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5 days plan in Switzerland(1st trip)

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5 posts
new member
Apr 1, 2011 - 12:48 AM

I am(a male) planning my 1st time visit flying into Geneva(arrive late) and leaving from Geneva on the 6th day(about 11 am flight) in the afternoon, so I actually have only 4 full days.
I have done alot of reading on Switzerland but beside deciding where to visit, my most difficult part is on deciding which rail pass. In fact, during my last Euroipe trip, I got so frustrated in the planning that I did not visit Switzerland eventually despite it's my most-wanted-to-visit country in Europe. This time, I am afraid of missing it again; so I have committed in my air tickets to prevent a cancellation again.

I hope someone can help to advise me on where to go and which pass to go for. This won't be my last trip to Switzerland but not knowing when is my next trip, I hope to see more of it this first time. I am travelling alone, fast and budget is my priority, not much interest in the city area; and keen on scenery with some hiking. I can walk well.

After checking out, I hope I can do the followings:
1) Lauterbrunnen - Stechelberg - Schilthorn journey;

2) Jungfragouch(Interlaken - Lauterbrunnen - Jungragouch - Grindelwald - Interlaken)

3)Meiringen - Grindelwald via Grosse Scheidegg(hike or train/bus to save time as long as I see the best part of the scenery)

4) Lucerne - Fluelen(boat) - train to Andermatt

5) Andermatt - Grindelwald(Golden Route Bus)

6) Glazier Express route(or the better part of it)

7) Lucerne - Fluelen(boat) - Andermatt(train)

8) Zermatt(for a short while or overnight

All the above are some of the best journeys I find from guidebooks. I am leaving out Mt Titlis & Pilatus to my next trip.
I will be very happy if I can do all or at least a majority of the above 8 in my list with at least a night stay at Grimmelwald and passing by Murren.

I know it is too much to ask for but any suggestiion as to how I can do it or just any advice will be much appreciated.
As budget is my priority, I will make the best use of the pass to train or bus to more places if I go for a 4 days pass but if I go for just a transfer card or single tickets, I will probably do less places and go for more walks and hikes. I am quite flexible.

Pardon for my poor English and thank you in advance.
15865 posts
expert &
Apr 1, 2011 - 12:55 PM

Hi sincere,

Good to hear that you have secured your trip to the Swiss Alps this time, and that you already know you'll be back some day!

Regarding saving on your budget: there are some articles about that, and hotel suggestions as well. As for the rail tickets: there are actually two options, as you already described:
a) Get an unlimited rail pass and visit as many places as possible. A Swiss Pass is the best one for that approach. You'll have less time for hiking.
b) Get a Swiss Half Fare Card or a regional pass, focus on one region and do more hiking.

I can't decide for you. It's a matter of personal preference. If you go for option a), it's just a matter of checking the timetable to see what you can fit into 4 days. Definitely include the Glacier Express in that case, and Zermatt as well, as that is quite far from the other places you mentioned.
If you go for option b), you should pick the journeys located close together. For example: base yourself around Interlaken and do journey 1, 2, 3 and some hiking.

Please note that many Swiss highlights require good weather. You can plan all you want, but going up the Jungfrau, Schilthorn, etc. is a waste of money if it's cloudy. That makes a Swiss Pass more suitable for a short stay and a long wish list: you can just go where the weather is good (or least bad). That works for everything except for journeys that require a seat reservation. But even then, you may be able to get seats last minute as you travel alone. Will you travel in high season?

Your English is actually very well! Just note that Jungfragouch is actually spelled as Jungfraujoch, but that's German ;-)

Last modified on Jan 27, 2020 - 11:14 AM by Arno
5 posts
new member
Apr 4, 2011 - 10:11 AM

Thank you very much for the advise and links.

I have done some research and have some further questions:

1) I read regular trains don't need seat reservations but if I do, can I choose for window seat ?
2) Can a rail pass be used for the Glazier Express by paying just the extra booking fees ?
3) What's the best way to get from Montreax to Zermatt ?
4) If I go from Zermatt to Interlaken or Interlaken to Zermatt without reaching St Moritz,, have I seen the better parts of the Flazier Express journey ?
5) I see that the Bernese Oberland Reginaol Pass(for 3 days) price is not much different from Swiss Pass and the benefits are nearly the same, what are the extra benefits of the Bernese Oberland Pass ? If the prices are near and don't give better benefits, I might as well get a pass that covers the whole country.
6) When I try to check for fares and time from the sbb website, there are many stops for each city, what is the name or Swiss word for the "central station" ?
7) This one may be be deciding factor where to visit - I find the longer days passes actually not much difference in price, eg, a 15 days pass compared to a 4 days or 3 days flexi pass is merely around 2X the price but I get nearly ormore than 4X the days(in fact 4 times if you minus the 1st and last day). Since I am coming back for another trip to see more of Switzerland, I am thinking of doing more travel next time with a more days pass, since this trip, I have fixed for only 4 to 5 days. So I may travel in the most economical way this time from/back to Geneva(with a transfer card or point to point ticket) and base myself in just 1 or 2 place for more hikings or visits that the Rail Pass don't cover, what do you think can you help to give me an itinerery for it ? Looks like the Junfrau region is most suitable. Let's say if I sleep the first and last night in Geneva, I have 3 nights left. Where say I spend them(I mean sleep) such that I can do hikings and travel cheaply around them everyday ?

Thank you and I look forward to your reply.
15865 posts
expert &
Apr 4, 2011 - 3:35 PM

Hi sincere,

1) I'm not sure about that. I think you can. I would not do it however. You're much more flexibel without a reservation, and it's cheaper as well.
2) Yes, the passes including free traveling can be used for the Glacier Express.
3) You can best consult the timetable for that. It's an easy trip with one change.
4) No, as that would just include the Matter valley between Visp and Zermatt. It is beautiful, but it's a relatively small section of the total trip, without highlights such as the Oberalp pass or the Rhine valley. But Interlaken - Zermatt is still a great trip, especially if you take the local train between Spiez and Brig, which does not cross the new long tunnel (enter "via Goppenstein" in the timetable).
5) The Bernese Oberland Pass includes a couple of days of free traveling on (relatively expensive) lifts and cog trains, the Swiss Pass does not.
6) HB (Haubtbahnhof) or sometimes the name of the main railway company, like Basel SBB.
7) I would suggest Interlaken or one of the smaller surrounding villages. From there, the Jungfrau region is at your doorstep, but you can also travel to/on the Lakes or even Lucerne quite easily. A Swiss Half Fare Card gives you the flexibility of going where the weather is good. It's a cheap pass that will pay back for itself, even for shorter trips.

I hope this helps!

Last modified on Jan 27, 2020 - 11:14 AM by Arno


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