Stay in Wengen 14 days or scenic train itinerary?

Stay in Wengen 14 days or scenic train itinerary?

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Joanna
Joanna
11 posts
new member
Jun 4, 2018 - 8:22 AM

Hi,

It will be our first time in Switzerland with our 9 year old boy. We will be staying in Lucerne for 3 nights and then transferring to Wengen to stay there for 7 nights. After that, we still have 7 days left before we go to Zurich (for Lichtenstein, etc). Here are my questions:

1.I was looking around and found out about the scenic trains and there are a few of them that I want to do - Gotthard Panorama, Bernini, Glacier Express and Golden Pass. Can I take one of them on the way to Wengen? How do I fit the other trains in our itinerary?

2. Can we just stay the whole 14 days in Wengen and continue to use it as base to take the trains and see the rest of the country from there?

3. If we stay in Wengen instead of going around, it will be a total of 14 days- isn't that too much time, or it will work?

We love hiking, prefer not to hop around and stay in one base to explore the rest of the places. Zermatt, St Moritz, Montreal, Grindelwald, Geneva for CERN and UN are our interests. Many thanks!!! I love this website by the way and glad to have found it:)

Joanna

Lucas
Lucas
8142 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 4, 2018 - 11:54 AM in reply to Joanna

Hi Joanna and welcome to MySwissAlps!

  1. You can take part of the Golden Pass route (between Lucerne and Interlaken) on way way to Wengen.
    You should have a look at the Swiss Travel Pass PDF map here: https://www.myswissalp s.com/swisstravelpass/ validity. The 2nd page shows the scenic routes on a map of Switzerland so you can visualize it. With 7 days to explore you can fit in any or all of those train routes.

  2. I wouldn't stay in Wengen unless your focus is to stay in the Jungfrau region. It is a bit out of the way to use it as a base to go to other areas of Switzerland. For Geneva, Montreux and Zermatt, Montreux would work well as a base. From Zermatt you can take the Glacier Express to St. Moritz and then the next day take the Bernina Express on to Tirano to end your trip (are you flying home from Zurich or Geneva or going on to another country?

  3. 14 days in Wengen is not too much time for people who love to hike. :) but again not great for exploring more of Switzerland.
Last modified on Jun 4, 2018 - 8:01 PM by Lucas
Joanna
Joanna
11 posts
new member
Jun 4, 2018 - 4:24 PM in reply to Lucas

Hi Lucas,

Thank you so much for your reply. We actually do love to hike (that's our reason for visiting Switzerland:)) but since it's our first time too, I am torn between exploring the rest of the country or staying put in Wengen. So here are my follow up questions, if you don't mind-

1. Is 3 nights in Montreaux okay for Geneva, Montreaux and Zermatt?

2. We are flying to Copenhagen and we don't have to fly via Zurich. The reasons I'm doing Zurich are namely, for a day trip to Lichtenstein, Stein Am Rhime and to be able to take the Bernina Express(I'm guessing from your advice it stops in Zurich)? What do you think about this?

Thanks.

Joanna

Lucas
Lucas
8142 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 4, 2018 - 8:01 PM in reply to Joanna

Hi Joanna,

  1. 3 nights is ok, though I would skip Geneva.
  2. Liechtenstein is not very exciting. Unless you want to check it off your list. :) Stein am Rhein is nice. Read about my day trip there: https://www.myswissalp s.com/forum/topic/stei n-am-rhein-easy-day-trip-from-zurich/page/2
    The Bernina Express does not go to Zurich. It runs from Chur to Tirano in Italy. You can connect to it from St. Moritz quite easily. It is a little farther, but doable from Zuich. https://www.myswissalp s.com/berninaexpress/g ettingthere
  3. Be sure to use the Swiss railways timetable to plan out your trips. https://www.myswissalp s.com/timetable
Last modified on Jun 4, 2018 - 8:03 PM by Lucas
Joanna
Joanna
11 posts
new member
Jun 4, 2018 - 8:32 PM

Hi Lucas,

Geneva is for visiting CERN since my son is so interested with the biggest particle accelerator, new particles and dark matter. Although I'm still trying to figure out how much access they allow/give 9 year olds. I was hoping we can do it with Lausanne coming from St Moritz.

I read in one of your posts that Lichtenstein, Rhine falls and Stein Am can be done in one trip from Zurich? Is that on a tour group? Does that include going up in that castle where you took photos of? They're amazing shots! I was thinking of giving up Zurich altogether since it's too 'city' for me and adding the days back to Wengen. until I saw those photos and now I'm confused again haha!

Joanna

Lucas
Lucas
8142 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 5, 2018 - 5:46 AM in reply to Joanna

Fair enough about Geneva and CERN - I'm sure it will be cool for him.

I think doing all 3 towns/areas in 1 day is too much. The Rhein Falls and Stein am Rhein would be a nice day trip from Zurich, or even Lucerne would be fine. https://www.myswissalp s.com/timetable

Liechtenstein was a pit stop on our way from from Eastern Austria to Zurich. We went for the sake of saying we went there. :) We went for Ice cream and wandered the very small town center (2 blocks) of Vaduz. I wouldn't go out of my way to go there.

Last modified on Jun 5, 2018 - 5:47 AM by Lucas
Joanna
Joanna
11 posts
new member
Jun 5, 2018 - 8:21 PM in reply to Lucas

I see, thank you. Do you mind looking at this general itinerary that I had modified?

8/26 Arrival in Zurich, train to Lucerne

8/26-29 Lucerne(Mt Pilatus, Rigi,golden round trip Mt Pilatus)

8/29 Train to Wengen

8/29- 9/5 Wengen(base for day trip to Bern, Grindelwald, hikes, etc)

9/5 leave for Montreaux

9/5-9/8 Montreaux(base for Lausanne, Geneva)

9/8 leave for Zermatt, stay 2 nights

9/10 leave for St Moritz, overnight

9/11 leave for Lugano, overnight

9/12 leave for Zurich , stay 2 nights (base for Sten Eim, Rhein falls, Shaffhausen;Lichtenstein)

9/14 flight back to Copenhagen -

We don't need to come back to Zurich though, and can fly from Geneva. I'm still unsure if I want to do city touring than devote longer days in the mountains. Or go to Germany if we have a few dats to spare. Thanks in advance!

Joanna

Joanna
Joanna
11 posts
new member
Jun 5, 2018 - 8:57 PM

I forgot to ask - since our stay is longer than 15 days, can we still get the Swiss Rail pass or do we get the Half fare?

Lucas
Lucas
8142 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 6, 2018 - 6:12 AM in reply to Joanna

Hi Joanna,

You can get any rail pass you think is best. If you buy a 15 day Swiss Travel Pass: https://www.myswissalp s.com/swisstravelpass/ price then you have some days at the beginning or end of your trip where you just buy point to point tickets or look at the 1 day Saver Day Pass: https://www.myswissalp s.com/onedaytravelpass /details

To find out what rail pass is the best option economically look here: https://www.myswissalp s.com/train/ticketspas ses/practical/choosera ilpass

  1. 8/26-29 Lucerne: you put Pilatus twice, I'm assuming you meant Titlis?
    It might be an idea to do the day trip to Bern from Lucerne or Montreux rather than from Wengen
  2. Make sure you reserve seats on the Bernina Express and Glacier Express trains if you plan on taking them (rather than on regional trains). https://www.myswissalp s.com/berninaexpress/p ackages<br /> https://www.myswissalp s.com/glacierexpress/p ackages
Last modified on Jun 6, 2018 - 6:13 AM by Lucas
Joanna
Joanna
11 posts
new member
Jun 7, 2018 - 3:26 AM

Thank you Lucas.

We've decided to narrow down our base cities to three:

1. Lucerne - Pilatus, Rigis, Bern, Titlis

2. Wengen- Jungraujoch, Schilthorn, Schynige Platte, Murren, Lauterbrunnen, Mannlichen, Grindelwald, etc

3. Vevey- Geneva(also for flight out of the country), Lausanne, Zermatt, Montreux

What do you think?

Joanna

Lucas
Lucas
8142 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 7, 2018 - 5:33 AM in reply to Joanna

Looks fine!

Be sure to use the timetable link I posted earlier to plan out all you trips. You'll then know how much time you need and get for day trips etc.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4907 posts
expert
Jun 7, 2018 - 5:03 PM in reply to Joanna

Hi Joanna-

I've just picked up the thread and see thatyou are making good progress.

I was going to ask about the most critical single missing information until you put dates in a sample itinerary.

You've picked a good time, especially since the crowds thin out dramatically after August 31. On average, September is great time for weather. At some other times of year, the trails would be impassable due to snow.

I can comment that Hohenklingen Castle above Stein am Rhein is a great place to have a meal, with wonderful views. However, it is a substantial climb from the town; about 200 meters up through the vineyards.. So, it is probably only worth the effort if the weather is clear. And, count on some time to make the climb ...each way.

It is not clear to me why you want to go to Liechtenstein.

I see that Schaffhausen has appeared on your list. Although it is hard to judge a 9 year old's interests, or yours, I think I'd look at St. Gall or surrounding options such as Appenzell or Säntis before I'd visit Schaffhausen. However, Schaffhausen is notably closer to Zürich.

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/st-gall-aka-sankt-gallen-and-good-bratwurst

Note the latter links in that thread.

For the Southwest part of Switzerland, Geneva is a bit more isolated from the rest of the country than some of the other places you've mentioned.. So, for a base, I'd tend to pick places like Montreux or Lausane (Olympics Museum?) or your thought of Vevey.

<<"We love hiking,">>

www.myswissalps.com/hi king

www.alpenwild.com/stat icpage/trail-signs-in-the-swiss-alps/

The best topos -

map.geo.admin.ch/?topic=ech&lang=en&bgLa yer=ch.swisstopo.pixel karte-farbe&layers=ch.bav.ha ltestellen-oev,ch.swisstopo.swiss tlm3d-wanderwege&layers_visi bility=false,true&E=26 36063.34&N=1165045.06& zoom=5

I turned on "Hiking Trails" in the menu. Color coding of trails follows the conventions noted in the Alpenwild link.

My 8 year old granddaughter had a ball on the trail from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg. Even though it is an easy trail ( nicknamed "The Grannies' Walk) it is spectacular.

Pictures attached.

www.myswissalps.com/hi king/maennlichen-kleinescheidegg

Make sure to walk from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg, not the other way.

Near Luzern-

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/the-swiss-path-and-southern-lake-lucerne

Slowpoke

Last modified on Jun 7, 2018 - 6:58 PM by Slowpoke
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Joanna
Joanna
11 posts
new member
Jun 8, 2018 - 2:35 AM

Thank you so much guys! Y'all are amazing :) I've been missing sleep over the last few nights trying to at least finalize my itinerary since by next week, I won't have time to do this.

I've seen the excel file to help decide which kind of rail pass to buy. I don't think I have the time now to put all those details though. I'm thinking, since we are staying more than 3 weeks, would it be safe to just buy both Swiss Rail Pass and Half Fare? Because 15 days is the max for Swiss Pass and Half Fare is still cheaper than another Swiss Rail Pass for fewer days. What do you think?

This is our final itinerary so far:

8/26 Zurich to Lucerne, overnight

8/27 Mt Pilatus

8/28 Mt Rigis and Titlis

8/29 leave for Wengen - stay til 9/12

9/12 leave for Zermatt, overnight at 3100 Kulmhotel Gornergrat hotel(it's my birthday,yey!) - maybe we'll spend time in the village first before we go up to the hotel?

9/13 leave for Montreal,overnight at Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic

9/14 leave for Geneva and Lausanne, overnight

9/15 flight out of Switzerland from Geneva

Thanks!

Joanna

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4907 posts
expert
Jun 8, 2018 - 9:06 AM in reply to Joanna

Hi Joannaa-

I envy you so many days in Wengen, and it certainly increases the chances of good weather.

it is true that leaving the valley for dy trips to Brienz, or Bern or Zermatt has abit of added time to get out to Interlaken. but I personally think it is worth the trade off of staying in an Alpine village.

By the way, did you see:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/tips-about-wengen-and-the-jungfrau-region-by-kim

And., the town in Canton Vaud is Montreux, not Montreal. ;-)

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4907 posts
expert
Jun 8, 2018 - 9:28 AM in reply to Joanna

<<"I've seen the excel file to help decide which kind of rail pass to buy. I

don't think I have the time now to put all those details though. I'm

thinking, since we are staying more than 3 weeks, would it be safe to

just buy both Swiss Rail Pass and Half Fare? Because 15 days is the max

for Swiss Pass and Half Fare is still cheaper than another Swiss Rail

Pass for fewer days. What do you think?">>

Hi Joanna-

I have NOT done the math. So. I'm guessing.

I looks like you would need that "extra" pass for enough time and long journeys that you'd get you value out of the half fare card. But, you'll still be spending for each journey. And, you'll have "incidental" expenses in the city transport. A second Swiss Travel Pass could well pay off if you get one for a shorter duration.

I like to travel with a half-fare card- it fits my pattern. But, your last days have enough travel that I'm guessing ...repeat guessing...the STP still might pay off. Where it gets difficult is figuring out what would work best for the mountain transport in the Jungfrau region, where you will need to pay for cable cars, etc., during the whole trip.

That pattern on some of those is that the half-fare card is valid and the STP is not ( for full fare or at all) , but I can't offer enough detail to guide a decision. What is involved is that - even with an STP - some mountain transport would be cheaper with a half-fare card. But, this year, some of the bigger trips seem to accept (free) the STP when they did not before. Schilthorn, if I recall correctly.

I hope some one who is closer to those details can jump in here. The combination that you suggest would almost surely be cost effective. Also, with that combination, it might work best to start up the STP partway though your trip. But, I don't think so...you get benefit from the STP around Luzern.

Sorry I can't be more precise. It is alot of work to figure it out, The STP has extra value in that you can add trips that you had not pre-planned, and they cost nothing more. Except for some mountain transport. ;-(

Slowpoke

Lucas
Lucas
8142 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 8, 2018 - 12:00 PM in reply to Joanna

Without doing the math it is really just guess work on everyone's part. :(. There are several different possibilities.

One is getting a Jungfrau Travel Pass (8 days max) and a Swiss Half Fare Card for the whole trip.

If you plan all the "most expensive" trips that you will take around Wengen and the Jungfrau region to coincide on the 8 days you choose the Jungfrau Travel Pass it could work out for you. Then the remaining 6 days around Wengen and the days before and after Wengen would all be 50% off with the SHFC.

With most mountain trips the Swiss Half Fare Card gets you a better discount than the Swiss Travel Pass (except Schilthorn and Rigi which are free this year with the Swiss Travel Pass). But then the trips to Montreux, Geneva, Zermatt etc would also be free with the Swiss Travel Pass (if end up getting a 15 day and an 8 day STP).

You can see how doing the math is needed to know for sure. If you've built in some days when you are in Wengen to relax and not use much transportatation then the Jungfrau Travel Pass and Swiss Half Fare Card might be the way I'd go...

Joanna
Joanna
11 posts
new member
Jun 8, 2018 - 5:56 PM

Whew!!! I am overwhelmingly happy with all the help and information overload haha! Thank you guys for everything.

Slowpoke, my mac always does that auto correct with Montreux, changing it to Montreal,darn it:( Also,I'm actually in contact with Kim and she does suggest the half fare card. I'd email her again later...

Lucas, yeah, it looks like I do need to sit down and really do that excel file. What link do I use for finding out the time and fare for each trip - are all of them on the same page?

Just wanted to share - it's ironic that this was the first travel EVER that i thought about not having strict itineraries and just decide where to go and what to do as the days go along. HA!

Joanna

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4907 posts
expert
Jun 8, 2018 - 7:34 PM in reply to Joanna

<<"Just wanted to share - it's ironic that this was the first travel EVER

that i thought about not having strict itineraries and just decide where

to go and what to do as the days go along. HA!">>

The STP gives you that luxury, but does not cover absolutely everything. Still, to follow that approach, it might be worth it to pay for those few items that are not covered. Depends on your trade-offs.

At some point, you have to decide whether you care about the cost differences.

Depends a lot on your willingness to spend money. I think Lucas' suggestion has a great deal of promise ( 1/2 fare + Jungfrau pass) and if I had no time to decide, I'd go with that approach.

But the simple way to do it is price two STPS for the whole trip PLUS half fare cards. That will be redundant, and will leave you spending some money on half-fares for mountain transport, but if you would rather worry about whereto go rather than how to pay for it, that would set an upper limit. If that does not bother you, then go for it. If, however, it costs too much, then fall back on calculations.

You can find cost in he SBB timetable, as explained here:

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable.

Some cableways/mountain railways may have the prices on their own websites.

Note that just about everyone in Switzerland has a half-fare card, so the first prices that pop up in the SBB timetable are 50% of the real fare. Some of the headings in the timetable also explain this. You are offered a chance to say if you have a half fare card or not at some point in the pricing process.

Slowpoke

Lucas
Lucas
8142 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 8, 2018 - 7:58 PM in reply to Joanna

Yes, if 2 Swiss Travel Passes (8 and 15 days) are ok in your budget than that will give you the most flexibility in planning (or not planning as it were) your trip. :)

kperigo
kperigo
38 posts
active member
Jun 8, 2018 - 11:12 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Slowpoke,

Wow does this hike look interesting. Just gave it a quick look, but will spend some time with it soon. Think we will want to do this while in Luzern. September can’t come soon enough.

Kay

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