Trip report for June 15th - 19th Lucerne as base

Trip report for June 15th - 19th Lucerne as base

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Posts: 5
pradeeprama
pradeeprama
3 posts
new member
Jun 25, 2016 - 6:09 AM

Armed with sufficient information from this forum and very helpful responses to my trip itinerary, my wife and I traveled to Switzerland from the 15th of June to the 19th of June. If I were to use one word to describe the trip, it was "incredible"! I have been in the past to the Himalayas in India, and to Alaska, but some of the most breathtaking views of nature that I have seen were on this trip. Here is a detailed day-by-day trip report and some pictures. Hope folks find it useful to plan their trips

June 15th - Paris to Zurich to Lucerne and initial impressions of Lucerne: We took the TGV from Paris to Zurich and reached around noon. We switched over to the train to Lucerne (which takes 45mins) with help from a conductor. We learned that there is free wifi all stations and some trains (we never found one, but were told there were some). After we got to Lucerne, we checked-in and took a short walk around the old town of the city. It is a lovely town around the river which has an amazing number of swans and a quaint old town! The information desk in the station is very useful and we visited it everyday hence to start out days and to buy appropriate tickets. It immediately became clear that having the swiss-travel pass was very useful (thanks to this forum for convincing me!). Our first day ended early as we were exhausted from travel. Learning: The main learning of this day was that Switzerland is very expensive, even though we just came from Paris. Our host recommended taking packed lunches from the coop (a grocery store in the station) and making picnics out of our trips; of course, no picnic is complete without some wine ;-).

June 16th - to Rigi and back: We took the boat from the Lucerne docks, right next to the station, to Vitznau, and then the cogwheel train to Rigi Klum. To our disappointment, it was completely fogged up in the hill and we couldn't see anything. As we wondered what to do and blamed fate for keeping the weather so erratic in the alps, we took some trains around to kill time and in another half hour, the whole fog just lifted and the amazing views cleared up! We then hiked down to the point where we could take the cable car to Weggis. Weggis is a beautiful little quaint town and was beautiful. We picnicked near the boat station before taking the boat back to Lucerne. Learning: Weather changes dramatically and quickly in the alps so don't give up and become elated too fast.

June 17th - Jungfraujoch and back: Despite warnings of several forums to not travel to Jungfrau and back from Lucerne, we embarked on the journey that takes 4:30hrs by train one way. This ride had the most amazing views that anyone can ever think of! It was just amazing. The tips of going up through Grindelwalt and coming down via Lautterbrunnen was superb; the two sides of the hills are very different. Jungfraujoch itself was an amazing experience although a little spoilt by one-too-many loud tourists around. We picnicked on the top inside a room where we had lunch. On the way back, we hiked down from one station before Interlaken to Interlaken. It wasn't a pretty hike but we couldn't do any suggested here as the hikes were still closed. We then took the train back and returned around 9pm to Lucerne exhausted but amazed at the beauty that is Switzerland. Learning: Jungfraujoch is a must for anyone who has the remote chance to see it. It is a lovely ride and totally worth the energy.

June 18th - Mount Titlis and back: Our last full-day was spent in a trip to Mount Titlis. Same plan of a simple picnic on the mountain top, and back. The beauty with Titlis is that since its s lower than Jungfraujoch, there is much more space outside to play in the snow. The bridge walk is also very memorable, scary but memorable. The cable car rides from Engelberg all the way up is also a very different experience. We did a short hike in lower Trubsee near the lake and took in the beauty of snow-covered mountains reflecting on the lake. Evening was spent just in Lucerne walking around the pretty towns and feeding the swans on the lake. Learning: Although this was our third mountain in as many days, like we'd read on this forum, each mountain is such a different experience that not doing one will really result in losing out a different experience. So if you have the chance to do them all, go for it!

June 19th - train back to Zurich and flight back home: This was our last day and we took the early train from Lucerne to Zurich and flew back home. Learning: Switzerland seemed so expensive to us that the stores in the airport seemed affordable :-o.

Overall, it is one of the best vacations that I've taken in my life! Many thanks to everyone in this forum, especially the moderators, for running a fantastic forum and giving us all the relevant information to enable us to see the beauty that is Switzerland.

Wishing future travellers who benefit from this trip report happy travels, and a memorable experience.

Cheers!

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Arno
Arno
7696 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 25, 2016 - 10:34 AM

Hi Pradeep,

Many thanks for reporting back here! All the details you included are very useful. Good to hear you also liked the very long trip to Jungfraujoch. It's a remarkable place indeed. You picture shows that!

Hopefully you'll have a chance to come back some day. There's much more to explore. Some tips for a next time:

  • You don't need to go through Zurich if traveling from Paris to Lucerne. You can get off the train in Basel and take a direct train to Lucerne. That will save you at least an hour. It could save a bit of money as well.
  • There is no wifi in Swiss trains. They offer an amplified 3G/4G signal: myswissalps.com/ train/practical/ internet. You can use that with the right SIM card: myswissalps.com/ simcard.
  • It looks like you've walked from Wilderswil to Interlaken. That's indeed not the most scenic walk in that area. Another option would have been Zweilütschen to Wilderswil. That's down in the valley as well so most likely it was accessible. Please see myswissalps.com/ hiking/wilderswil-zweiluetschinen.

Thanks again for taking the time!

pradeeprama
pradeeprama
3 posts
new member
Jun 25, 2016 - 12:02 PM in reply to Arno

Thanks Arno. I too wish that I return someday, and with deeper pockets that time ;-).

Cheers,

Pradeep.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2638 posts
expert
Jun 25, 2016 - 2:16 PM in reply to pradeeprama

Hi Pradeep -

Your trip report is terrific. You wrote it well to describe what you did in a useful fashion for other travelers, and your learnings and especially your observations about the weather are right on the mark.

No question that deeper pockets would be helpful. Switzerland has endless ways to spend money, and some of the luxury accommodations are ready for you, just in case you are a millionaire. ;-)

Picnic lunches, as you observed, are a good way to save money, and, in nice weather, can be very enjoyable, with the right scenery.

You might find this interesting, possibly amusing:

www.statista.com/stati stics/274326/big-mac-index-global-prices-for-a-big-mac/

The nice thing about that is that Switzerland generally makes you fell happy, even while you are spending. You usually leave feeling that you got your money's worth....unless it was cloudy all the time.;-)

It is hard to avoid costs in the major tourist destinations. If you have a little more time, next trip, you might stay outside the main cities. There is good transport, good scenery, and many excellent inns at varying costs are available, but, of course, you trade off time for money when you have to travel to the major tourist destinations.

Slowpoke.

Travelbug53
Travelbug53
38 posts
active member
Jun 25, 2016 - 9:03 PM

Thank you for your detailed trip report Pradeep. We just returned from a wonderful week (June 11-18) in Pontresina and Zermatt. I echo your sentiments about the beauty of Switzerland. We were fortunate to spend 4 days in Wengen last year. We also definitely want to return to Switzerland, and plan to visit the Luzern area next time.

Safe travels!

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