Swiss scenic/panoramic trains vs normal trains

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Anna83
Anna83
5 posts
new member
Sep 25, 2017 - 1:38 AM

I've been looking at the various ways to travel through Switzerland and it seems the scenic trains (The Golden Pass line, Gotthard Panoramic, Bernina Express etc) are highly recommended. I'm just wondering what the difference between these trains and the other trains are. I ask because we are in Lucerne for 3 nights and then go to Grindelwald for 4 nights and then we have to get to Geneva Airport from Grindelwald for a flight out. I figured we could take part of the Golden Pass line when we go to Grindelwald (Lucerne to Interlaken Ost, and then i figure we have to change trains at Interlaken to get to Grindelwald?). So i'm wondering if its worth it to do it this way or just get another train direct from Lucerne to Grindelwald?

And my next question when we go from Grindelwald to Geneva. I figured out if we wanted to get the Golden Pass line. We would have to get a train from Grindelwald to Interlaken to catch the Golden Pass to Montreux and then get another train from Montreux to Geneva airport. As our flight is 2pm so needing to be at the airport by 12pm this would mean a very early morning. I calculated about 5hrs for the transport but not sure how much time to allow for transfers. So is it worth it to do it this way so we get to travel on the Golden Pass line or would it be better just to get a direct train from Grindelwald to Geneva airport which i see takes about 3hrs and 40mins and no transfer time and not to mention changing trains with 2 kids and luggage 3 times.

If you guys think it is worth it to travel the Golden Pass line would it be worth leaving the day before our flight so we dont have to leave so early and be rushed and spend the last night in Geneva instead of Grindelwald. This would obviously mean one less day in Grindelwald and I'm not sure if I want to take a day out of our time there.

What would u recommend?

Thanks in advance.

Anna

rockoyster
rockoyster
4013 posts
expert
Sep 25, 2017 - 4:43 AM in reply to Anna83

Hi Anna,

The Luzern-Interlaken Express (which is part of the Golden Pass Line) is the most direct way of getting to Grindelwald. You have to go to Interlaken Ost to get a train to Grindelwald.

As for the Grindelwald to Geneva route the timetable search www.myswissalps.com/ti metable will give you the connection times. If you go the Golden Pass Line via Zweisimmen and Montreux then you are up for a 6:19am departure from Grindelwald (assuming you need to get to the airport at last 2 hours before departure).

The views are great going down to Lake Geneva and along the northern shore of the Lake. But whether they are worth getting up at crack of dawn for is going to depend on how enthusiastic you are. 😉

Sue
Sue
14 posts
new member
Sep 25, 2017 - 10:53 AM

Hi Anna

The website section on panoramic trains may also give you an idea of how they differ from regular trains.

myswissalps.com/activi ties/scenictrips/train

From my experience, some of the regular trains are very slow in mountainous areas, stopping at some small stations en route. Also the panoramic trains with high or roof top windows allow you to gaze upwards to view the peaks when you're travelling along narrow gorges. It's all spectacular though, whatever your choice of train.

If you decide to travel to Geneva the day before departure, how about a visit to the Olympic Museum in Lausanne as you pass through? It's great for kids and adults alike.

Have a great trip!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5151 posts
expert
Sep 25, 2017 - 1:30 PM in reply to Anna83

Hi Anna-

To add to Rockoyster's good advice, the time table that he linked to will default to the fastest route. So, you will see that route to Geneva from Grindelwald via Bern is fastest. You got that part right.

What you missed is that there are no direct trains from Grindelwald to any part of the outside world beyond Interlaken Ost. The line from Grindelwald to IO is narrow gauge. Mainline trains are standard gauge. Different rolling stock.

Besides the change at Interlaken Ost, you will change at Bern also, to get the 3 hrs 38 minute fast route. To get to GVA ( Geneva Aeroport) by noon, you will catch the 0819 from Grindelewald, make a nuisance 6 minute connection at IO and an easy 12 minute connection at Bern. IO is a nuisance because the passages for connections are narrow and crowded. The good part is that the crowd will all be going to catch the same train you are.

Slowpoke

Anna83
Anna83
5 posts
new member
Sep 26, 2017 - 4:22 AM

Thanks everyone for your great advice.

Just another question. What would be your recommendations for not to miss things/day trips in Lucerne and Grindelwald.

We have the 8 day Swiss Rail Pass so thinking Mt Rigi from Lucerne as its included with the Rail Pass and Stanserhorn from Lucerne and then a day in the city and on a boat cruise and if we can fit it in the Swiss Transport Museum as I imagine our 3 yr old son would love it.

From Grindelwald we are thinking Scilthorn and Junfraujoch (depending on our doctors advice on taking the 21month old up that high).

We would also like to do some hiking in Grindelwald, can anyone recommend any trails that are 2hours or less and fairly easy as we will have the two kids in a pram (offroad pram so some uneven ground is not a worry) and a baby carrier for when they get tired.

Cheers again

Anna

Arno
Arno
11340 posts
expert &
moderator
Sep 26, 2017 - 5:37 PM

Hi Anna,

For our suggestions for things to do, please see:

A pram does limit your options to be honest, but I would think that the below trails are doable.

Note that hiking is weather dependent. I'm not sure when you're there but many trails will be inaccessible during late fall, winter and early spring.

I hope this was useful!

macca
macca
14 posts
new member
Sep 27, 2017 - 3:16 PM

Hi Anna - we saw a few people struggling with pushchairs on the Bachalpsee hike from First recently . It's not that the terrain is rocky - the path is good - but it is uphill a lot. If you are used to hiking with an off road pram then you'd manage fine. But I was surprised at how few babies we saw on our travels in proper hiking back carriers? We used them when our kids were small and they were much easier.

Another possibility from Grindelwald might be the Apple fritter trail :

www.beo-holiday.ch/en/the-apple-fritter-trail-informative-and-fun-for-families/

And this blog by a young mum based in Zurich has some good ideas for family hikes (although her kids are older)

www.momstotszurich.com /2006/07/jungfrau-region-family-hikes.html/

As Arno says it all depend on the weather, how late in the season you will be there and how up for it your 3 year old is!

Have fun

Mel

Anna83
Anna83
5 posts
new member
Sep 28, 2017 - 12:40 AM

Thanks again guys.

We arrive on 9th Oct and leave 16th October. From what I've read I think that everything will still be open with some things shutting just as we are leaving. I have read the weather can be a bit hit and miss in October so I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Thanks everyone for your help :-) :-)

Anna

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