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Planning 12-day trip to Switzerland/France (take 2)

Planning 12-day trip to Switzerland/France (take 2)

Old Feb 18th, 2024, 07:00 AM
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Planning 12-day trip to Switzerland/France (take 2)

Hi all, I thought i would start a new thread with my new plan/itinerary. Thanks to all who gave me advice to my previous thread (started in Dec 2023)
Planning 10-day trip in Switzerland

After watching airfares for over 2 months with various multi-city options, I ended up getting r/t to Geneva for $900pp ( Icelandic air), which is significantly cheaper than any other combinations. I also re-thought our priorities for this trip (natural scenery, hiking) and this is what I've come up with:

June 23 — 1pm arrival into Geneva airport, head directly to Montreux, ferry tour of lake in the afternoon; overnight Montreux
June 24 — morning visit to Chateau de Chillon; Afternoon Golden Pass train to Interlaken; overnight Interlaken
June 25-28 — Berner Oberland; base in Interlaken
June 29 — Luzern for the day, onward to Zurich. Zurich opera; overnight in Zurich
June 30 — sightseeing in Zurich OR day trip to St Gallen? or Schaffhausen / Stein am Rhein? Zurich opera; overnight in Zurich
July 1 — morning train to Martigny, spend a few hours in Martigny to see Roman ruins, then late afternoon Mt Blanc express train to Chamonix
July 2-4 — Chamonix
July 5 — depart from Geneva Airport at 2pm

How does this revised itinerary look? I have a couple of Qs:

1. The full day we have in Zurich, should we stay in the city or head out? I've been to Zurich, Schaffhausen and Stein am Rhein. But never been to St Gallen. Thoughts? other alternatives?
2. regarding the Mt Blanc Express train, is it just a regular train I see on sbb.ch (1hr27min w/change in Vallorcine)? It looks like it runs once an hour, or is there a special train called the "mt Blanc Express"? When I click on the schedule on https://www.mont-blanc-express.ch/en/index.htm it directs me to SBB website.
3. For July 4 / July 5 — I see there are buses that connect Chamonix with Geneva airport, and the journey takes 90 minutes. I cannot decide if we should stay in Chamonix on July 4, then take a morning bus to Geneva airport for our 2pm flight. I feel like this makes most sense in terms of maximizing our time in Chamonix. OTOH I get nervous not staying in Geneva the night before, so alternatively would be leave for Geneva late afternoon July 4, and stay in Geneva that night. But then it's a bit of a "waste" of July 4 afternoon and July 5 morning as we really can't do much. Also of note, July 5 is the start of Montreux jazz festival.
5. I've never been to Chamonix before, but after reading some of your suggestions, as well as this TR 15 days in Switzerland
it seems to make most sense (for scenery/hiking) because of our flights into / out of Geneva.
6. I know it's seems a bit silly to go to Zurich but I really want to go there for the 2 operas and also thought it might be a nice "city break" in the middle of the trip. The dates for the opera are set in stone.

7. if this itinerary makes sense, the next step for me is to figure out what type of train/regional passes will make the most sense for us (2 adults, 1 child age 11).

Again, thank you in advance for your suggestions and critique.
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Old Feb 18th, 2024, 08:27 AM
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I can only advise, go back to your previous thread. All the work the foderites have done for you and you just walk away from it... oh well.
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Old Feb 18th, 2024, 09:24 AM
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I wish we could talk you out of staying in Interlaken. Go UP instead - Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen or Murren are all much nicer than Interlaken and will get you much closer to what you're probably coming to the BO to see...those majestic Alps.

Last edited by Melnq8; Feb 18th, 2024 at 09:26 AM.
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Old Feb 18th, 2024, 09:25 AM
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1. If you haven't been then St. Gallen is an excellent choice. Lots to do and see, from the Abbey church, the famous library over the picturesque old town to interesting museums. On the other hand I am sure you could fill the day with things to do and see in Zürich as well.
2. It's a regular train, just follow the SBB website and schedule.
6. I am sure you know Piotr Beczala cancelled all his Calafs in Zürich for health reasons. And I would be surprised if he performs in "Land des Lächelns".
7. I didn't do the math, but I am pretty sure the Half Fare Card is the best deal. You're in too many different regions (for just a couple of days each) for regional passes and don't travel around enough for the Swiss Pass (which would give less discount for the Jungfrau region.)
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Old Feb 18th, 2024, 11:38 AM
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1. You could go to Lake Lucerne, Rigi, Lake Constance, Basel as well. Al depends on your inerests.
2. Yes, it's a regular train, every hr. Scenic ride nevertheless.
3. There are buses and trains. I would start in the morning. or take the last bus the evening before (dp 20.55).
But accommodation in Geneva is probably more expensive.
5. Chamonix is 1 1/2 hrs by bus from Geneva. A place like Crans-Montana is 2 1/2 hrs from Geneva, but trains run every 30 min.. But Chamonix is nicer.
6. It doesn't look silly at all fi you want to assist to the operette Das Land des Laechelns and to the opera Turandot. The only probem is that there is not much time left at Lucerne if you have to travel to Zurich, check into the hotel, change and be at the Opernhaus before 7pm.
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