Hi 31sunnysingh, and welcome to MySwissAlps!
>> 3 of us will be travelling to Switzerland on April 9 to 16. We have bought 3 swiss travel passes. Home base is in Hergiswil (very close to Lucerne) Itinerary is the following: 1. Arrive in Zurich around 7 am April 9. Explore Zurich for a few hours. Go to Lucerne and then to Hergiswil (using an airbnb for 7 nights). Go back to Lucerne and explore Lucerne for the day.
Instead of going to and fro between Luzern and Hergiswil, you could consider leaving your luggage in the lockers at Luzern/Lucerne station and collecting it at the end of the day before proceeding to Hergiswil.
>> Any suggestions other than Chapel Bridge, Nadelwehr Luzern, seebad luzern, aare gore mount pilatus?
There is plenty of information about what to do in Luzern here:
- The Aareschlucht (Aare Gorge) is near Meiringen. Only the west entrance will be open in April, but you can retrace your steps after walking to the east end of the gorge. It takes about 45 minutes each way to walk through the gorge. Use the Swiss Timetable to find out how long it will take to get there from Hergiswil. The stop you need is Aareschlucht West.
- The cogwheel train from Alpnachstad to Pilatus Kulm won't be operating, as it is closed for the winter. You can, however, go up and back on the cableway from Kriens.
- Trains to the Rigi from Vitznau and Arth-Goldau will be operating, but the cable car between Weggis and Rigi Kaltbad is closed from 3-27 April, as is the funicular from Schwyz to Stoos (the steepest funicular in the world).
- The funicular and cable car to the Stanserhorn reopen after the winter break on 14 April.
- The gondolas to Titlis will be operating, as will the funicular to the Bürgenstock resort. The Hammetschwand Lift will not, however, be operating, as it closes for the winter.
>> 2. Go to Interlaken / Jungfrau from Hergiswil. Are the tickets cheaper in advance?
No, tickets are not cheaper in advance.
>> We will get 25% off but how much is it in canadian?
The price list for the Jungfraujoch is here:
www.jungfrau.ch/filead min/Prospekte_und_Bros chueren/Jungfraubahnen _Fahrpreise_Preisliste .pdf
Those are full-fare prices, on which you will get 25% discount with a Swiss Travel Pass. You can use an online currency converter to convert the cost to Canadian Dollars.
>> Should we take panoramic golden line there and back?
Yes, the direct service between Luzern and Interlaken Ost is the Luzern-Interlaken Express, which is part of the Golden Pass route.
>> Go to Lugano via Gotthard Express.
The Gotthard Panorama Express is not operating between 3-20 April 2018.
You can follow exactly the same route on regional trains, and also include the boat sector.
You would have to do two separate timetable searches to include the boat: one search for the boat sector, and another search for the train sector. As boat departures are less frequent, I would first choose the boat (from Luzern Bahnhofquai to Flüelen (See)), and then choose a train to connect with the boat at Flüelen (from Flüelen to Lugano via Göschenen). If you don't put in "via Göschenen", the timetable will generate the fastest route, which will be through the very long Gotthard-Basistunnel, and you will miss the scenery.
When searching for the boat trip, use advanced search and limit the "Transport type" to "Ship". Ships are indicated in the timetable by BAT (ship) or BAV (steamship). For the train sector, expand your preferred connection to see the intermediate stops. If one of the intermediate stops is "Gotthard-Panoramastrecke" this confirms it is the Gotthard Panorama Express route, avoiding the Gotthard-Basistunnel.
For the trip back, you could just take the default route from Lugano to Luzern, which goes through the Gotthard-Basistunnel and is quicker. Just put "From Lugano" "To Luzern" into your timetable search to get this route.
>> Or should we do regular train first and take gotthard express later in the day?
That's up to you. I would do the scenic trip (i.e. Gotthard Panorama Express route) first.
>> 4. Go to Bern from Hergiswil. Explore Bern. Would we have enough time to go to Geneva? Or should we go to Geneva on a seperate day?
You can use the Swiss Timetable to find out how long it will take you to get to Geneva from Bern, and decide for yourself what you can fit into one day (link to the timetable is above).
>> Is Zurich worth exploring?
Zürich is a very nice city, but I would not regard it as a priority for a first trip to Switzerland, especially such a short one. The alps, lakes and traditional villages have a lot more charm and beauty to offer the first-time visitor.
>> 6. Go to Geneva? Do we need to do mount pilatus on seperate day?
You can decide this for yourself by checking travel times in the Swiss Timetable.
>> Extra day in interlaken? What to do other than Jungfrau?
Suggestions for what to do in the Jungfrau Region are here:
Some mountain transport will not be operating, as April is between seasons: after the ski season, but before the hiking season.
These will be operating:
- Gondola Grindelwald to First
- Train to the Jungfraujoch
- Cable car and train Lauterbrunnen-Grütschalp-Mürren
- Cable car Mürren to the Schilthorn (free with the Swiss Travel Pass in 2018)
- Bus and cable car Lauterbrunnen-Stechelberg-Mürren
The Trümmelbach Falls will also be open
These will not be operating:
- Gondola Grindelwald Grund to Männlichen
- Cable car Wengen to Männlichen
- Funicular Mürren to Allmendhubel
- Train Wilderswil to Schynige Platte
>> 7. Go to Basel? Any suggestions?
I would not regard Basel as a priority, but that is a personal choice.
>> Is bernina express doable?
The Bernina Express is on the other side of the country.
There is a map of the panoramic routes to help with your planning: it is attached to the map showing where the Swiss Travel Pass is valid, and you can download it from the following page:
Use the Swiss Timetable to find out about travel times.
>> Any other panoramic trains that can be done while staying in Hergiswil at the end of day? We have the swiss pass anyways but our constraint is Hergiswil.
The full Golden Pass route Luzern to Montreux would be an option, but would be a very long day. Do a timetable search from Luzern to Montreux via Meiringen and Zweisimmen. There are a couple of short sectors where you will need to transfer to a bus to get around construction sites, but this will be well-organised and nothing to be concerned about.
For the Glacier Express, please see the section headed Don't have time to do the full route? on the following page:
>> Any other useful info would be appreciated considering we have to go back to Hergiswil at the end of each day.
The Swiss Timetable will be the most useful tool for deciding what is feasible in a day, which will also depend on how far you are willing to travel each day, and how long you want to spend at each place you visit.
I hope this helps.