4 nights Switzerland itinerary: Engelberg & Geneva

4 nights Switzerland itinerary: Engelberg & Geneva

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chaaga
chaaga
3 posts
new member
Aug 12, 2017 - 5:04 AM

Hello, We'll be travelling to Switzerland in late August.We ll be coming from Venice by train. We're planning to take 7:20 A.M. train from Venice and reach Engelberg by 4 P.M. There are 6 adults and 3 kids in our group. We are staying in Engelberg for 3 nights and in Geneva for 1 night. This is what we are thinking:

Day 1: Hang out in Engelberg area for rest of the day. Would you recommend taking any boat tour or any other activity in the evening?

Day 2: Go on top of Mt. Jungfraujoch. To our surprise Swiss Half Card comes out to more economical. We're planning to buy Swiss Half Card

Day 3: Go to Mt. Titlis. Take Golden Pass Classic Train to Montreux and come back to Engelberg.

Day 4: Leave early for Geneva as we plan to visit CERN lab and some other part of Geneva and catch flight next day early morning. Part of our group have flight from Zurich. They will reach Zurich sometime in the afternoon and hang out in that are before their flight late in the night.

What do you think of our plan? I am not so sure if we will get a chance to take a boat tour on day 1. I am also not so sure of being able to take Golden Pass train after visiting Mt. Titlis. We may have to take next day while going to Geneva but then part of our group will miss. We would really like to take one boat tour at least.

We're not much interested in hiking but would love to enjoy the scenery as much as possible in this short amount of time. Any advice and tips will be highly appreciated.

Thanks,

Chaaga

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
3760 posts
expert
Aug 12, 2017 - 10:06 AM in reply to chaaga

Hi Chaaga-

Welcome to MySwissAlps.!

This map will show you the nearest large lake to Engelberg that has lake boat rides is Lake Lucerne.

map.search.ch/?pos=679104,197984&z=8& poi=default

You will pass through Luzern ( local German spelling) on your way from Venice to Engelberg. The direct trains from Luzern main station to Engelberg run at xx10 and take 43 minutes; last one at 2110.

Later trains run at 2127, 2227, 2327, take 49 minutes, and require a change to a bus at Dallenwil.

Trains from Engelberg to Luzern main station ( where you would catch boat unless there is some clever way to pick one up at an intermediate stop, which would require careful study of maps, schedules and stations to determine. Not recommended if you are tired.) run once per hour at xx01.

Assume you arrive at Engelberg at 1553, get to your hotel, eat something, and manage to get on the 1801 back to Luzern. You will arrive at 1849.

Here is the lake boat schedule. Make sure you select the correct seasonal timetable -

www.lakelucerne.ch/en/ timetable-fares/timetable/

Find a boat ride. There is very limited service a that time and afterwards. I am not sure what boat you would take. An obvious one to go to Alpnachstad, where you could pick up a train that would get you on your way back to Engelberg has it last run at 1812.

However, lets assume that somehow you found a boat ride that would get you back to Luzern main station at 2049. ( two hours for the ride) . You could catch the 2110 back to Engelberg and be there at 2153.

I don't know what boat ride you would find, but it is technically feasible to do something like your suggestion, since you could even take more time at Luzern and still catch a train back to Engelberg as late as 2327.

Would you really want to do that? I'd guess it would be tiring after a long day, but,that is up to you.

By the way, I got all the train timings from the timetable:

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

An option would be to pause on your trip through Luzern and take a break on a boat ride. Presumably, you would be at Luzern at approximately 1500 on your journey from Venice. You could leave your luggage in lockers, or, possibly at the left luggage office ( check hours of operation....close at 1900 I think). There is a good choice of boat options, depending on how long you wish to make your break.

Hope that helps.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Aug 12, 2017 - 10:10 AM by Slowpoke
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
3760 posts
expert
Aug 12, 2017 - 10:27 AM in reply to chaaga

Hi Chaaga -

If you take the Golden Pass route to Montreux (starting from Engleberg), you must first go to Luzern.

www.myswissalps.com/go ldenpass

If you leave Engelberg at 0901, you will arrive in Montreux at 1613. You hit the midday break in Interlaken Ost (IO) , arriving at 1155, but not able to continue until 1308.

If you start earlier, you may be able shorten the gap slightly. However, check the leg from IO to Montreux carefully. The schedule is erratic, with some large gaps.

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

However, no matter how you cut it, the trip onward from IO to Montreux on the Golden Pass route wil take between 3 and 4 hours, one way.

On your return, you can save time by going through Bern.

That will still be a very long day. Not clear how you will fit in Mt. Titlis.

The problem with staying at Engelberg is that you are 40+ minutes from Luzern, wher you connect with the main rail network. It is not a good base for travel around Switzerland.

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
3760 posts
expert
Aug 12, 2017 - 5:14 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Continuing my post above-

Hi Chaaga -

I looked atthe train schedules.

If you leave Venezia St. Lucia at 0720, you will be in Engelberg at 1453, one hour earlier than you noted.

That gives you more time to go back from Engelberg and look for a boat ride. However, since you will arrive from Venice at Luzern at 1341, I'd consider a boat ride ride a that time. Lots of choices. A round trip to Alpnachstad is nice. Leave at 1438 (you'll just miss the 1338) and return to Luzern at 1745. Catch the train to Engelberg at 1810 and arrive in time for dinner at 1853.

Here is another idea. A bit more complicated, but quite scenic.

Check it out on the map:

map.search.ch/?pos=688640,200976&z=16

If you have lots of time, and not much luggage, I'd suggest that you get off at Arth-Goldau at 1314, catch the regional 1326 express back to Flüelen (southbound) since the train from Milano Cenntrale does not stop as it goes northbound through Flüelen, depart A-G toward Flüelen at 1326, arrive Flüelen at 1346, and ride the 1400 lake boat all the way to Luzern after catching it at Flüelen at 1400. Do not get off at Brunnen .

Instead ride the boat for a total of 2 hrs 57 minutes along the whole length of the lake from south to north and arrive Luzern Bahnhofquai ( right by the main station) at 1647. Continue to Engelberg at 1710, arrive Engelberg 1753.

(Optional- not recommended due to luggage and missing a lot of the lake - you could leave the boat at Brunnen at 1447, and pick up the train to Luzern again at 1508 after a 10 minute walk with your luggage (there is also a connecting bus at 1457 that takes only 3 minutes) from the boat landing to the train station and continue to Luzern arriving 1554 after seeing a particularly nice part of the lake from Flüelen to Brunnen)

The boat gives you a chance to move around, and has food service. It s really nice to have a snack or a meal and watch the lake shore and mountains go by. (That lake boat ride is part of the Gotthard Panoramic route).

Slowpoke

Last modified on Aug 12, 2017 - 5:16 PM by Slowpoke
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
3760 posts
expert
Aug 12, 2017 - 7:55 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Chaaga-

I wrote:

<<"If you take the Golden Pass route to Montreux (starting from Engleberg), you must first go to Luzern.">>

A further comment on the ride from Engelberg to Interlaken Ost on the way to Montreux. That may not be true.

I spent some time with the map and schedules.

I did not work out the all the details of timing yet, but it is possible to go from Engelberg to Stans, change for Hergiswil, then change for Sarnen, and catch the Luzern-Interlaken express at Sarnen without going all the way back to Luzern. I think end up on the same L-IO express train ( at Sarnen at 1024) as if you went all the way to Luzern, so you may not save any time. You may also have less choice of seats, since you are not getting on at the beginning.

I've not got time to lay out the details. You can play with the timetable. I'll try to get back to it tonight.

Slowpoke

chaaga
chaaga
3 posts
new member
Aug 13, 2017 - 12:53 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Slowpoke,

I can't thank enough for all the advice you gave and all the time you have spent in finding the route which can fit in our itinerary. We booked the property in Engelberg in hurry without realizing how disconnected it was from Luzern and Interlaken. We will pick a better location next time! We want to keep it easy and spend more time with family. We have revised our plan a little bit. Let me know what you think about our revised plan -

Day 1: Settle down in Engelberg. Just explore the area. Next day is going to be pretty long.

Day 2: Go on top of Mt. Jungfraujoch. This will be from Luzern. Luzern to Interlaken is part of Golden Pass route and is also pretty scenic. Ride from Interlaken to Jungfraujoch is not less either. I think round trip from Engelberg to Jungfraujoch will take around 15 hours.

Day 3: Go to Mt. Titlis. We may take boat ride on this day in the evening. How about that?

Day 4: Leave early for Geneva. If possible we will take Golden pass from Luzern to Montreux and then another train from Montreux to Geneva. We need to reach Geneva around 1 PM.

Do you think it is doable?

Thank you so much for all your help!

Chaaga

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
3760 posts
expert
Aug 13, 2017 - 10:04 AM in reply to chaaga

Hi Chaaga-

Your revised schedule seems possible except for day 4. I'm not going to check your timing; that is what the time table is for. I'll give estimates here, suitable for planning.

If you have trouble using the timetable, break your journey into sections, using the map that I linked above. Engelberg to Luzern. Luzern to Interlaken Ost. Interlaken Ost to Jungfraujoch.

Same for day 3. read the Titlis page for details on how to get there, particularly, the link called "Route":

www.myswissalps.com/ti tlis

It will take about half an hour to go up to station Klein Titlis., so you should be able to fit in a trip up to Titlis and a boat ride on Lake Lucerne in the same day. Make your boat ride in the afternoon when you have plenty of choices. I gave you the boat schedule link earlier.

If you are uncertain about boat rides, stop at the tourist information office by track 2 in Luzern main station and talk to them. They are an excellent resource.

You are repeating Luzern/Interlaken 3 times in one or another direction.

Geneva -

Day 4 may be impossible as planned. It will take about 4 hours from Engelberg to Geneva by the fastest route going first north of Luzern via Zofingen (shortcut for some trains near Olten) or via Olten and Bern on fast tracks. About 3 hours from Luzern.

Your chosen route - Engelberg to Interlaken Ost alone is about three hours. Interlaken Ost to Geneva via Bern (the fastest route) takes about 3 hours. Total about 6 hours. If you use the Golden Pass via Zweisimmen and Montreux, it is substantially longer.I suspect that iit is not possible.

All mainline trains into Geneva continue to Geneva Airport, which is closer to CERN than Geneva Main Station (Cornavin). However, there is a tram ( Tram 18 - I used to use it to go to Meyrin) from Geneva main station ( Cornavin) to CERN (in Meyrin) with no changes which takes about 1/2 an hour, if I recall correctly. There are about 3 (+/-) per hour. Check the timetable. It leaves from the tram platforms to the right as you exit the main exit of Cornavin Station on the lake side. I recall that the tram platforms might have names instead of numbers.....?. It may be called tram to Meyrin (CERN). It does not stop at the airport.

Some trams require a change and several minutes of walking . Check the timetable to avoid them.

If you continue to the airport on your train from Bern, there are a few buses per hour from the airport which stop at CERN, and which take about the same travel time as the trams from the main station.

Jungfraujoch -

From Engelberg to Jungfraujoch should take about 5 hours. 15 hours for the RT seems excessive.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Aug 13, 2017 - 10:10 AM by Slowpoke
chaaga
chaaga
3 posts
new member
Aug 14, 2017 - 12:23 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Thanks Slowpoke for the tips. We'll not take Golden Pass to Geneva in that case. With regular train we should be able to reach by 1 PM.

We're struggling in buying our tickets from Venice to Engelberg online. If we use SBB.ch website and mention, we have Swiss Half Card then it fails at the last step with 'Payment Failed' even though the transaction didn't even hit the bank. If we use trenitalia.com then we could buy only up to Luzern and it's more expensive as we couldn't specify that we have swiss half card. Can you help with buying the tickets online?

Thanks,

Chaaga

Lucas
Lucas
3376 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 14, 2017 - 12:44 PM in reply to chaaga

Hi Chaaga,

You should be able to buy your ticket online here. It doesn't have every route or station available online though. You could also try splitting the route tickets (Italian leg and Swiss leg).

Lucas

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
3760 posts
expert
Aug 14, 2017 - 1:09 PM in reply to chaaga

The Swiss half fare card does not give a discount in Italy.

ou should be able to buy the complete ticket from the SBB, but there may be a special procedure that you have missed. I has been a few years since I did that, but I know it can be done.

However, the alternative that Lucas suggested could work. Once in Switzerland, the ticket is good for any train on that route for the day. You do not need to reserve seats on trains in Switzerland, and on many trains it is not possible However, with a large group, and coming from Italy, I believe you must buy for a specific train and reserve seats.

If you still have trouble, send an e-mail to the SBB via their contact link. They respond quickly.

I did run through the process for the train from Venice at 0720, as far as the point where they take your names. They need age for possible fare reductions. I tried to get two seats and succeeded. I did not get to payment.

Slowpoike

It is getting rather late to bok tickets in August. I hope you are succesfuly.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Aug 14, 2017 - 1:26 PM by Slowpoke

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