Switzerland in May...Honeymoon

Jan 24th, 2007, 10:12 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 166
Switzerland in May...Honeymoon

In the past I've received a great deal of help and info in this forum from Ingo, Swandav, Bob Brown and others for a trip in 2002. This time I'm helping a friend for his honeymoon trip. Please feel free to revise and make any recommendations for the itinerary I have planned for him:

May 7 - Depart San Juan, Puerto Rico arriving next day at Zurich Airport at 7:05am.
May 8-11 Train to Luzern and spend three nights. Plan to visit the Pilatus round trip, and day trip to Bern next day. What else?

May 11- 15 Luzern to Wengen. Plan to visit Kleine Schiedeg, Junfrajoch, Murren...

May 15-18 Train to Locarno. Day trips to Lugano, Ascona, Isola Bella and Bellagio.

May 18 Trip back to Zurich and leave on the 19th to San Juan.

Need your input on this itinerary and, most important, what type of Railpass will be the optimum for this trip. Also, need recommendations of good 3 stars hotels in Luzern, Wengen and Locarno (no more than $200 per night). Thank as always,

Gilberto
gilawi01 is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 11:53 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,645
Hi gilawi01,

I'm sitting right now at the Hotel Alpenrose in Wengen (www.alpenrose.ch), and I don't think there is a more cozy hotel or one with a better view. It's really perfect.

Also tell your friend to be sure to take a ferry ride at Lake Lucerne while there -- schedules at www.lakelucerne.ch. Maybe stop off and explore one of the lakeside villages, Weggis or Vitznau.

Good luck!

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Jan 24th, 2007, 01:31 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 9,304
It looks very good. You've done your homework.

You have a lot planned for Locarno, especially with Bellagio. Ascona, Lugano and Isola Bella are beautiful places to see. Bellinzona is interesting because of its three castles.

Verzasca valley is beautiful right up to the last town. Carmen, my Canadian friend, is the manager of the sport bar/restaurant in Sonogno at the end of the valley.

Brissago Island is a nice, peaceful island to visit.
kleeblatt is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 02:35 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 479
With all the tripping around, I would certainly suggest Swiss Passes, which will cover lake trips, the small train to Wengen and 50% discounts on mountain railways.
Suelynne is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 02:36 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 166
Thanks guys:

Swandav: I remember visiting the Alpenrose Hotel at Wengen in 2002 and, you're right, the view was wonderful. This would be hotel recommendation for Wengen.

Schuler: You mentioned I had a lot planned for Locarno. Is it too much for the timeframe? Are Verzasca, Bellinzona and Brissago better options or just is more of the same?
gilawi01 is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 02:43 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 166
Suelynne: I suppose that the Swisspass will not cover de Italy portion from Locarno to Isolla Bella or other places in Lake Maggiore, am I right?
gilawi01 is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 05:48 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 14,781
FYI -

Many hotels in alpine villages (such as Wengen) are closed in May.
Melnq8 is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 05:52 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 166
Thanks for the info Melnq8. Any moderate price hotel open that you know? Is the same situation in Grindelwald?
gilawi01 is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 05:58 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 14,781
If I read their site correctly, the Alpenrose doesn't open until May 25, 2007.

http://www.alpenrose.ch/SiteAlpenrose.html

We've run into hotel closures in the BO before and have opted for apartments instead - many apartments will rent for less than a week during the off season, so that's an option.

We like the Hotel Bellevue, but I suspect they're closed at that time as well.

Good luck.
Melnq8 is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 06:00 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 14,781
Oops.. we posted at the same time. I've run into similar problems in Grindelwald and Murren. One year we stayed at Hotel Eiger in Grindelwald in November, when just about everything else in town was closed, so you might want to check with them. Nice place, I think its' 4 star though.
Melnq8 is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 06:14 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 14,781
Did some quick research -

Seems most hotels in Wengen open May 25 & 26 but there might be exceptions.

There's a Sunstar in Grindwald that's open year round, but their Wengen location isn't - 4 star though.

http://www.sunstarhotels.com/hotels/wengen.html

Hotel Alpenruh is our hotel of choice in Murren and unless things have changed recently, it's open year round as well - 3 star.
Melnq8 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2007, 02:05 AM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 166
Thanks Melnq8 for your investigation. Will check the apartments options in the area.
gilawi01 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2007, 04:48 AM
  #13  
JN
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 852
Luzern hotels in your budget range include the Des Alpes (get a Pilatus/Lake view room) and the Schiff--likewise get a Pilatus view room. Of the two, I liked the Des Alpes better.

Locarno is a bit cheaper than Luzern. The Du Lac lake view rooms are great, with prices during your visit ranging from 208-240 chf/double (http://www.du-lac-locarno.ch/)

A tremendous value for a convenient, spotlessly clean and large room with balcony, fridge and lake view is the Rondinella Garni (http://www.rondinella.ch/inglese/camere_ing.htm). For about 160/nt for a double, this is a real value. The owner is a peach, too--as were the staff at the du Lac.
JN is offline  
Jan 25th, 2007, 05:55 AM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 166
Thanks JN. Checked the hotel links you provide and both hotel seems like very good options. Now I need more specific information regarding which Rail Pass to use on this trip. Need help from all train experts out there!
gilawi01 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2007, 06:23 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,334
We really like La Palma Au Lac in Locarno. It's along the lakeside, with easy walking to shopping and good restaurants. Another point in favor of La Palma is that it is very close to the rail station in Locarno. Just go out the back door of the hotel and walk about a block to your left.
simpsonc510 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2007, 03:38 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 14,781
I'm not aware of a regional pass that covers both Switzerland and Italy, but there are many "global passes" that cover mutliple countries for various time frames - this site might help:

http://www.raileurope.com/us/rail/pa...rail_index.htm

If your friends plan to travel extensively in Switzerland, suggest the 8 day Swiss Saver Pass, which is good for 2+ people traveling together and therefore cheaper than buying separate Swiss Passes. We use this pass everytime we visit Switzerland and love the flexibility it offers, but it's only beneficial if they plan to travel a lot within the country. It covers most trains, boats and post buses and then 50% off mountain excursions (such as Jungfrau). A new feature is that museums are now covered and there's wonderful transportation museum in Luzern.

Can't help with Italy.
Melnq8 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2007, 06:01 PM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 166
Thanks again Melnq8. Regarding the 8 days Swiss Flexi Pass, do you know if, for example, taking the train from Wengen to Murren or from Wengen to Grindelwald count as a one day trip? Is the answer is "yes", then the 8 days pass will not be sufficcient. This is beacause I'm adding all the day trips planned to see if the 15 days pass will be a better option (although more expensive). Remember that the trip starts in May 8 and end in May 19 (12 days total).
gilawi01 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2007, 08:35 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 14,781
I was referring to the Saver Pass, not the Flexi Pass - they're very different. You can purchase 15 and 21 day Swiss Saver passes as you've discovered, but since they won't be in Switzerland the whole time, they might be better off purchasing a pass for the time they're there, then buying point-to-point tickets for the remainder. I have no idea if this will be cost effective. It will all depend on how much traveling they plan to do within Switzerland while they're there and it will take some research to compare the cost of the pass vs the cost of point-to-point tickets (which it sounds like you're working on).

Swiss Passes need to be validated before the first train journey at a ticket counter at any train station in Switzerland. The clock starts when the ticket is validated and the end date is written on the ticket - it's for consecutive days (Flexi pass is different). The Swiss Saver pass covers unlimited travel, so they can make as many trips between as many Swiss cities/villages as they want within the time frame of their ticket.

What a good friend you are...
Melnq8 is offline  
Jan 26th, 2007, 02:39 AM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 166
...and you are of great help. Based on the itinerary at the beginning of this post I will try to figure out what Rail Pass to use.

Thanks again
gilawi01 is offline  
Jan 26th, 2007, 05:58 AM
  #20  
JN
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 852
The variety of passes makes it difficult to select the best option. Do a search here on Swiss Rail Passes and you'll come across threads giving good information.

Because of the confusion, we've taken to purchasing the one month half-fare card for 99chf. You can buy it at the Zurich airport and then you pay half the fare for each trip you take. You have maximum flexibility with this card and in the end, it will likely be cheaper or close to the cost of other cards.

You could go to Railsaver.com and put in your itinerary, click on "only if passes save me money" and see what they recommend--though I don't think they calculate the half fare card.
JN is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:27 PM.