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8-9 days trip in Jungfrau, Lucerne and Zermatt

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Mishravijit
Mishravijit
13 posts
new member
Jul 28, 2020 - 7:46 PM

Hello everybody! I am planning a trip to Switzerland for 8/9 days in April/May 2021. Our group will be of 5 adults with 2 elderly members. We shall use Zurich Airport as our entry and exit points. Main points of interest are the Jungfrau area (Interlaken, Lauterbrunen, Grindelwald, Schilthorn, Murren, Wengen, Jungfraujoch etc.), Lucerne area ( Lucerne, Titlis, Pilatus, Rigi, Engelberg etc) and Zermatt. We are also interested to travel the scenic route of Glacier Express and the Golden Pass route. We are NOT interested in snow sports. The pristine natural beauty for which Switzerland is famous is our main interest. With this background, I like to submit the following questions before the esteemed members of this forum:

1. In my itinerary I have kept initial 2 nights for Lucerne region, then a night at Zermatt followed by 4 nights in Jungfrau region and finally a night at Zurich before catching a flight out of Switzerland. Is the itinerary alright or it should be tweaked a little?

2. Which places should we use as base so as to cover the points of interest comfortably?

3. I am planning to purchase 2 Swiss Rail Pass for 8 days for myself and my son who will be travelling the most. For the rest of the group Swiss Half Fare pass shall be purchased combined with point to point tickets whenever required. Is this plan cost effective?

Thanks in advance!

Avijit Mishra

Rail Europe
Shroffchetan
Shroffchetan
125 posts
active member
Jul 29, 2020 - 6:52 AM

I have done 8 days trips based on your travel plan only in May 2017. I stayed in Interlaken for 7 days and 1 day in Zurich since my flight in morning was early.

I would suggest you can have 2 bases - Lucerne 3 days, Interlaken 4 days and 1 day in Zurich. In 3 days, you can cover Lucerne local sightseeing, Mt Titlis and Mt Pilatus / Rigi. In 4 days you can cover Bernese Oberland. We did a day trip to Zermatt. It was a long day but doable. Also we went on the day when weather was clear and we could see Matternhorn very clearly. The advantage of Interlaken / Lucerne are

- Many options for accommodation, transport hub, many Indian restaurant and Indian groceries. We are vegetarian so we had limited choice for food

My parents are in 70 and we all travelled together. If your elderly members have no mobility issues, travel together. Switzerland has the most amazing public transport and elder members travel comfortably. For my parents, it was a trip of life time!!!!

Last modified on Jul 30, 2020 - 6:54 PM by SaraC
Mishravijit
Mishravijit
13 posts
new member
Jul 29, 2020 - 7:49 AM in reply to Shroffchetan

Many thanks Chetan ji for taking time to give a detailed reply to my questions. Since you have done the trip yourself in the same region your experience in this regard will be very helpful for me while planning the trip in detail.

Yes, in my case too my elderly parents are accompanying us. Although there's no accute mobility issue as such, certain level of comfort in travelling and day tripping are required. In that light do you think it's advisable to visit Zermatt as a day trip?

Shroffchetan
Shroffchetan
125 posts
active member
Jul 29, 2020 - 8:52 AM

When we visited my father was 73 years old and mother 68 years. Train travel in Switzerland is an experience in itself. Forget about famous train journey like Glacier Express. Any train journey is scenic and comfortable. I did not realize that I should have 2 bases instead of one. But we never felt tired. Also when a day was hectic we used to travel leisurely on second day

My friend stayed in Zermatt for 2 days but he could not see Matterhorn clearly due to cloud and rain. When we visited Zermatt, we were planning to visit Bern. But my landlady told me that weather will be superb at Zermatt and we changed our plan on the spot and visited Gornergrat

One of the reasons why I chose Switzerland over other places in Europe was ease of travel. But take a call at your end considering stamina and physical health of your elderly members.

Please login to see the attached documents
SaraC
SaraC
28 posts
active member
Jul 30, 2020 - 10:27 AM in reply to Mishravijit

Hi Avijit,

Welcome to MySwissAlps!
A day trip to Zermatt is very doable while you will be staying the Jungfrau region. The RegioExpress Lötscherger is a great way of getting there, but there's a faster route through the Lötschberg base tunnel as well: https://www.myswissalps.com/lotschberger
As for the rail passes which would suit you best, you can find some help here: https://www.myswissalps.com/train/ticketspasses/practical/chooserailpass. You might need to do some calculations to find out which pass is more suitable for you and your family. You will find an excel spreadsheet on the same link which will help you make the cheapest choice. You can check details for your selected rail passes here: https://www.myswissalps.com/swisstravelpass and here: https://www.myswissalps.com/swisshalffarecard

Let us know if you manage or if you require more help!

Greetings, Sara

Mishravijit
Mishravijit
13 posts
new member
Jul 31, 2020 - 6:31 AM in reply to SaraC

Many thanks Sara, for your opinion about the day trip to Zermatt from the Jungfrau region. The webpage of the RegioExpress Lotscherger is very helpful indeed with a plethora of information and options. I am now planning to make a day trip to Zermatt either from the Jungfrau region through this scenic rail route.

Regarding the Rail passes, I shall definitely visit the webpages suggested by you and decide about my cheapest option. But prior to that I shall have to finalize my itinerary with help from the learned members of this forum.

For the time being, I have the following question:

  • Since we are planning to stay about 4/5 days in the Jungfrau region and likely to conduct extensive travelling in that region, which place should we make our base station - Interlaken, Lauterbrunen, Grindelwald or Wengen?

Regards, Avijit.

Mishravijit
Mishravijit
13 posts
new member
Jul 31, 2020 - 6:48 AM in reply to Shroffchetan

Thanks Chetan ji, for your considered opinion about travelling in Switzerland. After going through various webpages of myswissalps.com I am also having the confidence that my parents will not face much difficulty. Although they are a bit older than your parents, by the grace of Almighty, both of them are physically quite fit at this moment.

I am also taking your advice and now shall visit Zermatt only as a day trip from the Jungfrau region after getting information regarding the local weather at Zermatt. I am also considering availing the combination of both RegioExpress Lötscherger and the Glacier Express, if possible, in making this day trip.

Thanks a lot, once again, with the hope that you will come forward in answering my further questions regarding itinerary, sight seeing etc., if any. Regards,

Avijit.

Shroffchetan
Shroffchetan
125 posts
active member
Jul 31, 2020 - 9:40 AM

Hi

Please visit my trip report on myswissalps.com on the link below

www.myswissalps.com/forum/topic/trip-report-switzerland-may-2017

Please have patience and time for reading this since it is a bit detailed and lengthy. But I guess you will have many questions answered since I wrote this trip report based on questions I had before I planned trip.

Many forum members may not agree but for me Interlaken was very convenient since it has 2 train stations, Indian grocery store (near Interlaken West station), many choices of apartments. I used Interlaken as a base for travelling many places very conveniently and efficiently. My apartment was just 600 meters from Interlaken West train station

Anna
Anna
941 posts
top member &
moderator
Jul 31, 2020 - 10:20 AM in reply to Shroffchetan

Hi Schroffchetan,

Thanks for sharing! I'm sure a lot of our members will find the information you've shared valuable. And I do agree, international travellers will find Interlaken a very convenient base due to its location and facilities offering plenty of choices in terms of food, shopping and activities: www.myswissalps.com/interlaken

Regards,

Anna

Mishravijit
Mishravijit
13 posts
new member
Aug 2, 2020 - 9:02 AM in reply to Shroffchetan

Thanks a lot Chetan ji, for sharing your own experience. Read both the documents containing wealth of information. A few doubts got cleared. However, as it's a planning stage for me, new questions never fail to come up. Two of such questions are submitted here for the knowledgeable members of this Forum:

  1. Whether it's not better to select a relatively quieter and nearer to nature place for a base station, considering the fact that the unpredictable weather may play spoilsport any day and put restrictions on outdoor activities? Of course, the place should be well connected through public transportation system.
  2. Considering the unpredictable weather, which month will be better for my trip, April or May?

Thanking all in advance. Regards,

Avijit.

Shroffchetan
Shroffchetan
125 posts
active member
Aug 2, 2020 - 12:37 PM

Hi

Answer 1: Interlaken and Luzern are major towns near major attractions in those regions which are transport hubs. That is the reason I mentioned them in my trip report. You can stay in Engelberg instead of Luzern for Mount Titlis but Luzern is more convenient as a base for surrounding areas like Mt Titlis, Mt Pilatus, Mt Rigi, Luzern sightseeing, even for day trip to Lugano. Similarly, Interlaken will be more convenient than Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Murren or Grindelwald.

Answer 2: Unpredictable weather will be on any day of the year for mountain excursions like Mt Titlis, Jungfraujoch. You can check weather a day before. Train station or your hotel reception can guide. Even you can check yourself. I used to take advice of my landlady and it used to be accurate / perfect.

We visited in May which is a shoulder season and weather was pleasant (around 10C in cities / towns). At mountain tops, it is freezing in any period.

Last modified on Aug 2, 2020 - 1:43 PM by SaraC
SaraC
SaraC
28 posts
active member
Aug 2, 2020 - 1:35 PM in reply to Mishravijit

Hi Avijit,

May is generally better to travel, not only for the weather, but also as more cable cars will be operational than in April: https://www.myswissalps.com/besttimetovisit

Hope this helps!

Greetings, Sara

Mishravijit
Mishravijit
13 posts
new member
Aug 4, 2020 - 2:08 PM in reply to SaraC

Thanks Sara, for your advice. Initially I was planning for a trip in the third or fourth week of April. But considering the suggestions from you and Shroffchetan I am going to reschedule it in the first or second week of May. The webpage mentioned by you is also helpful.

Regards, Avijit.

Mishravijit
Mishravijit
13 posts
new member
Aug 8, 2020 - 7:46 PM

Hi everyone.

Here's a little problem that is presently nagging me while preparing a detailed itinerary of my trip to Switzerland in the month of May, 2021 -

The problem is arising due to the fact that the expected time of arrival of my overnight flight at the Zurich Airport is in the early morning, about 06-30 am. I have decided to stay the initial 2/3 nights of my trip at Lucerne. But all the hotels at Lucerne which I have checked so far are showing there chech-in time roughly around mid-day, definitely after 12-00 noon. Now, after an overnight flight and further travel by train from Zurich to Lucerne, I think it will be troublesome to go for some sightseeing without getting rested and freshened up, especially when there will be elderly members in the team. So what are the options before me? Any member may kindly enlighten.

Regards, Avijit.

Shroffchetan
Shroffchetan
125 posts
active member
Aug 9, 2020 - 6:56 AM

Hi Avijit ji

You face this problem in all international travel. Even though you reach at 6:30 AM, By the time you reach Luzern it will be at least 11 AM or 12 PM. This is because you take time to clear immigration, buy sim card and rail pass, figure out how to move to Luzern. Thereafter you have the following options:

1. Request early check in for at least 1 room

2. If the hotel has common facilities, you request them for use of toilets. We could do this in Singapore

3. You rent a room for one extra day and communicate to the hotel what is the purpose of the same

4. Ask if they can keep your luggage till the time you can check-in and go to nearby Indian restaurant for breakfast / use of toilets

5. Use airport facilities - some paid / some free. Check Zurich Airport website

We normally keep one pair of clothes for all travelling members in one bag so that everybody is not required to open their luggage. Also we carry some food / breakfast so that we are not required to search restaurant after flight. It is also useful to carry empty water bottle and request crew to fill in water before you land

Annika
Annika
6343 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 9, 2020 - 8:16 AM in reply to Mishravijit

Hi Avijit! I think Schroffchetan's tips are very useful. You'd best contact your hotel in Lucerne (www.myswissalps.com/lucerne/hotels), explain the problem and just see if any options for an earlier check-in are available. Here's a page on the Zurich Airport website too: www.myswissalps.com/airports/zurich.

Did you manage to pick a suitable rail pass by the way?

Mishravijit
Mishravijit
13 posts
new member
Aug 10, 2020 - 8:00 AM in reply to Shroffchetan

Thanks Chetan ji, for your thoughtful advices.

I shall definitely contact the hotel, once I figure out which one will be most suitable for us, and request them for an early chek-in or at least for use of common facilities. However, I think it's better to use Airport facilities at Zurich, if those are convenient, as we have to spent a substantial time there prior to starting our journey towards Lucerne. In that situation, we may even have our breakfast before we reach our accommodation at Lucerne.

Your tip regarding keeping a pair of clothes and some food handy for such situations is also well taken. I may be bothering you for solutions to such practical problems in future.

Regards, Avijit.

Mishravijit
Mishravijit
13 posts
new member
Aug 10, 2020 - 8:29 AM in reply to Annika

Thanks Annika, for your help by providing the webpage of the Zurich Airport. I shall definitely go through it to find out whether the facilities available therein will be convenient for us as suggested by Shroffchetan.

Regarding selection of hotels at Lucerne, the webpage provided by you will be very helpful. If I have any questions or doubts in the selection process, I expect to get helpful suggestions from the esteemed members of this forum. Shall I place the questions here or I need to use the 'Swizerland Accommodation Forum'?

No, I am yet to decide which of the Rail Pass is most suitable for us. For that I need to prepare the detailed itinerary first and calculate the expected transportation costs for each day. However, from the rough itinerary that I have made, and also in view of the fact that my elderly parents may need a break for a day or two from daily travelling, I think I should purchase 8-days Swiss Rail Passes for those of us who will travelling extensively and Half Fare Passes for the rest. Since local travelling can be taken care of by means of the local travel cards of the respective towns/cities where we shall be staying, this selection of passes seems suitable for us. Opinions in this regard is very much solocited.

Regards, Avijit.

Anna
Anna
941 posts
top member &
moderator
Aug 10, 2020 - 9:05 AM in reply to Mishravijit

Hi Avijit,

You can keep posting to this thread. It will make it easier for us to keep track of your queries and comments from other members and the moderators.

Once you have finalised your itinerary, I recommend you to download our spreadsheet to help you decide which combination railpass works best for you: www.myswissalps.com/train/ticketspasses/practical/chooserailpass

Feel free to post more questions. We are here to help :)

Regards,

Anna

1960man
1960man
2739 posts
top member
Aug 10, 2020 - 10:12 PM in reply to Mishravijit

Forget the Glacier Express - it is a hyperbolically marketed extra fare special train on the same tracks as regular trains ever 30 minutes to 1 hour. You get the same views from any train (and there are no Glaciers visible as they have all melted since the Glacier Express train name was first used in the 1930s)

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