Planning a 5d/4n alpine train trip to Switzerland?

Planning a 5d/4n alpine train trip to Switzerland?

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firstvisit
firstvisit
4 posts
new member
Apr 29, 2016 - 3:32 AM

Dear friends,

I'm visiting Switzerland for the first time in August 2016 and my main objective to admire its alps. I intend to do a 5d/4n trip.

1. I'm travelling from London (UK). Which is the best way to get into Switzerland - by air? Which is the best port of entry - Zurich?

2. I saw in this website that there is a 3-day Glacier Express Tour. Is the Glacier Express ride a part of the Swiss Travel Pass? Or do we need to buy a ticket for Glacier Express and another ticket for the Swiss Travel Pass? How does the seat reservation work?

3. Is the following itinerary practical?

Day 1: Arrive at Zurich in the morning. Tour Zurich and and stay overnight in Zurich.

Day 2: Catch a train from Zurich to Zermatt in the early morning. Stay overnight in Zermatt.

Day 3: Catch Glacier Express from Zermatt to St Moritz. Stay overnight in St Moritz.

Day 4: Catch a train from St Moritz to Davos. Tour Davos and stay overnight in Davos.

Day 5: Catch a train from Davos to Zurich International Airport.

I appreciate if anyone could offer me advice.

Thank you :)

Arno
Arno
7723 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 29, 2016 - 5:19 PM

Hi firstvisit, thanks for posting here!

1. By air is certainly an option, by train is another option (Eurostar to Paris, TGV Lyria to Switzerland). The point of entry depends on your travel plans. By plane Geneva or Zurich can work, by train Geneva or Basel.

2. The sample itinerary also includes a "shopping list" with the items you need to book. The Glacier Express is included in the Swiss Travel Pass. You only need the pass and a seat reservation, not a ticket. The shopping links to the right sites to book this.

3. If you have 5 days I would personally not move to a different town every day, and I would skip Zurich but include Lucerne: closer to the mountains and a very nice town for first timers.

  • Day 1: travel to Lucerne. No need to go through Zurich if you arrive by train;
  • Day 2: Golden Pass line to Interlaken, from there to Zermatt;
  • Day 3: Glacier Express;
  • Day 4: Day trip from St. Moritz (hiking, mountain top visit, etc.)
  • Day 5: By train via Zuoz - Sagliains - Klosters - Landquart to Zurich.

The various links provide lots of additional information. I hope this was useful!

firstvisit
firstvisit
4 posts
new member
May 13, 2016 - 9:12 AM in reply to Arno

Thank you Arno.

If you don't mind, could you please list further details of your suggestion?

F0r example,

  • Day 1: travel to Lucerne. No need to go through Zurich if you arrive by train (where do I catch the train, and what time do I arrive at Lucerne?)
  • Day 2: Golden Pass line to Interlaken, from there to Zermatt (where do I catch the line, what time do I arrive at Interlaken, when do I arrive at Zermatt?)
  • Day 3: Glacier Express (where do I catch it, and when do I arrive at St Moritz?)
  • Day 4: Day trip from St. Moritz (hiking, mountain top visit, etc.)
  • Day 5: By train via Zuoz - Sagliains - Klosters - Landquart to Zurich (where and when do I catch the train, and when do I reach Zurich Airport?)

I know it is a lot of information that I am demanding, please take your time to reply.

Thanks :)

Arno
Arno
7723 posts
expert &
moderator
May 13, 2016 - 9:40 AM in reply to firstvisit

Hi firstvisit,

You can find all train schedules in the timetable. That's the easiest and quickest way to answer the above questions. Please read the linked page carefully as it also explains how the timetable works.

Swiss Travel Pass details are here.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
May 13, 2016 - 10:25 PM in reply to firstvisit

Hi firsvisit...

I remember my first visit and was amazed by the Swiss travel system and the scenery...in 1980.

Your itinerary will definitely do what you intend.

You have, however, skipped the single most impressive alpine region in Switzerland, and, perhaps in Europe.

In no way do I suggest that your plans will not meet your objectives, and be very enjoyable..

However, if I were doing it, I'd spend time near the Jungfrau.

www.myswissalps.com/ju ngfrauregion

Slowpoke

Last modified on May 13, 2016 - 11:18 PM by Slowpoke
firstvisit
firstvisit
4 posts
new member
May 14, 2016 - 11:31 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Dear Slowpoke,

Thank you so much! I checked out the Jungfrau region in the Internet after reading your message and indeed it is mesmerizing.

Please see if my new itinerary below will be practical:

  • Day 1: In the morning, travel from Zurich Airport to Lucerne. Day tour and spend one night in Lucerne (as suggested by Arno above).
  • Days 2-4: Travel from Lucerne to Interlaken in the morning. Tour Interlaken, Grindelwald, Murren, Wengen and Jungfraujoch for the rest of the trip.
  • Day 5: Depart from Interlaken to Zurich Airport in the afternoon.

Alternatively, do you think skipping Lucerne and spending my entire trip in the Jungfrau region might be better? Five days in Switzerland is not enough to see even 5% of this beautiful country, and I will do anything that is pragmatic. Looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks a lot :)

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
May 14, 2016 - 1:38 PM in reply to firstvisit

Hi firstvisit-

I'm of two minds about your new itinerary. It is very good as is, but you might want to get a little bit more than half a day in Luzern.-

It is a really good idea to spend more than one day in the Jungfrau region. That allows extra time in case the weather is too cloudy to enjoy the area, so that you might have a contingency plan. I might visit Bern, for example as one contingency....about a 1 hour frequent train ride from Interlaken.

2.- Luzern is a wonderful place as well. So, I'd maybe stretch your time there a little bit, and travel to Interlaken and, for example, Wengen, in the mid afternoon. If it fits, a lake boat ride on Lake Lucerne is really nice, but the best part ( the southern end) is perhaps out of reach for you. ( see my photos in the following link, toward the end.)

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/the-swiss-path-and-southern-lake-lucerne

I'd also adjust the Luzern to Interlaken transition if the weather in the Jungfrau region is really bad or Note however, that Swiss weather is full of microclimates due to the mountains, and I've seen thick fog and clouds in the AM turn almost instantly into sunshine...or, vice versa. That can be dramatic near the Jungfrau, and als, can be different up high from down in the valleys.

Attached screen grab done for someone else shows typical Luzern to Lauterrbrunnen trains. The Luzern -Interlaken express is that portion of the Golden pass route.

Local train stations, tourist offices and hotel receptions can help on that. There may be webcams in train stations at tourist offices, for example.

Slowpoke

Since you'll not be jet-lagged from your short flight, you should be able to enjoy a good part of Day 1 and 1/2 to 2/3 of day 2 in and around Luzern.

Not sure when you get into Zürich Flughafen.

It is a fast airport for Schengen passports; you might not even have to go through passport control, since you arrive from a Schengen country.

You'll have your luggage quickly, and the train station is just across the street. Free luggage carts available in the Arrivals bgage claim area go up and down escalators (don't pile your luggage on too high...it might tip off on the escalators) , and there are what we in these former colonies call elevators, known as lifts in the UK, ;-) . With hand luggage, I've made it to the train on flights from Amsterdam in well under 30 minutes - even 20 minutes -from the time the plane door opened. Depends on where your plane stops and parks.

Please use the time table for train travel.

There are two trains per hour from the airport to Luzern. One goes through Zürich with no change of trains- departs at xx47. The other has a change of trains at Zürich, departs at xx18. Those come in on a lower level at track 32, usually, and the connection to tracks on the main level (for Luzern...tracks 3-18) might be tight. If so, there are other services to Luzern, and you can always wait for the next train coming through a half hour later ...the one that left Zürich Flughafen at xx47.

Slowpoke

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Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
May 15, 2016 - 2:17 PM in reply to firstvisit

Hi firstvisit-

This is an afterthought about my comments on Zürich Airport.

Apparently, the UK is not a party to the Schengen treaty.

Just caught that in a post by Alpenrose.

So, you will likely go through pass control at Zürich.

Add 10 minutes or so.

Slowpoke

firstvisit
firstvisit
4 posts
new member
May 21, 2016 - 7:08 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Dear Slowpoke,

Sorry for this late reply. Work has been hectic.

I'm truly grateful for your sincere concern and interest in my first trip to Switzerland. People here are just amazing individuals. The rapport among strangers who share the same interest in Switzerland is incredible.

  • Day 1: I will land at Zurich Airport around 12.30pm. After that, I will travel to Lucerne. Plan to take the boat cruise around 2 or 3pm.
  • Day 2: Continue touring Lucerne. Then, travel to Interlaken in the late afternoon. Upon reaching Interlaken, take dinner and tour the town.
  • Days 3 and 4: Visit Murren, Wengen, Jungfraujoch and other nearby attractions as much as we can.
  • Day 5: Travel to Zurich before noon. Lunch and dinner in Zurich. Short tour of the city before flight to London at 7.30pm.

I realise that five days is too short, but I will make the best of my short stay in Jungfrau Region this round. Based on the photos of Switzerland, I'm pretty sure I'll make more trips in the near future to cover other regions.

Thanks!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
May 21, 2016 - 7:45 AM in reply to firstvisit

Hi FirstVisit-

To save time when you get to Luzern, and because boat schedules are not frequent, you may wish to leave your luggage at the station. Lockers are way out beside track #1, and there are not a whole lot of large ones. They require CHF coins....maybe 6 or 9 CHF , depending on size..

There is a left luggage office, but I'm not sure where it is, because they have just moved a whole bunch of station services from the lower level to the balcony.

Follow the signs.

If you land at 1230, you'll be very lucky to be in Luzern at 1400. You'd have to catch a 1247 train. Might make the 1318 if you have only carry on luggage and everything works well. That will get you there at 1425 That train has a change in Zürich main station.

More likely, you will catch the direct train at 1347. Grab a bite in the food court on the top ( ground) level of the train station, perhaps. That will get you to Luzern at 1449. You will be about 3-5 minutes from the boat landing. It is across the plaza from the main entrances to the station, past the bus platforms.

There are boats at 1512, 1612, 1712 in August, with some variations for weekends.

www.lakelucerne.ch/fil eadmin/lakelucerne/con tent/Dokumente_Downloa ds_PDF/01_Fahrplan-Preise/01_Fahrplan/Sai sonaler_Fahrplan/2016/ Fahrplan_Sommer_2016_N EU_Tellsplatte.pdf

The one at 1512 goes all the way to Flüelen at the southern end of the lake arriving at at 1809. The one at 1712 goes to Vitznau....gets there at 1809, returns at 1811 gets back at 1906.. I have not looked carefully at the time table. to consider the others. You may wish to return by bus or train from some of them; check the various stops in the timetable and the map:

map.search.ch/?x=13592m&y=20624m&z=8& poi=bergbahn,haltestel le,zug (in that link I have turned on the public transport stops by using the menu under Points of Interest/ Traffic.)

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

Slowpoke

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