Zurich to Lucerne train with Luggage

Old May 14th, 2006, 11:04 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 68
Zurich to Lucerne train with Luggage

Help! We are traveling to Switzerland the last week of September 2006. I have several questions. . .
1) How much, if any, luggage can you take on the train from Zurich airport to Lucerne (our base)? We should only have 2 check-on pieces and 2 carryons.
2) We will be staying at a Sheep Farm in Merlischachen (6 miles from Lucern). Our delima is whether or not to rent a car or get the Swiss Flex pass. There is one town/village that I know we are going to that doesn't have public transportion (Buron by Sursee). So I hate to rent a car just for that trip. We will only be there for one week (7 nights flying in/out of Zurich)and I can't decide if we should get a pass or just buy tickets as we need them. I can't imagine that we'd spend $400-500 (the total cost of a 4 or 6 day flex pass for two of us) on individual tickets.
3) What is the weather like at the end of Sept.? I'm trying to pack light. But, I'm afraid that I'll have to take winter and summer clothes.
4) Does anyone have any suggestions on excursions off the beaten path that we might take in that area? We like scenery & architecture (which I think we'll see just walking out of our cottage - LOL!), not so much about art & museums, some shopping (where would be good place to buy clothing. I think that's going to be our souveniers), good food/drink, fishing and/or boating trips. Where would be a good place to buy groceries (our cottage has a kitchen) and what kind of meat can we get there (i.e. steaks)?

I did see a place called "Open Air Museum Ballenberg" that sounded interesting in a town called Brienzi about 2 hrs away from Lucern. Would that be a good place to go on a day trip? Does the train go there and back to Lucern.

I'm sure that I have 500 other questions, but, these will do for a start. LOL
whitneykt is offline  
Old May 14th, 2006, 12:02 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,229
I can help a few of your questions. First, Merlishachen can be walked to Lucern. There's also a bus, if I remember.

I'm not sure about the Swiss Flex pass but if you rented a car, you could see a lot more places for your money.

Without the car, use the lake boats and visit all of the villages on the lake. There are a lot of places to visit. Pilatus tours can be visited starting with the boat-boat to cog wheel to Pilatus to telepherique to Kriens to bus back to Melischachen. You can also take a trip up to Regi on a similar visit.

You can take the train to Engleberg and visit up to Mt.Titlis.

Don't forget that Lucern will need some time to visit everything. It's a lovely city and you can buy any clothes you would want. There's a bigger shopping mall in Emmenbruke, and this can be found with the train.

You'll like this area.

Blackduff
blackduff is offline  
Old May 14th, 2006, 12:16 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 9,547
Merlischachen has a train station so you won't have to walk the 6 miles.

Ballenberg is indeed lovely and perfect place. It's 1.40 hours by train from Merlischachen. Use sbb.ch (push e for English) to get your train schedules.

Merlischachen has a free lakeside bathing place. Nice to lay out but it doesn't have a sandy beach.

Do visit the Rigi. You'll be looking at it everyday. Take the train to Arth-Goldau and take the Rigibahn up to the Kulm. Walk around. Take the train back down to Vitznau and take the ferry back to Küssnacht (or Lucerne)

Do the ferry on the lake. It's a beautiful trip.

Weather? Check out weather.com before you go. You can get ANYTHING.
kleeblatt is offline  
Old May 14th, 2006, 12:21 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 6,260
Regarding the amount of luggage you can take on the train: as much as you are able to handle and there should be plenty of storage space either above the seat, under the seat, between seats (depending upon the coach seating configuration), or at the end of the car.

We've done rail trips all over Europe with as much luggage as you have and have had no problems with it. Hopefully, your pieces roll.
Intrepid1 is offline  
Old May 14th, 2006, 02:09 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 68
Thank you for the replies. I forgot to mention that this is a trip my husband won by winning "Salesman of the Year". We get to pick where ever we want to go - so we have picked Switzerland. And - we've never been into Europe. So this is going to be a once in a lifetime trip and we're trying to make the best of our 7 nights & 8 days there. Plus to do it all for the amount we've been given. So far, I have the flight and cottage figured out. Now it's the train vs. car situation and excursions.

Blackduff - Flex pass vs. car, that's what we're thinking. But, as you said, we can get to a lot of places by boat or train. Don't worry - we'll spend time in Lucerne. Hubby has several co-workers that have been there and they say it is absolutely georgeous. We are really exited.

Schuler - yes, there is a train. The website of where we are staying shows a picture of it from the cottage. It's down a hill and down the road a bit, but walkable. Of course, back up the hill after being out and about all day doesn't sound pleasing. Hence, the car idea because in our price we get a place to park at the cottage. Free Lakeside bathing?? - in Sept.!!?? LOL My grandfather is from Switzerland and it would be neat to see how they lived. So Ballenberg would be neat for that.

Intrepid1 - thank for for the luggage information. I think that helped me make our desicion. Yes - the larger pieces roll and the smaller ones are like backpacks and easy to carry.

Sounds like we'll take the train to Lucern then on to the Cottage. Then once we are there and get our bairings, we'll decide on the car situation. Maybe we'll just rent it for a couple of days and use the train the rest of the time.

Now -

What about the food in the grocery stores? i.e. eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits, cereal, coke, Diet Dr. Pepper - you know necessities! LOL!

About excursions - Which mountain trip would you suggest to be the best for the price and amount of time traveled from Lucerne and back? Mt. Pilatus, Mt. Titlus, Jungfrau and Stansehorn. I'm thinking once you get up to one pass and look down, why do all four.

whitneykt is offline  
Old May 14th, 2006, 02:15 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,135
Whitneykt,

The only problem with carrying too much luggage in trains in Switzerland, is that the stops are very short ones (sometimes no more than 3-4 minutes), which makes it sort of difficult to load/unload your stuff into and off the train. It is more difficult if you are traveling solo, which you are not, so one of you can get out to pick up the luggage, while the other stays on the train to hand it.
As far as I can remember, the station in Luzern has carts - for 1 euro - right where the train stops to make things easier (I know they do in Zurich, can't remember how it is in Luzern).
You will love Luzern - it is beautiful! FOr me, it was special since my father's family came from a little village nearby (Malters)to Brazil (way back in the early 1800's).

Brazilnut is offline  
Old May 14th, 2006, 02:20 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,939
Diet Dr. Pepper is almost impossible to find in Europe. I always settle for Coca Cola Light or Pepsi Light. Everthing else that you mentioned will be available in supermarkets.
scatcat is offline  
Old May 14th, 2006, 02:28 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,431
Last June, I arrived at the Zuerich airport with thre pieces of luggage - - - my carry-on for the plane, camera bag and a roll-on suitcase. At the luggage pick-up I got a cart and went to the next terminal to the train ticket window. Got my ticket and then proceeded to the next ticket window to the right and checked my roll-on through to my destination (in my case Lauterbrunnen). I think the one piece cost 10SF. The next day, at about 18:00hrs (aka 6pm)I went to the Lauterbrunnen station and picked up my roll-on. I hd planned for that before so that my carry-on had enough laundry etc. for the one night (and also enough in case my luggage got delayed during the transfer in Amsterdam). With the limited amount of luggage I had no problem getting on and off the train, including the change of trains in Bern and Interlaken-Ost.
treplow is offline  
Old May 14th, 2006, 02:35 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,229
You can buy groceries in Lucern - Migros is a good store. There's another store which is closer than where you will stay but I can't remember if it was another Migros or something other name.

The best you buck for the mountain visit, I would prefer Pilatus. From Lucern you can take the tram to the lift-there's three stops for the lift. At the top you can walk around at Pilatus and even go up to the very top. There's lots of views if the weather is possible. Then you would take the cog wheel train down to the other side of the mountain. You will meet a boat and it will stop at very other villages and then finally back to Lucern. I think it's the cheapest ride. I skied Titlis so I think of this different. It's nice but I've never been there in the summer. Jungfrau is expensive, in my opinion. I don't know the other mountain.

If you decide to visit Pilatus, the restaurant at the top was relatively cheap and pretty good.

Within Lucern but on the fringe of the village try to find the restaurant called "Military Gardens". It's decent decor but the food is very good and it's within normal prices. There is a bus pasting this restuarant but there's a car rental place just nextdoor. Maybe you could get a deal from the rental guy.

You're going to enjoy Lucern.

Blackduff
blackduff is offline  
Old May 14th, 2006, 02:54 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,421
You really need to go to www.sbb.ch, the Swiss Rail website and learn to find schedules and costs. When requesting schedules on that site, you cannot put in a date more than a month in advance, but you can get a good idea of schedules and costs.

First, you will find that there is public transportation to Bueron (spell it correctly). You take an 11 minute bus ride from Sursee. So, you don't need to rent a car to get there.

A car will cost you $40 - $50 a day to rent, depending on whether you take the CDW, plus gas. If you are traveling every day, it might pay, but, for instance, the train from Zurich to Luzern is $48 for two, so, if that is your only travel for a few days, a car won't pay. Same thing with Bueron. RT is $60. If you do that in one day, as part of everyday travel, a car will pay, but if you do it in two days, you'll waste money with a car.
Larryincolorado is offline  
Old May 14th, 2006, 03:39 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 68
Brazilnut - If we can put the luggage under or above our seats, I think we can manage to get them off quickly. I'll just have to push the hubby along - he tends to wait for the last person to get off the plane before he'll attempt to get his lugguge. gt

Scatcat - OH NO!!! No Diet Dr. Pepper? I'm doomed!!

Treplow - that's an option. So you can do that after you get there and now have to plan for that now or before we leave the states? Cool!

blackduff - thanks! I've seen Migros metioned quite often, we'll check it out. The Pilatus trip sound perfect as does the "Military Gardens". We will be sure to look for it.

Larryofcolorado - it's actually Büron. gt I had to copy and paste the amlut - LOL!

But once we got to Büron and wanted to see other places that my family is from such as, Triengen, Knutwil, and a few others in the area, wouldn't a car be easier?

whitneykt is offline  
Old May 14th, 2006, 03:55 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,421
No need to cut and paste. You can get the ü by holding the <alt> key down and typing 0252 on the numpad. ä is <alt><0228>; ö is <alt><0246>. However, most German websites recognize ue, oe, and ae. That is why I told you Bueron. Swiss Rail recognized it, and I knew it would be easier for you.
Larryincolorado is offline  
Old May 14th, 2006, 04:19 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,882
Hi whitneykt,

I'm really enjoying this thread as your planning is coming together. Your enthusiasm is contageous!

Hey, the information about checking luggage gets even better! You can buy a kit from Raileurope (go to their "Swiss Pass" pages) to send your luggage from your US airport to your Swiss destination. The kit includes customs documents and a clear green tag. You fill in the documents, put thim in the tag, and attach the tag to your suitcase. At the Zurich airport, the workers get your customs document and send your case on to the train station, where they send it on to your destination. I've done this twice, once when skiing and once when travelling with my mother. If you can live without your suitcase for the first 24 hours, it's a GREAT way to travel! The tags cost about $15 per bag.

I'm not sure if they'll send the bags all the way to Merlischachen -- some smaller train stations aren't included. But it would be easy enough to retrieve the bags from Luzern, I think.

Oh, have fun!

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Old May 14th, 2006, 04:33 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,421
There is also bus service from Sursee to Triengen and Knutwil. For the unnamed others, do a little research on your own.

Would it be easier by car? Yes.

Would it be worth the extra cost? Probably not.

Do a little research and see how to save the cost of a car. Put that money towards your 2nd trip to Europe. I am sure you will want to come back.
Larryincolorado is offline  
Old May 14th, 2006, 05:24 PM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 68
larryincolorado - gt I never can remember those codes. Also, I forgot to mention I have been to www.sbb.ch and I'm still confused. gt I just think it will be a pain to take the bus because I don't know where I want to go in those villages. I have pictures in a book on my family that I'd like to get recent photos of. So it may be alot of walking. Well, see. I'll keep researching - thanks!

swandav2000 - The more things are coming together the more excited we're getting. I don't know what I'm going to do until we leave at the end of Sept. gt

Great info on the bags!! I'll check into it. We could definately get the bags in Lucern. Don't worry - we will have fun!!!

whitneykt is offline  
Old May 15th, 2006, 04:52 AM
  #16  
JN
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 852
If you're not sure how much travelling you will do once in Switz., buy the one-month, half-fare card for 99chf/person, then spend half price on any and all trips you take. Unless you stay put in Merlischachen, you'll probably make out fine--and more than fine compared to the cost of parking in Luzern.

Just one question: Why a sheep farm??
JN is offline  
Old May 15th, 2006, 09:35 AM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 68
Hi JN - can the half-fare card be used on any day (no consecutive days), at any museum (if we do any), any ride (train, bus, boat), and mountain trip (pilatus, titlas, etc.)? If so, that may be our best bet.

Why the Sheep Farm? Because we don't like all the modernism, size of rooms, 2 twins bed (what's up with that anyway?)and the high cost of most of the hotels in Switzerland. We were expecting to see "chalet" type furnishing and rooms. So when I found this Cottage, we were in heaven. This is a rustic 2 level Cottage with a livingroom, sleeping room with king bed, bathroom, washer/dryer, kitchen and most importantly stunning views of lake lucerne and mountains and very private and quiet. Another plus, it's only about $700 (US) for 7 days. We want to experience Switzerland as it once was, not as much how it is now. My grandparents family is from the Bueron area (how's that Larry? gt ) so we want to take in some of where they were from and possible find some relatives.

whitneykt is offline  
Old May 15th, 2006, 02:58 PM
  #18  
JN
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 852
W
The half-fare card is good for thirty consecutive days, so you will be covered. It's good on most trains, post busses and lake steamers. I'll try to find a link to a map showing where it is valid and post it here later.

Interesting reasons for your selection. Sounds like you've found a cool place not many of us would know about. Have fun.
JN is offline  
Old May 15th, 2006, 03:51 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 93,343
With a 1 week trip, I would definitely travel only by train, not rent a car, and I doubt a train pass would prove beneficial. That makes planning that much easier, you just go to the train station and purchase a point-to-point ticket when you want to use it.

Migros is the most common grocery store (in the parts of Switzerland I've visited), they have everything you need (excepting particular brands of soda, sorry). Also watch for the local farmers market, if you have self-catering this can be a great bonus.
suze is online now  
Old May 15th, 2006, 03:51 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 93,343
As long as each person can lift and carry their own luggage (sometimes up stairs) you'll be fine on the train.
suze is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

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

FODOR'S VIDEO