Following is the summary of our 8 - day trip to Switzerland on Sep 1 with family thats me, husband and my boys aged 2.5 and 4.5 yrs. Spent 4 nights in Luzern and 3 at Wengen. We had our 8-day Swiss travel pass ready and printed from home and it was very handy and convenient throughout although we had to pay in some places especially during our Wengen stay.
Day 1 –Took morning flight from Dubai and Arrived at Zurich– straight to Luzerne by train, checked into apartment by 11.30 pm.
Day2 - Heavy and continuous rain, so no mountain trips. We took the scenic Luzerne - Interlaken express, very beautiful route crossing Lake Brienz and Lake Thun. Got down at Brunig station and caught the bus to Ballenberg Open air museum. It was pretty dull out there, could be coz of the rain. No animals outside. But the huts and the lush green meadows were looking very pretty.
Came back to hotel, rain had subsided, took short walks around Luzern
Day 3 – weather forecast not good again, so no mountain trips. Walked around the Chapel bridge and the church and small street behind. It was beautiful. Took the bus to Swiss Transport museum. Children spent a good amount of time in the outdoor activity area with construction equipment, the mini steam engine ride etc. It turned out to be their favourite. We also spent some good time at the Lakeside across the opposite the museum (Verkhershaus Lido). By afternoon sun was shining and we headed for a Bern city trip.
We loved every bit of Bern Old town, the Einstein house, the clock tower, Parliament building.. the Kramgrasse street was so unique and beautiful. Children had fun spotting the bear at the Barenpark.
Got back to the hotel. Since we have only more day left at Luzern we decided to do Mt. Titlis and Mt. Rigi the next day even though it will turn out to be a tight schedule- we wanted to give it a try.
Day 4 –started early to Engelberg, got the Mt Titlis tickets (50% off with Swiss Travel Pass). As we waited for the bus to the cable car station clicked some pictures of the picturesque valley. As we reached the cable car station, we realized it was only at a walkable distance- what a shame! We could have saved some time there. Had snow fun at Titlis as it was our first snow experience. Cliff walk was good. Had a look at the Glacier cave – it was more cold there inside than the mountain itself. Got our family photo clicked at the photo studio in the traditional attire.
Finished Titlis and came to Luzern we checked the Rigi timetable thinking that it’s still possible, we caught the boat to Vitznau. The boat ride was so nice and relaxing. However, as we reached the Vitznau station, the staff said we cannot catch the next train to Rigi as it will leave in 3 mins afterward the next train is only around 10pm. No regrets, as we decided to push it for the next day for quicker full train ride to Rigi so we could enjoy the mountain in day light. We enjoyed the sunset and Luzerne night view on the ride back on the same boat.
Day 5- Checked out from apartment and dropped luggage at Luzerne railway station. Reached Rigi Kulm via direct train from Arth-Goldau. It was sunny up at the mountain and the views were really good. Reached Wengen by 4 pm got some rest and went for evening walk. The hotel was right next to the Station. We checked out the Protestant church nearby as well.
Day 6 –Train until Grindelwald and then cable car to First, took the cliff walk. Decided to hike to Lake Bachalpsee. Walked for around 50 minutes with kids and strollers. To be honest it was not so easy with the strollers as I had read and my kids would not walk for long. But that partial walk itself was really rewarding with some nice views of the snow mountains and the green pastures. We were also discouraged by the passers-by as they told us it’s only going to get steeper. With a heavy mind we decided to walk back. On the return from First cable car we got off at the Bort playground for the children.
We ended the day with a walk in the Lauterbrunnen valley and the Staubbach falls.
Day 7- Murren Village, Funicular to Allmendhubel flower park and then Murren to Gimmelwald by cable car. All these places were stunning and children really enjoyed the Funicular ride. No hikes on this day but really enjoyed exploring the villages, the honesty shop at Gimmelwald, the beautiful farms, houses etc. Gimmelwald is literally the heaven on earth!
I had read about the bus trip from Grindelwald to Grosse Scheidegg. We managed to fit it in on this day by catching the last bus at 5:43 pm! Believe me I found Grosse Scheidegg to be the coldest place throughout our trip. Spent some 10-15 minutes there and caught the bus back to Grindelwald.
Day 8 – Last day in Switzerland. Checked out from hotel but we had the option to keep luggages in their store room for one day. So we did that. We badly wanted to take at least one full hike in Switzerland. So headed to Mannlichen via cablecar from Wengen to do the "Grannies walk" (Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg). Kids enjoyed some time at the Mannlichen playground as well. This hike was a fairly easy one with the kids. We took around 1.5 hours to finish. It was very foggy for a good part, but that added to the beauty of the route in my opinion. We returned to Wengen in train from Kleine Scheidegg. I was not aware this route is not covered by the STP, so we paid at the train itself.
We 4 truly enjoyed the trip and definitely want to come back. What we planned and could not do was only 2 : The First - Lake Bachalpsee hike and the cruise on Lake Brienz. But we feel proud about having achieved most of our plans despite lots of changes in the schedule due to bad weather. It’s all about your willpower and careful planning. I never imagined my kids would enjoy the trip this much – may be because we managed to find play areas wherever we went!! No words about the Public transport system – especially punctuality and cleanliness. There is even play areas in some trains in the upper deck.
Thank you to everyone in MySwissalps.com who helped me with lots of useful information and in planning my trip. Please let me know if you have any questions if you are planning a Swiss trip in the near future and I would love to hear your comments about my trip as well! Will try attaching some pics