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Switzerland 4 days for family

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Jul 30th, 2013, 03:06 PM
  #1
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Switzerland 4 days for family

Dear Fodorites
We are visiting Switzerland (my parents 60+, wife and 3 year old)
in the second week of August.
We are staying at Lauterbrunnen for the whole trip.
We arrive Aug 5 12h16 GENEVA CORNAVIN and leave from Zurich Aug 8 21:00 hours.

We are more interested in natural beauty.
I have just chalked out a tentative itinerary and put it here for the expert
suggestions.

Day1: Geneva (fountain) -> Montreux -> Interlaken -> Lauterbrunnen (Golden Pass)

Day2: LauterBrunnen-> Interlaken -> Thun (+boat trip)
+ in around Lauterbrunnen

Day3: Lauterbrunnen-> Sclithorn or Zermat?

Day4: Lauterbrunnen-> Lucerne (+boat trip) -> Zurich

I am thinking of buying Swiss 4day rail pass and want to travel mostly
on the legs that are covered by it .The calculations show its not that worth
or am I missing some thing?
Any other suggested itinerary will be more than welcome.

Thanks and regards
SM
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Jul 30th, 2013, 03:40 PM
  #2
 
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I think it is unrealistic for you to even consider a day trip from Lauterbrunnen to Zermatt. The Schilthorn is a lot closer and although the Matterhorn peak is taller than anything in the Bernese Oberland, going all that way and then having the possibility of the peak being shrouded isn't worth the time IMO. You will get many more spectacular views if you stay right where you are.

The villages of Murren and Wengen are, IMO, much more interesting than Zermatt.

As to the SwissPass...your rail journeys and any cableways beyond Lauterbrunnen can be discounted with the pass but they will not be entirely covered.
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Jul 30th, 2013, 04:02 PM
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As to the SwissPass...your rail journeys and any cableways beyond Lauterbrunnen can be discounted with the pass but they will not be entirely covered.>

Not so travel to Wengen is 100% covered by a Swiss Pass and so is travel to Gtrutschal, Murren and Gimmelwald - 100% - Muren to Schilthorn is 50% off.

A 4-consecutive-day Swiss Pass may be a great deal covering everything you mention, including the boats on either lake bookending Interlaken - these are great relaxing trips. For lots of great info on Swiss trains, passes, etc I always spotlight these IMO superb sources - www.swisstravelservice.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com.
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Jul 30th, 2013, 09:38 PM
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Hi canopus,

I agree with your findings -- in my opinion, a Swiss Pass often gives more travel than you need.

Take a look at the Half Fare Card. It costs 120 chf and gives you half off practically everything that moves for one month. In fact, it is such a popular and used discount card that the SBB site defaults to the half fare when you look at the fares.

Have fun as you plan!

s
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Jul 30th, 2013, 10:09 PM
  #5
 
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Some ideas of what to see in the area from my TR:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...e-oberland.cfm

Not sure how active everyone is but there are really nice walks for all sorts of activity levels.

You'll be very close to Trummelbach Falls. I'd put that on the list . . .
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Jul 31st, 2013, 01:34 PM
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If looking at a Half-Fare Card then also be SURE to look at the Swiss Card - which gives everything the Half-Fare Card does but also two train/bus trips to anywhere in Switzerland - the first from any border station or airport station to any place and then a trip back out to any border station or airport - folks have found they actually found it all in all cheaper than the Half-Fare Card alone - few realize that the Swiss Card can be a better deal than the Half Fare Card and always only mention the Half-Fare Care for some reason!
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Jul 31st, 2013, 02:01 PM
  #7
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@Dukey1 Thanks for the suggestion. I dropped the idea of Matterhorn.

@PalenQ as usual nice suggestions! Do you recommend seeing anything in Zurich?

@[email protected] highly grateful for pointing out that SBB defaults to half fare.
I had my calculations by wrong by factor of 2!
Now it seems that swiss pass is lot cheaper!

Some more questions -
(where) Can I buy swiss pass at Geneva station ? Credit card?

Is it possible to combine Mt Pilatus with vist to Lucerne comfortably? Is it worth after visiting other peaks?

What is reliable website to check weather in Switzerland (Lauterbrunnen)?

Thanks
SM
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Jul 31st, 2013, 02:40 PM
  #8
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To add is it possible to buy the swiss pass online and print it?
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Jul 31st, 2013, 07:56 PM
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We are also planning a 4 days trip to Switzerland, bought our 4 days swiss pass and reserved my Glacier pass including our train to Paris from Basel. I just received an email saying my tickets are on the way. I used these sites www.raileurope.com.sg, www.glacierexpress.ch
However I couldn't figure out how to buy the Golden pass.
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Aug 1st, 2013, 04:57 AM
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http://www.goldenpass.ch/?Language=EN

many have said they can book seat on the Golden Pass on the official site - give it a try - and keep in mind the vaunted unique VIP seats!
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Aug 1st, 2013, 07:34 AM
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To add is it possible to buy the swiss pass online and print it?>

don't think so - you can easily buy it at any Swiss station - if you order from Switzerland online you pay a hefty shipping fee that you would not pay if you buy once you get there.

but do check prices for passes bought in your home country - like inU.S. where Swiss Pass often are sold significantly cheaper than the exact same pass in Switzerland - from agents like http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/id3.html or www.ricksteves.com or www.raileurope.com - so always compare prices here and there IMO.
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Aug 1st, 2013, 10:39 AM
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Thank you PalenQ i will try.

For the Swiss pass you cannot print it at home, that is why, it is coming thru the mail (they said 2-3 days) here in US. And they didn't charge me any shipping fee. 4 Days swiss pass for me and husband costs me 504 Dollars.
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Aug 1st, 2013, 11:02 AM
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I tried to book the Golden pass and it says, they will charge $18 for shipping because the amount was less than $353. They didn't charge me earlier on just because the amount I was paying was over $700. I should have tried to book all together to avoid the shipping & handling. Now I know. I will try to book my Golden pass once I am in Switzerland (taking my chances).
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Aug 1st, 2013, 11:46 AM
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you can many folks say book the GP on the official web site - have your tried that - you need not buy any ticket but can just make a booking - not sure how it works but many have said they have done it- RailEurope yes charges $18 for the booking shipping fees - I believe you would have no problems making that booking once in Switzerland either - GP not nearly as popular as say the Glacier Express.
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Aug 1st, 2013, 01:51 PM
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Yes I tried, it shows $23.00 (per person) from Interlaken to Montreaux even with a Swiss Pass. I will make sure I get the booking once I get to Switzerland, Thanks PalenQ! With the help of so many Fodorites I was able to my plans for Switzerland and France, now I feel confident to travel, really appreciated.
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Aug 2nd, 2013, 01:38 PM
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Actually I believe, according to www.bahn.de - the German Railways pan-European train schedule site reservations for Montreux to Interlaken - for both segments to Zweisimmen - reservations are compulsory only for groups - but I think suggested for observation cars - I would not pay $23 for a reserved seat that is not required and which you will probably get for several bucks once there - I guess you can always board the train otherwise according to www.bahn.de at least.
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Aug 2nd, 2013, 10:33 PM
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Hi mrspd,

You do NOT need reservations for the Golden Pass if you don't want to sit in the VIP seats. I've spent weeks at a time in towns along its route and have taken this train at least two times daily during that time. I never had reservations and never had problems.

s
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Aug 3rd, 2013, 10:28 AM
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do you need reservations for the observation cars - I mean to guarantee a seat in one not that they are required - guy at Interlaken train station said that they are advised if I wanted to guarantee a seat in an observation car - or are they now all observation cars?

thanks in advance.
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Aug 4th, 2013, 06:15 AM
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VIP seats are great - right next to the driver so you seem to be driving the train - but they are first-class so with a 2nd class pass you'd pay a surcharge and also since there are but a few on each train (some are at the back of the train I believe) but to get those you have to book months in advance, on the official web site.
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Aug 4th, 2013, 09:08 AM
  #20
 
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Thanks swandav200 and PalenQ. I think we will just hop on to the Golden pass train with our swiss pass in this case. Because when you reserve a seat there is a charge. Also we will be on the Glacier train the day before. Thanks for taking time to reply.
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