Honeymoon 6D/5N in the Swiss Alps in April!

Honeymoon 6D/5N in the Swiss Alps in April!

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Jenelle
Jenelle
7 posts
new member
Feb 2, 2017 - 5:33 PM

Hi!

We will be crossing over to Switzerland in the first week of April 2017 from Milan for a 6 day/5 night tour. We have two routes in mind and would really appreciate if anyone can advise which would be better or else we are open to other suggestions! Our main objective is to at least ascend one of the Alps and also the convenience of traveling between inter-connecting cities. We are coming via train from Milan and leaving for Paris via train as well.

Route 1:

Milan to St moritz via Tirano. Spend one night in St Moritz and move on to Zermatt via Glacier Express. Two nights in Zermatt so as to explore Matterhorn Glacier. Leave Zermatt for two nights Lucerne to explore Lake Lucerne and Mt. Pilatus. Leave Lucerne for Paris via Basel. (Concern for route 1 is whether the Glacier Express is worth us making the trip to st moritz and spending 7.5 hours on scenic train.)

Route2:

Milan to Montreux via train. Montreux to Interlaken OST via Golden Pass. Two nights in Interlaken. Interlaken to Jungfrau via Lauterbrunnen and back to Interlaken via Grindelwald. Continue on the Golden Pass from Interlaken to Lucerne for two nights to explore Lake Lucerne and Mt. Pilatus. Leave Lucerne for Paris via Basel. (Concern is whether we should stay at Grindelwald instead of Interlaken for the first two nights as we would still need to head back to Interlaken to continue on the Golden Pass to Lucerne.

We are considering between the 4-day rail pass or the half fare pass. Sorry for the long post! We have been doing alot of research online but just can't seem to concrete our plan so as to experience the most of the Swiss Alps for our honeymoon! Thank you in advance! :)

Annika
Annika
4992 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 3, 2017 - 7:56 PM

Hi Jenelle, thanks for joining us! Congratulations on your wedding. Great that you get to spend your honeymoon in Switzerland!

Both itineraries look fine. They include beautiful scenic routes and some of the prettiest and most popular towns. You really can't go wrong with either one, and it all comes down to personal preferences. Here are some considerations:

  • yes, route 1 does include a lot of train traveling. The Bernina Express and Glacier Express are very scenic. I suggest you study the pages I linked to and try to find out whether you want to spend the indicated hours on train traveling. Searching the trip reports forum will allow you to read about other visitors' experiences;
  • early April can still be a bit wintry at higher elevations, e.g. Zermatt and St. Moritz. Lower areas around Interlaken and its lakes and Lucerne will show more signs of spring. If that's what you're looking for, route 2 might in all be better. You'd best compare Interlaken and Grindelwald through the links I included. Traveling times between Interlaken and Grindelwald are rather short, so it doesn't matter that much whether you get to Lucerne from either Interlaken or Grindelwald. I suggest you use the timetable to find out about routes and timings for all trips;
  • the Golden Pass is very scenic as well. Note that there's yet another option: entering Switzerland via Chiasso and heading for Lucerne along the Gotthard Panorama Express route. I hope this doesn't add to the confusion ;-). You could spend some days in Lucerne first, then head for Interlaken/Grindelwald using part of the Golden Pass line and then continue to Basel/Paris.

If you consider the Swiss Travel Pass, you may want to look into the 8 day instead of the 4 day variant. The 4 day variant leaves you without any sort of discount on two of your travel days, and costs for regular tickets add up quickly. Depending on your finalized itinerary, you may be dealing with long and expensive inbound/outbound routes on your first and/or last days. The price difference between both passes is CHF 117 in 2nd class and one can easily exceed that amount on two non-free travel days. For your comparison: just a regular ticket for an inbound ride Domodossola-Montreux-Zweisimmen-Interlaken costs CHF 93.

A Swiss Half Fare Card might in all be cheaper, but it's less convenient as you have to buy discounted tickets for each trip. Here's how to calculate which pass suits your plans best: myswissalps.com/train/ ticketspasses/practica l/chooserailpass.

Jenelle
Jenelle
7 posts
new member
Feb 4, 2017 - 4:19 PM in reply to Annika

Dear Annika,

Thank you so much for responding and providing such detailed suggestions! My friend who just visited Switzerland in August 2016 told me that i should not be tied to destinations along the scenic train routes and that any train ride in Switzerland would be scenic enough. She also can't rave enough of Zermatt!

Because of this, i have came up with route 3 lol! Hope u can bear with me and advise me if this would be the best of the three!

Day 1 & 2: Milan to Zermatt early morning. Explore Matterhorn, Gornergrat and easy hike to Riffelsee. (2 nites in Zermatt)

Day 3, 4 &5: Zermatt to Lucerne. Explore Mt Pilatus, Lake Lucerne and a day trip to Jungfrau via Grindelwald in one of the days if possible.

I have miscalculated. We only have 5d5n in Switzerland as we would be leaving for Paris on day 6! This route has less traveling and allows us to enjoy the Alps more, I think! My questions are:

  • Is Zermatt worth a visit in the first week of April? Worried that it may not be as nice as my friend experienced as she went in August.
  • To make a day trip from Lucerne to Jungfrau, what time would you suggest that we leave Lucerne? Or is a day trip possible at all??

Thank you so much!

Last modified on Feb 4, 2017 - 4:21 PM by Jenelle
Arno
Arno
11168 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 4, 2017 - 4:33 PM in reply to Jenelle

Hi Jenelle,

Zermatt will certainly be worth it if the weather is fine (you can't plan for that, you need luck). It will be totally different than in August though. There will still be winter sports activities. Higher trails will not be accessible (see Annika's comment). The Riffelsee will be frozen so you can't see it. You might be able to get close to it if the nearby winter trail from Rotenboden to Riffelberg is open. The tourist office can tell you when you're there.

I would personally not visit Jungfraujoch from Lucerne as it will take a really long time (see the timetable linked by Annika). It can be done but you'd better start very early in the morning. I'd rather visit it while transferring from Zermatt to Lucerne, provided that the weather is good enough. That would be a very long day also, but at least you won't be backtracking. Even without Jungfraujoch the route Zermatt - Spiez - Interlaken - Lucerne is very scenic as it is the Golden Pass route that Annika mentioned.

Does this help?

Last modified on Feb 4, 2017 - 4:34 PM by Arno
Jenelle
Jenelle
7 posts
new member
Feb 4, 2017 - 6:19 PM in reply to Arno

Hi Arno,

Thank you for replying! Its a shame that Riffelsee will be frozen! Sounds like I should stick to route 2!

Oh, do u mean the Golden Pass starts from Zermatt too?? Or didu mean that we would need to take a train from Zermatt to Spiez in order to continue on the Golden Pass to Interlaken and Lucerne?

I am also concern with the traveling time from Milan to enter Switzerland. Seems like the time is shorter when we travel from Milan to Montreux to hop on to Golden Pass than from Milan to Zermatt and then to Spiez?

Arno
Arno
11168 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 4, 2017 - 6:38 PM in reply to Jenelle

Hi Jenelle,

Sorry, I should have wrote " as it includes part of the Golden Pass route". Milan - Zermatt - Spiez should be shorter but via Montreux you will see the entire Golden Pass route. Exact timings are in the timetable. Be sure to check the Golden Pass page too.

Jenelle
Jenelle
7 posts
new member
Feb 4, 2017 - 6:56 PM in reply to Arno

Hi Arno,

Thanks so much! I will check out the pages in detail ;)

Arno
Arno
11168 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 5, 2017 - 7:13 AM

I found this picture of the Riffelsee: www.zermatt.ch/en/Medi a/Media-corner/Photo-database/Lakes/Riffels ee-in-Winter. But I think that was actually taken in late fall or late spring.

Last modified on Feb 5, 2017 - 7:14 AM by Arno
Jenelle
Jenelle
7 posts
new member
Feb 6, 2017 - 8:57 AM in reply to Arno

Hi Arno,

Thanks! In your opinion, should we give Zermatt or Grindelwald two nights??

Jenelle
Jenelle
7 posts
new member
Feb 6, 2017 - 4:50 PM in reply to Jenelle

Hi Arno,

I have checked the train timetable from Spiez to Interlaken and it seems like the Golden Pass trains would land me in Interlaken only past noon, while there are other trains that can get us there earlier. Do these trains travel via the Golden Pass scenic route too? Or do i have to specifically take only the Golden Pass trains??

Lucas
Lucas
8925 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 6, 2017 - 5:51 PM in reply to Jenelle

Hi Jenelle,

Just make sure you are on a regional (R) or Inter-City (IC) train and not the ICE express trains and you will be on the same line. You can see the slight difference on google maps.

Lucas

Jenelle
Jenelle
7 posts
new member
Feb 7, 2017 - 3:18 AM in reply to Lucas

Hi Lucas,

Thanks for the info!

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