Switzerland itinerary

Old Apr 23rd, 2005, 10:04 AM
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Switzerland itinerary

My husband, daughter and I are traveling to Italy this summer. We fly into Zurich and out of Italy (best we could do with rewards tickets.) We arrive in Zurich on June 8 and plan to go directly to Luzern. We intended to spend one night in Luzern and then take the train to Interlaken and spend two nights there. Saturday the 11th would be a travel day from Interlaken to Florence via Milan. After reading messages on this site I am re-thinking this plan. Should we just stay in Luzern for two or three nights, then take the Wilhelm Tell from Luzern to Lugano, and finally on to Florence by train? Any advice would be appreciated. Our focus is on Italy this trip but we want to get a taste of the Alps.
LindaLouise is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2005, 10:10 AM
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I would do either Luzern or Interlaken but not both--Luzern is easier in your limited time.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2005, 10:35 AM
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And Luzern is beautiful with much to do and see.
cecisard is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2005, 10:57 AM
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Hi Lindalouise,

Well . . . I love Luzern -- its scenery is spectacular, with mountains spilling into the lake.

BUT. Of course, it's nothing like the mountains of the Berner Oberland. Nothing. If you really want to taste the alps, stick to your original plan. Staying in a mountain village like Wengen or Muerrin is really a singular experience.

The train trip from Wengen to Florence is, however, a real doozie, 8h27. So, this is what I would do.

When you arrive in Zurich, push on to Wengen (or the mountain village of your choice). It'll be another three hours or so, but buy yourself a nice picnic lunch and sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery. The train station is in the Zurich airport, and there are two grocery stores there too.

Stay in Wengen two nights.

Take the train to Spiez, about two hours. Spiez is another lakeside destination with majestic mountains pouring into the lake. Stay overnight, then in the morning move on toward Florence, a six-hour journey.

Train schedules at www.rail.ch

swandav2000 is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2005, 06:48 PM
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Thanks for your responses. We're still trying to work out our itinerary but your comments were helpful. Will probably push on to Berner Oberland from Zurich and go from there. . .
LindaLouise is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2005, 07:14 PM
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I know Interlaken looks good on the map.
But if you want to see the peaks of the main range of the mountains, you need to be in one of 4 or 5 places including Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen and Mürren. From any of these 4 places you can go higher and deeper into the valleys.

The most spectacular ride is the gondola from Grindelwald to First (which is the name of a station). The ride up on a clear day is very good and once there, you can see quite a bit.

If yu want up close in the glacial world, take the cable car up to a station called Pfingstegg and walk the trail to a location with a cafe called Stieregg. The area around the cafe provides a good position to view the glaciers.

And for a nice bus ride, go up to Grosse Scheidegg for some good views as well.

Of course the two biggie rides are the Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn. Both are expensive, but potentially rewarding.
Not sure I would do both but the Jungfrau is something of a high priced adventure on a clear day.
bob_brown is offline  
Old Apr 28th, 2005, 02:44 PM
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Thank you for your tips. We have decided to stay in Lauterbrunnen (found an interesting B&B)and take your advice on rides and sights. We will then move on to Spiez, pending accommodations,for one night to break up the trip to Florence. Thanks for your help.
LindaLouise is offline  
Old Apr 28th, 2005, 03:29 PM
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Hi LindaLouise,

I think you'll enjoy Spiez. Just to get you ready, here's a link to some photos of Spiez:


The album is titled, "Montreux, Saanen, & Zurich," but there are some photos of Spiez & Lake Thun down about #68 (17 rows down).

swandav2000 is offline  
Old Apr 28th, 2005, 08:35 PM
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Dear S,
Your pictures are amazing. Thun, Spiez and Oberhofen all have incredible scenery. I'm getting excited about this portion of the trip and appreciate your thoughtfulness in sharing your photos. linda
LindaLouise is offline  
Old Apr 29th, 2005, 04:59 AM
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Thanks!! Glad you enjoyed them!

swandav2000 is offline  
Old Apr 29th, 2005, 07:03 AM
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Hi, I'm barging right in here to say that I've just spent some time looking through your Morges/Saanen pictures, S', because I'm AWOL for 'repositioning'. I'd forgotten how beautiful they are. Refresh our memory re your trip report that goes with the pictures; is it here somewhere? I'd like to reread the segment about the trails around Saanen. Thanks, I need a diversion badly. J.

p.s. Forgive my interruption, Linda. You'll have a wonderful trip if you follow S's advice.
jmw44 is offline  
Old Apr 29th, 2005, 07:16 AM
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Hi jw! Here ya go: http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34502993

You may remember that I had some ATM card problems & then I got sick as I was leaving Montreux. Yet -- still terrific memories! Enjoy!

My apologies, LindaLouise!

swandav2000 is offline  
Old Apr 30th, 2005, 09:16 AM
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I would skip Interlaken and go to Lauterbrunnen or Wengen. The Berner Oberland is amazing. The train trip to the top of the Jungfrau should not be missed. There is an ice palace with many sculptures at the very top. I was there in May of 2002 and it was snowing at the top. I hope you get to see it.
jeffholcomb is offline  
Old Apr 30th, 2005, 11:30 AM
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Lauterbrunnen is on the floor of the Lauterbrunnen Valley and can be reached by road from Interlaken Ost, or by train from Interlaken Ost. (20 minute ride).

The train to the Jungfraujoch goes up in three stages from Interlaken Ost with changes of equipment at each stage.
1. Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen.
2. Lauterbrunnen via Wengen to Kleine Scheidegg
3. Kleine Scheidegg to the Jungfraujoch station. Part of this stage is through a tunnel cut in the north face of the Eiger.

The earlier you go, the better in my opinion because the later in the day, the larger the crowds on a clear day.

Once at the top. Take a few minutes of easy walking to adjust to the rapid change in altitude. You go from about 2,500 feet to 11,000 or so fairly quickly.

The most spectacular part of the trip for me is the walk along the snow track (prepared) from the Sphinx observation building to a mountain shelter called the Mönchsjochhütte.

The term "hut" is a little misleading; the building is 3 stories high and sleeps 125 people plus the staff. You can get food and drink there before walking back along the snow track.

My only suggestion for making that trip is to be prepared for a variety of conditions. (wind breaker, sun screen, dark glasses, light jacket, etc.) Also, if you walk the snow track, you will benefit from having hiking poles with snow baskets. I also suggest lug soled boots, although I have seen people slip and slide out there in jogging shoes.

The conditions you will encounter can range from hot to downright cold. The last time I was there, the sun was shining brightly and the ridge to the south protected us from the wind. As a result, I was walking along in my t shirt when we suddenly emerged from the shelter of the ridge. A cold blast of wind struck us and I suddenly went from sweating to near shivering before I could get my jacket out of my pack.

The views from up there are magnificent. You can look down from the snow areas to the brown and bare rock to the green of the valley. To the south, you can follow the length of the Aletsch Glacier. I think you would like the trip, but be prepred for the conditions you might encounter.

There is no actual climbing involved unless you want to do some. Just a short uphill pitch before you get to the door of the shelter itself.

As a word of caution, stay on the groomed track. Otherwise, you can sink into the snow up to your knees or hips.
(How do I know? I watched others have fun climbing out.)

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