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Need suggestion on our trip to Switzerland.

New York City, New...
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Need suggestion on our trip to Switzerland.

Hi there,

We are a couple in our early 30's living in New York and its our first trip to Switzerland. We are planning this trip in mid August.

We would like to bounce-off our plan on this forum. We appreciate any advice and/or suggestions, especially around hotels and things to do. We are not sure if we are making this plan too busy.

Aug 18 - Fly-in to Geneva from US in the AM. Take the train to Montreux in the AM. Take another train to Rochers-de-Naye and have lunch and a hike.

Visit the vineyards in Vevey and spend time along the lake side. <something we dont want to miss by the lakeside??> Stay at Montreux.

Aug 19 - Visit Chillion Castle in the AM. <any other activities here??> Stay at Montreux.

Aug 20 - AM panaromic train to Interlaken. Visit Mt. Schilthorn

Aug 21 - AM trip to Jungfraujoch. Boat cruise at Lake Thun in the PM.

Aug 22 - AM panaromic train to Lucerne. Thinking of Mt Rigi, Mt. Pilatus and Chapel Bridge. <can we visit all these places in one day??>

Aug 23 - Lake Lucern and glacier garden. PM train to Zurich. Overnight train to Amsterdam (CNL).

Thank you in advance.

Garmisch-Partenkirch...
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1. Re: Need suggestion on our trip to Switzerland.

Hi Ardee11,

I think you won't be able to do all you plan to do in the Montreux area in your few days. The trip up to Rochers-de-Naye takes an hour in each direction -- then you want to hike (2h??) -- then have lunch (1 hr), so that's your half day already gone.

The vineyards aren't actually IN Vevey, but they are above and to the west of Vevey (stretching between Vevey and Lausanne). You could take a short walk (from Chexbres to Rivaz, 20 minutes) or a long walk (from Lutry to Cully or Epesses, 2h). So walking in the vineyards will take at least 60 minutes or as long as three hours. I would also add in two hours or so to poke around the old town of Vevey, which is charming with its tangled and twisted streets, and a walk along the lake to La Tour-de-Peilz. So that's half a day.

Chillon, from what others have said on this forum, should take 2 to 3 hours. Walking along the flowered lakeside path from Montreux to Chillon (one of the very best parts of Montreux imo) takes 45 minutes. If you want to walk all the way to Villeneuve, I highly recommend that, and it takes another 45 minutes.

With about 1 1/2 days in Montreux, I think you'll have to pick and choose among all the activities. Since you'll be heading to the high mountains, and since you'll be taking the Golden Pass up through the hills, I would say you could skip Rochers-de-Naye. Then, upon arrival, you could spend the afternoon walking to Chillon and taking a tour, then walking to Villeneuve for lunch. You could return to Montreux by ferry or by bus and see the old town (or even go up to Rochers-de-Naye to watch the sunset). On the next day, see Vevey and the vineyards.

Hope you get all the info and suggestions you need!

s

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2. Re: Need suggestion on our trip to Switzerland.

If it's hot, I'd recommend having a swim from the small grass and pebble beach to the right of the base of Chateau de Chillon.

Martigny...
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3. Re: Need suggestion on our trip to Switzerland.

I think you are planning way too much for your first day and forgetting about jetlag and no sleep on the plane! By all means take a train from the airport to montreux, check into the hotel and leave your bags but be prepared for the fact that you may want to sleep for a while!

The Rochers de Naye is weather sensitive so you cannot be sure to include it. It makes no sense to be up there for an hour and see - fog! Also if you are in the low clouds hiking up there is going to be very dangerous.

Definitely go to Chillon and be sure to get an audioguide at the ticket office. The castle is large and its history very complicated. the audioguide is very important. and well done... You might, if the weather is good, think about taking a lake boat from Chillon over to the french side of the lake (two stops over there, both still in Switzerland but you get a different perspective on the Montreux area and the Lavaux vineyards from that side) the boat will eventually (about 1hr45mins) bring you to Montreux. IMO it is not worth taking the boat in the other direction as it is only about 10mins between Montreux and Chillon and you hardly have time to sit down!! You can get the boat times either on the www.cgn.ch site (complicated!) or on the CFF site - www.sbb.ch/en (easy!)

If you can avoid staying in Interlaken do so. Even Wilderswil (on the way to Lauterbrunnen) is nicer. And if you can, on your lake Thun cruise, get off for a couple of hours in Thun which is a very nice town, with interesting architecture - huge overhanging roofs for example - and a great castle which dominates the town. The Aar river rushes through the town as it leaves the lake and heads on to Bern.

To go to the Schilthorn you need to go to Mürren. This little car free village is worth some time on its own... so plan to stop there for a coffee or lunch or something. It has a really "old world" atmosphere and is quite different from the other mountain villages. Gimmelwald, a little way down from Mürren, is also worth a walk around.

New York City, New...
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4. Re: Need suggestion on our trip to Switzerland.

Thank you all very much for your suggestions. I definitely agree that we have planned too much for the first day.

So we will plan on checking in at our Montreux hotel and then going to Vevey by train. We will take the Wine train from Vevey to Chexbres and walk to Rivaz. Would that leave us some time for Vevey town? Is there wine tasting and any suggested ones?

We will stay in Lauterbrunnen and not Interlaken. How long does an average trip to Schilthorn take ? For these panaromic and wine trains, do we need to book them in advance ?

Any suggestions on Lucerne ?

Best Regards..

Ardee.

Garmisch-Partenkirch...
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5. Re: Need suggestion on our trip to Switzerland.

Hi again,

You can do some wine tasting at Lavaux Vinorama in Rivaz:

www.lavaux-vinorama.ch/presentation_en.php

So, let me see. If you arrive in Geneva around 09.00, then take the 1-hour train to Montreux, get to your hotel, check in, then walk back to the train station and take the train to Chexbres, you should get there around lunchtime. Walk from Chexbres to Rivaz, do the tasting, then take the ferry or the local train to Vevey. That should get you to Vevey around 14.00 or 15.00, so, yes, you should have enough time to explore Vevey.

However, how about exploring Vevey first? It looks like you'll be there around lunchtime, and Vevey is a great spot for lunch -- many good restaurants and restaurants with a view (I would pick either the Hostellerie de Geneve on the main square, or Le Mazots off in the backstreets). After exploring Vevey and having lunch, head off the Chexbres, then walk to Rivax and have the wine tasting. Then you can return to Montreux by lake ferry.

No, you do not need to reserve the wine train.

To see how long the trip is from Lauterbrunnen to Schilthorn, see the Swiss rail site that Hambagahle posted above (it's also at www.rail.ch)

Have fun as you plan!

s

Martigny...
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6. Re: Need suggestion on our trip to Switzerland.

Vevey is the station before Montreux so in order to avoid backtracking I suggest you get off at Vevey, check luggage in a locker at the station (some on Plat. 1) and then walk around the old town. Go to the Place du Marché and facing the lake take any road off to the left. Reason I suggest this is that you can then have been sure to see Vevey before going to Chexbres. There are frequent trains to Chexbres and so getting one is no problem.

I would not walk to Rivaz. There are prettier places - St Saphorin for one. I would go there. And yes there are places where you can taste wine but normally you are also expected to buy wine at the tasteings... you can also go into any café and ask them to give you a couple of glasses of different wines from the region and so do your own tasteing. Normally the caves are open in the afternoons only. So keep any tasteing to last.

Then back to Vevey by local train and get your bags and then on to Montreux to your hotel.

New York City, New...
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7. Re: Need suggestion on our trip to Switzerland.

Thank you again for the great suggestions.

Regarding checking-in bags at train platforms - we wanted to check bags at Vevey and Interlaken stations. How can we find the time of these lockers. Are they open 24 hours? Are there any restaurants that you would recommend in the Interlaken area?

Would any of you suggest we visit some other place rather than Lucerne?

Best Regards,

Ardee

Garmisch-Partenkirch...
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8. Re: Need suggestion on our trip to Switzerland.

Hi again,

Normally the luggage lockers are located in an open area, so if the train station is open, you'll have access to the luggage lockers. So you should have no problem at all, say, between the hours of 07.00 - 23.00 or 24.00.

However, if you mean you'll need a locker at, say, 3 am, you may have difficulty if it's a small station and is totally shut down.

s

Martigny...
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9. Re: Need suggestion on our trip to Switzerland.

There are lockers on Platform 1 at Vevey. These are right near the stairs that come up from the Ticket Offices. I cannot tell you about Interlaken Ost or West but they will have lockers too.

Normally when a station is closed at night there is still access to the platforms as these are not shut. It is the station building that is shut. (Ticket office,, waiting room, Luggage Office etc) In the case of Vevey there is street access to Platform 1 so it cannot be shut. Since in many cases the lockers are on the platforms in other stations they can be accessed all night too.

New York City, New...
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10. Re: Need suggestion on our trip to Switzerland.

Thank you all for the great advice.

We are very lost on how to get the Swiss Pass and actually how to use it for online bookings.

So, we decided we need the Swiss Pass for 8 days consecutive (although we are there for 6 days, it is still cheaper than the Swiss Flexi pass of 600 CHF or so). Now, we would like to purchase it. However, we wanted to check how we could use it online while making booking on RailEurope.com and some other sites like swisstravelsystem.com. They never ask for a pass number. Do we have to activate it? How do we get the discount while booking?

How does the Swiss Pass work.? Can I buy it online and immediately use it, or do I wait for it in the mail?

Any advice will be very helpful.

Thank you in advance.

Best Regards,

Ardee