Three days in February between Geneva and Basel

Three days in February between Geneva and Basel

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Posts: 25. This thread is closed.
Leonie
Leonie
13 posts
new member
Jan 18, 2016 - 2:32 PM

Hello,

So happy to find this wonderful site!I am a 50 year old woman, will be travelling in Feb with 22 year old son, arriving Monday afternoon in Geneva , need to be in Strasbourg France (via Basel, I believe) on Thursday evening.

We would so appreciate recommendations of what to do, bearing in mind:We love beautiful views, would be happy to be on Alps overnight (are considering Glacier Express - what do you think?) but will not be skiing, I am physically limited so we can't go on long hikes (up to a kilometre at a time is fine). We don't need to necessarily be "on the way" to Basel, we can go a completely different direction, just then will need a train to reach Basel by late Thursday afternoon. We love jazz (didn't notice anything going on between 8th and 11th Feb) and local culture. We will have one suitcase so would need to be able to leave that somewhere if we're moving from place to place. Option of staying in one place with day trips is also possible.

The following week, we will be in Basel for the Fasnacht and would like ideas of things to do beyond the festival itself, while based in Basel.

If there are links you can supply that explain the different train cards and what's worth doing, would appreciate! Thanks in advance to respondents!

Annika
Annika
4418 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 18, 2016 - 4:16 PM

Welcome Leonie, I'm glad you found us!

There are lots of options if you prefer to stay in one base town. You can start exploring through the "Where to go" option in the top menu. The Glacier Express is a very nice option. You can stay in Zermatt and St. Moritz and use the Glacier Express to transfer from one base to the other. All information is here:

Basel is not in the mountains, so to keep traveling times limited you can focus on the nice old town center, museums and nearby towns. Day trips to Bern and Zurich would be possible.

All train passes that matter are explained in detail on our website: video's, coverage maps, links to retailers, it's all here: myswissalps.com/train/ ticketspasses. You first need to be sure of your itinerary though. Then, you can pick a rail pass based on that.

Does this get you started?

Last modified on Jan 18, 2016 - 4:18 PM by Annika
Leonie
Leonie
13 posts
new member
Jan 18, 2016 - 5:35 PM in reply to Annika

It certainly does, thank you so much! I'll get to work and I'll get back with more specific questions if that's okay!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Jan 18, 2016 - 11:35 PM in reply to Leonie

Hi Leonie-

I hope you will appreciate the Morgenstraich. I prefer to sleep in the AM, but, then, I'm a lot older than you are. ;-(

In Basel, try to see the Tinguely water sculpture. Might be frozen...don't know if it runs in the winter.

Basel has some great art museums. Any interest?

February is not a great time for walks or hikes.

However, the lake shore on both sides, (especially northeast side) in Zürich and Luzern ( east side) might work for you. Both have nearby tram/bus access along the way. Otherwise. look for short walks wherever you are staying.

The Glacier Express will work, as Annika noted,...but you have to go to and from the start and finish. That will take a big chunk out of your available time. Although there is a winter break in the GEx schedule (not sure when that is) other "regular" trains take the same route.

www.myswissalps.com/gl acierexpress

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

map.search.ch/

If I were doing it, in February, I would not go so far afield as Zermatt and St. Moritz. Although, if you are not jet-lagged from an overnight flight from the USA, it would be easier for you, than for me when I arrive with inadequate sleep and 6 time zones change.

Nonetheless, I'd go from Geneva to Luzern and spend a day or two there and in the surroundings. lake, mountains, nice old town...

www.myswissalps.com/lu cerne

You could go from Geneva to Luzern after you arrive,easily, using the fast route via Zofingen, near Olten. or, you could go to Montreux, stay over, and take the slower scenic Golden Pass route/train to Luzern on the next day. It passes by Interlaken.

www.myswissalps.com/go ldenpass

Check the timetable -

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable.

When you are finished in Luzern, about one hour train ride to Basel from Luzern.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Jan 18, 2016 - 11:38 PM by Slowpoke
Leonie
Leonie
13 posts
new member
Jan 19, 2016 - 2:13 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Wow, this is all such useful and relevant information. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer me. Our flight is around 3 hours and arrives at a very sociable hour (around 5pm) so no jet lag. Should we give Geneva the evening and next morning and then make our way out, do you think? I was in Geneva when I was a teenager but my son's never been. If so, what to do with an evening and half a day there and where is a good area for reasonably priced, central, simple but clean hotel / b and b?

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Jan 19, 2016 - 10:21 PM in reply to Leonie

<<"Should we give Geneva the evening and next morning and then make our way out, do you think? I was in Geneva when I was a teenager but my son's never been. If so, what to do with an evening and half a day there">>

I really can't offer an opinion...that is clearly a very personal issue for you.

You certainly have good reason to use your knowledge of Geneva to show the city to your son.

This may help -

www.myswissalps.com/ge neva

www.myswissalps.com/ac commodation

Slowpoke

Leonie
Leonie
13 posts
new member
Jan 19, 2016 - 10:33 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Haha, no knowledge re: Geneva left, it was too long ago! But will look into the options you've posted! Thank you again!

Leonie
Leonie
13 posts
new member
Jan 28, 2016 - 10:01 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi, Slowpoke!

Well, I booked one night Zermatt and 2 nights St Moritz.... but then discovered there were no 2nd class seats left on the Glacier Express. Initial disappointment replaced by the reminder that anywhere we go will be beautiful so I moved onto your suggestion to go to Luzerne area.

We thought we'd stay one night Geneva (when we arrive) and then 2 nights Lucerne / Interlaken. Which would you suggest making our base? I prefer not to move in and out every night. I'm guessing Lucerne is the better base, we'll have the travel card anyway . It's also that bit closer to Basel for Thursday when we need to reach Strasbourg via Basel.

Also, as you know Lucerne so well, and bear in mind, we'll have the travel card so can be mobile, please recommend any ideas for two pleasant days in the area. I don't mind splashing out on one, even two cable cars because I'm not a good hiker. (they are half-price with the travel cards).

One more question: should we prefer the three-day travel card to three separate day cards? I have found it hard to understand the difference. the day card seems to work out cheaper and to cover the same things. Or am I missing something? Maybe we'd spend one day in Lucerne,. not travelling much, so would only buy 2 travel days rather then 3? Perhaps I should be asking Annika this?

Thank you so very much again!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Jan 28, 2016 - 10:13 PM in reply to Leonie

<<"Well, I booked one night Zermatt and 2 nights St Moritz.... but then discovered there were no 2nd class seats left on the Glacier Express.">>

Check the timetable. You can take other regular trains on the same route, and see the same scenery. No panoramic windows, but that is not critical.

<<Perhaps I should be asking Annika this?>">>

Or Arno. ;-)

Re- Luzern-

See my first post in this thread, and,

More later, but start with :

www.myswissalps.com/lu cerne

and

www.myswitzerland.com/ en-us/lucerne.html

Slowpoke

Last modified on Jan 28, 2016 - 10:14 PM by Slowpoke
Leonie
Leonie
13 posts
new member
Jan 28, 2016 - 10:41 PM

Slowpoke! What a speedy reply! Well, I never imagined there were other trains with the same route!However, I think I've moved over to your thinking about the huge distances in such a short time and I found this and thought it would be a nice alternative :

www.goldenpassline.ch/ wp-content/uploads/2016/0 1/horaires_2016-2.jpg

I also checked there are still lots of rooms available in Lucerne so will read everything else over the weekend.

Thanks again for your kindness in helping here!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Jan 29, 2016 - 12:25 AM in reply to Leonie

<<"We thought we'd stay one night Geneva (when we arrive) and then 2 nightsLucerne / Interlaken. Which would you suggest making our base? I prefernot to move in and out every night. I'm guessing Lucerne is the better base, we'll have the travel card anyway .">>

Please read my first post on this point.

<<"Well, I never imagined there were other trains with the same route!">>

Here is a quote from my first post in this thread.

<<" Although there is a winter break in the GEx schedule (not sure when that is) other "regular" trains take the same route.">>

I still think that Luzern is the best base for you.

Not sure what you want to do on the Golden Pass line.

However, I did post a link in my first reply.

When would you ride it, and from where to where?

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Jan 29, 2016 - 1:16 AM in reply to Leonie

<<"Our flight is around 3 hours and arrives at a very sociable hour (around 5pm) so no jet lag">>

<<"We thought we'd stay one night Geneva (when we arrive) and then2 nightsLucerne / Interlaken. Which would you suggest making our base? Iprefernot to move in and out every night. I'm guessing Lucerne is the better base, we'll have the travel card anyway .">>">>

As noted earlier, I advise to go straight to Luzern upon arrival.

Or. go to Montreux, stay there, and take the train to Luzern over the Golden Pass Line next AM.

The latter is a fairly long trip.

It is substantially faster to get to Luzern from Geneva via the fast train through Zofingen.

It is a lot more scenic and slower to use the Golden Pass route, which passes through Interlaken.

Use the timetable:

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

Look at a map:

map.search.ch/

Your choice.

Slowpoke
Last modified on Jan 29, 2016 - 1:17 AM by Slowpoke
Annika
Annika
4418 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 29, 2016 - 3:07 PM in reply to Leonie

Hi Leonie!

You mention you'll be having "the travel card". Could you please specify which one you have in mind, as there are quite some options (please see www.myswissalps.com/tr ain/ticketspasses)? And what day cards are you referring to? Once I know, I'll be able to sort out the options.

Also, it helps if you first decide what your itinerary will look like. Picking the right pass is highly dependent on the details of your travel scheme. You now seem to plan on starting in Geneva and then spending some days in Lucerne, traveling on 3 or 4 days in total. If that's correct, the 3 or 4 day Swiss Travel Pass seems to make sense.

Leonie
Leonie
13 posts
new member
Jan 31, 2016 - 12:40 AM in reply to Annika

Hello, Annika!

I would indeed appreciate your input on this, I've become giddy!

We were debating between the one-day card and the three-day card but I think the one-day card necessitates purchasing the half-fare card which costs 120. As we will only be travelling 3 days, that is very expensive! So it appears we're left with the three-day card for travel Tues, Wed, Thurs.

We will be going Geneva to Luzern on Tues via Golden Pass (I understand we do not need to book- is that correct?) and on Wed, wanted to go to Jungfraujoch for the day. However, could it be correct that to get the train to the top, we have to add 133 each to the price paid (210) for the 3-day ticket? I hope I've misunderstood! I didn't manage to get to the price on this site, but saw that price elsewhere online.

Thursday we will be travelling Luzern to Basel.

If you have better ideas about saving on these tickets, I'd appreciate! Or other options what to do that day in the area.

Also, a friend suggested sleeping in Grindelwald those two nights rather than Luzern, ie travel Tuesday direct to Grindelwald or Wengen or Murren and tour from there on Wednesday. What do you think?

We will not be skiing, just wanted to see the views and enjoy the day on the mountain but the prices seem as steep as the mountain!

Perhaps we should buy the half-price card and pay for our journeys individuallly? Would that reduce the prices? My son is 22 years old by the way

Many thanks in advance for your advice and help!

Annika
Annika
4418 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 31, 2016 - 9:45 AM

Hi Leonie!

I'm still not sure what you mean with the "three day travel card". I assume you're referring to the 3 day Swiss Travel Pass, right? Using the official names may prevent confusion.

Assuming that your current plans won't undergo any major changes, the easiest option would be to get a 3 day Swiss Travel Pass for yourself and a 3 day Swiss Travel Pass Youth for your 22 year old son to cover Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday. Please see our Swiss Travel Pass page for prices and purchase options. As for the Jungfraujoch: the trip as far as Wengen/Gindelwald is for free, the remaining part up to Jungfraujoch is discounted by 25%. At the Jungfraujoch page I just linked to, you'll find a link to ticket prices. If you feel this is too expensive, you may look for other scenic trips in the Jungfrau region, or focus on the Lucerne region and get up to Rigi for example: that's entirely for free with a Swiss Travel Pass.

If you want to make sure which pass is most economical, you should first finalize your travel plans and then make calculations as explained at our "How to choose" page. You can indeed compare the 3 day Swiss Travel Pass option to the Swiss Half Fare Card.

Wengen or Grindelwald would be an easier base for the Jungfraujoch than Lucerne. The timetable that's been referred to helps you to find such details.

Leonie
Leonie
13 posts
new member
Jan 31, 2016 - 10:22 AM in reply to Annika

Dear Annika

I am very grateful to you for all this information. Yes, I refer to the 3 Day Swiss Travel Card. I will look into all the links you sent, I think I will prefer the other options like Pilatus and Rigi and forgo the special but very expensive option of Jungfraujoch.

Would you suggest visiting Gindelwald area even without going up from there? I am debating whether we should stay there after all or in Luzern if we are going to be visiting the Lucerne region. We will have 48 hours, from Tues afternoon to Thurs afternoon. Of course we can't do everything, just wondering whether the train trip to Gindelwald is a nice thing to do on Thursday morning if we have been to Pilatus and/ or Rigi on Wednesday. Or should we have a whole day for either Pilatus or Rigi and the Thursday for the other one?

Again, thank you for all this attention

Leonie
Leonie
13 posts
new member
Jan 31, 2016 - 1:38 PM

And PS to my previous posting here:

A traveller on another travel site recommends :From Brienz take a Cruise to Interlaken on Lake Brienz

Do you agree, do you know where the link is to the timetable (do these boats run in February?) and of the following , can you give me some guide how to organize it and also some kind of weather comments vis a vis what to avoid if raining / snowing (rain is expected throughout our stay) ? Meanwhile, we are booked in a cancellable Lucerne hotel a few hundred metres from the train station. Tues : Leave Geneva : 8:30 am, arrive either Brienz at 13:00 or Lucerne at 15:30

Wed: all day

Thurs: Leave Lucerne around 16:00 (can be a little bit later if that makes a difference) for Strasbourg

- boat trip on Lake Lucerne or / and boat trip Brienz to Interlaken (how best travel back? any scenic route train once there as we won't be going up Jungfraujoch)

- Lucerne itself (I understand we need little time for Lucerne itself (relatively) , we will presumably have the evenings there and mornings and Thursday afternoon when we go back to hotel to pick up luggage).

- Rigi

- Pilatus

Arno
Arno
7726 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 31, 2016 - 2:26 PM in reply to Leonie

Hi Leonie,

There are no boats on Lake Brienz in February (a link is on our Lake Brienz page). In your place, I would do this:

  • Tuesday: Travel from Geneva to Montreux and follow the Golden Pass line to Lucerne. There are several nice towns along the way to take a break/have lunch, e.g. Montreux, Spiez and Brienz.
  • Wednesday: Go to Pilatus or Mount Rigi;
  • Thursday: explore Lucerne. Then go to Basel.

Activities on Wednesday and Thursday can be switched based on the weather. You can buy your Swiss Travel Passes through www.swissrailways.com/ en and print them at home (choose Online Ticket when asked for delivery options). That allows you to board your first train at Geneva airport immediately upon arrival. The pass includes everything if you opt for the Rigi trip. If you go to the Pilatus you'll get a 50% discount on that. Allow a 3 business day processing time for the passes.

Indeed you can't do everything, but this will be a pleasant trip, and hopefully you can come back for more some day.

Arno

Leonie
Leonie
13 posts
new member
Jan 31, 2016 - 2:38 PM

Hello, Arno,

Thanks for that. We actually arrive in Geneva on Monday afternoon so can leave Geneva, fresh and ready to go, nice and early on Tuesday morning.

Which of the two - Pilatus / Rigi - require a longer time, would you say? Maybe , weather permitting, we'd do the longer one on Wednesday and the shorter one on Thursday as we could explore Luzern on arrival on Tuesday.

Thanks for the information about the travel passes. As we arrive at Geneva Airport around 17:00 on Monday, can we buy them there on the spot and only validate them the next day, Tuesday am? If so, whereabouts in the airport, do you know?

Leonie

Arno
Arno
7726 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 31, 2016 - 2:57 PM in reply to Leonie

Hi Leonie,

Pilatus takes less time as it's closer to Luzern. You can certainly visit it on Thursday morning. You can explore Luzern on Tuesday evening if you limit your self to walking around town. Museums etc. won't be open at night.

The pass can be purchased at the rail station of the airport. I don't have directions but you just need to follow the blue signs. It's much easier however to simply purchase online. The price is the same but you'll save time as you can board the train straight away, rather than spending time at the ticket office. If you travel Monday February 8 there's plenty of time left to order. If you do so now you'll receive them the 3rd or 4th.

Have fun!

Last modified on Jan 31, 2016 - 3:43 PM by Annika

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