Travelling with elderly folks, where to stay?

Travelling with elderly folks, where to stay?

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sugarplumfairy
sugarplumfairy
27 posts
active member
Jan 2, 2016 - 8:02 PM

HI

I am planning a trip with my elderly parents in May/June 2016. We are coming from Strasbourg, France and planning to go to Italy; stopping by Switzerland for a few nights. Heard a lot about the Wilhelm Tell express train from Lucerne to Lugano so was thinking of doing that and staying in Lugano for a few nights.

Questions I have is from Strasbourg what is a good base to stay before moving to Lugano? My elderly folks and siblings have never been to Switzerland and I am the only one who had visited Switzerland before. So would like to show them some of the best highlights in Switzerland like Schilthorn, Jungfrau, Mount Titus some lakes. Don't think my elderly folks are capable of moving their luggage changing hotels with more than 2 locations in Switzerland . We are planning to stay in Switzerland for total 6 nights. It is too much to stay 3 nights in Lugano? And would Lucerne be a good base for 3 other nights to see some of the highlights in Switzerland as mentioned above? The other location I can think of is Grindewald or Interlaken but that would mean we need to move to Lucerne very early to take to Wilhelm Express on our way to Lugano. Appreciate some advice on the above.

Thanks

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Jan 3, 2016 - 2:48 AM in reply to sugarplumfairy

Hi SugarPlum Fairy-

If I were you, I'd go for time in Luzern and the Berner Oberland (Jungfrau Region). Each person has there own preferences, but -for me - Lugano is well down the list compared to those places. If I were doing it, I'd go from Luzern directly to Italy. You could stop at Lugano, of course.

www.myswissalps.com/lu cerne

The William Tell express route, if I recall correctly, uses a boaton Lake Luzern between Flüelen and Luzern, and a train through theGotthard Pass from Flüelen to Lugano. There is another option to consider on thatroute. There are frequent trains on that route, so you can simply takethe boat ride on a convenient schedule, and catch a train at Flüelen whether it isa part of the William Tell or not. The views in the Gotthard Pass arespectacular from any train.

In the high alps May is thetail end of winter, and many services don't start up for the summerseason until about June 15. About June 1, things begin to stir, butcable ways mostly are not running. Even then, staying in Wengen orGrindelwald in clear weather gives amazing views, and the cograil runsall year round.

www.myswissalps.com/be rneseoberland

Luzern is easier to navigate on foot or by tram/bus than is Lugano.

Luzern has a lot of variety, including nearby mountains. lake, and the city itself. The lake boat cruise - especially in the southern part of the lake - is hard to beat on any other lake, in my opinion. You might do some part of the lake cruise and separate that from the William Tell Express.....

Strasbourg to Luzern by train takes 2 3/4 to 3 1/4 hours.

Strasbourg to Interlaken Ost - 3 1/2 to 4 hours, plus another 34 minutes to an hour or so to Grindelwald, depending on connections at IO, for example.

You can play with the timetable here:

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

You can see if you would like to go first to the Jungfrau Region, spend 2 or 3 nights, then go to Luzern for 2 or 3 nights, and take the boat/train of your choice to Lugano. You could consider doing it in the other order, too.

If you choose a boat ride while in Luzern, you might later use train only when you go to Lugano. 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 hours, including some trains with no change of train.

Just some thoughts. I'm an elderly grandparent myself, and that is what I would do. And, I'd do it in late June.

;-)

Slowpoke

sugarplumfairy
sugarplumfairy
27 posts
active member
Jan 3, 2016 - 2:09 PM in reply to Slowpoke

HI Slowpoke

thanks for the reply. I have been to both Luzern and Jungfrau - Wengen and agreed that they are beautiful. Based on your suggestion, I can choose another place in Jungfrau area for 2-3 nights say in Grindelwald or Murren; another 2-3 nights in Luzern and move on to Italy? Or to stay another 2 nights in Lugano.

Can I say a good place to stay for the nights would be Milan from Luzern?

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Jan 3, 2016 - 2:29 PM in reply to sugarplumfairy

<<Can I say a good place to stay for the nights would be Milan from Luzern?">>

Check the timetable in my previous link.

4 to 5 hours to Milano Centrale from Luzern. Over the Gotthard Pass...great scenic train ride.

I enjoyed Milano on brief business trips years ago. No other comment.

Slowpoke

sugarplumfairy
sugarplumfairy
27 posts
active member
Jan 3, 2016 - 2:39 PM in reply to Slowpoke

HI Slowpoke

In your opinion is Lugano or Locarno worth visiting for a 2 nights? I am toggling between going straight to Milan or to stay 2 more nights in Lugano/ Locarno? Staying 2 nights would mean I have to stay 2 nights each in Lucern and Grindawald instead of 3 nights each.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Jan 3, 2016 - 3:16 PM in reply to sugarplumfairy

<<"In your opinion is Lugano or Locarno worth visiting for a 2 nights? I amtoggling between going straight to Milan or to stay 2 more nights in Lugano/ Locarno? Staying 2 nights would mean I have to stay 2 nights each in Lucern and Grindawald instead of 3 nights each.">>

We like Locarno better than Lugano, although that opinion is far from universal. Locarnocould be a one night stop with a partial day in town, with some convolutions of the train route.

If you do 2 nights only in Luzern and Wengen/Grindelwald, you really have only 1 day or 1 day and a fraction in each place. And - I quote -

<<"Don't think my elderly folks are capable of moving their luggage changing hotels with more than 2 locations in Switzerland">>

I suggest that yuo should concentrate your visits in one (Luzern plus day trips) or two places.

When you ask for judgements such as this one, you are not taking into account your guests opinions or yours, and I can only offer my own.

I'd focus on things that are truly representative of the heart of Switzerland- Luzern and Jungfrau region.

The Ticino is quite nice, but it is sort of a neatened and well functioning version of Italy, in my mind and emotions.

I'd skip Lugano and maybe, maybe, break the train trip to Milano with a side trip (makes a long day) or one overnight in Locarno. Walk on the lake shore, visit the Madonna del Sasso, and go onward. There are more things to do in Lugano around the lake than at Locarno. But, it takes a lot of time out of the Swiss portion of your journey. And, my personal preference if you are showing someone Switzerland, is to show them the heart of the country, not an outpost.

Others will surely have different opinions, but you asked for mine. ;-)

Slowpoke

sugarplumfairy
sugarplumfairy
27 posts
active member
Jan 3, 2016 - 3:40 PM in reply to Slowpoke

HI Slowpoke

Since I am going Italy, I guess I can reserve the Italian experience to Italy.

Would follow your advice of staying in Jungfrau likely Grindawald as I have stayed in Wengen before; and Lucerne. Was just trying to explore other part of Switzerland at the same time showing my family Switzerland as I have been to Jungfrau and Lucerne before.

By the way Is Rhine fall as nice place to visit from Lucerne? Have seen some picture and it looks lovely.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Jan 3, 2016 - 6:17 PM in reply to sugarplumfairy

<<"By the way Is Rhine fall as nice place to visit from Lucerne? Have seen some picture and it looks lovely. ">>

Where are you from? have yu seen Niagara Falls?

Any oter famous falls?

The Rheinfalls are powerful, but not very high. Probably about 1 1/2 or as much as two hours from Luzern...

A bit fa rfrom Luzern, especially when you have a lot of things you can do near Luzern that they have not seen, even if you have.

Do they like to walk? Modest easy hikes?

Slowpoke

Last modified on Jan 3, 2016 - 6:47 PM by Slowpoke
sugarplumfairy
sugarplumfairy
27 posts
active member
Jan 3, 2016 - 11:51 PM in reply to Slowpoke

I am from Singapore and have seen the Niagara Fall before. Would presume it would be similar to the Niagara Fall. Walking and hiking may be an issue for my Dad. Thanks for your advice and comments so far.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Jan 4, 2016 - 12:17 AM in reply to sugarplumfairy

<<"Would presume it would be similar to the Niagara Fall. ">>

Not so.

Much less impressive, due to lesser height,

Still powerful.

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Jan 4, 2016 - 12:45 AM in reply to sugarplumfairy

<<"Walking and hiking may be an issue for my Dad.">>

OK .

I'll recalibrate.

Hope you enjoy weather that is not so humid as Singapore. ;-)

I still think Lugano is not the right place, and a bit of Locarno could work.

Luzern looks better. Less need to walk, although some walking is desirable.

I recall Peranakan cuisine in Singapore. Is your family Chinese, Singaporean, or something else?

Just curiosity.

If I am intruding, please forgive and ign0re. ;-)

I'd try for the Lion of Luzern..some walking...

Nearby, Bourbaki Panorama.

Old Town, mostly on the northeast bank of the river.

Lake boat ride, definitely....route to be refined.

Slowpoke.

Last modified on Jan 4, 2016 - 12:47 AM by Slowpoke
sugarplumfairy
sugarplumfairy
27 posts
active member
Jan 4, 2016 - 1:53 PM in reply to Slowpoke

My family is Chinese Singaporean. Peranakan food is always nice!

Thanks for your help. Issue is I have been to both Jungfrau and Luzern so will be a bit boring for myself.

But you are right that Luzern has a less need to walk...

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Jan 4, 2016 - 4:19 PM in reply to sugarplumfairy

<<"Thanks for your help. Issue is I have been to both Jungfrau and Luzern so will be a bit boring for myself. ">>

I understand. I wonder if you have seen all of the things to be seen in or near Luzern.

Have you been up on the Rigi?The cograil from Vitznau is very scenic, and can be combined with a boat ride to/from Luzern. try to get a steam powered paddle wheeler.

Have you been inside the Jesuit Church?

Bern is easily accessible, and even a very short walk takes you into the arcaded old own, and back to the main station.

The #12 tram from the main station, direction Centrum Paul Klee, rides through the old town, down to the Nydegg Bridge and the bear pits. Of course, you can return on it, #12, direction Länggasse.

Both restaurants at the bridge are good. The Old Tram Barn restaurant offers lots of beers and common Swiss foods.

The Brasserie Bärengraben is tiny , but has a sophisticated menu and is always full at mealtimes. I always try to eat there if my timing is right.

There is a short steep climb from the end of the bridge up to the Rosegarden, which may be too much for your father, but which offers wonderful views over the old city, as well as beautiful flowers in the warmer months.

Slowpoke

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sugarplumfairy
sugarplumfairy
27 posts
active member
Jan 24, 2016 - 4:32 PM in reply to Slowpoke

HI Slowpoke

Sorry for not replying. Somehow didn't see the last post till now. Have been to Rigi but no Titus. Have been to Bern as well. But the rest of the places you have mentioned have not been.

Probably I will stop by Lorcano instead of Lugano before moving on to Italy Florence. Have decided to skip Milan. In your opinion is Lorcano enough for 1 night?

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Jan 24, 2016 - 5:03 PM in reply to sugarplumfairy

Hope that Rigi worked all members of your party. There are plenty of easy ways to walk around up there. Also, hope you had some clear weather.

Locarno is not a substantial destination such as Luzern or Bern.

It is a pleasant place, with a nice park along the shore, and restaurants, all an easy walk from the station. It is not a major tourist destination. I would organize it for an early to mid-afternoon arrival, allowing time elsewhere in the morning if you choose, and relax once you get there.

Keep your eyes open as you go through the Gotthard Pass. Both sides of the train are good.

Locarno is easier to walk around than Lugano.

Go up to the Madonna del Sasso church via the funicular, near the train station.. To reach the church from the top station requires a lot of steps - up and down. The church itself and the views are worth the effort. Take your time.

There is a small funicular stop several meters below the final top stop. It lets you out on a level near the Madonna del Sasso church which has less steps to go up and down than coming in from the top.Or, you can use it when you leave to go back down.

Locarno is a pleasant stop for few hours and a nice meal. It might even be warm enough to eat outside by the lake, if you are lucky.

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

<<"on to Italy Florence. ">>

In my opinion, a wise choice. Firenze (Florence) is a lot more attractive than Milano. It can have a lot of walking...but the central area isnot large.

It is possible to reserve ahead for the Uffizi if it interests you. On line, somewhere. Not sure if you are far enough ahead of time to make it work. During heavy tourist seasons, a wait without a pre-reservation takes many hours.

Bon giorno!

Slowpoke

Last modified on Jan 24, 2016 - 7:11 PM by Slowpoke
sugarplumfairy
sugarplumfairy
27 posts
active member
Jan 25, 2016 - 2:35 PM in reply to Slowpoke

HI Slowpoke

I just read somewhere that starting 1 June 2016 there will be a new tunnel across the Gotthard Pass and that the scenery on the new route may not be as nice. Is that correct?

Base on my itinerary I should be travelling across the Gotthard Pass on the 30 May. Would presume the old scenic route is still available?

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Jan 25, 2016 - 3:10 PM in reply to sugarplumfairy

<<" I just read somewhere that starting 1 June 2016 there will be a newtunnel across the Gotthard Pass and that the scenery on the new routemay not be as nice. Is that correct?Base on my itinerary I shouldbe travelling across the Gotthard Pass on the 30 May. Would presume theold scenic route is still available?">>

I'm looking into that for my own trip at about that time.

I'll let you know when I get a definite answer.

I'm studying the map and the timetable today.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Jan 25, 2016 - 3:17 PM by Slowpoke
sugarplumfairy
sugarplumfairy
27 posts
active member
Jan 25, 2016 - 3:21 PM in reply to Slowpoke

HI Slowpoke

Thanks for the quick response. I have tried the Bermina express before hopefully this route over the Gotthard pass will be as good as well. By the way did you say before that there is no need to take the Wilhelm Tell Express but any train from Luzern towards Milan will have the same scenic view?

The tunnel must be quite an engineering feat. Didn't know is for trucks and cars as well.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Jan 25, 2016 - 4:16 PM in reply to sugarplumfairy

Hi Sugarplumfairy-

I cancelled my first response, because I was a bit uncertain and wanted to be sure.

<<"Thanks for the quick response. I have tried the Bermina expressbefore hopefully this route over the Gotthard pass will be as good aswell. By the way did you say before that there is no need to take theWilhelm Tell Express but any train from Luzern towards Milan will havethe same scenic view?The tunnel must be quite an engineering feat. Didn't know is for trucks and cars as well.">>

As far as I can tell, there will be some form of special passenger service beginning on about June 3 or 4, 2016. Freight servcie will begin sooner than scheduled passenger service. I expect that trucks and cars will likely be carried on special rail cars, as is now done on the (older) Lötschberg line.

Revenue passenger service apparently will begin with the annual change of timetables on December 15,2016

www.railwaygazette.com /news/traction-rolling-stock/single-view/view/sbb-prepares-for-gotthard-base-tunnel-opening.html

www.railway-technology.com/project s/gotthard-base-tunnel/

I have checked the timetable for May 30 and also in June, when I hope to be there, and the route still goes through Göschenen, Airolo and Faido, all on the old route.

According to one of the articles linked above, local service will be maintained on the line.

That is what was done with the very scenic old upper Lötschberg line from Spiez to Brig via Kandersteg, when the Lötschberg basis tunnel opened.

I shall ask a Swiss friend who is an engineer to confirm that, but I am sure that you will ride the older, very, very scenic route on May 30 or days near that date. So will I.

www.google.com/search?q=Gotthard+pass+rail+l ine++images&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

By the way - note that the new Gotthard basis tunnel is as long or slightly longer than the main island of Singapore.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Jan 25, 2016 - 5:03 PM by Slowpoke
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Jan 25, 2016 - 4:19 PM in reply to sugarplumfairy

<<"By the way did you say before that there is no need to take theWilhelm Tell Express but any train from Luzern towards Milan will have the same scenic view?">>

Correct.

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