My 5 day Swiss itinerary for February with 6 y/o

My 5 day Swiss itinerary for February with 6 y/o

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gaayvik
gaayvik
5 posts
new member
Jan 5, 2017 - 9:18 AM

Hi,

I want some help with my 5 (and a half) days Swiss itenerary that i have put together.We are a couple travelling with a 6 year old daughter from Feb 18th 2017 . Here is the brief plan i came up with:

18th : Land in Paris at 16:00 ---> Train to Geneva

19th - Day 1 : Geneva to Zermatt (Train)

Zermatt by about 9:00 A.M., you should have plenty of time to take the Gornergrat Railway and the Klein Matterhorn cable car. They are two very different rides and scenery and I love them both. I would head up the cable car first as it usually shuts down earlier than the Gornergrat. You can easily have lunch on the way up or down either. The shops in the village close about 6 or 7. The mountaineering museum is worth a visit and a walk through the old sections of the village is well worthwhile. Stop at the visitor center in the square by the train station to get a map of the village and ask about any special activities.

The same night, take train to Interlaken. Stay overnight at Interlaken.

20th - Day 2 : Jungfrau excursion to Top of Europe

21st - Day 3: from Interlaken you take the train to Grindelwald and then up to Kleine Scheidigg(not all the way to the top of the Jungfrau) and get off there. Hike down the beautiful, well-marked path to the next train stop at Alpiglen. Will take about an hour. Then ride back down to Grindelwald, have a nice late lunch in a cafe overlooking the North Wall of the Eiger, and then back down to Interlaken and take the Winter boat cruise in Lake Thun and then to Lucerne. Heaven, and in my opinion, a perfect day in the Bernese Oberland.

Can I get to Lucerne from Lake Thun ? What is the last train timing and how long will it take?

Can i combine Wengen village along with Grindelwald? How do I get to Wengen and out of it? Can you tell me the details? How about Murren? Will I get to see the beautiful flowers in these regions?

That night stay in Lucerne.

22nd - Day 4 : Mt.Titlis in Lucerne / Mt. Rigi

Assuming we have the Swiss pass, which excursion would you suggest? Mt.Titlis or Mt.Rigi , given that we have visited Jungfrau on Day 2.

23rd : Bernina express from Chur to Tirano/Lugano and back to Chur. From CHur to Geneva at night.

I heard that the local train and Bernina follow the exact same route, but the local train has the adventage of getting off at some stations and spending time there. Am I right? Can i just take the local train from Chur to Tirano and get the same scenery and experince?

Is the same valid for Glacier Express route too? Does local trains follow the Glacier express route?

24th - Day 6 - Spend time in Geneva and to Barcelona in evening 5pm flight.

Please suggest any modfications in the above itenerary. If I take the swiss travel pass for 4 days, how can i cover 5 days? I am open to take any scenic train or just the route if it saves me money. Please suggest and also answer the few questions i have asked above.

Thanks.

Arno
Arno
10344 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 6, 2017 - 6:42 AM

Hi gaayvik,

Welcome to MySwissAlps! Your itinerary involves a lot of moving around, which is fine as long as you realize that mountain trips require good weather. So do have some alternatives in mind. In case of bad weather in the Jungfrau region, a day trip to Bern would be an example. You'll be traveling in winter, so check with the local tourist agency if hiking trails are accessible, and make sure you have solid hiking shoes. There won't be flowers this time of the year.

The Swiss Pass is for Swiss residents only; the Swiss Travel Pass is for tourists. Mount Rigi is free for pass holders, and very different from Jungfraujoch, so definitely worth it. All pass details can be found here. If you buy a 4-day pass you can buy regular tickets on your first or last day.

The Jungfrau region page explains all about the villages and attractions.

The Bernina Express line and local versus express trains are explained here. The Glacier Express page also provides information you may like.

Does this get you started?

gaayvik
gaayvik
5 posts
new member
Jan 6, 2017 - 7:18 AM in reply to Arno

Hi Arno,

Thanks for your reply.

I need a little more details for Day 2 and Day 3, and maybe you can suggest other days too assuming i will be flying in and out of Geneva.

1) I would love to do a few villages in the Jungfrau region, apart from Jungfraujoch excursion on Day 2 and Day 3. How best can i do it? For example how best to combine Grindelwald, Wengen, laterbrunnen and Jungfraujoch? Can i take the winter boat cruise on Lake Thun to get to Lucerne on Day 3 night? How to you rate the winter cruise on Lake Thun? How can i get to Lake Thun from one of these villages? Could you help with details on Day 2 and Day 3?

2) We just want to experience one of the panoramic routes by train. Even if they are not the ones with glass windows we are ok. We thought of doing this on Day 5 from Lucerne. Which is the best one you suggest? On Day 5 night we would like to go back to Geneva as we want to catch the flight out from Geneva on Day 6.

3) In the Jungfrau region , among the winter trails, which is the best one I can do to get a feel and experience of the local regions and scenery? I am only looking for non-strenuous hikes for about an hour or so that can be done with my 6 year old. Please suggest.

Thanks in advance.

Arno
Arno
10344 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 7, 2017 - 9:25 AM in reply to gaayvik

Hi gaayvik,

1) I think the pages myswissalps.com/ onedayjungfrauregion and myswissalps.com/ schilthorn will be helpful. You don't have to do the exact tour as suggested on the first page, but it provides some ideas, and a detailed map.

Lucerne is not on Lake Thun. You can find the map and further details here: myswissalps.com/ boatlakelucerne. The winter schedule is very limited but worth it if you can take that single boat per day or so.

How to get from one place to the other can be found in the timetable.

2) You'd best review the options listed on myswissalps.com/activi ties/scenictrips/train. The trip to Mount Rigi, mentioned in my previous post, is a nice local scenic train ride.

3) The one from Grütschalp to Mürren is popular, easy, scenic, and takes about 1.5 hours. Easily combined with a visit to the Schilthorn.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4486 posts
expert
Jan 8, 2017 - 2:00 AM in reply to gaayvik

Hi Gaayvik-

<<"Day 3: from Interlaken you take the train to Grindelwald and then up to Kleine Scheidigg(not all the way to the top of the Jungfrau) and get off there. Hike down the beautiful, well-marked path to the next train stop at Alpiglen. Will take about an hour.">>

It is Kleine Scheidegg, not Scheidigg.

I'd be surprised if you can take that trail in February. Too much snow and ice. However, I could be wrong...the trail might be groomed. Arno or Annika may know... or the local tourist offices. Hope I am wrong. It is a 450 to 460 meter descent and the hiking distance is about 4 km. Can you do that in one hour? Are your knees in good shape? Will you have good boots? Even though it is marked as "yellow-signed trail" not a "red-signed mountain hiking trail" boots will likely be necessary or highly desirable in the winter even if it is groomed

And, if you have cloudy weather for even one day, you may need to adjust your plans.

Slowpoke.

Arno
Arno
10344 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 8, 2017 - 8:37 AM in reply to Slowpoke

As far as I know there is a sledge run and a hiking trail to Alpiglen in winter too, but it's all weather dependent. If it's open it will likely take more than an hour.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4486 posts
expert
Jan 8, 2017 - 9:35 AM in reply to gaayvik

Hi Gaayvik-

A few more thoughts after reviewing the thread -

<<"Can i combine Wengen village along with Grindelwald? How do I get to

Wengen and out of it? Can you tell me the details? How about Murren?

Will I get to see the beautiful flowers in these regions?">>

You will see a lot of snow in those regions, and, even at much lower elevations, thee is likely to be snow cover of some sort on the ground, not flowers. Flowers come in June, depending very much on altitude, since Winter hangs on stubbornly at higher altitudes, even while Spring is in full bloom at lower elevations.

In reviewing the thread, I note several questions which could be better answered by referring to a map plus the timetable (as linked by Arno).

This map is great for travel, because there is a lot of information in the menus about transport and accommodations:

map.search.ch/

Unfortunately, it does not show altitudes.

SwissTopo is full of details including altitudes, with many may options for informative overlays:

map.geo.admin.ch/?topic=ech&lang=en&bgLa yer=ch.swisstopo.pixel karte-farbe&layers=ch.bav.ha ltestellen-oev,ch.swisstopo.swiss tlm3d-wanderwege&layers_visi bility=false,false&X=1 67250.00&Y=640150.00&z oom=4

This site (Switzerland Mobility) is good for all kinds of hiking, biking , etc. and has a good map as well, with altitudes:

map.wanderland.ch/?lang=de&route=all&bgLa yer=pk&resolution=500& X=632000&Y=206000&laye rs=Wanderland

Note the menu icons art the top.

Day 4 and 5 -You do not specify where you will sleep on Day 4.

I have spent a bit of time with the timetable to figure out the journey that you describe.

If you sleep in Luzern on Day 4, travel from Luzern to Chur takes 2 hrs 10 minutes or more.

Chur to via Pontresina Tirano to Lugano: about 7 to 8 hours.

Lugano to Chur: 2 1/2 to 4 hours,

Chur to Geneva: Overnight with a 5 hour layover in Biel (as one example) taking 8 or 9 hours, arriving the next morning.

Even if you start in Chur at 0658, you will arrive in Lugano at 1441, then Chur at 1748, and Geneva at 2234 or 2247, approximately 16 hours on trains., a very long journey.

Another option to get to Geneva at the end:

The route from Luzern to Montreux ( Golden Pass route) via Zweissimmen, thence onward to Geneva, is quite scenic.

www.myswissalps.com/go ldenpass

If you go via Bern instead of via Zweisimmen, it is a lot faster.

You can refine your plans by using the timetable and a map, thus answering many of your questions and allowing consideration of options.

Slowpoke

gaayvik
gaayvik
5 posts
new member
Jan 8, 2017 - 11:53 AM in reply to Slowpoke

HI Slowpoke,

Thaks for the useful tips. Like you said, the suggestion to do Golden Pass instead of Bernina or Glacier express, sounds good to me as we would be moving towards our end destination which is Geneva.

On Day 4 night , the plan is to stay in Lucern only. Day 4 the plan was to go to any mountain excursion in Lucern. Considering that Mt.Rigi will be covered by Swiss travel pass, i was inclined towards that. But as per you, do you suggest Mt.Rigi or Mt.Titlis for the Day 4 excursion? Also on Day 2 or 3, we would have gone to Jungfraujoch.

There is a lot of information there. So I would take your inputs more.

Can you suggest some minute details as per your experience and considering its Feb end, to cover. Over 2 days, i would like to cover Grindelwald, Wengen, Jungfraujoch, and maybe Murren etc. Also a small not so difficult hke like the one you have suggested will be great, just to get the experience. Please let me know of a plan.

Thanks a lot!

Gayathri

Lucas
Lucas
5516 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 8, 2017 - 12:03 PM in reply to gaayvik

Hi Gayathri!

I agree with Slowpoke on the Golden Pass and would recommend the "classic" train cars over the panoramic (unless you go for the VIP seats at the very front of the train on the panoramic! My wife and I much preferred the heritage look and feel of the classic cars and were happy we chose them.Their windows are still very large to enjoy the scenery!

I'll leave your specific questions about those 2 days to Slowpoke as he has more experience but it does seem like a lot of ground to cover in only 2 days, and as always in the mountains the weather may make the decision for you on where you go and what you do on those days!

Kind regards,
Lucas

gaayvik
gaayvik
5 posts
new member
Jan 8, 2017 - 12:24 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Slowpoke,

After sleeping in Lucern on Day 4. I thought we can set out on the Bernina express route on Day 5. The bus leg from Tirano to Lugano is closed till April I believe. So I think the to and fro trip from Chur to Tirano and back should take about 8-9 hours. And then I checked the timetable that there is a late night train from Chur to Geneva which takes about 3 hours. Am i right?

But then I didnt know about the Golden Pass route. Is it equally scenic? I mean would we get to see glaciers, palms , villages, etc? As you said, even one way from Lucerne to Montreux in the Golden Pass route is fine. Does the local train also take the same route? In case i dont get a seat reservation in Golden Pass?

Thanks,

Gayathri

gaayvik
gaayvik
5 posts
new member
Jan 9, 2017 - 6:15 AM in reply to Lucas

Hi Lucas,

I am also inclining towards the classic trains only, for various reasons. One thing is, i dont need to reserve right away and with a Swiss Travel Pass, it gives me the flexibility to change plans according to weather. Plus also the glass windows may come in between for my photographs:) By classic cars did you mean the normal intercity trains?

Thanks,

Gayathri

Lucas
Lucas
5516 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 9, 2017 - 8:50 AM in reply to gaayvik

Hi Gayathri,

Fair point on reservations. :) perhaps the day before might be sufficient - or as soon as you can confirm the trip.

No, by classic I meant the older heritage style train cars - not the intercity. No matter which train car you choose those pesky windows will hinder your photos. I try and do my best with train photos to include the reflection as an artsy 'extra' and just assume I can't avoid them most of the time!

I recall seeing great scenery, snow and quaint villages on the Golden Pass (I took this last winter). However, if I am looking for the absolute most scenic train experience I would lean to the Glacier or Bernina Express (I haven't been on the Bernina yet however).

Lucas

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4486 posts
expert
Jan 9, 2017 - 9:06 AM in reply to gaayvik

<"But then I didnt know about the Golden Pass route. Is it equally scenic?

I mean would we get to see glaciers, palms , villages, etc?">>

As far as I know, no glaciers or palm trees. I do not recall palm trees along the Glacier Express route, either.

The most scenic part of the trip is from Montbovon downwards to Montreux, where you go through vineyards on both sides of the train as it turns back and forth, and see Lake Geneva below.

In many rail cars you cannot open the windows, due to the fact that they are air conditioned. In February, it is quite cold, and even f you could open windows, you would not want to because of the temperatures, and because it would be quite rude to expose other passengers to the cold air.

For information about the Golden Pass rolling stock, please read the link I gave for information about the Golden Pass. Note that the route is covered by differnt trains and differnt operating companies al;ong the route from Luzern to Interlaken to Zweisimmen to Montreux. The descriptions in that link are not precise, but , in fact, the windows in the "Classic" trains do open. The cars are old, but, they have been renewed.

This describes the Classic and Panoramic rolling stock:

www.switzerlandbyrail. com/trains/scenic/gold en_pass_trains_panoram ic_classic.htm

This link describes the western part of the Golden Pass route and trains on the MOB:

www.goldenpass.ch/en

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4486 posts
expert
Jan 9, 2017 - 9:51 AM in reply to gaayvik

Hi Gayathri

<<"After sleeping in Lucern on Day 4. I thought we can set out on the

Bernina express route on Day 5. The bus leg from Tirano to Lugano is

closed till April I believe. So I think the to and fro trip from Chur to

Tirano and back should take about 8-9 hours. And then I checked the

timetable that there is a late night train from Chur to Geneva which

takes about 3 hours. Am i right?">>

Here are some possibilities along that route, taken from the timetable. Indeed it can work. It would be a very long day and night.

Luzern to Chur - 0635 to 0843 ( for example).

Chur to Tirano via Pontresina: 0858 to 1300

Tirano to Chur via Pontresina:1359 to 1803

With no luggage, it is possible that you might catch the 1300 return at Tirano, but since no connection time is allowed, I would not plan on it.

Depending on connection time, you might leave luggage at Chur, being careful about opening hours if you use the left luggage office, which closes at 1900. There are lockers.

Search for Chur at this link:

www.sbb.ch/en/station-services/am-bahnhof/railway-stations/bahnhof-finden.posid.9000.html

Chur to Geneva: 1809 to 2234

The last connection from Chur to Geneva is at 2016, arriving at 0111, with 3 changes of train at Zürich, Bern and Lausanne. The 6 minute connection at Bern is possible, but move quickly. Inbound, track 2, outbound, track 3. I hope you do not have lots of heavy luggage.

The map available for download at:

www.sbb.ch/en/station-services/am-bahnhof/railway-stations/bern-station.html

or at :

www.sbb.ch/en/station-services/am-bahnhof/railway-stations/trafimage-maps-station-plans/station-plans.html

shows that tracks 2 and 3 at Bern are not on the same platform, but are next to each other.

You can also check Lausanne and Chur at that latter Trafimage link.

You can work backwards along the timetable using 2016 departure from

Chur as your fixed time. Almost surely, you can leave Luzern later than

0635. I did not work that out.

Personally, I'd prefer t make a start on the journey from Luzern at the end of Day 4, for instance, going as far as Chur. That would make Day 5 shorter and more flexible.

Slowpoke

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