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Advice on our Swiss itinerary late April

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4 posts
new member
Jan 22, 2017 - 7:34 AM

Dear All, we are a couple in the 50s. We will be travelling to Switzerland from 22 April to 05 May 2017.

We will be buying a 15 days Swiss Travel Pass.

Our interest are visiting Old Towns, historic Centres, mountain scenaries, Alpine villages/landscapes, chapels/Churches, museum and art galleries(recommended ones, we are not particularly strong in those areas)
excursions by train/ferries and short easy scenic hikes of one to three hours.

We have gathered many use information from the forum. We appreciate with thanks.

Below are our plans. We hope to gather some feedback on the practicality of our plans. Suggestions and new ideas are most welcome.
Our accommodations (Thun or Bern, Lucerne, Zurich) are fixed for the duration.
We are still deciding if we should stay in Thun or Bern, please advise.

22 Apr (Thun)
Milan to Thun (arrive in Thun at approximately 10.00 am)
TRENITALIA. - 7.23 am - 10.03 am (2.40 hr Thun)
Explore Thun - Old Town, Schadau Castle, Thun Castle etc places within walkable distance from Thun centre, a cruise along Lake Thun if there is enough time in the afternoon

23 Apr(Thun)
Trip to Jungfrajoch from Thun (earliest train) via Interlaken to Klein Scheidegg via Grindelwald.
How much time is needed for Jungfrajoch once we are up there?

If it can be finish by noon at Jungfrajoch, can we take the train to Wengen , Gondola at Wengen to Mannlichen followed by hike from Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg which will take approximately 2 hours.
Than followed by a train down to Grindewald and back to Thun?

Or should it be done in two days?

24 Apr(Thun)
Train from Thun to Fribourg in the morning and Neuchantel in the afternoon.

25 Apr(Lucerne) - Morning to Bern sightseeing
Late afternoon train to Lucerne

26 Apr (Lucerne)
Mount Pilatus, Mount Rigi, Mount Titlis
Early morning to Mount Pilatus. If time permits(depending on how much time at Mount Pilatus)
next stop to Mount Titlis or Mount Rigi.
Could you advise which is most convenient to go from Mount Pilatus?

27 April (Lucerne)
Lucerne to Bellinzona /Locarno/Ascona and back to Lucern same day.
Starting from Lucerne by train to Fluelen and to Bellinzona /Locarno/Ascona

It will be a Long day, however hoping to have the experience of the scenic train ride and Mediterranean/Italian side of Switzerland. Is this viable? Am looking to explore the town of Locarno and to Madonna Del Sasso.

Is this doable/ practical in a day?

28 Apr (Lucerne)
Explore Lucern Old Town, Chapel Bridge & Water Tower, Musegg Wall, Lion Monument etc
Looking for suggestion for easy short scenic hike of about 2 hours in the afternoon.

29 Apr (Lucerne)
Lucern to Geneva....
Explore Geneva.....Old Town, Yoire

30 April (Zurich arrive after lunch)
Lucern morning walk and explore places we have missed before leaving for Zurich after lunch.

01 May (Zurich)
It's Labour Day in Zurich and a Public Holiday.
Most likely many places will be close.
Looking for suggestion for an itinerary for public holiday.

2 May (Zurich)
Train from Zurich to
1. Neuhausen , Rhine Falls.
2. Seine Am Rheine
3. Rappersil

03 May (Zurich)
Train from Zurich to
1. St Gallen
2. Appenzill

O4 May (Zurich)
Looking for suggestion for the morning, nearby train rides to another town? Afternoon last minute shopping and packing

05 May
Flight back home.

Thank you very much


Last modified on Jan 22, 2017 - 3:54 PM by Lucas
10495 posts
top member
Jan 22, 2017 - 1:20 PM in reply to myswisstrip

Hi Danial and welcome to MySwissAlps!

I'm glad you are finding our website helpful on your trip planning!

I can say your trip looks great and is quite intensive on some days!

I'll make a few comments as I can and others I'm sure will chime in with their thoughts as well.

I would go with Thun over Bern for what you are looking for (closer to the Jungfraujoch etc).
I would plan on only doing Jungfraujoch for this day. Its great to have an extra day or so to visit as weather conditions can ruin your trip. As far as how long to spend at Jungfraujoch that again can depend on the weather and how much you are enjoying it - could be 30 minutes or 3 hours easily.

From Mt. Pilatus count on 2 to 3 hours to either Titlis or Rigi. The Swiss rail timetable can help you plan these trips.

Count on 1.5 to 2.5 hours from Luzern (local German spelling) to the Bellinzona area and the towns you mentioned. Definitely doable but a long day for you. Another member can perhaps speak as to how scenic that train trip is. Madonna del Sasso is quite beautiful and of course being on Lake Maggiore is always nice!

Take a look at our Luzern page for more details on activities in the area. There are several hikes mentioned on the 'what to do page' for you to read about. Perhaps also you can go to Rigi or Titlis if you did not get to them earlier.

I'm not sure I would bother with a day trip to Geneva unless there is something special/specific you want to see there? It is close to 3 hours each way on the train. Perhaps more time hiking/exploring the Luzern area is more interesting.

There won't be a lot to do on May 1 in Zurich - like a Sunday in Switzerland it will be pretty quiet around here. Most locals go hiking nearby. I would recommend Uetliberg which you can hike up from the base (20 minutes by train from Zurich) or take the train all the way up and hike along the mountain peaks following Lake Zurich its a lovely area and easy hiking.
Perhaps use May 4 to shop and explore Zurich?

I hope this helps get you started. Please let me know if you have other questions/concerns!

Other members may be able to give better details on some areas than I. :) Don't forget it is still winter in the higher elevations in April and that may alter your plans on any given day - dress for quite cold weather when you do go.


Last modified on Jan 22, 2017 - 3:53 PM by Lucas
14278 posts
expert &
Jan 22, 2017 - 3:51 PM in reply to myswisstrip

Hi Danial,

I agree with Lucas about Geneva: it takes a lot of time to get there and it's not in the mountains. Could be a nice day trip, but a very long one especially if you also want to include Yvoire, which is another town in France. If you want to do this I'd recommend to do it from Thun rather than Luzern as that saves you 1 to 2 hours on this day trip.

Note that it's important to enter correct location names in the timetable Lucas mentioned (Rappersil = Rapperswil, Seine Am Rheine = Stein Am Rhein, etc.). It may otherwise not understand or send you off some place else.

Happy planning!

Last modified on Jan 22, 2017 - 3:52 PM by Arno
4 posts
new member
Jan 22, 2017 - 5:11 PM

Hi Lucas and Arno,

Thank you very much for your prompt reply. Point noted regarding Geneva and fully agree as was getting a little ambitious in trying to cover as many places. Will take your advise. Will explore on hiking areas and activities in Luzern on the site you have recommended.

Will take note of the correct spelling of the places, it helps when keying the correct names and saves time and also accuracy.

in Bellinzona there is there is "Artu", the small train of the castles, how long will it take the train to complete the journey. I am just wondering if there is enough time to explore Bellinzona and Locarno and if possible Ascona before returning to Luzern.

Thank you



10495 posts
top member
Jan 22, 2017 - 5:32 PM in reply to myswisstrip

Hi danial,

Just type in the towns into the Swiss timetable linked in my first post to see how long each route will be.
For the Arthur Train in Bellinzona click here for more details.



690 posts
top member
Jan 22, 2017 - 5:33 PM

Hi Danial

I agree that Thun is better base than Bern - I am biased because we always stay there when in Switzerland.

May 4th - if you have already explored Zurich and want somewhere else to visit, then Winterthur is close to Zurich and could be an option.


7335 posts
Jan 22, 2017 - 11:21 PM in reply to myswisstrip

Hi Danial-

Somewhat at random-

You mentioned museums.

In Winterthur, this museum is not large, but the collection is overwhelming. Abut 10-15 miutes walk from the train station. if you choose to eat in their cafe, be prepared for a long wait while they "prepare" even the simplest meal.

www.bundesmuseen.ch/ro emerholz/

Sorry for the German.

This might help:

museumoskarreinhart.ch /en/oskar-reinhart/the-oskar-reinhart-collection-am-roemerholz.html

Try some more links from the internet, if you wish.

In Luzern-

The Picasso museum in the old town. Small, very "personal" about Picasso.

The Rosengart Collection-

A stunning collection of Klee's and Picasso's, 3 minutes from Luzern main station.

www.luzern.com/en/rose ngart-collection

Bellinzona -

We did not spend a lot of time in Bellinzona, but did have dinner at the highest castle- "Uri."


Does take time.

We really like Locarno. The lake shore near the station is attractive and has places to eat.

The Madonna del Sasso, with it's own funicular ( more or less) has called us back several times. A warm and inviting Romanesque interior. No clerestories.

Amazing site with amazing sights.

You could probably fit in a walk and a visit to the church. When you go back down on the funicular, you do not have to climb all the steps. There is a funicular stop near the lower level of the church complex. Don't get off there on the way up; you want to start high.


Last modified on Jan 22, 2017 - 11:24 PM by Slowpoke
4 posts
new member
Jan 23, 2017 - 2:52 AM

Good morning All,

Thanks Maggie for your recommendation on Winterthur. I have just read about the place and it sounds good and its a short ride from Zurich.

Thanks too Slowpoke on the various museums sites. It certainly will be interesting/useful, with the various themes

Appreciate your views on Locorna. We ceratinly will try to see as much in Bellinzona and Locarno and if time permits Ascona. Great tip on the funicular up to Madonna Del Sasso

Thanks again Lucas, Arno, Maggie, Slowpoke for all the information and views.

Have a wonderful day ahead.



10495 posts
top member
Jan 23, 2017 - 8:07 AM in reply to myswisstrip

Glad we could help Danial!

Enjoy your trip.

7335 posts
Jan 23, 2017 - 9:34 AM in reply to myswisstrip

Hi Danial-

I'm gradually working through your itinerary, still jumping around at random.

It is nice that you have enough time to do a lot of exploring.

April 24th-

We have visited the old town of Fribourg down by the river many times. It s a pleasure to walk around there. It as the German-speaking part of Fribourg, and the signs are bilingual. Mostly, they speak French there now ( and English).

From the main station, walk a few hundred meters to the funicular. That is the nicest way. There is also bus service.

I was there with a friend in December, when most of Switzerland below about 1000 meters was covered with low-lying clouds and fog. We ate at Restaurant Au Sauvage. Not cheap, but really good. As is typical in Swiss restaurants, they offered some "set" meals for a better price than the same dishes a la carte, and these are called "menus." The list of foods is often called a card (in German, "die Karte," or "die Speisekarte.")

There is a nice walk of two or three hours possible through the Gotteron Schlucht ( a narrow river gorge) to near Ameismüli (German speaking region) then up and over the meadows to the south and west to Le Bourgillon and back down to the old town.

A few pictures of Fribourg are attached, including some from the internet.


Last modified on Jan 23, 2017 - 9:36 AM by Slowpoke
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7335 posts
Jan 23, 2017 - 10:18 AM in reply to myswisstrip

More thoughts-

May 2, 3, 4.

Sankt Gallen has a very nice old town. The Abbey...founded by Irish monks in the middle ages, is a Unesco World Heritage site. Don't miss a visit ( guided only) to the Abbey library.

Near the abbey is a very old very traditional small typical Swiss restaurant, one floor up from the street.

Weinstube zum Baümli

Worth a detour


www.facebook.com/Weins tube-zum-B%C3%A4umli-178987105486391/?ref=nf

Appenzell has a well know main square and the short walk from the train station through the old town is enjoyable. We've been there once, maybe twice. We have been to St. Gall many times.

For all of those days, the one location that I would put at the bottom of the list is the Rhine Falls. They are very impressive- powerful - especially in the Spring. Not really very high. However, I live in the USA, and Lucas comes from Canada. We both have seen Niagara Falls, and find them much more impressive. I am in a distinct minority, but I don't consider them especially Swiss...there are a lot of waterfalls around the world. Personally, I'd rather spend time at the beautiful high thin falls in the Lauterbrunnen Valley, or seeing things that are unique to Switzerland. Like Lake Lucerne.

www.myswitzerland.com/ en-us/staubbach-falls-free-falling-waters-with-a-mist-of-spray.html


And, I'd spend more time in or near Luzern , rather than Winterthur. The variety of sights and things to do around Luzern deserves more time than you have allowed.

I note that you have listed Rapperswil ( watch the spelling) . The town itself is quite nice, and the Hotel/Restaurant Schwanen on the lake is popular.

When I arrive in Zürich jet-lagged, after a short nap, quite often I go to Rapperswill and take the train to Hurden. Then I walk back to Rapperswil on the walkway through the wildlife sanctuary. The lake is shallow there, and there has been a crossing since medieval times. The pilgrimage route called The Way of St. James ( der Jakobsweg) crosses the lake there and has for centuries.

The train schedule is confusing. Once I had to go all the way to Pfäffikon because I took the wrong train from Rapperswil to Hurden; some of then skip the stop at Hurden. Read the schedule board carefully. Frequent trains, but only some stop at Hurden. And, the distances are not so far that you cannot walk. That added to the walk; nice, but the part from Hurden to Rapperswil is special.

I have eaten a few times at the Restaurant Rössli in Hurden. Famous for its fish. Wonderful location, including a terrace on the lake. Not cheap.

www.hotel-restaurant-roessli.ch/index.php/r estaurants/seeterrasse

I've attached some pictures from Hurden and Rapperswil.


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4 posts
new member
Jan 23, 2017 - 3:20 PM

Hi, thanks for all recommendations, suggestions and sites posted. I seem to be doing a lot of exploring. Trying to make sure I don't overdo it and have time to explore the places of interest. Yes I have been thinking of skipping the Rhine Falls(for the same reason you had) and go direct to Stein Am Rhein than Rapperswil. Still find tuning the places of interst and not overload ourselves and allow ourselves to enjoy at a leisurely pace.

Lauderbrunnen Valley looks amazing and we will definitely be there. Was checking the pricing for Jungfrajoch and its abit steep for our Budget. Still contemplating, probably will decide when we are there. Definitely we will be exploring much of the Bernese Oberland.

Thanks for sharing your trip to Fribourg, St Gallen, Rapperswil, Hurden. Hoping to get all my spelling right. The routes you have mentioned will come in handy.

I'm quite curious on the Jakobsweg( The Way of St James). I was looking for a short 1-3 hours easy The Way of St James walk, however I stopped short as I was not sure after reading some of sites before. Most probably that because I'm not an experience hiker and just getting some ideas. Hope to be able to find something as I go along.

Having a look at Hurden now. Thanks for all the tips.

Have a great day all. Cheers


7335 posts
Jan 23, 2017 - 4:31 PM in reply to myswisstrip

<<"Yes I have been thinking of skipping the Rhine Falls(for the same reason you had) and go direct to Stein Am Rhein than (do you mean "then" ?) Rapperswil. Still find tuning the places of interst and not overload ourselves and allow ourselves to enjoy at a leisurely pace.">>

Stein am Rhein has a really nice main square. Loaded with tour groups. I've been there twice. Once in the winter...not so many tourists. Once in the summer. Hard to take pictures due to tourist density. It has good reason to be popular. Very photogenic.

The castle up above has great views and a small restaurant.

www.myswitzerland.com/ en-us/hohenklingen-castle.html

We walked up through the vineyards and enjoyed our meal with a view. I don't recall if there is local bus service.

Rapperswil itself has a nice small old town, and the views are nice because of the lake. There is lake boat service.

From Zürich to Stein am Rhein via Schaffhausen takes one hour 20 minutes, more or less. Depending on when you get up in Zürich, you could get there by - for example - 0928 or 0952. Walk around for an hour or hour and 1/2, catch a train to Rapperswil at xx06 for an hour and 40 minutes and have lunch looking at the lake.

Explore Rapperswil, train to Hurden then include the walk from Hurden to Rapperswil (best direction) .

Catch a frequent train back to Zürich from Rapperswil and be back well before dinner time.

You might catch a boat boat from Rapperswil back to Zürich, but I'm not finding the service at the moment.

Or, have lunch at Stein, train to Rapperswil, explore the town and/or take the boardwalk, and take a train back to Zürich.

Those would fill the day but not be rushed, especially since you could skip the castle at Stein, or the walk at Hurden or choose not to spend a lot of time walking around Rapperswil.

It is possible to use secondary train lines from Stein a.R. to Rapperswill via Winterthur, Wil, Wattwil, Uznach. It takes 2 hrs 20 minutes with lots of changes; for example, 1106 to 1327. It is not especially scenic. You pass through pleasant Swiss countryside and hills and small towns. Definitely not tourist country. If you were train buffs, or just wished to ride different routes, I'd suggest that you consider it, but it has no special virtue for you, as far as I can tell, and takes 40 minutes longer.



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