Lucerne to Zurich via paddle steamer and cogwheel

Lucerne to Zurich via paddle steamer and cogwheel

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lylyip
lylyip
4 posts
new member
Nov 12, 2015 - 9:07 AM

Dear all,

We are a family of four adults from the US and will be travelling from Fussen, Germany after visiting the Neuschwanstein castle on December 26. We would like to take the Glacier Express, visit La Maison du Gruyere and Maison Cailler, then Christmas Market in Bern, Lucerne, Zurich and home. Here is my initial plan:

Dec 26 - Fussen to Chur

Dec 27 - Chur to Zermatt by Glacier Express

Dec 28 - After seeing sunrise leave for Gruyere @8:13am arriving 11:59am, tour and lunch, leave for Broc @2:58pm arriving 3:24pm, leave for Bern @4:36pm arriving 5:51pm to catch the end of the Christmas Market in old town which i believe is closing @7pm

Dec 29 - Bern to Lucerne leaving @10am arriving @11am

My questions are;

1. Is Chur the best city to start given the amount of travel from Fussen?

2. Is the schedule doable for Dec 28 (Zermatt to Bern with tours) since I am not sure how long a walk from the train station and wait for each tour?

3. I would like to travel from Lucerne to Zurich via paddle streamer and cog-wheel train. Is there a route without hiking since we will have luggage with us?

4. How long would it take?

5. Is there a route more scenic than the other?

We will have our Swiss Pass (second class) and would like to take full advantage of it. Thank you so much in advance for all your help!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2659 posts
expert
Nov 13, 2015 - 12:07 AM in reply to lylyip

Hi LyLyip -

Welcome to the forum.

There are quite a few items in your post to deal with, but the first is this one:

<<"would like to travel from Lucerne to Zurich via paddle streamer and cog-wheel train. Is there a route without hiking since we will have luggage with us?">>

The timetable and a map will help you with that item:

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

map.search.ch/

The travel modes that you request do not exist, unless you select extremely indirect routing for the journey. Many hours; most of the day.. Possibly via lake boat, Vitznau or Weggis, then the Rigi, down to Arth Goldau, conect for Zürich. Only some of the lake boats are steam powered paddle wheelers. I can provide more details if that route is your intention.

Hiking has nothing to do with it.

From Luzern to Zürich, there are regular trains.They take about one hour, twice per hour.

The second issue -

Your list of activities and destinations and timings shows you have been working with the timetable... Keep it up.. it is very helpful.

However, in your list of journeys, I do not find Zürich mentioned. When would you hope to do that?

Third -

How, when and from where will you leave Switzerland?

4th -

You mention sunrise in Zermatt, which will be at 0746. I have never done that. Should be very nice if the weather is clear. Zermatt itself is in a valley...perhaps sunrise might be better from the peaks, in which case your timing possibly won't work? Where exactly in Zermatt do you intend to watch the sunrise?

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2659 posts
expert
Nov 13, 2015 - 8:46 AM in reply to lylyip

Hi Lilyip -

Another concern -the timing of your plan for the 28th. You have hit upon the right concerns. There are online tools to help you with the answers.

<<"Dec 28 - After seeing sunrise leave for Gruyere @8:13am arriving11:59am, tour and lunch, leave for Broc @2:58pm arriving 3:24pm, leavefor Bern @4:36pm arriving 5:51pm to catch the end of the ChristmasMarket in old town which I believe is closing @7pm">>and <<"2.Is the schedule doable for Dec 28 (Zermatt to Bern with tours) since Iam not sure how long a walk from the train station and wait for eachtour?">>

Here is the schedule for the show dairy at Gruyeres:

www.lamaisondugruyere. ch/wp-content/uploads/2015/0 9/Cheese-making-timetable-for-Gruy%C3%A8re-AOP.pdf

General information -

www.lamaisondugruyere. ch/useful-information/general-information/

If you use the map link I gave in my first post above and zoom in on Gruyeres, you'll see from the address ( Place de la Gare 3) that the dairy is directly at the train station. If you do the self guided tour, about 45 minutes. You probably won't stay to see each and every step of cheesemaking...hours, not minutes.

So, 3 hours should be enough to watch the entire cheese making process and eat at the restaurant. You might make it in two hours, if you want to catch an earlier train. Look at the menus on line and plan ahead. (Note - a "menu" is a set piece meal. The list of items available is a card, carte or die Karte.)

Cailler-

It looks like the tour would take an hour and 1/2. Look at the web site and study it. There seem to be some options.

www.myswitzerland.com/ en-us/cailler-chocolate-factory.html

Rue Jules Bellet 7, Broc

Use the map. That location is about 200 meters from station Broc-Fabrique, which you have correctly used in your plan.

It will be tough to fit that into 1 hour and 12 minutes. Might work for two hours 12 minutes?

Maybe- just maybe- you could make it out of Gruyeres in less than your planned time if lunch is fast, and thus have another hour at Broc. It would be tight.

At Bern-

I do not know exactly where the Christmas market will be. It is likely in and near the old town, so you will be able to walk thorough part of it in an hour or so. I'm guessing it will be along Waisenhausplatz, Bärenplatz and at Bundesplatz. Absent crowds, 5-10 minutes walk from the main station. Much slower going when the vendors' stalls line the streets and there are crowds.

Hope this helps.

Slowpoke

Annika
Annika
4424 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 13, 2015 - 10:02 AM in reply to lylyip

Hi lylyip,

As you can see from the above answers things on December 28 may take a little more time. I would skip either Cailler or the Christmas market. It's a much better experience to take your time and not rush from place to place.

The boats and cogwheel trains Slowpoke explained about can be found on our Rigi page: www.myswissalps.com/ri gi.

lylyip
lylyip
4 posts
new member
Nov 18, 2015 - 5:56 AM

Thank you so much for your reply Slowpoke and Annika!

After reviewing your helpful inputs, we have a better idea of our itinerary. Yes, Annika you are correct. It is not a good idea to rush from place to place.

Since we are not sure how the weather it might be during that time, we are thinking maybe we should skip the sunrise in Zermatt and from Chur go directly to Bern. Stay there for 2 nights instead of splitting up one night in Zermatt and one night in Bern. So we revised our itinerary over the weekend:

Dec 26 - Fussen to Chur

Dec 27 – By Glacier Express taking one of the two routes:

(a) Chur to Visp @ 11:26am arriving @3:53pm, then Visp to Bern @3:57pm arriving 4:54pm (Enough time to catch the Christmas Market) OR

(b) Chur to Zermatt @11:26am arriving 5:10pm, then Zermatt to Bern @5:37pm arriving 7:54pm or later train after dinner at Zermatt

Dec 28 – Bern to Gruyere @8:34am arriving 9:59am, tour andlunch, leave for Broc @12:58pm arriving 1:24pm, leave for Bern @4:36pm arriving 5:51pm to catch the end of the Christmas Market in old town which I believe is closing @7pm

Dec 29 - Bern to Lucerne, late train from Lucerne to Zurich

Dec 30 – A day in Zurich: Zuri west, coffee shops, …

Dec 31 – Early morning flight back to the US

My questions are:

1. For Dec 26 in Chur, if we would like to have the convenience to catch the Glacier Express the next day, which area should I look into for accommodation?

2. For Dec 27, I am deciding whether I should ride the Glacier Express to Zermatt . When entering Zermatt via Glacier Express, is there a view of the Matterhorn on the train going in considering sunset is at 4:50pm? Is Zermatt at night not to miss in addition to the 150 years first ascent of the Matterhorn in 2015?

3. Also for Dec 27, If I choose option (a) from Chur to Visp arriving @3:53pm, can I make it to the 3:57pm train to Bern?

4. For Dec 29, if we want to do 1 or 2 things in Bern in the morning before leaving for Lucerne, what would be your recommendations?

5. Also For Dec 29, if we would like to see the Chapel bridge, Lion Monument, Paddle steamer, cog-wheel to Mt Rigi. Roughly how much time should we budget?

6. We would not want to miss the paddle streamer and cog wheel train in Switzerland. If we run out of time on Dec 29, is Zurich also a good choice for these activities?

7. My college age son and daughter would love to explore the hipster side of Switzerland and believe Zurich is the city especially in Zuri West. They also love coffee shops and jazz/alternate music. Any recommendations?

We all look forward to your recommendations to finalize our itinerary. Thank you so much!

-Linda

Last modified on Nov 18, 2015 - 6:08 AM by lylyip
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2659 posts
expert
Nov 18, 2015 - 5:11 PM in reply to lylyip

<<"4. For Dec 29, if we want to do 1 or 2 things in Bern in the morningbefore leaving for Lucerne, what would be your recommendations?5.Also For Dec 29, if we would like to see the Chapel bridge, LionMonument, Paddle steamer, cog-wheel to Mt Rigi. Roughly how much timeshould we budget?">>

That is a very very full day.

I'll comment on the in-city part of # 5 first.

If you walk from the main station to the Lion, pause to glance at the Kapellbrücke but do not walk over and cross it, look at the lion for 5 minutes, walk back to the main station, ignore all the other things to see which will tempt you, it will take 35-40 minutes.

If you actually walk across the Kapellbrüccke in stead of just looking over at it, at 7 minutes. If you decide to take a few pictures, make that 10- 12 minutes.

If that is what you do, you will miss the some of the best parts of Luzern - the old town, the Bourbaki Panorama, and the interior of the Jesuit Church for three examples.

#5 - Rigi part -

Use the timetable to time the lake boat to Vitznau and the cograil up to Rigi Kulm, then come down the same way or, instead, return via Arth-Goldau and on to Zürich.

The trip to the top of Rigi from Luzern will take one hour and 41 or 42 minutes through Vitznau. There are two routes in the timetable. On uses a train to Küssnacht, then a bus to Vitznau. The other use a boat direct to Vitznau.

Only certain ones of the lake boats are paddle wheelers. Probably, the best way to find which ones is to use the lake boat timetable:

www.lakelucerne.ch/fil eadmin/lakelucerne/con tent/Dokumente_Downloa ds_PDF/01_Fahrplan-Preise/01_Fahrplan/Sai sonaler_Fahrplan/2016/ Fahrplan_Winter_2015_2 016.pdf

I have studied it, and the footnotes on page 2 of the link, which are in English. As far as i can tell, no steam boats (which are the paddle wheelers) run in the winter. If they do, it might be on a Sunday.

You'd better look at the schedules for your self to be sure.

If you wish to spend even a few minutes atop the Rigi, you will have to allow a delay for the return, while you look around, have a coffee, and wait for the next departure. Without checking, I remember that the departure will be in about 5-10 minutes after the arrival (same train) or after one hour (next train). I'd plan on 4 1/2 to 5 hours Luzern- to Rigi Kulm to Luzern or to Zürich. Boat schedules are somewhat limited, and may control your timing.

Frequent train service from Bern to Luzern takes from 1 hour to one hour and one half. Add 20 minutes to get to the luggage office if you take your luggage with you, and to leave it there, while you walk through Luzern.

Last departure from Rigi Kulm to Arth Goldau is at 1804, takes one hour and 37 minutes to Luzern.

If you go instead via A-G to to Zürich, which has excellent connections from Arth Goldau, you will require 1 hr 47 minutes.

At Arth Goldau, there is a7-10 minute walk.

You will have to deal with your luggage all day if you use this route. The cograil trains are small, but there is some space for luggage on board.

The train system will transport luggage, but you would have to look a t the service availaibility and cost if you watn to send luggage from Bern to Zürich. You also have to watch closing hours at Zürich baggage office.

All of that is explained in the SBB web site, but will take a little digging. I don't know if you can get one day service for luggage transfer from Bern to Zürich, but there is good chance they have it available now.

I'll look it up.

I just looked up Fast Baggage and you can get the service for same day delivery. Check this link:www.sbb.ch/en/station-services/services/bagg age/fast-baggage.html

Price is 22 CHF per item.

Luggage office in Zürich closes at 1945 on mondays:

www.sbb.ch/en/station-services/am-bahnhof/railway-stations/bahnhof-finden.posid.3000.html ?WT.ac=service-zh-en

It is possible to do what you have suggested in #4 and #5.

ihave used the rail system services, lake boats, cograils extensively, and i know the locations, connecting sites, where the luggage offices are. I would definitely be able to do it with no trouble. (Except that I think the lake boat will be a "regular" diesel-powered one.) Iwould have to be very careful about my connections, and each and every step of the process. I would not do it if i wanted to see and enjoy any part of the in-city walks.

If you are not experienced in the Swiss Travel System, you have created an extremely complex and stressful process. Especially if your teenagers act like teenagers. Not having luggage with you would make a substantial difference, but you still will feel pushed by the time table. At each step where you connec tor transfer, you will have to find your way in a short time. Luggage transfer will be 22 CHF for each piece of luggage.

If that is what you want to do, that is certainly your choice. It will be a wonderful exercise in using the travel system.

I invite Arno or Annika to correct me, rfine my comments, or offer additional options or ways to make it easier. I've given the best advice that I know how to give. However, each person has there own wants and needs, and advice is not always relevant.

Sorry - did not have time to tackle the rest of your queries. #4 and # 5 caught my eye as I read your itinerary.

Slowpoke.

PS - Oh yes, the 28th looks workable now. Especially if you are staying in Bern near the center of town where the markets will likely be.

Last modified on Nov 18, 2015 - 7:07 PM by Slowpoke
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2659 posts
expert
Nov 18, 2015 - 7:10 PM in reply to lylyip

Hi Lilyip -

Re: #7

I asked a friend, who, unfortunately, is about as old as I am.

Here is what he answered when I sent him your qyestion #7.

<<"Our daughter lived in that area and loved it.We have visited there several times the “Schiffbauhalle” for theaters and its restaurant & bar. At the same place there are also concerts that might be something for the younger generation:

www.moods.ch/#month1 But we know very little about the club scene in that area. There is probably something for all tastes.

A calendar of events I found here: www.kulturmeile.ch/eve ntkalender.php">>

For what it is worth..

Slowpoke

lylyip
lylyip
4 posts
new member
Nov 19, 2015 - 1:38 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi slowpoke,

Many thanks to your prompt reply and excellent information!

For Dec 28, yes we are staying in old town only a few minutes walk from the market. However, as we are getting out of the mode of rushing from place to place on Dec 28, looks like we are repeating the problem on Dec 29. I definitely need to revise my itinerary in Lucerne.

Thanks again for your Zurich West and music information.

lylyip

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2659 posts
expert
Nov 19, 2015 - 2:07 AM in reply to lylyip

Linda - regarding #6-

www.zsg.ch/en/home-english.html gives the information about boats on Lake Zürich ( der Zürchersee)

Somewhere i their you can find information about paddle wheel steamers. I did not see it on a quick look, but it must be there. Unlikely to have a paddle wheeler in the winter.

I do not recall any cograil travel from Zürich, or in the near vicinity. There are funiculars.

As far as I can remember, the nearest are near Luzern,

Hope Arno or Annika can correct me.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Nov 19, 2015 - 2:08 AM by Slowpoke
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2659 posts
expert
Nov 19, 2015 - 2:12 AM in reply to lylyip

<<"For Dec 28, yes we are staying in old town only a few minutes walk from the market. However, as we are getting out of the mode of rushing from place to place on Dec 28, looks like we are repeating the problem on Dec29. I definitely need to revise my itinerary in Lucerne.">>

If you want to do a cograil, your best be is to go up on the Rigi.

Skip the walks in Luzern and Bern.

However, if you work the timetable, you may find a way to do more than one of the items you mention.

Good luck.

Slowpoke

(Oh , yes. Another option - double the length of your stay in Switzerland. ;-) )

Arno
Arno
7728 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 19, 2015 - 7:56 AM

There are no cogwheel trains near Zurich that I know of. If there is one, it will be a short ride and not comparable to Mount Rigi for example. There are no "real" mountains close to Zurich, just hills, so things get a bit less spectacular there.

You won't see much of the Matterhorn from the train to Zermatt. You can see part of it from the station square, but you need to get into town for a good view. The view is better from high terrain out of town.

These websites about Zurich might be helpful: www.im-viadukt.ch, www.zuerich.com/en/ visit/food-drinks-restaurants-bars-and-nightlife-zurich.

lylyip
lylyip
4 posts
new member
Nov 19, 2015 - 9:29 AM in reply to Arno

Thank you Slowpoke and Arno!

With the inputs about seeing the Matterhorn and judging the winter schedule of Glacier Express and the sunset time, looks like we would likely NOT be able to have any view of the Matterhorn in the evening if we decided to continue the ride from Visp to Zermatt.

I am incline to take option (a) for Dec 27:

(a) Chur to Visp @ 11:26am arriving @3:53pm, then Visp to Bern @3:57pm arriving 4:54pm (Enough time to catch the Christmas Market)

And put Zermatt and Matterhorn on my future itinerary. :-( [The more I research about Switzerland, the more I wish I could double my stay in Switzerland!]

For Dec 29 in Lucerne, I am looking into Mt Rigi; however, the timetable only shows the date up to Dec 12, 2015 for both Arth Goldau and Weggis.

www.rigi.ch/Resources/ Reiseinformationen/Fah rplan/Goldau_2015

www.rigi.ch/Resources/ Reiseinformationen/Fah rplan/Weggis_2015

Does that mean, there will be no train up Mt Rigi after Dec 12?

And which route Arth Goldau or Weggis would you recommend?

Thanks!

Arno
Arno
7728 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 19, 2015 - 10:08 AM in reply to lylyip

Hi lylyip,

There are trains up to Mount Rigi all year round. Please see the timetable link in Slowpoke's first post. Normally one goes up via Arth-Goldau and down via Weggis or Vitznau in order to see the whole area. The Rigi page Annika linked to explains it all.

There's always much more to see than time allows. Hopefully you'll be able to come back for more!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2659 posts
expert
Nov 20, 2015 - 1:03 AM in reply to lylyip

<<"And which route Arth Goldau or Weggis would you recommend?">>

Please read my earlier post.

The choice of route depends not only the scenic aspects implied in Arno's reply, but, also, on whether you are going directly on to Zürich from the Rigi, , or back to Luzern.

And, whether you wish to include a boat trip in the circuit.

Once you make those two decisions, the rest is easy. Don't forget your luggage. ;-)

Slowpoke

Last modified on Nov 20, 2015 - 1:03 AM by Slowpoke

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