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Swiss itinerary - 15 days in Jun 2022


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Posts: 12 
missyjay
missyjay
12 posts
new member
Nov 19, 2021 - 8:39 AM

First of all, I would like to thank everyone who contributes to this forum which helped me a lot in my planning for next year. We will explore Switzerland after a 15-day river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam which has been postponed twice (Jun 2020 and Jun 2021). And hoping this time will finally will happen. I will purchase 15-day Swiss Travel Pass, which is on sale until 11 December. We are couple our early 60’s. We would like to explore Scenic trains, mountains and lake cruise.

Day 1 (Jun 15) – Arrived in Switzerland from Amsterdam. Then straight to Interlaken for our home base for the next 5 days. Is this a good home base? I think we will arrive in the afternoon / evening.

Day 2 to Day 6 (Jun 20) – Explore around the Bernese Oberland. Staying in Interlaken as our base. We will adjust activities base on the weather and always start early so we can cover a lot.

  • Visit Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Murren, Grindewald, Schilthorn
  • Hikes: Mannlichen to Klein Scheidegg, First,
  • Visit Falls: Staubachh Falls
  • Day trip to Montreaux, Lausanne, Geneva (Chateau de Chillion, Callier Chocolate factory, Olympic Museum complex) – Golden Pass train
  • Day trip to Bern, then Lake cruise on Thun / Brienz and back to Interlaken – Golden Pass & Regio Express

Day 7 (Jun 21) – Interlaken to Zermatt (Train - Golden Pass then change train Speiz to get the Regio Express and then at Brig to Zermatt?)

Day 8 (Jun 22) – Zermatt, Gonergatt, (Glacier Paradise)

Day 9 (Jun 23) – Zermatt to Andermatt to Lugano

Day 10 (Jun 24) – Lugano explore

Day 11 (Jun 25) – Lugano to Chur – Bernina Bus and Train., then to Lucerne

Day 12 -13 (Jun 26-27) – Lucerne and explore the surrounding area. We have been to Lucerne and has done Mt. Pilatus and lake cruise.

  • Visit Mt Rigi, is this a whole day?
  • Day Trip to St. Gallen, Appenzell

    Day 14 (Jun 28) – Train from Lucerne to Zurich.

  • Explore Zurich, Visit Rheinfall

    Day 15 (Jun 29) – Fly back home

    Questions:

    Is Interlaken is a good home base for exploring the Bernese Oberland?

    The hike and visit combination, I need suggestions. maximize my coverage

    I tried to use the Timetable to get the times of the train from Zermatt to Andermatt to Lugano but it does not give me the Glacier Express and Gotthard Express schedule. I could have done it incorrectly. Also the Bernina Bus and Express from Lugano to Chur time schedule, I cannot get it as well. Please help on so I can work out the times.

    Once my schedule is fixed I’ll book the accommodation.

    Thank in advance for your help.

Missyjay

Anna
Anna
1722 posts
top member &
moderator
Nov 19, 2021 - 9:56 AM in reply to missyjay

Hi Missyjay,

Welcome to MySwissAlps.

Thanks for sharing your itinerary. It 's very well-planned, clearly you have done your research. And glad to know you are taking advantage of the Swiss Travel Pass promotion.

To answer your questions:

Yes, I think Interlaken is a good base for exploring the Bernese Oberland. It's a regional hub and you'll have easy access to trains for day trips into the mountains in the Jungfrau region as well as other towns and cities in the surrounding areas. It's possible to do all the hikes and visits during your stay in the Jungfrau region if, as you mentioned, you start out early. You might even have time for a quick stop in Harder Kulm near Interlaken Ost. For more suggestions, have a look at this link: www.myswissalps.com/jungfrauregion/activities

While in Lucerne, as an option you can combine a visit to Rigi with a boat cruise on Lake Lucerne. The journey starts with a cogwheel train ride from Arth Goldau to Rigi Kulm. Then taking a different train down the mountain to Vitznau. From Vitznau there are ferries that will take you back to Lucerne. The route is explained in detail here: www.myswissalps.com/rigi/gettingthere And yes, this could take you the whole day but the round trip is optional and you can always return the same way.

Regarding using the timetable: If you're specifically looking for panoramic train connections, use the advanced search option and select only PE (short for panoramic express) trains. In summer, the Glacier Express train leaves Zermatt at 7.52, 8.52 and 9.52 am. To join the Gotthard Panorama Express, you'll need to get down in Andermatt and take the local train to Göschenen. The GPE train leaves Göschenen at 14.58 and will get you to Lugano by 16.41. The option to combine these two scenic trains is explained in detail here (under GPE and Glacier Express in 1 day): www.myswissalps.com/gotthardpanoramaexpress/gettingthere

For more information about the Bernina Express bus and train from Lugano to Chur: www.myswissalps.com/berninaexpress/gettingthere (you can view a printed format of the bus and train schedules from the Rhaetian Railway website listed under Information from Other website on the right column or at the bottom of the page).

Hope this gets you going with your itinerary. Let us know if you have more questions.

Regards,

Anna

Last modified on Nov 19, 2021 - 9:59 AM by Anna
Brown1950
Brown1950
11 posts
new member
Nov 19, 2021 - 3:50 PM in reply to missyjay

Hi

Very fun trip you must be excited. Planning 2 weeks for 2022as well. It looks though you have links from Anna for The Bernina and Glacier Express Schedules.

I looked at Day 11 (June 25) and that is about a 10 hour day Leaving Lugano at 10 and arriving in Interlaken at 20:00.

Day 2-6 Regarding a home base for Berner Oberland there are several great choices and Interlaken makes sense. I have been in the area and am returning too and will stay in Murren again. It is a charming Village with an impressive view of the big 3. Lauterbrunnen is on the Valley Floor and has great rail service and is probably the most convenient if you want to explore both sides of the Valley. Also Train service access for Day trips would be excellent.

A home base in Grindelwald gives you good access to all the hikes you listed. I would suggest a visit to Murren and Gimmelwald when you go to the Schlithorn. If you do stay in Murren you can reach Schlithorn early and hopefully it will be sunny. There are nice hikes on that side as well.

This is just an idea. In lieu of two Day trips that return to Interlaken ( or whoever you elect to stay on day 5&6 ? ) perhaps leave a Day early and travel on the Golden Pass to Montreux, Lausanne and take the Chocolate Train to Gruyeres. From there go to Bern and Overnight. From Bern you can reach Zermatt in about 2 hours. This would still get you to Bern and free up time before leaving the Berner Oberland.

I hope some of this helps and this is just my opinion, no right or wrong way to do it and ultimately this is for you to explore what are the important areas you want to visit. I am sure I will receive some criticism for expressing some opinions here but that is the risk when you post on public forums.

Best wishes for a safe and memorable visit to Switzerland.

Mike

photo from a walk through Gimmelwald

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1960man
1960man
2913 posts
top member
Nov 19, 2021 - 11:47 PM

Some comments:

1) I'm worried about burn out - your schedule seems extremely non stop. Take care to add in 'rest days'

2) Some days trips look too long to me. They may be possible on paper travel time wise, but don't forget to add in the time spent to see the attractions you want to see you get there.

For example: "Day trip to Montreaux, Lausanne, Geneva (Chateau de Chillion, Callier Chocolate factory, Olympic Museum complex) – Golden Pass train" is a huge amount for one day

3) take care not to be drawn all the time to the branded 'special trains' - all trains in Switzerland are efficient, fast (depending on landscape of course) and give good views.

for example

"Day 7 (Jun 21) – Interlaken to Zermatt (Train - Golden Pass then change train Speiz to get the Regio Express and then at Brig to Zermatt?):

On this route Interlaken - Spiez is a short journey and can be done on any train including the local services . From Spiez it is either over the Lotschberg mountain line to Brig, then MGB to Zermatt, or fast train through the base tunnel direct to Visp (change for Zermatt)

4) You will have seen plenty of high mountain territory on your trip, so in my opinion your idea to do Zermatt - Glacier Express - Gotthard - Lugano is really worth it you will only do half the Glacier Express route (with extra fare) and the southern half of the Gotthard route (with extra fare). To get from Zermatt to Ticino if I were you I would go Zermatt - Domodossola - Centovalli - Locarno - Lugano.

5 ) Also 1 day in Ticino (Lugano) is rather short compared to all the time you will spend in mountain areas

missyjay
missyjay
12 posts
new member
Nov 22, 2021 - 12:36 AM

Thank you so much ANNA for your suggestions.

To Mike and 1960man thank you as well to your feedback and suggestions. 1960man, I agreed with you, that we need to rest, maybe by doing lake cruise and visit museums' which are included in the STP.

I will now refine my itinerary. I'm so glad that I finally put my itinerary on this forum.

Many thanks to all.

Missyjay

1960man
1960man
2913 posts
top member
Nov 22, 2021 - 1:16 AM in reply to missyjay

Having re read my post I realised point 4 was missing a crucial word ('not') !

4) You will have seen plenty of high mountain territory on your trip, so in my opinion your idea to do Zermatt - Glacier Express - Gotthard - Lugano is really not worth it you - will only do half the Glacier Express route (with extra fare) and the southern half of the Gotthard route (with extra fare). To get from Zermatt to Ticino if I were you I would go Zermatt - Domodossola - Centovalli - Locarno - Lugano.

missyjay
missyjay
12 posts
new member
Nov 22, 2021 - 3:01 AM

Hi 1960man,

Yes, I get what you mean regarding extra fares for both Glacier Express and Gotthard Express, seat reservation required and thank you for pointing it.

I have read that from Andermatt to Zermatt, that section is a nice scenery, what I did is the reverse.

So this means, that I will miss Glacier Express and Gotthard Express train ride. Anyway, if I want to experience panoramic train rides, I still have Golden Pass and Bernina Express (seat reservation).

Best regards,

Missyjay

Anna
Anna
1722 posts
top member &
moderator
Nov 22, 2021 - 7:56 AM in reply to missyjay

Hi Missyjay,

Agree with 1960man. Travelling from Zermatt to Lugano via the Centovalli railway is also a good option. There's no need to make seat reservation so that's a plus for me :) Details about the route is explained here: www.myswissalps.com/centovalli/gettingthere

Regards,

Anna

1960man
1960man
2913 posts
top member
Nov 23, 2021 - 1:08 AM in reply to missyjay

Yes, Zermatt - Andermatt is 'nice' but is actually the least spectacular section of the MGB railway route on which the Glacier Express travels: Zermatt - Visp is in the river valley (nice river views but nothing unavailable on other Swiss lines)

Visp - Brig is in the Rhone valley bottom and part industrial

Brig - Andermatt is scenic - up the Goms valley

However, you miss:

  • Furka pass since the Furka base tunnel (FBT) was built in 1982
  • Oberalp pass (Andermatt - Disentis section)
  • Swiss Rhine gorge (Disentis - Chur section)

In fact due to the FBT the Glacier Express now misses the Glacier after which is was named (the Rhone Glacier). Mind you it is easily missed by anyone now since it has melted so much...

missyjay
missyjay
12 posts
new member
Nov 23, 2021 - 10:19 PM

Thank you 1960man.

Very well explained and this is the reason why I kept reading this forum. Now I have to work around my itinerary.

I have to work on my hikes around. What is the best hike to combine in going to Grindewald to First.

Best regards to all.

Missyjay

Ildiko
Ildiko
1359 posts
top member &
moderator
Nov 24, 2021 - 8:49 AM in reply to missyjay

Hi Missyjay,

You can read about Grindelwald First at www.myswissalps.com/grindelwaldfirst, you'll also find some hiking tips there.

If you are there, I recommend the First-Bachalpsee hike (www.myswissalps.com/hiking/bachsee). You might find these older threads useful: www.myswissalps.com/forum/topic/from-grindelwald-to-first and www.myswissalps.com/forum/topic/hiking-up-first-grindelwald-how-hard-is-it.

Ildiko

More about hiking in Switzerland: www.myswissalps.com/hiking

missyjay
missyjay
12 posts
new member
Nov 25, 2021 - 10:54 PM in reply to Ildiko

Hi Ildiko,

Thank you providing these links. It has greatly help with my planning.

Best regards,

Missyjay

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