Rail pass choice for Interlaken base

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Rani
Rani
15 posts
new member
Jul 13, 2018 - 6:37 AM

Hi,

We are a group of 4 couples from USA, all in our 60s, planning to visit Switzerland from13th to 26th aug. We will be there for 12days excluding arrival and departure . Our group is not really interested in hiking, art, museums or shopping. It's mainly sight seeing. Do not have a day to day iternary as yet but do know places we want to visit. This is the tentative plan: beginning with Zurich where we will be landing... on day 1 after checking in the hotel and freshening up we could explore the city go to the lake etc. Next day visit Rhine falls and Schaffhausen.

Day 3 proceed to Interlaken and make that our base and take as many day trips from here as possible (regardless of the many opinions I've read about interlaken for us it's ideal for the ease of finding Indian restaurants close by...not sure if we will find that in wengen or murren also it seems well connected to many places) so from here we would like to make day trips, listed in no particular order to Lucerne, Schilthorn..walk from murren to gimmelwald, then take cable car to lauterburnnen valley and take a bus to stechelberg-to trummelbach falls, Mt. Titlis, Jungfraujoch, Bern, Matterhorn, chillion castle, montreux, lake Geneva.

So my question is are all these day trips possible from interlaken or should we change bases after a few days and come down south and spend a couple of nights in zermatt or montreux? We feel the less we have to pack and unpack the better it is as you lose a lot of time checking in checking out.

Is it easy to get to Geneva airport from montreux in case we decide to depart from there?

Is it better to get the Swiss rail pass or half fare pass? I have also heard its better to buy it before getting to Switzerland, is that true?

Thanking each and everyone in advance, your guidance is greatly appreciated 🙏

Lucas
Lucas
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Jul 13, 2018 - 10:21 AM in reply to Rani

Hi Rani and welcome to MySwissAlps!

Yes, all those planned day trips are possible from Interlaken without much issue. How many days do you have in Interlaken to do those trips? DO you have time to do one trip per day or do you perfer or need to combine some?

Use the Swiss railways timetable her: https://www.myswissalp s.com/timetable to plan each trip from Interlaken. You'll find detailed schedules to plan each trip there.

I would be tempted to stay a night or two in Montreux. Much easier to get to both Zermatt and Geneva airport from there.

As for your rail passes. You'll need to first decide on your day to day itinerary. Plan out each days' trips and then compare costs of tickets to rail passes. We have a page here to help you: https://www.myswissalp s.com/train/ticketspas ses/practical/choosera ilpass

I would look probably go with the Swiss Travel Pass even if it worked out a little more expensive - it is so nice to have mostly ticket-less travel as you can just hop on most trains and go.

To see what routes are fully or partially covered, see the PDF map and list here: https://www.myswissalp s.com/swisstravelpass/ validity if a trip is partially covered (like 25% off to Jungfraujoch, you must still buy a ticket, otherwise your pass is your ticket).

Rani
Rani
15 posts
new member
Jul 13, 2018 - 12:51 PM in reply to Lucas

Thank you very much Lucas.

We have 10days in Interlaken if we choose that as our base or we could split that for a couple of nights in Montreux, will see what majority of the group decides on. Most of these will be one trip per day. I think we can do Schilthorn and Trummelbach falls in the same day.

In your opinion, do you feel we have too many mountains in the itenerary? Someone told me after seeing a couple of them it will all feel the same. Also would it be easier to fly out from Zurich or Montreux to Geneva airport? We will spend the night prior to flying out either back in Zurich or Montreux. I believe we will get the 15day Swiss rail pass.

Once again thanks a million for your time and guidance. God Bless

Lucas
Lucas
9645 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 13, 2018 - 7:02 PM in reply to Rani

Hi Rani,

It is hard to say it is too many mountains for you - maybe for some yes but not others. I'd say to be flexible and see how you feel as you travel. Look for alternative ideas in case you don't feel like another mountain trip during your holiday.

You can read about what all there is to in in the Jungfrau Region (around Interlaken) here: https://www.myswissalp s.com/jungfrauregion and other regions in Switzerland here: https://www.myswissalp s.com/wheretogo

Rani
Rani
15 posts
new member
Jul 13, 2018 - 7:33 PM in reply to Lucas

Hi Lucas,

Appreciate your prompt response. Pls guide if there is a direct train from Montreux to Geneva airport and how long would it take. It will help determine if we should depart from Zurich or Geneva. Thank you very much.

Gunzel
Gunzel
153 posts
active member
Jul 14, 2018 - 2:28 AM

I did a similar trip in 2015 and used Interlaken as a base.

I'd recommend the Bernese Oberland Pass because it gives access to some lovely trips not covered on other passes; e.g. Schynige Platte and Niesen Kulm.

I combined it with a half fare card and it worked well for me (and my travelling companion).

I would suggest not to try to do too much; if it's Tuesday it must be Belgium? You get the drift?

Interlaken is a great base but does tend to attract groups of international tourists who can be rather noisy - and not adverse to a little pushing and shoving! A quieter, nearby, base may suit you better? Check Wilderswil.

Lucas, as usual, has made some excellent suggestions. The Swiss rail site will answer all your questions about travel. Pay particular attention to the personal timetable section. You can prepare a timetable for the whole day - so you have plenty of options. And it sometimes comes up with some interesting routes you might not have previously considered.

As usual, PPPPP! Prior planning prevents poor performance. It must be something of a challenge making arrangements for four couples!

Enjoy your travels!

Removed user
Removed user
0 posts
new member
Jul 14, 2018 - 2:36 AM in reply to Rani

>> Pls guide if there is a direct train from Montreux to Geneva airport and how long would it take

Some trains from Montreux go direct to Geneva Airport. The Swiss Timetable will tell you everything you need to know, including which trains run direct, and how long the trip will take:

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

Use the one on the right with the red SBB logo. Geneva Airport is Genève-Aéroport in the timetable.

Alpenrose

Last modified on Jul 14, 2018 - 9:48 AM by Arno
Gunzel
Gunzel
153 posts
active member
Jul 14, 2018 - 3:31 AM in reply to Removed user

Plenty of options from early morning until quite late at night.

Direct trains take about 1hr 20mins.

Rani
Rani
15 posts
new member
Jul 16, 2018 - 3:04 AM

Thank you very much Lucas, Alpenrose666 and Gunzel. All your recommendations/suggestions have been noted and itinerary is being planned accordingly. Very grateful and appreciative of your responses 🙏🏻 God Bless

Rani
Rani
15 posts
new member
Jul 17, 2018 - 4:15 AM

Hello again,

One of our group members has promised his wife on their 25th anniversary that the glacier express would be a must whenever they visited Switzerland, so now we need to incorporate that in our itinerary. What would be the best way from interlaken? Should we take a train to St. Mortiz? Do we have to spend the night in St. Mortiz? If so any recommendations for accommodation? Thanks a lot.

Last modified on Jul 17, 2018 - 4:17 AM by Rani
Lucas
Lucas
9645 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 17, 2018 - 6:37 AM in reply to Rani

Hi Rani,

The entire route would be St. Moritz to Zermatt and is about 8 hours. Typically you'd need a night in both towns before and after the trip.

You could do a smaller portion of the trip from Interlaken (Chur to Brig is 4.5 hours or on to Zermatt at another 1.5 hours longer).

You can find the Glacier Express departures on the Swiss railways timetable (Alpenrose gave it to you). The actual panoramic trains are labelled GEX. You can also take the same route on regional trains (many more departure options) but it sounds like your friend wants the panoramic train.

Reservations are mandatory as well: https://www.myswissalp s.com/glacierexpress/p ackages

Rani
Rani
15 posts
new member
Jul 17, 2018 - 6:03 PM

Hi,

Thanks for taking the time to answer my queries.

If we do the glacier express is it still worth going to Gornergrat and Klein Matterhorn or will it be almost same scenery?

Is Schilthorn and Trummelbach a must see?

warm regards

Rani

Lucas
Lucas
9645 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 18, 2018 - 5:34 AM in reply to Rani

Hi Rani,

You are comparing 2 very different products: a panoramic train and a mountain visit. I'd say do both but you don't need to do Gornergrat and Klein Matterhorn. One would suffice I think.

https://www.myswissalp s.com/kleinmatterhorn
https://www.myswissalp s.com/gornergrat

Rani
Rani
15 posts
new member
Jul 19, 2018 - 4:45 AM

Thank you Lucas.

As you know after Zurich we were planning Interlaken as our base for most of the trip, now that St Mortiz and GEX has come into the picture, do you recommend going there from Zurich first and then coming back to Interlaken to do Jungfrau? Is it true that from interlaken it will take twice the amount of hours than Zurich?

Lucas
Lucas
9645 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 19, 2018 - 6:21 AM in reply to Rani

It is hard to fit those trips in with your itinerary.

You could go to Chur from Zurich, take the Glacier Express to Brig and then take another train back to Interlaken. This makes for a long day but probably the best way to fit it in.

Starting and ending in Interlaken as a day trip is close to impossible.https://www.myswissalp s.com/glacierexpress/g ettingthere

If you can at leat overnight in Chur (or St. Mortiz) before doing the Glacier Express that would work well. Then go as far as Brig before going to Interlaken.

You can play with the Swiss railways timetable to find travel times between Zurich and Chur or St. Moritz and compare with Interlaken to see the differences and what might work for you. https://www.myswissalp s.com/timetable

Rani
Rani
15 posts
new member
Jul 21, 2018 - 6:47 PM in reply to Lucas

Hello again,

I’m sorry I didn’t clarify earlier...Taken your advice and if we did the 8hr GEX we will overnight in St. Mortiz before the trip and spend a few days in Zermatt and explore that area along with day trips to Montreux and possibly Geneva from Zermatt as the base. Do you think that will work better?

Also pls guide, what is the difference between 8hr GEX trip from st. Mortiz to Zermatt and the 4.5 hr from Chur to Brig? Will we be missing out if we did the shorter version?

Thank you so much.

Lucas
Lucas
9645 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 22, 2018 - 8:05 AM in reply to Rani

Spending time in St. Moritz and Zermatt will make the Glacier Express trip work much better yes.

If you don't have time to do the whole trip, Chur to Brig is probably the most scenic section (Especially Chur to Andermatt).

Rani
Rani
15 posts
new member
Jul 23, 2018 - 10:08 PM

Hi,

Our dates are arriving, 18 Aug into Zurich and departing 2nd Sept. We will get 15day Swiss travel pass. Each of us will have a bag and a carry on, is it easy to travel with luggage while changing bases?

Also can we take it on the glacier express from St Mortiz to Zermatt as we are thinking of spending few days in Zermatt?

Thank you very much

Rani
Rani
15 posts
new member
Jul 23, 2018 - 10:43 PM

I have put together a tentative itinerary, please advise, thanks a lot.

18th: land, explore Zurich

19th: Rhine Falls/Schaffhausen

20th: Zurich to St Mortiz n overnight

21st: GEX (hv to still reserve seats) overnight in Zermatt

22nd: explore Zermatt/ Matterhorn

23rd: Gornergrat

24th: day trip to Montreux, see Lake Geneva & Chillon Castle

25th: Travel to Interlaken

26th: Day trip to Lucern

27th: Day trip to Jungfraujoch

28th: Day trip to Bern

29th: Day trip Schilthorn / Trummelbach falls

At this point we hv 2 more days before heading to Zurich the night before flying out on 2nd. I was wondering if there is any way to maybe see Venice for a day or so. I can adjust itinerary and instead of Montreux go to Lugano. Also give up day trip to Bern, that will give me 4 days to play with. Let me know your thoughts. Thanks a million.

Lucas
Lucas
9645 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 24, 2018 - 12:02 PM in reply to Rani

I think the less bases you change and/or the less luggage you bring the better. But the whole process isn't difficult unless there are young kids or elderly involved as well which can make it trickier.

Yes, luggage is allowed on all trains in Switzerland.

On your itinerary, I would head to St. Moritz after the Rheinfalls visit on the 19th. I think the 22nd and 23rd can be combined. It depends on what your plans are on 22nd by exploring Zermatt though. https://www.myswissalp s.com/zermatt

Venice can be a little tricky to get to from Switzerland (at least quickly with not too many connections) but if you carve out 2/3 nights and want to go there it can work.

You can use the timetable to plan out all trips between towns and mountains: https://www.myswissalp s.com/timetable

Glacier Express reservations (once date is finalized) can be made here: https://www.myswissalp s.com/glacierexpress/p ackages

Also, be sure to read through the various rail options in Switzerland: https://www.myswissalp s.com/train/ticketspas ses & use our information page here to help you choose the best rail pass: https://www.myswissalp s.com/train/ticketspas ses/practical/choosera ilpass

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