First trip to Switzerland- itinerary advice please

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Bica12
Bica12
6 posts
new member
Mar 18, 2017 - 8:30 PM

Hello! This is going to be my first trip(with my husband) outside the country to a place we always wanted to go! We are trying to travel on a budget, so we will do mostly hiking or exploring towns(and maybe a tour depending on what pass we get). Any advice would be awesome!

Will try to put as much info as I can. Kind of new at this so sorry if it's a little unorganized.

Total Nights: 8 Date: August 01 - August 08

August 01- All day Zurich (explore city)

August 02 and 03- Travel to Lucerne (explore city one day, and travel to Rigi mountain another)

August 04- 06- Travel and Stay in Wengen ( try to see Jungfraujoch on one of the two days, do some hiking, explore some nearby towns)

For the hiking, we are both not too hardcore so we are looking for something that is doable. Any recommendations?

We also would LOVE to spend the day at Gelmer Funicular(and the Gelmer Lake), but I'm afraid it may be hard to get there(and may get lost) and may not be able to ride(I assume it's always packed). What happens when you reach Handegg Gelmerbahn? Do you need to do a long walk to get to the funicular? Do you need a car? Any insight on this would be great as this was one of the main attractions I wanted to do in Switzerland!

August 07- Leave Wengen and head towards Bern (explore Bern)

August 08- Explore rest of Bern and head towards Zurich (Take the Seilbahn Rigiblick to the top and do a hike)

Here are my other questions :)

We are worried about price of food(we will do COOP shopping during Wengen section), but was thinking of getting the Swiss coupon pass. Is it worth it just for the restaurant deals? Do the deals have flexibility? We are probably not doing too much museum things unless we get the swiss travel pass(or it's a rainy day).

We also wanted to ask about transportation. What pass would you guys recommend for this situation? I was leaning towards Swiss travel pass(for two), but do you think a flex pass is more affordable for this trip? Or maybe a half fare pass?

Is there anything else we should know about? Love to hear advice! Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask!

Lucas
Lucas
9566 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 19, 2017 - 1:19 PM in reply to Bica12

Hi Bica12 and welcome to MySwissAlps!

It looks like you have a great itinerary start! I've linked our information pages on your post above on some towns and activities you are planning to visit to see what else there is to do there.

As for your questions:

  1. I have not visited Gelmer Lake so I don't have any personal experience to help you there. I am sure another member can chime in who has been there. The funicular or other transport options may be busy but they won't "sell out" so don't worry about not being able to get up assuming you don't go there at the end of the day. Check out this website for more details - it sounds like a 2 hour hike after the Funicular.
  2. You may find the Swiss Coupon Pass worth your while, read up more about the deals here.
  3. The 8 day Swiss Travel Pass would be the better deal for you based on your 8 day itinerary, rather than the more expensive Swiss Travel Pass Flex.

Let me know if this all makes sense and feel free to ask more questions!

Lucas

Snowman
Snowman
257 posts
top member
Mar 19, 2017 - 1:28 PM in reply to Bica12

Hi Bica12,

I have never been to Gelmersee but that funicular looks fascinating!

Check out this web page : www.wanderland.ch/en/r outes/route-0374.html

it gives you a link on the access: you want to go to the bus stop called "Handegg, Gelmerbahn". That is a stop on the postal bus line that crosses the Grimsel pass. From Wengen, it's 2:20 hours one way, four train sections and one bus section... You may prefer to start out of Interlaken or Lucerne.

For budget meals, yes, in the summer the best is you buy a picnic at Coop and eat outside, of course disposing your waste properly. Larger Coops and Migros also have self-serve cafeterias where prices are reasonable.

Lucas
Lucas
9566 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 19, 2017 - 1:44 PM in reply to Snowman

Yes, after looking up that lake and surrounding areas it is now on my bucketlist this summer - looks great!

Lucas

Bica12
Bica12
6 posts
new member
Mar 19, 2017 - 7:05 PM in reply to Lucas

Thanks so much for the information! Will listen to your advice about the pass. I know, the place looks amazing, and so does the funicular. It's going to be a tough choice between going there or Rigi mountain(or do that and Rigi and skip exploring Lucerne).

Bica12
Bica12
6 posts
new member
Mar 19, 2017 - 7:13 PM in reply to Snowman

Thank you for the information Snowman! Will check out the website in great detail! I will also take your advice in doing this if I am in Lucerne. Yeah we will probably go the Coop route for the most part. I heard there are some deals on the lunch specials in restaurants and I research some places where it's not too bad.

Now the tough part is what to sacrifice haha. Do I go to Rigi mountain and Gelmersee and sacrifice seeing Lucerne, or do I sacrifice Rigi. If you have any advice let me know :) I guess it will depend on the weather as well!

Last modified on Mar 19, 2017 - 7:14 PM by Bica12
Lucas
Lucas
9566 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 19, 2017 - 8:02 PM in reply to Bica12

Hi Bica12,

If it helps Luzern (local German spelling) is easily explored in a half day (highlights anyway as it is a small town). Defiantly focus on the weather and if it looks great I would head up into the mountains!

PS Migros grocery store is cheaper than Coop for either groceries or snacks and prepared meals! Denner also has cheap prices but they aren't as numerous as Migros or Coop.

Lucas

Snowman
Snowman
257 posts
top member
Mar 19, 2017 - 8:57 PM in reply to Lucas

For your budget meals, in Luzern you could go to the University cafeteria. The U is next to the train station. Of course you won't get the student or staff discount, but the full price is still attractive and the place should not be overcrowded in August.

Bica12
Bica12
6 posts
new member
Mar 19, 2017 - 10:13 PM in reply to Lucas

Thank you again Lucas! Will do both recommendations for the Luzern part of the trip, and shopping at Migros when I can!

Bica12
Bica12
6 posts
new member
Mar 19, 2017 - 10:14 PM in reply to Snowman

Thank you so much Snowman! This will really help figuring out where to eat in Luzern! Will check this place out when we get there :)

AlanPrice
AlanPrice
200 posts
active member
Mar 20, 2017 - 9:36 PM

Hi,

If you are having trouble deciding what to leave out, I'd suggest not doing the Mt. Rigi, particularly if the weather is poor. It has got a great view of the area, but even on sunny days in August, visibility can be reduced due to summer haze. Besides, after going to the Jungfraujoch you will have experienced the best of Swiss mountain scenery.

Bica12
Bica12
6 posts
new member
Mar 29, 2017 - 3:59 PM in reply to AlanPrice

Thanks so much Alan! Is the summer haze that bad in August? Do you think Mt. Pilatus would be better? Or does it not matter? Thanks!

AlanPrice
AlanPrice
200 posts
active member
Mar 30, 2017 - 12:49 AM in reply to Bica12

Hi.

A common weather event called a temperature inversion can create a heavy haze in the valleys during the summer by trapping pollution and reducing visibilty, particulary during the middle of the day. This tends to happen after a long spell of warm, dry weather and is really only dispersed by a change in the weather, or a strong Foehn (a southerly wind that brings beautiful, clear days. Great for tourists, but locals living to the north of the Alps blame it for all sorts of things from migraines to an increase in the suicide rate!)

If you have to pick between Mt Pilatus or Mt Rigi, I'd go for Pilatus. You have a choice about how you get there, either by cablecar or cog rail, both quite exciting, and the scenery is definitely more alpine than the Rigi.

hope this helps

Alan

Lucas
Lucas
9566 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 31, 2017 - 7:33 AM in reply to AlanPrice

I can vouch for some annoying headaches here in Zurich with weather changes. Now I have a name for it - thanks Alan!

Lucas

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