What to do in Switzerland in 9 days & transport?

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helmisilmani
helmisilmani
4 posts
new member
Jul 4, 2017 - 7:49 AM

Dear all,

I am traveling with my wife and son (9 months old) to Switzerland for the first time, next Friday, for 9 days (arrival Friday 09:00 am to Zurich). We are going to leave Switzerland on Sunday and go to Genoa (Italy). We were thinking of the following plan in Switzerland.

Day 1: Arrive Zürich Airport, take a car, drive to Rhine falls, shopping areas, head to Lucerne (Sleep in Lucerne)

Day 2: Go to Pilatus (Sleep in Lucerne)

Day 3: Go to Interlaken (Sleep in Lucerne)

Day 4: Boat, then train to Lugano along Gotthard Panorama Express route (sleep in Lugano)

Day 5: Spend the day in Lugano (Sleep in Lugano)

Day 6: Take a car to Zermatt (sleep in Zermatt)

Day 7: Zermatt and hikes, Matterhorn-view lifts (sleep in Zermatt)

Day 8: Take a car to Lausanne (sleep in Lausanne) OR go to Berner Oberland and sleep there

Day 9: Spend the day in Lausanne OR Berner Oberland then head to Geneva (sleep in Geneva)

Day 10: Spend Day in Geneva. Go to Genoa

I appreciate your advice on the following questions:

1- Is the planned trip seem logic and feasible?

2- Is it necessary to spend day 1 in Zurich or just go directly to Lucerne?

3- Is it necessary to have a rental car to go from Lugano to Zermatt, and from Zermatt to Lausanne? As far as I read I need to park my car in Täsch. This will require parking the rental car for 3 days. And then use it to go to Lausanne. Else I have to use the train, but I am finding it hard to follow the path and train timing from Lugano to Zermatt, and this will require not less than 6 hours, and several trains

4- Do you advise going to Berner Oberland on Day 8 or just go and have some rest in Lausanne?

5- Knowing that the travel pass entitles us for either 3, 4, 8, and 15 days, do you advise on getting the 8 days pass and use it along with the car rental? or just forget about the car?

I appreciate your kind reply.

Arno
Arno
11354 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 4, 2017 - 8:31 AM

Hi Helmisilmani,

Welcome to MySwissAlps! I'll try to address your questions:

1./4. Personally I'd probably stay for a couple of days in the Bernese Oberland and skip Lausanne and Geneva on this trip. That also eliminates the need to travel to Interlaken on day and do something closer to Lucerne instead. So you travel less and have more time left for sightseeing. There's not much to see in Interlaken by the way. It's the area around it that is beautiful.

2. I'd go directly to Lucerne.

3./5. I wouldn't rent a car at all. Not on day 1 either. You will spend quite a lot on parking in Lucerne, Täsch and other places and not save much time. Many town centers are a nightmare to drive in for first timers, with one way streets, pedestrian zones and a lot of traffic. That applies to Lausanne as well.

Indeed it's nearly 6 hours by train from Lugano to Zermatt, but including the parking and switching to the Zermatt train it will take 4.5 hours by car too, assuming no major traffic jams. If you do it all by train it can be done in as little as 2 changes only, in Göschenen and Andermatt (where you board the Glacier Express). You can find details in the timetable and consider the 11:19 AM departure from Lugano. See here to compare modes of transport.

You'll find passes here, but you will first need a fixed plan. Once you have that, please see this page to help you find the cheapest pass.

Does this help you out?

helmisilmani
helmisilmani
4 posts
new member
Jul 4, 2017 - 10:11 AM in reply to Arno

Thank you Arno for your prompt and helpful reply, appreciated. I will definitely forget about renting a car.

1. I agree on skipping Interlaken. Staying in Bernese Oberland looks like a nice idea, but on the last day we will have to go to Genoa. Wouldn't that be easier if we were to spend the last day in Geneva?

3. This is also very helpful. I believe you meant this trip: Lugano, Göschenen, Andermatt, Zermatt. One question here please, are these trains covered by Swiss Pass? Or I have to pay additional cost? The same question goes for the Gotthard Panorama Express and Glacier Express. As I read we have to reserve seats on these trains using our Swiss Pass. Should we do that from now or it can be done prior to departure in Switzerland?

Also please, how do you recommend to go from Zermatt to Bernese Oberland?

Finally, do you think this is a good itinerary or you recommend to change some?

Arno
Arno
11354 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 4, 2017 - 1:55 PM

You're most welcome Helmisilmani!

1. Genoa/Genua/Genova can be reached by train from Interlaken in only 5-6 hours with changes in Spiez and Milan. From Geneva it takes at least 7 hours. If you have a special reason to visit Geneva you should of course go for it. But if you'd like to see the Alps the Bernese Oberland is a better place. Geneva is not in the mountains.

3. Yes, that's the route. Very scenic! All trains are covered by the Swiss Travel Pass. If you decide to travel on the actual Glacier Express like I suggested you do need to book seats and they cost extra: myswissalps.com/ glacierexpress/ tickets. You'd best book seats as soon as possible if this is what you want. If you take any other train on the same route there are no extra costs.

You can print the Swiss Travel Pass at home via www.swissrailways.com/ en. You only need two adult passes; your son travels for free. After filling out your address, they will show the delivery options. Pick "Online Ticket" from the bottom of the list. They will e-mail the pass within 1-3 business days (usually less than 1 day though).

You can enter Zermatt to any town in the timetable (see my previous post) to find the quickest way to get there. If you prefer a slower more scenic route, then enter "Kandersteg" in the Via box.

Last modified on May 17, 2018 - 11:50 AM by Arno
helmisilmani
helmisilmani
4 posts
new member
Jul 4, 2017 - 5:02 PM in reply to Arno

Thanks a lot Arno! Highly appreciated.

Three more questions please:

1- Can we use the Swiss Travel Pass to reach Genoa? Or I will have to purchase additional tickets?

2-Concerning the Swiss Travel Pass, we will be there for 10 days, I believe 15 will be more convenient than the 8 days one. I checked both websites: www.swissrailways.com/ en and www.happyrail.com/en/ (found on myswissalps.com), the second one states that it e-mails the pas within 1 business day. What do you recommend, knowing that we should be in Zurich in 2 days from now? Do I get the 15 days one instead of the 8 and get it from swissrailways or happyrail website?

3- Do you recommend any area to stay in Bernese Oberland?

Arno
Arno
11354 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 4, 2017 - 6:35 PM

Hi Helmisilmani,

1. The Swiss Travel Pass is valid until the Swiss border, which is Domodossola if you travel from the Bernese Oberland. You don't need to get off the train there. Just buy a ticket Domodossola to Genoa online and stay seated.

2. The 15-day pass is CHF 82 extra, so CHF 41 per day in your case for the two additional days. I think that is worth it price wise and comfort wise. I am pretty confident that www.swissrailways.com/ en will get you the passes in time (they'll take your travel date into account), but to play it safe I recommend www.happyrail.com/en/p ass/europe/switzerland /swiss-travel-pass-consecutive. Main reason is that I just noticed you're from Lebanon and the Swiss Railways website does not allow a billing address from there for some reason. Make sure to fill out your correct e-mail address while ordering!

3. The Jungfrau Region is where most first timers go (and keep coming back). It is one of the highlights of the Swiss Alps. Please see my link to find details about the several towns and hotel suggestions. Since you're booking late in high season the number of available rooms might be limited.

Last modified on May 17, 2018 - 11:50 AM by Arno
helmisilmani
helmisilmani
4 posts
new member
Jul 4, 2017 - 8:45 PM in reply to Arno

That's great! I can't thank you enough Arno! Much appreciated!

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