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Basel to Lucerne for two days with senior

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Jenn Chuah
Jenn Chuah
29 posts
active member
Feb 4, 2020 - 5:51 AM

I will be visiting Switzerland with my hubby and mum end of March. My mum is 82 years old but she is mobile.

Our base is in Basel. I am thinking of staying 3 nights in Lucerne as follows:

Day 1: arrival in Lucerne via train fr Basel. Walk around Lucerne town.

Day 2: mount pilatus. Boat @ Lucerne.

Day 3: mount titlis. Return to Basel in the afternoon.

Is the above itinerary suitable for senior citizen like my mum? If not, I would appreciate your advice. What else can we do in Lucerne?

After much thoughts, we decided not to opt for the Glacier Express as the journey is 8 hours and might be too taxing for my mum.

By the way, if we want to see how chocolate and cheese are processed, where can we go for this? Any within Zurich?

thank you.

CabinJon
CabinJon
122 posts
active member
Feb 4, 2020 - 4:43 PM

Day 1 - Walking around Old Town Luzern is easy, especially since it begins just across the river bridge in front of the train station. Be sure to walk across the Chapel Bridge (this is not the bridge in front of the train station but close to it), and look up to see the artwork on the rafters. The old town section is quite interesting, with lots of narrow pedestrian streets and hidden plazas, plus an abundance of cafes & restaurants along the river. Depending on what day you're there, you may also encounter a farmer's market too. I think those are on Tuesdays and Saturday mornings. They get crowded.

Day 2 - In prime season you can go up to/down from Pilatus two ways, one is via the cable car/gondola from Kriens and the other is via a cogwheel train from Alpnachstad, which is also across the street from the local boat dock. However, the cogwheel train from Alpnachstad will not be open at the end of March, so you'd have to catch a bus to Kriens, then walk uphill about 11 minutes (according to the SBB timetable, but in reality it takes a bit longer if you're not young and/or Swiss) to get to the base station for the cable car/gondola. Depending on how mobile & energetic your mom is, it may take more time; it is not a challenging walk, just uphill all the way. As an alternative, you could take a short boat ride to Vitznau then catch a "red" cogwheel train up to Mt. Rigi, or you could take a train to Arth-Goldau on the other side and catch the "blue" cogwheel train up to Rigi. Those trains run all year. The boat docks are located directly in front of the Luzern train station, and at Vitznau you basically walk directly off the boat and onto the "red" Rigi train.

Day 3 - For Mt. Titlis, there is a shuttle bus at the Engelberg station that takes you to the cable car base station in a coupe minutes. I'd suggest that rather than the 13 minute walk noted in the SBB timetable, although it is a flat route.

Jenn Chuah
Jenn Chuah
29 posts
active member
Feb 4, 2020 - 10:49 PM in reply to CabinJon

Hi Cabin Jon,

Thank you for the info. It is very helpful.

If we want to take a boat ride along the Lucerne town to see the beautiful scenery, which one should we opt for? I read there are many operators operating it with different routes. Also where do we buy the boat tickets? Is it also via SBB website? Do we have to buy in advance?

For mountain excursions, should we go early morning?

Between Mount Pilatus, Mount Rigi and Mount Titlis, what are differences of these 3 mountains? Going to 2 mountains would it be too much of mountain excursions coz on the following trip, my husband and I will also be going to Jungfraugh (my mum not going)?

3 days in Lucerne will it be too long? Are there any other things that we can do in Lucerne or nearby?

We are looking at Hotel Ibis Styles Luzern City. Is this a good choice in terms of location?

Thank you.

CabinJon
CabinJon
122 posts
active member
Feb 5, 2020 - 12:02 AM in reply to Jenn Chuah

Most of the regular passenger boats (not the special dinner boats, etc.) operate from the main dock directly in front of the Luzern train station, and follow standard routes. You can buy tickets, get timetables, check routes at the main dock ticket windows facing the train station. You can check schedules, and I presume buy tickets, via the SBB website. You can buy tickets at the station or dock prior to departure, or in advance. We were in Switzerland for a longer period of time and had a Swiss Travel Pass so we never bought individual train, boat or bus tickets. We did have to buy discounted tickets for Pilatus & Titlis.

Before going on any mountain excursion, check the weather cam for that mountain. All the popular mountains have weather cams, and the weather at the top can be different than what you encounter in town. Two years ago we had an overcast drizzly morning in Luzern but the top of Pilatus was in brilliant sunshine, so up we went and it was gorgeous. We've also ridden through extensive clouds on our way up to Pilatus and Rigi only to emerge into brilliant sunshine. I prefer to go in the morning but that's just me, it really depends on the weather at top and the forecast.

Rigi has very little infrastructure at the top, is more of a rounded hilltop with trails, although you do go through several small station stops along the way. The lakeside ("red train") is more scenic than the other "blue train" side. Pilatus is more craggy, has a diverse infrastructure - two hotels, large outdoor plaza with restaurant service from one of the hotels, indoor hall with snack bar, chairs, gift shop, etc, - very little hiking or trails, and nice views of Luzern on one side and the mountains & lake the other way. Titlis is typical high Alp scenery, snow, snow sports, and smaller but decent infrastructure. It is most like what you'll encounter in the Jungfrau region. I wouldn't pass it up just because you'll be going to the Jungfrau region later, but if you go to Rigi & Pilatus you could skip Titlis. Your mom may not like the cold, snow, or altitude.

We spent almost all our time based in Luzern on our two previous trips, so I don't think three days is too long. We spent some days in Luzern itself, but also took several partial or full day trips on Lake Luzern, small towns on or around Lake Luzern, and some to the Jungfrau region. Look at the links on this website for things to do in Luzern.

I'm not familiar with that hotel, so offer no opinion of it. We stayed close to the train station and boat docks, which was certainly convenient. However, there are an abundance of buses & bus routes in Luzern, and they all seem to go to or depart from the train station. Our hotel provided us a city bus pass during our stay, although we didn't need it since we had the STP.

rockoyster
rockoyster
8821 posts
expert
Feb 5, 2020 - 3:09 AM in reply to Jenn Chuah

For boat timetables see www.lakelucerne.ch/en/timetable-fares/timetable/. Be sure to pick the right season. Boats are not so frequent in WInter.

The Ibis Styles is almost a 1Km walk (or bus ride) from the main station/boat docks.

Ildiko
Ildiko
818 posts
top member &
moderator
Feb 5, 2020 - 11:57 AM in reply to Jenn Chuah

Hi Jenn Chuah,

3 days aren't long in and around Lucerne, there are plenty of things to do and see: www.myswissalps.com/lakelucerne/activities. For information on boat trips on Lake Lucerne visit www.myswissalps.com/boatlakelucerne.

Hotel Ibis Styles Luzern City is not so close to the train station, but otherwise it has a good location, close to the center and old town. You'll receive a free Visitor Card from your hotel, so you can travel for free in and around Lucerne: www.myswissalps.com/lucerne/travel.

Ildiko

Jenn Chuah
Jenn Chuah
29 posts
active member
Feb 5, 2020 - 12:25 PM in reply to Ildiko

Hi Ildiko,

Thank you for the info.

I have tentatively booked at Star Vacation Home Apartment. I was told that we could take Bus No. 10 and get down at the 3rd bus stop. The apartment is within a short walk. How much is the bus fare?

Is this apartment within walking distance to old town and other attractions in the town centre?

Any Restaurants, MiGros and Coop nearby? What time do they open and close?

Is there anything to do In Lucerne In the evening/night?

Thanks.

Ildiko
Ildiko
818 posts
top member &
moderator
Feb 5, 2020 - 1:57 PM in reply to Jenn Chuah

One-way ticket in Lucerne is for 4.10 CHF, a Day Pass is for 8.20 CHF. You can see all of the prices at www.vbl.ch/billette-abos/passepartout-billette/tageskarten/ (only in German).

Ask your accommodation about the free Visitor Card, if they will give you it or not.

You need to walk around 1 km to get to the old city and the restaurants. There is an Aldi and also a Migros near the apartment. Aldi is cheaper but has less Swiss products than Migros.

Also see:

Jenn Chuah
Jenn Chuah
29 posts
active member
Feb 5, 2020 - 3:25 PM in reply to Ildiko

Hi Ildiko,

thanks for your prompt reply. I managed to find another 2 hotels, ie. Hotel Alpina and The Tourist City & River Hotel Luzern. A bit in a dilemma now. Alpina's location seems to be good. Fast-food restaurants also nearby. Tourist City from the pictures look new (prefer to stay in New or refurbished hotel) n with free flow of coffee, cake n chocolate throughout the day. But location is a bit further away and restaurants not many nearby. But coop is close by.

Ildiko
Ildiko
818 posts
top member &
moderator
Feb 6, 2020 - 8:06 PM in reply to Jenn Chuah

Hi enn Chuah,

I would prefer the Hotel Alpina as I like that style more. But this is a personal opinion. It is up to yu, which one you prefer.

Actually, why did you drop the previous ones?

Ildiko

Jenn Chuah
Jenn Chuah
29 posts
active member
Feb 6, 2020 - 9:40 PM in reply to Ildiko

Hi Ildiko,

I dropped the star vacation apartment because it was a bit of a distance away from the train station and old town (If I am not wrong from Google map. I thought hotel would also have better amenities and it comes with breakfast too.

After this Lucerne trip, my husband and have 3 to 4 days in our itinerary and we thought of going to interlaken and jungfraugh. Where else can we combine with this? Any farm stay, to see cheese production, etc which is something different from mountain excursion cause by then if weather permits we would have gone up pilatus and jungfraugh? My mum won't be joining in this segment so we are more flexible. Your recommendation is much appreciated.

thanks.

Anna
Anna
720 posts
top member &
moderator
Feb 7, 2020 - 3:46 PM in reply to Jenn Chuah

Hi Jenn Chuah,

Interlaken is enroute to Jungfraujoch, so you could definitely combine those two together on a single trip.

A list of chocolate and cheese factory tours are listed on this link: www.myswissalps.com/activities/culinarytours

Regards,

Anna

Jenn Chuah
Jenn Chuah
29 posts
active member
Feb 8, 2020 - 12:36 AM

Hi Anna,

Thank you for your info.

Yes, we plan to go to Interlaken and Jungfraugh. Any farm stay around this region?

We have about 4 days. We thought of spending 2 days at Interlaken + Jungfraugh, so just wondering for another 2 days if we should also go to Zermatt or Montreux/Lausanne/Geneva

Thanks.

Anna
Anna
720 posts
top member &
moderator
Feb 8, 2020 - 10:23 AM in reply to Jenn Chuah

Hi Jenn Chuah,

March is still pretty cold and I would not recommend staying in a farm in the Jungfrau region in March. If you are looking for self-catering accommodation in Interlaken, have a look here: www.myswissalps.com/interlaken/rentals

Between Zermatt and Lake Geneva, if you like snow and mountains Zermatt is a practical choice. Lake Geneva offers something different and in March I think there are probably more things to do in Geneva, Lausanne and Montreux.

Regards,

Anna

Jenn Chuah
Jenn Chuah
29 posts
active member
Feb 9, 2020 - 1:37 AM in reply to Anna

Thanks, Anna.

is the furnicular at Stoos operational on 29 March (sunday)?

Thanks.

rockoyster
rockoyster
8821 posts
expert
Feb 9, 2020 - 1:51 AM in reply to Jenn Chuah

Yes it runs every 30 minutes from Schwyz Stoosbahn.

Jenn Chuah
Jenn Chuah
29 posts
active member
Feb 9, 2020 - 7:45 AM in reply to rockoyster

Thanks, rockoyster

Jenn Chuah
Jenn Chuah
29 posts
active member
Feb 11, 2020 - 2:03 PM in reply to Jenn Chuah

I have read up about the Stoos Furnicular. I am rather confused coz there are so many types of pass and not sure which one to opt for. There are 2 adults and 1 senior. It will be a 1 day trip for us.

1) Which pass should we opt for?

2) Do we need to purchase the pass in advance?

3) Any discount on the pass if we have Swiss Half Fare card or Swiss Travel Pass?

Thank you.

CabinJon
CabinJon
122 posts
active member
Feb 11, 2020 - 5:08 PM in reply to Jenn Chuah

The Stoos funicular was free last year with the Swiss Travel Pass, and according to the 2020 SBB validity map is free in 2020 too. It is also covered under the Swiss Half Fare card. Can't help on the other ticket/pass options, we used the STP.

Steph
Steph
2198 posts
top member &
moderator
Feb 11, 2020 - 5:50 PM in reply to Jenn Chuah

Hello Jenn Chuah,

Find details on the exact validity of both the Swiss Travel Pass and the Swiss Half Fare Card below. Make sure to check the maps, too:
- www.myswissalps.com/swisstravelpass/validity
- www.myswissalps.com/swisshalffarecard/validity

Best,
Steph

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