Zurich, Interlaken & Lucerne trip - how many days?

Zurich, Interlaken & Lucerne trip - how many days?

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Posts: 28. This thread is closed.
meghaswiss
meghaswiss
37 posts
active member
Apr 22, 2016 - 11:10 AM

hi, I am planning a trip to Switzerland in June (2nd week). I have two options - 4 day trip with 1 night in jungfrau, 2 nights in Lucerne and 1 night in Zurich. Second option is 2 nights in interlaken, 2 in Lucerne, 1 in engelberg and 1 in Zurich. Please recommend which option is more desirable. We are not interesting in hiking so that's out. One consideration for going with the 6 day trip is having more days at hand to get a sunny day for jungfrau. As per weather reports, almost all of the days selected by me are but by rain, clouds, thunderstorm. I know it's early to predict the weather but still any advice / guidance on whether I should undertake this trip June 11 onwards would be appreciated and very helpful. I really want to visit jungfrau so please do factor in the weather. Many thanks

sskundu
sskundu
127 posts
active member
Apr 22, 2016 - 2:53 PM in reply to meghaswiss

Hi Megha,

1. What is the purpose of staying in Engelberg? If it's for visiting Mt. Titlis, then Lucerne to Engelberg by train takes about 30 mins or so and then you take the cable cars up to the top (3 of them). So if you start early from Lucerne by 9am-10am it won't be a challenge. If your purpose is something else, its upto you.

2. Weather in Switzerland is really unpredictable and whatever your see now is all useless. I arrived in Luzern on 18th Apr (3 days ago) when it was raining but last 2 days its all out sunny n warm. Next 3 days is gonna rain and snow again. So check you weather only 1-2 days prior but your bookings need to be based on instinct. You will enjoy all types of weather in Swiss - don't worry.

3. Jungfrau is a little distance in terms of the train travel so we are giving it a skip. Instead went to Titlis and Pilatus. For Jungfrau, if you stay in Interlaken, it would be best. Else from Luzern to Interlaken itself takes about an hour. and another 1.5-2 hours to reach the top via Lauterbrunnen and Klein Schidegg.

Based on where all you want to go, you can opt for 2 nights Interlaken, 2 nights Luzern and 1 night Zurich. That makes it 5. The 6th one you can be in Luzern itself. Its a major hub and all places are closeby. You can visit the Pilatus mountains from Luzern (Via bus to Kreins and then gondola). In summer, they have zip lining and the world's steepest cogwheel train upto to Pilatus.

meghaswiss
meghaswiss
37 posts
active member
Apr 22, 2016 - 3:13 PM in reply to sskundu

Hi, thank you for your helpful response. Reason for stay at engelberg is to visit mount titlis and also because I was not getting an affordable hotel at Lucerne. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed for good weather since the current predictions are very gloomy. Can you please let me know about day trips from interlaken except jungfrau? Thanks again

meghaswiss
meghaswiss
37 posts
active member
Apr 22, 2016 - 3:15 PM

Also is it true that weather forecast as on date for June 11-15 cannot be relied on? When forecast suggests rain / thunderstorm - does it mean all day of rain and thunderstorm? Sorry but I'm getting very paranoid about the weather predictions!!! Thanks

sskundu
sskundu
127 posts
active member
Apr 22, 2016 - 3:23 PM in reply to meghaswiss

Well a weather prediction 2 months in advance surely can't be relied upon. I too read few other posts and was paranoid but did go with my instincts and made the bookings. Got more scared as the day when I reached Luzern (18/4) it was raining through the night but surprisingly the next day morning it was bright sunny. So its a major gamble. Only thing, with the weather is if its cloudy you won't get a good view from the top.... Also, if its heavy rains, they might stop some services due to security concerns. Otherwise they operate.

I did not get a chance to visit Interlaken this time so can't help regarding day trips. You can go through some other posts on the forum and you will find a lot of them. You can visit the Rhine falls, or Pilatus (from Luzern), Mt. Rigi etc.

Weather changes are very fast in mountainous areas. So it may rain in morning and clear up by noon time. But all depends on Zeus :-) LOL

meghaswiss
meghaswiss
37 posts
active member
Apr 22, 2016 - 3:46 PM

thanks once again!

sskundu
sskundu
127 posts
active member
Apr 22, 2016 - 7:14 PM in reply to meghaswiss

You're welcome. June would be a good time to visit the Swiss with greenery all around. Even now when I am here, its green with snow at some of the mountains and is beautiful so I can only guess how much more green it would be in next couple of months. I will surely be visiting Swiss again next year during summers. But you should book in advance to avoid high prices and unavailability issues. Swiss Travel Pass would be get you covered for free on trains, buses & boats plus 50% discount on cable cards on Titlis and Pilatus and 25% discounts for Jungfrau.

www.titlis.ch

www.jungfrau.ch

www.pilatus.ch

meghaswiss
meghaswiss
37 posts
active member
Apr 22, 2016 - 7:39 PM in reply to sskundu

Yes, I do intend to buy a swiss pass. My plan is now - 2N interlaken, 2N Lucerne and 2N Zurich. So I'm confused whether I should buy a 4 day pass or an 8 day pass? Any help would be appreciated. Also, could you let me know if I need to book tickets in advance (train tickets - for example Zurich airport to interlaken, interlaken to Lucerne etc and train ticket for jungfrau / titlis or can I purchase them on the spot with or without swiss pass?

Secondly, can you recommend day trips from Zurich?

sskundu
sskundu
127 posts
active member
Apr 22, 2016 - 7:48 PM in reply to meghaswiss

Well firstly it feels nice to be able to help someone with all the research I did for my trip which is coming to an end......

For June, yes, you "Should" book in advance but if you buy the Swiss Travel Pass, you need not book any other tickets. Reservations are not required unless you want to occupy VIP seats or its a panoramic train like the Bernina Express, Glacier Express etc. During summer, things get pricier and so do the trains, but you won't be denied an entry. Just that you might not get a place to sit (2nd class) if you have not made a reservation. With you plan of 6 days, I would say to go for 8-days pass (costing approx 28k INR for one person in 2nd class) in which 2-days would be wasted. Otherwise, if you buy the 4-day pass, you would have to buy point-to-point tickets for remaining two days which can be a costly affair based on where to where you are travelling.

Once at Zurich airport, you can take any IR trains, going to your destination or passing by your destinations. Trains are very swift and timing is precise so even a 30 second delay can cause you to wait for your next train. There is no risk in missing a train if you have the STP as you can board any train unless you have specifically purchased a ticket with date / time / train no.

It would be of great help if you install the SBB mobile app so you can check time table and train timings on the go and they are updated (with late running trains as well) and buses too.

For day trips from Zurich, you can go to the Rhine Falls and Santis mountains. I am not sure but there is something called "Black Forest" too over there... You can search in one of the posts on this site. Trains journeys are lovely in Swiss and much of your time can be spent doing it if you love scenic beauties. So start a little early from hotel so you can do the trains journeys as well as your destination visits.

meghaswiss
meghaswiss
37 posts
active member
Apr 22, 2016 - 7:57 PM

Thank you! Your research is turning out to be very valuable and helpful. I find the 8 day pass slightly steep so now I'm wondering if I should change my trip to - 1N interlaken, 2 N Lucerne and 1N Zurich. I will still have to pay for jungfrau and titlis etc albeit discounted. I'm traveling with my parents so our trip cannot be super hectic though we will try to start early (which would mean 9am?). First night I intend to spend in interlaken because i land at Zurich airport at 6am and thought might as well undertake the farthest journey and hopefully same day after reaching interlaken (say around 10-11) leave for jungfrau. Or would this be too hectic?

sskundu
sskundu
127 posts
active member
Apr 22, 2016 - 8:10 PM in reply to meghaswiss

Don't try to do Jungfrau on a day you are arriving or have other plans. If you reach Zurich at 6am on Day 1, go to hotel and visit the Rhine Falls by late morning or afternoon. Calm and serene spots with water flowing (you can even do a boat ride across the river and falls)..... Jungfrau needs to be done starting morning. Interlaken OST to Lauterbrunnen would be an hours journey and so is the jouney from Klein Schedigg to the top.... so you spend 2-3 hours from Interlaken to Jungfrau and the last train from top (in summers) would be around 5:30pm or 6pm. So if you wanna spend ample time up, should start early. Sadly, I had to skip Jungfrau as I was staying in Gersau (about 50 mins from Lucerne) so even starting by 7:30am would mean I reach Jungfrau by 2pm.... Will try in my next trip.

I would suggest (considering you have your parents and they cant run around so fast) :

1. Day 1 : Arrive in Zurich, go to hotel in Zurich... Visit the Rhine Falls by noon. Summers are pleasant so you can stay there till late. Overnight in Zurich.

Unless you are the "quantitative person" and not "qualitative", don't try to cover too much in less time. Instead, enjoy fully whatever you are visiting. Be assured, you will miss out on a lot even if you stay there for a month, so forget just 6-days.

2. Day 2 : Checkout and move to Interlaken a little early morning. Depart for Jungfrau by 9am or 10am. In evening, you can explore Interlaken City as well after coming down. Overnight in Interlaken.

3. Day 3 : Checkout and move to Luzern. Go to Mt. Titlis. Overnight at Luzern. There is an Art Museum right outside Luzern station. Me and my wife had a ROFL time there. So unless you want to die of laughter don't go (ofcourse if you like modern art you can visit). **wink**

4. Day 4 : Visit Mt. Pilatus. Take a bus (#1) from Luzern station to Kriens, Zentrum Pilatus and from there follow the signages to the Pilatus tickets counter. The nice thing about Pilatus is you can do zip lining and tubing here in summers. Also the first gondola / cable ride from bottom to the middle is about 25 mins ride which is lovely.

meghaswiss
meghaswiss
37 posts
active member
Apr 22, 2016 - 8:26 PM

Thank you! Your suggestive itinerary seems to work just fine however I'm only scared that if on day 2 (interlaken) the weather is bad then I cannot visit jungfrau! Visiting jungfrau from Lucerne / Zurich may not make sense since it takes 4-5 hours. I was only tempted to do interlaken / jungfrau on day 1 since I won't be allowed to check in until noon in Zurich. But then there's no guarantee of the weather being good in jungfrau on day 1. Also is it better to reach jungfrau by 9-10am instead of 1-2pm (as planned by me)?

On a separate note. Even if the weather isn't good, can one still go to jungfrau (if the journey is good) or is not worth the time / money?

i will look up the art museum you recommended!

meghaswiss
meghaswiss
37 posts
active member
Apr 22, 2016 - 8:28 PM

Another reason why I kept Zurich for the last day is because on day 5 I will take a train from Zurich for Paris.

meghaswiss
meghaswiss
37 posts
active member
Apr 22, 2016 - 8:34 PM in reply to meghaswiss

I'm in two minds - 4 days vs 6! Biggest determine being the cost of swiss pass! Therefore though I'm quite tempted to do 6 days, I'm not sure if it makes sense economically!

sskundu
sskundu
127 posts
active member
Apr 22, 2016 - 8:40 PM in reply to meghaswiss

Zurich to Paris will cost you more. You should rather plan Paris first then to Swiss. We did it that way - 6 days in Paris, then Paris to Geneve by train (TGV Lyria : book online on their site), using Swiss Pass travel from Geneve to Luzern to Gersau.

Bad weather: if only cloudy you would be looking at clouds at the top and visibility would be obscured. If its raining then some cogwheel trains might be stopped unless its safe to operate them. Keep some back up options in that case. If this then that (ITTT) way.

sskundu
sskundu
127 posts
active member
Apr 22, 2016 - 8:43 PM in reply to meghaswiss

Switzerland is pricey when it comes to these passes and tickets and more so in summers. Pass cost remains same but point-to-point tickets would be expensive. We too had a 6-day plan but only reduced it to 3-day for same reason as you. With 6-days and a 8-day pass you waste 2 days of your pass while with a 4-day pass you pay more for individual tickets.

Another option to look at would be boat cruises (free with STP) like Wilhelm Tell express or around Lake Luzern or Lake Thun

udayaditya
udayaditya
21 posts
new member
Apr 23, 2016 - 12:28 AM

Hello SS

How is the swiss wifi network in the railway stations and airports? Can I avail their wifi once I land in Zurich airport? I hope you must be having first hand experience..

Udayaditya

sskundu
sskundu
127 posts
active member
Apr 23, 2016 - 6:56 AM in reply to udayaditya

Hi Udaya,

Not all Swiss stations have wifi. I guess there are only 9 stations that have wifi and more are being / will be added. Few of them are Genevé, Zürich, Luzern, Interlaken etc. If you are out for sightseeing, you would hardly spend 5-10 mins at any station between train changes. Sometimes that maybe < 5 mins as well.

The speeds are good. I only got a chance to connect at Luzern for 5 mins. Trains do NOT have wifi but only signal amplifiers i.e. your phone's regular signal won't fall below 2 or 3 bars (atleast with my roaming sim too I was getting good signals when the train passes through tunnels). At times I had difficulty connecting to the wifi when on platform. It depends on the wifi's signal strength.

And btw, the wifi is free only for 1 hours and then again after 2 hours gap you can connect to the wifi (at same station). It would ask you to register using your mobile number. I had a French sim so I could get a code. I guess it would work with any country's mobile as long as it can receive a sms.

Last modified on Apr 23, 2016 - 6:58 AM by sskundu
Arno
Arno
7725 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 23, 2016 - 7:52 AM in reply to meghaswiss

Hi meghaswiss,

I understand the dilemma. Perhaps it would be good to check the details of what the Swiss Travel Pass includes. If you plan wisely, the pass will cover a lot that would otherwise be quite costly. Mount Rigi for example, is free. Many museums are free. Nearly all boat trips are free. The Schynige Platte cogwheel train near Interlaken is free. So even if you buy an 8 day pass there is plenty to do for 6 days at no or low costs. Please see myswissalps.com/ swisstravelpass and click to the various tabs to see how it works, what's included, where to buy, and if any promotions are available. We update the information continuously. Once you have a plan, these guidelines help you pick the cheapest pass.

udayaditya
udayaditya
21 posts
new member
Apr 23, 2016 - 7:53 AM

Hello SS

Thanks for the input.....I intend to purchase a Salt mobile sim with data balance at Zurich airport or Luzerne.. ...Before that I plan to use the wifi at the airport or on the way....Does this plan look feasable

Uday

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