Switzerland Itinerary - please critique!

Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 10:36 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,160
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Switzerland Itinerary - please critique!

OK I've got our plane tickets and hotel reservations in order so what do you guys think of this itinerary for mid September?

Day 1 - 4:
Buy Swiss Pass Savers and take the train from Zurich Airport to Lucerne. Hotel = Hotel des Balances.

Activities for Lucerne:
For the duration of our stay in Lucerne - take paddle steamer to Vitznau and or the other towns on the shore of the lake. Hike explore the area by cable car or walking and return by train back to Lucerne.City tour around the old town, lake cruise, shopping, Saturday flea market. Excursion to Mt Pilatus or Mt Titlis.

Days 4 - 7:
Train to Wengen. Hotel = Hotel Schoenegg.

Activities for Wengen:
Excursion by train, cable car or hike to Jungfraujoch, Schilthorn(Piz Gloria), Kleine Scheidegg, Mannlichen and Trummelbach Falls.

Days 7 – 10:
Train to Zermatt. Hotel = Coeur des Alpes.

Activities for Zermatt:
Pending the weather but the following looks interesting. Train to Gornergrat, Schwarzsee paradise(dirt scooter), summer skiing, glacier palace, helicopter sightseeing, town tour etc.

Day 10:
Train back to Zurich and fly home.

Appreciate any comments you guys might have and please let me know if I should add or forego anything.
Hanuman is offline  
Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 10:54 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,153
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Wow. Looks like a whole lot of fun!! You guys will have a blast!

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 11:52 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,160
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you Swandav!

Just one question - is it worth it to buy the 1st class Swiss pass versus the 2nd class pass since we are going in mid September? I mean will 2nd class be crowded at that time of year?
Hanuman is offline  
Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 11:56 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,153
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi again,

There's really no saying how crowded or empty the train cars will be. Lots of locals use the trains for their daily commute, too, or for family holidays, weekend breaks, etc. The train from Kleine Scheidegg to the Jungfraujoch is always crowded, but there is no first class there anyway.

Generally I would avoid morning & evening rush hours around the cities (Zürich to Luzern).

Other than that, you'll just take your chances -- maybe meet some locals, too!

Have fun!

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2009, 12:28 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,154
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We were there in early August last year, and never had problems getting seats in second-class coaches.The exception was the train to Jungfrau, where first class does not exist anyway. I would imagine that mid-Sept will be even less crowded. So I would not advise purchasing first class passes.

Your itinerary looks great. I would have liked another day at Wengen, as there is a lot to do out there. Since you reach Wengen on afternoon of Day 4, and probably leave on morning of Day 7, you really have only 2 full days there, which is not a lot. I really don't know where you would cut off that one day from, unless you can extend your trip. Otherwise, consider cutting off a day from Luzern to add here (although Luzern is probably worth the 3 days that you are spending there).

Any which way you go, you can't go wrong in the part of Switzerland that you are traveling to. Everything is gorgeous.
indiancouple is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2009, 02:52 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 1,088
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hanuman, don't have much too offer as I too will be in Switzerland in the beginning part of September (which is fast approaching) and have opt to spend 7 days in Wengen and 2 in Luzern.

I gathered most of my information from the wonderful posters here at Fodor's and am really looking forward to my stay in Wengen from where I plan on doing some light hiking and just simply enjoying the beautiful scenery of the Swiss Alps.

Happy travels!

jdc
jdc26 is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2009, 03:27 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,298
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think your itinerary looks great! Plenty of time to allow for changes in sightseeing plans. (do/don't see, weather etc.)

Can't help with train passes, because I always just by point to point.

We really enjoyed Mt Titlis more than we had planned for. We added in the ice flyer, so spent more time there than we thought we would.

We also really enjoyed Zermatt. We stayed at a beautiful spa hotel, that took up a lot of our time. Loved it.

You're going to have a wonderful time.
TravMimi is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2009, 04:55 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,160
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks everybody! I guess I'll go with the second class Swiss Pass Savers especially since between the two of us we will save over CHF 400 for a 15 days pass.

indiancouple,

Thanks for your suggestion. We will see how much we like Lucerne and we might take off a day while we are there and go to Wengen early.

jdc26,

Like you we got our information here and from TA as well. Great source for holiday planning!

TravMimi,

Did you think Mt Titlis is better than Mt Pilatus? We are only planning on going to one and we are waiting to get there, to Lucerne first, before we decide.

Appreciate all your comments
Hanuman is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2009, 05:15 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,298
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hanuman, Yes we like Titlis much better. We thought the views were better, and there was much more to do. The revolving cable car, ice flyer, glacier cave, snow park. We also enjoyed the town of Engelberg at the base. We spent a long, but fantastic day there.
TravMimi is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2009, 07:47 PM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,160
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
TravMimi,

Thanks for the information!
Hanuman is offline  
Old Aug 5th, 2009, 09:30 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,223
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hanuman: Don't bother with a 1st class pass. Our first trip we popped for a first class train pass. Last fall we took our fourth trip there. After the first trio we only buy 2nd class. First class is not worth the extra money.
BarbAnn is offline  
Old Aug 6th, 2009, 01:11 AM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,160
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
BarbAnn,

Thanks for your advice. That seems to be the general consensus here so we will buy the 2nd class pass.
Hanuman is offline  
Old Aug 6th, 2009, 03:16 AM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,160
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Just thought of something - if we noticed that the train is very full and seated ourselves in 1st, can we pay the difference to the conductor? If that's the case then will it be 1st class fare minus 2nd class fare divided by 2 (Swiss Pass)?
Hanuman is offline  
Old Aug 6th, 2009, 05:13 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,154
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hanuman, I am sure you cannot do what you have just suggested. However, the chances of finding the 2nd class coaches full in September is quite remote. There is enough seating available for everyone.

Please also note that on most mountain railway routes, there is no first class available. This will apply on all sections in the Bernese Oberland beyond Interlaken (i.e. to Lauterbrunnen, Murren, Wengen, Jungfraujoch etc). I do not know about Zermatt, as I have not been there, but I expect first class cabins to be missing at most places.

So please trust the advice of numerous posters here, and do not waste money on a 1st class pass for the regions that you are covering. And remember to post a report after your trip, and thank everyone for saving you the money !!
indiancouple is offline  
Old Aug 6th, 2009, 06:11 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 9,023
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
second class Swiss Pass Savers especially since between the two of us we will save over CHF 400 for a 15 days>

if you wait until Switzerland to buy your Swiss Pass you will pay significantly more than if you buy it in the U.S. (not sure you are in U.S.) - same pass much cheaper here for some weird reason. A recent thread of Where to Buy a Swiss Saver Pass showed that that couple would save about $80 total by buying the same pass ahead of time. You can compare pass prices in Swiss francs (CHF) at www.swiss-pass.ch and those in U.S. - http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/id3.html - some agents like RailEurope.com will charge an $18 mailing fee on Swiss Passes but many do not. (RailEurope has free mailing for orders over $399 but the typical Swiss Pass order would not be $400 so they charge $18 mailing fee, i believe. And agreed for your plans i'd go with a 2nd-class pass.
Palenque is offline  
Old Aug 6th, 2009, 06:46 AM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,160
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Palenque,

I'm in Thailand and I've checked the local agent for Swiss Rail, Diethelm Travel, and the prices are the same.

indiancouple,

Will definitely report back!
Hanuman is offline  
Old Aug 6th, 2009, 08:27 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 9,023
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hanuman - thanks for that info - i am wondering if North America is the only market where the Swiss rail folks are so undercutting what they charge in Switzerland.
Palenque is offline  
Old Aug 7th, 2009, 08:50 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 9,023
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If going to Trummelbach Falls - the awesome sole drain, they say, of the Eiger glaciers and snows, that thunders down inside a cliff, and if you have a Swiss Pass then show it for free entry (but only on days of 100% coverage - zilch on others days) and in Lucerne the fantastic Swiss Transport Museum, showcasing not only trains but all kinds of cable cars, gondolas, trams, etc. and considered one of the world's preeminent such museums, also honors it - about a $15 value i believe. Actually i am not sure Trummelbach is included - think it is but my old computer cannot get the following link to open. If anyone can tell me if Trummelbach Fallsis included i'd be most appreciative.
And above Lake Brienz is the Wunderbar Ballenberg Open-Air Museum (http://www.ballenberg.ch/en/Welcome) that would also be free with a Swiss Pass on 100% covered travel days - and doing a boat ride from Interlaken-Ost train station (rear of) to Brienz via the famed Geissbach Falls and then taking a postal bus to the Open-Air museum, lovingly laid out in a verdant bucolic area overlooking Lake Brienz - anyway that is one ofmy favorite excursions in the Berner Oberland, whose joys include much more than just the high Alps IMO.

For a list of over 400 museums covered by the Swiss Pass:
http://hosting.triboni.com/triboni/e...page/main.html

Geissbach Falls, Switzerland. on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Click this icon to see all public photos and videos tagged with geissbach falls geissbach falls · Click this icon to see all public photos and videos tagged ...
www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/2554000213/
Palenque is offline  
Old Aug 7th, 2009, 02:52 PM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,160
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Palenque,

Great information! I'll note it down and appreciate the info on the Swiss Pass.
Hanuman is offline  
Old Aug 7th, 2009, 04:47 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 1,088
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I too am thanking you for this information Palenque. I'm adding to my lists of things to do for my Switzerland trip this September. Although, I can't see it all, I'll do my best.

jdc
jdc26 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information