September trip planning to Switzerland - 3 weeks

September trip planning to Switzerland - 3 weeks

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May
May
38 posts
active member
Apr 21, 2018 - 9:16 AM

Hello to you,

My sisters & I are planning to visit Switzerland for the first time, to reward ourselves after 35 years of hard work :D . We are above 55 years of age, though still healthy, would not want to rush out everyday while in Switzerland. We are travelling on budget too, to stay mostly at hostels.

We intend to purchase 15-Day Swiss Travel Pass Flex(STPF) but not sure whether there are better (i)alternative combination of STP + day supersaver tickets or (ii)modify my train travel plan as I am exceeding 15 days of STPF Pass... hence need your kind advice.

My tentative itineraries:

17/9 (activate STPF Day 1) - Arrive Zurich airport 09:00am after 12 hours of direct flight >> take train to Luzern for 2 nights.

18/9 - Free & Easy in Luzern with free city transportation tickets from hostel.

19/9 (STPF D2) - Luzern to Grindelwald Grund for 3 nights. If weather is good, shall book tickets with 25% discount to Jungfraujoch. Return trip to Lauterbrunnen & Wengen before back to Grindelwald Mountain Hostel.

20/9 - Free & Easy walking in Grindelwald or have free bus tickets from hostel? or use STPF D3 ?

21/9 - where to go today depends on actual areas covered on 19 & 20/9.

22/9 (STPF D3) - If dry day store luggages at hostel, morning to Schilthorn before taking train to Bern for 5 nights, as base for day trips to Colmar town, Basel, Neuchatel, La Chau de Fonds...

23 to 27/9 (STPF D4/5/6/7) day trips + free & easy in Bern with 1 day free city transport tickets. Morning check-out Bern hostel to Montreux (store luggages) >> Geneve & free boat rides >> Lausanne >> Montreux for 2 nights.

28/9 - Free & Easy walking around Montreux. Not sure to add other places nearby using STPF D8 or buy day cheaper tickets?

29 & 30/9 (STPF D8/9) - to Zermatt. for 2 nights, Saas See, etc.

1 to 4/10 (STPF D10/11/12/13) - Zermatt to Chur for 3 nights as base for day trips to St Moritz, Tirano, Liechten, Lake Constance. Check-out Chur hotel to Andermatt for 2 nights.

5 & 6/10 (STPF D14/15) - Day trip to Lugano. Next day, return to Zurich. Anywhere interesting to stopover a couple of hours with each person carrying a 22" luggage?

7 & 8/10 - no plan yet as I have exhausted all my 15 days of STPF :O

9/10 - Morning to Zurich airport.

Sorry for such a lengthy itineraries in beautiful Switzerland.

Much thanks in advance.

Best regards,

May Tan

Lucas
Lucas
8876 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 21, 2018 - 10:03 AM in reply to May

Hi May and welcome to MySwissAlps!

Sounds like this will be a great trip for you and your sisters! A few notes to get you started:

  • 17/9 - a bit of a waste on the Swiss Travel Pass Flex (STPF) this day. Tickets are around 30chf only. The timetable will give you all schedules (and prices) for any trip in the country. The first price you see next to the train departure is for Swiss Half Fare Card holders so you need to double it for the regualr fare.
  • 19/9 - Don't book tickets to mountains until day of departure - make sure the weather looks good first!
  • 20-9 - Don't use the STPF just for city travel - You need to be using up 50-60 chf at least to make it worth while (typically)
  • 5 & 6/10 - Try a stop in Bellinzona on the way to Zurich. You can follow the Gotthard Panorama Express route on regional trains and hop on/off where you wish with the STPF.

With 25 days in Switzerland (was my math right?). You might one to grab a Swiss Half Fare Card SHFC (120chf) bought here, to use on days that you don't want or need to use the Swiss Travel Pass Flex.

The SHFC can be emailed to you for printing at home but the STPF needs to be physically shipped to you when buying online.

It is also a good idea, once the trips each day or essentially settled, to do the math and see how various rail passes work out for you. We have a page here to help you. But in the end I would bet the Swiss Half Fare Card and Swiss Travel Pass Flex will work out well.

Sounds like a very nice trip seeing some great areas of the country! I'm sure more members will chime in with their thoughts and preferences as well.

May
May
38 posts
active member
Apr 21, 2018 - 3:38 PM in reply to Lucas

Thank you, Lucas.

Since you mentioned about SHFC on top of STPF (thanks!), I recalled my initial plan was the reverse - ie, starting from Zurich airport to Chur > Andermatt > Zermatt > Montreux > Bern > Grindelwald* > Luzern > Zurich (*15th day of STP).... then a [STP + SHFC] would cost lesser than {STPF + SHFC}. My assumption: there might be more wet days towards end September and early October to Jungfraujoch, hence I made a change to start with Luzern and Grindelwald.

Hmmm... am thinking: If not to mess up my accommodation bookings (with free cancellations), would it be better that I buy SHFC for train rides from Zurich airport to Luzern (2 nights) >> Grindelwald (3 nights) >> Jungfraujoch (50% discount with SHFC), and activate STP to go Schilthorn (free with STP) in the morning before heading to Bern in late afternoon... and the rest of my Switzerland trip... ???

I would very much appreciate suggestions from forum experts and members as I would like to finalize my itineraries by early May 2018 and don't think too much thereafter :D

Best regards,

May

Annika
Annika
4992 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 21, 2018 - 5:21 PM

Hi May!

I think it's a wise decision to put Lucerne and the Jungfrau region first in your itinerary based on general weather patterns. Although there are absolutely no guarantees, wetter periods may indeed become more frequent in the course of September/October.

As for your the rail pass issue: you should use your Swiss Travel Pass Flex for your most expensive day trips. Unfortunately it requires quite some calculations to figure out which days deserve the use of this pass most. The link Lucas provided you may help you to do the math. It does seem to make sense to start the Swiss Travel Pass Flex with your Schilthorn trip, paying for 50% discounted trips with the Swiss Half Fare Card during the first couple of days of your stay.

Just a thought: although it does seem to be quite costly at first sight, you may look into the combination of a 15 day plus an 8 day Swiss Travel Pass. This is more expensive than the Swiss Travel Pass Flex + Swiss Half Fare Card combination when you look at the pass purchase prices only (CHF 231 more expensive to be precise), but this does offer you an additional 8 days of free traveling without the additional costs of half-fare tickets. It also provides lots of freedom and flexibility. Again, whether this is a good option can only be decided after doing some strenuous homework ;-).

Annika
Annika
4992 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 21, 2018 - 5:25 PM

Hi May!

I think it's a wise decision to put Lucerne and the Jungfrau region first in your itinerary based on general weather patterns. Although there are absolutely no guarantees, wetter periods may indeed become more frequent in the course of September/October.

As for your the rail pass issue: you should use your Swiss Travel Pass Flex for your most expensive day trips. Unfortunately it requires quite some calculations to figure out which days deserve the use of this pass most. The link provided by Lucas may help you to do the math. It does seem to make sense to start the Swiss Travel Pass Flex with your Schilthorn trip, paying for 50% discounted trips with the Swiss Half Fare Card during the first couple of days of your stay.

Just a thought: although it does seem to be quite costly at first sight, you may look into the combination of a 15 day plus an 8 day Swiss Travel Pass. This is more expensive than the Swiss Travel Pass Flex + Swiss Half Fare Card combination when you look at the pass purchase prices only (CHF 231 more expensive to be precise), but this does offer you an additional 8 days of free traveling without the additional costs of half-fare tickets. It also provides lots of freedom and flexibility. Again, whether this is a good option can only be decided after doing some strenuous homework ;-).

May
May
38 posts
active member
Apr 21, 2018 - 11:55 PM in reply to Annika

Thank you, Annika.

Thank you, Lucas.

I shall consider one of these 2 options with my sisters.

Best regards,

May

May
May
38 posts
active member
Apr 23, 2018 - 2:23 PM

Hi Lucas/ Annika,

I am contemplating which way to go Lugano and where to stay 2 nights on 5 & 6/10 :-

  1. 5/10 from Chur to Andermatt. Next morning take train via Goschenen to Bellinzona & Lugano for a day trip >> return to Andermatt hotel. OR
  2. 5/10 take Postbus 171 from Chur to Bellinzona + train to Lugano. Stay 1 or 2 nights at Lugano?

(On 7/10 morning, I plan to take train to Fluelen >> take cruise to Luzern >> by train to Zurich)

Any advice from you? Thank you.

Chantal
Chantal
944 posts
top member
Apr 23, 2018 - 7:45 PM in reply to May

Hi May,

I prefer the train over the bus, but that's a personal choice. It is worth staying one or two nights in Lugano. It's beautiful there.

rockoyster
rockoyster
3916 posts
expert
Apr 23, 2018 - 7:55 PM in reply to May

Stay 2 nights in Lugano. Go there via Bernina Express (www.myswissalps.com/be rninaexpress) from Chur.

Will you take Gotthard Panorama Express (www.myswissalps.com/go tthardpanoramaexpress) to Lucerne?

Last modified on Apr 23, 2018 - 7:56 PM by rockoyster
May
May
38 posts
active member
Apr 24, 2018 - 5:08 AM in reply to rockoyster

Thanks to Chantal & Rockoyster.

Rockoyster, am probably not reservating seat for Bernina Express cum bus (CHF43 Chur-Lugano):

  1. as ordinary trains are on the same track as BEX and due to unpredictable wet/dry season in Sep to Oct. If sky is clear, I prefer flexibility to hop-off at St Moritz and other small towns before reaching Tirano...and back Chur. If rain, I stay onboard train looping around or go shopping at Landquart.
  2. BEX Chur to Lugano is very far and perhaps tiring, about 7h 15m.
  3. Save CHF 43 :D

Gotthard Panorama Express (seat reservation CHF29 Lugano-Fluelen)

  1. Have to reserve seat twice if I hop-off at Andermatt for 1-2 hours.

Chantal and you suggested I stay Lugano for 2 nights instead of Andermatt. Thanks. Looks like if I don't take Postbus from Chur to Lugano, my only option is by trains - Chur >> Goschenen >> Lugano.

rockoyster
rockoyster
3916 posts
expert
Apr 24, 2018 - 5:39 AM in reply to May

Regular trains are just fine for both the Bernina and Gotthard Panorama routes. Looks like you have it all under control. Happy travels

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