Is my itinerary possible? 15 days in September

Is my itinerary possible? 15 days in September

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babybab
babybab
17 posts
new member
Feb 16, 2016 - 2:43 AM

Hi, we are 2 seniors visiting Switzerland from 31st August to 15 September. We will be arriving via Zurich. We intend to do the travelling using the rail so we will purchase the 15 day continuous Swiss Travel Pass. We are interested in visiting the major cities like Zurich, Basel, Lucerne, Bern, Lausanne, Biel/Bienne, Geneva, Interlaken. We also want to do the Glacier Express, the Bernina Express and the Golden Pass Line. We also want to visit the Jungfraujoch, ride the cogwheel train and a funicular. We are also very much interested in visiting museums, churches, cathedrals, the chocolate train etc. We need to know how to go to Jungfraujoch.

My initial itinerary is this:

  • Day 1 - Zurich (2 nights)
  • Day 3 Basel (1 night)
  • Day 4 Lucerne (1 night)
  • Day 6 Bern (1 night)
  • Day 7 Lausanne (1 night)
  • Day 8 Geneva (1 night)
  • Day 9 Zermatt (2 nights)
  • Day 22 St Moritz (2 nights), Tirano to Milan and Milan to Venice (2 nights)

However, travelling from Tirano to Venice will involve long travel (21 hours) and too many train changes. This made me think that my planning is not good. I found out that we can reach Venice direct in 6 hours if we travel from Geneva. Now I wonder whether I should change my itinerary completely. Should we do the Glacier Express and Bernian Express and Golden Pass early on the trip?

If we stick to my original plan, is there a train we can take from Tirano to Geneva? We can then take a direct train from Geneva to Venice.

Thank you so much for any advice you can give us. Sorry for a very long Post.

babybab

Arno
Arno
7727 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 16, 2016 - 6:52 AM

Hi babybab, welcome to MySwissAlps!

A few tips for you:

  • Most people focus on the Swiss Alps, and explore the cities as side trips or when the weather doesn't allow mountain trips. If you want to focus on cities that's fine, but this approach usually works better. The cities are wonderful, but the true beauty is in the Alps.
  • If you pick less base towns you will be much more flexible and save time. If you stay in Lucerne, for example, you can easily do day trips into the Alps, but also to Zurich, Basel and Bern. Switching hotels typically takes at least half a day off of your precious sightseeing time.
  • There's not much to see in the town of Interlaken. It's the surrounding Jungfrau region that is worth your time.
  • Tirano to Venice takes less than 6 hours. The correct timetable is here. Italian train for September may not be included yet. If you check for a closer date you can assume identical times in September.
  • Please find all Swiss Travel Pass details here.
Last modified on Feb 16, 2016 - 6:52 AM by Arno
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Feb 16, 2016 - 9:27 AM in reply to babybab

Hi Babybab-

In addition to what Arno said, you might find some value in the forum section on trip planning.

www.myswissalps.com/ge ttingstarted

and -

www.myswissalps.com/re gions

Slowpoke

babybab
babybab
17 posts
new member
Feb 17, 2016 - 1:21 AM in reply to Arno

To Arno

Thank you so much for some very good tips J. They are very much appreciated.

I hope you have not misunderstood us. Far from it, we love to experience the Alps, not just the cities. That’s the reason I put Interlaken in there. We want to take a boat trip to Lake Thun and maybe take a funicular afterwards. And from Interlaken Ost for a trip up the Jungfraujoch.

I will take your advice and use Lucern as our base.

You are right, Tirano to Venice takes less than 6 hours. As you suggested I checked a closer date 01 June 2016. Timetable says trains will run run daily until 11 June 2016. So it seems that there is no

timetable yet from 12 June 2016.

Just 2 more questions:

1. What does it mean 5 min walk from Tirano to Tirano FS?

2. If we purchase a first class Swiss Travel Pass, does it mean we will always get first class seats on

trains and boats and maybe bus?

Thanks.

babybab

babybab
babybab
17 posts
new member
Feb 17, 2016 - 1:23 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Slowpoke

Thank you very much for replying to my post.

I find those 2 links very helpful and informative. Now I don't feel lost :-).

Thanks, babybab

Arno
Arno
7727 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 17, 2016 - 7:28 AM in reply to babybab

Hi babybab,

  1. You'll have to walk from the Swiss station across a square to the Italian station. It's a very short walk, no big deal.
  2. Yes, on all trains except some cogwheel trains to mountain tops, and most boats. Not in buses. Please see here. All Swiss Travel Pass details (what's included, how it works and where to best buy) can be found through myswissalps.com/ swisstravelpass.
Last modified on Feb 17, 2016 - 7:28 AM by Arno
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Feb 17, 2016 - 9:30 AM in reply to babybab

Hi Babybab -

You have picked a good time to travel.

September is my favorite month - best chances for good weather (but, no promises. ;-) )

<<"Far from it, we love to experience the Alps, not just the cities.">>

You may find this interesting, and it might give you some ideas about the area around the Jungfrau:

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

Kim is quite thorough and very knowledgeable. You could spend many days exploring the region.

www.mappery.com/map-of/Jungfrau-Grindelwald-region-summer-map

<<"We are also very much interested in visiting museums, churches, cathedrals, the chocolate train etc. We need to know how to go to Jungfraujoch.">>

You will find some nice churches and cathedrals, although I don't recall cathedrals on the scale of Yorkminster. ;-).

One of the nicest cathedrals to visit is in St. Gall:

www.myswitzerland.com/ en-us/unesco-world-heritage-abbey-precints-of-stgallen.html

www.myswitzerland.com/ en-us/collegiate-library-stgallen-stgallen.html

The Jesuit Church in Luzern has a wonderful setting by the river, and has an impressive interior. 5 minutes from the main station. See attached image. I was lucky to have a fairly clear view of Pilatus in 2005 when I took that ; at dawn it is often hazy.

Museums:

www.myswitzerland.com/ en-us/attractions-museums.html

Also in Luzern are the Rosengart Collection, specializing in Klee's and Picasso's works, mostly:

www.rosengart.ch/museu m_rosengart_en.php5

which is 3 minutes walk from the main station,

and a small Picasso museum that we liked, in the old city about 5-10 minutes from the main station:

www.galenfrysinger.com /switzerland_luzern_pi casso_museum.htm

More:

www.luzern.com/en/muse ums

There are too many to name individually, but special ones include the Beyeler in Base, the Rietberg in Zürich, and Römerholz in Winterthur:

www.bundesmuseen.ch/ro emerholz/

A powerful collection. ( A note- the small restaurant in this museum has nice, but short menu, with good food. They seem to take a long time to prepare even the simplest items on the menu, so don't plan on "fast food" here. ;-)

Slowpoke

Last modified on Feb 17, 2016 - 9:36 AM by Slowpoke
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babybab
babybab
17 posts
new member
Feb 17, 2016 - 11:21 PM in reply to Arno

HI Arno, I am so grateful for your reply. It seems to me it is sensible to just get a 2nd class STP although my husband has always wanted everything 1st class. I will see if I can persuade him to go 2nd class this time. Thanks so much :-).

babybab

babybab
babybab
17 posts
new member
Feb 17, 2016 - 11:29 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Slowpoke, Omg, that photo is sooooooooooo beautiful. I hope we will get the chance to see the Jesuit Church. My husband attended a school run by Jesuit priests when he was young so I am sure he would be very delighted to visit this church.

I am so excited to explore all the links you sent. Will let you know in my next post. Thank you so very much.

babybab

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Feb 18, 2016 - 12:06 AM in reply to babybab

<<"I am so excited to explore all the links you sent. Will let you know in my next post. Thank you so very much.">>

Have fun. there is a lot more in Switzerland, consistent with your interests.

If we do our job well here, you will have too much to see, and will plan another visit. ;-)

Just joking. But there is a lot to do and see.

I've visited Switzerland, on business and for pleasure, more than 80 or 90 times since 1980. ;-)

Still going back.

Slowpoke

babybab
babybab
17 posts
new member
Feb 19, 2016 - 2:21 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Thanks Slowpoke. I've learned so much from the links you sent. Most specially Kim's article. Can't believe it's been 36 years since you first visited Switzerland. And you keep on going back after about 90 visits. Switzerland must be a fascinating country. Can't wait to visit it.

Thanks once again for all the information.

Cheers, babybab

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Feb 19, 2016 - 8:35 AM in reply to babybab

<<"And you keep on going back after about 90 visits.">>

Well, some years i only went twice. ;-)

Maybe closer to 80 than 90.

I have made some good friends, and the cuntry is a pleasure to visit because thingsin general work very well and with well planned eficiency.

I also enjoy watching the practice of possibly the purest democracy in the world.

direct-democracy.geschichte-schweiz.ch/

Luckily, I still remember a useful amount of my German from high school and college, so I can almost read some of the newspapers with a common touch. However, the world class Neue Zürcher Zeitung requires translation, with a dictionary. Still, I am able to figure out a lot about the politics, although the subtleties evade me. That is what friends are for. ;-)

The voice of the citizen is heard in Switzerland.

Slowpoke

babybab
babybab
17 posts
new member
Feb 23, 2016 - 6:58 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Slowpoke

G'day! You're right, Switzerland has the purest democracy in the world. Everyone wants to live there. I want to live there.

Are you a Swiss citizen? Or you work there?

i've been busy booking hotels and found out that I should try to complete them all asap as they become more expensive or sold out as we get near September. And I could not get myself to choose the free to cancel as they cost more. I already made a boo boo with one of the hotels I booked. I booked the wrong dates and because I booked the non-refundable I could not cancel it without losing some money. So I have to alter our itinerary to get around my mistake :( or it will become a costly mistake. Still, I'm learning from this mistake.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Feb 23, 2016 - 7:36 PM in reply to babybab

G'day mate- are you coming from "Down Under"?

<<"Are you a Swiss citizen? Or you work there?">>

I am a USA citizen. Live in Connecticut.

Retired nowadays. When I worked near New York, I had program responsibiilty at our lab near Geneva, and went over on business a few times per year. Also called on customers around Europe. I learned how nice it is to visit Switzerland. And, as a means of better understanding eh country, I learned about its government processes.

The USA could learn a lot from them.

These days, I go back to see friends and travel and take photographs.

Mostly, I stay at inns ( where I have stayed many years) or at hotels that don't have problems with cancellations until very near to arrival time. An exception is the good hotels around the Jungfrau region. Generally, I don't stay in such places, but once in a while, I do.

Slowpoke

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babybab
babybab
17 posts
new member
Mar 7, 2016 - 2:56 AM in reply to Slowpoke

G'day Mate!!

Yes, I am from the land down under. And you can probably imagine how far we are from Switzerland.

I think your government is not that bad. As a matter of fact, I think the current government has done a good job. But I agree some improvement would be nice.

I have been doing some easy hiking in the area where I live but always with a professional guide. Where is the best place to do an easy one hour hiking where the Alps would be visible?

Thanks for the information :-).

babybab

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Mar 7, 2016 - 9:26 AM in reply to babybab

Hi Babybab -

The best easy hike in Switzerland is:

www.myswissalps.com/hi king/maennlichen-kleinescheidegg

There are many candidates for "best" but this one is at a minimum, very high on the list. The Alps will be not only visible, but spectacular. Take your camera, and keep track of the weather....you should be be able to pick a sunny day at that time of year by checking with your hotel, the train station(s) or the tourist office(s) in the Jungfrau region.

It is often called "The Grannies' Walk" because it is so easy. Of course, the Swiss grannies do it uphill....and in half the time that it takes me. ;-)

Please make sure that you walk from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg. In that direction it is modestly downhill. The way that the Eiger grows up over you as you approach it has a big part in how the walk feels, and if you go the other direction, you miss that, even if you keep turning around to look back.

It is nice to take the cableway from Wengen ( Wengen Wengiboden in the timetable) to Männlichen LWM ( the top station of the Lauterbrunnen-Wengen-Männlichen route) to start the walk and catch the cograil train at the end, when you reach Kleine Scheidegg.

The attached pictures were taken in late September 2009, except for the one looking up to Männlichen Gipfel.

I posted a panorama from Männlichen Gipfel earlier. Also - a view of the Lauterbrunnen Valley from Wengen.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Mar 7, 2016 - 9:29 AM by Slowpoke
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babybab
babybab
17 posts
new member
Mar 16, 2016 - 5:28 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Slowpoke

Thanks for your comprehensive tips on Easy Hiking. I believe the Grannies' Walk will be within our comfort zone. I just hope the weather will be good to us.

Just reading your narrative as to how to get there, where to start the walk, where to catch the cograil train, the attached pictures, make me so excited. I wished September was here already.

Thank you so much. I really appreciate how you seem to go out of your way to help first time Switzerland travellers like us.

babybab

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Mar 16, 2016 - 8:57 AM in reply to babybab

<<"Thank you so much. I really appreciate how you seem to go out of your way to help first time Switzerland travellers like us.">>

Hi Babybab-

Glad I could help.

Switzerland and its citizens have been good to me, and I like to return the favors by helping others appreciate the country.

I just checked through the thread, after noting your comment about the weather.

I did not see a revised itinerary after your fist post, but did note that you will spend more time in Luzern, and that you have booked hotels.

I hope that you followed Arno's guidance about the Alps. For me, that means to concentrate your time to a greater extent in Luzern and somewhere near the Jungfrau. In particular, it is wisest to allow two or three days in the Jungfrau region, to improve your chances of good weather. The weather there can change very quickly, so a cloudy morning can be followed by a sunny afternoon, or a sunny next day, etc.

To make time in the Jungfrau region, I would cut back on Zürich and Basel., and consider that Lausanne and Geneva are a bit off the circuit around the Luzern/Jungfrau region. Not that any of those places are uninteresting. In fact, Zürich is my favorite city in Switzerland, after many many trips. However, it does not really reward the first time traveler as much as Luzern and the Alps. You have to dig deeper, so to speak.

It is just a matter of relative uniqueness for Switzerland, and that means the high Alps, or Luzern and the environs of Lake Lucerne (der Vierwaldstättersee).

This thread might give you an idea of the southern end of the lake, although I am not suggesting that you make the hike(s) described.

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

Slowpoke

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