Please help with Lake Geneva/Jungfrau region plans

Please help with Lake Geneva/Jungfrau region plans

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techo
techo
8 posts
new member
Apr 8, 2016 - 2:35 AM

We are a mother daughter [12 yrs] duo travelling to Switzerland for the first time. I have been trying the plan the trip, but there is a lot of confusion , and I came across this wonderful site, and have found some valuable advice here,

We have about 8 days and will depart on the 9th day. We will be travelling through public transportation everywhere, so I also need help with figuring out whether to buy Swiss Travel Pass or the Half fare

My Itinerary is somewhat like this:

Day 1 - reach Geneva from Paris by TGV at 3 :00 pm

Question: How early do I have to reach the train station to catch the train in Paris? Is it similar to the Airport[security, check in etc]? If my train is at 8 am, when do I have to be at the station?

Will there be enough time for us in Geneva that day to do some sight-seeing [Jet de Eau, clock, old town etc]

Planning to go to Lausanne/Vevey/Montreux for the night [How late can I leave from Geneva to reach there?, also how long does it take to reach there from Geneva, Is there any other option for the night stay?

Day 2. Chillon Castle and Charlie Chaplin house in the morning, then go to Broc for the Chocolate factory,

Question: Is it possible to finish the above in one day? If so, can we go to Interlaken directly from Broc for night halt or stay in Lausanne/vevey/montruex for the night and take the Golden pass next morning to go to Interlaken? The hotels in L/V/M area are so expensive

Day 3. If so, then go to Interlaken via Goldenpass train. What can we do in Interlaken that day? Night halt in Interlaken

Day 4. Jungfrau [weather permits or go to Bern?] Night halt in Interlaken

Day 5. Jungfrau [If not done the previous day] , then go to Lucerne via Golden pass

Day 6. Mt Titlis or Mt. Rigi [depending on weather] [We will take the boat and cable train to Rigi]

Day 7 - Mt Titlis or Mt. Rigi , [night halt in Zurich or Lucerne??]

Day 8 - Sight seeing in Zurich and go to Bern for half day [is it feasible to do ?] Night in Zurich

Day 9- Fly back home

Is the itinerary 'doable'? What changes can be made? What can be added/deleted? I was hoping to squeeze in one day Glacier express trip to Zermatt, is it possible?

We are vegetarians, are there any good affordable places to eat in those areas?

I tried to look at the sample itineraries that you have on this website too,

Thanks in advance

Techo

Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 9, 2016 - 7:34 AM in reply to techo

Hi Techo!

I'm not sure when you'll be traveling. The accessibility of some cable cars/mountain trains especially in the Interlaken area depends on the season you'll be visiting in, so it's wise to check schedules when planning. The ones you've mentioned so far (Jungfrau, Titlis, Rigi) won't cause any problems though.

Most of your itinerary looks fine. Here are some tips:

  • day 1: details on the Paris-Geneva trip can be found here. Please consult the timetable for all connections, including those of your other plans. If your train leaves at 8 am, then yes, you should be able to do some local sightseeing in Geneva later that day;
  • day 2: this too should be possible if you don't spend too much time in the castle and Charlie Chaplin house, although it will be a long day anyway. You could both head back for Montreux or a nearby town and catch the Golden Pass train the next day, or move on to Interlaken right away, which will take about 2h20. Which option is best, really depends on your preferences and interests.
  • there are no further day trips I'd add. Your plans are realistic the way the are now, and I'd personally feel it would be too much to squeeze in a lot more. You'd best check our Lake Geneva, Jungfau region and Lake Lucerne pages to browse day trips and see what appeals to you most. The mountain tops you've listed so far are considered to be highlights, so it's really fine if you limit yourselves to these trips and just make some back-up plans in case of bad weather. The Glacier Express is too far off in my opinion. Of course there are ways to include this trip, but this will result in a different overall itinerary with more train traveling, and I'd say at least one overnight stay in Zermatt and/or another town like Chur or St. Moritz, before heading to Interlaken/Lucerne.
  • vegetarian food can easily be obtained in most restaurants, and the larger supermarkets offer a wide range of vegetarian products.

Now, as for rail passes: you'll first have to finalize your plans and then start calculating which option turns out best. Having said that, I think an 8 day Swiss Travel Pass would certainly be the most convenient option for you, as you do seem to be traveling quite a lot. Your 12 year old daughter will travel along for free with the Swiss Family Card. Please find validity info here, and purchase options here.

techo
techo
8 posts
new member
Apr 9, 2016 - 4:25 PM

Hi Annika,

thanks so much for your reply, it is helping me with the planning, few 0ther questions:

is it possible to do a part of glacier express in one day ? Or as you said, I should not try to do all in haste,

What are the activities we can do in Lucerne and Interlaken apart from Jungfraujoch, , mt. titlis and mt. rigi?

We also wanted to do some affordable paragliding, balloon ride or something similar, any recommendations?

Which location is best for those activities - Interlaken or Lucerne?

Thanks

techo
techo
8 posts
new member
Apr 9, 2016 - 4:29 PM

Also, how do I get the best currency exchange rates? Should I use the local currency [swiss francs] or pay with my american credit card? which will yield better rate/value?

Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 10, 2016 - 7:30 AM

Hi techo,

Part of the Glacier Express would be possible as a day trip, e.g. from Montreux. You'd have to leave early though and arrival in Interlaken or Lucerne will be quite late. You'd board in Brig and get out in Andermatt or Chur, and head for Interlaken or Lucerne there. The Golden Pass makes more sense in your case though.

Did you check the links I provided in my previous post for activities in the Lucerne and Interlaken regions? Many day trips options are listed there, including some of the adventure sports you mentioned. The Interlaken region offers a bit more outdoor sports options.

My experience is that it's best to pay in the local currency (CHF), and I usually do so with a debit card or cash. Paying in a different currency is a service that comes at a cost. The exchange rate will not be in your favor. Of course your bank will charge costs for paying in CHF too, but I have found this to be the cheaper option. You can check with your bank for details if you wish.

techo
techo
8 posts
new member
Apr 12, 2016 - 7:40 AM

Hello Annika,

Thanks so much for your reply. You and this website are a great help for me to shape up the trip.

As you said, Golden pass makes more sense and we will go ahead with it.

I will definitely look into your suggestions for excursions/trips

We will be getting the Swiss Travel Pass for 8 days.

Quick question: For our two nights in Interlaken, I have booked a hotel in Interlaken , Wengen and Grindelwald, which place do you think is better and convenient. I booked in Wengen as I was getting a good deal and also the idea of staying in a true Swiss village instead of a tourist hub like Intelaken. However out of those two days, one day we will go to Jungfraujoch and next day to Bern, will it be possible to do Bern from Wengen?

Thanks

Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 13, 2016 - 5:31 AM in reply to techo

Hi Techo,

All towns are perfectly fine for both Jungfraujoch and Bern. From Interlaken, Bern will be a bit closer and Jungfraujoch a bit further. From Grindelwald/Wengen, it's the other way round. I would prefer Grindelwald or Wengen, and probably car free Wengen even more for two days in the Alps. All towns are touristy, but Wengen will definitely bring more of a "Swiss feel" than Interlaken.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2655 posts
expert
Apr 14, 2016 - 1:18 AM in reply to techo

Hi Techo -

Please tell us when you will be traveling. Some of things that you want to do may not be possible at between seasons times in the Alps.

www.myswissalps.com/be sttimetovisit

Annika asked the same question, for a good reason.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Apr 14, 2016 - 1:19 AM by Slowpoke
techo
techo
8 posts
new member
Apr 14, 2016 - 3:25 AM

Thanks Arno, Annika and Slowpoke,

We are travelliing in first week of june.[4-11] . Arn0, we have decided on Wengen, and will definitely post update here after the trip. sorry I missed to mention the dates in my earlier posts...

I have a newfound respect for all of you who volunteer their time and efforts so that novice people like us can be helped while planning their travel or when they are travelling !!

Techo

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2655 posts
expert
Apr 14, 2016 - 9:05 AM in reply to techo

Hi Techo:

<<"We are travelliing in first week of june.[4-11] . Arn0, we have decided on Wengen,">>

Check time tables and accomodations carefully.

Depending on weather ( snow residue) trail;s and some cableways may notbe open in early June.

I hope to be there at about that time and my hotel does not reopen for the season until June 3.

Cableway from Wengen to Männlichen just starts to run about then.

The excellent walk from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg usually opens about then. Maybe late May, maybe not until June 15.

These links may interest you:

www.jungfrau.ch/en/som mer/tourism/destinatio ns/kleine-scheidegg/hiking-trails/

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

Slowpoke

JoeyA
JoeyA
43 posts
active member
Apr 18, 2016 - 5:01 PM

Hi Techo,

I took my similar aged children last year to stay in Interlaken for 3 nights as part of a backpacking trip through Europe. One thing I would recommend would be that you build in some time that's not too itinerised (if that's a word). The big headline trips are great but they are also busy and tiring. I had a packed schedule planned but we ended up ditching some things so that we could spend some time relaxing by the lake/swimming/generally soaking up the peace and beauty of the surroundings. We're going back this year and trying to balance between some of the trips that we didn't make last year but also more time sitting enjoying the mountains in quieter places.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2655 posts
expert
Apr 18, 2016 - 5:41 PM in reply to JoeyA

Hi Joey-

You have made a point that cannot be emphasized enough.

<<"One thing I would recommend would be that you build in some time that's not too itinerised (if that's a word). The big headline trips are great but they are also busy and tiring.">>

When you look at websites from a distance, and read reviews, there is a tendency to pack in too many things, because those webs ites are selling (in one way or another.) We see a lot of posts about "covering" this or that.....sort of like touching a base when playing baseball, in my mind. Get off the train, touch the ground, spend 23.67 minutes, go on the next place to "cover."

There is no website "selling" sit around and do nothing. In fact, the beauty of Switzerland and variety of environments makes any part of a journey memorable. You can see some of that from most trains. You can also do it by taking advantage of strategically located bench on hiking trails, placed by the local tourist committee to allow study of a nice view.

The famous stuff is famous for a reason, but the quiet stuff is special, too.

About half way along the trail from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg is a look out point with benches where I have and you could sit and look for a half an hour or more without exhausting the view.

That is one exaple. There ar lots more in the countryside, awy from the tourist trails.

For your own goals, have you considered a walk or two in the Emmental?

Check this thread and the references in it.

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/langnau-in-may

Slowpoke

JoeyA
JoeyA
43 posts
active member
Apr 18, 2016 - 6:37 PM

Thanks for the link Slowpoke, I hadn't previously considered Emmental but I'll definitely have a look. So many beautiful places to visit!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2655 posts
expert
Apr 18, 2016 - 7:37 PM in reply to JoeyA

Hi Joey-

It all depends on what interests you.

Whenever we are in Switzerland, even in the colder months we try to fit in a couple of days in the Emmental. Great walking/hiking as you can see from the photos in that link.

Many good inns, although fewer than in years past. I have some favorites that I've been going to for years, but they are gradually shutting down as their proprietors age, and the kids don't want to take over the business. My favorite in Affoltern is going to be converted into apartments......

I also have a couple of favorites around Lake Luzern that are good values or otherwise special and not on the regular tourist circuits.

Here is one - My 8 year old granddaughter, in 2009, in a rather fussy mood with distinct remnants of jet lag, came out of that mood when we went to "Bethlehem House" in Schwyz and she was fascinated by this place:

www.swissinfo.ch/eng/e urope-s-oldest-wooden-house-still-going-strong/1288454

She lives in Nebraska, and was/is intensely interested in how the pioneers lived, and how people lived in older times. Hard to tell about other kids' tastes, but that is a unique place and offers a chance for reflection on how people lived without modern conveniences.

The mannequins in Fasnacht costumes also caught her eye, as you can see in the page attached, from a photobook that I made to record the trip.

If your plans go in either direction (das Emmental, or, der Vierwaldstättersee ) , I can offer more details for your consideration.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Apr 18, 2016 - 7:40 PM by Slowpoke
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JoeyA
JoeyA
43 posts
active member
Apr 19, 2016 - 9:50 AM

Bethlehem House looks fascinating, I'm sure my boys would love it! Thank you for the tip!

techo
techo
8 posts
new member
Apr 22, 2016 - 12:59 AM

thanks so much Slowpoke and Joey,

You both are on point. And so I am planning to take breaks in-between and relax and soak in the true beauty and nature of Switzerland. It is our very first trip, and as you said, nobody mentions the 'relax and do nothing' part.

Coming in to Geneva from Paris and then going to Lausanne in the night will be a very hectic day [we come to Geneva at 3:30 and do some sight-seeing and head off to Lausanne for 2 nights. We are planning to do Chocolate and cheese factory, Chillon Castle and Charlie Chaplin the next day, stay that night in Lausanne and then start for Wengen the next day in Golden Pass. That day we will not do anything, just relax and take it easy.[ We will be in Wengen for two nights ] We will keep a flexible schedule for Jungfrau and Bern on the next two days depending on weather. and then head to Lucerne from there.

also, we are travelling from the US, so there will be some jet-lag too

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2655 posts
expert
Apr 22, 2016 - 1:09 AM in reply to techo

<<"Coming in to Geneva from Paris and then going to Lausanne in the night will be a very hectic day [we come to Geneva at 3:30 and do some sight-seeing and head off to Lausanne for 2 nights">>

Jet lag might suggest skipping the sightseeing in Geneva. Depends on your stamina. Mine does not disappear until after about 3 days, coming from east coat USA. Your responses may be different. Do your best to sleep on the planes.

To quote Annika -<<"day 2: this too should be possible if you don't spend too much time in the castle and Charlie Chaplin house, although it will be a long day anyway.">>

Check the sunset hour for Geneva in early June from some appropriate website.

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2655 posts
expert
Apr 23, 2016 - 4:07 PM in reply to JoeyA

Hi Joey-

Following up on Schwyz, I've started a new thread entitled "Schwyz and the Ital Reding House"

Not sure how it meets with the interests of your whole party, but i think I want to be able to refer to it periodically.

Slowpoke

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