Itinerary for 4 days around Lucerne in December

Itinerary for 4 days around Lucerne in December

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Arjun
Arjun
3 posts
new member
Nov 14, 2016 - 9:26 PM

Hello everyone!

We are a group of 3 (2 guys and a girl in mid twenties) traveling to Switzerland for the first time. We're reaching Lucerne on the 8th of December from Zurich. We are staying for 4 nights in Switzerland. We are more interested in enjoying the natural beauty of Switzerland than visiting museums etc. Expenses is a very important factor as well, we want to keep the cost down wherever possible.

There is just so much to see here and I know 4 days is not enough but we don't have an option! I've read numerous posts but still can't finalize on the itinerary and need help regarding this from you experts. I was thinking of Lucerne and Jungfrau.

Day 1 (8th December) - Arrive at Lucerne and explore the town and stay in Lucerne

Day 2: Mount Titlis/ Pilatus/ Rigi?(Need help here!) Come back to Lucerne and stay over

Day 3: Head towards Lauterbrunnen through Interlaken and visit Jungfrau (Should I stay at Lauterbrunnen or one of the mountain villages like Wengen/Grindelwald? Also any suggestions/inputs on accomodation options here?)

Day 4: I haven't given much thought. Will have a whole day, so maybe a hike or something in one of these mountain villages. Stay overnight at the same place as previous night

Day 5: Head to Paris through Basel by train.

Does this sound like a decent plan or a terrible one considering its December? Help with the above questions and suggestions for day 3 and 4 will be really appreciated. In case the weather turns out to be a spoilsport, maybe we could visit Bern? Also, should we go for a rail pass or the half fare card for this itinerary?

Apologies if I am repeating some of the questions asked already by the fellow travelers. We are traveling across Europe for 15 days and Switzerland has been the toughest to plan as there is just sooo much to see/do!

Thanks in advance!

Cheers,

Arjun

Arno
Arno
9614 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 15, 2016 - 8:25 PM

Welcome to MySwissAlps Arjun!

Your plan certainly makes sense, and indeed the weather is the most important factor. Bern would be a good backup plan if the weather is really bad. Tips to save money are here: myswissalps.com/plantr ip/doityourself/savemo ney.

Day 2: You can best check out our Titlis, Pilatus and Rigi pages and see which you like best. They're all good.

Day 3: Again, all these villages have their pros and cons. None of them are a bad choice and it depends on personal preferences which one you like most. You'll find links to many details on all of them on our Jungfrau region page. I would not stay in Interlaken as you are mostly interested in nature.

Indeed either the Swiss Half Fare Card or Swiss Travel Pass would be best. I expect the Swiss Half Fare Card to work out a little cheaper. The ride to Jungfraujoch will be slightly cheaper with it. On the other hand, the Swiss Travel Pass is more convenient and includes free rides to Mount Rigi. These pages help you out:

Apart from this you need a ticket from Basel to Paris: myswissalps.com/traint ickets/france.

Does this help?

Last modified on Nov 15, 2016 - 8:27 PM by Arno
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
3723 posts
expert
Nov 15, 2016 - 8:56 PM in reply to Arjun

Hi Arjun-

Welcome to My SwissAlps.

<<"Does this sound like a decent plan or a terrible one considering its December? Help with the above questions and suggestions for day 3 and 4 will be really appreciated. In case the weather turns out to be a spoilsport, maybe we could visit Bern?">>

Your concerns are valid. In particular, you are wise to have flexibility around the day or days for a Jungfrau visit. That is expensive, and if the clouds are thick, you can spend a lot of money to look at the inside of clouds.

Local sources in the region keep close track of that weather, and you can asks at train stations, tourist offices, etc. Forecasts are not reliable even a few days in advance.

Please note:

www.myswissalps.com/we ather

www.myswissalps.com/we ather/forecast

Also, a lot of the Jungfrau region (and other high Alpine regions) are pretty much shut down until the ski season starts at about December 15th. Many but not all hotels and restaurants are closed. Jungfrau and the cograil line are open every day.

This map will clarify the routing. Zoom in for rail lines. Turn on transport stops in the menu under Points of Interest/Traffic:

map.search.ch/?pos=640880,156960&z=32

The cableways to Männlichen from Wengen and Grindelwald may open while you are there. That is a nice place to go up to if the weather is clear

Check the timetable:

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

Note that on December 10, sunset is at 4:40 PM

dateandtime.info/citys unrisesunset.php?id=2660253&month=12&ye ar=2016

There may be light up on the mountains still, even if it is dark in the valleys.

Bern is certainly a good contingency plan.

The weather in the Rhone Valley is often better than in the alpine regions. Brig is not a major tourist center, although there are certainly a few things to see. But, the ride over the upper Lötschberg pass via Kandersteg and then down to Brig is a nice train ride. That is part of the first trans-alpine rail route.

Luzern has enough tourist attractions to be worth a few hours or a day.

A lake boat ride is available, even in the winter, and could be part of a trip to the Rigi via Vitznau.

Slowpoke

Arjun
Arjun
3 posts
new member
Nov 16, 2016 - 8:45 PM

Hello again!

Thank you so much Arno and Slowpoke for all your valuable suggestions.

Looks like I now have all the information to plan the trip! Will decide on the itinerary and get back to you guys for suggestions.

A quick question, should I look at the tellpass as well if I'm looking at visiting a few places in Lucerne like Titlis and Rigi? I guess I have to have a set itinerary first and see which one works cheaper?

Thanks again,

Arjun

Arno
Arno
9614 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 17, 2016 - 11:20 AM

Hi Arjun,

That's right, you can only figure out which pass is best once your plans are more or less set. In the majority of cases it's not economical to combine a nation-wide pass with a regional pass such as the Tell Pass though. Both the Swiss Travel Pass and the Swiss Half Fare Card mentioned before offer free traveling/discounts in the Lucerne area as well. With the Swiss Travel Pass, even a couple of famous mountain rides are for free (Rigi and, as of January 2017, Pilatus as well).

Please check the "Price" tabs on pass pages to find appropriate retailers. In your case it makes sense to order a printable e-ticket (no shipping or handling fees) from www.raileurope-world.com or www.swissrailways.com/ en. Note that such orders may take a few days to process, so don't wait until right before your departure.

Last modified on Oct 27, 2017 - 3:27 PM by Arno
Arjun
Arjun
3 posts
new member
Nov 18, 2016 - 8:14 PM in reply to Arno

Hi Arno,

Thanks for your inputs! We have decided to go for a Swiss Travel pass as it works out a little better (costs around 250 CHF per person for 4 days?) for us as compared to the half fare card. Maybe you could give your suggestion after looking at our itinerary?

So after considering all your expert advice, we have come up with the following itinerary.

Day 1: December 9th. We reach Lucerne in the evening and just explore the town and stay in Lucerne for the night.

Day 2: Do the 'The Classic Round trip - Rigi'. Lucerne-Vitznau-Rigi-Weggis-Lucerne. Do we need to take a separate boat trip or does this trip does justice to Lake Lucerne? Explore more of Lucerne old town in the evening if we have time. Stay at Lucerne.

Day 3: Trip to Titlis. Take the train to Engelberg from Lucerne and then up to Titlis. The only expense we would bear for travel is around 46 CHF per person for the round trip? (With the Swiss Travel pass). Head back to Lucerne, check out and head to Lauterbrunnen. Explore around Lauterbrunnen if there is time and night stay at Lauterbrunnen.

Day 4: Go up to Schiltron. Doing this as an alternative to Jungfrau considering the cost factor. Is this a good choice? Doing a round trip here. Lauterbrunnen-Stechelberg-Murren-Schiltron-Murren-Grutschalp-Lauterbrunnen. The only travel expense here is the Murren-Schiltron route of about 40 CHF per person round trip? Just want to make sure I have calculated the expenses right. And then go up to Wengen or Grindelwald and to Mannlichen if there is time. Night stay at Lauterbrunnen.

Day 5: Head to Bern. Spend sometime in the town and then leave to Basel and catch a train to Paris at 4.34 PM.

We have booked the trains to and from Switzerland and also the stay at Lauterbrunnen. Will be booking the stay for Lucerne and the Swiss Travel pass tommorrow. We are plannning to take the 4 day Swiss Travel pass to be used from day 2 of our itinerary. With this pass, all our travel except the Titlis and the Schiltron is free right? Also, do we need to book any other tickets or make any other reservations in advance? Also I have kept Titlis for day 3 assuming it would take less time than the Rigi trip so that we have enough time to get to Lauterbrunnen. Is this fine or do I have to swap them?

I'm sorry for such a long one with so many questions but I really couldn't help it. And I really appreciate the effort you guys put in to go through each of the post and respond to them with so much detail.

Thanks again for all your help!

Arjun

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
3723 posts
expert
Nov 18, 2016 - 11:29 PM in reply to Arjun

Hi Arjun-

It looks like a good itinerary.

Arno will have to comment on costs, but, at first glance, i think you have reached the correct conclusion.

The nice thing about the Swiss Travel Pass is that you can change your mind or add a longer boat trip, or ride the bus, etc., and still just show the pass.

By the way, the spelling is "Schilthorn."

One concern about your plan.

You have allowed only one day in the Jungfrau region. It the weather up top is heavy clouds, you may be disappointed on Schilthorn (or Jungfraujoch). One way to learn more, besides local sources near Lauterbrunnen, is to talk to the tourist information office by track #1 in Luzern main station. You might go directly on Day 3, for example.

Re- the Rigi.

The lake is complicated. Get out a map.

That is a great trip. Note that from the valley station of the cableway descending from Rigi Kaltbad to Weggis you will have a 10-15 minute downhill walk to the boat dock. No shuttlebus. (In German, valley station is "Talstation." Means bottom station, more or less.)

Might want to have some sort of map available for that walk if your schedule is tight.. Check out the schedules carefully. The boat service back to Luzern is limited in Winter:

www.lakelucerne.ch/en/ timetable-fares/timetable/

If you miss the boat, there is back up bus service running more frequently and later from Weggis Schifffstation to Küssnacht am Rigi train station, thence train to Luzern. Or, to Brunnen train station and thence to Luzern.

You will see some very nice northern parts of the lake on your way to/from Vitznau/Weggis.

I will say that, in my view, the best part is the part from Vitznau or Brunnen south to Flüelen. This link gives some ideas of that region among the other images:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/the-swiss-path-and-southern-lake-lucerne

This gives some ideas about the more northern parts: www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/the-hammetschwand-lift.

Also, see attached images.

These images are not winter images. sorry. ;-(

Althopugh I do not think it is necessary, if your itineray has room and you are in the area, you probably would enjoy the "Urner See" -- the southern part of the lake.

The timetable will help you figure out your options. The boat landing at Flüelen, atthe southern tip of the lake is close to the tain staion.

There is a shoreline bus from Weggis to Brunnen Schiffsation, to also think about.

You have to decide how much to fit into a day. At least the boat rides don't tire you out. ;-)

Slowpoke

Last modified on Nov 18, 2016 - 11:31 PM by Slowpoke
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Arno
Arno
9614 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 19, 2016 - 9:42 AM in reply to Arjun

Hi Arjun,

It makes sense to use the pass from day 2 as the trip to Lucerne isn't that expensive. Your other conclusions are correct, but do note this: the train to Wengen is included for free, but if you decide for the cableway Wengen - Männlichen it will be 50% off, not free.

With 3 travelers, www.raileurope-world.com/pass/swiss-travel-pass-82 might be slightly cheaper than www.swissrailways.com/ en. You would have to check on their websites by adding the pass to the shopping cart to see the total charge.

Last modified on Oct 27, 2017 - 3:27 PM by Arno

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