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looban
looban
8 posts
new member
Jan 14, 2012 - 3:43 AM
Hi,
My wife and I (60's) plan to spend 2 weeks in Switzerland from 2nd to 16th July and below is a brief itinerary.
D1 2nd July arrive in Geneva by air or TGV train from Paris to Geneva or Lausanna, take a local train to Montreux (overnight)
D1 & D2 Montreux - take the Chocolate train & local sightseeings
local train to Zermatt
D3 & D4 Zermatt - local sightseeings & take the Glacier Express
D5 & D6 St.Moritz - take Bernina Express to Lugano & local sightseeings
take local train to Lucerne
D7- D9 Lucerne - Mt. Pilatus, Mt Titlis & take the Golden Line Express to Interlaken
D10-D13 Interlaken- Jungfrajough, Schilthorn,boat trips around lakes Thun & Brienz, take the Golden line Express to Montreux
D14 & D15- Berne or Lausanna
D16 17th July take TGV train to Paris
My questions are:
1) Can I buy the Swiss Saver Pass (15days) at the Geneva Airport train station? if the Pass is validated on 2nd July afternoon, when is the expiry time and day for 15 day pass?
2) Since July & August are peak seasons and reservation is not possible on most Swiss local trains, will we have problem getting seats if we just hop into a train station at any time? If so is it better to buy 1st class Pass? Are the Scenic Trains open for seat reservation now for travel in July and when is the best time to book to be sure of seats.
3) Any direct train from Geneva Airport to Montreux? Because we want to continue the Golden Passline from Interlaken to Montreux, we have to be in Montreux again on D13 but only to take a connecting train to Berne or Lausanna before we take the TGV to Paris on D16, any better suggestion to improve on my itinerary to avoid going to Montreux twice?
4) I understand there is a local train plying the Chocolate train route and for a shorter duration of time, is this covered by the Swiss Pass and do you recommend this?
5) Is it necessary and advisable to book the other train or cable car rides like Mt Titlis, Mt Pilatus & the lake cruises?
and
6) What is the weather like in July, some of the hotels reviews commended that it is very warm even at night?
Many thanks for going through my lengthy letter but I want to make sure that our trips and timing turn up without a hitch.Switzerland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and my wife deserves a memorable & enjoyable trip after "bearing" with me for 30 years
Looban
Annika
Annika
4424 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 15, 2012 - 8:26 AM
Hello Looban, and welcome to our forum! That's an impressive itinerary, allowing you to explore a lot of Switzerland. As for your questions:

1) The Swiss Saver Pass can be bought both online and at the Geneva Airport railway station. Prices and further details can be found at the Swiss Pass page. A 15 pass activated on July 2 will expire on July 16 by midnight. So July 16 is the last day on which you can use your pass, which matches your travel plan exactly.

2) In most cases, you won't have problems finding a seat. Some very popular routes may be crowded though. If want to avoid that, a 1st class pass may be a good option. Please note that some tourist trains, cable cars and buses don't offer 1st class seats. Scenic trains such as the Bernina Express and Glacier Express can be booked about 2 to 3 months in advance. That would be a good moment to do so. You'll find more information at the seat reservation page.

3) If you don't want to get to Montreux again after your stay in Interlaken, it would make more sense to travel directly to Bern from Interlaken and spend one or two nights there. There are direct trains from Bern to Geneva Airport. This would mean that you won't make the Golden Pass ride. If you want to visit Lausanne instead of Bern, you can do so either using the Golden Pass line (with a change of trains in Montreux), or using regular trains via Bern and skipping Montreux. You can find all options in the timetable.

4) The Chocolate Train includes a train ride to Broc, a bus ride to the castle and factory, and a visit to the cheese and chocolate factory. Swiss Pass holders receive a discount of CHF 40 to CHF 50 (depending on whether you have a 1st or 2nd class pass). Broc can also be reached using regular regional trains. They would be covered by the Swiss Pass, but the factory tour wouldn't be included.

5) No, boat cruises, cable cars and mountain trains don't have to be booked in advance.

6) Weather conditions in July can range from cold and wet to warm and sunny; that's very hard to predict. There can be huge differences between several part of the country too. Since you'll be traveling throughout the country, visiting towns at lower altitude in relatively warm parts of the country (such as Geneva and Montreux), but also mountain peaks where temperatures may still be near freezing point, you can best prepare for all sorts of weather.

I hope this helps you out! Best regards,
Last modified on Dec 28, 2014 - 4:35 PM by Arno
looban
looban
8 posts
new member
Jan 15, 2012 - 12:16 PM
Thanks Annika for your informative answers. Hope you can help me with the followings :

1) Can I take the Bernina Express & the bus to Lugano and return to St Moritz on the same day?
2) Is it better in term of scenic views to stay one night in Lugano instead of St. Moritz and take a train from Lugano to Lucerne the next day? (i.e. D6 overnight in Lugano)
If we choose to stay one night in Lugano we have to take our luggages along, would we be able to put them inside the bus? The same goes to Glacier Express, any limits on the
pieces of luggages taken aboard the train?
Once again thank you and regards.

Looban
Annika
Annika
4424 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 16, 2012 - 2:06 PM
Hello Looban!

1) No, it's very hard to get from St. Moritz to Lugano and back on one day by Bernina Express, as a single trip already takes about 6 hours. You can best consult the general timetable and the Bernina Express timetable for details.

2) Lugano and St. Moritz are very different. Lugano has a much milder climate and therefore a more mediterranean atmosphere, whereas St. Moritz is surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Most buses and trains offer enough luggage space; as far as I know, there are no limits. You may consider the SBB fast baggage service though.
looban
looban
8 posts
new member
Jan 28, 2012 - 6:18 AM
hello Annika,
I have been reading some of the topic in the forum and I am considering changing my itinerary to get the best from the Scenic train trips and avoiding going to Montreux twice.
I hope you could give me some advice on which side of the train I should sit to enjoy the better view during the journey.
(i) The chocolate train to Broc
(ii) Golden Passline from Montreux to Interlaken, Interlaken to Lucern on another day
(iii)Wilhem Tell Express from Lucern to Lugano
(iv) Bernina Express from Lugano to St Moritz
(v) Glacier express from St Moritz to Zermatt

Most of the trips depart in the morning and in summer month of July,is it better to sit on the side away from the rising sun?
and
Since I am traveling in July, is it advisable to book seats in advance for trips to e.g. Jungfrajough, Mt Titlis,Mt Pilatus and the Matterhorn Paradise?
Your advice is much appreciated.
Regards
looban
Annika
Annika
4424 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 31, 2012 - 2:50 PM
Hi looban. You won't be able to make seat reservations for a specific direction in all cases. Sometimes you can pick a specific seat in a carriage, but there's no guarantee the carriage will move in the direction as displayed. If you can choose, you should try to sit to on the left side of the Bernina Express from Lugano to St. Moritz, and on the left side of the Glacier Express from St. Moritz to Zermatt. For the leg Interlaken-Lucerne, the right side would be preferable.

You don't have to make reservations for the cable cars you mentioned. You can just buy your ticket at the valley station and get on board.
looban
looban
8 posts
new member
Feb 1, 2012 - 11:55 AM
Hello Annika,

Thank you.
Now I have a better idea in planing my trip and making the reservation.
May come back to seek your help later.

looban
sinkafu
sinkafu
35 posts
active member
Feb 6, 2012 - 10:03 AM
Hi! Dear Sirs,
My wife and I are also planning a trip to Switzerland in May,2012 and the itinerary will be as following.
May16 Zurich to Zermatt
May17 Zermatt
May18 Zermatt
May19 Zermatt to St Moritz by Glacier Express
May20 St Moritz
May21 St Moritz
May22 St Moritz to Zurich
May23 Zurich
Therefore, would like to ask any opinion for sight seeing places in these cities.This is our first time to go Switzerland and we are in age of late 50.
Thanks.
Sin K.F.
Annika
Annika
4424 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 7, 2012 - 2:03 PM
Hello Sin! I think the day trip overviews for Wallis and Graubünden will help you out. Lots of activities near Zermatt and St. Moritz are listed here. Highlights near Interlaken are the Jungfraujoch and the Schilthorn. When you're in St. Moritz, try to visit one of the many beautiful viewing points such as Muottas Muragl, Corvatsch, Piz Nair or Diavolezza. The timetable will come in handy too.
Last modified on May 1, 2014 - 5:41 PM by Arno
sinkafu
sinkafu
35 posts
active member
Feb 12, 2012 - 4:32 AM
Dear Sirs,
I have confirmed the trip from Zermatt to St Moritz.
However, I pressed a wrong button and therefore I have only half day in Zermatt.
So, could you suggest:
1) What is the best sightseeing I should take when I am in Zermatt?
2) Since I get 3 days 2 nights extra time and then I am planning to go Paris by train
on the same day when I go back to Zurich from St Moritz. Is the timing allow me to do so?
3) What kind of train am I take to Paris from Zurich?
4) Am I need to buy another Rail Pass for train to Paris( No need return to Zurich)?
Look forward to your reply again.
Thanks.
Sin
Annika
Annika
4424 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 12, 2012 - 10:23 AM
Hello Sin! I suggest that you take a look at the Zermatt day trip overview I referred to and pick one of the viewing points near Zermatt for your short stay there. You could try the Gornergrat, if time allows, or Sunnegga.

I'm not quite sure what you mean with your second question. Do you mean that you want to travel from St. Moritz to Paris in one day? That can be done. The timetable I mentioned will tell you which connections are possible. There are direct TGV trains between Zurich and Paris. If the trip from the Swiss border to Paris is the only French trip you'll be making, you can best buy a regular ticket and not a rail pass for this leg. A rail pass for your stay in Switzerland (I suggest that you consider the 2 for 1 offer on the 4 day Swiss Saver Flexi Pass) would be very economical.
Last modified on Dec 28, 2014 - 4:34 PM by Arno
sinkafu
sinkafu
35 posts
active member
Feb 13, 2012 - 4:57 AM
Dear Annika,

Your reply is highly appreciated.
Actually, we have bought the 2-1 PASS already and also we have gone through your suggestion for Zermatt too.
However, would like to double check : Is that meaning we just go to buy the full fare for the TVG train from Zurich to Paris?
Look forward to your reply soon.
Best regards,
Sin K.F.
Annika
Annika
4424 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 13, 2012 - 12:50 PM
Hello Sin. The Swiss leg of the trip Zurich-Paris is still covered by a valid Swiss (Flexi) Pass (you do need supplementary seat reservations for this TGV train though, but you don't have to pay for the ride itself). Full fare applies to the French part of the trip.
sinkafu
sinkafu
35 posts
active member
Feb 14, 2012 - 5:11 AM
Dear Annika,

Thank you for your reply.

However, I cant read anything when I click onto your instruction" Seat Reservation".
Pls advis what is the name of the web-site for the seat reservation.
Thanks again.
Sin K.F.
Annika
Annika
4424 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 14, 2012 - 11:06 AM
Hi Sin! You're right, the link doesn't seem to work. This is the page I'm referring to.
sinkafu
sinkafu
35 posts
active member
Feb 20, 2012 - 9:58 AM
Dear Annika,

Just enter the TGV web site for booking the fare.
However, just want to double check if the fare price appeared in the web site is the
full fare.(€160-240 for 2nd class for 2 person)
It seems there are different price which we found in Euro Railways.(USD185 for 2nd class per person)
Look forward to your reply.
Thanks again.
Sin
Annika
Annika
4424 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 21, 2012 - 11:34 AM
Hello Sin. It's possible that you get different price quotes from different web sites/resellers. Prices may be dependent on exchange rates, how long in advance you book, and so on. For an exact comparison you should always use an up to date currency converter. If you have specific questions about the offer of one of the resellers, you can best contact them directly.

Does that help you out? Best regards,
sinkafu
sinkafu
35 posts
active member
Feb 22, 2012 - 9:58 AM
Dear Annika,

Actually what we are concerning is the price is only for the person with Rail Pass etc....

If it is a full fare price then it is OK for us. We just afraid any inconvenience caused at the station.

Currently, we are going to buy the ticket for 21st May,2012.

Thanks.
Sin
Annika
Annika
4424 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 23, 2012 - 10:06 AM
Hello Sin. I don't know which way prices are calculated on the TGV or Eurail website. So if you have specific questions on their quotes, and whether any rail pass discount is applied, you can best direct these questions to TGV or Eurail. The easiest solution would be to buy a TGV ticket to Basel, for which a full price applies. From Basel to Zurich, your Swiss Pass will take over and you only need a separate seat reservation.

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