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Old 20.08.2018, 06:18
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Trip Advice - first trip to Switzerland

Hi All,

Just reaching out with the hope of getting some travel advice as we are in the process of planning our first trip to Switzerland.

My partner and I are planning a 16 day trip split between France and Switzerland. We expect to be on Switzerland from Sept 14-24. we have put together an itinerary and would love feedback and how we can make the best of it. We love the outdoors and enjoy good food - so definitely open to any other suggestions you might have for us. We are looking to get the 8 day Swiss travel pass - hopefully this will help us save some money on the train fares. Would be especially grateful if you can point us in the right direction for places to stay and any other spots we might have missed. Many many thanks in advance!!! Looking forward to your guidance.

Sept 14 - arrive Zurich evening. birthday celebration!
Sept 15 - morning leave for Lucerne
Sept 16 - leave for Mt. Pilatus in the am. Cog wheel train, hike through alpine flowers, cable car down to Lucerne, bus from cable car to Lucerne
Sept 17 - morning leave for Mt Rigi
Sept 18 - morning travel to Interlaken / Lauterbrunnen, cable car to Murren, hike down to gimmelwald, trummelbach 10 glacial falls.
Sept 19 - leave for Jungfraujoch, explore ice Palace, oberhoffen castle
Sept 20 - leave for Schynige Platte.
Sept 21 - leave for zermatt in the morning. Explore matterhorn in the afternoon.
Sept 22 - explore zermatt. Gornegratt station in the afternoon..rotenboden on the way down.
Sept 23 - Cambrian hotel (geothermal pool)
Sept 24 - leave for Bern to catch flight to Paris
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Old 20.08.2018, 09:30
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Re: Trip Advice - first trip to Switzerland

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Hi All,

Just reaching out with the hope of getting some travel advice as we are in the process of planning our first trip to Switzerland.

My partner and I are planning a 16 day trip split between France and Switzerland. We expect to be on Switzerland from Sept 14-24. we have put together an itinerary and would love feedback and how we can make the best of it. We love the outdoors and enjoy good food - so definitely open to any other suggestions you might have for us. We are looking to get the 8 day Swiss travel pass - hopefully this will help us save some money on the train fares. Would be especially grateful if you can point us in the right direction for places to stay and any other spots we might have missed. Many many thanks in advance!!! Looking forward to your guidance.

Sept 14 - arrive Zurich evening. birthday celebration!
Sept 15 - morning leave for Lucerne
Sept 16 - leave for Mt. Pilatus in the am. Cog wheel train, hike through alpine flowers, cable car down to Lucerne, bus from cable car to Lucerne
Sept 17 - morning leave for Mt Rigi
Sept 18 - morning travel to Interlaken / Lauterbrunnen, cable car to Murren, hike down to gimmelwald, trummelbach 10 glacial falls.
Sept 19 - leave for Jungfraujoch, explore ice Palace, oberhoffen castle
Sept 20 - leave for Schynige Platte.
Sept 21 - leave for zermatt in the morning. Explore matterhorn in the afternoon.
Sept 22 - explore zermatt. Gornegratt station in the afternoon..rotenboden on the way down.
Sept 23 - Cambrian hotel (geothermal pool)
Sept 24 - leave for Bern to catch flight to Paris



You'll see everything yet nothing with a schedule like this, do less and enjoy what you do rather than an assault course of Switzerland
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Old 20.08.2018, 12:05
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Re: Trip Advice - first trip to Switzerland

Where are your bases when you are in Switzerland (apart from Zermatt) or are you staying at each location overnight?

Things to note,
Sept 19 - leave for Jungfraujoch, explore ice Palace, oberhoffen castle
The Jungfraujoch is very expensive and is a bit haphazard with the weather.

Sept 18 - morning travel to Interlaken / Lauterbrunnen, cable car to Murren, hike down to gimmelwald, trummelbach 10 glacial falls.

Better is cablecar from Lauterbrunnen to Grütschalp, then walk to Murren, cablecar down to Stechelberg, bus to trummelbach, bus back to Lauterbrunnen.
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Old 20.08.2018, 12:12
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Re: Trip Advice - first trip to Switzerland

Seems like you're intent to visit all the tourist destinations. If you're happy to be in crowded trains, buses and cable cars being herded around like sheep and paying top prices everywhere, then fine. But there are many more beautiful places here that tourists rarely go to.

Last week I visited Meirengen, the Reichanbach falls and the Sherlock Holmes museum. Very few tourists and I would have been happy to stay there for 2 or 3 nights and explore the beautiful area. The train from Luzern to Meirengen was packed with foreign tourists heading to Interlaken, only a few got off with us and they missed a treat.
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Old 25.08.2018, 17:20
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Re: Trip Advice - first trip to Switzerland

On my first trip to Switzerland, I had a similarly intensive trip. I can understand the desire to see as much as possible within the time allowed, especially if you don't envisage being able to return in the foreseeable future.

From my experience, I would repeat the advice from the others that it better to do less. Consider leaving out a few destinations such as Schynige Platte or Rigi to allow more time to explore Lucerne and possibly a lake trip, especially if the weather isn't perfect for mountain peaks
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Old 25.08.2018, 21:40
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Re: Trip Advice - first trip to Switzerland

I agree with what others have already said. Most of your destinations are actually very similar - take expensive and overcrowded train/cable car up to top of mountain, look at pretty view surrounded by 1000s of other tourists, go back down. The destinations you mention are all very accessible, and hence very popular. You have an advantage in enjoying hiking: I recommend you use this to your advantage to see some places that are off the list for the hoards.



Pay attention to the weather and have back up plans: mountain tops are not very interesting in fog (check webcams for weather at the top, which can be different either way from valley level). We went up Pilatus last summer with my parents in the fog. My Dad had been as a child and *really* wanted to go back. I was *really* worried it would be a disappointment. We queued for an hour, eventually got to the top, and could see about 10 yards in front of us. We milled around in the modern building at the top for half an hour but could have been anywhere. Don't let this be you :-).



I'd drop both Rigi and Pilatus. I don't think they'll add anything as compared to Zermatt. Personally I'd do Saas Fee rather than Zermatt as I think the village is nicer and it's much quieter but I do understand the appeal of the Matterhorn.



In terms of where to go instead: I would recommend the Val d'Anniviers. Zinal is a gorgeous village that feels like it is as the end of the world. The Hotel Besso has good value basic rooms and fantastic good. Hike to one of the mountain huts (cabanes), for lunch or to stay overnight. The hike up to the Cabane de Moiry (from Grimentz/Moiry dam) is not too challenging and is rewarded with a modern hut with excellent food and amazing views out over the glacier. Similarly to the Cabane Tracuit (from Zinal), though this hike is longer/more challenging. Or go to the Hotel Weisshorn, built in the mid-1800 and still very much in the style of the time (we only went for lunch, but we had a good wander around and it really is like a museum!).


Rather than going so many places, I'd pick a couple of valleys and plan to spend 2-3 days in them, so you have a good chance to get a good weather day for the mountain stuff, but also a chance to really explore.
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Old 26.08.2018, 17:35
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Re: Trip Advice - first trip to Switzerland

Most mountain trains and similar are privately owned, essentially all co-operate with the SBB (the federal railway) but they're not the same. So, expect for them to not be (fully) included in your Swiss Travel Pass (STP). You will usually get a rebate (25% or 50%) on the full fare on most, but not necessarily on all of them. See the "map of validity" download on this page.

For instance and all just as I remember, the last segment of the train onto the Jungfraujoch is excluded from the STP, that segment will set you back some 100 CHF per person. Not sure about prices in Zermatt nowadays but probably none of the various trains/cable cars up the mountains are free with your STP. The train up Rigi mountain should be free for you though.

Once you have your itinerary roughly set it's probably a good idea to submit it to the SBB and request the fares (do mention your STP) as well as alternative routes where it looks reasonable, for instance a roundtrip like this instead of a simple train ride to the Rigi and back. With your STP there's probably not much room for error but still, and the SBB are mandated by law to provide/quote the least expensive option for the route you've chosen regardless of which service providers you've chosen.

Make plans for bad weather and be prepared for cool temperatures. Last week brought the first snow to areas as low as 2000m above sealevel. The snow has melted quickly as the ground is still very warm, but still.

As for the destinations: See above what others have already said. Personally, I find the view on the Jungfrau (plus the companions Mönch and Eiger) much more impressive than the view from the Jungfrau.
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Old 26.08.2018, 23:47
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Re: Trip Advice - first trip to Switzerland

The Bernese alps are very nice. But I love Appenzell or Glarus. See if you can fit one of the two into your scedule.

I would only do Rigi or Pilatus but not both. As mentionned Rigi is included in your train ticket. Not sure about Pilatus.

See if you can stay more than one night at one place so you can travel with a daypack only. Makes changing trains easier.

Maybe include Montreux/Geneva in your itiniary. Lovely train ride.
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