Switzerland in 4 days from Geneva

Switzerland in 4 days from Geneva

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wanderlass
wanderlass
11 posts
new member
Aug 17, 2016 - 12:25 AM

Hi, Arno / Annika -

It's me again! Still a new member of myswissalps and going thru the forum threads and your posts have definitely been very helpful, but at the same time, making it difficult for my friend and to decide where to go! such a short time to be spent in switzerland and being first timers as well, we're very much enthusiastic to do a lot of things. of course, we can go back but then this would be in a relatively long time. so to cut this short - need your help please on deciding which ones we should cut out from our itinerary. our base is in Geneva, which is unfortunately far from most of the sites that we wanted to go. accommodations are booked, though i think we may be able to negotiate on cutting the nights in geneva so we can stay 1 night in a nearer base. snapshot of our iti:

Sept 5: arrive from milan at around noon. Go around Lake Geneva / Lavaux region. Hopefully still have the time time to walk around lausanne. Back to Geneva

Sept 6: Zermatt (Klein Matterhorn). back to Geneva.

Sept 7: Jungfrau region. back to Geneva

Sept 8: Golden Pass panoramic. Back to Geneva.

Sept 9 (am): fly out of Geneva

This is actually an itinerary with travel times that are so far and in between. Of course we did not realize when we decided to book Geneva and fly out from there (back to the Philippines). we will be getting the swiss travel pass - and we of course would like to be able to maximize the use of this as much as possible. hope you guys can help me!

1. the zermatt and jungfrau regions have killer views, but the travel is so taxing. i feel that we will need to drop one of them. my friend and i would love to see snow, the mountains and alpine meadows, and do some easy to moderate hikes. we're not professional hikers, so having proper equipment is out of the question. We have the hiking attire, but fairly modest compared to those who have been doing this for some tome. i myself are into exploring quaint little towns. for a first timer, which between the two should go to? I'm leaning towards the Jungfrau region since there just seems t0 be a lot of sights to see, even if it's raining.

2. Bernese Oberland / Jungfrau region - would love to see/do the following: top of the europe, grindelwald, lauterbrunnen, kandersteg-oeschinensee (yes we wanna do the toboggan!) . I am foreseeing that we will need to spend a night (Sept 7-8) in the region, which i am pretty sure is still not enough!

a. where would you recommend that we stay the night? was looking at grindelwald, but saw that this tends to become touristy (though i am still drawn to it). Lauterbrunnen seems to be a pretty good alternative, but then Bern is there too. we of course would want an 1-night base that will be fairly accessible to the Golden Pass Line.

b. for "moderate" hikers like us - which among Grindelwald, lauterbrunned and kanderstegg is a good option for us to explore? would really love to see meadows with the alps as a backdrop :) my friend tends to get umm tired a bit more, so having relatively maybe rest areas or gradual slopes in between can be considered. saw that wengen is also a candidate having seen this post www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/kandersteg-vs-wengen -- the thread itself and kim's documentation were such good reads, but has now made even more confused! if you can give an advice as well on travel in between - would be a lot of help too!

c. golden pass line - very convenient for use since we can opt to take this going back to geneva and be able to check on Montreaux too. will it be better to take this from bern? saw in your other posts that we can take this by section, but not sure whether we start from section2 (interlaken to zweisimmen) or section 3 ( zweisimmen to momtreux).

3. chocolate train - is there still a chance that we can still squeeze this in the 4 day trip?

PS: i'm actually flying to zurich from geneva and staying 2 days (Sept 9 - 10), leaving in the afternoon of sept 10. I'm planning to do lucerne and basel and explore its towns. however, i'm still hoping that i can do a panoramic train or even a short hike. any recommendations?

sorry for the super lengthy post - but really looking forward to your reply :)

Kate

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2651 posts
expert
Aug 17, 2016 - 1:01 AM in reply to wanderlass

<<"PS: i'm actually flying to zurich from geneva and staying 2 days (Sept 9 - 10),">>

Why fly?

Slowpoke

Arno
Arno
7716 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 17, 2016 - 7:44 AM in reply to wanderlass

Hi Kate,

So is your accommodation in Geneva fixed? If not, please consider a different town as Geneva is really impractical as a base to see Switzerland. Travel times will be long as you've noticed. If you can't change your accommodation, I'd recommend to limit the number of really long day trips and focus on the Lake Geneva area. There is plenty to see there. That way, you will have time left for sightseeing and hiking.

Be sure to order your Swiss Travel Pass in time as it takes 1-3 business days to e-mail it to you, and tickets for the trip from Italy may take longer. That will save you time at the border. As discussed in your other thread, you can get it through www.raileurope.com.sg/ pass/swiss-travel-pass-82 or www.swissrailways.com/ en.

I strongly recommend not to fly for short distances like Geneva to Zurich. The trains are superb: quicker, more comfortable and much more eco-friendly.

wanderlass
wanderlass
11 posts
new member
Aug 17, 2016 - 10:59 PM

Hi, slowpoke / arno -

Unfortunately, the flight has been booked already so we won't be able to change it anymore. The decision was a result of impulsive buying (promo fare) and indecisiveness from our end given that we really a short stay - with only 1 night in zurich.

We're already considering a different base other than geneva. Given our itinerary, what can area can you suggest to be our base - bern, interlaken or grindelwald or any other? We're dropping Zermatt already. Thinking of:

Sept 5 to 7 - jungfrau region (base to be decided)

Sept 8 - geneva (really for lavaux region) or maybe we stay in lausanne instead? Will that be better?

Sept 9 - early flight out to zurich (i think the first one out)

-- kate

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2651 posts
expert
Aug 17, 2016 - 11:24 PM in reply to wanderlass

Hi Kate-

I must say that I am totally confused,

You are flying home from Geneva, but you are flying to Zürich to do it?

<<"This is actually an itinerary with travel times that are so far and in between. Of course we did not realize when we decided to book Geneva and fly out from there (back to the Philippines). we will be getting the swiss travel pass -">>

<<"Sept 8: Golden Pass panoramic. Back to Geneva.

Sept 9 (am): fly out of Genev">>

and-

<<"Sept 9 - early flight out to zurich (i think the first one out)">>

<<"PS: i'm actually flying to zurich from geneva and staying 2 days (Sept 9 - 10),">>

Can you help me become less confused?

What are your arrival points/methods into Switzerland, and what is your departure point for your flight home to the Phillipines?

Slowpoke

wanderlass
wanderlass
11 posts
new member
Aug 18, 2016 - 12:41 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi, Slowpoke -

whops, sorry about that. it's my friend who's flying back home (she's based in Singapore) from Geneva, with a connecting flight in Zurich. I just took the same flight as hers going to Zurich and extended my stay there. my flight back to the Philippines will be flying out of Zurich. just to make it less confusing, here's my itinerary:

Sept 5 to 8 - Geneva, Jungfrau region (arriving from Milan, Italy via train)

Sept 9 - fly to Zurich from Geneva; I stay in Zurich, my friend takes her connecting flight back to Singapore

Sept 10 - afternoon flight out from Zurich to Manila

Just to explain - The flight out from Zurich to Manila is part of whole journey ticket that i purchased (Manila - Naples; Zurich - Manila). Flights from Geneva to Manila were not as frequent thus we decided on Zurich as point of departure for Philippines. We were also originally planning to use Zurich as our homebase for the switzerland trip. Planning got awry, ended up deciding to use Geneva as homebase (but can no longer rebook the flight to philippines), since we thought that it will be more convenient for us.

As for Geneva to Zurich, we booked the flight given the shorter travel time (1hr vs almost 3hrs) and well conveniently this was the same connecting flight of my friend. my friend goes home to SG on Sept 9, while i go home to Phils on Sept 10.

i hope that's a bit clearer and didn't confuse you any further. :)

- kate

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2651 posts
expert
Aug 18, 2016 - 12:49 AM in reply to wanderlass

Hi Kate-

Does help. Thank you very much.

You still have the issue of how to manage the Geneva end....as Arno notes.

Slowpoke

wanderlass
wanderlass
11 posts
new member
Aug 18, 2016 - 1:41 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi, Slowpoke -

<You still have the issue of how to manage the Geneva end....as Arno notes. >

- Yes. hopefully, we can still change (or maybe even cancel) our airbnb booking. if we are to select a base other than Geneva and given our Jungfrau concentration, with top of europe - would you be able to recommend which among the three will be a good base (Bern, Grindelwald or Interlaken) for us? Golden Pass line have a stop in any of these? and we would really want to do at least one hiking trip if we can, at least an easy to moderate one. Any other suggestions on a Jungfrau itinerary would be highly appreciated.

thank you for patiently answering my questions! - kate

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2651 posts
expert
Aug 18, 2016 - 7:49 AM in reply to wanderlass

Hi Kate -

If i were you, and considering the short time you have, I'd pick one base.

It would be either the Jungfrau region or Luzern.

I'd take the train from Geneva Airport to Montreux, change to the Montreux - Spiez-Interlaken section of the Golden Pass Route via Zweisimmen , and stay in the Jungfrau region. If for some reason, I had to go back to Geneva, Interlaken is a reasonable location. It is also OK for travel to Zürich; of course, Luzern is a lot closer to Zürich .

However, since Interlaken Ost to Zürich Airport costs CHF73, I'd throw away my airline ticket ( or try to cancel if the fee is not so large as to allow no refund) and spend 73 CHF extra to gain a lot of time. The airline ticket from GVA to Zürich is a sunk cost.. It's gone. It's spent.

And, the cost of your ticket back to GVA airport is exactly the same as the cost to go to Zürich Airport. So, it costs no more to go to Zürich airport. Your total cost for your trip does not change in this scenario, and you don't have to travel to Geneva to catch a plane to Zürich.

(Those fares are full fare, single ticket prices. If you have some form of rail pass, the cost s may be lower.)

The Golden Pass Route runs to/from Montreux-Interlaken-Luzern. The train between Luzern and Interlaken on the Golden Pass Route is called the Luzern -Interlaken express.

www.myswissalps.com/go ldenpass

Interlaken is a reasonable mid-point. Or, as you suggest, you could and should try to stay further in the valley- any village will do - Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald have the shortest train times out to interlaken. Wengen and Mürren take longer, with Mürren probably the most distant in time from Interlaken. Interlaken is the best base if your greates concern is travel to the rest of Switzerland.

I like Wengen. Other wise, you could pick any one.

I would skip train travel to Zermatt, although it is not too bad from Interlaken.

Concentrate your time in one place....especially since you cannot predict the weather more that 48 hours in advance in the Alps, and you want to increase your chances of a clear day. From Interlaken, you have lots of choices if the weather is too cloudy on high.

If your concern is to get to Zürich Airport, Luzern is about 1 hour from Zürich Airport ( Flughafen) and Interlaken Ost is 2 hours and 15 minutes from Zürich Airport.

Walking in the Jungfrau region:

www.myswissalps.com/ju ngfrauregion/activitie s

A very good walk meting your criteria is the walk from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg (in that direction, definitely) :

www.myswissalps.com/hi king/maennlichen-kleinescheidegg

here are many others:

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

Attached photos are from the Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg walk, the view up to the Männlichen Gipfel from the start point at Männlichen lift station (for perspective, not to climb up there) , and a picture taken from up on the Gipfel to show the walk from a higher elevation.

Also, one taken from Wengen.

Slowpoke

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wanderlass
wanderlass
11 posts
new member
Aug 20, 2016 - 2:38 PM

Thanks so much for this, slowpoke! This really helped a lot in clearing out some questions on where to base ourselves. most probably this would be Interlaken - given that this is a jump off point for the rest of the region and with easier connection to Golden Pass. We may have to split and do a switch on our itinerary. 3 nights in Interlaken, 1 night in Geneva as our flight from Geneva to Zurich is non-refundable. we do still wanna see the Lavaux region so there's still reason for us to check out Geneva. easier for us as well to get to the airport.

The photos you sent are beautiful, most especially the one of Wengen. The view of Lauterbrunnen/Wengen is stunning. hopefully, we can squeeze this in. but definitely taking in your suggestion on the Maanlichen - Kleine Scheidegg hike. If i may ask, is Kandersteg-Oeschinensee worth seeing? or Schynige Platte - saw this within the website and it looks gorgeous as well. or First Bachsee? Aside from the Alps, we would love to see some Alpine flowers too.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2651 posts
expert
Aug 20, 2016 - 3:59 PM in reply to wanderlass

<<"as our flight from Geneva to Zurich is non-refundable.">>

If you did not want to see the Lavaux region, I'd say throw it away.

Even if you do...do the Lavaux before you go to Interlaken and never go back. Throw it away.

It is clear that you did not understand the logic.

I am asking you to set prioriteis. Is making the flight a priority, or seeing more of Switzerland?

To clarify...your journey in Switzerland fits the definition of "Project" as industrial planners use the word.

A project is an activity with a start, a finish, a budget, and a result.

Within the constraints set for the project, you may wish to trade off one or another activity for something else. If so, there must be give and take. For example, to make the trips faster, you could rent a helicopter. But, your trade off would be to add to the the expense.

The famous rule is "Good, fast, cheap....pick any two." Good refers to the events or quality of results. What it means is, If you emphasize one of the items, one of the other 2 has to give way. In your case, the total available time cannot be changed, so you would be trading off within that constraint.

In your case, you are degrading the quality of your trip by trying to save money ...that is, by not wasting the cost of the GVA-ZRH airfare.

In fact, if you throw away the air ticket and take a train from Interlaken to Zürich Airport, you have no extra train fare. So, it costs you no more.

So, in one sense, you trade of the cost of the discarded air ticket and taking the flight, for an improvement in the quality of your trip. No ride back to Geneva, no need to get to the airport early, and more time where you want to spend it, in the Jungfrau region.

I have no idea what the airfare from GVA to Zürich is, but if you spend time on a trip that you do not need to make, you degrade the overall quality of your holiday.

Your choice. I 'm just telling you what I would do , personally.

(Also, I'd check to make sure that skipping on leg of an air trip did not force a cancellation of the last leg....it could happen.)

As for your other ideas, use the timetable to see how they fit. With another day in the Jungfrau region, you would have a better chance to try them.

Slowpoke

wanderlass
wanderlass
11 posts
new member
Aug 20, 2016 - 4:35 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi, Slowpoke -

I do understand the logic that you've pointed out previously. You are right as well on the trade offs and just to answer your question, seeing more of Switzerland is a priority - thus, my inquiries as i try to make the most out of our very short trip. Perhaps unfortunately for us, we'll have to work within parameters that we may have unwillingly set upon ourselves.

More than not wasting the airfare cost, i do have to consider that i have a friend with me who needs to take the flight from Geneva to Zurich since this is only a connecting flight for her to Singapore. I could decide to go straight to Zurich from Interlaken & leave her alone to take that flight to Zurich, but my conscience wouldn't allow me to do that. I do thank you for the suggestions above as they've really helped us a lot.

Kate

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2651 posts
expert
Aug 20, 2016 - 5:44 PM in reply to wanderlass

Hi Kate-

Thanks for taking the time to explain.

I did not understand that your friend was required to take the flight from GVA. If that is indeed the case, and she cannot "throw away" her ticket for that segment, then, you are of course right on track.

Sorry that I misunderstood the circumstances, and you are certainly doing what I would do if I were traveling with a friend.

Slowpoke

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