Need help planning 4.5 days in the Swiss alps.

Need help planning 4.5 days in the Swiss alps.

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Removed user
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May 30, 2014 - 3:36 PM

Hi, I know there are lots of posting about trip planning on this forum. I read quite a few of them.

I arrive in Zurich on Aug 5th in the morning with my 12 year old child. We leave from Geneva on the 9th in the afternoon. I am planning on getting the Swiss flex pass for 5 days. Not really interested in staying in either Zurich or Geneva this time. We want to explore the beauty of the mountains. Places where we can do half day hikes in beautiful surrounding, explore small quite towns, take cable cars up the mountain etc.

Would like to take the glacier express. I read the train ride is 7.5 hours long from St.Mortiz to Zermatt. Other places would be interlaken and Montreux.

My thought was take the train on Aug 5th to St.Mortiz. Stay the night in the area. Hotels are very expense here, any suggestions?

Next day [Aug 6th] take the glacier express to Zermatt, stay the night here

3rd day [Aug 7th] go to Montreux, make this base for next 2 days

4th day [Aug 8th] travel to Interlaken or somewhere else for a day return trip

day 5 [Aug 9th] leave Montreux for Geneva airport

The above is just tentative with the information I gathered. Nature is top priority, also knowing my constraints because of travelling with a 12 year old.

Please offer suggestions on this or an alternate itinerary. Your help is greatly appreciated

Arno
Arno
7719 posts
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May 31, 2014 - 9:06 AM in reply to Removed user

Hello Ray, welcome to MySwissAlps,

Your itinerary leaves little time for hiking/outdoor activities. With only 5 days, and nature being top priority, I would suggest to only pick two base towns and do short day trips/hikes from there. If the Glacier Express is a priority too, it makes sense to stay in St. Moritz first and Zermatt second, or in towns nearby. Both offer magnificent scenery and many hiking options. See the town links for activity suggestions and hotels (cheaper hotels/hostels are listed there too). We also have a page with perfectly located budget hotels throughout Switzerland: www.myswissalps.com/hotels/budget

As for the pass, a 3-day Swiss Flexi Pass would fit the above suggestion, since there are only 3 longer transfers. If you want free traveling every day, then indeed you can choose a 5-day Swiss Flexi Pass. In either case, you child travels along for free because you can request a free Swiss Family Card when ordering your pass. Note that you get a $50 discount if you buy your pass online before June 6. See here for details please: www.raileurope.com/rail-tickets-passes/swiss-pass/index.html. Further pass details can be found here: www.myswissalps.com/swissflexipass.

You need seat reservations for the Glacier Express, for both you and your child. You can order them along with your pass.

Last modified on Dec 28, 2014 - 12:58 PM by Arno
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Jun 9, 2014 - 12:22 AM in reply to Arno

Thanks for your help and sorry for the late response. I know 4 days is such a short time and we are trying to do so much. I bought a 4 day flex swiss pass along with a family card for my child.

Based on your answer, here are my thoughts

Day 1: Travel to ST. Moritz [Overnight here]

Day 2: Glacier express [ST. Moritz to Zermatt] Overnight

Day 3: Zermatt [Explore the area and Matterhorn ]

Day 4: Zermatt to Montreux via the golden pass line from Zweisimmen

Day 5 Geneva airport [flt out late afternoon]

My questions are:

1- What is the link to the web site for seat reservation on glacier express. I already have the flex pass.

2- Day 3 in Zermatt if we want to see the Matterhorn. I believe we should do, if the day is clear. How much is the fare, since the pass is only good for 4 days. I believe we get 50% off on the non travel days of the flex pass]

3. Day 4 would it be better to stay overnight in Zweisimmen [Skipping stay in Montreux] and then take the train on day 5 to Geneva airport [Flt departure 2pm]. This way we still get a chance to do the Zweisimmen to Montreux golden pass journey. Is there good hiking trails near Zweisimmen?

4- Again golden pass train needs seat reservation, where can I do it and see the schedule

I am sorry I might not have spelled everything correctly

Thanks for your help in advance.

Arno
Arno
7719 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 9, 2014 - 7:57 AM in reply to Removed user

Hi Ray,

Thanks for getting back here. Let's look into your questions:

1. I'm not sure where you purchased your pass, but in most cases one can purchase the reservations along with the pass. Anyway, all the links you need are on our Glacier Express page.

2. The fare depends on where you go. I think the Gornergrat railway is the best spot to see the Matterhorn. You can see it from the village too, but it's much better from a higher viewing point. See the Gornergrat page for information about this trip, and a link to the fares. Indeed you will get a 50% discount.

3. If you travel from Zermatt to Montreux via the Golden Pass line, you will see the section from Zweisimmen to Montreux anyway, either on day 4 if you stay in Montreux, or day 5 if you stay in Zweisimmen. There are plenty of trails around Zweisimmen. You can start walking directly from the village if you want.

4. Seat reservations are not needed. Please see the Golden Pass page.

Were you able to find good hotels? If not, just see our town pages for suggestions.

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Jun 10, 2014 - 12:28 AM in reply to Arno

Thanks for the reply. I have been trying to reduce our travel time I think I have a good plan. Could not quite figure out the part about taking Glacier express partially.

Day 1: Zurich Airport to Lauterbrunnen [ Three train connections, total 3 hours ]
Zuerich HB --> Bern ---> Interlaken OST ---> Lauterbrunnen
Overnight Lauterbrunnen
[ Explore Mürren/Schilthorn and Wengen/Jungfrau ]

Day 2: Overnight Lauterbrunnen

Day 3: Lauterbrunnen to Zermatt - Lauterbrunnen to brig and Brig to Zermatt [Glacier express]
Overnight Zermatt
Pleases help ****** I see I can travel this leg via Visp in less than 3 hours but would love to take at least a section of this on the Glacier express [Brig to Zermatt]. I have tried individual connections from Lauterbrunnen to brig and then Brig to Zermatt. I cannot get to the part where I can reserve on the Glacier express for that part of the journey

Day 4: Travel Zermatt to Montreux [Afternoon]

Overnight Montreux

Day 5: Geneva Airport - Montreux to gva apt.

Also I believe the trains are very reliable another option might be to skip Montreux, stay 2 nights in Zermatt and go straight to Geneva airport from here

Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
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Jun 10, 2014 - 6:04 AM

Hi Ray,

There are two options to travel from Lauterbrunnen to Zermatt:

  1. Travel to Spiez, take the scenic route via Kandersteg and Goppenstein to Brig, take a train to Zermatt.
  2. Travel to Spiez, take the quick route through the tunnel to Visp (near Brig), take a train to Zermatt.

The difference is in the middle leg: either scenic (takes more time) or not. The leg to Zermatt is always the same: there's just one route to Zermatt which is used by the Glacier Express and the regular trains. I wouldn't bother booking a seat for the Glacier Express. You end up paying a lot of money for luxurious seating for a one hour trip, while the views are not different. The reservation fee is worth it for the full day trip, but not for this short section in my opinion. See the linked page for further information.

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Jun 10, 2014 - 6:17 AM in reply to Annika

That makes perfect sense. Thanks a lot

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