Switzerland

Old Jul 31st, 2016, 11:32 AM
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Switzerland

Hi, I am ending a two week cruise in Basel next summer with my son (an adult). I want to take the train into Switzerland for about a week or so. My plan is to train to Zurich an hour or so from Basel, spend the night in Zurich, then train down to Zermatt for two nights, then train to Wengen for two nights then back to Zurich for two nights and fly back to US from Zurich. I've been to Murren and loved it, but want to try a different village nearby. I'd like suggestions about this itinerary. I've been to Zermatt before also, son has not been to Switzerland. Am wondering if Grindelwald might be better than Wengen. (cars in Grindelwald I think). Have mixed feelings about Zermatt, but thought the train in different directions might be good? Been to Luzern before too. I really like Zurich. suggestions please? Sue in GA
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Old Jul 31st, 2016, 12:42 PM
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Why go to Zurich for just an overnight stay on your way to Wengen?

Stay in Basel for a day a visit its museums and the old town.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca...7622927438333/ and subsequent pictures.
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Old Jul 31st, 2016, 01:13 PM
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I vote Wengen over Grindelwald, because it is car-free, quieter, more centrally located, panoramic views, less touristy.
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Old Jul 31st, 2016, 01:28 PM
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If you consolidate your Zurich time into one stay at the end, you'll have more time for seeing/doing/experiencing and you will spend less time in transit. So I'd suggest that you either spend your day in Basel, or get on the train and go straight to Wengen for several nights . You can still have two nights in Zurich on your way back.
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Old Jul 31st, 2016, 01:39 PM
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Michael, I planned a total of 3 nights in Zurich and on the way to Zermatt, then Wengen. Sue

Brubenow, that is what I thought about Wengen over Grindelwald, any suggestions of nice places to stay in Wengen? Sue

Kathie, I think I wanted to do Zermatt first then WEngen. I thought we might need a break in Zurich after leaving the river cruise and train? Hard to figure this all out. You may be right, however I also planned to leave a big suitcase at the hotel in Zurich to travel with a smaller overhead bin type case on train to Zermatt/WEngen. Sue
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Old Jul 31st, 2016, 02:02 PM
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Frankly, unless you are interested in something other than viewing the Matterhorn peak and taking looks at the Monte Rosa Massif I would NOT spend several nights in Zermatt as opposed to almost anywhere in the Berner Oberland.

You want "touristy" then car-free Zermatt will fill that bill, believe me.
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Old Jul 31st, 2016, 02:28 PM
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Grindelwald may be better for your young adult son as there are many folks his age there for the apres-hiking night scene- Wengen is more sedate and family-oriented it seems (folks here love it and many prefer it over Grindelwald - I prefer Grindelwald for many reasons - the views are stupendous from either and most of Grindelwald is off-limits to vehicles which must park at the entrance to town mainly. Anyway not full of traffic.

anyway for all the train travel to different places a Swiss Pass of some type may be a great deal - covers trains to Wengen and Grindelwald (and Murren) in full as well as lake boats (nice trips on either of the two lakes bookending Interlaken), buses and gives 50% off on most gondolas or trains to mountain tops.

for lots of great info on Swiss trains and passes check www.swisstravelsystem.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.
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Old Jul 31st, 2016, 04:45 PM
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Dukey/Palen.....I have had thoughts about skipping Zermatt, would Wengen/Grindelwald make sense? I've been to Murren and loved it. Maybe an overnight or two in both Wengen and then in Grindelwald. I think they are accessible between the two places? Son is middle age, I am older but in good health relatively. I sort of thought the train between Zurich to Zermatt, and then over to Wengen, might be worth the ride, but is that a scenic train trip, or would you just go right over to WEngen/Grindelwald from Zurich? then we will fly back to US from Zurich. Thanks for the input. Sue
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Old Jul 31st, 2016, 09:51 PM
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Hi Sue81,

I agree that it makes no sense to stay in Zurich for one night before travelling to Zermatt -- you'll waste (imo) a lot of hours checking into a hotel and unpacking, then packing up again in the morning and checking out. I really think that a river cruise is pretty relaxing, and you won't need the stop in Zurich (which won't be very relaxing anyway imo). So, I would just head directly from Basel to Zermatt and add that night to one of your mountain destinations.

I really don't think it's worthwhile to split up your time in the Jungfrau area between Grindelwald and Wengen -- just stay in Wengen. Yes, it's easy to get between the two places very easily, and it would be another waste (imo) of time to pack up & deal with hotel logistics, etc.

Exactly when in the summer are you going? In July & August, I've found Grindelwald to be unpleasant; when I visited with my mom, the town was full of big tour busses (that's as high as they can get to), and the sidewalks were crowded with big groups of the off-loaded, day-tripping passengers. I really enjoy experiencing a town at leisure and soaking up the atmosphere as I stroll the streets or enjoy a cup of coffee -- but that wasn't a pleasant experience in Grindelwald in August.

My mom and I spent a day in Wengen, and we were very sorry we hadn't stayed there -- it was peaceful and quiet. It was a huge contrast with Grindelwald (btw, I have skied from Grindelwald 2x and from Wengen 2x, and Wengen is my favorite by far).

Have fun as you plan!

s
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Old Aug 1st, 2016, 05:34 AM
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Hi Swanday, We will get to Switzerland in mid July, and Wengen sounds much nicer, so will nail that down. As far as Zurich, I want to spend one night there going down to leave our larger suitcases with them, and the hotel said they will hold them for us, very nice hotel on Lake Zurich, so I think I want to do that. Then maybe down to Zermatt for 2 nights, unless I skip Zermatt, then over to Wengen, 2 nights and back to Zurich again 2 nights. Any suggestions for a nice hotel in Wengen or Zermatt. i do use a cane, so maybe not too far to walk to it, (I know I should probably avoid this area, but think I can handle it), and want son to see it).Someone mentioned an electric car in Wengen, how about Zermatt? been a long time since I've been to Zermatt. Sue thanks everyone for the responses.
Also how recently were you in Wengen?
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Old Aug 1st, 2016, 06:57 AM
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Hi again,

In Wengen, I've stayed at the 3-star Hotel Alpenrose. It's a family-owned place where the husband/father is the chef, and the wife/mother runs the front desk. When I was there last, the children were in hotel school to carry on the family tradition. They have a photo album documenting the hotel over the decades.

The hotel will meet your train with an electric van, and in fact, the van driver will try to drive you back & forth from the train station daily (I had to keep telling him, "no"). If you need assistance walking, you should have to problems.

Like Dukey1 above, I've found Zermatt to be overly touristed; I also didn't like the way the town looks because they just keep building chalets even though there's no room there to build. I've only been there twice, and both times I felt it was overcrowded (both people and buildings).

Well, I moved to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, German, in 2008, so now I have skiing just 30 minutes from my front door. I think the last time I was in Wengen was in 2004 or maybe 2006.

Have fun!

s
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Old Aug 1st, 2016, 07:55 AM
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>>> As far as Zurich, I want to spend one night there going down to leave our larger suitcases with them

The luggage may be able to travel on their own under certain conditions to eliminate the first Zurich stay just to drop luggage.

http://www.swisstravelsystem.com/en/...itzerland.html

However, there are restrictions. Read the requirements carefully.
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Old Aug 1st, 2016, 08:25 AM
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Hi Swanday and Greg, I very much like Garmisch-Partenkirchen, lovely place. thanks for the response.Wonderful beer hall there.

also Greg, thanks for the rail info, but I think I have it figured out to leave at a very nice hotel in zurich at no cost to drop big luggage, and to not have to deal with a big suitcase at all, and then start the trip from Zurich. May seem longer, but seems to work for me, and then back to Zurich for two nights. Only question now is do I want to go to Zermatt, as I recall there is a train that goes up part way too, is it the Matterhorn or up a mountain from Zermatt? That seemed to be a very nice little trip. Also how about the lake cruise on Lake Zurich, seems like that was a nice thing to do too. It's been a long time since I was there. Thanks all. Sue
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Old Aug 1st, 2016, 09:47 AM
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.I have had thoughts about skipping Zermatt, would Wengen/Grindelwald make sense? I've been to Murren and loved it. Maybe an overnight or two in both Wengen and then in Grindelwald. I think they are accessible between the two places? Son is middle age, I am older but in good health relatively.>

I think Grindelwald/Wengen may better for longer and skip Zermatt - a much longer train ride from Zurich and IMO the Jungfrau Region as the area around Interlaken is called has a much more varied array of offerings - for a boat ride take one either on Lake Thun or Lake Brienz - the two lakes bookending Interlaken - easy to do from either base which both have excellent train service from Interlaken and to each other.

Since your son is middle aged he may prefer the relative quietness of Wengen over the much more active Grindelwald.
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Old Aug 1st, 2016, 11:10 AM
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Only question now is do I want to go to Zermatt, as I recall there is a train that goes up part way too, is it the Matterhorn or up a mountain from Zermatt?>

Well to to get to Zermatt you take a train there from Brig/Vispand to get up to the Matterhorn you take a special mountain train.

Note that the Matterhorn can always be shrouded in clouds, fog, mist, etc and you may not see it for days at a time sometimes.
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Old Aug 1st, 2016, 01:09 PM
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You don't go to Zermatt for a cute mountain town - as dukey and swandav say it is kind of blah but the views from the town itself are superb - if the skies are clear - I would not use that as a criteria to judge whether to go there or not.

Wengen, Grindelwald and as you know Murren are however picture-postcard cute towns - even much maligned Grindelwald which I think gets too maligned on this forum at times. It is very different from Wengen but IME both are neat - I have only traversed Wengen and walked around it a few times so never stayed there at night - it may well have a pulse that rivals Grindelwald but in general Grindelwald has more of many things, including tourists and buses and cars in town.

Wengen can only be reached by train or gondola - in fact Wengen to Grindelwald can be done at least three ways - by public transit - by train via Zweilutchen or via Kleine Scheidegg or via gondola Wengen to The Mannlichen (raved view point) and then cable down to Grindelwald.
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Old Aug 1st, 2016, 08:46 PM
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Hi again,

Yes, a cruise on the lake at Zürich is one of the things I enjoyed most there. Take the ferry to Rapperswil, down the lake, and get off and explore the town -- it has a castle, a deer park, and a rose garden. Definitely worth a few hours. You can return to Zürich by train or by ferry.

Have fun!

s
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Old Aug 2nd, 2016, 06:32 AM
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Zurich and its lake are nice but in limited time you will find places much nicer for the average traveler. Lucerne is one place I would go instead of Zurich for two days and boat rides on Lake Lucerne are IMO even much nicer than Lake Zurich.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2016, 08:46 AM
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Palen, Actually I've been to Luzern and like it also, soo much to see and not enough time to do it all. Thanks all. sue
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Old Aug 2nd, 2016, 01:34 PM
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OK if I were to cut out Zermatt, and start in Basel after a cruise, spend one night in Zurich,to leave our large suitcases, and cruise Lake Zurich, and plan on at least two nights in Wengen, and plan a couple nights back in Zurich to fly back out in July , what place would you suggest other than Zermatt, (which sounds very touristy to me). I've been to Luzern before and Zermatt, and Engleburg and Geneva, and Murren. Would like my son to see more of Switzerland, as he has never been there, but we have only a week. I am still trying to figure this out. We would have a night or two for somewhere else. How is the scenery on the train from Zurich to Zermatt? and Zermatt to Wengen? Sue
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