3 nights Switzerland itinerary: Lucerne & Zermatt

3 nights Switzerland itinerary: Lucerne & Zermatt

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oaapvanila
oaapvanila
8 posts
new member
Jan 20, 2016 - 9:38 AM

Hi everyone at the forum,

We are planning our trip to Europe 4 days, 3 nights in Switzerland, I've been reading a lot of tips in this website and there are many things to do so this is my itinerary so far, still need help and advice on which trains or tickets will be best for a 3 day trip. With transportation from Zurich airport included. We are on a low budget but will spend a little more if it's worth it and would like to do the best in 3 days. We already have accommodation in Zurich the first night.

Day one: arrive to Zurich on the afternoon and spend the night there, next day take a train to Lucerne ( I decided start with Lucern since it's close to Zurich) and if it's posible do a one day trip to Pilatis, (what would be the best option to do it?) spend the night in Lucerne.

Still not sure what to do on the third day, if it's posible and what is the best way to get to Zermatt to see Matterhorn since I read is one the best peaks of the alps. Spend the night there and take a train straight back to Zurich airport to take the plane late night.

Not interested on hiking or skiing since we don't have much time, but sightseeing the best of the Alps. I appreciate tips and advice.

Thank you! Cheers from South Korea!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2653 posts
expert
Jan 21, 2016 - 2:34 AM in reply to oaapvanila

Hi Ooapvanila -

Welcome to the forum.

<<"We are planning our trip to Europe 4 days, 3 nights in Switzerland, I'vebeen reading a lot of tips in this website and there are many things todo so this is my itinerary so far.">>

When? Itineraries can be affected by seasonal weather.

Slowpoke

oaapvanila
oaapvanila
8 posts
new member
Jan 21, 2016 - 4:17 AM in reply to Slowpoke

First week of April...

Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 21, 2016 - 5:12 PM in reply to oaapvanila

Hi Oaapvanila,

As for Mount Pilatus: early April only the cable car will be available, not the cogwheel train. So you can't do the round trip, but it's still worth it provided that the weather is nice enough.

Zermatt is far from Lucerne. It takes more than 4 hours to reach the Gornergrat, which is one of the best places to view the Matterhorn and the other mountains. There's a lot to see much closer to Lucerne. If you don't mind a lot of traveling, a slightly shorter alternative is Lucerne to Interlaken (Golden Pass line), then Lauterbrunnen - Kleine Scheidegg - Grindelwald - Interlaken and on to Zurich. Very scenic!

Once your plans are final you can pick a rail pass as explained here.

oaapvanila
oaapvanila
8 posts
new member
Jan 22, 2016 - 12:22 AM in reply to Annika

Alright, I'm giving up the idea of going all the way to Zermatt, Interlaken sounds a better choice, and i read is in the Alps , now, when in Lucerne, what is cheapest and best option Pilatus or Titlis? Then next day take a train to Interlaken and spend the night then go straight to Zurich airport late night. Im thinking on purchasing the 3 day pass, does that will include all transportation from Zurich airport? To Lucerne? And to Interlaken as well? Or I have to purchase a Golden pass to Interlaken? And back to the airport within the 3 days? Do I need a reservation for the 3 day pass or I can purchase it right at the station when arriving to Zurich? Thank you for your help , tips and advice.

Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 22, 2016 - 8:54 AM in reply to oaapvanila

Hi Oaapvanila,

Both mountains are very different. Please see the Pilatus and Titlis pages and see what you like best. A Tell-Pass may fit your plans. That way they're all included so price does not matter. All our pass pages have maps to download to you can see what's included. Also they show where you can buy it. Online is usually more convenient as you can start using the pass right away and don't need to spend time going to a ticket office. Golden Pass is a route, not a rail pass. Reservations are not needed.

Does this help?

oaapvanila
oaapvanila
8 posts
new member
Jan 22, 2016 - 1:00 PM in reply to Arno

Hey Arno, thanks for the advice! I think that The tell-pass sounds good if I'll stay in Lucerne for 2 or more days but Isn't better to purchase a Swiss Travel pass for 4 days? since I'll only be in Lucerne for only a day and a half ( if it's possible go to both, Pilatus and Titlis and get 50% discount with the travel pass) I'll need the Swiss Travel pass for 4 days to travel from the airport to Zurich- Lucerne- Interlaken and back to Zurich airport on the fourth day. What do you think? It's the Golden pass route scenic train from Lucerne to Interlaken also included with the Swiss Travel pass? Thanks again! Cheers from South Korea!

Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 22, 2016 - 3:31 PM in reply to oaapvanila

Glad to help! The below pages explain all you need to know about what's included (Golden Pass is included in both), how they work, where to buy and how to pick the best one:

I would think that a Tell-Pass works out cheaper and a Swiss Travel Pass is more convenient as it also includes the rides to/from the airport, so no need to buy tickets. But, the only way to be 100% sure is to do the math as explained in the 3th link. Both passes make sense for your plans, it's just a matter of picking the one that you find most convenient or economical.

Last modified on Jan 22, 2016 - 3:33 PM by Arno
oaapvanila
oaapvanila
8 posts
new member
Jan 22, 2016 - 3:58 PM in reply to Arno

I think I'm gonna go with the Swiss travel pass.. All transportation included and 50% discount in Pilatus and (or) Titlis, do you think I can get to do both in a glance in half a day each? ( Pilatus on the evening and Titlis next morning) then on the afternoon take the Golden pass to Interlaken... In that way I could get to spend the 3 nights in different place. This is the itinerary so far:

  • Day 1: arrive to Zurich on the afternoon and spend the night there
  • Day 2: go to Lucerne arrive around noon and go to Pilatus on the afternoon and spend the night in Lucerne
  • Day 3: next morning go to Titlis and take the train to Interlaken around noon, arrive Interlaken on the afternoon and spend the night there
  • Day 4: spend the day in Interlaken and depart around 4pm , take the train straight to Zurich airport to take a flight at 10pm.

Any suggestions? Thanks again!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2653 posts
expert
Jan 22, 2016 - 4:30 PM in reply to oaapvanila

You can figure out the timing for the mountains near Luzern by using the timetable:

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

Engelberg or Kleintitlis would be the station for Titlis.

You can surely accomplish both trips in one day....depending on how much time you wish to spend at each location.

There is not a whole lot to do up on Pilatus.

On Day 2, you probably would be better off going to Luzern once you are awake. That is, unless you have a specific goal in Zürich.

Zürich is my favorite city in Switzerland, but that is for staying there, using the trams and buses, and exploring the restaurants, museums and other attractions. Walking on Uetliberg to Felsenegg and eating at Uto Staffel or Uto Kulm. Studying the old battlefield maps and artillery locations of the russians and the French from the Battle of Zürich on Zürichberg.

Compared to Zürich, Luzern is much more attractive and interesting for a short stay on your first trip to Switzerland. The lake and mountains are beautiful.

Check the links on this page:

www.myswissalps.com/wh eretogo

How many are there in your party? The Lion of Luzern has a strong impact on all ages; the nearby Bourbaki Panorama is impressive, some like the transport museum.

Check Interlaken on the page I linked above. It is a good transfer point, but not really much of a tourist destination. The real beauty lies in the Lauterbrunnen Valley, up on Kleine Scheidegg or Männlichen, or at Grindelwald. If time permits, you could consider continuing in the valley after you get to Interlaken, and stay at Grindelwald, Wengen possibly Mürren but more travel time to get to and from, or even Lauterbrunnen.

www.myswissalps.com/be rneseoberland

You'll not be able to access Männlichen easily, unless you are there on the first weekend. The Wengen-Männlichen cablecar stops running after the 3rd. The cograil will be running. Any place that has a hotel open is likely to be more attractive than Interlaken.

Slowpoke

Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 22, 2016 - 4:41 PM in reply to oaapvanila

All of it looks doable, but in deed check times as recommended in the above post. There's so much more to see. You'll have to get back some day to see more, if you can... Anyway, to see where to buy your Swiss Travel Pass, please check myswissalps.com/ swisstravelpass/ price.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2653 posts
expert
Jan 22, 2016 - 6:28 PM in reply to oaapvanila

As I said before -

<<"Compared to Zürich, Luzern is much more attractive and interesting for ashort stay on your first trip to Switzerland. The lake and mountains are beautiful.">>

But, if you do choose to spend time in Zürich, the posts in this thread below may be helpful for things to see in Zürich, in addition to the links I gave in my preceding post.

Scroll way down the thread.

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/swiss-itinerary-for-december-2015

Also:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/need-help-in-my-planning#cq6cUaDW9mqS6 v8AAFcRTQ

Slowpoke

Last modified on Jan 22, 2016 - 6:31 PM by Slowpoke
oaapvanila
oaapvanila
8 posts
new member
Jan 24, 2016 - 4:37 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Thanks for the advice guys..! The itinerary already took form, I've decided to buy the Swiss Travel Pass e-ticket for 4 days so I can use it since I get to the airport and back, spend a night in each place, Zurich, Luzerne and Interlaken. I already booked accommodations near the rail stations. There's a lot more to see but I think this is the best for a short 4 day trip. Not much time to spend in Zurich since we arrive on the afternoon and leave next day to Lucerne, once there, I'll try to do both, Pilatus and Titlis in a day and a half, since both have 50% discount and transportation included with the pass, next day take the Golden pass ( which is also included with the pass) the real reason why I've decided to go to Interlaken is to take the scenery train, but once there there won't be much time to do anything else, than going around the town,( any suggestions?) on the fourth day depart from Interlaken to Zurich airport ( also included with the pass, How long does it takes?) to be at the airport around 7pm. I hope it all seems doable and looking forward to read your ok's and extra tips. Thanks again..!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2653 posts
expert
Jan 24, 2016 - 7:41 AM in reply to oaapvanila

Hi oaapvanila-

<<"on the fourth day depart from Interlaken to Zurich airport ( also included with the pass, How long does it takes?) to be at the airport around 7pm.">>

Perhaps you missed my reference to the timetable in an earlier post? There are an impressive number of frequent trains to your destinations. It can help you be flexible with your itinerary, especially since you have decided to get a Swiss Travel Pass. And, it answers your question about the return to Zürich Airport.

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

it is far enough in advance that you can still be flexible about your hotel arrangements.April is not a busy time for the hotels.

If I were doing it, I'd definitely go straight to Luzern upon arrival, and sleep there the first and second nights. It is an easy and short trip. About 40 minutes longer than the trip to Zürich.

Here are some data, assuming arrival at Zürich airport in the afternoon of Monday April 4, 2016. Luzern is only a short train ride from the Zürich airport, with service every 30 minutes. Every other train has no change at Zürich main station (see timetable) , and goes directly to Luzern. I know that some of them, and I think that maybe all of them, finish their trip at Luzern.

I have attached 3 screen grabs from the timetable, to show an option for your itinerary consistent with your goals and time schedules. It would permit a full day in Luzern to visit both the mountains you noted (personally, I would only visit one) , the scenic train ride on the Golden Pass Route in the train called the Luzern-Interlaken Express with panoramic windows, and 24 hours based in Lauterbrunnen, not Interlaken. Annika mentioned that possibility. It is possible that you could even do some sightseeing in Luzern when you arrive; if not, you could visit only one mountain and spend the other half day in Luzern itself. Lots to see.

I have attached two other screen grabs which illustrate the frequent trips available to go from Lauterbrunnen to either Kleine Scheidegg by extremely scenic cog-rail train or to Schilthorn (PIz Gloria of James Bond fame) by multiple cable cars, and return within a 3 hour time frame for either one. Those two screen grabs overlap PM 6th with AM 7th to show you when service stops in the afternoon of the 6th , and when it begins AM 7th. Obviously, it continues all day. I did not show return trips, but you can figure that out.

That way, you get one mountain in Luzern and whole bunch of mountains in the Jungfrau region.

Enjoying any high mountain is dependent on clear weather. Clear weather is not guaranteed in April. ;-(

For that reason, many people schedule more than one day near the Jungfrau; the weather changes quickly in the mountains and a two day stay gives a better chance of good weather.

Luzern has plenty to do even in cloudy weather. I would do Luzern first and while there, carefully - very carefully - watch the weather reports and webcams for the Jungfrau region. Your hotel in Luzern could help with that; so could the excellent tourist info office by track #1 in Luzern station. If the clouds are low and thick, you could take a boat ride on Lake Brienz or Lake Thun, visit Thun, visit Bern, or look around the Lauterbrunnen Valley. Or, not even go to Interlaken/Jungfrau region, although that could depend on your hotel arrangements. In April, the hotels will not be full, but some will be closed. Early April may be better than late April....but, you might find out if a hotel has plenty of rooms and not book ahead....not my preferred way to do it, but frequently done. Check with the tourist office in Interlaken by phone.....they would know about hotels in or near Lauterbrunnen.

For what it is worth, that is what I would do. It probably differs from your plan because - I'm guessing - I and the forum moderators have a better understanding of the travel times and travel availability than you do. Review of your options with the timetable can help you understand my thinking. Please understand that I am only making a suggestion. Obviously, it is your journey, not mine. ;-)

No matter how you organize it, you'll surely enjoy it. There is a a lot to see and do, the country is beautiful, and the transportation system is well organized to help you.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Jan 24, 2016 - 8:10 AM by Slowpoke
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Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 24, 2016 - 11:29 AM in reply to oaapvanila

The e-ticket is called "Online Ticket" when the delivery options are presented on www.swissrailways.com/ en. Oddly, it's listed as the last option. Sometimes people can't find it.

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