A wonderful week in Switzerland - mid October

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3 posts
new member
Oct 31, 2017 - 11:43 PM

What a wonderful week riding your rails, many thanks for this informative site and the personal advice given. This is a not so brief summary of our trip.

Our originally planned 3 night visit extended to 6 and thanks to you we purchased a 4 day rail pass and received 5 days, great deal.

Two not so young couples from Canada ended a Rhine cruise in Basel on Oct 14th., purchased regular tickets to Luzern and had lunch outside by the river there, gorgeous weather and a bonus of a team aerobatic show in front of us. We spent the afternoon exploring the town, great views from the top of the old city wall.

We were going to be touring before returning to Luzern on Weds and our hotel kept some heavy luggage for us, making life easier. Sunday am we activated our passes and left for Bern and then on to Zweisimmen, where we had time for lunch on a patio before catching the Golden Pass down to Montreux. This route gave us more relaxing connections than the Golden Pass schedule.

It was an easy walk there to our hotel across from the lake, the summer weather had brought everyone out, it was a wonderful atmosphere, we even had an ice cream before using our passes to take a paddle steamer around the end of the lake before enjoying a good supper.

Monday morning it was back to the station and heading to Brig, where we picked up the Glacier Express on its way to St Moritz, nobody was bored, lunch was good and we had our own wine with us.

Next morning we caught the Bernina Express to Tirano and enjoyed a very good and much cheaper Italian lunch, again sitting outside, we were blessed, as the summer weather stayed with us all week.

The bus station is signed and close to the trains, comfortable and scenic ride, but more tunnels than I recalled from driving 20 years ago. We needed a taxi to our hotel which was near the lake, where we took a promenade walk to the downtown area to find supper. The train station is at a higher elevation and the nearby area did not seem to be very scenic.

Weds it was a relaxing breakfast before catching the Gotthard Express train back to Luzern, this was to be the best day. Being “cheapies” we had purchased 2nd class passes, in hindsight this was not a good decision, so be warned, for instance, no panorama cars on this train for 2nd. When Erich, a staff guide came through he asked if we needed anything, he had said that the train was not full, pretty empty actually, and that we could sit anywhere, so tongue in cheek I asked if we could move to 1st class. Yes, no problem and there we went; he even helped us with bags and then we enjoyed a spectacular personally guided trip to Fluelen; as we left the train the paddle steamer was just arriving for the next stage of the journey to Luzern; very enjoyable and a relaxing lunch on board.

With 2 nights in Luzern we had all day for a mountain trip, we picked Mt Titlis to experience cable cars and to get up close to the glacier and snow, fantastic. Temp may have been around 0 degC at 10,000ft., but in the sun sweaters and a light jacket were good; had lunch, yes eating was important to us, half way back down, sitting outside in short sleeves, amazing.

Friday it was back to the station, just across the street from our hotel, and a train that took us directly to Zurich airport and our flight back home.

We had some concerns re squeezing too much train travel in to the time, but for us it was a wonderful experience, no problems at all.

Many thanks

Trevor T

663 posts
top member
Nov 1, 2017 - 1:10 AM

Hello Trevor

Thank you for posting your report and good to hear how much you enjoyed your Swiss experience. You certainly managed to cover a lot of ground in a few days but travelling in Swiss trains is easy to plan and very scenic. We usually get 1st class passes because we travel in July/August but are thinking of getting 2nd class next year as we aren't going till September - we can upgrade to 1st class for the occasional "special" trip if we want to.


10496 posts
top member
Nov 1, 2017 - 7:21 AM in reply to TrevorT

Thanks for taking the time to write your report Trevor - sounds like a great trip. Glad to hear everything went smoothly!

120 posts
active member
Nov 1, 2017 - 1:45 PM

"The bus station is signed and close to the trains"

I just got back from a trip with my son to the Golden Pass area and I'll have to say this about the organization in Switzerland - connecting points for travel seem to be close to each other. For example we took the train from Luzern to the Mt Pilatus base where, as we stepped out of the train station, there was the cog rail terminal a few hundred feet away, and the boat station (we planned to return to Luzern by boat) was also next to the train station. Same thing in Luzern - train station next to the boat landings. Interlaken train station a short walk to the boat landing (which was closed for maintenance or the season).

The one thing I did right on this trip was make hotel reservations close to the train stations. What a great time we had last week!

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