Zurich, Lucerne and Interlaken in 3 days by train

Print this page
Create an account to receive an e-mail when someone replies to this thread
Posts: 7
This thread is closed. You are welcome to log in and submit a new thread.
Carolinabras
Carolinabras
5 posts
new member
Jan 1, 2018 - 8:21 PM

Hi! I'm traveling to Zurich in February with my mom and sister (I'm 21 and my sister's 15 years old). We have 3 days to explore the area and we're thinking of exploring Zurich, visiting Lucerne and Interlaken. However we still don't know which rail pass would suit us better... Maybe the tell pass winter, although it doesn't include the journey from Zurich to Lucerne? We booked an hotel in Zurich for 2 nights. What would you suggest? We are on a budget but definitely want to explore the mountains and beautiful landscapes around this area. Any other suggestions of places will be accepted of course! Thank you!

Removed user
Removed user
0 posts
new member
Jan 2, 2018 - 2:53 AM in reply to Carolinabras

Hi Carolina, and welcome to MySwissAlps!

>> I'm traveling to Zurich in February with my mom and sister (I'm 21 and my sister's 15 years old) ... However we still don't know which rail pass would suit us better... Maybe the tell pass winter, although it doesn't include the journey from Zurich to Lucerne?

If you are going to be travelling to and from Zürich every day, a 3-day Swiss Travel Pass might be the best option: an adult one for your mother and a youth one for you. If you order the free Swiss Family Card together with your mother's pass, your sister can travel for free if she is still under 16 on the first day of validity of your mother's Swiss Travel Pass.

If you decide to stay in Luzern, a Tell-Pass might be ideal, with point-to-point tickets for your first and last days.

If you stay in the Jungfrau Region, a Hiking and Sledging Pass might be best - again with point-to-point tickets for your first and last days.

It won't be possible to pick the best option until you have decided for certain where you will stay, and what trips you will do by train, bus, boat and cable car.

The Swiss Timetable is essential in planning your trip and understanding travel times:

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

>> We have 3 days to explore the area and we're thinking of exploring Zurich, visiting Lucerne and Interlaken ... We booked an hotel in Zurich for 2 nights ... We are on a budget but definitely want to explore the mountains and beautiful landscapes around this area.

Zürich is not in the mountains, or particularly near them, and on such a short trip, I would avoid staying there or spending time there, and stay instead in an area of greater scenic beauty where you won't have such long trips every day to get to the mountains.

Given the time of year and length of your trip, I would suggest you spend the entire time in either Luzern/Lucerne or the Jungfrau Region. In February, my preference would be the Jungfrau Region.

If you can cancel your Zürich accommodation, I would suggest you look for accommodation in the alpine villages of Grindelwald, Wengen, Mürren or Lauterbrunnen instead. Or Luzern.

As it will be the height of the ski season in the Jungfrau Region, budget accommodation might be hard to find, so Interlaken (though less scenic) might have better accommodation options in that area.

There is plenty of information on this site to help you explore your options further, including the following:

www.myswissalps.com/ju ngfrauregion

www.myswissalps.com/gr indelwald

www.myswissalps.com/we ngen

www.myswissalps.com/mu rren

www.myswissalps.com/la uterbrunnen

www.myswissalps.com/lu cerne

www.myswissalps.com/tr ain/ticketspasses/prac tical/chooserailpass

www.myswissalps.com/ho tels

Alpenrose

Carolinabras
Carolinabras
5 posts
new member
Jan 2, 2018 - 10:59 PM in reply to Removed user

Thank you very much Alpenrose!

Unfortunately we cannot change our accommodation, it's not refundable :(. So, we decided to do as follows: 2 days walking around Zurich and one full day to go to Titlis Mountain.and Engelberg (early in the morning). On the way back we also pretend to stop in Luzern for a quick overview if we have enough time.

We checked all the point to point prices (no discounts applied) and it would cost us roughly 335 CHF for the 3 of us (Airport - Zurich, Zurich - Luzern, Luzern - Engelberg, Engelberg - Titlis (returns included)). We are not considering museums, boat trips, or other costs, though.

However if we get the Tell Pass Winter, it will cost 248 for the 3 of us, but it doesn't include the journeys to and from the airport and also Zurich - Luzern. Total = 330. The negative side: we would only "use" 1 day of the pass because otherwise we would have to spend another Zurich - Luzern train journey not included (65 CHF)

We also checked the Swiss Travel Pass but it would cost 355CHF for the 3 of us and it doesn't include all we are looking for.

- Do you think we should consider buying the Tell Pass and make the most of it, using the 2 days even though we would have to spend extra 65CHF?

- Or do you think we should take no Tell Pass and try to discover Zurich more peacefully and not rushing and spend one day only in the Alps?

- Is there any other option in this itinerary you would suggest?

**Note that on the 3rd day (last day) our flight home is at 8pm.

Thank you very very much!!

Carolina Brás

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5157 posts
expert
Jan 3, 2018 - 12:22 AM in reply to Carolinabras

Hi Carolina-

<<"We are on a budget but definitely want to explore the mountains and beautiful landscapes around this area. ">>

<<"Or do you think we should take no Tell Pass and try to discover Zurich more peacefully and not rushing and spend one day only in the Alps?">>

Your goals are clearly stated. Zürich does not match them. Your proposed alternative contradicts them.

Considering all of your costs and value gained, there is no question in my mind that I would bite the bullet, cancel the non-refundables, eat the costs, and reestablish a base in Luzern, or, possibly Interlaken. This may be the trip of a lifetime (?) , and Zürich is only really a special destination for tourists who likes good (expensive) restaurants, expensive shopping for luxury goods, world class art museums, historical architecture, and classical music concerts. Not so much scenery.

You can and should of course, make what ever choices you wish. And, if you said "I know exactly what I wish to do for two days in a very sophisticated, cosmopolitan, and expensive city," I'd cheer you on. I love the place.

However, since you seem to know little or know nothing about Zürich, you'll do better to shift your base as noted, pay the extra costs, and take back home an experience that will be much more memorable. If I misunderstand your knowledge level, you may call me ignorant and misdirected. No problem.

There are plenty of other perspectives, and it might be that simply visiting a European city is worth it for you. But, you can do better.

Just my opinion 0f course. I might add that Zürich is my absolute favorite city in Switzerland, but that is not for the reasons you specify in your goals. I don't mind spending 200 USD for a really good restaurant and a special wine for one person, or visiting world class museums. Of course you don't have to spend that kind of money, I often don't, and you can find a Swiss experience a lot cheaper than what I am wiling to pay...and I also like eat a sausage and beer in the train station at Horbers for around 10-12 USD, but, then, you are saving money to experience not-so-much in the way of really scenic Swiss destinations.

Luzern is only an hour by train from Zürich. You might consider your base in Zürich to be in a suburb of Luzern ( joking of course) but you could treat it that way. Go to Luzern each day. Use the trains. You'll love them.

You can even go from Zürich to the Jungfrau region and return in one day... might be worth it if you really want to see the Alps. A round trip to Wengen near the Jungfrau with no time at Wengen takes about 6 hours. You could get a few hours in seeing some amazing Alpine scenery, on a nice train ride. But it won't give much scenery on the return train. It gets dark early in the Winter.

Slowpoke

.

Removed user
Removed user
0 posts
new member
Jan 3, 2018 - 1:03 AM in reply to Carolinabras

Hi Carolina,

>> Unfortunately we cannot change our accommodation, it's not refundable :(. So, we decided to do as follows: 2 days walking around Zurich ... **Note that on the 3rd day (last day) our flight home is at 8pm.

Even if your accommodation is in Zürich, a half day, or a day at the most, is plenty of time to see the old town and maybe do a short cruise on the lake. I would save it until your final day.

I would still recommend you spend most of your time in the countryside. The rural villages with their traditional buildings and the alpine scenery are what makes Switzerland so special, not so much its cities.

>> and one full day to go to Titlis Mountain.and Engelberg (early in the morning). On the way back we also pretend to stop in Luzern for a quick overview if we have enough time.

That will be a wonderful day. Going early is a good idea, but check the weather and visibility first, in case it is completely foggy on top and there are no views:

www.titlis.ch/en/live/ weather

www.meteoswiss.admin.c h/home.html?tab=overview

It's good to have a backup plan in case the weather is unsuitable, so you don't waste time wondering what to do next.

I wouldn't spend too much time in Engelberg itself after your Titlis visit, but rather head back to Luzern and spend more time there. Engelberg is in a valley, so you have some mountain views - pleasant but not spectacular. In my opinion, Engelberg lacks the charm of more traditional alpine villages such as Wengen, Grindelwald and Mürren in the Jungfrau Region, where traditional wooden chalets are the predominant building style, rather than the modern low-rise apartment blocks that are quite a feature of Engelberg.

The main sights in Luzern are close to the railway station. The "City Guide" PDF on the page below has a map with a self-guided walking tour marked. It's across two pages, so viewing the PDF in "Two Page View" makes it easier to see.

www.luzern.com/en/broc hures

Frommers also has directions for a walking tour:

www.frommers.com/desti nations/lucerne/walkin g-tours

A nice way of going back to Zürich is to go via Arth-Goldau. The train travels high along a hillside on the eastern side of the Zugersee, and you have scenic views down to to the lake, lakeside villages, and the mountains (including the Rigi) on the other side of the lake. Sit on the left, and then later on the right as you travel along the Zürichsee (Lake Zürich). Sunset will be between about 17:30 and 18:10, depending on when in February you will be there, so if you decide to go back that way, you would want to do it before dark.

>> Do you think we should consider buying the Tell Pass and make the most of it, using the 2 days even though we would have to spend extra 65CHF? - Or do you think we should take no Tell Pass and try to discover Zurich more peacefully and not rushing and spend one day only in the Alps?

Most people choose the cheapest option for their plans as a whole, but there is also a lot to be said for paying a bit more for convenience. That's a personal choice. Don't forget about the free travel for 15-year-olds (under certain conditions) that I mentioned in my previous post.

As I said above, you will be missing a lot if you spend so much time in Zürich.

>> Is there any other option in this itinerary you would suggest?

To reiterate, I would spend only your last day in Zürich, and do day trips on the other days. But in the end, it's your holiday, so spend your time where you think you will get the most enjoyable experience :-)

Alpenrose

rockoyster
rockoyster
4019 posts
expert
Jan 3, 2018 - 1:05 AM in reply to Carolinabras

Hello Carolina,

I like Slowpoke's (tongue-in-cheek) suggestion that you pretend Zurich is a suburb of Lucerne.

The Tell Pass covers you from at least Zug. There is a cheaper 7-zone ticket to get from Zurich to Zug so that might shave a few CHFs off your travel bill. Someone more knowlegable may need to confirm such tickets are useable in the fast IR trains. Also there is a 1 day childrens pass which wil enable you 15-year old sister to travel for CHF16 for the whole day if with a parent with valid ticket.

Also think of a Plan B in case of bad weather. I'm not sure a trip to Titlis in cloud/snow would be that visually inspiring.

Another option (alternative to Tell Pass and Titlis) to consider is a Saver Day Pass (discussed here www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/new-deal-on-saver-day-pass). If you scored them at the right price between 30 and 10 days before travel it should cost you CHF52 each to go pretty much anywhere (apart from mountain railways and cable cars). So you could do a round trip from Zurich to Bern to Interlaken Ost. From there you could pop up to Wengen in the fabulous Jungfrau Region. Then back to Interlaken to catch the Luzern - Interlaken Epxress across the Brunig Pass. It's a very nice round trip, with great scenery including Lakes Thun and Brienz.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5157 posts
expert
Jan 3, 2018 - 2:05 AM in reply to rockoyster

<<"I like Slowpoke's (tongue-in-cheek)">>

Cheeky, whot?

Slowpoke

More about Swiss trains and rail passes

More on MySwissAlps.com

Swiss tips in your mailbox

Sign up to receive our newsletter and the latest forum messages. The best way to prepare for your trip!

Sign up

Get a customized itinerary for your trip

Let Swiss travel consultants create a customized itinerary. They will book your entire trip.

More
© MySwissAlps.com 2002-2018