10 day trip July 2017 - itinerary help

10 day trip July 2017 - itinerary help

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Longlands217
Longlands217
1 post
new member
Jun 19, 2017 - 10:47 AM

Hi, we are visiting Switzerland in July this year and would be grateful for any help and advice that you can offer. We have been looking at your site which has a lot of excellent information so have some ideas as to what we want to do but also have some questions as below (apologies if some of this is already covered on the forum, etc) - any other general advice or suggested itineraries would also be very welcome.

Sorry this is a bit long winded, just trying to put all questions on one post.

We are flying into Zurich and out of Geneva and staying in the following areas for 2-4 days at a time -

Lucerne

Interlaken

Zermatt

Lausanne

We plan to travel between these areas by train. In general, do you need to book tickets in advance or is it OK to purchase these on the day - can there be issues with crowding, seat availability, etc. if tickets are not booked in advance? If crowding can be an issue, is it worth the extra for first class to ensure seats, etc?

You show various ticket options such as Travel Pass, Supersaver, Half Fare Cards, etc, can we avail of these and if so, how do we get them? Are there any other options for reduced fares such as regional passes that are worth looking at?

Is the Glacier Express worth the extra expense or are the standard trains (nearly) as good as I assume they must travel on the same line?

If worth doing, is it possible to include a trip on the Glacier Express when transferring from Interlaken to Zermatt?

Lucerne

Lake cruise – we would like to do the ‘Classic Round Trip’ or similar - is there plenty of availability so that we can book when we arrive, or would it be better to do this in advance?

Titlis cable car – you mention that this departs from Engelberg – do you have full details of the trains, etc required to get there? Would this be a full day trip?

Pilatus – you give details of travel via Alpnachsad / Frakmuntegg / Kriens – do you have any more details on this, location of bus stop in Kriens, etc. Would this be a full day trip?

Interlaken

Paragliding – does this need to be booked in advance or is it easy to do this when in Interlaken?

Jungfrau – We would like to do the ‘Jungfrau One Day trip’ or similar – would this need to be booked in advance? Would it be possible to include a trip up the Jungfraujoch as part of this trip or would this need to be done on a separate trip due to the time needed?

Trip to Thun – is it best to visit Thun by train, or is a boat cruise the better option? Is this easy to book when in Interlaken, or should it be booked in advance?

Zermatt

Matterhorn trip – we will probably take the cogwheel train via Gornergat (though is it worth returning via Kliene Matterhorn for different views, etc?) – how long would we need to allow for this trip?

Lusanne

Lake cruise – is there plenty of availability so that we can book when we arrive, or would it be better to do this in advance?

Is it easy to organise a trip to vineyards, chocolate factory, etc?

General

Are there any other ‘not to be missed’ trips/experiences that we should try to fit in?

Are organised day trips such as to the Jungfrau and Titlis / Pilatus worth considering in place of ‘doing it ourselves’, or are these likely to be much more expensive or restrictive? If an option, would these need to be booked in advance, or can this generally be done at hotels, etc?

Many thanks for your help.

David

Lucas
Lucas
7106 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 19, 2017 - 1:36 PM in reply to Longlands217

Hi David and welcome to MySwissAlps!

Reservations are quite rare, if not impossible on most Swiss trains - so no need to think about them - except on any panoramic trains you might do (they are then mandatory). Trains can get crowded and from time to time you may have to stand briefly, but it is rare. 1st class is often much quieter, if the extra cost is appealing to you.

For your proposed itinerary, I would recommend the Swiss Travel Pass (which can be bought as 1st or 2nd class). I don't know the total length of your trip, but they can be bought in 3, 4, 8 or 15 day durations. There are regional passes as well but they won't cover all your itinerary so you would need to buy multiple passes and it wouldn't be cost effective.

Most tickets and rail passes can be bought online - find these options listed here, for each pass's web page we have a section titled price, click on that and you can see a list of online retailers.

You can find our route details on our Mt. Titlis and Mt. Pilatus web pages. The Swiss railways timetable can help you plan your trip in detail from Luzern.

The Glacier Express is a pretty cool experience but you are right, the regional trains travel the exact same route. However, the only extra cost for the Glacier Express is the mandatory reservation if you have the Swiss Travel Pass.

From Interlaken, you could do a part of the Glacier Express route (from Brig or Andermatt to Zermatt).

For Lake Luzern - the boats can only theoretically can be full and reservations aren't possible, so just show up 10 or 15 minutes before departure to buy a ticket (no ticket needed if you have the Swiss Travel Pass).

Paragliding bookings can sometime be done on the same day - a day or two in advance is probably best. We have a company near Interlaken noted here.

I think adding a trip to Jungfraujoch would be quite tricky if you are planning to do the full route on the one day Jungfrau region trip. But you could cut out a town or two and add in Jungfraujoch - or just start very early!

Lake Thun, as noted before no advance booking is available - it is a nice boat cruise if you have the time!

I don't think you need to visit Gornergrat and Klein Matterhorn. You can of course do both, but you have to return to Zermatt and then head back up to Klein Matterhorn. Both mountains probably need at least 1,5 to two hours at the top I think.

Read more about the Lake Geneva Lake cruises with schedules here. You can also visit the Cailler chocolate factory while in the area - no advance booking needed.

I personally feel tours are too expensive and restrictive - but some people swear by them. You really want to make sure the weather looks good at the mountain top before going yourself or making a tour booking. You can book book these tours online for Jungfraujoch here for Mt. Titlis here and for Mt. Pilatus here if you choose to.

Cheers!
Lucas

Last modified on Oct 4, 2017 - 11:25 AM by Arno
Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
2421 posts
top member
Jun 20, 2017 - 1:10 AM in reply to Longlands217

Hi David,

I just have a few things to add that I hope will further assist you.

>> If crowding can be an issue, is it worth the extra for first class to ensure seats, etc?

In my opinion, yes. I prefer to travel first class when trains are crowded if I have my suitcase with me. I usually travel second class, and just upgrade to first class for a particular sector. You can buy a first class upgrade from the ticket window just before travelling, or in the SBB App if you have mobile internet access and have set up an account with SBB. The cost is 50% of the difference between the first and second class fares if you are travelling with a 2nd class Swiss Travel Pass.

The Swiss Timetable will give an indication of expected occupancy for many routes. Morning and evening commuter times between cities are usually the worst, and then July is peak tourist season.

In July, I would expect the Luzern-Interlaken sector to be crowded for most of the day. It was quite crowded even in September last year.

>> Is the Glacier Express worth the extra expense or are the standard trains (nearly) as good as I assume they must travel on the same line? If worth doing, is it possible to include a trip on the Glacier Express when transferring from Interlaken to Zermatt?

The regional trains travel along the same route, but don't have the panoramic windows. The standard windows are perfectly OK for viewing the scenery if you have a window seat. I have attached some photos showing the panoramic and normal windows.

If the only sector of the Glacier Express you would be doing is from Brig to Zermatt (which would be the logical sector in transit from Interlaken to Zermatt), I would not bother with the official Glacier Express for two reasons:

1. The first Glacier Express of the day in the direction of Zermatt will not arrive in Brig until 14:45, arriving in Zermatt at 16:10, which limits your options for activities in Zermatt on your day of arrival. If you take regional trains, you can get to Zermatt hours earlier.

2. In my personal opinion, the best part of the Glacier Express route in any case is beteen Andermatt and St Moritz.

However, if this is the only time you are ever likely to experience a train with panoramic windows, it might be worth it to you to pay the reservation fee to travel on the Glacier Express, and arrive late afternoon in Zermatt.

For getting from Interlaken to Brig, regardless of whether you take a regional train or the Glacier Express from Brig, I would recommend the route Interlaken Ost to Brig via Kandersteg, which is a scenic route and avoids the Lötschberg-Basistunnel. Routes via the Lötschberg-Basistunnel are faster, and will be the default route suggested by the Swiss Timetable, but you miss some very lovely scenery. To get the scenic route to display in the timetable, you need to put "Kandersteg" into the "via" field. The sector Spiez to Brig is likely to be pretty crowded.

>> Lucerne Lake cruise – we would like to do the ‘Classic Round Trip’ or similar - is there plenty of availability so that we can book when we arrive, or would it be better to do this in advance?

Instead of a round trip, I would recommend a one-way trip the length of the lake between Luzern and Flüelen. This will take almost 3 hours, and you can take a train back to your point of departure (about 1 hour).

As the boat is likely to be crowded in July, and reservations are not possible, you could consider getting the train to Flüelen, then the boat from Flüelen back to Luzern. This might be less crowded than starting from Luzern, as long as you avoid the boat departing from Flüelen at 14:00 (which is part of the Gotthard Panorama Express trip and will almost certainly be crowded).

>> Pilatus ... location of bus stop in Kriens

The bus stop near the Pilatus gondola is called "Zentrum Pilatus". Please see attached screenshot from Google Maps showing how to get to the Pilatus gondola. In the direction from the bus stop to the gondola, the walk is slightly uphill.

>> Interlaken - Jungfrau – We would like to do the ‘Jungfrau One Day trip’ or similar – would this need to be booked in advance? Would it be possible to include a trip up the Jungfraujoch as part of this trip or would this need to be done on a separate trip due to the time needed?

Personally, I would make a trip to the Jungfraujoch a priority when you are in Interlaken, and then fit in other things around it as time permits. As this trip just involves getting trains up and back, it can easily be done on your own. You can go up via Grindelwald and back via Wengen (or vice versa), and I would recommend you do this to experience the very different scenery on each route.

Reservations cannot be made between Interlaken and Kleine Scheidegg, but I would recommend getting a reservation for the trip between Kleine Scheidegg and the Jungfraujoch, as it will be very crowded in July. Don't make the reservation until the day before though, so you can be sure the weather will be suitable for going up. If the Jungfraujoch is in the clouds, there is no point in going up there, but a round trip to Kleine Scheidegg via Wengen one way and Grindelwald the other way would be a great experience if they are not also in the clouds.

>> Trip to Thun – is it best to visit Thun by train, or is a boat cruise the better option? Is this easy to book when in Interlaken, or should it be booked in advance?

What are you intending to do in Thun?

>> Zermatt Matterhorn trip – we will probably take the cogwheel train via Gornergat (though is it worth returning via Kliene Matterhorn for different views, etc?) – how long would we need to allow for this trip?

The attached map showing the mountain transport in Zermatt illustrates why you can't go up via the Gornergrat and back via Klein Matterhorn.

I hope this helps.

Alpenrose

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