Itinerary advice!

Itinerary advice!

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maxine4
maxine4
3 posts
new member
Dec 1, 2014 - 4:09 PM

Hello,

I will be traveling in Switzerland for the holiday season from December 18- December 29th. I have some of my itinerary planned, but needed some help with a few parts of it. I will be flying in to Geneva from Madrid on 12/18 and plan on staying there for two nights. I was then planning on heading to the Bernese Oberland area (not sure which area would be best to stay in) on 12/20-12/23 and then I have booked a hostel in Zermatt to spend Christmas 12/23-12/26. I then plan on heading to either Bern or Lucerne from 12/26 to 12/29. On 12/29 I will be departing to Paris.

I have bought a select Eurorail pass with 5 travel days between up to 4 countries. I plan on using one of my travel days for a ride from my last city in Switzerland to Paris, and another travel day from Paris back to Madrid, leaving me 3 remaining travel days to use to travel within Switzerland. I believe that I can hop on and off as many trains as I want during my designated travel days, so I want to make day trips to one area in the morning and then hop on another train later that evening to get to another village or city where I would be sleeping in.

After Geneva I was thinking of making a day trip to see the Chillon Castle, and possible check out Montreux and/or Villeneuve. I then want to take a train later that night to Bernese Oberland area. What would be the best area to stay in for this area? I heard Interlaken is a good base, but not as scenic as other places. I was also considering Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald. I am not sure which area would be best for me. I want to be somewhere where I can enjoy the nature and do outdoor activities and see the most of what the Alps have to offer. I am not concerned with shopping or fancy restaurants, as I am on a budget. Also which city, Bern or Lucerne, would be better for a day trip and which one would be better to sleep in and spend more time in? I would like to head over to one of them early in the morning from Zermatt and tour the city during the day, then go to the other one to sleep in and spend my remaining days in (12/26-12/29).

I will also be departing from Paris after this, so I want to stay in the city that would be more convenient for this. I am open to any advice on the itinerary, if you think there is something I should add or leave out. I know that Zermatt is a little out of the way, but I really wanted to be there for Christmas. Let me know your opinions on the itinerary and if it is do-able. Thanks!

Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
Dec 3, 2014 - 7:00 AM

Hi maxine4, welcome to MySwissAlps,

You're right about Interlaken: the town itself is not very scenic, but it's a convenient place to stay with many (budget) hotels, stores and good train connections to the entire Bernese Oberland. Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen are easy to reach from Interlaken. You can base yourself there too, but may be difficult to find cheap lodging there since the week between Christmas and New Year is the most popular one of the year. Rooms may be booked out by now.

Bern is close to the Bernese Oberland, so I would advice to pick Lucerne as your last base to see a different region. It does not make a difference for your trip to Paris. You can indeed first travel to Bern for the day, then take a train via Schüpfheim to Lucerne. It's a scenic route so be sure to arrive before 5:00 PM to see it in daylight. See here for hotels please.

I'm not sure if a Eurail Select Pass is the best choice for you. A Swiss Pass includes much more in Switzerland, and that's where you do most of your traveling (e.g. Eurail does not included buses, trains to Grindelwald are discounted instead of free, as well as trains to Zermatt). You can best check yourself and compare:

I would pick a Swiss Pass for Switzerland and point to point tickets for Switzerland - Paris and Paris - Madrid. Also I noticed that you're from Spain. Travelers from Europe can't use Eurail Passes. They can use InterRail Passes, which have about the same advantages and disadvantages.

Have a wonderful journey!

Last modified on Dec 28, 2014 - 12:53 PM by Arno
maxine4
maxine4
3 posts
new member
Dec 14, 2014 - 10:40 AM in reply to Annika

Hello,

Thanks for your advice! I did take it into account. I ended up finding a place to stay in Lauterbrunnen, so I will be staying there as opposed to Interlaken. Would Interlaken still be worth a day trip visit? Or will there be enough things to see in Lauterbrunnen?

I will also be making the day trip to Berne and staying in Lucerne, as you suggested.

I actually am an American citizen and am only living in Spain temporarily with a student ID, so I have an american passport. I already bought the Eurorailpass, which is why I'm trying to take as many day trips as possible on my "travel days" since I can only use the pass on 5 days.

Thanks again for the help and all the useful information.

Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
Dec 15, 2014 - 7:01 AM

Hi Maxine4,

From Lauterbrunnen you can visit Mürren and the Schilthorn, go up to Männlichen by cable car or Kleine Scheidegg, Jungfraujoch and Grindelwald by cogwheel train. None of this is free with a Eurail Pass though, but you do get a discount. Boats on Lake Thun are free, but do check the timetable as they offer limited services in Winter. See my previous Eurail link to download the map and see what's included.

Interlaken is not a town you would visit for a city trip. It's a practical city (shops, restaurants, good train connections), not a pretty town.

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