Swiss Alps scenic train summer trip for retirees

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Dec 10, 2017 - 10:48 PM

Three 65+ couples are traveling to Switzerland July 1st. We plan on arriving in Geneva July 2 and are investigating the possibility of taking scenic train on July 4th from Geneva to Zematt and ending in Zurich on the 7th. Any suggestions / recommendations would be appreciated.

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Dec 11, 2017 - 1:57 AM in reply to Removed user

Hi Bblalock and Welcome to MySwissAlps,

Could you let us know what time you flights arrive Geneva and depart Zurich. That will help provide more tailored advice. Also what are your main interests? Scenery or cities or a mix?

Last modified on Dec 11, 2017 - 2:08 AM by rockoyster
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Dec 11, 2017 - 9:54 AM in reply to Removed user

Hello Bblalock,

Let me give you a few suggestions that can help you as you start planning your trip. Make sure you click on the blue links as there’s a world of information behind it.

An itinerary often followed is: Geneva – Zermatt – Wengen – Lucerne – Zürich. In Zermatt you can take a part of the Glacier Express route (as far as Brig or Andermatt) and then switch to a train to Wengen. From there you could have a stopover in Lucerne or continue directly to Zürich. Lucerne has easy access to Zürich’s airport and would be my preference, but to rockoyster's point we don't know when your flight depart Zürich.

In Zermatt you could visit the Gornergrat and Klein Matterhorn which can be done on the same day. From Wengen you have access to the Jungfraujoch and other quaint villages like Mürren and Grindelwald. If the weather doesn’t allow you to visit the Jungfraujoch you could consider a boat trip and explore Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.

Should you include Lucerne in your trip you could make some time to visit Mt. Pilatus or Mt. Titlis which its magnificent views and snow all year round.

For rail passes, have a look at the Swiss Travel Pass. This will get you free transport to most areas in Switzerland (and discounts on the other areas) and might be a good fit for your plans. The Glacier Express is covered by the pass.

Some practical links:
Plan your trip
Scenic train trips
Train schedule
Towns and cities

I hope this gives you some food for thought. Once you’ve thought about the key highlights of your trip feel free to share it with us and I’m sure you’ll get additional advice where needed.

84 posts
active member
Dec 11, 2017 - 4:49 PM

Just visited Zermatt and took the train to Visp and switched to the train to Zurich.

We had Swiss Flex passes and stayed 4 nights in Zermatt. I've been to Lucerne in the past and found it less charming than Zermatt, but that's a personal preference.

We loved the Gornergrat train. The Klein Matterhorn is accessible via the "bubbles"which are gondolas--very cold now but will be great in the summer. A Swiss rail pass gets you a 50% discount on both the Gornergrat train and the gondolas.

Lake Thun looks like a lovely area--we passed it on the train.


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Dec 12, 2017 - 7:33 PM in reply to rockoyster

We don't have air fare booked yet but will be meeting Viking River Tour in Zurich and flying out of Paris. Goal is to see Alps by trains and enjoy local settings. My thoughts were to arrive Geneva late afternoon / evening and spend night then tour Geneva spend 2nd night and leave Geneva in the morning for trip to Zematt via Glacier Express arrive evening spend night and tour Zermatt next day, spend another night then travel to Zurich via ??? to arrive afternoon of 7 July to meet Viking tour group. Looking for suggestions / recommendations.

Last modified on Dec 12, 2017 - 7:35 PM by Removed user
5954 posts
Dec 12, 2017 - 11:52 PM in reply to Removed user

Hello Bblalock,

Is there some specific reason you want to visit Geneva? If you go from Geneva to Zermatt you will follow only a small part of the Glacier Express route from Visp to Zermatt using regular trains, not the actual Glacier Express.

If you didn’t have a burning desire to go to Geneva but a wish to do the Glacier Express then you could consider flying in to Zurich and either staying there overnight or catching a train direct to Chur for an overnight stay there. It is small compared to Zurich and has a lovely old town.

The next morning you could take the Glacier Express from Chur to Zermatt for a couple of nights.

Then maybe two nights in the Jungfrau Region - say Wengen and from there on to Zurich.

The scenic though longer route (compared to via Visp) to Wengen would be Zermatt - Brig - Kandersteg - Spiez -Interlaken Ost - Lauterbrunnen - Wengen.

The Lauterbrunnen Valley and surrounding area is stunning but if you are all mountained out after Zermatt and want to experience a Swiss city then you could continue on from Interlaken to Lucerne via the very scenic Golden Pass Line on the Lucerne to Interlaken Express. Lucerne is a much nicer city to spend a couple of days than Geneva I would say.

Just some suggestions. Wherever you settle on visiting you will have a great time in Switzerland. It pays to become familiar with the Swiss Railway timetable ( metable) to get a handle on how long it takes to get from A to B. And the Swiss Pass Validity map ( isstravelpass/validity) is very useful for visualising where places are in relation to one another.

I guess you will be going from Zurich to Basel with your Viking tour group?

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