Itinerary help 1st time Winter holiday Grindelwald

Itinerary help 1st time Winter holiday Grindelwald

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ms328
ms328
4 posts
new member
Nov 25, 2016 - 11:29 AM

Hello.

We are a family of 5 (2 adults with 3 children aged 14, 11 and 5 years) planning our first winter/snow holiday this coming December. We have booked accommodation and now would like help with train tickets/passes as well as suggestions for side trips/activities that would be suitable for first timers in the snow.

Day 1-3: 17th to 19th Dec - Arrive Zurich Airport. Train from airport to Zurich city. Stay in Zurich hotel for 3 nights. Explore Zurich city.

Day 4-10: 20th to 26th Dec - Stay at apartment in Grindelwald Grund as our base to explore the nearby towns.

Day 11-15: 27th to 31st Dec - Leave Grindelwald by train to Luzern. Explore Luzern and surrounding areas.

Day 16: 1st Dec - Luzern to Zurich Airport by train.

* Is it worth to invest in Swiss Travel Pass to do the following:

1) To get discounted access into museums, etc. in Zurich? Will it be too cold to just wander around the city in the winter? We are coming from a Tropical climate ~31 deg. celcius.

2) To do day trips to nearby towns from our base in Grindelwald Grund - appreciate recommendations of what is doable and realistic, as well as worth seeing as a day trip for our family of 5. Or really should we just stay put in Grindelwald - does this place have enough to offer us without having to visit any other towns?

3) To do day trips to nearby towns or mountains from Luzern (or would we have had enough of the mountains being in Grindelwald earlier for a week?)

Would really appreciate your feedback in helping us put more depth into our itinerary. Really we and our 3 children would be happiest with being able to play in the snow and doing any beginner friendly activities, hence would appreciate specific places that won't really overwhelm us in the activities department yet will provide more than our fair share of enjoyment in the snow.

Also we appreciate scenic train rides and happy to spend a day doing this if it doesn't double up elsewhere in Grindelwald or Luzern.

Thank you so much in advance :)

Annika
Annika
4949 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 26, 2016 - 1:29 PM

Thanks for joining us, ms328!

Great that you'll be visiting Switzerland within a couple of weeks. You've selected some very nice towns and you'll be able to enjoy a wide range of activities. Your main aim seems to be to explore the mountains and the snow. As December is still quite early in terms of snow and winter season, Grindelwald offers the best chances for snow activities as it's closes to the highest mountain tops. If your accommodation hadn't been booked yet, I would have advised to spend a bit more time there and less in Zurich. However, this probably can't be changed and you shouldn't worry: Zurich is a great town and if you're into shopping and museums you'll definitely like it there. Now, as for your questions:

1) Yes, a Swiss Travel Pass is certainly worth considering. Quite some museums in Zurich are accessible for free. With a 15 day Swiss Travel Pass most of your stay will be fully covered and you'll get discounts on mountain rides. Some trips are even for free, e.g. Rigi near Lucerne. Price wise, you may compare this option to a Swiss Half Fare Card. Which solution turns out to be more economical can only be told once you've made detailed calculations according to these guidelines. Museum visits and urban transportation should be included in this list as well. Mind to order your passes online in advance, as this is easier than buying them on the spot with a family of 5. Retailers are listed at the Price tabs of each pass page, e.g.myswissalps.com/swisst ravelpass/price.

Please find our tips for Zurich here. Of course it will be colder than the temperatures you're used to, but under normal circumstances and with proper clothing it's no problem at all to explore the city on foot.

2) I'd recommend to explore the Jungfrau region and the (wider) Bernese Oberland during your stay in Grindelwald. The links I've inserted include lots of sightseeing tips. On top of this I'd like to mention First and Männlichen, two mountain tops near Grindelwald. Mind that it's low season during your visit and that opening hours may still be somewhat limited. So carefully check schedules. You'll find them in the timetable. The timetable also helps you to find traveling times for each day trip and decide what duration of traveling is acceptable to you and your family. Mind to use the scenic Golden Pass route when traveling from Zurich to Grindelwald and from Grindelwald to Lucerne.

3) Our tips for Lucerne are listed here. To be honest, I can't imagine you'd be fed up with mountains and scenic views after your stay in Grindelwald ;-).

ms328
ms328
4 posts
new member
Nov 30, 2016 - 9:53 AM in reply to Annika

Dear Annika,

Thanks for your reply. You have given me a lot to work with, which is great to help put more depth into our itinerary. Appreciate your further feedback on the following:

1) We will have 2.5 days in Zurich when we first arrive to help orientate ourselves and overcome jetlag, if any. We planned to maybe visit the Old Town by foot, then catch a train to visit the Dinosaur Museum, Zurich Zoo or FIFI Football Museum. We will play it by ear depending how everyone feels after the long plane ride from Malaysia (almost 20 hours).

Q - If we get the 15 Days Swiss Travel Pass, our 1st day will be on arrival 17th December (we arrive at 8pm) and the 15th day will be on the 31st December - what time will pass be valid to on the 31st Dec? Our departure flight is on 1st January at 9.55pm, we will be travelling from Luzern to Zurich Airport.

Will the 15 Days Pass cover up to 1st January or should we on our arrival on 17th December just get a one-way train ticket from Zurich Airport to the City Centre and validate the Swiss Travel Pass the next day on the 18th December instead? How do we go about selecting the 1st day of travel for the pass?

2) There is so much to do during our stay in Grindelwald and I am very overwhelmed with the options available! You recommended to explore the Jungfrau region and the (wider) Bernese Oberland during our stay in Grindelwald. Did you have any specific place in mind? Does this include First and Mannlichen? We will have about 7 days in Grindelwald Grund. I am figuring out how to spend our time here. I assume sightseeing will be mainly riding on the gondolas or cable cars and visiting the main towns in the area?

Q - What's your thoughts on the following day trips from Grindelwald Grund? Is it possible to do each one separately or can we combine one with another or more? What is the best combination, geographically and cost wise. If we had the Swiss Travel Pass, would all the below rides be 50% discounted? Or free if any?

Outing 1 - Take a return train trip from Grindelwald to Wengen.

Outing 2 - Take Gondola car from Grindelwald to Mannlichen. What family activities can we do at Mannlichen? Then on the return either we take same Gondola from Mannlichen or take a Gondola/Cable Car from Mannlichen to Wengen and then train or Gondola/Cable car from Wengen to Grindelwald. I am not sure which lines have trains/Gondola/Cable car.

Outing 3- Take a return Gondola / Cable car from Grindelwald to First. What family activities can we do at First?

Outing 4 - Take a return train to Jungfraujoch

What about passes to do snow activities? We are unsure yet how many of us would like to try to ski (as this is our first snow family holiday) but if we wanted to try sledding or beginner skiing or taboganning, does the Swiss Travel pass get us any discounts to access snow activities or is there another site we need to look at to get these passes?

3) Going to Grindelwald we thought of taking the Zurich/Bern/Interlaken/Grindelwald route and the return would be Grindelwald/Interlaken/Lucerne.

Q - Is the scenic Golden Pass route/fare included in the Swiss Travel Pass? And is the above route part of the Scenic Golden Pass route? Does the above route have the Panaromic Trains with windows almost up to the roof? Do we need to make booking for this route? What is the difference between the Scenic Golden Pass Route and the normal train from Zurich to Grindelwald and Grindelwald to Lucerne?

Thanks so much in advance Annika!

Annika
Annika
4949 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 30, 2016 - 2:58 PM

Hi ms328!

Let's look into your questions:

1) You'd best start using a 15 day Swiss Travel Pass from December 18 and buy regular tickets for the short ride between the aiport and Zurich on December 17. Validity duration is explained at myswissalps.com/swisst ravelpass/howtouse. You can pick the pass's start date while ordering online, through the links provided in my previous post.

2) Details about the Swiss Travel Pass validity can be found at myswissalps.com/swisst ravelpass/validity. The downloadable map shows which routes are for free and which are discounted. As for day trips: the link I provided above shows all options. I understand it's difficult to choose though ;-). Scenic trips to mountain tops are indeed highly recommended if weather is good. Apart from Männlichen (which can well be combined with a visit to Wengen), First and Jungfraujoch, Schilthorn is a option too. Several snow fun activities are available at most mountain tops, although First and Männlichen are a bit lower and there may not be enough snow yet. Schilthorn and Jungfraujoch should work though. In most cases snow activities require the purchase of additional tickets. I don't think it's worth getting an additional ski pass in your case. This only pays off if you intend to use ski lifts regularly. In case of bad weather, train trips and city visits, e.g. to Thun or Bern, are worth considering.

3) Yes, the Golden Pass route is for free with the Swiss Travel Pass. Details about the route and trains are listed at http://www.myswissalps .com/goldenpass. Seat reservations aren't required.

I hope this helps you out!

ms328
ms328
4 posts
new member
Dec 15, 2016 - 2:06 PM in reply to Annika

Great thanks again Annika!

Does the Half Fare card entitle you to a 50% discount at participating museums?

Arno
Arno
10751 posts
expert &
moderator
Dec 15, 2016 - 2:49 PM in reply to ms328

Hi ms328,

No, only the Swiss Travel Pass gets you free entrance to museums. The Swiss Half Fare Card is just for traveling. There are no discounts on anything else. What's included is explained on the Swiss Half Fare Card page.

ms328
ms328
4 posts
new member
Dec 16, 2016 - 2:01 AM in reply to Arno

Great thanks!

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