My highest praise to this Incredible forum which helped me a lot to plan my recent trip to Switzerland.
I thought the best way of thanking is by writing my trip report, which may (or may not) be useful to others, especially first time visitors to this fantastic country. Special thanks to Lucas, Rockoyster, Slowpoke, Arno and Chantal.
We(I, wife and 2 yo kid) had a memorable trip for 9 days. We had a relaxed plan, most of the days we were back to room by 2 or 3 pm.I did not want to make it hectic with our kid.Travel dates 13.4.18 to 21.4.18
We reached Zurich airport from Dubai at 1.30 pm. Immigration and luggage claim were smooth and i collected my Traveler'sWiFi hotspot from the service center, which is 5 min walk from Arrival 1. A gentleman assisted me in getting tickets from the vending machine, as it was not in English, helped with my luggage and guided me to the platform as well. Such a nice person. I used my STP from day 2. We caught our straight train to Luzern and checked in at our apartment by 4 pm. Refreshed and took a walk leisurely near the lake, had dinner and slept early.
Woke up with a bright sunny day,had our breakfast at apartment and headed to Mt.Titlis. Journey from Luzern to Engelberg was about 50 minutes and it was beautiful, saw typical scenes of cows munching the grasses.There were only few people in our coach, so we changed side to side to take pics whenever required.At Engelberg, we bought the tickets with 50% discount for 58 CHF inclusive of ice flyer. After the beautiful cable car ride, we were surprised to see a lot of tourists waiting (contrary to what we saw in station/train) and it took almost 30 minutes to get into 360 degree rotating gondola. The ride was short for about 5 minutes but fun. It was -5°C at the top,Sun was shining and it was comfortable. Stunning panoramic scenes of snowy mountains against brilliant blue skies,took lot of pics, had snow-fun, experienced Titlis cliff walk and Ice flyer( My wife did not prefer it with kiddo, though the staff reassured her). Overall it was super fun. Returned the same way, enjoyed a hot coffee with samaso at Bristo Indian restaurant, at cable car station, Engelberg. We reached our apartment by 2.30 pm.
Weather was pleasantly cold with few clouds but suitable for Mt. Rigi. After breakfast, we grabbed some snacks from Migros, reached boat station which is right in front of Luzern railway station. Got the tickets for Mt. Rigi, fully covered in Swiss Travel Pass. The boat was almost packed with tourists. It was such a relaxing ride with memorizing views. After about an hour of ride, at Vitznau, we took the cogwheel train and started to experience the magnificent views of lake Lucerne as the train climbed up. It was pretty cold at the top with beautiful scenes of mountains as expected. We spent some time in clicking pics, engaged with few fellow travelers and had snacks. There were a lot of people waiting for the train to Vitznau, so we took the train to Arth - goldau which was fairly empty and back to Luzern, which turned to be a wise decision.
After our Mt.Titlis & Mt.Rigi visits, later in the evening on day 2 /3, we explored Luzern. Such a lovely,picturesque compact city with its preserved medieval architecture blended with modern development.The cobbled streets and squares, churches, fountains offering tasty potable water, covered wooden bridges, river- front promenade, the swans and ducks in the river, et cetera..I love Luzern. We tried some local food, cheese fondue, Swiss chocolates and fresh beer. I wish i could have spent one more day in Luzern.
After a short memorable stay for 3 days, we departed Luzern to Wengen. Due to ongoing construction work, very soon after taking Luzern - Interlaken express,we had to change, to be precise 3 minutes after leaving Luzern station. I wonder why don't they take passengers directly from Luzern to Giswil by bus. But it was not difficult at all. There were many buses waiting just few steps away from Horw station and crew members helps in stowing luggage. Pretty seamless.. It was about 25 minutes bus drive to Giswil where we took the train again to interlaken ost station.
The first leg of golden pass route was fantastic and full of scenery.Weather was cloudy that added more beauty to the mountains, at least according to me. My much expected lake Lungern was disappointing. Lake was half empty contrary to the beautiful videos seen in youtube. But i was told about the same by one of our local member of lungern area in my very first post of this forum. Neverthless, it was beautiful. We changed trains at Interlaken Ost and Lauterbrunnen, reached Wengen at 2 pm. When i stepped into Wengen out of the station, it looked like a secluded village. I could barely see people in the village. I was told about it by the lady in the kiosk at railway station and also adviced about the closing time of only available restaurant in the entire village, which was at 2 pm. So we rushed to the restaurant, The Pasta and more. The lady there was kind enough to allow us though it was quarter past 2. We gulped some pasta and checked in at our chalet.
Since i was following this..but i prefer to say "our" website for quite sometime, i knew April is a shoulder season in Jungfrau region. But i never expected it would be like a deserted village. It gave us a feel of being isolated somewhere. We thought of continuing our exploration of Suisse food, which seemed to be impossible at Wengen. But we were prepared to cook with all our stuffs for this trip.
After some rest we took a walk to explore silent Wengen. Very soon we relinquished all our disappointments at the beauty of Wengen. OMG!! The mighty mountains were vampire - white on both sides, with a green Lauterbrunnen valley in between. SPECTACULAR.The air was quite chilling . We were happy to see couple of families near the play ground, my kid joined with their kids and spent some time. We shared our itineraries and plans,made friends and returned to our chalet. Our balcony offered breath taking views of Alps with the sounds of waterfall and birds. Amazing..Any nature lover can take pleasure in admiring the beauty of alps for days together. Its beyond words to describe.
Lauterbrunnen to Wengen ride was absolutely amazing especially last few minutes before we reach the Wengen station. Need to sit on the right side to enjoy this special scene of panaromic alps with lauterbrunnen valley down. "Don't miss it in a hurry to get down at Wengen"
My wife suggested a plan regarding Jungfraujoch trip since she was not so keen on spending for this particular trip. When i started to plan this Switzerland trip months ago, Jungfraujoch was on top of the list. I had seen lot of videos about it and i always wanted to experience. Plan was like after all the mountain peaks and snow experience, if we are still convinced to make the trip, then to go ahead with it. So we reserved the last day for Jungfraujoch
We were blessed again with a brilliant weather. Planned to visit Mt.Schilthorn which is totally covered by STP. We took train to Lauterbrunnen, from there to Grutschalp by cable car and then Cogwheel train to Mürren. We need to walk to the other end of the village for cable car. The views were amazing. Our eyes were over loaded with beauty!! Murren had few more restaurants open compared to Wengen at that time.
I have seen many people keep debating a lot regarding Wengen vs Murren. It's purely personal preference and no one can go wrong with either choice. I slightly lean towards Wengen but my wife's choice was Murren. You can choose between these two based on your itinerary and activities on either side of the valley.
All of a sudden we saw many people in cable car station, so it took sometime to get into the car. Reached Mt.Schilthorn with a change in between at Birg. Needless to say..the views were fantastic from the skyline view platform.Spent sometime at Bond world, older kids will enjoy the interactive exhibition. We could not experience the 360 degree rotating restaurant as we had to wait for the table. Returned to Wengen by 2 pm.
We were craving for some spicy Indian food, so we travelled to interlaken as we had plans for lake Thun boat ride ( fully covered with STP) and castle visit. Enjoyed Brunch at one of the Indian restaurants before we catch 12 .10 boat. Only 2 departures per day as per spring schedule. It was a long but relaxing ride, visited castle and back to Interlaken by train. Since no shopping was possible at Wengen, we walked through the Hoheweg- The social meeting place in interlaken, extends all the way from interlaken ost to west. Wide promenade with trees, restaurants,hotels, boutiques,souvenir shops... saw people pass by in horse-drawn carriages. It was beautiful. Shopped some souvenirs and chocolates, back to Wengen by 8pm. Nothing much in Interlaken.
Perfect weather again and it was Grindelwald as per our plan.Took train to Lauterbrunnen and reached Grindelwald by 10am. After a short bus shuttle, reached the cable car station bought the tickets with 50% discount. It was a long ride for about 30 minutes,but views were amazing.Enjoyed the snow and first cliff walk. It was time for me to experience some adventure. I took the first flyer (after waiting for 40 minutes) which was really thrilling with cold air gushing on our face,stunning views of snow covered mountains and it was super fun as it was my first kind of experience. Joined family at Schreckfeld,continued with cable car down to Grindelwald. SCHRECKFELD - FIRST - BACHLAPSEE hikes were closed due to the risk of avalanche.
We set for some stroller friendly hike today. Selected Lauterbrunnen valley. We started our hike from lauterbrunnen station, enjoyed the views of pouring staubach falls. Initially we planned to take the entire hike to Stechelberg,but the brilliant weather perfect for mountain tops, turned to be bad for us to continue our hike beyond Trummelbach falls. It was around 26°C and very warm. So we decided to go back by bus after visiting the falls. Another disappointment at the entry. Children less than 4 years are not allowed to enter Trummelbach falls due to safety reasons. My wife generously allowed me to visit the falls, while she was waiting outside in a nearby shop. Underground lift, tunnels, platforms,stairs...impressive work by Swiss engineers. Kudos!! Amazing to see the loud thundering and roaring water in a mountain interior. Quickly visited the falls and we took the bus just outside the falls entrance to Lauterbrunnen, and back to Wengen. We spent the rest of the day at our chalet and took very relaxed walk in the silent streets of Wengen later in the evening. It was a unique experience though!!
Our last day of this fantastic trip. Interhome was kind enough to allow late check out and we reached Zurich at 6 pm for return flight. Yes.We did not visit Jungfraujoch.
WE HAD A GREAT TRIP. DREAM COME TRUE TO VISIT THIS BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY. NO EXAGGERATIONS
Weather - We were lucky to have excellent weather through out our trip. We were prepared for all sorts of weather, but never used our raincoats,umbrellas..
Checked mountain top websites/webcams prior to our trip everyday. Good gloves are essential for snow activities.Be prepared for all types of weather irrespective of the season you travel, especially mountainous regions. There are plenty of info available in this website for poor weather alternatives. So come with your plans. Nothing to panic.Do not rely much on weather forecast beyond 48 hours. It was showing very bad weather till our departure to Switzerland, but turned out to be a dream weather for us.
We stayed at Hitrental apartments, Lucerne. Great value for money. About 6 minute walk from railway station. MIGROS just in front of the apartment, which was handy. 550 francs for 3 nights
In Wengen, we stayed at Chalet Bluemewag. Again it was a wonderful stay with magnificent views from balcony. Only concern - it was a quite uphill walk from the Chalet to the main road.750 francs for 5 nights.
Free WiFi was available with good speed, fully equipped kitchen, comfortable beds , spotless with good ventilation.
I highly recommend both.
In Luzern we enjoyed a variety of local food and lot of vegetarian options are available. I didn't find any difficulty being a vegetarian. Eating out was expensive, but good things comes with some cost. We can get quick snack/beer for a cheaper price in Migros/COOP, beware of closing times and weekends.We left with no option other than cooking at Wengen. All restaurants except one ( the pasta and more) close after Easter and reopens by mid may or later. There is an Indian restaurant opposite the pharmacy, Golden India Wengen, open till April 15 for winter season and a COOP near by railway station open all days till 6.30 pm except Sunday. Do not spend on water. We can drink tap water in the hotels/apartments and refill your bottles in any water fountain you see.
We used Traveler'sWiFi hotspot,costs 76 CHF for 9 days.It had a good coverage with consistent speed. Recommended for high data usage as in our case for my kid's YouTube videos to make him to sit in the stroller.Battery lasts for 4 to 5 hours in case of continuous usage. For a day long usage carry a power bank. I did not buy a sim card but later i realized it is wise to have a sim card to make calls locally in case of an emergency.
Travel pass/ SBB App/ Trasnport
We opted for 8 days consecutive STP through HAPPYRAIL which comes with easy option of print at home.We can take few extra copies in case of need. Most of the time someone checked the validity and we never asked to show our passport or any id.
Do not forget to get your trip tickets for mountain excursions, even if it is covered by STP and it will be required multiple times till you finish that particualr trip. Keep it safe.
SBB App was immensely helpful to plan our day trips. It has astonishing amount of information like platform details, connection times and it is a MUST while taking our trips.
Swiss trains are amazing. Clean, comfortable and punctual. No wonder people say one of the best transport system in the world. Do not worry too much about changing platforms, carrying luggage. Once you land there everything goes smoothly. Even 5 to 6 minutes is comfortable enough for platform change with your luggage. I had transferred one of my luggage to Wengen, thinking that it would be difficult to travel, but later realized it to be wrong. From Interlaken ost, trains to Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald departs from same platform( 2a and 2b). Need to be bit careful while boarding. In an unlikely event of boarding the wrong one,You can always get down at Zweilutschinen and catch your train
12 CHF for normal luggage transfer,drop it before 6 pm on day 1 and collect it by 9 am on day 3. If you wish to collect it the very next day, go for expressing shipping with 30CHF extra. Mountainous regions do not have express shipping service.
Finally, Kindness of Swiss people is amazing!!!
We thoroughly enjoyed this trip, though we could not visit Jungfraujoch and Stansherhorn as per our plan. We will definitely come back after few years so that my boy too can enjoy and experience this wonderful country.
Happy travels to all future travelers.
Thanks a lot myswissalps team!!!!
I will attach some pictures, for interested people.