Is my itinerary the Best of Switzerland?

Old Apr 15th, 2015, 08:57 AM
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Lugano is very popular with Swiss and German tourists. But most people from abroad don't realize that they are tourists and not local people.
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Old Apr 15th, 2015, 10:16 AM
  #42  
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neckerd, we will definitely visit Lugano area when we explore the lake region in Northern Italy. Maybe even next year.
Dianedancer, we will explore Interlaken on the day of our arrival to Interlaken Ost from Luzern, but we will stay for 3 nights in Lauterbrunnen at hotel Staubbach. It will give us less time consuming access to Gimmelwald-Murren-Schilthorn area on day 1 and Wengen-Mannlichen-Kleine Scheidegg on day 2.
Now I am working on a hotel reservation in Luzern and Lausanne. We need them to be close to the train station since we will be taking day trips from both towns. Any suggestions?
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Old Apr 15th, 2015, 11:52 AM
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Yes Wengen is wondrously located for excursions to both the Lauterbrunnen/Murren/Schilthorn area and Grindelwald and The Mannlichen and even the Jungfraujoch train is you can afford it - to me well worth the cost.
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Old Apr 15th, 2015, 07:56 PM
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What would you recommend to take a day trip to Mount Pilatus or Mount Rigi out of Luzern?
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Old Apr 17th, 2015, 01:33 AM
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"What would you recommend to take a day trip to Mount Pilatus or Mount Rigi out of Luzern?"
Just decide once you are at Lucerne. There are other options too, like the historic cableway and the open air cabrio gondola to Stanserhorn,
the cableway from Schwyz to Stoos and the gondola to either Fronalpstock or Klingenstock,
the Soerenberg - Brienzer Rothorn - Brienz - Bruenig round trip,
etc. etc.
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Old Apr 17th, 2015, 03:34 AM
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Mt Pilatus IME is often shrouded in fog or clouds or mist - I've stayed in Lucerne beaucoup times and rarely was it out - so leave that in flux.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2015, 02:48 PM
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Thank you. We have 4 full days in Lucerne and will adjust our plans for Lake Luzern and Mt. Pilatus or Mt. Rigi area based on the weather conditions. We will also take a day trip to Bern and a day trip to Murten as neckervd suggested.
I have a question about Zurich. We will arrive to Zurich airport at 11 a.m. We won’t have a jetlag and would like to explore Zurich on the way to Lucerne. I believe we should take a train from the airport to Zurich HB main train station, leave our luggage there, explore Zurich and take a train to Lucerne. Do you know if they have lockers to accommodate 2 bigger than carry-on pieces of luggage at Zurich HB? I am thinking of taking a self-guided tour of city center main sites from the train station to Burkliplatz then take 1.5 hour boat round trip from Burkliplatz. If we have time to also visit Swiss National Museum. What do you think?
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Old Apr 23rd, 2015, 04:06 AM
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there are large lockers in big Swiss stations but there is also in Zurich Hbf a manual left-luggage place I believe so if you can't find a locker that is large enough you can leave it there - or from the airport the Swiss Railways have a scheme where you can check your luggage from your flight right thru to Lucerne - pick it up there.

Check https://www.sbb.ch/en/station-servic...l-baggage.html for details.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2015, 12:13 PM
  #49  
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Thank you PalenQ. It makes sense for us just to leave our luggage at Zurich Hbf. Since we collect our luggage after 11 a.m. at Zurich Airport, there will be not enough time to transfer our luggage from the airport to Luzern train station and get it there after 6 p.m. I have another question regarding the Swiss Pass. If I understand it correctly, I can print it from the Internet providing my passport info. It will cover public transportation in Switzerland for a specified period of time. How does it work? Do I need to collect a ticket at a train station/bus/tram/metro/boat before boarding a train/bus/tram/metro/boat or just board a train/bus/tram/metro/boat and some lifts that are covered 100%?
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Old Apr 23rd, 2015, 12:46 PM
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Swiss Pass - are you sure you can print a pass at home? Anyway with the pass you can just hop on any train, bus, tram, lake boats, etc - no need to get a ticket just flash the pass once onbaord to the conductor - of course if you have a flexipass then that would apply only to your 100% travel days - not the days in between. If getting a flexipass you can buy I think a half-off Half-Off Card in conjunction with it - this is a major change from years before when with the pass on days in between 100% covered days you would get 50% off everything else on days in between - in which case of course you must go get a half-priced ticket.

But new this year that is no longer true and unless you buy the half-off Half-Fare Card with the pass you will only get benefits on the 100% flexible travel days - Swiss Pass prices were lowered also to compensate for the changes - and Saverpasses were eliminated. If you have questions on intircacies of a Swiss Pass - like printing at home give Byron at www.budgeteuropetravel.com a call - I've bought passes from his for years and IME he will always patiently answer any questions regardless of whether you are buying at the time or not - prices are all the same for passes in the U.S. and often prices here for the exact same pass is cheaper than in Switzerland and you do not pay any foreign transaction fees if your c card has them.

But check prices for passes in Switzerland - you can buy them on site at many train stations - check at www.sbb.ch - Swiss Federal Railways official site - if prices are about the same all told just wait until Switzerland and buy it - but check both as at times there is a substantial difference and over years passes bought in U.S. have often been cheaper - not always and not sure right now but check.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2015, 03:14 PM
  #51  
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Hi PalenQ,
I did some research and in my particular case it makes sense to buy a 15 day Swiss Travel Pass though I will be using public transportation and visiting museums 13 consecutive days, not 15. The cost is CHF 440.00 at
http://www.swiss-pass.ch/en/swiss-pass/
According to Rick Steves
https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-ti...s#swiss-travel
"The continuous-day Swiss Travel Pass offers an "e-pass" option to print at home. E-passes are pre-validated for the travel start date that you choose, and are not refundable or changeable after that date. When purchasing an e-pass, you must enter each traveler's birthdate and passport number online".
Clicking on the link from Rick Steves page, I found the following info at
http://traintickets.myswitzerland.co...FdgNgQodOH4Amw

"Swiss Travel E-Pass Spring Promo: 20% Off
Get 20% off a 3, 4, 8 or 15 day first class Swiss Travel e-pass with coupon code SWISSEPASS20. Just book by May 28, 2015. Valid for travel by June 30, 2015".
I entered info for 1 person and the cost is $460 which equals to CHF440.
I couldn't find place where to apply the coupon code, but it was probably done automatically giving you an option to save $20 by eliminating delivery and be able to print Swiss Travel Pass at home.
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Old Apr 24th, 2015, 06:40 AM
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Lev - thanks for all the update - first-class always has significant benefits - always IME lots of empty seats so I can flit back and forth easily from side to side as the scnery dictates - plus can put your bags on an adjoining seat - 2nd class can always be SRO on mainline trains at rush hours, etc.
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Old Apr 24th, 2015, 12:55 PM
  #53  
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Hi PalenQ,
The difference between first-class and second-class is $147 (second-class is $460 and first-class $736. With 20% discount up to June 30, 2015 $589). I am actually very skeptical that I need first-class. I am not planning to take William Tell Express, Bernina Express, and Glacier Express. I’ll take Golden Pass, trains and lifts in the Berner Oberland for 3 nights, day trips from Lucerne to Bern, Murten, train from Montreux to Geneva, round trip from Montbovon to Gruyere, boats on the lakes and lifts to Mt. Rigi and/or Mt.Pilatus, train from Zurich airport to Lucerne, some museums, etc. It seems that I definitely need 15 day pass even for my 13 day itinerary. Even if I will not use all $460 spent on a Swiss Pass, it is very convenient not to spend time on buying tickets every time you go somewhere… Do I miss something?
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Old Apr 24th, 2015, 03:09 PM
  #54  
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Sorry for the calculations If I buy first-class pass I save $147 with 30% discount. It will be $129 more than second-class.. But you see my point..
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Old Apr 24th, 2015, 04:38 PM
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Check out the Golden Pass's awesome VIP seats - up front just a few seats on each train in a separate compartment next to the driver's compartment so you synthesize driving the train yourself - these require first-class tickets or a hefty supplement. If taking boats the much more desirable IME open-air up front seats on the top forward deck are much better than other seats and demand a first-class ticket to use - you can of course pay on board an upgrade fee but if taking several boats, etc - the actual difference between first- and second-class prices may be less. I've always enjoyed having a first-class pass when I see what second-class is like - on mainline trains I'm speaking, not mountain trains where the difference in classes is much less - some are only second class - I'd say for $129 I'd definitely on a 15-day pass opt for first class, especially with the discount making the price differential much less than ordinary.

Even on trains from Interlaken to Grindelwald second-class often is full or even SRO - th small first-class section always IME has empty seats - I'd go at that price for 15 days with the first-class pass.
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Old Apr 25th, 2015, 06:10 AM
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https://www.google.com/search?q=VIP+...=1600&bih=1075

VIP seats on Golden Pass pix.
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Old Apr 25th, 2015, 09:08 AM
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http://www.goldenpass.ch/en

You can make reservations for the Golden Pass VIP seats I think without even having a pass or ticket and you may want to make a seat reservation for a place in the observations cars that run in both classes for the Mongtreux-Zweisimmen section to guarantee a place in those cars, though reservations are optional and with a pass you need pay nothing more to ride.
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Old Apr 25th, 2015, 12:11 PM
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Lev yes Interlaken IME is a whole lot cheaper across the board than up in dem hills - from regular stores to hotels and B&Bs - here are two I have stayed at and loved:

Wlater's B&B:
http://www.walters.ch/

And right near it in Matten the Hotel Alpina:

http://alpinahotel.ch/

Walters features humungous buffet breakfasts served in your room - can eat on your balcony with a frontal view of the Jungfrau Massif rising miles away over lush meadows.

The Hotel Alpina is a proper hotel with a huge dining room with an again unlimited buffet breakfast. The hotel has two parts or did when I was last there - a spartan one very cheap and a more deluxe one.

Both are great deals for the price IMO and both were very friendly.

Interlaken is a very cute city once you get off the main drag of tourist schlock (which many never do and gthen say Interlaken was the pitts!) - but Interlaken has Lucerne-style covered wooden bridges - walkways along the river thru forests - a lovely old town square and gorgeous parts overlooking Lake Brienz and Matten a nice quiet area (can walk from there thru the meadows to the nearby Wilderswill train station for trains to Grindelwald/Lauterbrunnen/Scynige Platte).
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Old Apr 25th, 2015, 04:06 PM
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Thank you PalenQ.
I have checked Wlater's B&B and Hotel Alpina. Both are fully booked. I have made a reservation for 3 nights in Lauterbrunnen. Hotel Staubbach. We also decided to stay 4 nights in Montreux not in Lausanne and made a reservation at Golf Hotel Rene Capt. The problem I am trying to solve now if it is worth visiting Gruyeres on the way from Interlaken Ost to Montreux under my “special” circumstances.
To do it we have to use the Fast Baggage service in Lauterbrunnen or Interlaken Ost. If I hand in my luggage in Lautenbrunnen I can get it at Montreux train station the next day after 12:50. If I hand in my luggage in Interlaken Ost I can get my luggage at Montreux train station after 18:00 the same day. The problem is that Montreux baggage claim section is open until 18:00. So.. I have to get my luggage the next day anyway.. Also the only option available for me is to take Golden Pass at 9:08 that arrives at Zweisimmen at 10:19. Take a train from Zweisimmen to Montbovon at 10:25 and from Montbovon to Gruyeres at 11:40. It arrives to Gruyeres at 11:58 a.m. There are a few trains from Gruyeres to Montreux through Montboven departing every hour from 16:00.
So... there is a dilemma: Turn in our luggage using Fast Baggage service, explore Gruyeres with a carry-on luggage and collect our luggage at Montreux train station the next day OR stay longer in the Berner Oberland area, take Golden Pass in the afternoon, arrive to Montreux around 18:00 and take a train to Gruyeres one of the days when we are in Montreux. What do you think?
Also if we take a train to Gruyeres on another day, how can we combine it with other activities in Montreux area that day?
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Old Apr 25th, 2015, 09:11 PM
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Hi again,

It makes more sense to me to see Gruyeres while enroute rather than spending an entire day going back over the very same country that you saw when you moved from Interlaken to Montreux.

Here's a bit of a trick you can do -- which I've done. The luggage office in Lausanne is open until 18.30 or 18.45 (as kja notes above), and it's only 30 minutes from Montreux.

If that won't work for you, you can just pick up your cases at Montreux the next day -- I've done that too.

The trip to Gruyeres from Montreux really is a full day. Maybe the most you could combine it with is an exploration of Montreux's old town, which shouldn't take more than 2h.

Have fun!

s
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