3 Days in Switzerland - Lucerne being Base

3 Days in Switzerland - Lucerne being Base

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sunny13260
sunny13260
9 posts
new member
May 12, 2015 - 1:01 AM

Hi all, I'm going to arrive in Zurich on 21st May & move on to Lucerne by evening where I'll stay with a friend for the whole time. I have tentatively thought my plan to be like below:

21st May: Arrive Lucerne by evening. Walk around and explore Lucerne a bit.

22nd May- Mount Titlis daytrip and rest of the day hopefully exploring more of Lucerne with friend.

23rd May - Interlaken day trip, coming back to Lucerne and exploring,enjoying nightlife?! Will ask friend on this too.

24th May - is actually kind of open to suggestions, I want to explore/travel somewhere that's included within my pass, whichever I buy.

25th May - Leave Lucerne, go to Zurich, catch flight back to UK.

With the above tentative plan in mind,also awaiting suggestions, which 3-day Pass should I go for. Swiss Pass or Tell Pass? I;m sure both will have it's +, - like Zurich-Lucerne journeys not included or Mountain railways included etc. But I do need help as soon as possible on which one to buy (& do I buy it there on arriving?) as my travel date is nearing. Awaiting your responses.

Thanks,

Sunny

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2645 posts
expert
May 12, 2015 - 6:06 AM in reply to sunny13260

Hi Sunny -

For a start, take a look here:

myswissalps.com/train/ticketspasses

Arno and Annika, the forum moderators, are experts on the passes and cards, but you can get a good start at that link.

If you buy a Swiss Rail Pass it will cover travel to all destinations, but travel on special excursion trains such as the trains up to Jungfraujoch only have a discount.

myswissalps.com/ swisstravelpass/validity

When you travel to Interlaken, keep an eye on the timetable.

myswissalps.com/ timetable

You may find it enjoyable to take a train further into the Lauterbrunnen Valley and onward to Wengen, Mürren, or Grindelwald. Those will put you in the heart of the mountains. Very nice if you have the time and have good weather to see the Alps.

The train trip to Interlaken takes 1 hour 50 minutes. If you go all the way to Wengen, 2 hours and 46 minutes. Those last two legs are slow, but the cograil train from Lauterbrunne up to Wengen sometimes has extra trains on busy days, such as a weekend. Grindelwald takes 2 hours 36 minutes with one less change of trains...no change at Lauterbrunnen.

sunny13260
sunny13260
9 posts
new member
May 12, 2015 - 10:23 AM in reply to Slowpoke
And the Golden Line is also Free in Tell Pass correct? Do you think Tell Pass is suitable for me as I prefer all the mountain railway trains to be free as well. Tell pass does not include Zurich-Lucerne Roundtrip which comes to like 29 CHF.
Arno
Arno
7707 posts
expert &
moderator
May 12, 2015 - 11:08 AM

Hi Sunny,

A 3-day Tell-Pass plus tickets to and from Lucerne are a good option. It does include the Golden Pass line to Interlaken, but nothing else beyond. Interlaken itself isn't worth a day trip. As suggested by Slowpoke, the region south of it is wonderful. But that's not included in the Tell-Pass. A lot of other great destinations are included though (see here). Please see myswissalps.com/ lakelucerne/activities for suggestions.

You can get the Tell-Pass online or on arrival. Please see myswissalps.com /tellpass/price for all the options. Since you're based in the UK it makes sense to buy it online from the website listed on that page, as that allows you to pay in GBP, so that saves some money. Shipping is free.

Enjoy your stay!

sunny13260
sunny13260
9 posts
new member
May 12, 2015 - 12:11 PM

Okay, Thanks. If it is the same price online and there in the Zurich airport to buy the Tell Pass, I might buy it there as I have only 8 days till I go to Swiss and I doubt if they can ship the pass within that time. The link you gave does not mention 3-day Tell passss?!

And this is bit random, but to buy these Tell Passes, where do I exchange currency, in UK or do I good good/better rates in Switzerland/Airport?

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2645 posts
expert
May 12, 2015 - 1:13 PM in reply to sunny13260

Sunny-

I can't speak for the UK, but the foreign exchange (FX) vendors such as TravelEX in the US airports engage in pricing that is close to predatory. It is much better in Zürich.

I was told some years ago that the banks in Switzerland were regulated on FX rates, and are constant at all banks in Switzerland. I'm not sure if it is true, but my experiences over many years suggest that it is the case. You will also find ATM machines that will withdraw from your credit card or bank account in almost every town, and in the larger cities they give CHF or Euros ( no pounds sterling, as I recall.) And, at many places in Switzerland, Euros are accepted, but change will usually be given in CHF.

The rates are certainly better in Zürich Airport than they are in the USA.

There are FX vendors in the arrival hall to your left just after you pass through customs and out into the crowd.

I have not looked recently, but it used to be that there was an FX ATM in the hall with the luggage carousel, and at least one of the banks had an office with teller windows facing both the luggage claim hall and the external arrivals hall. So, you most likely can get pocket money before you even leave luggage claim. Certainly, before you need it for any purchases. I have found the rates at the major rail stations to be OK, too. In small stations, the rates should be the same, but I think I noticed differences on one trip.

And, there are a lot of bank offices in Switzerland. '-)

sunny13260
sunny13260
9 posts
new member
May 12, 2015 - 1:17 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Thanks, that was helpful. I will probably check once for the rates in UK and then in Zurich airport/Lucerne as I prefer taking cash out there and not paying bank fees ( I hate that!).

Now the question remains do I order Tell Pass online or not, issue being the exact website link from which I order it and even if I do, how long does it take from them to ship me the Tell Pass!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2645 posts
expert
May 12, 2015 - 1:33 PM in reply to sunny13260

<<"Now the question remains do I order Tell Pass online or not, issue being
the exact website link from which I order it and even if I do, how long
does it take from them to ship me the Tell Pass!">>

Good question! ;-)

If I were trying to answer it, i'd compare prices and look at exchange rates. I've never tried to look up vendor exchange rates; I can easily find exchange rates charged between banks for large fund transfers, but retail exchange rates ( in the uS, at least, and on US credit cards), tend t0 be 2.7 to 3 % worse.

Annika
Annika
4415 posts
expert &
moderator
May 12, 2015 - 4:24 PM

Hi Sunny,

You can find the prices for 3-days or any other pass variant if you click the orange button on the page Arno gave you. As you can see there, the prices are nearly the same: online it's GBP 138 for a 3-day pass, in Switzerland it's CHF 200. You'll usually save money by paying in your own currency as you'll prevent banking fees and exchange rate surprises. Free shipping takes 5-6 days, so you're still in time. They also offer next day delivery but that's not free. It's not being shipped from Switzerland, but from the UK office of the Swiss Railways. You can see for yourself at swisstravelsystem.co.uk/ en/products/ regionalcentralswisspass.

sunny13260
sunny13260
9 posts
new member
May 13, 2015 - 1:44 AM
Well, thanks, I have gone ahead and bought the Tell Pass for 3 days @138 GBP. It should reach me within 5-6 days. Now, since that' s done and say I hav a 3-day Tell Pass with me, what do you all think about my plans? What should I do on the 24th, Sunday?
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2645 posts
expert
May 13, 2015 - 8:47 AM in reply to sunny13260

<<"What should I do on the 24th, Sunday?">>

Annika has added to my comments about Interlaken

I'd go on onto the valley and up to Wengen or Mürren.

For that distance the trains are not excursion trains, and you added costs will be small.

It would help if you gave us some idea of your intersts - walking, hiking, museums, train rides....?

Absent that, I'd suggest taking a train to Flüelen, and catch the lake boat back to Luzern. You can ride it all the way, if you wish. Nice ride, very scenic, about 4 hours ( if I recall correctly)

OR, get off at Treib. Take the funicular to Seelisberg. Walk up about the road 1.2 km through Seelisberg (or take the bus which meets some most funiculars - it leaves quickly after the funicular comes up.) up to the big hotel (Sonnenberg, maybe) now run by a Maharishi. Look out from the promenade. Walk back down to Seelisberg on the trail that gives you lake views.

If you are feeling energetic, instead, contnue to walk to Bauen, including a 400 meter down hill on a good trail at the end. Catch a boat back to either Flüelen, Brunnen, (both have train connections to Luzern) or Luzern,

If you do this, watch your schedules because you do not want to be stuck in Bauen after missing the last boat.

If you re turn to Seeliberg village, take the Funicular back down, or take the bus to Beckenried. Catch another boat - either north to Luzern ( preferred) or across the lake to Brunnen. (train is 10 minute walk from boat stop.

Once again, keep an eye onm the boat schedules if you come back down to Treiblate in the afternoon.

If you get a bus to Beckenried, there is a bus connection to Hergiswil or other places with a rail connection to Luzern.

If you are a hiker, check out the Swiss Path.

myswitzerland.com/en-us/the-swiss-path-the-swiss-william-tell-path.html

sunny13260
sunny13260
9 posts
new member
May 13, 2015 - 10:30 AM in reply to Slowpoke
Oh great, that's a lot of Info! My interests are nature, going around trains to beautiful places, even Hikes that are not too tough are good with me, I would like to go to scenic places and explore Switzerland as much as I can provided the transportation is there and included in Tell Pass. Other things I like are a bit of history, and basically exploring. Thanks!
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2645 posts
expert
May 13, 2015 - 3:47 PM in reply to sunny13260

sunny13260 said: Oh great, that's a lot of Info! My interests are nature, going around trains to beautiful places, even Hikes that are not too tough are good with me, I would like to go to scenic places and explore Switzerland as much as I can provided the transportation is there and included in Tell Pass. Other things I like are a bit of history, and basically exploring. Thanks!

Good guidance.

it reinforces my suggestion to explore around Lake Luzern.

The Swiss Path - mentioned in the previous post - offers some great walks, scenic views.

This link is very useful:

weg-der-schweiz.ch/en/

Some sections have pretty steep ups and downs. look at a map carefully. But, the section from Seelisberg to Bauen is not too difficult, and the last down hill stretch, although tiring, is on a well paved trail with steps, and a low wall at places where you can sit if your knees are troubling you.

Just make sure you have a boat schedule. You can get a nice brochure at Luzern Main Station Tourist info by Track #1.

These ideas are best understood with a good map that shows heights and trails.

The on-line map at Swiss Topo is a good one for reference; I think you can even get it on a smart phone.

This link should take you to a detailed map near Seelisberg and Rütli.

http://map.geo.admin.ch/ ?X=204060.00& Y=688490.00& zoom=7& lang=en& topic=swisstopo& bgLayer=ch.swisstopo. pixelkarte-farbe

The Swiss Path, starts at Rütli meadow ( a bit of history there) and quickly goes almost straight up to Seelisberg ( not a mountain climb; it is a good trails.) . I have never done that climb, although people in good condition certainly do it all the time. You can see the squiggly line of switchbacks going up from Rütli to near Sunnenberg Hotel at the right magnification of the map.

We have an alternative that we enjoy a lot. Really nice views across the lake from different angles, and a lot less of a climb. Although, at the beginning, there is a section of good trail that takes you up to approx. the 650 meter line and the climb is noticeable. The route is clear on the map. It runs due north from Rütli, then continues along the side of the mountain on a good road overlooking hte lake, past some farmhouses, until it curves around and joins the paved road about a km east of Volligen at 575 meters. Follow the paved road down hill, pass under the funicular tracks, stop for lunch at Volligen if you wish ( closed Mondays and Tuesdays, I recall) and down to Treib. Ride the funicular up to Seelisberg , even if you do not walk further. If you have time, walk gradually uphill to Sunnenberg for a spectacular view across the lake from the promenade. In the distance, you can see the town of Schwyz, one of the founding cantons of Swtzerland (at Rütli, in 1291).

Return to the funicular station, and either catch the bus to Beckenried, from which bus and train service gets you back to Luzern, or a boat goes across the lake to Brunnen or Flüelen. Or, take the fiunicular back down to Treib and get a boat....either to Luzern, or across the lake to Brunnenn an train.

If you are counting on return that includes a boat, make sure to watch the schedules. They are less frequent than the trains or buses. And thh pattern of the routes can be complex.

Other things you can do from a boat ride on Lake Luzern include getting off at Vitznau and taking the cograil up to Rigi Kulm ( the top) then returning to Luzern by train via Arth-Goldau or via cable car from Rigi Kaltbad to Weggis, followe by a 1/2 km downhil walk to the boat dock. From there, a boat to luzern, or a bus to train connections at Küssnacht am Rigi and on to Luzern by train.

Or, you can get off at Kehrsiten and take the funicular up to Bürgenstock, walk 45 minutes up hill to Hammetschwand, ascend the outdoor elevator, have lunch, return....

Or, boat to Alpnachstad, cog-rail up Pilatus....

Not all routes stop at all stops. Check the routes in the brochure.

lakelucerne.ch/ en/timetables-fares/seasonal-timetables.html

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