Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page > Need help for a 3/4 day itinerary
Notices

Need help for a 3/4 day itinerary

Reply

May 15th, 2014, 05:08 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 110
Need help for a 3/4 day itinerary

My husband & I would be attending a conference in the first week of June in Lucerne. We are planning to arrive 4 days before that in Switzerland. We want to base ourselves in Interlaken for 3 nights before heading for the conference.
Is this a reasoanble itinerary?
Day 1 - Jungfraujoch / Murren
Day 2 - Grindelwald / Lauterbrunnen / Schilthorn
Day 3 - Zermatt

My questions are:
Should we drop zermatt completely? I put it only because it is 2.5 hr train trip from interlaken and seemed reasonable to cover within a day
Also is basing ourselves in Interlaken the best bet?
After the conference, we also have 2 days. Should we spend that in zurich or go elsewhere? I assume that there would be some time to see lucerne during the 3 days of conference. The flight into and out of switzerland is from zurich and cannot be changed.
Lastly, do we need a rail pass at all?
Many thanks
shwets is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 15th, 2014, 06:57 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,711
Do you need a railpass? Hard to answer unless you know what you will be doing in the Berner Oberland - Interlaken area - and especially so if going to Zermatt and back - I've done that as a day trip and if the skies are clear just seeing the Matterhorn IME is worth the trek - but check weather conditions before going - weather reports on mountain tops are ubiquitous in the area with live cam shots usually.

That said you will find a lot of stuff to do in the Jungfrau Region to occupy all your time - and from Interlaken you can take the scenic Golden Pass rail route over the Brunig Pass to Lucerne - you can spend your last night there as it is a short train ride from Zurich airport - Lucerne being one of the very nicest cities in Europe from a good looks standpoint.

Boats rides on Lake Lucerne are fantastic. (Swiss Pass covers not only trains but boats, buses, city transports, etc).

If only being in the Jungfrau Region then a Swiss Pass just to go there from Zurich a Swiss Pass could be a good deal if doing day trips around the area - a 4-consecutive-day pass is cheaper per day than flexipasses - and covers travel in full up to Murren, Wengen, Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen - but gives only a discount on trains from there to the Jungfraujoch.

Especially if doing the day trip to Zermatt the pass then would be a good deal. If not it depends on how active you are in the Jungfrau region.

For lots of great info on Swiss trains and passes check out these IMO fantastic sites: www.swisstravelsystem.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com.
PalenQ is online now  
Reply With Quote
May 15th, 2014, 07:05 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,086
First, you need to understand that you do not get to choose beforehand which day you will be able to go up Jungfraujoch or see the Matterhorn. They are mountains and if they are in cloud, you see nothing.

Rather than staying in Interlaken, pick one of the villages to stay in. Grindelwald, Murren, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen.

For you time after the conference, stay in Lucerne. You have the lake and Mt. Rigi to explore.

The less you move the more you see/do. I would not take the train to Zermatt, there is more than enough to see in the BO area. A day trip to Ballenberg for example is well worth while. http://ballenberg.ch/en/Welcome
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 15th, 2014, 07:48 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 35
For your Jungfrau Region days, I would suggest you to think about doing:

- Day 1: Grindelwald / Jungfraujoch, the train goes from Grindelwald to the top of Europe.

- Day 2: Lauterbrunnen/Murren/Schilthorn.

As the Schilthorn cable car starts in Murren, which is the other side of the Lautrbrunnen Valley than Grindelwald and Jungfraujoch. You would spare some time by combining these destinations together.

Good info:
http://jungfrauregion.ch/
http://www.myswitzerland.com
love_ch is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 15th, 2014, 08:45 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,711
I second the recommendation of Ballenberg as a great day trip from any Berner Oberland base - take the train from Wengen, Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, etc down to Interlaken-Ost station - hop on a Lake Brienz boat that leaves from right behind the station and do a float around the lake - get off at the famous Geissbach Falls and Geissbach Hotel dock and take the antique funicular up to the falls and hotel.

Re-board another boat - they go about hourly - to Brienz and from there take a bus up to Ballenberg - a vast open-air museum lovingly in a lush meadow overlooking lovely Lake Brienz far below.

Return to Interlaken_ost by train from Brienz, a noted wood-carving town - check out the fancy wood-cut balconies and facades on the town's wooden chalet-style houses.
PalenQ is online now  
Reply With Quote
May 15th, 2014, 12:50 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,711
Day 1 - Jungfraujoch / Murren>

Not really realistic - takes a half day to go up to Jungfraujoch and back and takes or more, depending on how much time you spend up top and there is a panoply of varied things there.

Murren is in the opposite direction - you have to come down from Jungfraujoch to Wengen and Lauterbrunnen then take a cable car and train up to Murren - a lot of travel in one day - the reason many go to Murren is to go to the Schilthorn and Piz Gloria - a great thing to do but again at least a half day. Do those two on different days IMO.
PalenQ is online now  
Reply With Quote
May 16th, 2014, 04:45 AM
  #7
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 110
Thanks for all your responses. It seems I have my geography wrong! So yes would do what love_ch recommended:

- Day 1: Grindelwald / Jungfraujoch
- Day 2: Lauterbrunnen/Murren/Schilthorn.
would keep Day 3 open, if the weather is good, might do zermatt to see matterhorn else would stay put. would look up Ballenberg as well.

@Dulci, you recommend the villages over interlaken. are there any great chalets or resorts that i can check out? (shouldn't be more than USD 300.)Also we would be taking a lot of trains so is it convenient?

PalenQ, i would look up the SwissPass on the sites you recommended. Train rides to be taken -
- Zurich - Bern - Interlaken and back
- Interlaken - Grindelwald - Jungfrau
- Interlaken - Lauterbrunen - Murren - Schilthorn
- possibly Interlaken - Zermatt
shwets is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 16th, 2014, 05:19 AM
  #8
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 110
PalenQ - Swiss Flexi Pass seems to be a reasonable choice. I did't quite understand 'a 4-consecutive-day pass is cheaper per day than flexipasses'.
shwets is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 16th, 2014, 06:08 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,711
I was thinking if you are only going to be traveling on four-consecutive days and then that per day - a consecutive pass would be best - if your travels however go over a five or longer day period then yes the flexipass would be a better deal.

I was thinking you were only traveling on 4 days and then endingup in Lucerne - but now to think of it in Lucerne you could also use the flexipass pass say for boat rides or short train excursions during times you are not in the conference.

If travels though all fall into a 4-consecutive day period then per day the consecutive day pass would be cheaper.

If a flexipass a 3-day flexipass is almost always a better deal than a 4-day flexipass.
PalenQ is online now  
Reply With Quote
May 16th, 2014, 08:30 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,711
One thing to keep inmind about a Flexipass is that in between the first and last day of 100% covered unlimited travel you get half off virtually everything the moves in Switzerland, besides cows!

but when you use your last 100% covered day then the pass lapses and is no longer good for anything. So on a flexipass you must save your last unlimited travel day to near the end of your trip when you are in or near your departure city. The 470 museums and sights that are free with a Swiss Pass are only free on unlimited travel days too - you do not get 50% off those on days in between your flexible unlimited 100% covered travel days.
PalenQ is online now  
Reply With Quote
May 16th, 2014, 08:37 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,086
All the villages above Interlaken are on the rail lines so there is no problem there.

Interlaken is simply the place most have heard of and most tour groups end up staying in. The villages are also full of tourists but they just have a better 'feel' to them than Interlaken. They also have far better views. You're IN the mountains, not down below them.

As for a place to stay, there are countless choices all easily found online. I have my own preference but farther down the valley above the town of Meiringen in Hasliberg. That isn't where most first time visitors want to be.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 16th, 2014, 11:57 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,711
All the villages above Interlaken are on the rail lines so there is no problem there.>

Except Murren where you have to take an aerial cable way to reach the rail line that goes to it or from Stechelberg you can go to Murren all by cable - one reason Murren is a little bit more remote than the other villages and IMO a less better base if exploring the whole Jungfrau/Interlaken region.
PalenQ is online now  
Reply With Quote
May 16th, 2014, 03:01 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,711
Gimmelwald is another village above Interlaken sans rail service and some folks do stay there in this remote place that is not so remote at all, at least getting to it.

Gimmelwald is a totally mind-blowing experience!

It is one of my favorite places in the Jungfrau Region and a don't miss if you have more than a few days:

BTW Rick Steves did not put Gimmelwald on the map though he helped publicize it!

https://www.google.com/search?q=gimm...w=1455&bih=978
PalenQ is online now  
Reply With Quote
May 17th, 2014, 04:12 AM
  #14
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 110
Dulci / PalenQ, have taken your advice, would make Grindelwald as my base for the 3/4 days before the conference
shwets is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 13th, 2014, 02:08 AM
  #15
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 110
Dulci - thanks again for the tip not to stay in Interlaken but in the mountains. We made Grindelwald as our base for the time before the conference.
Also, you were right about not too much planning. The first day when we went to First and then stated trekking to lake Bachalpsee (fantastic experience btw), it became too foggy to continue. we did this again on Day 3 in the morning with clear views.
No time for zermatt this time! but had an absolutely gorgeous sunny day at Jungfrau.

PalenQ- the tourist centre at Zurich airport were really helpful and patient in listening to my itinerary and advising on the best rail pass.
shwets is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 13th, 2014, 06:47 AM
  #16
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,711
PalenQ- the tourist centre at Zurich airport were really helpful and patient in listening to my itinerary and advising on the best rail pass.>

curious as to what they did advise and what you bought?

thanks
PalenQ is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jun 13th, 2014, 01:48 PM
  #17
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,711
We made Grindelwald as our base for the time before the conference.>

Another question - one Swiss Fodor expert keeps maligning Grindelwald in the worst terms - like it has a parade of tour buses parked everywhere and the place is just tacky in that regard, etc. It was never the case when I was there but I have not been there in several years so maybe it has changed - was Grindelwald completely ruined by tour buses everywhere?

I keep saying not in my experience and Grindelwald off the main drag is as quiet as any up in the hills town.
PalenQ is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jun 13th, 2014, 10:36 PM
  #18
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,273
PalQ, I am not "maligning" Grindelwald; I am reporting my personal experience -- an experience that made my trip a little less than perfect and that I hope to help others avoid. I never said it was an evil place, and I am not exaggerating what we saw. The lines of tour busses and the off-loaded passengers -- which hit the town in a rush and which the town cannot absorb graciously -- did have a negative impact on our trip.

Perhaps a more honest way to ask this question might be something like:

"One Swiss traveller reports lines of tour busses and mobs of day-trippers in the town, but I don't remember ever seeing anything like that. Can you let us know if that's what it's like now? Did you ever see anything like that?"

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 13th, 2014, 10:39 PM
  #19
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,273
By the way, I doubt there were a lot of tour busses there in June -- I normally reserve this warning for folks who will be there in July and August, the height of the tourist season when the busses arrive.

My mom and I were there in August.

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 14th, 2014, 08:31 AM
  #20
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,711
swandav and I have very different recollections of Grindelwald and Interlaken - two folks can see the same thing in very real different ways - ah the eye of the beholder. I have never stayed in Wengen but I have often stayed in Grindelwald and to me the town was never ruined by tourists - but again what being ruined by tourists is a subjective thing.

I love the coming and going of hiking groups, with all their regalia and alpinists, many of whom stay in Grindelwald and tend to be younger and after a hard day of hiking, mountain climbing whatever want an active apres-ski or apres-hiking scene.

This action of many hiking groups coming and going to me is a plus - to others it may be being overrun by tourists. No one is right no one is wrong in what they perceive and how they perceive it.

You can't go wrong staying in either, that is the only real point of contention here - swandav says you can go very wrong staying in Grindelwald.
PalenQ is online now  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:20 PM.