Bern vs Lucerne: Itinerary advice needed

Bern vs Lucerne: Itinerary advice needed

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Vidhi J
Vidhi J
33 posts
active member
May 22, 2018 - 9:24 PM

Hi

I'm going to be visiting Switzerland in the first half of June (as you might know from my last thread) and my itinerary is such that I'm a little confused between these 2 options:

1) Enjoy 6-7 hours at Bern on a certain day for lunch and then roaming around the town center and covering its main sights as well as some relaxed shopping followed by dinner before returning to Zurich. Visit Lucerne on another day for a couple of hours around 8pm onwards to roam around the town centre while covering Chapel bridge, Lion monument and a bit of a walk along the lake to see the sunset followed by dinner once it's dark and return to Zurich. Downside is that with this plan we won't get any time to see the Interlaken town centre (if that's important).

2) Enjoy 7-8 hours at Lucerne on a certain day for lunch and then roaming around the town center and covering its main sights as well as some relaxed shopping followed by dinner before returning to Zurich. Visit Bern on another day for barely an hour in the morning to roam around the town centre trying to get a feel of it. Downside is that with this plan we won't get as much time at Bern as it might deserve (although Interlaken town centre gets covered in this plan).

These are not itineraries but the end results of the 2 itineraries I have in mind. Please advise which option to choose based on where is it better to shop and in terms of the amount of time these places deserve with respect to one another considering we have limited time. Thanks in advance.

Last modified on May 22, 2018 - 9:31 PM by Vidhi J
Lucas
Lucas
6430 posts
expert &
moderator
May 23, 2018 - 6:14 AM in reply to Vidhi J

Hi Vidhi,

I think plan 1 is your best bet - at least I would focus on Bern and Lucerne. Both are, for me, much more interesting than Interlaken.

Last modified on May 23, 2018 - 6:43 AM by Arno
Vidhi J
Vidhi J
33 posts
active member
May 23, 2018 - 7:18 AM

Thanks Lucas. Even I was leaning towards Plan 1. So for Plan 1 to work (for Lucerne basically), it is important to catch the 18.04 departure of Lucerne-Interlaken express from Interlaken to Lucerne. Before that the rest of the day is dedicated to Jungraujoch excursion. I've accounted for a half an hour wait for queuing up at Interlaken for purchasing the return tickets to Jungfraujoch, little less than an hour for a little photo stop at Lauterbrunnen and 3 hours for activities at Jungfraujoch including lunch and some chocolate shopping. I've planned all this using the SBB timetable. If all goes well, this plan should work. Is there something here that I haven't accounted for? Are there going to be any unexpected delays during the whole Jungfraujoch excursion like having to wait for another train because the train I wanted was going full or something else? It's going to be on a Monday/Tuesday if that helps. Please let me know.

Last modified on May 23, 2018 - 8:00 AM by Vidhi J
Lucas
Lucas
6430 posts
expert &
moderator
May 23, 2018 - 2:22 PM in reply to Vidhi J

It is possible but unlikely that a train to Jungfraujoch in June is full and you have to wait - July and August it can happen though. I doubt you'll have to queue very long to get tickets at Interlaken that long either.

It sounds like you've planned it out pretty well! Of course, the big factor is weather and whether or not it allows you to see anything at the top (and if you still want to go up).

Vidhi J
Vidhi J
33 posts
active member
May 23, 2018 - 6:12 PM in reply to Lucas

Hehe. Yes I'm hoping the weather gods will cooperate. I have a choice of 2 days for Jungfraujoch excursion and I'll choose which day to do it on based on the weather forecast at that time. The other day will be for Titlis excursion. I might bother you guys again around that time for your advice :)

P.S. I'm hoping there are some breakfast/takeaway places inside Interlaken station for vegetarians to grab a bite.

Lucas
Lucas
6430 posts
expert &
moderator
May 23, 2018 - 6:41 PM in reply to Vidhi J

You should have some luck at the Coop supermarket for vegetarian options. Not sure about breakfast items though.

Vidhi J
Vidhi J
33 posts
active member
May 25, 2018 - 7:59 AM

One more question. I understand that, in general, Switzerland is much safer than a lot of other European countries but I have some specific doubts. During my stay in Switzerland I'll be staying at Mercure Stoller Hotel Zurich and Hotel Eurotel Montreux. Most of my days will involve early morning and late night (after 10-11 pm) walks between the hotels and the nearest station which are Zurich Hardbrucke (15 minutes) and Montreux station (5 minutes) respectively. We might also end up walking to the central stations of Lucerne and Bern after dark from their surrounding areas. We are a family of 4 (my parents, my brother and me) and we'll be carrying a mid-sized daily backpack and maybe a purse/sling bag amongst us. Please let me know if there are any safety concerns involved. Thanks.

Lucas
Lucas
6430 posts
expert &
moderator
May 25, 2018 - 9:50 AM in reply to Vidhi J

I would have no concerns at any town or train station in Switzerland.

Hardbrücke has a lot of bars and clubs around it so it may be busy with some night-loving people. :)

But not dangerous in my mind.

Vidhi J
Vidhi J
33 posts
active member
May 25, 2018 - 10:05 AM

Thanks :) And are we supposed to carry our passports on us at all times or can we leave them safely at the hotel room lockers and carry only digital/photo copies with us? And does the usage of Eurail Pass affect that?

Last modified on May 25, 2018 - 10:06 AM by Vidhi J
Lucas
Lucas
6430 posts
expert &
moderator
May 25, 2018 - 10:07 AM in reply to Vidhi J

You'll need your passports with you on the trains if you have a rail pass with your passport information on it. Like the Swiss Travel Pass. The train employees will want to check the rail pass information with your passport.

Vidhi J
Vidhi J
33 posts
active member
May 25, 2018 - 10:23 AM

Ok so that means we'll have to carry the passports around every day since we're using the rail pass everyday. Good to know in advance. Thanks for the help :)

P.S. I hope Switzerland doesn't share the German preference for cash. At most places in Germany, the prices for payment by card were higher than payment by cash and so I had to carry a lot more cash around everyday than I would've preferred.

Lucas
Lucas
6430 posts
expert &
moderator
May 25, 2018 - 11:23 AM in reply to Vidhi J

Yes, the Swiss much prefer cash.

I don't recall paying more because I was paying with a card though. But some places don't accept cards at all so keep Swiss Francs on you.

Vidhi J
Vidhi J
33 posts
active member
May 28, 2018 - 5:51 AM

Thanks Lucas and Arno (on another thread). I have a little question about the Montreux Riviera Card. It mentions that card holders get a 20% discount on the Broc chocolate factory experience. But I'll be visiting the factory on my way to Montreux, basically a few hours before checking in at the Montreux hotel. Is there any way of availing the discount in spite of that? And is there any similar card available that Zurich hotels offer on check in?

Last modified on May 28, 2018 - 6:07 AM by Vidhi J
Lucas
Lucas
6430 posts
expert &
moderator
May 28, 2018 - 10:30 AM in reply to Vidhi J

I don't see anyway of getting the discount without first getting the card from your hotel unfortunately.
You could ask your hotel to double-check though.

Vidhi J
Vidhi J
33 posts
active member
May 29, 2018 - 6:13 AM in reply to Lucas

Actually I had read somewhere yesterday that even if someone has to use the public transport of Montreux to get to their Montreux hotel before check-in, they can use their hotel confirmation to avail free transport. So I was wondering if something like that could be applicable on the chocolate factory discount as well. But you're right, I guess I should ask the hotel directly. Thanks nonetheless :)

Lucas
Lucas
6430 posts
expert &
moderator
May 29, 2018 - 6:32 AM in reply to Vidhi J

You could be right there. I'm not sure if the chocolate factory will accept it but they might!
The hotel or the chocolate factory will let you know one way or the other via email I am sure.

Let us know what you hear! :)

Vidhi J
Vidhi J
33 posts
active member
May 29, 2018 - 7:22 AM

So I dropped a mail to the hotel and they promptly replied saying that if I contact the hotel with all the booking details 48 hours before arrival, then they'll prepare our Riviera cards in advance and mail us the scanned copies for our use at the factory. I must say that I'm already quite floored by the Swiss hospitality :)

Lucas
Lucas
6430 posts
expert &
moderator
May 29, 2018 - 9:57 AM in reply to Vidhi J

Super! Good to know that some hotels will do that. :)

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