Jungfraujoch, Luzern, Pilatus, Zermatt in 4 days

Jungfraujoch, Luzern, Pilatus, Zermatt in 4 days

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Naheen
Naheen
3 posts
new member
Apr 22, 2018 - 4:19 AM

Dear Concern, I am planning a 4 day trip with my wife and 2 kids (1 & 6 yrs) from August 13-16. We want to visit the following places;

1. Jungfraujoch (top of europe)

2. Luzern & Mt. Pilatis

3. Zermatt

we have allocated one day for each of the above. the 4th day is allocated for Bern. my questions are;

1. Which place should be my base? As I am travelling with 2 kids, I don't want to switch base. Please consider that our next destination is Amsterdam.

2. Is the above places are too ambitious to cover in 4 days?

Thanks.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4735 posts
expert
Apr 22, 2018 - 8:19 AM in reply to Naheen

Hi Naheen -

Welcome to My Swiss Alps.

Your plans are not too ambitious if you can tolerate a fair amount of rail travel.

Please note that , even though the Jungfraujoch is not far from Interlaken, the actual trip takes a while. The other locations and Interlaken are on the main-line rail network with reasonably speedy trains, but at Interlaken, you switch to slower mountain trains to continue onward into the valley of the River Lütschine and then to either Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald and thence up to Jungfraujoch.

If you look at this map, you can see where those locations are relative to each other in the country.

map.search.ch/

There are several usefuI maps, but I like that one because, as you zoom in, when you reach zoom level 32, train lines pop into view, so you can also see how they connect those locations. Lots of mountains, so they may not always be straight line connections, even with a fair number of tunnels.

map.search.ch/?pos=639280,165376&z=32

If you click on Points of Interest then Traffic in the menu, you can make the station stops appear for trains, buses, etc.

All that discussion, because you will use the rails a lot.

I'm pretty sure that Interlaken would be your best central base location. Good access to the Jungfrau, not bad for Zermatt, with a scenic option on the way, and a bit of a trip to Luzern, also by a fairly scenic route. Pilatus is close to Luzern ( that is the German spelling that you will see on all the signs). If you wished to visit Titlis you would have to go almost to Luzern, then take a significant trip on a branch line as you near Luzern. Titlis is a rather long trip. Pilatus is easy.

Bern would be your other good choice. Easy access to Luzern, tolerable access to the Jungfrau, a bit of a stretch for Zermatt

Or, maybe somewhere between Bern and Interlaken, such as Thun. Better for Zermatt, not as good for Luzern.

A forum regular, Maggie Horswell, stays there a lot. She might add her thoughts.

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/5-days-in-thun

You can figure out your times for travel using the timetable. It is useful to note the instructions on the introduction page here:

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

The timetable defaults to the fastest route. If you wish to guide it to a more scenic route or make a stop at some place along the way, make use of the "via" option in the advanced timetable...which is the SBB timetable. It will work for Amsterdam, as you look at your departure from Switzerland.

A comment about Interlaken.

www.myswissalps.com/in terlaken

We usually recommend staying in one of the Alpine villages, where you are surrounded y the Alps - Wengen, Lauterbrunnen, Mürren, Grindelwald. They are more scenic and you are closer to the Jungfrau and a myriad other attractions.

www.swissholidayco.com /Public/Assets/User/fi les/Map-of-Jungfrauregion1.jpg

I suggested Interlaken because of your travel requirements, not because it has any particular Alpine charm. It has frequent main-line rail connections to the rest of Switzerland and on to France, Germany , etc.

By using the timetable, you can figure out if you wish to exchange longer trips to your other destinations for the nicer environment of one of those villages. Each is discussed here:

www.myswissalps.com/ju ngfrauregion

August is the busiest part of the tourist season, so look into accommodations soon.

Finally, there has been considerable discussion on this forum about taking infants younger than about 2 years up to altitudes over 2000 meters . Jungfraujoch is well above that. The concern is that some people react poorly to the thin air at those altitudes, and that an infant may not be able to let you know clearly if he or she has a problem. Ask your doctor. Some have noted that the air pressure in modern airplanes is maintained at a fairly low level ....about the equivalent of 2500 meters... for comparison.

Slowpoke

Arno
Arno
10752 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 22, 2018 - 9:02 AM

Good suggestions above. I want to add Spiez as a base to consider as well. It's on Lake Thun between Thun and Interlaken.

Last modified on Apr 22, 2018 - 9:02 AM by Arno
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4735 posts
expert
Apr 22, 2018 - 1:53 PM in reply to Arno

<<"I want to add Spiez as a base to consider as well. It's on Lake Thun between Thun and Interlaken.">>

Good idea. 4 trains per hour to Interlaken, adding about 30 minutes +/- to the trip to Jungfrau, but that much closer to Zermatt.

Naheen
Naheen
3 posts
new member
Apr 26, 2018 - 4:43 PM

Dear Slowpoke & Arno,

Thank you very much for the detailed advise. We have booked our room in Lauterbrunnen. We need one more advise. We will be traveling to Lauterbrunnen from Zurich via train. Whichever Train I choose, there is at least one change in the journey and the duration between the changes are typically 6 minutes.

I will be having 2 kids and 2 luggage. Any advise on how I can make the change within that short time? I have tried the service of sending my luggage separately but I guess that will take at least a day and without logistical support with kids, it will be very difficult to enjoy the trip.

Thank.

Removed user
Removed user
0 posts
new member
Apr 27, 2018 - 12:18 AM in reply to Naheen

Hi Naheen,

>> Whichever Train I choose, there is at least one change in the journey and the duration between the changes are typically 6 minutes. I will be having 2 kids and 2 luggage. Any advise on how I can make the change within that short time?

That's not unusual, and is designed to be achievable. When setting standard transfer times, they take into account how far you will need to walk to get to your next connection - it's not random.

Take a close look at the timetable, and you will see the platform numbers, so you will know where you have to go for your next train before you arrive. You will not have to deal with any steps to change platforms.

However, if you would prefer longer transfer times, simply click on "Advanced search" in the Swiss Timetable, then scroll down and change the "Duration of transfer" option from "Standard transfer time" to 10, 20 or 30 minutes. Then the timetable will generate a series of connections to get you from start to finish with longer transfer times.

The most scenic route from Zürich to Lauterbrunnen is to go via Luzern. Then you get to travel over the Brünig Pass, which is part of the Golden Pass route between Luzern and Interlaken Ost.

Alpenrose

Last modified on Apr 27, 2018 - 12:19 AM by Removed user
Lucas
Lucas
7201 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 27, 2018 - 1:56 AM in reply to Naheen

You can do express luggage with SBB - if you hand it in by 9am you can collect it at 6pm the same day.

See here for details.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4735 posts
expert
Apr 27, 2018 - 5:32 AM in reply to Lucas

Hi Lucas-

Express service is good for only 33 stations.

Without checking through the links, I recall that Interlaken Ost is one, but the villages in the valley are not.

Slowpoke

Lucas
Lucas
7201 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 27, 2018 - 5:42 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Lauterbrunnen will work, a bit expensive though at 12chf per bag plus 30chf flat fee.

rockoyster
rockoyster
3701 posts
expert
Apr 27, 2018 - 5:53 AM in reply to Slowpoke

There is now a handy luggage delivery calculator. Feed in the departure and arrival points and find out when you have to drop off and when you can pick up.

Although how handy it is depends on how you interpret this answer for Zurich to Lauterbrunnen for a random day on May:

"Registration in Zürich HB on Thursday, 24.05.2018 by 08:45, ready for pick-up at Lauterbrunnen on Thursday, 24.05.2018 from 18:00 as express luggage with CHF12.00 per luggage item and CHF30.00 express surcharge per shipment.

It is not possible to register your luggage on the day you requested. It will not be possible until: Registration in Zürich HB on Wednesday, 23.05.2018 by 19:00, ready for pick-up at Lauterbrunnen on Friday, 25.05.2018 from 09:00 as luggage with CHF12.00 per luggage item."

Perhaps the calculator is a work in progress. Which is a pity as they seem to have removed the former link to the list of stations that offered Express delivery.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4735 posts
expert
Apr 27, 2018 - 6:29 AM in reply to Naheen

Hi Naheen.

If each of the adults can handle 1 bag, and the kids are old enough to follow directions and walk at a quick pace...not run... 6 minutes will work.

And, if you miss a connection, the trains run every 30 minutes on all legs of the route. Just wait for the next one. Your ticket will be good.

As Alpenrose noted the system is designed to match the conditions.

In fact, the standard time for connections is 4 minutes. 6 minutes is allowed because Bern is a larger station than many. At Interlaken Ost , the under the tracks passage is a bit less wide than some, so 6 minutes. At Interlaken, everyone else will be going to catch the same train that you are, and there will be a flow of people. The train to Lauterbrunnen won't leave while people are still trying to get on board.

In the past, that train has had two sections, well-marked, with guidance on the platform. The train separates at Zweilütschinen and one part goes to Lauterbrunnen, the other to Grindelwald. Watch for that.

The trains from Zürich will all go through Bern, always with a change there. Also, you cannot avoid the change at Interlaken Ost; that is where the mainline trains let you off to transfer to the narrow gauge mountain railway to Lauterbrunnen.

I have checked each of three stages of the journey on August 13th, 2018

Zürich to Bern; Bern to Interlaken Ost; Interlaken Ost to Lauterbrunnen.

Your tickets on any of those routes will be good for any of those trains a for the whole day.

That is true in general for all trains in Switzerland, with the exception of a few special "named" panoramic tains and some mountain excursion trains ( such as the train up to the Jungfraujoch) where reservations are required. Panoramic trains would include the Glacier Express, for example.

If you are starting at Zürich Airport (Flughafen) , some trains to Bern require a change at Zürich. Others go direct to Bern with a stop at Zürich main station ( Zürich Hbf.). The non-change trains run at xx18 and xx40.

At Zürich -

There are frequent trains from Zürich to Bern. There are fast trains twice per hour at xx02 and xx32 with no changes required. Other trains between those time may have a change. Take one of the fast trains.. If you are traveling at times other than rush hour, you will easily find seats for four people together. At rush hours in the AM and PM you might have to split up, but you'll surely be able to get seating close together for two groups of two people.

At Bern -

There are two direct trains per hour at xx04 and xx34 from Bern to Interlaken Ost for most of the day. If you miss a 6 minute connection at Bern, wait 24 minutes more for the next train. If by chance you take a train that changes at Spiez, the trains will be on two sides of the same platform at Spiez, where 3 minute connections are the norm. Yes, 3 minutes. Walk across th eplatform.

At Interlaken Ost -

There are two direct trains per hour from Interlaken Ost to Lauterbrunnen at xx05 and xx35 for most of the day. If you miss one a six minute connection, wait 24 minutes for the next one.

If you check platform numbers in the timetable, and look at the station maps available for major stations ("Trafimage" maps) on the SBB web site, you will find that the trains are often organized to be on two sides of the same platform at Bern. Not always, but the passages for going from platform to platform are quite wide, and the platforms will be selected to be close to each other, if the trains are not at the same platform.. A lot of people go on that route, and they try to organize a smooth connection.

Since Bern is not a terminal station...the trains do not come in to to the end of the track and reverse to go out as they do at Zürich main station.... taking a car in the middle of the train will put you closer to the under-track tunnel passage between platforms. Not necessary, just a convenience.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Apr 27, 2018 - 6:38 AM by Slowpoke
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4735 posts
expert
Apr 27, 2018 - 6:33 AM in reply to Lucas

<<"Lauterbrunnen will work, a bit expensive though at 12chf per bag plus 30chf flat fee.">>

Thanks Lucas- good to know. Of course, if they come into Zürich after the 9AM requirement, they can't get Express service, I believe.

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4735 posts
expert
Apr 27, 2018 - 7:03 AM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Rockoyster-

It seems to me that we are all beta-testers for the new ( well....sort of new) SBBtimetable?

A list of 33 stations is simple and effective. A calculator is nice in principle, especially if you find reading a list of 33 stations to be a burden. but it really ought to working perfectly before we are exposed to it.

And, it does not give you an overview, so you can no longer see all theExpress Service stations at once.

It is no fun being a Luddite these days. ;-)

Slowpoke

Naheen
Naheen
3 posts
new member
Apr 27, 2018 - 7:46 AM

Hello Guys,

You people are amazingly helpful. If people are this friendly and helpful, I am pretty sure I will get to my destination even if I miss my train!!

Three small question: I am planning to buy a half pass fare card.

- Can I buy it from Zurich station?

- And do children (6 years and 15 months) need tickets in the swiss transportation?

- When I will visit Mt. Pilitus (taking the boat, gondolla, cable car etc), will the half fare pass works on those? It will work on Jungfraujoch that I have seen.

Thanks.

rockoyster
rockoyster
3701 posts
expert
Apr 27, 2018 - 7:50 AM in reply to Naheen

It is best to buy the Swiss Half Fare Card on-line and print at home before you leave. When you order it also order a free Swiss Family Card which will provide free travel for your 6 year old. Your toddler will travel free anyway.

Yes all that Pilatus trip is 50% off with SHFC. You will want to become familiar with the vailidity map you can download from www.myswissalps.com/sw isshalffarecard/validi ty.

Last modified on Apr 27, 2018 - 7:52 AM by rockoyster

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