First of all I would like to thank myswissalps, Arno & Annika for their outstanding advices & comments that helped me plan our itinerary to Switzerland. Special mention to Slowpoke for his detailed advice, comments and beautiful photos.
We (my husband and I) arrived in Zurich 31 August around 8:30 am. After clearing customs (there was a queue but was moving ok) and retrieving our luggage we headed to the Switzerland Travel Centre to pick up our STP which I ordered online. Our STP was valid from 1-15 September so the travel centre advised us to buy a ticket for the day which was valid for 24 hours so we could start exploring the city,
But also because we need to take the train to Zurich HB then a tram to reach our hotel. The train ticket will cover both the train and the tram and also buses, boats if
On that first day at Zurich we explored the city and became very familiar to using the tram, the tram number to pick, the different stops and where to pick it up. The tram is a very comfortable means of transport.
On the second day, we did the Manlichen to Kleine Scheidegg hike (Grannies’ Walk) as suggested by Slowpoke. It was the most beautiful & peaceful scenery (except for the sound of the Cows’ bells) and the most beautiful hike we have ever done.
After 2 days in Zurich, we headed to Lucerne which became our base for 6 days.
From here, we visited several cities, mountains which was very easy with our STP. All we did was to hop on a train or a boat.
Glacier Garden (had so much fun at Hall of Mirrors), The Lion Monument, Chapel Bridge. Jesuit church (did not visit inside as under renovation but I took a photo), Old Town, Bourbaki Panorama, Old Town Hall, Mount Pilatus, The Rigi, Mount Titlis, Rhine Falls, Jungfraujoch, Bern, Basel, Lausanne, Golden Pass Line, Montreux (did not have time to do the Chocolate Train tour), Spalentor.
After 9 days in Lucerne, we headed to Geneva for 1 night stay. From Geneva, we headed to Zermatt. Zermatt was so beautiful we decided to pass a visit to the Matterhorn and instead visited the Matterhorm Museum, the Gornergrat and a tour of the village. We also had a taste of the Cheese Fondue. On the third day at Zermatt, we rode the Glacier Express arriving at St. Moritz about 6:00pm. We explored the village before retiring for the night. The next morning, our last day in Switzerland, we rode the Bernina Express to arrive at Tirano about 12:10pm. From Tirano we board the train to Milan and from Milan the train to Venice to join a Mediterranian Cruise.
1. A first class STP for 15 days is a good value for money and so convenient.
2. There is no need to reserve a seat for the Golden Pass Line if you have the 1st class STP (we did, plenty of seats for 1st class STP L).
3. If you are going to Venice via Milan, there is no need to make a seat reservation if you have a 1st class ticket (we did, plenty of seats in 1st class L). Make sure you allow at least an hour from ETA in Tirano to ETD of the train from Tirano to Milan.
4. If you have to make a seat reservation, it is for the train from Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch (we did not so had to wait 1 hour for the next train J). You can only do the reservation online as advised by the TourIst information centre. You also have to make a seat reservation for the Glacier Express and Bernina Express whether you have a 1st or 2nd class ticket.
5. Make sure you bring an umbrella with you as some hotels do not provide/lendumbrella for guests. We had to buy an umbrella in Lucerne (the most basic, manual umbrella cost me chf15).
6. If sometimes you don’t want to have a meal in a restaurant, you can buy fresh sandwiches, fruits, bread, cheese, bottled water & soft drinks, hot foods from Migros and Coop at very reasonable prices and lots of variety.
7. To make sure you get the correct train time and platform, ask for a printout of the itinerary from the Tourist information centre.