those circumstances, does it make sense to do the driving option?
BazzaK is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 07:24 AM
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Hi again,

How old are the travellers? Those under 16 years old travel for free on the trains.

There are closer peaks to Geneva than the BO. You could probably be in Chamonix a lot sooner --

s
swandav2000 is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 07:26 AM
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The kida are aged 16 and 13. There is no particular reason to go to Lauterbrunnen other than that my wife and I have been there before. If there are other closer peaks that are as spectacular, I will gladly go there instead. Is there likely to be snow quite far down the Alps that time of year?
BazzaK is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 07:40 AM
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The weather is unpredictible, eh? It's snowing in parts of Switzerland today.

Research Mont Blanc for your Alpine view.

s
swandav2000 is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 08:20 AM
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Whatever you do in Switzerland, I would do it by train. No need for a car hire. Buy 2nd class tickets. You can see mountains from Geneva (Lac Leman) area... just look up!
suze is online now  
May 29th, 2007, 06:20 AM
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Am I correct in thinking that, with a Swiss Travel System Family Card (which is free?) my kids aged 13 and 16 will be able to travel on the train for free as long as they are with me or my wife? Does that also apply if you make use of a Day Card (which I understand costs CHF56 for second class travel)? Also, what essentially is the difference between first and second class travel?
BazzaK is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 06:27 AM
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>Also, what essentially is the difference between first and second class travel?

A little more leg and elbow room and almost empty cars in the 1st.
altamiro is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 06:21 PM
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A few comments:

1. As noted above, there are many Alp areas that are much close to Geneva, as Geneva is actually encircled by the Alps. First is the Châteaux D'Doux area, about 2 hours by train from Geneva (less time than the drive or train to Interlaken). This is a lovely village surrounded by gorgeous Alps, you can get the whole mountain experience. Mt. Blanc is actually quite far by train, but close if renting a car, so if you decide to go to France, then rent the car. You can also take a train to Italy to the Turin area in a few hours as well. You can get to Zermatt is 4 hours, albeit a long day trip.

2. Consider taking the scenic “Golden Pass” train to the Interlaken area. This is more expensive (and takes the same route and goes through Châteaux D'Doux above), but is a nice train with big windows and goes over some high passes with great views. Go to Goldenpass.ch for info. Personally, I think this is too long to do as a day trip.

3. The drive in winter to Interlaken will be dull, dull, dull. It is all highway, as the fun and scenic mountain passes will not be open for the most part in December. The drive will be on the only major highway in this part of Switzerland and will be crowded. It is not scenic really at all, you will only see mountains for maybe about 1/3 of this trip and only IF you get a clear day. Traffic can truly be awful, and as noted above, you can get a wet rainy day.

4. Gas is US$7 a gallon. Renting a car for the day can’t be that cheap. There is no free parking in Switzerland anywhere, so it will cost you something to park for the day in Interlaken. I can’t imagine that this is cheaper than taking the train. In December, I would go second class without any concerns, I would only go first class in summer on weekends when cars tend to be most crowded. Especially as you are starting in Geneva where most trains originate so you can get seats together as cars will be empty when you board. If you are taking the trip on a weekend, cars will be a bit more crowded with skiers and hikers, but even then second class should be fine, and if you can schedule on a weekday, you should find cars not crowded at all. There is very little difference between first and second class cars on Swiss trains, even the extra leg room is negligible, IMO. To the best of my knowledge your children can travel free with you on all fare cards, even the day card. You can confirm this will Swiss Rail.

5. As noted above, Interlaken is not IN the Alps, it just looks up AT them. If you really want to go to the Jungfrau area (which is the main mountain in the group of mountains you see in all the pictures taken from Interlaken), then go the Wengen, Murren, Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen. But IMO this is too far for a day trip, it would be 4 hours.

6. 4. In December in Switzerland it will not be light until after 8 am and will be dark by 4:30 pm. This will make a “day” trip quite short. IMO stick close to your base if you want to see anything. Long car or even train rides in the dark are not that fun. Consider spending a night in the mountains if you really want to see them.

Cicerone is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 11:14 PM
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Thanks, Cicerone. That is very helpful.
BazzaK is offline  
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