6 day family itinerary Spiez & Zurich in mid July

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Mitra
Mitra
19 posts
new member
Mar 5, 2017 - 8:22 AM

Hi folks,

I along with my husband and two daughters aged 15 and 12 will be leaving paris on the 12th July for Switzerland. Later, on the 18th of July we will be flying out from Zurich at 07.40 hrs. This much is fixed. I want help in planning a itinerary for 6 days in Switzerland.

After a lot of browsing, we are thinking of booking 4 days at Spiez (wish to cover Interlaken, Jungfraujoch, Lucerne, Zermatt if weather permits), take the glacier express to Chur and travel finally to Zurich. Book 2 days at Zurich for Zurich sightseeing and to visit the Rhine falls(Schaffhausen).

We wish to soak in the beauty of Alps as much as possible. A trip on Glacier express is something we don"t want to miss. Nature and outdoor activities are our preference. We wish to travel by train only. We also wish to put up in places with lesser tourist crowd.

Please suggest an itinerary.

Lucas
Lucas
9596 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 5, 2017 - 6:14 PM in reply to Mitra

Hi Mitra and welcome to MySwissAlps!

It looks like you have a good itinerary already!

I don't have specific information on Spiez but it is a good central location for the areas you listed. Please visit our information pages for more details on how to get to and what to see at: Interlaken, Jungfraujoch, Lucerne and Zermatt.

The Glacier Express is most worthwhile and I think will be a highlight of your trip. For more details on what the trip is about and making reservations click here. If you buy the Swiss Travel Pass and Family Card you will only need to buy reservations for this train.

As you are planning on traveling by train I would recommend looking at buying an 8 day Swiss Travel Pass for you and your husband (and the Swiss Family Card is a free add-on that covers your children as well). this will cover all of your train and local bus trips within Switzerland. There are a few destinations that aren't fully covered by the pass (you must still buy a ticket at 25% discount for Grindelwald or Wengen to Jungfraujoch for example).

I hope that helps you with your travel plans. Please note all of Switzerland will be quite busy in July with tourists - they will be hard to avoid. Once you have read through our information pages don't hesitate to ask further questions!

Regards,
Lucas

Last modified on Mar 5, 2017 - 6:16 PM by Lucas
Mitra
Mitra
19 posts
new member
Mar 5, 2017 - 6:28 PM in reply to Lucas

Hi Lucas,

Thanks a ton for your informative reply. Unfortunately, I am not getting an affordable accomodation in Spiez. From all the browsing and reading that I have done, I get to understand that renting an apartment is way bit cheaper than the hotels. But airbnb or tripping.com couldn't find me a suitable rental at Spiez. I might therefore have to stay at Interlaken.

How about making Isenfluh the base? Would that be of inconvenience?

Please pour in your suggestions as to the places that I can make a base for visiting the various places mentioned on my previous message.

I checked Brienz, liked a rental but it has limited access by public transport. That will compel me to rent a car for my switzerland stay. But I think travelling in Switzerland by train is a better experience.

Thanks and regards

Mitra

Snowman
Snowman
258 posts
top member
Mar 5, 2017 - 10:05 PM in reply to Mitra

Mitra,

You will have seen on the link provided by Lucas on the Glacier Express that Spiez is not on the line. Although Switzerland is a tiny country, travelling by train from Spiez to, say, Andermatt, will take a few hours. Did you consider starting in Brig instead?

I am not sure you will find an airbnb apartment for less than a whole week in July. Have you checked out the Youth Hostels? They usually have family rooms: www.hihostels.com/fr/d estinations/ch/hostels

Removed user
Removed user
0 posts
new member
Mar 6, 2017 - 12:14 AM in reply to Mitra

>> How about making Isenfluh the base? Would that be of inconvenience?

Yes, I think you would find that location quite inconvenient for your plans.

Isenfluh is a very small mountain village above the Lauterbrunnen Valley. It is accessible from Lauterbrunnen by a 12-minute bus ride, but the limitations of the bus service schedule would reduce your sightseeing options considerably.

There are a maximum of 10 services a day at one or two hour intervals. In July, the last bus back from Lauterbrunnen is at 6:35 pm.

Alpenrose

Mitra
Mitra
19 posts
new member
Mar 6, 2017 - 2:08 AM in reply to Snowman

Hi,

Thanks for all the insights provided. I am checking in the youth hostel link that you have provided. Appears great.

Meanwhile I have shortlisted three places. Although I would love to stay at farm houses amidst nowhere, or in a quaint alpine village, but I have come to realise that would require a vehicle at my disposal. But I think, travelling in Switzerland by train is a more enchanting experience(although one of the vacation rental owners wrote to me suggesting I hire a car from Geneva, keep it for my stay and drop it off at Zurich). I understand that will give me a lot of flexibility in choosing my accommodation and I can even stay at a mush cheaper rates. Please let me know your opinion on this, car rental or train?

Two of the three locations that are there on my mind, are close to Interlaken station (one a 10 min walk from Interlaken OST and the other a little higher in rate(150 CHF more) but just a 3 min walk from Interlaken West station).

The third is a hotel at Faulensee.

I wish to use one of these locations(or may be the youth hostel) as my base for 4 days before moving on to Zurich.

Please advice.

Mitra

Mitra
Mitra
19 posts
new member
Mar 6, 2017 - 2:21 AM in reply to Removed user

Hi,

Thanks for the detailed information. Alternatively, I have shortlisted a few accommodation at Interlaken. I will use this place as the base to explore the region( Jungfraujoch, Lucerne, Engelberg and whatever other possibilities occur on the 13th, 14th 15th of July), move on to Zermatt on the 16th and take the Glacier Express to Chur and proceed to Zurich at the end of the day. I will utilise 17th to explore Zurich and Scaffhausen before flying out on the 18th.

I hope it is a doable itinerary. Suggestions and approval eagerly awaited.

Mitra

Removed user
Removed user
0 posts
new member
Mar 6, 2017 - 6:17 AM in reply to Mitra

>> Although I would love to stay at farm houses amidst nowhere, or in a quaint alpine village, but I have come to realise that would require a vehicle at my disposal. But I think, travelling in Switzerland by train is a more enchanting experience(although one of the vacation rental owners wrote to me suggesting I hire a car from Geneva, keep it for my stay and drop it off at Zurich). I understand that will give me a lot of flexibility in choosing my accommodation and I can even stay at a mush cheaper rates. Please let me know your opinion on this, car rental or train?

Hi Mitra.

You might find some cheaper accommodation in places not conveniently accessible by public transport, but that does not mean your overall costs will be less if you hire a car in order to stay in those places. There are a lot of hidden costs involved in renting a car, which could easily add up to more than you would save on your accommodation.

The information here might be helpful for you:

www.myswissalps.com/ca rversustrain

>> move on to Zermatt on the 16th and take the Glacier Express to Chur and proceed to Zurich at the end of the day.

If I understand correctly that you are intending to do this whole trip (Interlaken-Zermatt-Chur-Zürich) in one day, that would involve almost 10 hours on trains, which is quite a marathon!

Alpenrose

Mitra
Mitra
19 posts
new member
Mar 6, 2017 - 2:47 PM in reply to Removed user

Then what do you suggest alternatively?

May be as follows.

12th July - Reach from Paris via Geneva, Montreux( i hope it is possible). I will not opt for the direct train to Interlaken from Paris but will take the the TGV to Geneva and from Geneva hop on to Swiss rail to reach Interlaken via Montreux. May be take a cruise along Lake Thun.

13th July - Interlaken to Zermatt and back(or something else in case weather does not permit a view of Matterhorn)

14th July - Interlaken -Jungfraujoch-Interlaken

15th Check out from Interlaken. Proceed to Engelberg. Later to Lucerne. Overnight at Lucerne.

16th Travel from Lucerne to Chur and then take the Glacier express to St. Moritz. Proceed to Zurich.

17th explore Zurich and Schaffhausen.

Doable?

Snowman
Snowman
258 posts
top member
Mar 6, 2017 - 8:53 PM in reply to Mitra

14th July. Interlaken -Jungfrau and back the only item on your agenda. I think that's reasonable and sensible. The high elevation difference you will overcome in a short time is a strain on your heart and your lungs, and you will be glad to have two hours or more to spend on the Jungfraujoch. Have a quiet lunch up there, visit the ice cave and the museum, enjoy the view, ...and avoid buying chocolate and watches up there!

13th and 16th July. I assumed you have checked the train schedules and found that what you have in mind is feasible: I wouldn't have thought so... But I think you can see the Matterhorn from Zematt train station so you should be able to shoot a selfie or two before boarding the train back...

You will sure remember Switzerland as a country with lots of railways, and probably will not want to ride trains again for a little while...

Enjoy your trip!

Removed user
Removed user
0 posts
new member
Mar 6, 2017 - 10:37 PM in reply to Mitra

>> Doable?

This itinerary also involves some incredibly long train trips and doesn't use your limited time very efficiently.

Here is a link to the SBB (Swiss Railways) timetable to help you plan, so you can decide whether or not you are comfortable with journey times and the amount of time you have available to enjoy your destination.

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

I would also suggest you download the map for the Swiss Travel Pass, so you can see the train routes and plot out a logical progression between your preferred destinations. Your plans for 16 July need to be reconsidered in my opinion, but it's your holiday, and only you can decide what your preferences are and what you would be willing to change or drop from your itinerary.

www.myswissalps.com/sw isstravelpass/validity

Alpenrose

Mitra
Mitra
19 posts
new member
Mar 7, 2017 - 1:19 AM in reply to Snowman

Can you please suggest an itinerary that will be a practical one. The following are fixed

12th July Leave Paris for Switzerland.

Have booked 3 nights ( check in on the 12th and check out on the 15th) at Interlaken (near Interlaken West station).

18th July Flight from Zurich early in the morning.

Please suggest

Regards

Mitra

Mitra
Mitra
19 posts
new member
Mar 7, 2017 - 1:31 AM in reply to Snowman

Please help me build an itinerary. I have booked 3 nights at Interlaken. I have 3 more nights to book. Where else do we stay?

We have an early morning flight from Zurich on the 18th.

Please help.

Mitra

Lucas
Lucas
9596 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 7, 2017 - 7:16 AM in reply to Mitra

Hi Mitra,

We don't build itineraries here - we can only give you opinions on your itinerary and what we think will work and what we think may not work well.

You should read through my information and links on the above posts and decide what it is you want to see in Switzerland and decide how much time you want to devote to getting there.

As Snowman and Alpenrose666 indicated, your trip is doable but there are some long days on trains - some people are ok with that - but you may think once you are here that you wish you didn't have so much train traveling to do.

You have 6 days in Switzerland and 3 nights booked in Interlaken. There are lots of things to do around there to keep you busy. The other 3 nights could be split between Montreux and Zermatt perhaps? Read up on those towns in our links and decide if those are areas you want to visit.

Perhaps 2 of your 3 remaining nights could be spent in Zermatt and then you take the Glacier Express panoramic train to Chur and then on to Zurich for one night before your flight?

Lucas

Mitra
Mitra
19 posts
new member
Mar 10, 2017 - 1:14 AM in reply to Lucas

Hi Lucas,

Opinion from certain travellers is that in case of bad weather, Zermatt can be given a skip. A visit to Zermatt is worthwhile only on a clear day. I want your opinion on this.

I am apprehensive about booking at Zermatt because of this.I have scheduled it as a day trip from Interlaken, so that in case of bad weather I can choose an alternative location.

The revised itinerary I have thought of goes like this.

12th July

TGV from Paris(07.07am) to Geneva. Change over to Swiss Rail, travel to Montreux. Spend the day at Montreux and board an afternoon train(17.36 pm ) to Interlaken. In the month of July, I am told that Switzerland has daylight till late hours(almost till 9 pm). True?I

It's an important factor because I am told that the train route to Interlaken is very scenic, specially the section between Bern and Interlaken. Correct me in case of errors in my info.

13th July

Day trip to Zermatt or a different location depending upon weather. Overnight at Interlaken.

14th July

Day trip to Jungfraujoch. Overnight at Interlaken.

15th July

Trip to Lucerne and Engelberg. Wish to stay around Lucerne. Found a lovely affordable accommodation at Emmetten. Please let me know your opinion about this location.

Overnight at Emmetten.

16th July

Early morning train(08.08 am) to Andermatt. Board the Glacier Express from Andermatt at 11.46 am(winter time). Travel to St. Moritz. Arrival time 16.58 pm.

Please let me know which will be a wiser option, stay back at St Moritz or proceed on to Zurich? Proceeding to Zurich on the same day will result in a 12/13 hours of train travelling. Alternatively we can check in at St Moritz and take a morning train to Zurich.

17th July

Sightseeing at Zurich and if possible Scaffhausen.

18th July

Fly out from Zurich.

Your opinion and suggestions are eagerly awaited.

Lucas
Lucas
9596 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 10, 2017 - 12:47 PM in reply to Mitra

Hi Mitra,

I'll try and go through your questions point by point.

  • If all you want to do is view the Matterhorn, then yes it would be frustrating if the weather was particularly poor that day. I would perhaps hesitate if the forecast was for a lot of rain.
  • Yes, sunset here will be around 9pm in July. The sun will not be very high in the sky in the evening so some shadows may obscure some valleys/sights still in the late evening.

  • I have not been to Emmetten, but keep in mind it is an hour away from Lucerne by train - so it isn't terribly convenient for exploring the town itself.
  • I would overnight in St. Moritz 12/13 hours is too much in my books!

I hope this helps you finalize your itinerary, perhaps another member has been to Emmetten and can give you more details on the area itself.

All the best,
Lucas

Last modified on Mar 10, 2017 - 12:48 PM by Lucas
Mitra
Mitra
19 posts
new member
Mar 10, 2017 - 1:05 PM in reply to Lucas

Hi,

Lucas, thanks so much for your point by point clarification. A couple of more queries.

Without a view of Matterhorn, is Zermatt worth visiting?

And in case due to bad weather Zermatt is not possible, then apart from Montreux, which other place do you suggest ?

Does it make better sense to switch over to Swiss rail at Geneva than to take the direct train to Interlaken?

I will try searching for an accommodation in Lucerne in lieu of Emmetten and get back here.

And overnight in St. Moritz is final.

Thanks once again.

Regards

Mitra

Lucas
Lucas
9596 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 10, 2017 - 5:32 PM in reply to Mitra

Hi Mitra,

If seeing the Matterhorn is the only thing you plan on doing in Zermatt then I wouldn't go if the weather is quite poor.

When I was there last February it was really nice but there were still some clouds obscuring the peak most of the 2 days I was there - still enjoyed it, but I skied and enjoyed exploring the town and taking photos (my hobby).

If not Zermatt and you want another trip I would go to Montreux for sure.

What exactly do you mean by 'switching to Swiss rail' in Geneva rather than going direct to Interlaken?
If you have no interest in seeing Geneva or Montreux on your way to Interlaken then take the direct train to Interlaken.

Cheers!
Lucas

Snowman
Snowman
258 posts
top member
Mar 10, 2017 - 6:34 PM in reply to Mitra

Mitra,

Sorry I don't have time right now... But it seems you got good advice from Lucas!

Have a nice trip!

Mitra
Mitra
19 posts
new member
Mar 13, 2017 - 5:18 AM in reply to Lucas

Hi Lucas,

I intend to buy the 8 day Swiss rail pass. We will be boarding the TGV from Paris. I don't think the Swiss rail pass is applicable on TGV's as well.

Hence I meant to board the train from Geneva where the swiss rail pass can be validated.

Does the euro rail pass and swiss rail pass offer the same features. Like for instance if I buy the 8 day Swiss rail pass for my husband and me, my children who are 15yrs and 12 yrs travel free. This is just one of the host of features that swiss rail pass offers.

Also Montreux is a must visit for us. I only need to decide whether to visit Montreux on the way to Interlaken or keep an exclusive day for Interlaken - Montreux - Interlaken.(I have booked 3 nights 12/07 - 15/07 at Interlaken). Actually for applying for our visa I need to complete the reservations for our accommodation for our entire trip. The remaining aspects of the trip can be fine tuned later.

Now for a few more queries....

I have booked 1 night at Lucern on the 15th. We will check out from our accommodation at Interlaken on the 15th morning, visit Engelberg, Lucerne and stay overnight at Lucerne. As mentioned earlier, I wish to board the Glacier express from Andermatt on the 16th, travel to St Moritz, stay overnight at St Moritz and then on the 17th travel to Zurich. Do you have an alternative suggestion for this part of the trip from Lucerne? I s the trip on board the Glacier Express the best option? Can you suggest some alternative locations? Or should we continue at Lucerne and travel to Zurich from Lucerne itself? Please suggest.

Have a great day.

Mitra

P. S. Its the festival of Holi here in India today when we celebrate the onset of spring. Wishes of profound joy and happiness to your family, you and the entire team at My Swiss Alps straight from India. Stay blessed. Cheers!!!

Last modified on Mar 13, 2017 - 5:24 AM by Mitra

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