hiking in april and other itinerary Qs

hiking in april and other itinerary Qs

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ssr123
ssr123
7 posts
new member
Jan 9, 2015 - 3:32 AM

Hello,
I had previously posted with our initial itinerary and appreciate the help. I am looking for your suggestions with the revised itinerary below and the questions following that:

Day 1: From Paris, we will be arriving via train to Interlaken. Stroll around interlaken. Maybe visit Lake Thun
Day 2: Visit Schilthorn
Day 3: Go to Lucerne via golden pass, visit transportation museum and Mt. Rigi,
Day 4: Go to Berne
Day 5: Visit Thun or hike in the valley or visit a castle
Day 6: Leave early in the morning to Brig to catch the direct train to Venice

We are 2 adults and 2 kids (7yrs & 2 yrs) traveling in the first week of April. Our kids have not experienced snow at all. We are hoping to see one or two museums, take a kid friendly short hike in the valley and visit a castle. We want to modify the itinerary further based on your suggestions/advice for the following Qs. Also this is our first trip to Europe.

1. Is Interlaken a good base for our above itinerary.? We looked online and found hotel Rosseli with availability which is in Interlaken west. Not sure if that is a good choice. We are open to suggestions. We are looking for triple or quadruple rooms.
2. We want to visit a castle. Can you please suggest one in the Oberland area. If not, should we go on Day 5 to Montreux and visit Chillon castle and take the direct train to Venice from Montreux the next day.
3. Can you suggest a scenic kid friendly hiking spot in the interlaken area which is probably not covered totally in snow. Is there any waterfall in the area which might be open during the first week of April?
4. Can you suggest one or two museums preferably covered by our swiss travel pass suitable for kids?
5. What is the best way to reach Rigi without overwhelming the children.?
6. Regarding swiss flex travel pass, will it make sense to buy for 4 days to cover from day 2-5 and buy tickets directly for the other two days.or should we buy swiss travel card ? Also is there a site which has e-ticket options (printable at home)
7. On sbb.ch, while looking for tickets, I noticed there is an option to select reduction/discounts. What should we choose if we have swiss flexi travel pass? GA? I didn't see swiss travel pass there.. Can we buy tgv tickets from paris and the train to Venice on sbb.ch or is there a better option.
8. Can we use euros or should we get swiss francs? We are thinking of using the ATM in paris to withdraw some euros.I guess we can do the same in Interlaken area too?
9. One major concern we have is that we will be there during good friday and easter. Will establishments (for sightseeing or eating) be open?

I apologize for a lot of Qs. I appreciate your help!

Thanks.

Arno
Arno
7722 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 9, 2015 - 8:46 PM
Hi ssr123,

Let's go straight to your questions:

1. Interlaken is not particularly scenic, but fits your itinerary very well because it's centrally located and offers good train connections to all the towns on your list.

2. Chillon castle is quite a long trip from Interlaken, but you can combine the visit with a trip on the southern leg of the Golden Pass line. Castles much closer are in Spiez, Hilterfingen and Oberhofen, but only the one in Spiez will be open in April.

3. All hikes are listed here. The ones below 1000 to 1500 m could be clear of snow, but please check with the tourist office beforehand. Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg and Grütschalp to Mürren (very scenic, there's probably still snow but it will be cleared) should be fine.

4. The Swiss Museum of Transport is excellent, so you're right to put it on your list. You will get a 50% discount with your Swiss Travel Pass. Other options are the JungfrauPark (not included) and the Open-Air Museum (free, but only open from April 11).

5. I'm not sure what you mean. All details about the trip are here: myswissalps.com/rigi.

6. Which pass is best depends on your exact itinerary (e.g. whether you go to Chillon Castle or not). Once you know that, you can do the math as explained here. Print at home will be offered soon, but not I'm not sure when exactly. You don't necessarily need that though, as you can simply get it delivered for free via raileurope.com/rail-tickets-passes/swiss-pass.

7. You can buy the other tickets along with your pass on the above website. All you need is tickets from Paris to Basel, and Domodossola (Italy) to Venice. Everything between Basel and Domodossola is included in the pass, so you don't need tickets there. This topic is useful too.

8. You need Swiss francs, please see here.

9. In general, shops will be closed during Good Friday and Easter (not on Saturday though). It varies for restaurants. Tourist attractions are open, but do check before you go. Please note that many cable cars will be closed in April, as it's a transition season between Winter and Summer.

Did this help you out?
ssr123
ssr123
7 posts
new member
Jan 21, 2015 - 6:46 AM in reply to Arno
Thanks for the detailed response. Regarding getting a ticket to interlaken from Paris, I will buy the ticket to Basel and will it be alright to buy the Basel to Interlaken at the station?
Arno
Arno
7722 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 21, 2015 - 8:10 AM

Hi ssr123,

Indeed, you need a ticket to Basel. For traveling within Switzerland, I was under the impression you were going to get a Swiss Travel Pass or Swiss Travel Pass Flex. If you do, you do not need a ticket for the leg Basel - Interlaken, because the pass covers it. Mount Rigi is free too with the pass by the way. Note that passes are a lot cheaper online right now as compared to prices in Switzerland (please see this topic). See here for online prices, and here to compare all purchase options. The ticket from Paris to Basel can be booked on the same website here.

I hope this makes sense. If not, just let me know.

ssr123
ssr123
7 posts
new member
Jan 21, 2015 - 7:05 PM in reply to Arno

Arno

We are thinking of getting the swiss travel flexi pass for 4 days which will not cover the day we arrive and the day we leave. Thats why I wanted to know if I can buy basel-Interlaken ticket after arriving in Basel or does it also need to be bought beforehand.

Btw when we are using the pass, do we just show it when we enter the station and proceed on any train that is covered? Or should we show the pass and get a ticket before boarding?

Thanks for all your help!

Arno
Arno
7722 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 22, 2015 - 7:32 AM

Hi ssr123,

I see! It's no problem to get domestic Swiss train tickets at the station. There's no need to buy in advance.

If you use the pass you don't need a ticket and you don't need to show it at the station. Just board the train and present it to the ticket controller upon request.

Be sure to do the math. An 8-day Swiss Travel Pass is more expensive than a 4-day Swiss Travel Pass Flex, but if you add full priced tickets Basel - Interlaken and Interlaken - Brig (more than CHF 100), that's no longer the case. And the flex pass does not provide any discounts on the days between the free travel days, unless you add the Swiss Half Fare Card. The pages below provide all the details:

Last modified on Jan 22, 2015 - 7:32 AM by Arno
ssr123
ssr123
7 posts
new member
Feb 4, 2015 - 4:00 PM in reply to Arno

Arno,

Thanks for the advice. While doing the math for the passes, I have a Q about just the half fare card (w/o travel pass). On the site it says kids get a family card and travel free, however on sbb if I chose half fare card for adults, the kid still gets charged for 50%. Is that right or am I doing something wrong?

Thanks!

Arno
Arno
7722 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 4, 2015 - 4:54 PM

Hi ssr123,

There's no need to book anything on the SBB website. You can get your Swiss Half Fare Cards and Swiss Family Card here from Rail Europe US for a low price, or here through the Swiss Railways webshop (a bit more expensive, but there are no shipping costs as you can print the cards at home if you choose the Online Ticket option). Buying from the US site makes sense, as you also need tickets from Paris to Basel and Domodossola to Venice, and they sell those as well. Please see here for more about that.

That's all. Once in Switzerland, you simply buy tickets at half the fare from a machine or staffed desk, and you don't need to buy anything for the children.

Last modified on Feb 4, 2015 - 4:55 PM by Arno
ssr123
ssr123
7 posts
new member
Feb 5, 2015 - 4:43 PM in reply to Arno

Arno,

I am sorry I didnt mean to say SBB. On Rail Europe site, www.raileurope.com/activities/swiss-half-fare-card/index.html, when I add 2 adults and 1 child, I get charged for three (no family card). But in the other website you had mentioned (Swiss Railways) I am able to get 2 adults and 1 family card.

Btw, we are thinking of going to the chocolate factory in Broc-Fabrique. Will it be possible to take the golden pass train till a certain distance (one way) and take another train to Broc. Will Boltigen be a good station to get off?We can go via Berne on one way.

Thanks for all your prompt responses and help. I greatly appreciate it.

Arno
Arno
7722 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 5, 2015 - 6:24 PM

Hi ssr123,

I'm glad to help! I now see what you mean. They offered the Swiss Family Card before, I'm not sure why they don't at the moment. I think it's a technical issue and I will discuss it with them. Anyway, you can simply buy the cards for the adults. You will receive a free Swiss Family Card when you show the adult cards at the ticket counter of any Swiss station.

You can travel on the Golden Pass line until Montbovon and take a train bound for Bulle from there. The timetable will show you the details.

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