I have determined three possible travel experiences on Thursday 13th September to get from our Hotel in Lugano to our hotel in Lucerne. Seeking guidance from those who may have already experienced one or all of these. Two adults (in their 60s), two suitcases, dislike crowds and queues.
1. Iconic Gotthard Express. Panorama train to Fuelen and boat to Lucerne.
Pros: The full panorama experience plus tunnel light show, then boat cruise.
Cons: An hour in a tunnel, full of tourists on both train and boat, 7 hours.
Pay 29chf pp for upgrade plus 33chf pp for reservation (124chf – about $A165 on top of pass; just for train section. Boat is free on STP).
2. Regional trains to Fuelen (or even direct to Lucerne).
Pros: same scenery but more of it by avoiding the tunnel. Avoid crowds. No surcharges – just use your pass all day.
Cons: miss the GEX experience, change trains two or three times (with luggage), takes longer.
3. Take the high speed tilt train direct Lugano to Lucerne. Drop Luggage at our hotel. Spend the day on the ferries on Lake Luzern (possibly go to Sisikan see the Tell Chapel and return by train via Arth-Goldau).
Pros: fast journey (2 hours and we have never been on a tilt train). No stops or changes. Leave luggage and enjoy an afternoon on the lake. No surcharges just use pass all day. Less crowds/tourists on both train and boat.
Cons: miss the GEX panorama scenic experience.
1. how absolutely fabulous is GEX?
2. Is regional scenery worth the five or more hours and the train changes (with luggage). If so what towns do I put in the ‘via’ field to get the best route from Lugano to Lucerne?
Personally I am leaning toward option 3. But I am open to persuasion otherwise. Time and money are not critical. We will be taking regional trains Zurich to Wengen (via Bern) and Wengen to Chur and BEX Chur to Lugano (plus trains and funiculars to Jungfrau, Pilatus, Titilus, Rigi, Stanserhorn, Shilthorn, Arosa etc as time and weather permits – so we won’t be starved of train experiences).
On arrival we have 5 nights in Lucerne so have time for other experiences.