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Trip report: 14 days Switzerland trip (Apr-May 19)


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Rohan
Rohan
73 posts
active member
May 6, 2019 - 4:19 PM

Hi Everyone,

Photos: https://photos.app.goo .gl/iNgLhvcPvF5Udup68

I am back from my 14 fantastic days Switzerland tour from 20th April to 3rd May. We were a group of 3 families with 6 adults and 5 kids and were lucky to have 11 days of beautiful weather. There were 3 days of rains and cloudy weather but fortunately for us, that helped us experience the Snowfall at Zermatt so no complains about it :)

I would like to thank everyone at MySwissAlps for their superb and timely support. As I have mentioned it before, I am overwhelmed with the help and support I got on this website. Without all of you, it wasn’t possible for me to plan this trip. I am proud that I planned this entire trip by myself (except that the initially itinerary given by my travel partner). After 2 weeks of interaction, we decided to go on our own and I built the detailed itinerary on top of the initial plan given by my travel partner.

The detailed itinerary included literally everything from the day break till end of the day including the start time from hotel, timings and platform of train and what not :) All of this was possible because of the support gotten from this forum so thank you once again.

My sources of information were

- MySwisssAlps: For places to see and things to do at those places and any doubts/questions/clarifications

- SBB website/app for train and boat schedules and time of travel

- google.maps for walking distances and routes ( too bad google map doesn’t cover boat schedules)

- TripAdvisor - for supplementary information

We had booked our flight tickets in Nov '18 and hotels by Feb 19 and then my detailed planning started. If I get a chance to correct things, I would have done more planning before flight and hotel bookings, that way We wouldn’t have needed to travel all the way back from Montreux to Zurich to fly back to India. Also my hotels needed some walking from station. Normally it wouldn’t be a problem but lugging the baggage was painful. At the end of my 2 months planning, I built a 44 pages detailed itinerary which was our go-to guide on day to day basis. We could follow the itinerary to the dot with no deviations taken!

Photos: https://photos.app.goo .gl/iNgLhvcPvF5Udup68

These pics are from my mobile and are lot of them are taken from moving train or bus or cable car hence light reflection is visible, The camera pics will take them to be downloaded :)

Moving on to the trip report.

We had bought the 15 consecutive day travel pass along with Swiss Family Card online before travel on the RailEurope offer. It was good decision to hold on to buying the Swiss pass until a week before the travel. The offer floated just in time for us and saved us a cool 10% on the cost. The Swiss pass mentions the start date so there was no need to activate the pass.

Day 0 -

We flew by Turkish airlines from Mumbai to Zurich and took a 9 hours layover at Istanbul and squeezed in a day tour that day. Consequently, we landed in Zurich at 10:30 pm. It was risky to plan moving to any other base that late in the night so we planned the first night stay at an airport hotel. It was a good decision to stay at airport hotel. One of us lost his cellphone at Istanbul and we had to go around places on Zurich airport to see if we could contact the lost and found office to report the loss. We could move our family/kids to the hotel room while 3 of us came back to airport. Anyways, we could not do anything about the loss and retired into the hotel

Day 1 -

Bought a sim card from SALT store at Zurich flughafen at 8 am and checked out of the hotel to move to Lucerne. The weather was fantastic. we checked into our hotel and within an hour we were out on the road for our excursion to Rigi. We took the boat to Vitznau followed by the cog wheel train ride uphill. It was the Majestic' round trip via Arth Goldau. I wanted to come via Weggis however the cable cars were stopped for maintenance nevertheless it was a fantastic start to our trip.

Day 2 -

The weather was beautiful again and was apt for Mt Titlis excursion. We started at 9:30 am and bought our cable car tickets at the valley station. Again, the advice taken on this forum was helpful and I asked them about the location of Snow Park on that day and could save some bucks on the Ice Flyer Chair Ticket since the snow park was running at Trübsee. The cable car journey uphill was beautiful. The Rotair cable car is so thoughtfully built so that everyone gets a fair share of the fantastic view. It was very windy up at Titlis and we could not spend more than an hour in the open.The walk on the cliff walk was adventurous due to the terrifying wind but a super experience there.On return, we got down at Trübsee and the kids and the adults had super fun doing Snow tubing. We had to literally drag the kids (and some adults too ) out of the snow :)

Day 3 -

I had planned this day as a reserved day at Lucerne just in case weather plays spoilt sport. We spent relaxed time in the city wandering around Chappel Bridge, Lion Monument. We also discovered the Glacier Park next to Lion Monument and were glad about it. The kids enjoyed there (at the glass labyrinth ) and the museum was good too. We also visited the Rosengart museum but honestly it wasn’t our cup of tea and we walked out of it in no time :)

All of the above was covered in Swiss pass and no extra money spent.

Our hotel was in the old town of Lucerne and we enjoyed the environment and the overall feel of the place. We spent all our evenings at the hotels along the lake enjoying the view while sipping our beers.

Day 4 -

We moved our base to Interlaken today. Took the Interlaken Express along the golden pass route for a scenic journey and reached hotel by 1:30 pm. The walk from Interlaken OST to our hotel was tiring and wish we could have taken the bus up to Interlaken West. But the prospect of loading and unloading the baggage in the bus was daunting and we chose to walk :).

We spent the rest of the day wandering in Hoheweg and conserved energy for the next day.

Day 5 -

The weather on the mountains wasn’t that good so we decided to explore Lake Thun side on this day.Took the bus to Beatenberg and the cable car uphill to Niederhorn. Again, no words to describe the place. I am glad I chose to visit it. It was a comparatively easy journey and we were at the top in little over an hours’ time. This doesn’t seem to be a very popular place since there was hardly anyone on the cable car along with us and we had all the cars by ourselves. The view from the top was super lake Thun looked heavenly from up there. After spending over an hour, we took the cable car down to Beatenberg and the funicular train down to Beatenbuscht. Took the next bus to St Beatus caves. I wasn’t prepared for a long walk inside the cave. For those who are planning to go in there and do not know, it is a kilometer walk inside the cave one way ..so plan it accordingly :)

Day 6 -

The weather on the mountain continued to be cloudy and rainy and we decided to explore Lake Brienz on this day.Took the first boat to Brienz. It was a lovely, windy and a cold ride up to Brienz. Took the bus to Ballenberg museum. Although tiring, it was a good experience at Ballenberg. Nice way to experience the Swiss culture of various regions. We wanted to also visit Giessbach falls on our return journey but everyone was tired so we took the Interlaken express back to hotel and retired. Considering that we 2 days left and we had to visit Zermatt and Schilthorn on the remaining days, it was a good decision.

Day 7

We planned to visit, Zermatt and Klein Matterhorn or Gornergrat on this day and This was going to be the longest day.The weather continued to be cloudy and rainy even at Interlaken and we started at 8 am from the hotel while it was still drizzling gently. Since our Swiss Travel passes covered our train journey, we planned to go up to Zermatt and take a call on the further trip at Zermatt. It turned out to be best decision since as we moved closed to Zermatt, it started snowing and the kids were kicked about it. We got down at Zermatt and kids had some snow fun right on the train platform :) After a while of play, we took a break and visited the restaurant on the platform for food. Had a bad experience there with the staff who were clearly racist in their behavior and attitude towards us. Anyways, I gave the chief of staff a BIG piece of my mind after I paid my bill. Will write a separate review about the restaurant on TripAdvisor so that fellow tourists are aware.We later found out at the Tourist Info center that Cable car to Zermatt are closed due to weather and we didn’t see any point going up to Gornergrat too.So we wandered around in Zermatt town experiencing the snow fall and occasional playing with the snow with kids for an hour

Took the 1:30 pm train and returned back to Interlaken. As the day progressed, the weather had turned sunny and we had a scenic ride back to Interlaken.

Day 8 -

The Schilthorn cable cars were closed for maintenance until day before and this was the only day left for us. The weather still showed cloudy and we decided to take our chance and visit the mountain.We also contemplated Jungfraujoch (which wasn’t in our original plan) however the ticket cost was fairly high and it didn’t make sense to visit in this cloudy weather. On the other hand, Schilthorn was fully covered in our Swiss Pass so we decided it to visit it irrespective of the weather. We left hotel by 9 am and reached Piz Gloria via Stechelberg at around 11 am. Expectedly the weather was cloudy and even slightly rainy so we couldn’t spend much time on the viewing platform, after clicking some pictures, we visited the Bond 007 exhibition and then took the cable car down to Birg. Stepped outside for the cliff walk and enjoyed the view. The weather had cleared up and it was much better than what it was in the morning. Got down further upto Murren and took off for a walk in the town. The kids had some fun again in the snow there playing snow ball fights and making snow man. Came back to hotel via Stechelberg again. All in all, a good day.

Day 9-

Today we moved our base to Montreux. Luckily for us the train was from Interlaken West platform which was closer to our hotel and didn’t require us to walk long with the baggage. Had planned to take the train on the golden pass route however messed up for the first time on the trip. I forgot to add "via Zwesimmen" while looking up the train schedule in sbb app. Consequently, ended up getting down at Spiez and took the next connecting train to Montreux. All along I was sitting on right side of the train and wasn’t seeing the scenic views as I expected them to be. It was more urban setup. That’s when I realized that we had messed up. Nevertheless, it was still good since our journey time shortened and we reached Montreux more than 1 hr before the original plan. Again the hotel was far from the station but this time we took the bus. It was Low floor access bus so loading and unload baggage wasn’t difficult :)

We got additional time for some rest and we stepped out at 3:30 pm and took the short boat ride to Chateaux Chillon. Chillon was a bit of disappointment for me. For the first time on this trip, something looked better only in pics than in reality. The weather continued to be rainy on that day too which added to further disappointment. Nevertheless we stepped out of it and visited a restaurant nearby for our first Cheese Fondue experience. The staff was helpful in guiding us in placing the order and checking on us in between. Returned back to hotel and stepped out again in evening around 5 pm to check out the vineyards. We weren’t keen on any wine tasting and returned back by 7:30 pm. Montreux has a different feel altogether than other regions that we had visited earlier and frankly we missed the old town ambience and experience of Lucerne and Interlaken. Montreux is more Urban than what we had seen earlier. We could not even spot too many water fountains around there.

Day 10 -

We visited the Chocolate factory at Broc followed by the cheese factory at Gruyeres. I had purposely scheduled the visit to Caillers earlier than Cheese since the kids were very excited about it and we dint want to end up there with the rush. Took the 11 am tour. It was very informative tour with the audio guides and The staff was very approachable and helpful giving all the information. The high light of the day was obviously the chocolate tasting room :). Ate there to our hearts content and bought bagful of chocolates to carry back. Visited Gruyeres Cheese Factory on our return trip. Everyone was tired by now to visit the castle and the town so returned back to Montreux.

Day 11

Took the train to Geneva today. It was more of a relaxed trip with no particular activity in mind. Wandered around the city, along the lake, bought some souvenirs, had lunch and took the train back to Montreux. We had to move back to Zurich the next day and we wanted to make up for the loss of missing the golden pass route on the onward journey hence decided to conserve some energy :)

Day 12

Moved to Zurich today for the last 2 nights of our trip. We had planned to take the train via Bern for a shorter and faster journey but since we missed the golden pass route on the onward journey to Montreux, we decided to do it today and it was a very good decision. The bad weather spell had disappeared and we had a fantastic scenic ride. The connection time at Zweisimmen was very short and due to a technical issue with our train, we reached Zweisimmen late and missed the next connection to Spiez. Nevertheless, we had a good scenic ride until Zweisimmen and took the train to Bern and then to our Hotel via Zurich HB. Ended up doing a 4+ hours journey but it was well worth it. After a bit of rest, we went to Zurich city to check out the Bahnhofstrasse and also visited Lindenhof. The kids enjoyed the short tram ride to the station and we reached back our hotel in Kloten.

Day 13,

We had planned to visit The glass factory at Hergiswill. This is something we couldn’t do while we stayed in Lucerne since it was the Easter weekend and the factory was closed on all the days that we stayed there. We started for Lucerne at 9 and reached the factory in ah hours’ time. We enjoyed the visit and the exhibition there. After a short stay there we decided to take the train to Winterhur and then to the Rhine falls. The weather predicted rains after 4 pm and we wanted to make it before the rains started. Rhine falls was absolutely amazing. For some of us who have seen the Niagara Falls, it wasn’t matching upto that scale but nevertheless the fall was amazing and the viewing points conveniently built helped us get very close to the falls.

After spending some time there and clicking pictures, we returned back to our hotel by 5 pm. Packed our bags for our return journey to India next day and again went to Zurich HB to get a feel of the evening after dark. Had good time wandering around walking and in tram. It started raining badly by then and we decided to return back to hotel by 9 pm.

Day 14 -

Flew back to India by 10 am flight.

Thanking all of you on the forum for your support.

Photos: https://photos.app.goo .gl/iNgLhvcPvF5Udup68

Regards

Rohan

rockoyster
rockoyster
8888 posts
expert
May 6, 2019 - 10:38 PM in reply to Rohan

Hi Rohan,

Thanks for taking the time to provide such a detailed and interesting report. I don’t seem to be able to open your photo albums unfortunately.

rockoyster
rockoyster
8888 posts
expert
May 6, 2019 - 11:41 PM in reply to Rohan

Hi Rohan,

I fixed the link for your photos and found them at photos.app.goo.gl/iNgL hvcPvF5Udup68. 🤓

The forum text editor has a funny way of breaking links if you don't take care when doing a copy and paste.

Some lovely photos there. Thanks again for sharing.

Last modified on May 6, 2019 - 11:44 PM by rockoyster
Mark
Mark
692 posts
top member
May 7, 2019 - 12:02 AM

Hi Rohan

I’m glad you had a mostly pleasant experience. I expect your careful planning and overall positive attitude had a lot to do with it. Nice report.

I too could not open your photo album

mark

Micalj
Micalj
80 posts
active member
May 7, 2019 - 12:22 AM in reply to Mark

Rohan,

Thanks for the detailed trip report, I enjoyed it. Used the link from rockoyster (thanks!), and enjoyed your pics as well, some very nice shots. Sounds like your trip was well planned and executed despite weather challenges.

Mike J

Steph
Steph
2293 posts
top member
May 7, 2019 - 4:39 AM in reply to Rohan

Hi Rohan,

Thanks for sharing such a detailed trip report and your pictures with the forum members. I love how you caught the colours on your photos!

Happy to hear you had a great time here in Switzerland.

Looking forward to providing more support resp. sharing more experiences here on the forum.

Best,
Steph

Rohan
Rohan
73 posts
active member
May 7, 2019 - 5:09 AM in reply to rockoyster

Thanks Rockoyster for fixing the link :)

HarishR
HarishR
2 posts
new member
May 9, 2019 - 5:30 PM

Hi,

Thanks for sharing such a wonderful trip summary. Looks like really well planned?

Quick question on the snow peaks - Did you require boots for the snow mountains and in general town walks? We are leaving in a day and seem to be identifying more and more things to buy :(

Also, wasnt Mt.Titlis and few other mountains mentioned by you covered by the Swiss Pass?

Thanks,

Harish

Arno
Arno
15667 posts
expert &
moderator
May 9, 2019 - 5:34 PM

Thanks for joining us Harish! Everything covered by the Swiss Travel Pass can be found here: www.myswissalps.com/sw isstravelpass/validity.

Rohan
Rohan
73 posts
active member
May 9, 2019 - 6:30 PM in reply to HarishR

Hi Harish,

if you plan to do a normal excursion on the mountains, i.e reach there by train or cable car, spend some time on the viewing platform, touch and feel the snow and come back, you wont need any special boots. Given the wind at the top and the temperatures , you wont be able to spend much time at a stretch. Many people take a break from the snow and go inside the heated indoor area and come back for multiple stints. You wont need any special boots for such an activity. Aged snow is usually packed compact and you can easily walk on the surface without the fear of them getting wet. Make sure the shoes have sold grip though, Snow surfaces get slippery and you should avoid walking on smooth glossy looking patches. The type of sports shoes which has fabric around the toe areas are slightly at risk of getting wet but if you are careful enough while walking you should be fine.

The kids had a gala time at Trubsee snow park and their shoes , socks and even clothes were wet.Obviously they didnt care much while playing. We carried changes for the them so it was ok.

You wont need any special shoes while in town on lower altitudes.

To answer your question, yes Mt Schilthorn and Rigi is covered in Swiss Pass. However Titlis cable car is not covered

Please go through Arno's link for STP validity in much detail.

Mageo
Mageo
62 posts
active member
May 11, 2019 - 12:43 PM

Hi Rohan,

Thanks for your detailed, informative report, including the spectacular photos. Good pre-planning certainly pays off. Glad you all had such a good time in beautiful Switzerland.

Mageo.

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