Suggestions on Itinerary

Suggestions on Itinerary

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Cynthia
Cynthia
20 posts
new member
May 10, 2011 - 10:27 PM
Ok, I'll start with the basics, then I will submit new posts for more detailed questions.

We will be arriving on a Saturday morning in July, at 8:00am in Zurich. We are staying in Wengen for 5 nights - but cannot check in until 4:00pm so we have some time to kill. After Wengen we are going to Bern for three days, then on to France.

Here's our itinerary:

Arrive Zurich on a Saturday
Spend 5 nights in Wengen - hiking, Jungfraujoch, Latterbrunen, Murren, falls, etc
Spend 3 nights in Bern - Bern, Gruyeres

Now - somewhere in there, we want to do the Golden Pass and see Lucerne.

Here's my initial questions:

1)I thought the Fortress Furigen in Stansstad would be an interesting place to visit. It is only open on Sat/Sun so if we visit, it must be on the day we arrive, or the next day. We could stop by there on our way to Wengen, but it will add time to long train ride(s). Has anyone been to the fortress and is it worth the visit?

2)we could do Fortress Furigen on the second day, then go to Lucerne afterwards - but it is a long way from Wengen. Maybe this is an option?

3) We plan to do the Golden Pass - is it better from Wengen or Bern? I thought we'd do it from Bern so that we can take a quick train home from Vevey instead of taking trains all the way back up to Wengen. Is this thinking correct?

4)we already have our accommodations set up - but staying within those restrictions, is there a better way to set up the trip?

Thanks
Annika
Annika
4418 posts
expert &
moderator
May 11, 2011 - 11:47 AM
Hi Cynthia, and welcome back!
1) and 2) The fortress is interesting indeed and it's doable to get there on your way from Zurich Airport to Wengen. However, this would result in a long travel day with quite some train and bus changes (please checkthe timetable for specifics). If you have lots of luggage to take along, it would be much more convenient to travel right onto Wengen and relax there before getting to your hotel. You can store your luggage at the railway station. You could take a break along the way from Zurich to Wengen too, and just sit down at the railway restaurant terrace and enjoy the view (the railway stations of Spiez and Brienz are good examples). If you want to travel without your luggage (which will make a visit to the fortress much easier), please check out the SBB's fast baggage service. Getting to the fortress on the 2nd day, combining this with a Golden Pass train ride to Lucerne, is an option as well.

3) From both Wengen and Bern you can get to Interlaken in approximately 50 minutes, where you can enter the Golden Pass train in two directions (either to Lucerne, which is a shorter ride, or all the way to Montreux), so that doesn't make much of a difference. If you want your way back to be quick and easy, your idea to make the ride from Bern certainly makes sense.

4) Your travel scheme looks fine to me; I don't think it requires any changes. You can use the timetable I referred to above and the Bernese Oberland day trip overview for your further planning.
Cynthia
Cynthia
20 posts
new member
May 12, 2011 - 9:25 AM
Annika -

Thanks so much for your input, I really appreciate it.

We will be using the service that will deliver our bags to Wengen so we'll be pretty free from bags - but not completely. If we do go to the fortress on the day we arrive, I thought we'd take a train to Stans as they have a luggage locker and then we'd take the 5 minute train to Stansstad and walk to the fortress. Since we arrive at 8:00am, I need to keep my family (my Mom, my sis, my hubby and my two teens) awake - I know if I let them go into their chalet at 4:00pm, they'll all go to bed, not good.

I'm glad to hear its worth the visit - because it is so far from Wengen. Unfortunately we will not be in Bern during Sat/Sun - so we can't make the trip from there. I figure we can just see how things go the first day: If everyone is up to it, we just go see the fortress and then get into Wengen about 6:00pm that night. If everyone is just whipped because of the flight (its my Mom and Sisters first trip to Europe) then we don't do it. If we don't do it, we will then do it the following day - if I can get everyone up early. If they don't cooperate, then we do not see the fortress.

Here's my itinerary, with a few questions:

day 1 - arrive Zurich, if I have a happy group - we go to the fortress then on to Wengen; otherwise - we go directly to Wengen and spend the afternoon in town (we'll have about 2 hours to kill before checking in)
Day 2 - either long train ride back to fortress and on to Lucerne, just go to Lucerne for the day

Days 3,4 and 5 will be mixed up depending on weather:

Day 3 - train to Lauterbrunnen, walk to T falls, then take the gondola up to Murren. Walk to Gimmelwald; gondola to Schilthorn; gondola to Murren; walk to Grutshalp; gondola to lauterbrunnen then on to Wengen. Are we doing too much or can we add something? Is the walk from Gimmelwald to the glacier bowls a good idea to do?

Day 4 - Gondola to Mannlichen; walk to Kleine S; Train to Jungfraujoch; train back town to Kleine S, walk to Wengen. Will this take all day or can I plan some walks after this? Is walking from the Jungfraujoch to the moenchsich hut something we should do? We'll see the ice castles while at the top, not sure what else to do.

Day 5 - Either walk from Lauterbrunnen to Winderswil, or the Planetenweg; or Giessbach Falls - would like to incorporate a steamer ride in this as my mother would love this. Any suggestions?

Day 6 - train to Bern, if we get there early enough - it is market day so we'll go through the market; do a tour of the city and if time maybe go to Murten in the evening

Day 7 - go to Gruyeres either early in the AM or late in the afternoon to try to miss the crowds, rest of the day - just wander?

Day 8 - Golden Pass to Montreux; walk to Castle Chillon, walk to Vevey, train to Bern. How long of a day is this? Can we visit Laussane? I think the Golden Pass will take up most of our day, right?

On to the next country...

Does it sound like I have it right, or should I switch some things up to reduce the time we're on trains? Am I putting too much in one day or are these all relatively easy days? My family walks a lot, so I'm not too worried about the walking. I do, however, have to watch my Mom as she sometimes will need to stop for a while - then she's ready to keep moving.

Thanks for any input or suggestions!

Cynthia
Annika
Annika
4418 posts
expert &
moderator
May 13, 2011 - 2:57 AM
Hi Cynthia. To be honest, I think part of your itinerary is very ambitious. Especially day 6, 7 and 8 will result in long travel days. Did you check the timetable for these trips? This will give you a good idea about travelling times. I would personally prefer to stick with the Bernese Oberland and its immediate surroundings. There's so much to see and do there that you won't get bored. And it's great to just stroll around in the Jungfrau region, sit back and enjoy the magnific scenery. As for your specific questions:

- day 3: I think it would be best to get to the Schilthorn first thing in the morning, depending on the weather of course. On many summer days, skies are clearer in early morning than in the afternoon. You can best check weather forecasts the evening before and then decide what to do. If you want to combine all trips, you could get to the Schilthorn, then walk from Mürren to Grütschalp or Mürren to Gimmelwald, and visit the Trümmelbach falls in the afternoon.

- day 4: the hike to the Mönchsjochhütte and back takes about 2 hours already, and you'll just want enjoy the views up at the Jungfraujoch as well, so you'll easily be spending half a day up there. Again, you may consider visiting the Jungfraujoch first and do some hiking afterwards. You could either hike to the Männlichen when returning at Kleine Scheidegg, or back to Wengen. If you want a full round trip, you could get down to Grindelwald (a beautiful train ride as well), get up to the Männlichen from there, and then hike back to Kleine Scheidegg. But this is quite a full travel scheme as well.

- day 5: you could take a boat at lake Brienz and get off at the Giessbach falls.

- day 6: a city trip to Bern can be done very well from Wengen. Getting to Murten in the evening would be a bit too much, I think.

- day 8: this is a definitely a long day, as the Glacier Express is a long train ride. You will manage to get to Chateau de Chillon and do a short hike, but I don't think you should visit Lausanne as well.

Of course, it's all a matter of personal preference. Just figure our the exact travelling times and see if that appeals to you and your family.
Cynthia
Cynthia
20 posts
new member
May 13, 2011 - 9:14 AM
Hi Annika -

I am so sorry, I forgot to mention that on day 6 we're changing accommodations and we'll be staying in Bern for three nights. Does this change your opinion of days 6, 7 and 8 or are we still traveling too much?

- Day 3: good idea, how's this: Wengen to Schilthorn, gondola back to Murren, walk to Gimmelwald, gondola back to Murren, walk to Grutschalp, gondola to Lauterbrunnen and then walk to the falls. Question: I'd really like to take the gondola from Murren to Stechelberg as I hear it's pretty scary and I'd love to surprise my family. But if we do that, we'll miss the walk to Grutschalp, which is hear is wonderful. Is there anyway we can work in both the walk and the gondola to put us at the end of the valley so we walk towards Lauterbrunnen? Would it be better to walk from Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg?

Day 4: We can skip the hut at the top, and take the train straight up to the Jungfraujoch. Then we can do your idea: Trains back to Grindelwald, now to get to Mannlichen - can we walk it or do we take a train? We can then walk to Kleine Scheidegg and then back to Wengen. I understand the walk from Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg is gorgeous.

Day 5: It looks like we could take a boat ride from Interlaken to Giessbach Falls in about an hour. When you depart at the falls, can you get up to the hotel at the top? Is it worth it? We could then take the boat back to Interlaken. Could we walk part of the way, and catch a boat when we're tired of walking?

Considering I have now given you the information that our accommodations are changing, do your comments for days 6 and 8 still stand, or are my plans ok?

Thanks again!!!
Annika
Annika
4418 posts
expert &
moderator
May 14, 2011 - 7:29 AM
Hi Cynthia! Staying in Bern at day 6, 7 and 8 does make a difference, as the trips you've planned will be significantly shorter from Bern than from Wengen. You can best check the timetable, as only you can decide what you and your family like and what traveling times are acceptable.

- day 3: you can combine pretty much all of your plans. Take the bus to Stechelberg in the morning, get up to Mürren and the Schilthorn there, make the hike from Mürren to Grütschalp after your Schilthorn visit (personally, I'd skip the the hike to Gimmelwald) and get down to Lauterbrunnen. Next, you can hike through the valley from Lauterbrunnen to the Trümmelbach falls (that's towards Stechelberg) and walk back after your visit, or take the bus.

- day 4: if you take the train from Kleine Scheidegg to Grindelwald, you should get off at Grindelwald Grund (that's one stop before the main railway station of Grindelwald), as the cable cars for the Männlichen leave there;

- day 5: yes, you can hike to the hotel/restaurant at the top, crossing the Giessbach falls. There are several boat stops along the hiking path from Giessbach back to Interlaken. The BLS website (which I linked to in my previous post) provides timetables.

Have fun with your further planning!
mantoo
mantoo
1 post
new member
May 16, 2011 - 6:40 AM
Dear fellows,
i along with my wife are planing to visit PARIS-SWISS-VENICE in approx 8-9 days. Though i have searched few sites about information on making the correct itinerary but need more advice.
(a)i am planing my trip from 14 Oct 2011 onwards. whether it is a suitable time to go or not?
- which place to start with first?
- after landing in Paris where to go n hw to go?
- ni halt at which all places?
- which are the best places to see?
- I m looking for a gud and comfortable rail journey also in between.
- Is covering three countries advisable or not?
Cynthia
Cynthia
20 posts
new member
May 16, 2011 - 6:12 PM
Mantoo -

I'm not an expert, but depending on how much you want to see - I don't think you have enough time to visit three countries. However, I think that is a call only you can make. You can easily go from France, Swizterland and out of Italy - that part makes perfect sense. Having been to Venice, for me- I'd say two full days in the city is good enough if your goal is to cover many places. We are going back to Paris this summer and plan to spend only three days in the city - to show my Mom the highlights. I don't know what to tell you about Switzerland - we'll be going this summer. We have over a week in Switzerland but I don't think that is enough time - but we want to cover many, many places.

I'd sit down and make a list of what you really,really want to see. Then eliminate - if you really want to see Paris and Venice, that leaves about 3-4 days in Switzerland. Are you hikers? Fast travelers? Wanting to see something in a different region? If your goal is to just see a few of the highlights in the country - you could probably hit a few of the big items, but again - it all depends on how you like to travel and what your goals are.

Mid-October is when we usually travel - you will find it a lot less crowded, less expensive (especially air tickets) but you will have weather. We usually get rained on so bring a poncho or something you can throw in a bag.

When in Paris - get 'The Paris Map Guide', it is the only map I use and anyone who see's you with it will be asking you for directions - great map book. As for traveling around Paris: Go on-line and get the train map - this will be very helpful. Trains in Paris are an easy way to get from place to place.

Hope this helps

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