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Need help in Paris-Swiss-Italy Trip

Old Feb 1st, 2017, 02:42 AM
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Need help in Paris-Swiss-Italy Trip

Hi,

This is Sushma here, from India. I and my husband are planning a 15-day trip to Paris, Switzerland and Italy trip in Mid-May 2017. We have many doubts and questions. We need suggestions/advise on our itinerary and hoping that this forum would help us plan better.
We are a young married couple, budget travellers, and not much interested in museums and art. We are planning to commute using the train and not renting a car. Below is our itinerary,
Day 1-2: Start our trip from Paris. Stay for 2 days.
Day 3-4: Paris -> Lucerne via Basel by train. We will be here for only 2 days. Stroll the town and would like to do Mt Pilatus/Titlis/Rigi(one of them). Stay booked in Lucerne.
Day 5: Lucerne -> Grindelwald via Interlaken. Planned to go to First and then hike to Lake Bachalpsee. Stay in Grindelwald.
Day 6: Grindelwald -> Stechelberg. Planned to hike from Grutschalp to Gimmelwald. Stay in Stechelberg farm house.
Day 7: Stechelberg - > Venice via Spiez. And Milan. Stay in Venice.
Day 8: Venice.
Day 10-12: Naples/Capri/Amalfi coast.
Day 13-15: Rome
Below are my queries,
We want to stay and experience a countryside/away-from-tourists place for a day. Please suggest such a place falling in our way in Italy.
So far we have done Paris-Basel and Spiez-Milan ticket reservations. What other train routes do we have to reserve?
After doing some calculations, we figured that Swiss half-fare card works well for us compared to Swiss Pass. Does Eurail 2-country select pass for Switzerland and Italy includes all train routes and avails the benefit of Swiss pass? Will it be helpful and works cheaper?
On day 10-12, we thought of making Sorrento as our base for stay and visit Capri, Positano, Ravello & Amalfi towns. Or do you any other suggestions?
We are confused between Mt Pilatus/Rigi/Titlis. As we are not covering Jungfraujoch top due to time constraint, we would like to visit one of the snow capped mountains. Which one of these Mt Pilatus/Rigi/Titlis are better?

Thank you so much,
Sushma
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Old Feb 1st, 2017, 05:04 AM
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You can easily visit Mt. Pilatus or Mt. Rigi peaks from Lucerne. Pilatus has better views, but the walk down from Rigi is easy and more enjoyable.

Rather than stay in Grindlewald, stay in Murren or Gimmelwald on days 5 and 6 if you want to get away from the bigger tourist crowds. It will also save you the time and trouble of switching hotels from Grindlewald to Stechelberg.

Gimmelwald is my favorite place - great views, quiet, no crowds, and the people at the Mountain Hostel are super fun and friendly. But it is remote! Stechelberg is basically a bus station. You can still do the hike from First to Lake Bachalpsee if you are based in Gimmelwald or Murren.

Some cable cars and funiculars may be closed for maintenance during your visit. Ask the tourism office in Lauterbrunnen or ask your hotel for specifics on closures.
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Old Feb 1st, 2017, 05:41 AM
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Hello Sushma.

If you use Google maps, or bahn.de, you can get detailed info about train journey lengths. I have never had the good fortune to visit your country but my guess is that in India, trains can suffer delays. This is the case in Europe as well. As you are young, you won't tire easily, but just keep this in mind as you plan you final itinerary.

Planned to go to First and then hike to Lake Bachalpsee. Stay in Grindelwald.

As Edward2005 points out, you are going in mid-May. Spring comes later to the higher elevations. Sections of or even entire hiking trails may not be open then. (There was still snow around, and Bachalpsee was frozen, when we hiked out to it in late June of the year we went.) Even the 'floor' of the Lauterbrunnen valley is beautiful though. If you are flexible, you will still find things to enjoy.
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Old Feb 1st, 2017, 08:33 AM
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Be aware that weather is always unpredictable in the Alps. Mountain hikes make only sense if the weather is fine. There may be snow around Bachalpsee (at 2300 metres). But don't worry: if there is too much snow, you can just hike along another trail, may be from First to Grosse Scheidegg or from Bort to Lauchbuehl.

The gondola to First will run, however.

May is low season and there will not be many tourists at Grindelwald. I would stay all the time at Grindelwald, the journey time from there to Stechelberg or Gruetschalp is only 1 hr: trains plus buses every 30-60 min, from 6.19 until 22.19.

Around Lucerne, only Titlis has snow (glacier) all the year round.

Train reservation is compulsory for Milan - Venice, Venice - Naples and Naples - Rome. There are 2 train companies operating between Venice and Naples: Trenitalia and Italotreno.
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Old Feb 1st, 2017, 10:13 AM
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for great info on trains and Swiss Passes -which may be good for you - and discounted tickets Switzerland to Italy and Paris to Switzerland check www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

www.trenitalia.com for to Italy and www.voyages-sncf.com from Paris.

I think there is one train a day that goes straight thru Spiez to Venice but most require change of trains in Milan.
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Old Feb 1st, 2017, 11:46 AM
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You are really shortchanging Paris. Your first day there will be pretty much shot after a flight from India.
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Old Feb 1st, 2017, 12:19 PM
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Does Eurail 2-country select pass for Switzerland and Italy includes all train routes and avails the benefit of Swiss pass?>

Not nearly- gives 25% off only in Jungfrau Region and does not give 50% off gondolas and trains to mountain tops.

Plus in Italy you must pay supplement of 15 euros to ride fastest trains along with burning a day on your pass.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2017, 04:34 AM
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Thank you so much for all the suggestions.

I was not aware that some hiking trails might be closed in May. I will check on that when we reach.

Agree to the point that we are shortchanging Paris We missed to consider the jet lag or flight delays. I should have added at least another day in Paris.

We have decided to go to Mount Titlis in Lucerne.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2017, 08:25 AM
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We have decided to go to Mount Titlis in Lucerne.>

Take train to Engelberg - about an hour from Lucerne then the rotating gondolas up Titlis.

Can easily combine a boat trip on Lake Lucerne in that day coming or going.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2017, 12:03 PM
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I was not aware that some hiking trails might be closed in May. I will check on that when we reach.>

Trails won't be closed but at higher elevations may be impassable due to snow or mud or may not be. Certain lifts may be shut down due to maintenance in this off-season after winter sports and summer tourists.

But there will be easy hiking trails open around Grindelwald and key trains like Jungfraujoch will be running as normal as would regular trains like to Lauterbrunnen, Wengen and postal bus to Stechleberg.
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Old Feb 6th, 2017, 03:35 AM
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Can we add Mt Rigi by taking Lucerne-Vitznau boat ride and descend to Weggis via Rigi Kaltbad, after Mt Titlis in the morning? Is it possible?
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Old Feb 6th, 2017, 08:09 AM
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Yes but a long day -I would reverse it - Mt Rigi first then Mt Pilatus - because you take the thrilling train up from Alpnachstad boat dock to summit then for variety from summit cable cars down to Krens, in suburban Lucerne and then back to Lucerne by trolley bus.
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