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Guidance for 3 day trip to Interlaken and Lucerne

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3 posts
new member
May 26, 2015 - 4:23 PM

Hi, my parents would be reaching Zurich on 25th June 6 am and leave the country ard 10 am on 28th June. On doing a bit of research I have thought of this itinerary. - 1st day go from Zurich to Interlaken, see the local scenery ( Kindly suggest which places would be best covered in a day). Next day can be a Jungfrau excursion and back. Move on to Lucerne that night or next day early morning, go to Mt Titlis or Mt Pilatus. Leave for Zurich late night and fly out the next day. Do you think this is an advisable plan? Please consider that my parents are in their 60's. They would be buying the Swiss Travel Pass. The trip can be extended by a day if required.

7567 posts
May 26, 2015 - 8:14 PM in reply to Anirudh

Hi Anirudh-

You have scheduled two high alpine excursions. Perhaps you would wish to consider a day in and around nearby sights at Lucerne, for a different experience of Switzerland, instead of Titlis.

www.myswissalps.com/lu cerne

Here are some things near Interlaken:

www.myswissalps.com/ju ngfrauregion

<<"leave the country ard 10 am on 28th June.">>

There is excellent train service from Luzern to Zürich Airport (Flughafen.) Two trains an hour, the ones at 10 minutes past the hour take one hour an 3 minutes with no change of trains. The ones at 35 after the hour require a change of trains in Zürich main station, and take 1 hour and 11 minutes.

But, if they felt like getting up early, they could sleep in Lucerneon the night of the 27th. They'd have to make sure to get up early andto get their train, because they would be a bit late if they missed the0710.

Here is the website for Swiss Rail-

www.sbb.ch/en/home.htm l

When I fly out of Zürich Flughafen in the morning, I always stay in downtown Zürich because there is such frequent (many times per hour) train service to the airport. If I miss one train , there is another one in a few minutes. That way I can enjoy some time in the city in the evening, with a wide choice of restaurants.

There is can be not much difference between taking a hotel shuttle from a hotel near the airport, which often runs on a fixed schedule with gaps, and taking the frequent trains from Zürich. If you wish to do that, check the schedules, some trains to the airport are faster (fewer stops) than others. And, they leave from different platforms at divers locations in the main station. If you take a taxi, don't be surprised at a fare above 65 CHF.

3 posts
new member
May 27, 2015 - 4:40 AM

Hi Slowpoke! Thanks for your reply.

Yes I believe instead of 2 high alpine excursions, we can take in the sights of the city and local area on one day. Which one do you suggest we choose out of Mt Titlis and Jungfrau since this is the first time in Switzerland? Also do you think visiting Bern is a good option if we extend a day?

Thanks for your input for the ways to get to Zurich airport, although I do believe an overnight stay in Lucerne might cut it a bit close. ;) I am now considering booking a hotel in Zurich for stay. Do you feel it is okay to give Lucerne a miss and proceed directly to Zurich from Interlaken and spend a day out there i.e 27th June which is currently the last day of the trip? What all activities can be pursued in Zurich? Also, any special scenic train routes which can be done on the Swiss travel pass in order to take in the scenic beauty?

Too many questions I know.. :) Thanks for your help!!

15871 posts
expert &
May 27, 2015 - 6:45 AM

Extending your stay with one day is a good idea. Three days is a real short time and your mountain excursions depend on the weather. A peak covered in clouds is not worth visiting. So I'd suggest to take the extra day and plan based on the weather: go to a peak when it's clear, visit a town when it's cloudy.

The Golden Pass line connects Lucerne to Interlaken, so that's the best scenic train route in your case. It's included in the Swiss Travel Pass. Please see here for all Swiss Travel Pass prices, and promotions.

Last modified on May 27, 2015 - 6:45 AM by Arno
7567 posts
May 27, 2015 - 11:35 AM in reply to Anirudh

An answer for only one of them at the monent.

Lucerne is a better idea than Zürich for a first time tourist to Switzerland. And, the train between Lucerne and the Berner Oberland is a very nice ride.

I prefer Zürich as a city that I would live in, but many of the reasons are not relevant to being a tourist.

Bern is nice for a short visit, but Lucerne should be your first choice after the Berner Oberland in my opinion.

That is what the forum moderators usually recommend, also.

Last modified on May 27, 2015 - 12:54 PM by Slowpoke
7567 posts
May 27, 2015 - 1:15 PM in reply to Anirudh

<<"Thanks for your input for the ways to get to Zurich airport, although I do believe an overnight stay in Lucerne might cut it a bit close. ;) I am now considering booking a hotel in Zurich for stay.">>

I agree that it would be a bit much. I have done it, when I could not get a room at a price I liked in Zürich, and I am very familiar with the transport system.

I was making another point, implicit in that information.

Zürich is only 45 minutes by frequent trains from Lucerne.

You can enjoy a day in/near Lucerne and easily get to Zürich for the evening.

I certainly would choose to stay in Zürich rather than at the airport.

The only caution is that some of the trains to the airport form the main station leave from tracks 41-44 (down below) and others from tracks that take a bit of a walk out past the left of track 3. Tracks 3-18 are the easy ones to board. The signs are good, but, it may take 5 minutes walk/ escalators/ etc. to get to some of the tracks.

In the station you can "rent" a luggage cart by putting a 2 CHF coin in a gadget on the chain that holds the stored carts in their queue. When you get done with the cart, you plug it into another queue and it gives you your coin back. The carts can go on the escalators; they are provided with grips for the steps under the carts.

Sometimes the stick a little bit and have to by wiggled.

When you come into Zurich, take a look at the TWO train schedule boards overhead. The "S-Bahnen" are commuter trains to the suburbs. The Fernverkehr are long distance trains. Many of those stop at Zürich Flughafen, and it will show on their schedules on the boards.

If you wan to be very cautious, you can go to the train info counters and ask for a card with all the airport train schedules on it.

Or look them up ahead of time and write down the track numbers and arrival times at the airport. You'll have good range of choices.

3 posts
new member
May 28, 2015 - 5:01 AM

Hi and Thanks Arno and Slowpoke!

I have now decided or my parents to enjoy 2 days in Interlaken while covering Lake Thun, a few castles and Jungfraujoch. Spend the 3rd day in and around Lucerne ( we have decided not to do anothe mountain excursion, have limited the day to local sight seeing to enjoy the architecture etc) and stay the night. Leave by an early morning train to Zurich. Thanks for the detailed information on the rail system.

Thanks again for all your help! Shall msg again if I require more inputs. :)

7567 posts
May 28, 2015 - 9:18 AM in reply to Anirudh

Hi and Thanks Arno and Slowpoke!Ihave now decided or my parents to enjoy 2 days in Interlaken ........ Spend the 3rd day inand around Lucerne ....">>

You are quite welcome. The trip looks a lot less hectic. Hope you have good weather for the Jungfraujoch; It's not much fun to get up there in the midst of the clouds. That information will be available at the station in I.O, maybe on a sign board, maybe even in your hotel lobby.

Apparently, you don't mind getting up early. However, you might try to find out from I.O. Tourism or the train ticket counter if trains will fill up on your chosen day.

You could save a 46 minute train trip ( the portion from IO as far as Wengen) by staying in Wengen.

<<" Leave by an early morning train to Zurich. Thanks for the detailed information on the rail system.">>

You are welcome. Glad it was helpful. I know you said that you did not need any more information, but here are a few more details that might interest you, about one portion of the rail journey to Züri Flughafen. (Since you did say that it might cut it a bit close.)

Please note that those trains in the AM are very full (see the people icons at the right in the attached *.JPG file.)

You might wish to consider an upgrade to first class just for those trips, if the travel pass is second class.

You could buy a one trip upgrade one in the Luzern station while you are passing through on the 27th. Pretty sure you can no longer buy one after you are on the train.

Why? First class will give you more room to stash your luggage on board in that compartment. I hope that it does not consist of big heavy bags. On crowded trains to the airport you will surely find people standing (including yourself) with their luggage in the on/off space at the ends of the cars unless you get on as soon as the train pulls in and empties.. Possibly they will be standing even in the actual passenger compartments. This will not be the Tokyo subways, with pushers, but it can get pretty full with people taking luggage to the airport.

And, I would get to the tracks early, locate the first class sections by noting the sector(s) (A, B, C, D) on the overhead sign board (if you choose first class) stand at that part of the platform. First class cars have a yellow stripe on the sides and/or over the doorways on the cars.

The 0710 from Luzern arrives at track 6 at 0649.

If you take the 0710 train from Luzern, it will be on track 6 - which is good if your flight departure is a bit later than 1000 hrs from ZFH, and still tolerable for a 1000 departure if you can move quickly with your luggage.

The luggage carts at the airport do not require coins and they ride the escalators. A big help..

I assume a 2 hour early arrival at the airport. If your flight is intercontinental, it will require a bit of extra time to get out to Terminal E by train, so watch the clock carefully..

Last modified on May 28, 2015 - 9:24 AM by Slowpoke


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