Trip planned in September in Switzerland

Trip planned in September in Switzerland

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49erbacker
49erbacker
16 posts
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Mar 8, 2017 - 7:15 PM

Hi-Your website is great!! We have a trip planned in September in Switzerland. We would appreciate your input on this itinerary that is attached. Note there is a concert in Lucerne and also a show at the Tellespede Theater in Interlaken that dictated the schedule. Wouldn't it be better to take a direct train from Bern to St. Gallen than go through Zurich? We want to see the Cathedral there! Do any of these train routes require reservations? Is it better to stay in Lausanne or Montreux? Will any of the cable routes be closed then? Thanks very much!!

Sincerely,

Roger & Rosanne Heym

Chico, California

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Mar 9, 2017 - 6:15 AM in reply to 49erbacker

Hi Roger and Rosanne,

Welcome to MySwissAlps! Somehow your itinerary didn't get attached, but I will respond to a couple of your questions in the meantime.

>> We have a trip planned in September in Switzerland.

... Will any of the cable routes be closed then?

They should all be operating in September. Generally speaking, mountain transport that doesn't operate during winter stops running in the second half of October and reopens around mid-May. Those that operate year round tend to close for maintenance twice a year, in April/May and in late October/November.

>> Wouldn't it be better to take a direct train from Bern to St. Gallen than go through Zurich?

Depends :-) When travelling with luggage, a direct service is generally more convenient.

Services from Bern to St. Gallen run twice an hour. Those leaving Bern at 2 minutes past the hour require a change in Zürich. Those leaving Bern at 32 minutes past the hour go direct. So it depends on what time you want to leave, and whether it is worth waiting half an hour for a direct service if you are ready to leave earlier.

>> Do any of these train routes require reservations?

Without your itinerary, I'm not sure what trains you are referring to, but here is some general information.

Reservations are compulsory for the Glacier Express, Bernina Express and Gotthard Panorama Express.

Reservations for the Golden Pass panoramic route are not required, but can be useful for the sector Zweisimmen to Montreux in busy times.

Reservations for other trains within Switzerland are not needed.

>> Is it better to stay in Lausanne or Montreux?

Montreux is smaller, more picturesque, and more conveniently located for activities in the Lake Geneva region. Also, Montreux main station is only a short walk from the boat wharf, making transfers between train and boat very convenient. However, it always comes down to personal preference.

Alpenrose

Last modified on Mar 9, 2017 - 7:35 AM by Arno
49erbacker
49erbacker
16 posts
new member
Mar 9, 2017 - 6:41 PM in reply to Removed user

Hi Alpenrose, Thanks for your reply! Since the attachment did not go through, I will lay out our draft itinerary for your review and feedback. We really appreciate this service! We have been to Europe 3 times so far and planned them on our own. Switzerland has so much to see and we want to do it right. We will be spending a few days in each location that follows.

1. Do any of these train routes require a reservation?

2. Do the lifts and cable cars in Berner Oberland, Zermatt and Appenzell require purchasing tickets very far ahead of time using the Swiss Travel Pass or just get them the day of or the day before?

Draft Itinerary:

Zurich to Lucerne, Lucerne to Murren via Interlaken, Murren to Interlaken, Interlaken to Zermatt via Speis and Visp, Zermatt to Lausanne or Montreux via Visp, Lausanne or Montreux to Bern, Bern to Appenzell via Zurich or St. Gallen and Gossau, Appenzell to Zurich via Gossau.

Thank you!

Roger & Rosanne

Last modified on Mar 9, 2017 - 6:49 PM by 49erbacker
Lucas
Lucas
8906 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 10, 2017 - 12:39 PM in reply to 49erbacker

Hi Roger and Rosanne,

1. The only trains that require reservations are the 4 panoramic trains listed here. All other trains, even ones on the same route as the panoramic trains, do not need reservations.

2. If you have the Swiss Travel Pass, then you do not need to buy any other tickets for your trains, buses, boats and some cable cars (just hop on when you want). There are a few exceptions to this and they are listed under validity of the Swiss Travel Pass (routes that are listed as a discount still need to be bought prior to boarding a train etc).

I hope that helps, have a great trip!

Lucas

Last modified on Mar 10, 2017 - 5:20 PM by Lucas
49erbacker
49erbacker
16 posts
new member
Mar 10, 2017 - 6:54 PM in reply to Lucas

Hi Lucas and thanks for the information! Do you have any feedback on the itinerary? Do you see any potential problems? Does it look like a doable trip? Thanks!

Roger and Rosanne Heym

Annika
Annika
4992 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 11, 2017 - 3:25 PM in reply to 49erbacker

Hi Roger and Rosanne,

The itinerary you provided does involve a lot of train traveling. Whether or not that's doable depends on how long you intend to stay in each location. If you'll be spending a couple of days and nights in each town I think it's all fine. I wouldn't rush from one town to the other with only one or two days in between though, although - as Alpenrose noted - personal preference is what matters most! As long as you check your trips in the timetable and are fine with the trip durations, you're good to go. Just one note: you seem to want to stay in both Interlaken as well as Mürren. They're pretty close to one another, so I'd advise to pick just one base town for the Jungfrau region and settle there for a somewhat longer stay. That would prevent yet another hotel switch.

How long will your stay last? It looks like a 15 day Swiss Travel Pass, as mentioned by Lucas, might meet your requirements.

49erbacker
49erbacker
16 posts
new member
Mar 11, 2017 - 7:37 PM in reply to Annika

Hi Annika, Thanks for your reply! This is a 3 week trip in Switzerland. Yes, there is considerable train travel, but we love trains! We will have at least 2-3 days in each location. Regarding Interlaken, we want to go the Tellespeile Theater in Interlaken. The show starts at 8pm so we thought we might as well stay there one night so we wouldn't have to try to get back to Murren so late. Plus, we plan to leave the next morning for Zermatt. Your rail schedule link is so helpful in figuring routes and travel times. By my count we have 8 travel days, so would the 8 day Swiss Travel Pass be sufficient? Thanks again!

Best, Roger & Rosanne

Lucas
Lucas
8906 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 12, 2017 - 12:31 PM in reply to 49erbacker

Hi Roger and Rosanne,

I would get the 8 day Swiss Travel Pass as a minimum (or 15). If you are in Switzerland (for example) 15 days but only 8 are "travel days" you may still find yourself using buses and trains locally on the other days so a 15 day STP may still makes sense.

A Swiss Half-Fare card could be advantageous for local transport, gondolas and boats etc. you want to use outside of the 8 days on the Swiss Travel Pass if you go for the 8 day STP.

Cheers,
Lucas

49erbacker
49erbacker
16 posts
new member
Mar 12, 2017 - 7:24 PM in reply to Lucas

Hi Lucas,

My original count of 8 travel days was train only including from the Zurich Airport. I didn't include getting to the Zurich Airport or the various other means of transport, gondolas, cable cars, buses. Those are indeed travel days that add up to 21 Swiss travel days so I will need to get the 15 day pass and two 3 day passes. Is that correct? Look forward to hearing from you again, Thank you.

Best, Roger & Rosanne

Last modified on Mar 12, 2017 - 7:49 PM by 49erbacker
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Mar 13, 2017 - 6:10 AM in reply to 49erbacker

>> travel days that add up to 21 Swiss travel days so I will need to get the 15 day pass and two 3 day passes. Is that correct?

It would be cheaper to get a 15 day Swiss Travel Pass plus an 8 day Swiss Travel Pass.

Some suggestions for your train trips:

Luzern/Lucerne to Mürren - sit on the right in the direction of travel between Luzern and Interlaken Ost if you can, for the best views of lakes Sarn and Lungern, and the view into the valley from the heights of the Brünig Pass. The train will change direction at Meiringen, and you will then be on the left of the train, which is also best for views of Lake Brienz.

Consider incorporating a boat trip from Brienz to Interlaken Ost into this part of your itinerary. It's a very easy transfer with luggage - no steps involved, and the wharf is adjacent to Brienz railway station. If you have to wait a while for your boat connection, there is a kiosk and seating with lovely lake views.

Interlaken to Zermatt via Spiez and Visp: to see the lovely mountain scenery instead of going underneath it in a long tunnel, put "via Kandersteg" into the SBB (Swiss Railways) timetable to avoid being routed through the Lötschberg-Basistunnel.

Lausanne or Montreux to Bern - consider taking part of the Golden Pass route: Montreux-Zweisimmen-Spiez-Bern. It will take quite a bit longer than the default route suggested by the timetable, but is much more scenic.

Alpenrose

Last modified on Mar 13, 2017 - 8:02 AM by Lucas
49erbacker
49erbacker
16 posts
new member
Mar 20, 2017 - 6:53 PM in reply to Removed user

Hi again! We are looking for further feedback on our itinerary. Are 2 nights each in Zermatt, Lausanne and Bern too short? If we were to eliminate one city, what about skipping Bern? Thanks!

Roger & Rosanne

Last modified on Mar 20, 2017 - 7:45 PM by 49erbacker
Lucas
Lucas
8906 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 21, 2017 - 8:13 AM

Hi Roger and Rosanne,

It depends on what you want to do in each town that will decide how long you should stay there. Have you had a chance to read through our information pages for things to do in those towns?

If you just want to see the towns and the area and don't have anything specific in mind to do there, personally, I would cut a night in Lausanne or cut it entirely and do 2 nights in Montreux but that's me!

Lucas

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