Day trips out of Lucerne and Grindelwald in May

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Apr 17, 2019 - 1:19 AM

My 21 year old daughter and I are traveling in May to celebrate her university graduation. We will fly into Zurich, spend Sat and Sun morning there, stay in Lucerne two days and then Grinderwald for three days before going back to Zurich to spend the night and travel back to the US the next day. What day activities/trips would you suggest from Lucerne and Grinderwald if you knew this would most likely be the only trip to Switzerland in your lifetime.

rockoyster
rockoyster
7116 posts
expert
Apr 17, 2019 - 5:51 AM in reply to Removed user

Hello gnichols and Welcome to MySwissAlps

I'd suggest you head straight from the airport to Luzern and avoid a hotel swap. Lots to do in and around Luzern - www.myswissalps.com/lu cerne/activities.

The most obvious iconic trip to take from Grindelwald is to Jungfraujoch - www.myswissalps.com/ju ngfraujoch. See also www.myswissalps.com/ju ngfrauregion/activitie s.

You'll probably want to look at a Swiss Travel Pass or a Swiss Half Fare Card to reduce costs. You should read “How to choose the best travel pass” (www.myswissalps.com/tr ain/ticketspasses/prac tical/chooserailpass), download the handy spreadsheet calculator and do the math.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
6483 posts
expert
Apr 17, 2019 - 5:41 PM in reply to Removed user

Ho gnichols.

Sounds like a wonderful celebration.

Please let us your travel times, as the forum rules request. The reason relates to seasonality of many attractions in Switzerland.

There are many Alpine regions that are not accessible in early May and may only be partly accessible in late May. At higher altitudes, Winter has really not left yet, hanging on until early to mid-June. Low tourist density means that some but not all restaurants and transport services may be closed. Very much dependent on altitude and the part of May that you are there.

In fact, depending on your exact interests in the Jungfrau region, you might consider more time based in Luzern, and less near the Jungfrau.

And, the benefits and disadvantages of each of the villages and towns in the area, vary a bit, as you can see from the links provided by Rockoyster.

Everyone has their favorite. I, and a significant group of travelers, prefer Wengen. To some small degree, that preference is influenced by the time of month in May.

In my case, I happen to find Grindelwald substantially more commercial and more spread out than the other three, and generally lacking in charm. Many more stores, restaurants, etc, than any of the other three near the Jungfrau. Those factors also could be considered a positive...apart from the lack of charm. ;-)

This bit of light reading will help you understand the area, and provide details if you choose to stay in Wengen.

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/tips-about-wengen-and-the-jungfrau-region-by-kim

As you can see from the posts in the thread, a great many have found it useful.

Also, do you have particular interests? Hiking, museums - history, art, technical?

Country villages, historical old city centers, scenic train rides?

One interest in particular is important, as noted below, and might influence your plans a bit. In general, I support Rockoyster's always excellent recommendations. That especially includes going direct to Luzern. You can get over jet lag there just as well as in Zürich. Maybe better. Three trains per hour from the airport station with travel times ranging from just over an hour to one hour 10 minutes. The one at xx15 does not require a change of trains in Zürich main station.

When I arrive, I use a couple of days in Zürich for jet lag suppression, culture, and good restaurants, but that is because I have several friends to visit there, and often they take me to really nice places. Of course, I have to reciprocate, but it is a nice way to get on the clock. And, I really like the city, but it takes a few visits to really learn to appreciate it. I've got close to 200 under my belt, since 1980. Luzern is more interesting, faster. Zürich has more for me, as I learn about it. My recommendation for first time visitors is usually Luzern first.

However, there is at least one exception to the usual recommendation for Luzern right away. If your daughter has a particular interest in art, she'll find some superb museums in Zürich and nearby Winterthur. That might support time in Zürich. If so, let us know, I have some favorites.. And there are a whole lot of Picasso's and Paul Klee's at the Rosengart Collection in Luzern, to counterbalance. And, Basel, with some powerful museums, has three trains per hour from Luzern. The fastest, at xx54, takes one hour and 1 minute.

It will prove invaluable for you to learn how to use the resources of the transport network and rail stations.

This link has some extremely useful advice on some special points for using the SBB timetable effectively:

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable.

Once you are familiar with those concepts, you can get there through the direct link:

www.sbb.ch/en/

A map helps:

map.search.ch/?pos=685696,239488&z=1

map.search.ch/?pos=683936,247530&z=12 8&poi=bergbahn,haltest elle,zug

map.search.ch/?pos=680544,208976&z=16 &poi=bergbahn,zug

map.search.ch/?pos=640592,161768&z=32 &poi=bergbahn,zug

Other maps are available with altitudes.

Slowpoke

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Apr 18, 2019 - 4:21 AM

Thanks for the advice so far. We are arriving on May 10 and will leave on May 18. We are actually staying in an area outside of Lucerne, Weggis and an area outside of Grinderwald, Burglauenen. My daughter has requested that we have only 60 percent of our time completely planned and have some time left for spontaneity. The list of activities provided so far gives us a great ideas to chose from.

rockoyster
rockoyster
7116 posts
expert
Apr 18, 2019 - 5:17 AM in reply to Removed user

Apologies for being pendantic but its Grindelwald. Burglauenen looks like a quiet spot.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
6483 posts
expert
Apr 18, 2019 - 9:17 AM in reply to Removed user

Hi gnichols -

<<"The list of activities provided so far gives us a great ideas to chose from.">>

Also, do you have particular interests? Hiking, museums - history, art, technical?

Country villages, historical old city centers, scenic train rides? Good restaurants?

There are some interesting specifics about those things around Lake Lucerne.

Here is the boat schedule. Most is available in English, but some details in German are easy to figure out.

www.lakelucerne.ch/en/ timetable-fares/timetable/

I have attached a few images related to Weggis and the Rigi above. There is a reference to the Hotel Bergsonne on some of the images.

We used to stay at the Hotel Bergsonne at Rigi Kaltbad a couple of times per year since the early 2000's. It has recently changed hands, so I am going to "wait till next year" before trying it again. The views are spectacular from up there. Some photos from up there show what I mean. This year I am trying the Hotel Edelweis at the Rigi-Staffelhöhe cograil station:

www.kraeuterhotel.ch/i ndex.php/de/

Their website is a little artsy, but watch as the home page scrolls through 5 images.

They just got their first Michelin star.

Here are some other links. You might want to consider a meal up there.

www.myswitzerland.com/ en-us/hotel-edelweiss-rigi.html

www.kraeuterhotel.ch/i ndex.php/de/restaurant s/regina-montium

If you stay in Weggis, you are near the valley station ( die Talstation) of the cableway to Rigi Kaltbad., where it connects with the cograil train that runs from Vitznau ( the next boat landing south along the lake shore) up the mountain to the top ( Rigi Kulm).

www.myswissalps.com/ri gi

Access to Weggis by public transport is either that cableway, the lake boat, or the bus that runs along the shore line between Küssnacht am Rigi and Brunnen. There is a train station at each end of the bus line.

Please note that the Talstation of the cableway is a bit of a climb from the ship landing and the hotels along the shoreline; about 55 meters elevation change.

This topographic map is extremely detailed, which may be more than you need, but it has the benefit of showing altitudes:

map.geo.admin.ch/?topic=ech&lang=en&bgLa yer=ch.swisstopo.pixel karte-farbe&layers=ch.bav.ha ltestellen-oev,ch.swisstopo.swiss tlm3d-wanderwege&E=2675971.1 1&N=1209833.13&zoom=8& layers_visibility=fals e,false

If you use the timetable to determine the schedule for the cableway, it is useful to know that the German name for that kind of cableway is die Luftseilbahn ( die LSB). It has a large car holding multiple tens of people.

Name comes from die Luft ( the air) , das Seil ( the cable) and die Bahn ( the train).

The valley station is named Weggis LSB

This map is a simple way top find names of stations:

map.search.ch/index.de .html?pos=676252,209611&z=51 2

I have set it for German. Mouse over a station icon for the name. Click on it for a near term transport schedule.

This link has some things around Lake Lucerne that are interesting, including the second through the fifth listing:

www.myswissalps.com/ac tivities/naturalsites

and, of course,

Luzern itself:

www.myswissalps.com/lu cerne

( In case you haven't figured it out, to be pedantic, Luzern is the German spelling for Lucerne, which is in the German speaking region of Switzerland. So, that's what you'll see on the signs. And, the name of the lake in German is der Vierwaldstättersee. (The Lake of the Four Forest Cantons, more or less))

And, Rockoyster's comment about spelling is worth noting, because, when you use the timetable to figure out travel times by boat, ship , or train, it helps to enter the correct name for a location.

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
6483 posts
expert
Apr 18, 2019 - 9:30 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Somehow, the images mentioned in the previous post did not appear. I probably had one file that was too large.

I'll try again

Slowpoke

Last modified on Apr 18, 2019 - 9:36 AM by Slowpoke
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