9 days in Switzerland and France in May/June

9 days in Switzerland and France in May/June

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danielray44
danielray44
1 post
new member
Feb 18, 2018 - 10:44 PM

Hello All,

I am traveling with my wife and two teenage sons (15 and 16) in late May-early June arriving in Geneva 5/26 and departing from Zurich 6/3.

Our current plan is this:

Day 1- Car service to Annecy, France and stay in Annecy for 2 days.

Day 3-Car service from Annecy back to Geneva, activate 8 Day Swiss Travel Pass and travel Bern/Thun and explore for 1/2 day, then travel to Wengen that evening where we have an AirBNB booked for 5 nights.

Days 4-7 In an around Wengen/Lauterbrunnen We would like to do some hikes and bike rides. My sons and I are healthy and adventurous, however, my wife is somewhat limited by a back injury. Any relatively simple but beautiful hikes she could participate in would be great.

Day 8 Lucerne

Day 9 Train to Zurich airport and depart in the afternoon

Are we wasting our time going to Annecy? We've considered traveling to the Montreux/Vevey region instead to cut down on a long travel day to Wengen on Day 3.

We would love to visit Zermatt and see the Matterhorn but it would have to be a day trip from Wengen. Would it be a worthwhile trip considering the weather is good and we would actually be able to see it, or are we better off staying closer to Wengen?

Please point out any other holes in my plan and provide any other suggestions you might have that will keep two teenage boys entertained as this is our first trip to the region and I'm a novice at best.

Thanks!

rockoyster
rockoyster
3914 posts
expert
Feb 18, 2018 - 11:09 PM in reply to danielray44

Hi danielray and Welcome to MySwissAlps,

Go for Montreux then you can take Golden Pass Line (www.myswissalps.com/go ldenpass) comfortably to Wengen. Annecy looks very nice but we a promote Switzerland here. 😎

A day trip to Zermatt is doable from Wengen. Use the Swiss Train Timetable (www.myswissalps.com/ti metable) to plan your travel. Pick a good weather day. If you go via fastest route via Visp consider at least in one direction between go through to Brig and return to Spiez via Kandersteg. You will then travel on the Regio-Express Lötschberger train over the traditional, more than 100 year old mountain route, giving you a wonderful view along the impressive peaks and down into the Rhone Valley.

From Lauterbrunnen a very nice circuit to do is to Grütschalp (cable car), Mürren (cogwheel train), Gimmelwald (cable car), Stechelberg (cable car), Lauterbrunnen (bus). From Mürren you can easily visit Schiltorn (free with STP this year) if you have time, and the Allmendhubel Funicular as well. In between Stechelberg and Lauterbrunnen the bus stops at the Trummelbach Falls. Well worth a look. Also the Lauterbrunnen valley is perhaps easy walking for your wife.

Last modified on Feb 19, 2018 - 7:19 AM by Chantal
Mark
Mark
190 posts
active member
Feb 19, 2018 - 1:17 AM

Hi Danielray

A couple of nice hikes with not too much difficulty. Schynige Platte is fairly close to Wengen and possibly the most spectacular views in the Jungfrau region. The route from Schynige Platte to Oberberghorn and back to Schynige Platte is fairly level and rated 1.15 hrs. The trail follows a cliff side trail that has views of Jungfrau and Eiger on one side and Interlaken and the lakes on the other.You and your son can climb the steps up to a lookout and your wife could still have a great view along the trail.

Another consideration is hiking from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg rated 1.20 hrs and a paved easy trail with views of athe Eiger. Once you reach KS, your wife can take a break at any of the cafes while you continue on to Eigergletcher and then walk or ride back to KS. You could also hike from KS down to Wengeralp while your wife rides the train to Wengeralp instead and from there you both continue down to Wengen. Mark

Last modified on Feb 19, 2018 - 7:22 AM by Chantal
Peterli
Peterli
552 posts
top member
Feb 19, 2018 - 3:49 AM

Hello Daniel,

I am NOT an expert on the various rail passes that are available for travel in Switzerland. I see that you are looking at a nine day visit. Aside from a possible side-trip to Annecy (which is a beautiful place and well worth the visit), most of your train travel consists of a trip from Geneva to Zurich, via Berne, Thoune, and Lucerne, with a side trip to Wengen where you are booked at an AirBnB for 5 nights. Do you know what the cost of a single train ticket would be for Geneva - Berne - Wengen - Lucerne - Zurich ? And how would this cost compare to the cost of an eight day rail pass ? If the cost of either is about the same, that's fine, and I would go with the pass, as it would then allow for any other rail travel I might decide to do, but if there is a big difference I would consider buying the single tickets (times four of course), especially since you are planing on spending five days in the Wengen area. My first attachment is a map of Switzerland, showing (with a blue line) the path from Geneva to Zurich via Berne, Thoune, Lauterbrunnen, then Lucerne and finally to Zurich (the red arrow shows the location of Annecy). The total distance of this trip is in the neighbourhood of 370 kilometres. I say this ("in the neighbourhood") because there could be a slight difference between the distance by road and that by rail.

I clicked on a site where one can buy Swiss rail passes and found that for eight days the cost for 2 adults, 1 youth, and 1 child (under 16) the total cost quoted is US$ 1196. See second attachment.

Then I went to the CFF/SBB site and found that the cost for a single ticket for Geneva - Berne - Lauterbrunnen - and then to Zurich via Berne (not Lucerne) is only CHF 69.60 per adult. See third attachment. Since single rail tickets in Switzerland are based on kilometres travelled, I assume that going to Zurich via Lucerne instead of via Berne will not add to this cost, and might even reduce it ! I am not even sure if the CHF 69.60 fare even applies to your younger son.

My point is that I think there is a HUGE difference between going with a single ticket with multiple stops and going with a rail pass. If there is a problem with the validity period of the single ticket, then I would suggest buying single tickets for each segment. As ticket prices are based on kilometres, I figure the total cost will work out pretty well the same. Have I missed something ? I invite the train experts to comment.

Last modified on Feb 19, 2018 - 3:59 AM by Peterli
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rockoyster
rockoyster
3914 posts
expert
Feb 19, 2018 - 5:43 AM in reply to Peterli

Hi Peterli,

Before anyone can know for sure which pass suits their travel plans they need to do the sums based on the cost of all your planned trips on trains, boats, cable cars etc. They can use the Swiss Train Timetable (www.myswissalps.com/ti metable) to work out the fares for any trip. When you go to buy a ticket the fare you see on the right hand side of the page will normally be the half-fare price (that's the CHF69.60 fare you saw) . Double it to get full fare. With A Swiss Travel Pass it is free provided it is shown as free on the Area of Validity map ( PDF downloadable from www.myswissalps.com/sw isstravelpass/validity).

Anyone considering a pass should read “How to choose the best travel pass” (www.myswissalps.com/tr ain/ticketspasses/prac tical/chooserailpass).

Peterli
Peterli
552 posts
top member
Feb 19, 2018 - 6:57 AM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Rockoyster,

Thank you for the clarification. I redid the calculation, this time via Lucerne, and the amount now showing is CHF 68.70 (see attachment). I see that this is the halb-tax rate and also the rate for those under 16. So the total cost of the journey for our four friends will be 3 x (68.70 x 2) plus 68.70 for the younger son which works out to a total of CHF 480.90. This is a still less than half of the US$1196 cost of the passes. So yes, one must also consider the cost of any other travel being contemplated (boats, PTT buses, cable cars) and which of these are free or at a reduced cost if one has a pass (and would be regular priced if one did not have a pass). When I was a student, I got my money's worth of my generalabonnement many times over as I was everywhere (train, bus, boat) but I was just thinking that possibly for Daniel and his family, since they are staying in Wengen for five nights and with a focus on hikes and bike rides, the extra cost of the passes would not be justified. For all we know, the BnB has said they will provide bikes, but even if they don't, I'm fairly sure that bike rentals are not covered by the train pass (although that would be a good idea).

I guess what I'm saying is that "How to chose the best travel pass" should tell travelers than in some cases, perhaps no pass is the best idea.

Last modified on Feb 19, 2018 - 7:02 AM by Peterli
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rockoyster
rockoyster
3914 posts
expert
Feb 19, 2018 - 9:13 AM in reply to Peterli

Hi Peterli,

You wrote "I guess what I'm saying is that "How to chose the best travel pass" should tell travelers than in some cases, perhaps no pass is the best idea."

If people follow the guide they may well reach the conclusion that "point to point tickets" are the best solution for them. Everyone's itinerary, travel plans, budget and desire for convenience over cost are unique. 🤓

Last modified on Feb 19, 2018 - 9:14 AM by rockoyster
Peterli
Peterli
552 posts
top member
Feb 19, 2018 - 2:36 PM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Rockoyster,

You wrote << If people follow the guide they may well reach the conclusion that "point to point tickets" are the best solution for them. Everyone's itinerary, travel plans, budget and desire for convenience over cost are unique. >> Exactly ! I would like to see that first sentence right up front and centre in the guide. As you know, Switzerland is not inexpensive and some people are concerned about economy (others are not) and we can sometimes see this in the questions they ask in this forum.

Arno
Arno
11151 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 22, 2018 - 9:22 AM in reply to Peterli

Hi Peterli,

That's a valid point so I changed a few phrases in the first and last paragraph of www.myswissalps.com/tr ain/ticketspasses/prac tical/chooserailpass. It is indeed a possible outcome of the calculations.

Mark
Mark
190 posts
active member
Feb 22, 2018 - 12:18 PM

All true. On our last trip we had 3 travel days and a lot of regional travel. The cheapest option turned out to be Swiss half fare card with 3 point to point tickets , and Jungfrau pass. Second cheapest was STP flex with Jungfrau pass. By far the most expensive was the STP by itself Mark

rockoyster
rockoyster
3914 posts
expert
Feb 22, 2018 - 9:32 PM in reply to Arno

Hi Arno,

That’s good.

I think another issue that could be clearer is the fact that the default price that comes up in the SBB timetable buy a ticket is the half-fare price. On the How To Choose a Pass page you do highlight the need to use full fare for comparison purposes but many people (including Peterli 🤓) fall into the trap of using the first number they see.

That’s why, when offering advice, I always say “When you go to buy a ticket the fare you see on the right hand side of the page will normally be the half-fare price. Double it to get full fare. ”.

Lucas
Lucas
8865 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 23, 2018 - 8:54 AM in reply to rockoyster

You know the oddest thing is when I'm logged into my account on the SBB website it shows the full fare price by default! I even have the Halbtax on my SBB account but it defaults to full fare...and yet when I'm not signed in it defaults to the half fare rate....

I can't understand why that would be! :)

rockoyster
rockoyster
3914 posts
expert
Feb 23, 2018 - 10:56 AM in reply to Lucas

Perverse Swiss humour?

Lucas
Lucas
8865 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 23, 2018 - 11:51 AM in reply to rockoyster

I guess! haha. I don't think I'll ever quite understand the Swiss ;)

Last modified on Feb 23, 2018 - 11:58 AM by Lucas

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