First of all, I would like to say give a special thank you for Arno for helping and guiding me as I love planning the trip despite there's still half year away for end of May trip, we are very excited so thank thank for your contribution/useful feedback/suggestion in which I have implement to them, so therefore I have made the final itinerary (at least up to now) and please let me know if there's anything you can add/minus and plus I have a several questions as in ?????? mark
Anyway's here is my final itinerary after playing around here and there
Day 1 (Thursday)
Arrive Zurich airport 6am. Travel to Luzern and drop baggage in hotel (staying for 3 nights)
Then head to Mt Rigi (second time as we loved it last time and probably the only excursion we have repeated this trip). Will be intending to go round circle trip as in boat/cable car/boat. I believe we will finish before 4pm and if so, we will walk around old town. Good thing is that it goes dark at 9pm so can enjoy the sunset somewhere + dinner. Rest. Even if we take the 7am train to Luzern and arrive at the hotel to drop the baggage, I believe the first boat is not open till 9am, no?????? If so, we would have breakfast and wait for the boat
Day 2 (Friday)
First thing in morning, head to Bürgenstock excursion for catamaran cruise/funicular and hike for the Hammetschwand Elevator. I see that there is a famous Bürgenstock resort sweeping view infinity swimming pool where you can actually book it for 4 hours in which we are considering to do, but it is CHF190 per person, not sure if it is worth it?????? Saw the videos on youtube, looks really nice. If we opt to take off that activity and just go to the elevator, my estimation would probably conclude and be back to Lucern at 3pm or 4pm.
Then walk around/stroll around Luzern old town and dinner before going for the 2nd excursion around 7pm which is to Stanserhorn cable car (good thing is they open till like 10pm in which I checked in the website), so we want to try to take advantage of the 9pm sunset and enjoy the view at the top!
Day 3 (Saturday)
Mt Pilatus excursion for the first morning
Intend to go for the golden round trip including the activity of toboggan run. Again, I assume the first boat starts at 9am and I suppose we will finish and arrive Lucern by 5pm. Dinner at Luzern town or perhaps sunset cruise dinner (when timetable comes out in the next few months)
Day 4 (Sunday)
Provided we have completed the previous few days activities on schedule, first thing in morning, we will take train and head straight to the Junfrau region and we chose our base in Lauterbrunnen for 3 nights. Drop our baggage and will start taking the cable car to Männlichen for hike (including the Royal Walk). Then take the cable back to Wengen before cable car closes around 5pm and explore the Wegen town before heading back to hotel by train to rest/dinner. PS: I am not sure if Harder Kulm actually opens till late for the funicular, if so, we might do this activity??????
Day 5 (Monday)
Jungfraujoch top Europe excursion which takes the full day. We will go first thing in the morning to beat the crowd and activities we will are likely to do are hiking to Monchsjoch Hut, snow fun park, ice palace, Alphine sensation etc till 5pm conclusion. Go back and rest
Day 6 (Tuesday)
There is a possible that we will do paragliding in Murren as I heard this is a MUST do and even better view/experience than paragliding in Interlaken. Your thoughts?????
Assuming we finish mid morning, including preparation and going back down etc, we will head to Grindelwald First to do activities. For that, I assume that would take 1/2 day. Then take the cable car to Grindelwald and explore around. Rest for the day
Day 7 (Wednesday)
If previous activities have been all been completed (and no cancelled rain for paragliding), we will head straight to Zurich early morning, drop the stuffs at hotel and head to Rhine Falls for few hours. (Co incidentally, when I saw the Rhine Fall activity information on your website, it says the best time to go is May/June due to the water peak and this day is 1st June, so I guess this is a MUST do then). Which station should I get off will be better & recommendedin terms of convenience, better view and also the yellow boat that we are likely to take in the rainfall? Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall station??????
Afterwards, stroll around in Zurich town and go for Zurich Lake Cruise etc. , most likely the short cruise for 55 min. I checked the winter timetable, last Zurich boat is 4pm, I assume there will be later session for the upcoming summer. Or otherwise, if there is a dinner cheese fondue cruise, we will take that at night for relaxation!
Day 8 (Thursday)
In early morning, we will head to Aescher hut house excursion/hike. Will probably take 6-7am train and arrive Wasserauen station (8-9am) to beat the crowd. Take the Ebenalp cable car up and hike to the hut/have breakfast around till estimate 11am. Then hike back down via Seealpsee, then to Wasserauen station, probably add another 3 hours. Then at 2pm, head to Apenzell to explore around for a couple of hours, have some nice lunch etc. Then heading back to Zurich & walk around in town. If previous day lake dinner cruise is not yet done, will use this day for cheese fondue lake cruise dinner or otherwise, we might try for the Limmat River Cruises (I recall it also operates at night for one last time for the 50 min round trip cruise) which will be perfect as this is our last day.
Day 9 (Friday)
Flight at 1:30pm. Have breakfast cafe nearby at 9am. Check out at 10:15am (10 min walk from hotel to Zurich station) and head to airport & fly home!!
As much as we love to stay longer but thats the holiday we have plus I think we did our best since I have focused on 3 regions that are close to Zurich but man, its still so many things to do that are endless and you can see the activities are packed, lol. We usually like to plan this way than go with the flow. We tried before in another country and by the time we gone back home, we were like "oh no, this place/activity is cool/good and didn't realise its very near where were staying!". So lesson learned, do a lot of research and preparation pays the dividend in the end
In terms of buying the pass, I also have already know what I want and that is my strategy in which I have compared and calculated as this will save me quite a bit
I intend to purchase Half Swiss travel card (CHF 120) + 3 days Top Europe pass (CHF 159) as that will include all the excursions that we intend to do for free including Jungfraujoch admission (where Swiss Pass is only provides 25% discount)
Additionally, it would actually save me money if I buy a few Saver Swiss Day Pass separately for 4 days likely for Day 1, 2, 7 & 8 rather than buying half price for fare/activity for each (including it is free for Mt Rigi & Stanserhorn excursions). They are out 2 months in advance and it cost as low as CHF29 (swiss half fare) or CHF39 on average. The reason why I do not want to buy this way even it is cheaper if I buy like a week early is because I am not sure on the day of check out in Luzern and Lauterbrunnen whether we will keep doing more activities on the spot in case not finished previous day so we may stay a bit later or go early as planned. I was just doing a quick check via SBB app, imagining if I was to buy a ticket a day or two later, it would cost more than the Saver Swiss Day Pass itself so probably not worth the risk UNLESS i am very sure that I will be leaving in early morning after check out, but even so, I still save like CHF15 at max.
So adding up, the total for 120+159+116 (29x 4 days) comes to CHF395 for the 3 passes (and additional few CHF single ticket to the airport on the last day) so comes up to CHF400.
Swiss pass for 8 days is CHF389
Yes it is cheaper than by CHF11 , but there are lots that you need to pay 50% cable cars/funicular all in the Jungfrau area whereas the Top Europe (3 days pass) includes everything AND also, it does not include Jungfraujoch excursion which is ONLY 25% discount so you pay around CHF169, i believe, so you have to add these and that too.
So if your itinerary will also be similar to mine, you can consider my strategy for buying this pass and you will save a couple to few hundred CHF per person depending on the activities you intend to do unless Arnos have a better suggestion strategy than I do for better value???????
I believe I already have 6 x ????? of the questions listed of the above that I am unsure of, plus additional 2 more if you do not mind me asking please?
7) Will we be able to have a chance to see the cows during end of May/start of June?
8) In case I do buy point to point SBB, correct me if I am wrong, from what I understand...
Say...I buy from Interlaken to Zurich ticket and obviously, you will need to change train in Bern, can we stop there and explore for a few hours and continue the journey later to Zurich?
Thank you to Arnos and to all once again!