Best rail pass for my itinerary 7 nights Montreux

Best rail pass for my itinerary 7 nights Montreux

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Tracy1964
Tracy1964
9 posts
new member
Jan 3, 2016 - 9:36 AM

Hello and Happy New Year.

i have a very loose itinerary planned for my trip in July and wondered if you could advise me which would be the best rail pass to buy. I have just seen that there is. Regional pass for the Lake Geneva - Alps area and wonder if this might be a sensible option or if I should go for the Rail Travel Pass?

We will be staying in Montreux for 7 nights then spend one more night in Basel before flying home. Thank you for any advice you can give me.

Day 1 - land at Geneva 3pm and head for hotel in Montreux.

Day 2 - stay in Montreux

Day 3 - Golden Pass train to Interlaken then return to Montreux

Day 4 - Geneva/ Lausanne/Vevey

Day 5 - The Chocolate Train excursion

Day 6- Trip to Brienzer Rothorn

Day 7 - Day in Lucerne

Day 8 - Travel to Basel for tattoo.

Day 9 - return home

Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 3, 2016 - 12:07 PM

Hi Tracy1964!

For this itinerary, the 8 day Swiss Travel Pass is by far the best solution. The Regional Pass Lake Geneva-Alps won't cover anything outside the Geneva-Montreux region, so you'd have to pay full fares for all trips on day 6 to 8. The Swiss Travel Pass covers pretty much all of your travel plans. You'll only have to pay for additional discounted reservations and excursion fees for the Chocolate Train and tickets for the Brienzer Rothorn.

Does that help you decide?

Please see here for where to buy the pass.

Last modified on Jan 3, 2016 - 12:29 PM by Arno
Tracy1964
Tracy1964
9 posts
new member
Jan 3, 2016 - 12:17 PM

Thank you so much Annika for your very quick response.

Yes this does help me decide. Thank you again.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2652 posts
expert
Jan 3, 2016 - 2:21 PM in reply to Tracy1964

Hi Tracy-

You have probably used the timetable, but it will be useful for your longer trips in particular:

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

The trip to the base station of the Brienzer Rothorn in Brienz will take about 3 hours from Montreux by the fastest route, and the fantastic train ride up to the Rothorn (or down from) will add another hour. So, you will have a long day.

You can get lunch with a great view on a clear day.

There are some good hikes up there, particularly the one to Schöenbüel, followed by cable ways down to Lungern (if they are running) , a 20 minute walk to the train station there, then the once per hour train back to Brienz. It won't fit in your day, and it is a demanding hike because of the altitude and the terrain. But, you'll see the trails up there.

I have taken a few pictures on the Brienzer Rothorn over the years...of varying technical quality ;-(

I've attached some.

Slowpoke

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Tracy1964
Tracy1964
9 posts
new member
Jan 3, 2016 - 4:32 PM in reply to Slowpoke

The pictures are beautiful . Think you do much for these and the information. This forum and the people posting are so helpful.

i am looking forward to an exciting trip.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2652 posts
expert
Jan 3, 2016 - 6:27 PM in reply to Tracy1964

On day 3, you will want to go south of Interlaken. Interlaken is more of a transfer point than a tourist attraction.

www.myswissalps.com/be rneseoberland

Check Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Mürren, Grindelwald, Kleine Scheidegg. Also high mountains - Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn.

Slowpoke

PS- the Hotel Eiger in Wengen is now apartment buildings. ;-(

Last modified on Jan 3, 2016 - 6:39 PM by Slowpoke
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Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2652 posts
expert
Jan 3, 2016 - 6:54 PM in reply to Tracy1964

<<"i have a very loose itinerary planned for my trip in July andwondered if you could advise me which would be the best rail pass tobuy. I have just seen that there is. Regional pass for the Lake Geneva -Alps area and wonder if this might be a sensible option or if I shouldgo for the Rail Travel Pass?We will be staying in Montreux for 7nights then spend one more night in Basel before flying home. Thank youfor any advice you can give me.">>

I should have asked earlier. Do you have special interests...hiking, museums, photography ...??

And, for my curiosity, how far in advance did you have to get tickets for the Basel Tatoo?

Slowpoke

Tracy1964
Tracy1964
9 posts
new member
Jan 3, 2016 - 6:54 PM

That's fantastic thank you so much

Tracy1964
Tracy1964
9 posts
new member
Jan 3, 2016 - 6:59 PM

Hi Slowpoke

we are interested in some of the panoramic train trips and just really whatever we happen upon.

Lake Geneva and the surrounding towns looks glorious and I know there is so much more to see - we may have to return another time I think!

The Tattoo tickets went on sale at the beginning of December 2015 - I bought them then.

We saw the Swiss drum corps Top Secret at the Edinburgh Tattoo last summer and wanted to see them again.

Tracy

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2652 posts
expert
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2652 posts
expert
Jan 3, 2016 - 8:17 PM in reply to Tracy1964

<<"Day 3 - Golden Pass train to Interlaken then return to MontreuxDay 4 - Geneva/ Lausanne/VeveyDay 5 - The Chocolate Train excursionDay 6- Trip to Brienzer RothornDay 7 - Day in Lucerne">>

There are lots of ways to do that with additional scenic routes, or fast routes that avoid duplication.

However, before my mentioning them, you need to know that the timetable computer defaults to fastest route.

So, if you enter Montreux to Interlaken, you'll not get the Golden Pass Route. To get that you have to force a connection or a "via" through Zweisimmen.

Then, when and if you return to Montreux that night, you could take a faster route through Bern to give you more time in the Lauterbrunnen Valley near IO during the day.

You should be using a map when you make these plans.

This is a particularly good one:

map.search.ch/

It has a lot of features specific to Switzerland if you dig into the menus.

Your plans have lot of back and forth that might be avoided by swapping Day 3 and Day 5. Stay overnight in , for example, Wengen, then ride down to Brienz from there to catch the BR Bahn.

At the end of that day, you might consider staying near there or taking the scenic train to Luzern via Meiringen. It goes through Brienz.

Then, you might stay in Luzern before going to Basel ( short ride.)

Or, return to Montreux from Luzern via Bern, or the slower route through the Emmental, but not back on the slow Golden Pass Route,.

Combining time at/near Interlaken and Brienz is the most efficient for time usage.

There are a lot of ways to do it, but only if you do not have to stay in Montreux every night.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Jan 3, 2016 - 8:20 PM by Slowpoke
Tracy1964
Tracy1964
9 posts
new member
Jan 3, 2016 - 8:29 PM

Many thanks Slowpoke for your very detailed response.

we already have accommodation booked for the first 7 nights in Montreux.

I think a return trip will be required and I will ensure that we move around and visit all the places we miss on this trip.

i hadn't realised when booking just how much there was to see and do. Your suggestions are helpful though and will help us maximise the time there.

thank you again

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2652 posts
expert
Jan 3, 2016 - 9:03 PM in reply to Tracy1964

You certainly can do it all from Monttreux, but you will spend a lot of time on trains going back and forth, sometimes over the same routes.

I don't like to change hotels frequently on a trip. It is at least a nuisance. Nonetheless, I would not try to see the Berner Oberland or Central Switzerland with Montreux as a base.

I'll simply say that if I were doing that trip, I'd wish I were spending less time on repetitive train travel, and the best way is to book one night near Interlaken. This far in advance, there should be no difficulty for the night somewhere between Interlaken area and Brienz aerea. And, your accommodation in Montreux would probably be happy for the remaining nights you stay there.

That is my experience speaking. I won't say it again, but I do think that one change would make a substantial improvement in your journey.

And, from a travel efficiency perspective, the route Montreux- Interlaken area - Brienz area- Luzern - Basel or Montreux is by far the most logical, but would require mutiple changes of hotels. Look at a map and the timetable.

That said, there are some ways to add scenic routes or faster routes if you do not make any changes, but a lot depends on your timing for various days.

I'll mention some later.

Slowpoke.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2652 posts
expert
Jan 5, 2016 - 5:46 PM in reply to Tracy1964

Hi Tracy -

Here are some thoughts for travel to the destinations you have listed exactly as in your proposed itinerary.

Day 3 -

Momtreux to Interlaken via the Golden Pass Route.

Golden Pass Route and Trains:

www.myswissalps.com/go ldenpass

The link notes that there are three sections of the Golden Pass Route.

The trains that travel those routes may be regular trains, or, apparently , some different varieties of Golden Pass Trains. i do not understand the differnces between "Golden Pass" "Golden Pass Classic" and "Golden Pass Panoramic." I note that GP Panoramic has VIP seats. I think this is a special car up front with especially good viewing. Any train on those routes will give you excellent views, even if they do not have panoramic windows. The best part is the route from Montreux to Zweisimmen.

This link may give added details:

www.goldenpass.ch/en

As far as i can tell, the trains on the part from Interlaken to Luzern are now called "Luzern-Interlaken Express" rather than "Golden Pass"

I looked up travel times in the timetable on a random day in July 2016, specifically 22.07.2015, a Friday.

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

In order to prevent the computer from selecting the alternate faster routes - default is fastest - I had to enter "Zweisimmen" in the "connection" or "via" box in the screen.

I have attached a screen grab showing information about some of the morning trains from Montreux to IO (Interlaken Ost.). You will find the timetable helpful as you explore these options. If you open all of the journeys through Zweisimmen, you will find times of abot 3 hours to about 4 hours. Some have one change at Zweisimmen; other also have a change at Spiez.

Interlaken is not much of a tourist destination. It is a transfer point between the mountain railways and the main line trains. To appreciate the area, it is most desirable to continue southward from IO to - for example - Grindelwald, Wengen, Kleine Scheidegg or Mürren. That will consume from about 90 minutes to a few hours for various round trips. Spectacular scenery.

www.myswissalps.com/be rneseoberlandhttp://ww w.myswissalps.com/jung frauregion

A forum member who visits the region frequently has written a thorough discussion of Wengen and nearby attractions:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/tips-about-wengen-and-the-jungfrau-region-by-kim.

Other routes - Interlaken to Montreux (or the reverse direction.)

In addition to the Golden Pass route through Zweisimmen, there are three other reasonable and fairly direct routes between Montreux and Interlaken.

One is very scenic and takes on the order of 3 /12 hours, similar to the Golden Pass Route. It is the route through the older Lötschberg Tunnel then down the "Südrampe" (South Ramp) along the wall of the Rhone Valley down to Brig and thence west and north along the valley to Montreux.

In another post, I'll put up some photos of the Rhone Valley and of thehiking trail which parallels the train line as it descends into the Rhone Valley.

Kandersteg is the mid-route choice to insert in the timetable, and also the entrance to the older Lötschberg Tunnel in the southbound direction.

The other two are substantially faster. In the range of 2 1/4 hours plus/minus

One faster route also goes to the Rhone Valley, to Visp or Brig, and then follows the valley to Montreux. However, it uses a new lower, longer faster tunnel, and thus bypasses one of the most scenic train rides in Switzerland that you could see on the older route. .

The second fast route is from IO to Bern to Lausanne to Montreux.

Both of these faster routes will be shown on the timetable, without needing to enter a "via" station because they take about the same time and are the fastest. You can force them through Bern, or leave the mid point empty to get both routes.

I have attached screen grabs for the faster routes and for the older scenic Lötschberg route.

You may consider a faster route for your return on day 3, to give more time in the region south of Interlaken.

Day 6-

Brienzer Rothorn

You will take any one of the four routes described above to IO, then to Brienz, which is just a stop or two beyond IO in the direction of Meiringen and thence Luzern.

The trip up and down the Brienzer Rothorn takes a minimum of approximately two hours + time to walk around up there or eat or both.

Day 7 - Luzern-

Two ways to go - via IO or via Bern

Via IO - To go to Luzern you can take any of the four routes noted above to IO, then continue via Meringen to Luzern. the route through the Brünig pass is very scenic...especially on the descent to Luzern. I like it better in the return direction, personally. That trip takes 1 hour 51 minutes and runs once per hour. Some or all trains may have large window cars. It also is or used to be called part of the Golden Pass Route.

Via Bern to Luzern -

Substantially faster on the route Montreux to Lausanne to Bern to Luzern -

This repeats part of one of the fast routes from Montreux to IO, but, in Bern, you continue to Luzern rather than to IO.

The trip takes 2 hrs 37 minutes at xx23 with change only at Lausanne, or or about 3 hours with other connections, typically through Olten. The most scenic part of the route is from Montreux to Lausanne, but the rest is pleasant.

These data should give you some ideas for planning the days of those trips.

Slowpoke

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Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2652 posts
expert
Jan 5, 2016 - 5:54 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Here are some photos from along the hiking trail which parallelsc the "Lötschberger" train as it descends the wall of the Rhone Valley to Brig .

If you are hiking the trail from Hohtenn to Ausserberg, there is a beer garden with food and drink about halfway, above Raron.

Slowpoke

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Tracy1964
Tracy1964
9 posts
new member
Jan 5, 2016 - 10:21 PM

Wow!!! I feel spoiled. You have taken so much time helping me out with this.

Your help and expert knowledge truly is appreciated . Thank you so so much

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2652 posts
expert
Jan 6, 2016 - 12:53 AM in reply to Tracy1964

<<"Wow!!! I feel spoiled. You have taken so much time helping me out with this.Your help and expert knowledge truly is appreciated . Thank you so so much">>

You are quite welcome.

The forum title mentions "by experienced Swiss Alps travelers."

That is what you get when you come here.

And, you get some insight into the tremendous amount of well-organized support from Swiss organizations for a traveler.

Switzerland has been good to me, and I like to help others experience the country. It helps the tourist oriented economy, and it is easy to find many good things to do or see. I t helps you get the most out of your expensive visit...otherwise, you might not feel that you got maximum value. There is a lot more that you are not seeing...for the next trip, if you find value in this one. ;-)

Hope this helps you out.

Let us know if you have more questions.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Jan 6, 2016 - 12:54 AM by Slowpoke

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