Myself and my partner have just come back to Italy after our beautiful 4 day vacation in Switzerland. Here is the detail of our trip and some ideas to spend your holidays! We were nature lovers and were interested in enjoying the natural beauty, go on a mountain hike in the alpine meadows and visit swiss villages as well. With some inputs from SwissAlps team and online research this was our 4 day adventure.
Day1 (8 th August 2014): Italy to Switzerland Luzern , Visit Luzern City and Mount Titlis .
We started from Monza Italy to Chiasso AT 7.15am and reached Chiasso early at 8.15AM. We then purchased the 4 days Swiss pass for around 403 Euros ( 1 Adult and 1 Youth) at Chiasso and took the train to Luzern and arrived by noon 12PM. We then made our way to the IBIS budget hotel which was only a 10min walk from the train station. We had a quick lunch at burger king and then took the noon train to Engelberg (13:10- 13:53 ) and then a bus took us to the Mt Titlis Cable Car. To reach the top you need to use 3 gondolas as below and travel time can be around 45minutes.
1)Engelberg - Trübsee (20 minutes)*Gondolas for 6 people each (please remain seated when you arrive in Gerschnialp) run non-stop from 8.30 a.m. until 5.15 p.m. Last trip up to Mount Titlis: 3.40 p.m.
2)Trübsee - Stand (5 minutes)In Station Trïbsee you have to change the cable car. With the 80-person Gondel, you ride up to Station Stand. operates continuously from 8.50 a.m. until 5 p.m. Last trip down to Engelberg is 5 p.m.
3)Stand - Titlis (5 minutes)In Station Stand you transfer to the Rotair (80-person Gondel), the first revolving gondola of the world.
At the top of Mt Titlis weather wasnt that great and hence we couldnt enjoy much the surroundings.However we did enjoy the IceFlyer experience and also had a walk on the Suspension Bridge. There was also a small ice cave inside as well! .We also had a Photo taken at the Photostudio in Swiss attire and was well worth it!. It cost us a whopping 84Euros for a Large size poster , but had come out well! ( i attach the photo here :) .Mt Titlis you need to pay 50% with a Swiss Pass . We came down from Mt Titlis in the last 4.50PM Gondola down and had a good hot cup of Chai and Samosa at the exit as there was a Gourmindia Snack Van at the Exit of Mt Titlis. We then enjoyed the views of a beautiful white water river-mountain combo and made our way back to the train station of engelberg by walk. It was only a 10min walk. The Train took us back to Luzern and we spend the late evening walking on Chapel Bridge and some sovenier shopping. We then decided to have Dinner at Gourmindia which was the best Indian restaurant at Luzern. Must say the Biryani and the Food was Yum! Ambiance and Staff were great as well. It was only a 15min walk from Chapel bridge and can also be easily reached by bus no 1 . The bustop is right opposite the Restaurant and on our way back we took the bus to the centrum of Luzern. We then walked to our hotel and had a good rest :) It was my second time in Swiss and the first for my wife. She was really impressed with the Swiss way of life :) The friendly people , the nature and cleanliness , the Trains and the Precision and value of time here :) Everything impressed her about this charming dream country! Now she realised why people term it as " heaven on earth " and she was living her Swiss dream :) Listening to her made my day and i was really overjoyed as well. The best was yet to come :)
So with Day1: We had the credit of experiencing the Worlds first revolving Cable car and visiting the location where DDLJ was shot! They even had a poster of DDLJ at Mt Titlis!
Day2 ( 09 August 2014) : Visit Mount Pilatus in the Morning and Queen of Mountains - Mt Rigi at noond and take the train to Interlaken in the evening .
Second day we started early as it was a sunny day and we wanted to make the most of it . We kept our luggages at Luzern train station ( 8SF for 24hrs ) and then we took the early trian Luzern- Alpnachstad - S5 TRAIN at 7.42 and reached Alpnachstad at 7.59 arrival. We then took the Worlds Steepest Cogwheel train up to Mt Pilatus at 8.10AM and reached the top after around 30min ride. Tip: You need to sit opposite the door and to the LEFT side to enjoy some stunning views on the way to the top :).Also, sitting into the rear most cabin is the absolute best but any rear facing seat is very good. Again , you need to pay 50% for Mt Pilatus with a Swiss Pass!
It was a clear day at the TOP and since we came by the first train up , we had ample time to explore the top and take some stunning pictures at the top! Crowd started to fill in by 9.30AM. We had a coffee at the top and then came down by using the Aerial Cabelway. You take the aerial and panorama gondola cableways down to Kriens, where a five-minute walktakes you to bus no. 1 for the trip back to Lucerne.
On the gondola, if you exit the gondola building after the first station, you will find Switzerland's longest luge (almost 1 mile). For 8SF you can go down this thing. What a thrill. We enjoyed the Toboggan ride and made our way back to Luzern by noon 12.30PM. We had time till 14:12 for Lunch and we grabbed a quick Pizza at one of the Pizza shops nearby the station! .
We then headed to our afternoon adventure to the Queen of Mountains - Mount RigiKulm. You can access Mount Rigi via steamboat from Lucerne to Vitznau at 14:12 and then the cogwheel train up to "Rigi-Kulm." Make sure you sit on the LEFT side of the train for some stunning panorama views on your way up!. The best part of this Mountain trip was that IT WAS ALL FREE with a Swiss Pass! What a relief! Even tourist place in swiss is overpriced and we were happy that our swiss pass did come to our rescue here :). Anway ,we do agree that the tourist infrastructure is TOP NOTCH , but we do find that the pricing is way too high for all attractions!. So, we were at the top by around 16:00 and then we had a walk around and got some stunning panorama from the top! it was a good sunny afternoon and the views from Rigi kulm were great! There was a restaurant at the top and we had a evening snack there and then took the train down at 5PM . We got down at Rigi-Kaltbad and from there we took the cable car to Weggis ( 30min ride) . We spent half an hour enjoying the little town of Weggis and then took the steamboat back to Luzern at 18:05 and reached luzern at 18.47. We then rushed to the Station, took our luggages and boarded the Interlaken Express - Luzern-Interlaken at 19.05 that reached Interlaken Wst at 21.05. TIP: Moving from Luzern to Interlaken highly suggest to take the Interlaken express and not via Bern. You can enjoy some great views from this train on your way! It runs every hours from 6.05Am onwards. We then checked-in our hotel MyMerkur which was right opposite the train station and went out for dinner at Taste of India which was an average indian restaurant. That was our long day2:)
With day2 , we had the credit of having a ride in Worlds steepest cogwheel rail and also a ride in switzerlands longest toboggan ride :)
Day3 ( 10 August 2014 ) : Interlaken - Visit to Swiss Villages Grindelwald - First , Wengen and Lauterbrunnen and Mountain Alpine meadows hiking at First.
We started our day3 a bit late after a good rest and breakfast and based on the local weather predictions , we decided on using this day to visit some lovely swiss villages nearby. We took the 9.24am Train from Interlaken Ost to Grindelwald and then we walked a bit to reach the Cable car station that goes to FIRST. I must say that this was the BEST DAY of our Trip and the view that you get at First is mesmerising! They advertise it as " Best view in the world" . We were a little worried on our way to the top due to the weather , however to our surprise the Universe listened to our wish and granted us an all clear 2hours at the top and we were able to get some stunning views of the Glaciers , meadows and we rented a mountain hiking shoes and set on the hike to the nearby Bachalpsee lake which was 2hour hike both ways!.it was a wonderful hike and the weather was clear as well. We were delighted to meet Switzerlands Posers " Swiss Cows" as well :) there were many of them on our way to the lake in the meadows!. It was an easy hiking trial and i highly recommend this hike on a clear sunny day!. Worth every second!.
We were back at First by noon and we took the gondola back to Grindelwald and reached at 15.00. We took a quick Snack at the snack joint which is near the train station and boarded the train from Grindelwald at 15:17 to Kleine Scheidegg ( 15:49). To our surprise , our Swiss pass was not valid for this train journey from Grindelwald to Wengen and we had only a minor discount with the swiss pass! We had to pay 72 euros for the two of us for this journey to wengen!
As the weather started to go bad , we couldnt get good views at Kleine Scheidegg which was just a train station that connects to jungfrau ( top of europe). We were glad that we didnt choose to go up there looking at the weather that day! We purposely dropped Jungfrau because we believed that it was too expensive even with a swiss pass and the views that you get is similar to what we got at Mt Titlis! . Its only the train journey to jungfrau that you pay for and it takes the whole day to go up there and come down! We were delighted that we opted for the swiss villages instead after all the mountain trips first two days at Luzern!. We then took another train to Wengen and visited the charming little village for an hour or so. It was a lovely village. We then headed to Lauterbrunnen at 17.33 from Wengen and it was only a 18minutes ride . We also walked around Lauterbrunnen and enjoyed the valley and walk in this another little beautiful village!. This was the place where i had Skydived last time during my trip in 2008! It is the best place in the world to skydive and also to Hangglide as well!. Bernie is the man who is an Aussie for Hanggliding ! Highly recommend Interlaken for Adventure sports like skydive and Hanggliding. you can even do the Bunje jumping here :) All the hotels give you the infos needed. We took the train from Lauterbrunnen back to Interlaken and reached at around 8PM. We went to our rooms and took a little rest before coming out to try a chinese restaurant nearby for some noodles!
Day4 ( 11-August-2014) - Lake Cruise on Lake Thun - Niederhorn - Visit to Thun City - Trotti Biking - HarderKulm Panorama.
We were delighted to see the sun come out in the early morning on our final day in Swiss and were excited about our Lake Cruise. We took the boat from Interlaken wst to Beatenbucht and then Funicular to Beatenberg and Cable Car to top of the Niederhorn. We spent some time at the top to take in the views and we didnt see anything much to do! So we quickly had some refreshments at the restaurant at the top and made our way down! As we didnt have much to do at the top , we decided to do some trotti biking on our way down to Beatenberg. For this you may get down at the Middle station and then rent the trotti bikes for 24SF to Beatenberg. It was a fun ride with some awesome views along the way of the lake and some beautiful swiss houses as well! .It was worth it and we enjoyed it very much. We then took a BUS from Beatenbucht to THUN for some sight seeing and it was only a 30min ride to the city. We had our lunch at Thun and also walked around the city. It has a beautiful bridge similar to the chapel bridge with flowers and the city is nice. We then made our way back to Interlaken ost.
From the Interlaken Ost railway station, the Harder Railway valley station is located on the other side of the Aare.It can be reached on a short walk. The modernised funicular railway runs from there in ten minutes to the Harder Kulm - Interlaken's own mountain. Last Descent is at 9PM . We had to pay 14 SF per person for the two way ride and at the top you get a PANORAMA of the two lakes lake thun and lake brienz , the interlaken city and the three mountains as well eiger , monch and jungfrau. There is just the view and our plan was to enjoy the sunset from there. However it started getting foggy by 7PM and hence we just enjoyed the views and took some pictures and made our way back to interlaken for dinner and rest !.
This wraps up our 4 days Swiss trip and we had a gala time during these 4 days and were really happy at the end of the trip! It was the first time for my partner and she had a lot of values to take from Switzerland as well. We were highly impressed by the Swiss way of life and she is currently writing her travel blog :) The precision of Swiss transport system and the value of time=gold , the passion with which each citizen does his/her job, top notch cleanliness , end to end planning of the entire city like the train , boat , bus stations being nearby and investments on the right idea and comfort for tourists were really worth admiring! The whole country being turned into a green lawn and the impressive ways of striving for Swiss perfection impressed us and we took away valuable life lessons from this developed world! We understand that the cost of living is very high in Swiss , but then the quality of life is worth every penny spent here in this dreamland! We definitely will be back in Swiss for more in the coming years! My partner is also dreaming of seeing Swiss in Winter as well :) which is again a different story alltogether!.
After our 4 days in Swiss , we then headed to Austria for our next destination :) . I hope you enjoyed reading the post and had some useful tips to take away!. Thank you once again Swiss alps team for your inputs and help.Highly appreciate. I attach some photos taking from my IPhone5s during our trip.