Passes for Beginners or non-ski family?

Passes for Beginners or non-ski family?

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peace
peace
11 posts
new member
Aug 1, 2015 - 8:49 AM

I am going to spend 21 days in Switzerland, from 4 to 19 December, first timer. Mum exploring Switzerland on rail with a 10yr old and a 15yr old. (I am from Asia, so not so familiar with Europe).

  1. Campascio (2 night) traveling by train from Milan
  2. Arosa (4 nights)
  3. Rhein am Stein (2 nights)
  4. Grindelwald (5 nights)
  5. Maliswi (main base in Switzerland for 7 nights)
  6. Day trips: Zermat/ Lucern/ Zurich/ Bern/ Fribourg/ Guryeres / Murten/ Laguno/ Bellinzona/ Lugano

I am intending to buy Swiss pass plus a half-fare card but still cannot figure out the best choice in terms of days.

Also, we are not skiiers but are likely to try the beginner course in Arosa or Grindelwald.

I am trying to find out what is offered for this December 2015. When I look at regional passes, the offer is for upto October. There is not much information for Dec Winter.

Is it worth while being a regional pass when we are only likely to take cable cars, cogwheel trains and beginners track or sledging. We love activities so will not just be walking around our accommodation. If I have the Swiss Pass, should I still consider regional pass. Can you help to take a look at the iternary and advise me on the best combination?

Regional-Pass Bernese Oberland?

Arosa Pass?

Jungfrau Regional Pass?

Thank you!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
Aug 1, 2015 - 1:18 PM in reply to peace

Hi Peace -

Welcome to the forum. It's nice to have a enough time to spend a vacation in Switzerland and not have to do it all in 4 days! ;-)

You have a lot of good questions. I'll answer what I can in sections. My fingers are clumsy this morning, and I accidentally lost a couple of long posts answering, so, I'll break it up and send in bits and pieces before I dump it again by mistake.

<<"I am going to spend 21 days in Switzerland, from 4 to 19 December, firsttimer. Mum exploring Switzerland on rail with a 10yr old and a 15yr old.">>

I know it always seems longer when you are traveling with children, but I am amazed at your abililty to fit a 21 day vacation into 15 days! I wish I knew how to do that, especially in early December, when the days are getting shorter. ;-)

That time of year is between seasons. Many hotels will be closed to prepare for the ski season. Many cable cars/lifts to high mountain pikes will be out of service for maintenance. Make sure you check carefully for that information.

For the lifts, use the timetable. If it will not give you a schedule, that service may not be running that day, Try a few other days of the year to double check that you got the names right..

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

At that time of year I have had good sunny cool weather and also many grey, cold days, as well as some snow. It is colder at high altitude.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Aug 1, 2015 - 2:31 PM by Slowpoke
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
Aug 1, 2015 - 2:06 PM in reply to peace

<<"Campascio (2 night) traveling by train from MilanArosa (4 nights)Rhein am Stein (2 nights)Grindelwald (5 nights)Maliswi (main base in Switzerland for 7 nights)Day trips: Zermat/ Lucern/ Zurich/ Bern/ Fribourg/ Guryeres / Murten/ Laguno/ Bellinzona/ Lugano ">>

Hi Peace- continuing my earlier answer:

Campascio- is a very very small town near Tirano. it is not a usual tourist destination. Most would stay in Pontresina or in the area surrounding St. Moritz. I found a hotel in Campocologn0 ( next station toward Tirano) but I have not yet found one in Campascio. Do you have friends there? There is bus service along the main road.

(I like to use MapSearch.CH in the Classic Version because it gives transport schedules if you mouse over the symbo lfor a train station. You get the symbols by checking the boxes in the menus at the left.)

map.classic.search.ch/ campascio

Stein am Rhein - You have it upside down. The stone is beside the river. ;-) A very attractive old town. If you are there at the right time of day, climb up to the castle and eat lunch there. Great views. I'd not spend a whole day there. but the region near the Rhein and Lake Konstanz (the Bodensee) has lots of things to do.

It is a bit far a field, but the Zeppelin Museum in Friedrichshafen Germany always entertains me. Perhaps your children would like it?

www.zeppelin-museum.de/

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Zeppelin_Museum_Friedr ichshafen

More later

Last modified on Aug 1, 2015 - 2:28 PM by Slowpoke
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
Aug 1, 2015 - 2:26 PM in reply to peace

<<"Maliswi (main base in Switzerland for 7 nights)Day trips: Zermat/ Lucern/ Zurich/ Bern/ Fribourg/ Guryeres / Murten/ Laguno/ Bellinzona/ Lugano ">>

More -

I cannot find Maliswi. I made a guess at Maliswil, since "wil" is the end of the placename for many towns.

MapSearch.CH returned -Madiswil

map.classic.search.ch/ madiswil

Using the menus on the left, I highlighted hotels and found the Bären

www.bike-sleep.com/bike-hotels/bike-hotels/baren-madiswil_en.html

I like to walk the hills in that area, and routinely stay in the Emmental near there. I stay in Affoltern im Emmental ( bus, no train, demonstration dairy (die Schaukäserei) is very interesting for all ages.) I also stay in Langnau im Emmental - the principal market town for the surrounding farms.)

I have eaten at the Bären Madiswil and the food is good. It seems like a nice hotel, and some cyclists wrote about it in the NY Times a few years ago. They had a nice stay.

Madiswill is a reasonable location from a public transport basis for day trips to --

<<" Lucern/ Zurich/ Bern/ Fribourg/ Guryeres / Murten">>

but not so much the others. And, especially with kids, a small village out in the middle of the farm country runs out of things to do rather quickly. It is nice to be able to walk around a bit, so I'd bite the bullet on cost and stay in Luzern or nrarby, or in Bern or someplace only a short distance from Bern.

I'd consider traveling from Milano via Locarno and staying in that are to see the cities you have noted in the Ticino -

<<" Laguno/ Bellinzona/ Lugano "">> (I do not know "Laguno.")

Let us know if I guessed at the wrong town. ;-)
Last modified on Aug 1, 2015 - 2:33 PM by Slowpoke
Annika
Annika
4415 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 1, 2015 - 5:26 PM

Thanks for joining MySwissAlps, peace!

Great that you get to spend a couple of weeks some weeks in Switzerland. Early to mid december is not high season, but you certainly won't get bored. Let's look into rail passes: you indicate that you will be traveling a lot, making quite some long and expensive journeys. In that case, a Swiss Travel Pass (note that the Swiss Pass isn't the same; the difference is explained at www.myswissalps.com/tr ain/ticketspasses/prac tical/swisspass) is certainly the most convenient option. It's not quite clear whether you'll be spending 15 or 21 days in Switzerland. Anyway, you can best buy a 15 day Swiss Travel Pass and complement this with a further 4 or 8 day Swiss Travel Pass if needed. Please find information, including resellers and a validity overview, at our Swiss Travel Pass page: www.myswissalps.com/sw isstravelpass. Children up and including 15 years old will travel along with you for free on all routes.

In most cases, it's not economical to buy additional regional passes, especially not in Winter. An extra pass can be convenient if you'll be making extensive use of local (ski) lifts and cable cars in one specific region though, as the Swiss Travel Pass doesn't include all ski lifts; in that case you can best look for local ski passes. They're often available in many variants, with a duration ranging from one day to a couple of days. Local tourist websites, such as Arosa Tourism, are a good source for ski pass information.

You don't have to order your passes yet, so you can wait and subscribe to our forum updates: you'll automatically be notified if any rail pass discounts come available for next Winter. You can also keep an eye our page on rail pass promotions page: www.myswissalps.com/tr ain/ticketspasses/prom otions.

peace
peace
11 posts
new member
Aug 2, 2015 - 12:37 AM in reply to Slowpoke

(Slowpoke). Thank you for taking your time to help with the question. Really appreciates it. Your information is so clear!

There is so much beauty and things to do yet so little time. I am traveling during my kid's school vacation so the timing is not flexible. As we are only likely to hike and sledge, hopefully the lift maintenance period does not restrict the fun.

I have reserved all the accommodation as I choose to stay in cheaper stay but giving more budge to activities.

I just saw Matterhorn Glacier Paradise yesterday and it is so beautiful. I think I will plan a trip there too.

Last modified on Aug 2, 2015 - 12:46 AM by peace
peace
peace
11 posts
new member
Aug 2, 2015 - 12:56 AM in reply to Annika

Annika:

Thanks Annika. I am really impress with Switzerland for making such great effort to help tourist travel in the country. I will be in Switzerland for 21 days but might have some days simply lazing around and about where I stay instead of excursion.

I will await promotion on passes per your advice.

When I was reading on the internet, most mountains require us to buy passes to walk/hike in the mountain. Does it mean we cannot just roam about without a pass like what I normally do in other countries?

I have never used ski lifts in my life so this question might sound silly, when you take one up, is the only way down only by walking and skiiing? Or there is lifts to bring you down too?

I am from a small country on an island and summer all year round...

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
Aug 2, 2015 - 12:46 PM in reply to peace

Hi Peace.

Thanks.

I can help you better with your itinerary if I know where you plan to go. Please answer about Capascio and Maliswi.

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

If you cannot find them in the timetable, you cannot find a train schedule for them.....And, we cannot suggest the best mode of public transport.

Please read these links to learn more about hiking:

www.myswissalps.com/hi king

www.myswissalps.com/ac tivities/naturalsites

There is no fee for walking, but some of the climbs are thousands of meters. You pay to ride up and down. The walks can be at high altltitude. Unless you are used to hiking at high altitude, it will make you pant. A lot.

Many trails have several access points. Often, public transport to each end. The public transport may be a lift (Luftseilbahn.) However, at the time of year you are traveling, the lifts may be closed. And, there my be no way to access the tops except by lift or helicopter, used by the repairmen.

This site has a lot more details about some hikes:

www.wanderland.ch/en/h iking-in-switzerland.html

Annika
Annika
4415 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 2, 2015 - 5:28 PM

Hi peace,

Hiking around without using cable cars and lifts is for free. However, if you're not used to hiking in the mountains, you shouldn't expect to be able to hike up and down yourself without using cable cars and lifts: that would be too strenuous. Easier valley hikes won't be a problem though. Because of your intensive traveling you will need a rail pass anyway. Some routes will be for free (allowing you to board without buying tickets), other are discounted, requiring you to buy additional discounted tickets before boarding. You should take a close look at the validity overview of the rail pass you're interested in to see what's for free and what's discounted. The Swiss Travel Pass validity overview, for example, can be found at www.myswissalps.com/sw isstravelpass/validity.

An alternative you can consider is the Swiss Travel Pass Flex Combi, if you think there'll be days on which you won't be doing that much traveling. You'll get a set of free travel days to use whenever you like, to cover the long and expensive journeys, with a maximum validity of one month. On the non-free travel days, you get to buy 50% discounted tickets for shorter and local trips. Please find information at www.myswissalps.com/sw isstravelpassflex and www.myswissalps.com/sw isstravelpassflex/pric e.

Don't worry, lifts go both up and down, so you don't have to walk down. You can simply get up, enjoy the views and comfortably travel down again.

peace
peace
11 posts
new member
Aug 3, 2015 - 5:22 AM in reply to Annika

Thank you Annika for the detailed answer.

Dear Slow Poke, it is so nice that you can give me suggestion to help plan.

I am coming from Milan on 28 Nov. I read there is a direct train from Milan to St Moritz or Chur on Bernina Express, if I can find details on that, I will go Tirano to take the train.

28 Nov to 30 Nov, Campascio - I book Casa Lucini, Via Cantonale 223, 7748 Campascio Switzerland to break away the long train ride from Milan if I am not taking the direct train to Chur or St Moritz. But still want to take the Bernina route to Chur/St Moritz. So far I find accommodation at Chur and St Moritz very expensive to stay for 2 nights. I have a stop at Campascio or somewhere near train station on this train route

I will have to be in Arosa on 30 Nov as I have made a confirmed reservation with Hohe Promenade. I will be in Arosa till 4 Dec.

4 Dec, I intend to take the train from Chur to see the North West side of the country via Rorschach but I do not intend to stop by any place there. and head down to Stein am Rhein.

From 6 Dec to 13 Dec, I have booked a homestay at Maliswi (as a base) for me to travel to all round on Day trips to : Zermat/ Lucern/ Zurich/ Bern/ Fribourg/ Guryeres / Murten/ Laguno/ Bellinzona/ Lugano

From 13 to 18, I will just be in Grindelwald and Jungfrau/Wengen for snow activities. I need to find beginner's ski programme as none of us know how to ski. Hopefully it is not too costly. We love to sledge and hike too.

On 18 Dec, I will stay a night in Geneva before I take a train to Paris, for a few nights before I fly home.

Thank you.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
Aug 3, 2015 - 3:03 PM in reply to peace

<<"From 6 Dec to 13 Dec, I have booked a homestay at Maliswi (as a base) for me to travel to all round on Day trips to : Zermat/ Lucern/ Zurich/ Bern/ Fribourg/ Guryeres / Murten/ Laguno/ Bellinzona/ Lugano">>

I cannot find Maliswi on my maps.

Perhaps it is the name of a provate home or tourist B&B.

Do you have any more information about its location?

The places you have identified for day trips from "Maliswi" are very far a part from each other, and my not be easy to do from only a single location.

<<"28 Nov to 30 Nov, Campascio - I book Casa Lucini, Via Cantonale 223, 7748 Campascio Switzerland to break away the long train ride from Milan if I am not taking the direct train to Chur or St Moritz. But still wantto take the Bernina route to Chur/St Moritz. So far I find accommodation at Chur and St Moritz very expensive to stay for 2 nights.I have a stop at Campascio or somewhere near train station on this train route">>

I found it. Looks like a good deal. Beautiful location. 400 meters to the train station....I hope that they pick you up, or that your bags are lightweight.

Slowpoke

peace
peace
11 posts
new member
Aug 3, 2015 - 3:40 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Yes I am travelling light. I am used to walk 400m with lugguage so should be able to manage.

I am planning to visit a location a day from Maliswi, I check with SBB it is usually an hour to about 2hours to most places. As I am planning to go morning and return evening on Swiss Pass to minimise carrying loads of stuff and hoping from hotel to hotel. The places are not firm up as it depends on how we manage the trips too. Likely to do a day by day plan to try fulfill all the places I wish to see in Switzerland in this trip.

Thank you so much for helping out... So looking forward to be in Switzerland.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
Aug 6, 2015 - 1:03 AM in reply to peace

<<'Thank you so much for helping out">>

Glad we could help.

Where is Maliswi?

I cannot find it.

Slowpoke

peace
peace
11 posts
new member
Aug 6, 2015 - 1:41 AM in reply to Slowpoke

OH gracious... my apologies. I have been spelling it wrong. It should be Madiswil near Bern (or in Bern). Sorry for confusing you (Slowpoke). I really enjoy learning from your post and many others in this forum teaching and sharing the tips in Switzerland. Thank you.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
Aug 6, 2015 - 1:52 AM in reply to peace

<<"I have been spelling it wrong. It should be Madiswil near Bern (or in Bern)">>

I thought that might be it.

You will have long train ride to some destinations.

I is a nice small town.

Have fun,

SIowpoke

peace
peace
11 posts
new member
Aug 6, 2015 - 2:20 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi (Slowpoke),

One more item, if I have budget constraints and have to choose between going up to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise (to see the ice statue etc and all) vs going to Jungfrau which are both very expensive. Which is the better place to go for a snow and winter experience? especially in hope of experiencing snowing too...

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
Aug 6, 2015 - 2:28 AM in reply to peace

High Peace -

<<"One more item, if I have budget constraints and have to choose between going up to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise (to see the ice statue etc and all) vs going to Jungfrau which are both very expensive. Which is the better place to go for a snow and winter experience? especially in hope of experiencing snowing too...">>

I don't know. Let's see see what the experts ( Arno and Annika) have to say.

Slowpoke

Arno
Arno
7707 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 6, 2015 - 7:04 AM

Choosing between the two also depends on whether you'll be there at the right time (good weather, clear skies). Having said that, I would choose Jungfraujoch over Klein Matterhorn (the official name of the place) as I find the whole experience more impressive, and there's more to do at the top. Both excursions are wonderful though. See the links to find out for yourself. As for viewing points near Zermatt I personally prefer Gornergrat.

Last modified on Aug 6, 2015 - 7:06 AM by Arno
peace
peace
11 posts
new member
Aug 26, 2015 - 1:36 PM in reply to Arno

Dear Arno,

Thank you for your advice... I was absent as was traveling on business. I will plan my trip based on yours and Slowpoke's advice... Have a great day ahead!

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