Having second thoughts about Swiss itinerary

Having second thoughts about Swiss itinerary

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Posts: 57
Judy52
Judy52
43 posts
active member
May 5, 2018 - 4:05 AM

I thought I’d decided on an itinerary for our 15 day trip in September, but am now having second thoughts.

Wengen 5 nights (hotel booked but refundable)

Lucerne 3 nights ( this can’t be changed as hotel is booked and non-refundable)

Locarno 2 nights ( hotel not booked yet)

Bern or Thun 3 nights (hotel not booked yet)

St Gallen 2 nights (hotel not booked yet)

The plan was to include the Gotthard Panorama Express, the Centovalli/Lotschberger and the Voralpen Express. We have previously been on the Bernina Express, the Glacier Express and the Golden Pass.

Today I’ve read a few not so good reviews of the Centovalli journey. I’ve also read that the GPEX isn’t that great.

Is it worth doing these train trips and spending two nights in Locarno or would we be better off changing our itinerary? We have previously stayed in Montreux so didn’t want to go near Lake Geneva this time.

rockoyster
rockoyster
3368 posts
expert
May 5, 2018 - 4:10 AM in reply to Judy52

If it was me I'd spend more time in the Ticino Region and reduce/skip Bern/Thun seeing you've already got 5 days in Wengen.

I thought the Gotthard Panorama Express was a great trip. The combination boat/train works really well. I actually thought the Glacier Express was the least impressive of the major scenic trains I travelled on (the Vorpalpen is just a normal train going through some very lovely rural scenery so doesn't qualify as a major). Did you read this trip repor t from Lucas about the Centovalli and Ticino?

Also see what this guy has to say about the Centovalli - jerrygarrett.wordpress .com/2013/03/15/switze rlands-eight-greatest-train-rides/.

Last modified on May 5, 2018 - 4:15 AM by rockoyster
Judy52
Judy52
43 posts
active member
May 5, 2018 - 4:36 AM in reply to rockoyster

Thanks rockoyster

The reason I want to stay in Bern or Thun is to be able to visit such places as Murten, Avenches and Fribourg, as well as possibly Zermatt if the weather is good enough one day. It’s also an area we haven’t been to at all.

It seems as if the GPEX and the Centovalli might be worth doing. I doubt we’ll ever get back to Switzerland so I don’t want to waste time seeing less than impressive scenery so that’s why I’m a bit worried about getting the itinerary right before I book hotels.

Lucas
Lucas
5543 posts
expert &
moderator
May 5, 2018 - 2:39 PM in reply to Judy52

Hi Judy,

I liked the Centovalli Express, a nice change of scenery I thought. No reason to avoid it if you are going to the Ticino region either.

I really liked Ticino. I'd also put in some good words on St. Gallen and the Appenzell region. I wouldn't consider Thun after your stay in Wengen either. So I'd think about either staying in Bern as you mention or adding the Bern/Thun nights to the Ticino or St. Gallen areas.

I

1960man
1960man
165 posts
active member
May 6, 2018 - 1:19 AM

I would do it in this order:

Luzern

Wengen

Bern (or stay in Fribourg itself) for Avenches etc (Romont and Payerne also very well worth a visit). A big thumbs up from me for citing the 'forgotten' parts of Suisse Romande worth a visit) have you done Gruyere before?

Bern - Domodossola - Centovalli - Locarno

Locarno (plus Bellinzona and Lugano) - all very interesting places

Judy52
Judy52
43 posts
active member
May 6, 2018 - 2:22 AM in reply to 1960man

Thanks Lucas and 1960man

As I said originally, the 3 nights in Luzern are fixed (non-refundable) and I’d like to keep the Wengen booking even though it’s refundable.

What could be changed are the last 7 nights. My husband is very into Roman ruins which is why I’d like to go to Avenches. And on researching the area I discovered Murten and Fribourg. We could stay at either of these places rather than Bern itself.

The GPEX and the Centovalli/Lotschberger are two scenic trips we haven’t done before. I guess instead of the GPEX we could do the Bernina Express again, going south this time as I thought it the best of the train trips we did last time, but I like the idea of something different.

rockoyster
rockoyster
3368 posts
expert
May 6, 2018 - 3:22 AM in reply to Judy52

The BEX and the GPEX are both going to take you south so why repeat the BEX?

On the way from Locarno to Bern If you include via Kandersteg then between Brig and Spiez you will travel on the Regio-Express Lötschberger train over the traditional, more than 100 year old mountain route, giving you a wonderful view along the impressive peaks and down into the Rhone Valley. The 1-hour faster route via Visp takes you through the fairly lengthy Lötschberg Base Tunnel with rather limited views.

Judy52
Judy52
43 posts
active member
May 6, 2018 - 3:41 AM in reply to rockoyster

Yes, that’s how I feel too. We might as well try a different scenic train trip rather than repeat one we’ve already done.

And yes, the Lotschberger is the one I’d like to take from Brig to Bern. I’m not sure how that fits with the train from Domodossola yet, but hopefully we can do the Centovalli Express and the Lotschberger on the one day.

rockoyster
rockoyster
3368 posts
expert
May 6, 2018 - 4:31 AM in reply to Judy52

"hopefully we can do the Centovalli Express and the Lotschberger on the one day"

Absolutely. You at arrive at Brig from Domodossola. So just change there to the Lötschberger.

Judy52
Judy52
43 posts
active member
May 6, 2018 - 4:55 AM

The problem is that I have googled quite a bit but can’t find how often and what times the Lotschberger leaves Brig. I guess I just have to keep looking.

rockoyster
rockoyster
3368 posts
expert
May 6, 2018 - 4:58 AM in reply to Judy52

If you use the SBB Timetable (www.myswissalps.com/ti metable) to look up Brig to Bern via Kandersteg it will tell you. It's just a regular train with a posh name. Example attached for a random day. Runs hourly at 36 mins past the hour.

Last modified on May 6, 2018 - 5:02 AM by rockoyster
Please login to see the attached documents
Judy52
Judy52
43 posts
active member
May 6, 2018 - 5:23 AM

OK, thanks. But I see that the timetable only shows the bus running from Locarno to Domodossola on 23 September. So even if the Centovalli train is running by then, I don’t know how I’m supposed to reserve a seat ahead of time.

rockoyster
rockoyster
3368 posts
expert
May 6, 2018 - 5:40 AM in reply to Judy52

That's interesting. You wouldn't be able to reserve seats this far out anyway. Try again after 30 June when the trains are supposed to be back in operation.

Peterli
Peterli
396 posts
top member
May 7, 2018 - 1:26 AM

Hej,

I'm the person who is often suggesting places in Romandie as an area of Switzerland to visit, and so here goes. Morat would be a good place to stay if you are interested in things Roman. The amphitheatre in nearby (about a ten minute drive) Avenches (Roman Aventicum) is definitely worth a visit and includes an interesting museum (free entry last time I was there in 2017). Aventicum was the capital of Roman Switzerland, Helvetica. You also have to make the short drive (about ten kilometres) to the Musée romain de Vallon with its two mosaics (one the largest in Switzerland in situ). It is open from 1 PM to 5 PM. Please note that it is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Admission is 6 CHF. (Sorry their website is in French only).

There is also an amphitheatre in Nyon, only discovered in 1996, but I have not visited it. www.lacote-tourisme.ch/fr/P6866/a mphitheatre-romain-de-nyon

While in Morat, be sure to walk along the old wooden-roofed fortifications and see the the old clock at the Bern end of the cobble-stoned arcaded Hauptgasse.

Last modified on May 7, 2018 - 1:27 AM by Peterli
Judy52
Judy52
43 posts
active member
May 7, 2018 - 3:40 AM

Thanks Peterli

We won’t have a car so I’m not sure how we’ll get to Avenches from Murten - taxi maybe? Unfortunately, we’ll be in that area on a Monday and Tuesday so won’t be able to visit the museum.

We’ve seen quite a few Roman ruins in Italy, Spain and the UK already but it should be interesting to see some in Switzerland too.

rockoyster
rockoyster
3368 posts
expert
May 7, 2018 - 4:00 AM in reply to Judy52

Hi Judy,

You might want to have a look at this update on the Centovalli situation.

Judy52
Judy52
43 posts
active member
May 7, 2018 - 4:16 AM in reply to rockoyster

Thanks Rockoyster

So it appears very unlikely that the Centovalli train will be running on the 23 September. But at least we’ll still be able to get from Locarno to Domodossola by bus, although it may not be a very scenic trip. Does anyone know if it is a little bit scenic?

Judy52
Judy52
43 posts
active member
May 7, 2018 - 4:21 AM in reply to Judy52

Apparently we can go between Murten and Avenches by train, but they only run hourly.

Peterli
Peterli
396 posts
top member
May 7, 2018 - 6:37 AM in reply to Judy52

Hello again,

Too bad that the days you will be in the area are only Monday and Tuesday.. Since you have not done much of your hotel bookings you could probably rearrange things. The mosaics at the museum in Vallon are something to be seen. The larger one is an a large temperature and humidity controlled room with platforms on all four sides so visitors can see and photograph it.

Yes, there is train service between Morat and Avenches, and I am attaching two maps to show where the train stations are located in relation to the old part of Morat and the amphitheatre in Avenches. There is no train line to Vallon but it would be a quick taxi ride.

Please login to see the attached documents
Judy52
Judy52
43 posts
active member
May 7, 2018 - 6:49 AM in reply to Peterli

Thanks for the maps. I’m currently trying to work out if we should rearrange our last week but not sure how to do it. We leave for somewhere in Austria the day after our Swiss travel Passes run out so wanted to be near the border on our last day in Switzerland.

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