Interlaken or Lucerne

Old Jun 19th, 2015, 11:49 PM
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Interlaken or Lucerne

Me and my wife are planning a 3 week Europe trip coming September ( 10 sep till 3 oct ). Planning to start from London for a week and then would be heading towards Paris for 4 nights. From Paris i'm planning to go to interlaken for another 4 days and here i would need advise. This would be my first visit to Switzerland .First should i choose interlaken or Lucerne as my base from two perspective
1. Accessibility to other Swiss towns , not sure how many shall i be able to cover in 4 days
2. Cost perspective ( Accommodation + City Travel )
I'm looking to experience is Swiss beauty , adventure sports ( i know interlaken has para sailing and other sports to offer ) and since we both love food we are looking better food joints.

I shall be travelling to Naples Italy for my last leg of journey from here so which city shall i choose.
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Old Jun 20th, 2015, 12:22 AM
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It very much depends on what you want to see. If you want to explore the Bernese Oberland then Interlaken (or Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Grindelwald, etc). Lucerne offers lots of different alternatives as a base as well. For mountain scenery I would choose the former as Lucerne is in an area which is relatively flat (by Swiss standards). Both areas are beautiful. I really suggest you grab a guidebook to help you choose.

I was in Lucerne about 10 days ago and found food (and everything else) to be extremely expensive, to the point where we were choosing items from the menu based on price rather than taste. A cup of coffee, for example, was typically four times the price of a coffee in Italy (for a coffee addict like me, that's a disaster!). A glass of wine was at least double. We are not super budget travellers but found ourselves thinking twice about stopping for coffee, having that second glass of wine or where to eat. www.booking.com will give you some indication of accommodation costs. On the up side, Switzerland is extremely beautiful and relaxing - we had a brilliant time and I would go back in a heartbeat.

The journey to Naples will be lengthy. Check www.sbb.ch/en for timetables.
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Old Jun 20th, 2015, 12:49 AM
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Thanks Dreamon, that helps
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Old Jun 20th, 2015, 12:52 AM
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Also if anyone can suggest travel itinerary from interlaken to Naples. Do we have nights train on that route
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Old Jun 20th, 2015, 01:15 AM
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We were shocked a few weeks ago to find that half a liter of mineral water with a meal in Lucerne routinely cost over 6 CHF; in one very simple restaurant, the cost of half a liter of water was 6.90 CHF. My husband said he was thinking of setting up a business smuggling water into Switzerland.

We routinely paid 80 CHF for relatively simple meals in Lucerne. In Italy, even in Milan and Rome, we never spend anywhere near that much for a basic meal. I don't know if it's any better in Interlaken though, because Interlaken has the reputation of being pricey. We didn't go there on this trip, but we didn't find prices in Basel, or even in small towns, to be much lower than in Lucerne. In Lugano we found lower prices.

Perhaps the people who live in Switzerland know cheaper places to eat than those that we found.
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Old Jun 20th, 2015, 05:01 AM
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Switzerland IS very expensive. Part of this is the general economy - salaries there are high versus many places in europe - plus the currency is very strong - not dropping like a stone like the euro, It has always been so - in my 35 years of travel there - but much worse in the last 10 years or so.

Agree that Interlaken versus Lucerne is a matter of priorities. Lucerne is a prettier town with much to see and do in the town - plus steamers on the lake, visits to nearby charming villages, plus several lower mountains to ascend via cog railway or cable car (Pilatus, Rigi, titlus).

Interlaken is a smaller town which is more a way to get places (take steamers to thun, brienz or train t other nearby towns, Staying in a village in the foothills gives great access to hiking and may be close to the train fro ascending Jungfrauj - thE mountain in the Berner Obreland,

From either town you can easily visit a number of other towns in the area. We have done Zug, Bern, Gruyere, Biel. Neuchatel, Montreux - but we were driving not training.

Some have mentioned that department store cafes have more budget meals but hours are limited and we have no experience with that.

For info on train from either to Naples look at the german rail site: bahn.de - which has schedules for all trains in europe. Neither has a night train to Naples (you can go at night but with multiple changes of train so no sleep) and the trips are long (8/9 hours for Interlaken and 10 or more from Lucerne with shortest trips during the day). Perhaps look at fights from Zurich.
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Old Jun 20th, 2015, 07:31 AM
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Anyone been to Wirtshaus Gallliker in Lucerne lately? We went on our first trip in 2002 and loved its Swiss-German food and homey atmosphere. Would like to go again but I can't find a menu and wonder if it too has given in to sky high prices.
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Old Jun 20th, 2015, 07:56 AM
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We ate one evening meal in the department store Manor, but it was only so-so, although cheaper than the average. It was a self-service restaurant, but there wasn't a wide choice of fare. It was also very hot inside, and there was no air conditioning, probably because such heat was unusual for Lucerne. There was outdoor seating on the roof, but under a blazing sun with no shade.
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Old Jun 20th, 2015, 01:32 PM
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The only relatively cheap place to eat in Switzerland are supermarkets' self-service restaurants, generally open at lunch time. Look for Manor or Coop or Migros larger branches.
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Old Jun 20th, 2015, 04:30 PM
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bvlenci, it sounds like we may have been in Lucerne around the same time. Did you experience those spectacular thunderstorms in the evening, after the very hot days?

With regard to cost, another factor at play is that the Swiss adjusted their currency earlier in the year to make it more valuable against foreign currencies. Thus, the Swiss restauranteur charging 40chf for a main course isn't getting any more than they used to but the tourist feels more hip pocket pain.

We did the walking tour organised by the Lucerne tourist office and highly recommend it. The tour guide told us that Swiss people are very well paid but the cost of living is correspondingly high.

Luckily, the Swiss have more beautiful picnic spots than most other countries!
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Old Jun 20th, 2015, 05:19 PM
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Your food options will essentially be the same in Lucerne or Interlaken; you pay a lot for food in Switzerland. But, given your short stay in September, I'd definitely spend the time in Interlaken. You will find prettier and less expensive accommodations & restaurants in the old section. It's a few more blocks to the train stations, but it's a lovely part of town. While we liked Lucerne very much, it cannot compare to being at the base of the B-O, where you'll get up to Wengen, Murren, Grindenwald, the highlight of just about everyone's Swiss travel. We tried to eat reasonably in Switzerland. Once you decide which city you're staying in, I'll send along our choices.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2015, 02:34 PM
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aliced-we'll be staying in Spiez for 4 nights and doing day trips from there (Murren,Wengen,Grindelwald,Jungfrauich) Montreux and Lucerne. What are your choices in those regions?
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