First time in Switzerland - Firming up itinerary

First time in Switzerland - Firming up itinerary

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pharbertson
pharbertson
5 posts
new member
Mar 2, 2016 - 6:45 PM

My wife and I fly into Geneva on Friday 18th March (11am) and depart Monday 21st (3pm).

We enjoy city breaks and sight seeing.

I have some ideas about a mini tour but some validation, discussion and the input of experience would be welcome to make the best of our trip. I would intend to buy 3 or 4 day Swiss Pass.

So far I am considering:

Day1: Boat from Geneva to Montruex. Golden Pass Trip (all three legs) to Lucerne. Stay overnight in Lucerne.

Day2: Explore Lucerne. Later in the day take the train to Zurich. Stay overnight in Zurich.

Day3: Explore Zurich. Later in the day take the train back to Geneva. Stay over in Geneva.

Day4: Explore Geneva until we need to go to the airport in the afternoon.

If I'm doing too much or too little, or missing something obvious that I'll regret....please say!

Your comments are most appreciated.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Mar 3, 2016 - 1:13 AM in reply to pharbertson

Hi PHArbertson -

Welcome to the site.

Quick reflex answer -- skip Montreux and Zürich and spend the limited time in and near Luzern instead.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Mar 3, 2016 - 1:14 AM by Slowpoke
Arno
Arno
7719 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 3, 2016 - 5:20 AM

I agree with the above advice. Your time is limited and moving around too much will leave you with little sightseeing time. Also, both Zurich and Geneva are not in the Alps. You can't avoid Geneva, but Lucerne will give you more options to see the Alps than Zurich.

I don't expect there will be any boats from Geneva to Montreux in March. In any case it will take too long. I'd recommend to skip the boat and just do the Golden Pass line to Lucerne that day. There are boat rides from Lucerne as an alternative.

Please see here for more about Lucerne and the Swiss Travel Pass (the Swiss Pass is not for tourists):

pharbertson
pharbertson
5 posts
new member
Mar 3, 2016 - 10:28 AM

Thanks Slowpoke, Arno,

If I skip Zurich, then yes this leaves more quality time in Geneva, and Lucerne. The idea for getting to Montruex was to do the Golden Pass Line in that direction to Lucerne.

Would you agree to leave Geneva and do it as a last day still?

Also, sorry for my mistake I did mean Swiss Travel Pass. If I am reducing my overall travel - would the pass option still be good value?

Is Lucerne - Zermatt a good idea (I know this is 3+ hrs e/w) or will the views accessible from Lucerne by equally as good? I know also the weather can play a big factor for any visit to Zermatt.

Many questions - but the result will help me get our trip just right - thanks!

Last modified on Mar 3, 2016 - 10:39 AM by pharbertson
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Mar 3, 2016 - 10:47 AM in reply to pharbertson

<<"Would you agree to leave Geneva and do it as a last day still?">>

You are getting into personal preferences, and those are hard to judge. Arno and I both have used maximum variety with only a short trip in mind.

However, you could spend the whole trip riding boats and trains, scarcely touching the ground, or go right to Wengen at the height of the Winter ski season.

Can you give us a bit more idea of your priorities?

Slowpoke

pharbertson
pharbertson
5 posts
new member
Mar 3, 2016 - 10:56 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Of course my priority is to enjoy our first time in Switzerland.

You're right this won't be achieved by constantly travelling.

My thoughts are now to spend the first day getting to Lucerne as the finishing point of the Golden Pass Line, and spend two days exploring there with some combination of Pilatus, Titlis, and Rigi as described in the sightseeing guide link.

Thanks!

Arno
Arno
7719 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 3, 2016 - 11:11 AM in reply to pharbertson

Very good idea! That way you get to enjoy the Golden Pass line, and Lucerne is a great base as you like city breaks, but also want to see the Alps. If you visit Mount Titlis you'll have your high Alpine experience without going to Zermatt. It's not the same thing, but certainly very good. If you also visit Mount Rigi you'll have a nice contrast of a higher and a lower mountain, and the opportunity to combine it with a boat trip. Should the weather turn bad you can easily do day trips to Zurich or Bern. But let's hope for clear skies.

Even with a focus on just one region a Swiss Travel Pass might still be a good idea: you have two long trips to and from Lucerne (free with the pass), Mount Rigi and the boats will be free, and the other cable cars are discounted.

Please see these pages:

pharbertson
pharbertson
5 posts
new member
Mar 16, 2016 - 8:05 PM

Hi I am following pretty much the plan you outlined. Just another couple of (dumb) questions. Attire: the forecast looks mild, but for trips to Rigi and Titlus, how cold will it be and what's the best attire? 3 day travel pass and 4 days is 70gbp difference. Best doing 3 days if one day is just a journey between Geneva and Montruex? Plan is to do golden rail pass the Montreux > Lucerne way. Right or wrong?

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Mar 16, 2016 - 8:24 PM in reply to pharbertson

<<". Attire: the forecast looks mild, but for trips to Rigi and Titlus, how cold will it be and what's the best attire?">>

Go by the forecast, but assume you'll be cold if you stay outdoors very long at high altitude. Titlis more than Rigi.

One way second class Geneva to Montreux is 30 CHF with no discount.

Slowpoke

Arno
Arno
7719 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 17, 2016 - 7:19 AM in reply to pharbertson

You can't go wrong if you dress in multiple thinner layers. Please see myswissalps.com/ weather.

pharbertson
pharbertson
5 posts
new member
Mar 17, 2016 - 10:41 AM

Hi Slowpoke, Arno,

I think a few people have asked in the past and I have read - Mt. Rigi and Mt. Titlis in one day. It's explained it is possible but "hairy".

My question is if we take this on, once the Rigi trip is completed (5hrs or so) do you need to return to Lucerne or is there a more direct way to Engelberg?

Arriving to Geneva Airport at 10am tomorrow - getting to Montreux and doing the Golden Pass journey to Lucerne before end of day seems rushed.

Also being in Lucerne on Monday when we fly at 3pm from Geneva seems to make for dead time as the train journey is 3hrs - therefore now thinking of:

Friday - arrive in Geneva 10am - train to Lucerne - explore Lucerne

Saturday - Rigi and Titlis (if not possible only Rigi)

Sunday - Golden Pass Line from Lucerne to Montreux

Monday - Some time in Montreux (Chillon/Promenade Fleuri) then train (only 1hr) to Geneva - or train to Geneva earlier and some time there.

Also I'd like to thank you for your time and advice - you have much patience!

Paul.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Mar 17, 2016 - 10:48 AM in reply to pharbertson

<<"I think a few people have asked in the past and I have read - Mt. Rigi and Mt. Titlis in one day. It's explained it is possible but "hairy".

My question is if we take this on, once the Rigi trip is completed (5hrs or so) do you need to return to Lucerne or is there a more direct way to Engelberg?">>

Not a simple answer for that. Stop at tourist info in Luzern main station by track 1 and ask. depends a lot on routing options....Boat, train, etc.

I'd not do it. Days are still short in March.

Take your time on eone or the oter and enjy it Just my opinion.

Slowpoke

Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 17, 2016 - 11:31 AM in reply to pharbertson

Hi Paul,

I would not do it either, but it should be possible if you depart early. I would start with Mount Titlis as at least the cable car from Rigi Kaltbad down to Weggis runs until later in the evening. So that gives you some extra time if you plan carefully. Also the morning sky is usually clearer in high altitudes, although that's just an average. The quickest way is through Lucerne. Schedules are in the timetable.

Please let us know how your trip went if you can: www.myswissalps.com/ forum/ tripreports

Have fun!

Last modified on Mar 17, 2016 - 11:33 AM by Annika
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Mar 17, 2016 - 9:35 PM in reply to pharbertson

As Arno said

<<"<<least the cable car from Rigi Kaltbad down to Weggis runs until later in the evening. ">>

None of the services down from the Rigi run very late. Maybe 7PM. Although there may also be one very very late one for hotel staff going down...but a that hour, once you get to Weggis, there is probably no public transport.

Check carefully with the timetable -

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

Slowpoke

Arno
Arno
7719 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 18, 2016 - 6:25 AM

The latest option today is a train departing 8:15 PM to Vitznau. Then further by bus and train, arriving in Luzern at 9:54 PM. There's a 10:55 PM departure as well but with a 1 hour change in Rotkreuz, so that's not very comfortable. Careful planning is definitely recommended.

Last modified on Mar 18, 2016 - 6:27 AM by Arno

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