5 days in late April/early May 2018 itinerary help

5 days in late April/early May 2018 itinerary help

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Tamival
Tamival
3 posts
new member
Sep 3, 2017 - 1:57 PM

Hello,

Working on itinerary after disembarking from River Cruise in Basel the end of April, 2018 into early May. Two couples wish to explore the Alps Region for 4 - 5 days, with one couple then heading back to Zurich to fly back to US, and other couple heading back to Basel to visit relative for a few days before flying home. Extremely expensive to book extension through River cruise, though the itinerary does look nice (2 nights Zermatt, 2 nights Geneva, Cogwheel train, Wine Tasting & Tour, Boot cruise, Glacier Express, Transfers, etc.) Thinking we could book similar ourselves...

Questions:

1. Thinking of Luzerne and Geneva (Lausanne?) as possible places to stay and do sightseeing from there. Feasible? Or should we look at Zermatt in order to fully experience the area?

2. Weather/time frame - in looking at hotels, sights, etc., it seems we may not be able to do some of the areas (Mt Pilatus etc?) Many hotels seem to be booked or unavailable at this time frame.

3. Travel from Basel to Luzerne/Geneva and back. Are there direct train options? Can we do all trains for transportation? I've looked but can't see this option so may be looking in the wrong place.

This site is fantastic and I appreciate any input.

Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
1107 posts
top member
Sep 4, 2017 - 4:37 AM in reply to Tamival

Hi Tamival, and welcome to MySwissAlps!

>> Working on itinerary after disembarking from River Cruise in Basel the end of April, 2018 into early May.

At this time of year, some mountain transport is not operating, due to seasonal closure or maintenance. If you can provide exact dates, we can let you know what will or will not be operating.

>> Two couples wish to explore the Alps Region for 4 - 5 days ... Thinking of Luzerne and Geneva (Lausanne?) as possible places to stay and do sightseeing from there. Feasible? Or should we look at Zermatt in order to fully experience the area?

For the time you have available, I would normally suggest splitting your time between Luzern and the Jungfrau Region (Grindelwald, Wengen, Lauterbrunnen, Mürren). However, depending on your exact dates, much of the mountain transport in the Jungfrau Region might not be operating, in which case Zermatt might be a better alternative for mountain experiences. Geneva and Lausanne have less to offer the first-time visitor in my opinion.

You can use the Swiss Timetable to see how long it will take you to travel from one place to another:

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

>> Weather/time frame - in looking at hotels, sights, etc., it seems we may not be able to do some of the areas (Mt Pilatus etc?) Many hotels seem to be booked or unavailable at this time frame.

You are coming in the low season, so some hotels will be closed. However, it may well be that many hotels have not opened their bookings for April/May yet. I would not expect you to have any difficulty in finding accommodation.

In Luzern, the Pilatus cogwheel train will probably not be operating, but you can go up and back in the gondola and cable car between Kriens and Pilatus Kulm. The Rigi cable car between Weggis and Rigi Kaltbad will not be operating, but you can still go up and back in the cogwheel train from Vitznau or Arth-Goldau. The Titlis gondolas will be operating.

>> Travel from Basel to Luzerne/Geneva and back. Are there direct train options? Can we do all trains for transportation? I've looked but can't see this option so may be looking in the wrong place.

There are direct trains from Basel to Luzern, and some that involve a transfer in Olten. Trains from Basel to Geneva require at least one change, which varies depending on the departure time you choose. The train network is very dense, which will be apparent if you look at the validity map for the Swiss Travel Pass, on which train routes are shown in red:

www.myswissalps.com/sw isstravelpass/validity

This page has further information to introduce you to rail travel in Switzerland:

www.myswissalps.com/tr ain/practical/howtotra vel

Alpenrose

Tamival
Tamival
3 posts
new member
Sep 5, 2017 - 11:40 AM

Thank you for this information. We have set our dates, traveling April 28,29,30 with two couples from Basel. One couple will return to Zurich May 1 while we will spend three more days exploring before heading to back to Basel.

We are considering renting a car for the four of us, then the one couple would return the car to Zurich May 1 while we would then use the trains to continue our journey. Looking at these dates, would you still consider Lucerne as a base, or Zermatt? Also, opinions on driving?

thank you!

Annika
Annika
4880 posts
expert &
moderator
Sep 6, 2017 - 2:08 PM in reply to Tamival

Hi Tamival!

Late April can be a great time to visit the Alps. Spring is well on its way at lower altitudes and there's still at thick layer of snow on the mountain tops. However, at higher altitudes it may still be rather wintry. Alo, it will be low season in a typical winter and summer sports resort such as Zermatt, so my personal preference would be to explore the Lucerne area at that time of the year.

As for your rental car question: to be honest there are some disadvantages to driving in Switzerland. Navigating in larger cities can be hard and there are quite some car-free areas where you'll depend on public transportation anyway. Rental and parking costs can add up quickly. But what's best depends on your specific plans. Please read more about this issue at myswissalps.com/carver sustrain.

Last modified on Sep 6, 2017 - 3:10 PM by Arno
Tamival
Tamival
3 posts
new member
Sep 6, 2017 - 4:53 PM in reply to Annika

Thank you for this insight. As we are a number of months off, I will continue to research our options, but maybe we should center ourselves in Lucerne. I will also look at car situation with your info provided.

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