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8-day family trip - Wengen, Lucerne, Zurich


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norcal1
norcal1
8 posts
new member
Aug 14, 2022 - 9:59 PM

First off, thank you to the wealth of useful info in myswissalps site in planning my trip! We had a great time in Switzerland. We spent 4 nights in Wengen and 3 nights in Lucerne.

A few tips that others have mentioned:

1) Timetable app: That is all you need for all bus, train and boat schedule. So convenient and updated real time if there is a delay.

2) Wifi: We have AT&T and just paid $10 per day for data instead of renting a portable wifi that costs about the same.

3) Swiss Travel Pass: I used the spreadsheet this site shared to calculate which pass I should purchase, since I'd be in the Interlaken and Lucerne regions, and STP made the most sense $ wise. It is very convenient. For most rides we didn't need to exchange for a paper ticket.

Day 1: Flew from San Francisco to Zurich airport. Took 4 trains to check in at a Hotel Bellevue in Wengen. The trains took 3 hours total, but very easy to transfer despite having 4 suitcases among our family of 4 including 2 teenagers. Trains were comfortable and clean. We started at Wengen as we would not have enough time to train back to Zurich at the day of departure. Hotel Bellevue has very clean rooms and its complimentary continental breakfast was rich. Wengen is a car free town. The hotel picked us up at Wengen train station in a golf cart-ish electric vehicle. Wengen restaurants close at 8pm and the only supermarket (Coop) closes at 6:30pm so we planned dinner accordingly.

Day 2: Jungfraujoch. Purposely planned to have day trip at the beginning of the trip since we'd be jetlagged and wake up early. We checked webcam and also asked for hotel's opinion that it'd be a clear day good enough to visit. Also purchased the train tickets with hotel as STP only covers 50%. We spent ~4 hours there, basically followed the signs to visit everything. On our way down we hung out at Kleine Scheidegg to walk around and saw the grazing cows. We also stayed at an Airbnb for night 2-4. (We couldn't find one available for night 1).

Day 3: Lake Thun cruise, Oberhofen castle, Thun castle. Lauterbrunnen Valley. Lake Thun was beautiful, in my opinion even more so than Lake Lucerne. The boat had heavily smoking staff however. I'd suggest to upgrade to 1st class ticket (upper dock). Oberhofen and Thun castles were interesting. My teenagers enjoyed both. The boat ride is long (2 hours), criss-crossing both banks of the lake. On our return we took train from Thun to Launterbrunnen to see the Staubbach Falls, which unfortunately barely had any water. The Lauterbrunnen valley is beautiful however. We also decided to hike up to Wengen instead of taking the train (There are signs everywhere for hikes and time needed), which took a little more than an hour.

Day 4: We took the Wengen-Mannlichen Aerial Cableway. My teenagers enjoyed the playground and the food at Mannlichen. We did the hike down to Kleine Scheidegg that is very popular and easy. It was gradual downhill the whole way. We hung out at the Wengen village the rest of afternoon. We played at a very fun 18-hole mini-golf course. My son joined a pickup soccer game for the 3rd night in a row. There are also clay court tennis courts for rental and a swimming pool. All walking distance.

Wengen is a beautiful resort time. I wish we stay here for 2 more days as a base to explore more places like Grindelwald and Harder Kulm.

Day 5: Lucerne. Again we couldn't find an airbnb in core Lucerne, and instead stayed at one in a nearby town called Alpnach. It is only 20 min train ride away to Lucerne and it runs every 30 mins. We did the main touristy stuff: Chapel bridge, Musegg Wall, Old Town, Dying Lion monument

Day 6: Mt Pilatus. The Cog wheel trains are only a 10 min walk from our airbnb as it is very close to the Alpnachtad train station. We also took the gondola from Mt Pilatus to Frakigaudi station for the Tobaggan and rope park. Tobaggan wait time was easily 1 hr despite having only 20 people ahead of us. We couldn't make the rope park however, as it needs at least 1.5 hrs to enjoy, while we wanted to catch the last boat of the day (4pm) from Alpnachtad to Lucerne.

Day 7: Zurich. My teenagers play soccer so we visited the FIFA museum. We also toured the Old Town, which looked just like the Old Town in Lucerne. Zurich was more modern with the typical financial district set up. It has luxury shops (Chanel, Hermes, Dior, etc). If I visit Switzerland again I'd opt for Mt Rigi instead.

Day 8: Go home. As the world is having labor shortage, our flight was delayed by more than an hour, as there was no staff available to push our plane out of the gate!

Anna
Anna
4153 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 15, 2022 - 4:33 AM in reply to norcal1

Hi norcal1,

Thank you for sharing your travel experience! Appreciate all the useful tips.

So sorry you had your flight home delayed.

Regards,

Anna

Arno
Arno
15798 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 15, 2022 - 5:49 PM in reply to norcal1

Hello norcal1,

Thanks for sharing your travel adventures and tips! Happy to hear you enjoyed your trip. Yes, the flexibility of the Swiss Travel Pass is great. I get why you loved Wengen that much. The views are stunning, right? How convenient you were based that close to the Pilatus cogwheel train valley station.

Too bad that the Trümmelbach Falls didn't contain as much water as you had hoped. They're usually most impressive in spring, when winter snow is melting. There hasn't been that much snow in the past winter though, and temperatures in spring and summer were high. So I'm afraid there's not much snow and melting water left by now.

Mrs
Mrs
8 posts
new member
Nov 18, 2022 - 4:00 AM in reply to norcal1

Hi!

I really enjoyed reading your trip! Sounds like you had a wonderful time!

We are also planning a trip very similar to yours and I have some questions.

Did you stay in Airbnb in Wengen? We are debating between Wengen or Lauterbrunnen.

Also we are not able to find aribnb in Lucerne so we found one around Lake Brienz. Do you think that's okay location for similar things you did?

Thank you.

Grace

norcal1
norcal1
8 posts
new member
Nov 18, 2022 - 4:44 AM in reply to Mrs

Hi Grace,

We chose Wengen for its resort town feel and wanted to know what a car free town means and it was great! Lauterbrunnen is where cars park to train to Wengen. My husband and teenage son did hike up from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen one time, which took ~50 mins and was beautiful. I also felt safe for my teenagers to roam around themselves in Wengen with no shortage of activities to do (mini golf, pick up soccer, clay tennis, parks, short hikes, ice cream shop, bakery, swimming pool (summer only) etc). The tourist center was resourceful too.

First night at Wengen we stayed at Hotel Bellevue, where we really enjoyed the owner's (Julie) hospitality. Day 2-4 we stayed at an Airbnb (www.airbnb.com/rooms/17617113) which helped us with laundry needs and having quick meals onsite, with groceries bought from the COOP supermarket at the train station that was walking distance.

We did pass by Lake Brienz on our train rides from Wengen to Lucerne and Brienz is beautiful. However the train schedule would make catching our 1pm return flight from Zurich airport impossible and therefore we opted to stay near Lucerne and take the Lucerne>Zurich airport train to come home. I agree -- Reasonable Airbnbs near Lucerne are hard to find even if you look a year out! We stayed at an Airbnb (www.airbnb.com/rooms/23588061) in Alpnach. The listing is a 5-min walk along the train track to the Alpnach station, which is right next to the Mt Pilatus station and the Lake Lucerne boat dock.

Mrs
Mrs
8 posts
new member
Nov 18, 2022 - 12:49 PM in reply to norcal1

Good Morning!

Your Airbnb in Lucern looks great. We might book that unit as we use Airbnb all the time!

Here is our itinerary if you don't mind looking over. I am trying to decide how many we should stay in OB area. Looks like you stayed Day 1-4 was that enough?

I really like Wengen better based on the pics and reviews but my son (this is his graduation trip) likes the the feel of valley better.

Very important question, did you feel like transportation was just as easy in Wengen as lauterbrunnen to explore the surrounding areas?

Thank you in advance for your help, esp in heling me find that Airbnb near Lucerne!

June 5 Monday

Depart ORD at 3:50

June 6 Tuesday

Zurich 7:45 AM

Train to Wengen/Lauterbrunnen/Grindelwald

June 7 Wednesday

Schilthorn or Jungfrau. Schilthorn recommended over Jungfrau

If Schilthorn, stop by Thrill Walk on the way up. On same train route

June 8 Thursday

Skydiving with SKYDIVE Interlaken www.skydiveinterlaken.com

Trummelbach Falls

June 9 Friday

Schilthorn if not done on earlier

Explore Murren

Murren Via Ferrata

Northface Trail - Hike

The Eiger Trail - Hike

Allmendhubel Funicular

June 10 Saturday

Explore OB more

Mannlichen Hike to Kleine Scheidegg

June 11 Sunday

Check into Lake Brienz or Lucerne area

Explore lake Itswald/Brienz area

June 12 Monday

Mt Pilatus

Toboggan Ride

Hike to Tomlishorn

Explore Lucerne

June 13 Tuesday

Explore Zurich

June 14 Wednesday

Explore Bern (?) or Change lodging to Zurich

June 15

Depart ZRH 9:50 AM

Anna
Anna
4153 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 18, 2022 - 5:46 PM in reply to Mrs

Hi Mrs,

I had a quick look at your itinerary and it's definitely doable. If you need recommendations for places to stay in Lucerne and Wengen, you can try these links:

Regards,

Anna

norcal1
norcal1
8 posts
new member
Nov 18, 2022 - 10:18 PM in reply to Mrs

Hi Grace,

It's really just a preference. Wengen is small (our preference), on a hill (gorgeous view, cow bell chimes surrounding), and has easy access to Mannlichen cable car station (on foot) and to get to jungfrau and KS (same train). On our day 2 and 4 we didn't leave below Wengen altitude-wise. You do need to ride a train down (the only mode of transportation) to the valley (Lauterbrunnen) to access anywhere else. Some time management would be useful, but train / bus / boat transfers are all so easy and efficient. The Swiss really figured that out. Public transportation system where I live (san francisco bay area) is grossly embarrassing in comparison.

I do wish to stay 2 more days in OB area to explore Grindelwald and Harder Kulm.

If you do stay at the Alpnachstad airbnb, do read up the listing reviews for tips especially for grocery needs. The most efficient way is to get off at the Hergiswil NW station on the train ride back from Lucerne. A Coop is within 50 feet from the platform. Then just hop back to the next train that runs every 30 mins.

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