First time in Switzerland for 5 days; where to go?

First time in Switzerland for 5 days; where to go?

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KamalS
KamalS
27 posts
active member
Dec 30, 2016 - 7:35 AM

Hi all.

I was so happy to find this website while browsing for information about our trip to Switzerland. I hope that the members here can help us out. We are a family of 4, 2 adults and 2 boys (aged 14&11). We are planning our first trip to Switzerland at the end of June 2017. We will be coming in to Switzerland via train from Milan, Italy where we will be for the first few days. We are planning to take the train on the 25th of June 2017, stay in one of the towns closeby (either Interlaken or Lucern) for 4 days then head to Zurich on the 29th for a night and fly back on the 30th of June.

I would just like to get some info pertaining on where to stay. I am totally confused at the moment as everywhere looks great! We are hoping to see Mt. Titlis, Jungfrau and small villages like Grindelwald and maybe Bern. Zermatt/Matterhorn would be great as well but i don't think i have the time for that. I would like to know where to stay so that everything is pretty central to all the above places. Would it be Interlaken or Lucern or maybe somewhere else?

This is our first time and probably only time to visit Switzerland and would like to make the best of it by seeing the musts! I hope someone can put me in the right direction. I just find it so hard to start but once there is a starting point everything will seem to fall in place.

Thanks in advance to all and Happy New Year!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5006 posts
expert
Dec 30, 2016 - 6:09 PM in reply to KamalS

Hi Kamal-

It is a tough choice. I'd pick Luzern ( German spelling, which you will see on the signs).

I theory, you could squeeze in a day at Interlaken or Grindelwald or Wengen, but it would not really give you enough time to see much, and the chance of cloudy weather really demands a two to three day stay in that area. Cloudy weather really obscures the best views.

www.myswissalps.com/wh eretogo/towns

www.myswissalps.com/lu cerne

Luzern has great variety, and is beautiful in its own right.

Luzern has high mountains within easy reach....Titlis, Pilatus, lake boat rides, a nice old town, and has the possibilty for day trips....even a very long day trip to the Bernese Oberland. A nice old town. nearby hikes....

If you were planning to stay 5 or 6 nights, I'd suggest two bases, but for 4 nights/3 days, it is not a good idea.

Depending on when you leave from Zürich airport, you could stay your last night in Luzern, if you wish. Frequent, excellent train service. The timetable is very useful and has lots of details buried in it.

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

Slowpoke

KamalS
KamalS
27 posts
active member
Dec 31, 2016 - 6:27 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Slowpoke. Thanks for the info. So Luzern it is. It does seem closeby to all that we would like to see and do while on our trip. Unfortunatley, our flight out of Zurich is in the late mroning so staying in Zurich for the night will be a must for us. Now to get down to sorting out the itenary for the trip. Should be easy enough now that we have a base. Will be coming back with more questions once all is organised. Thanks again and A Happy New Year to all!

Arno
Arno
11155 posts
expert &
moderator
Dec 31, 2016 - 9:31 AM in reply to KamalS

Hi Kamal,

Even if you stay in Luzern the last night, you can reach the airport as early as 6:15 AM. The timetable Slowpoke linked to has all the details. If you prefer to stay near the airport, then this page is useful: myswissalps.com/ zurichairporthotels.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5006 posts
expert
Dec 31, 2016 - 9:33 AM

Hi Kamal -

<<"Unfortunately, our flight out of Zurich is in the late morning so staying in Zurich for the night will be a must for us.">>

See attached screen grab from the timetable. I have stayed in Luzern and caught AM flights out of Zürich.

That said-

There are many trains per hour from Zürich main station to the airport, especially in rush hours. Times as short as 9 minutes up to about 20 minutes. Depending on how close you are to the station in Zürich, the time to destination may be similar to what you get from a hotel shuttle bus near the airport.

I always stay in downtown Zürich if I am flying out in the AM. That gives me easy access to the city and restaurants for walking around and sightseeing.

Others prefer to stay near the airport; remember that the shuttle buses of some hotels run on a schedule.......perhaps every 20 minutes....

Sometimes, if I have 2 or 3 people and a whole lot of luggage, I take a taxi. A taxi from downtown Zürich is supposed to cost about 55-60 CHF in the AM, since you would not be fighting traffic. I usually pay 55-65 outbound then. Figure 20 minutes transit time door to door. Inbound from the airport in the AM can be much more expensive, due to time on the taxi meter and slow rush hour traffic on the roads inbound.. And, make sure that you look at the taxi meter when you start your trip, or ask the fare. Sometimes, it can be a fixed fare, especially if your hotel gets the cab and does frequent business with the cab company. Once or twice in the last 10 years I have been overcharged, but not when my hotel got the taxi.

That is very very expensive taxi service by USA standards. However, if you have a lot of luggage or several people, it might be worth it.

You can leave luggage in lockers at ZHBf or ZFlughafen.

Slowpoke

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KamalS
KamalS
27 posts
active member
Dec 31, 2016 - 12:21 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Slowpoke and Arno. Thanks for the replies. As this is our first trip, we thought we would also like to have a look at Zurich and stay there a night. But if we do decide otherwise then I appreciate the info on the train timetables. I am guessing the Swiss Travel Pass is the way to go from reading the forum. Will be back with more questions once done more research. By the way is Zermatt/Matterhorn worth going to since we will already be seeing Mt. Titlis and Pilatus and maybe Jungfrau? Thanks again for the info.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5006 posts
expert
Jan 1, 2017 - 8:17 AM in reply to KamalS

Hi Kamal-

This thread....scroll down..has information about Zürich that may be useful for you.

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/need-help-in-my-planning#cq6cUaDW9mqS6 v8AAFcRTQ

Of course, you can also look here:

www.myswissalps.com/zu rich

Slowpoke

Arno
Arno
11155 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 1, 2017 - 9:33 AM in reply to KamalS

Zermatt is certainly wonderful (see here), but whether you want to make such a long day trip is up to you. Only do so if there's a clear sky so you can actually enjoy the views.

KamalS
KamalS
27 posts
active member
Jan 11, 2017 - 3:40 AM

Thanks Arno for the reply. Zermatt does look lovely but time does not permit! Just wondering is it wise to travel from Luzern to Jungfrau or should we just skip it and see what there is to see around the Luzern area? Maybe staying in Interlaken one night for the Jungfrau region would be better before heading off to Zurich? But we only have 5 days and 4 nights. This is the only thing I am not too sure about. Seems like a long travel day if not. We are ok withthe travelling part but worried about the weather. Thanks.

Lucas
Lucas
8881 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 11, 2017 - 12:12 PM in reply to KamalS

Hi KamalS,

Yes, I would lean towards staying in Luzern and exploring that area based on your schedule. You may be able to visit several scenic areas and mountains, such as Mt. Pilatus, Mt. Rigi or Titlis. All worthwhile options for you while in Luzern.

Lucas

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5006 posts
expert
Jan 11, 2017 - 12:22 PM in reply to KamalS

Hi Kamal.

At least one forum member has made the day trip to Jungfraujoch from Luzern with this family, and reported that they thought it was worth the long hours and considerable effort.

The key is to know about the weather, which is reasonably predictable 24 hours in advance.

There are lots of good ways to learn about that from Luzern. More on that later, but, it is certainly a possibility.

Luzern and nearby places are certainly worth more than several days, of course.

Slowpoke

KamalS
KamalS
27 posts
active member
Jan 12, 2017 - 1:02 AM

Hi Lucas and Slowpoke. Thanks for the replies. Shall have a little discussion with the family on this and see if it is worth taking the trip to Jungfrau from Luzern. I am keen to see the top of Europe but only if time and weather permits. Thanks again!

KamalS
KamalS
27 posts
active member
Feb 7, 2017 - 3:22 AM in reply to KamalS

Hello everyone,

Finally have kind of organised my itenary. Would appreciate some advice if it is suitable.

Since at the start I had been given advice to stay in one place as a base and travel around from there, we have decided on Luzern. Our family of 4 (2 adults and 2 kids (aged 14 & 11) will be travelling to Luzern from Florence on the 25th of June.
We will be using the 4 day Swiss pass to travel around and a day Mount Titlis Swiss Peak Pass.

We will be covering Luzern town, exploring the nearby Swiss Alps such as Mount Titlis and Mount Rigi and also a day trip to Bern and Interlaken.
We leave for Zurich on the 29th of June and fly home on the 30th.

I am now sorting out the accommodation in Luzern and Zurich.
Just wanted to ask, is the Swiss Alps sightseeing enough or should i add on Mt. Pilatus as well?
Not too sure if we have the time though! Just wondering.

Also, we have heard that Swiss watches are really cheap in Interlaken hence the trip there as well. Is this true? Any other advice or pointers will be most welcomed. Thanks again.

KamalS

Lucas
Lucas
8881 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 7, 2017 - 9:22 AM in reply to KamalS

Hi KamalS,

That looks like a great itinerary KamalS!

I would probably just keep an eye on the weather when you are in Luzern and base your decision on which mountain to visit on how the weather looks and decide each morning (or night before perhaps).

I have never heard that anything in Switzerland is cheap! I am not sure why they might be cheap(er) in Interlaken either....perhaps another member knows...but I wouldn't get your hopes up. :)

Lucas

KamalS
KamalS
27 posts
active member
Feb 7, 2017 - 1:11 PM in reply to Lucas

Hi Lucas,

Thanks for the reply and thank goodness the itinerary looks good! Was told about the swiss watches being cheap there so just wanted to check whether it was correct. Whether wise, yup will be looking out when would be the best time to go. Just another quick question, I know the weather will be much warmer in June but coming from Malaysia where it's warm all year around is it necessary to take loads of winter wear for the Alps? Thermal underclothing and jackets necessary? Or would it be better to rent this clothing if it is available there? Thanks.

KamalS

Lucas
Lucas
8881 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 7, 2017 - 4:52 PM in reply to KamalS

Hi KamalS,

I wouldn't t pack too many winter clothes no; but some layers would be ideal. Warm sweaters and a jacket good for the wind which you may want at lower elevations anyway.
I'm sure what I consider warm (coming from Canada) is different than you, but definitely think layers when packing. I don't wear thermals unless I'm planning to be out and about for several hours and the temperature is below zero. Thermals pack small though! :)

Lucas

Last modified on Feb 7, 2017 - 4:54 PM by Lucas
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5006 posts
expert
Feb 7, 2017 - 5:38 PM in reply to KamalS

Hi KamalS -

One good way to keep track of the weather at the Jungfrau before you go over is to stop at the Tourist Info by track #1 in the main station. The afternoon before is OK. The weather is not predictable very far in advance, but within 24 hours it is usually accurate. It does change rapidly in the high Alps. That way, you can choose which way to go, based on the latest weather information.

It is a nice train ride.

I'd recommend that you stop at Interlaken Ost train station , where you will have to change trains anyway, and buy them there just before you go up. You can ask the ticket clerk about conditions. If you are traveling with a rail pass, you will still need those tickets. And, you might still ride up to Kleine Scheidegg just for the scenery, even if clouds are in a layer higher up at the Jungfraujoch.

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5006 posts
expert
Feb 7, 2017 - 5:49 PM in reply to KamalS

Hi KamalS-

<<"as told about the swiss watches being cheap there so just wanted to check whether it was correct.">>

Switzerland has efficient communications, and identical watches are likely to be priced the same at most stores. Although I have not shopped for Swiss watches, I'd be surprised if they were priced more cheaply at a major tourist destination such as Interlaken. Doesn't make sense. Tourists buy without rigorous comparison shopping.

To calibrate before you go, look here:

High volume at :

www.casagrande.ch/

and

Higher quality and price range, famous luxury store:

www.bucherer.com/en/lo cations/lucerne-schwanenplatz

Slowpoke

KamalS
KamalS
27 posts
active member
Feb 8, 2017 - 1:49 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Lucas and Slowpkoe.

Thanks for the replies. Will do so with the layering part of clothing. Will also just take some thermal wear just incase...:)

<<"One good way to keep track of the weather at the Jungfrau ">>

We will not be making a trip to Jungfrau after all and have decided on Mt. Titlis and Mt. Rigi instead. Decided that the trip was too long from Luzern to Jungfrau.

Thanks for the websites as well on Swiss watches. Will have a read and see whether it is worth it or not to buy.

Thanks again and i will be back with more questions should the need arise. Cheers!

KamalS

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5006 posts
expert
Feb 8, 2017 - 2:40 AM in reply to KamalS

Hi Kamal-

<<"Decided that the trip was too long from Luzern to Jungfrau.">>

Most make that decision. Some do not.

I hope that we gave you or led you to the data to allow your decision. If we did, we did our job.

Enjoy your trip....and return again to catch what you missed.

<<"Thanks for the websites as well on Swiss watches. Will have a read and see whether it is worth it or not to buy.">>

I don't know how to make that judgement from those links, but those are good places to visit to see what there is and what it costs.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Feb 8, 2017 - 2:41 AM by Slowpoke

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