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2 week Switzerland

2 week Switzerland

Old Nov 7, 19, 5:53 am
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2 week Switzerland

First time going to Switzerland for 2 weeks, last week of April to May. Which cities should I prioritize? Should I drive or should I just take the trains? It will be only me and the wife. We just love sightseeing, eating, and some shopping. But no long or hard treks.

If I will drive, will there be snow on the roads at this time of the year? I’ve never driven in snowy conditions.

We will arrive and depart through ZRH.

Thanks.
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Old Nov 7, 19, 7:18 am
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Nah, no snow in April and May unless, perhaps, high up in the mountains. If you stay in CH for two weeks you have enough time visit all major cities: they're all very similar to each other and, even if that sounds strange, very different from each other, and certainly worth a visit. I'd go for the car, it should be cheaper in the long run, although there are some good deals available for trains too. The only thing you should keep in mind is that the country is one of the most expensive ones in Europe for tourists (high salaries make it very livable for locals). At any rate, enjoy your vacation!
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Old Nov 7, 19, 8:41 pm
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Public transport gets you to a surprising number of places in Switzerland. A Swiss Pass for 15 days is about 1000 francs for 2 people, which lets you go on basically all forms of public transport including buses and trams, but you need to pay a supplement for a few tourist trains and some of the railways up steep mountains. If you stick mainly to cities then a car may be a hindrance. Of course you could split up the trip between cities where you use public transport (you can get shorter travel passes) and car for more rural areas.
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Old Nov 8, 19, 4:31 am
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This is what I intend to do:

After arriving ZRH, we’ll take the train straight to Geneva. Then from there, we make our way back to Zurich where we fly out again.

I am planning on visiting the following places:
Bern, Interlaken, Grindelwald, Lucerne, then Zurich.

If I’ll be driving, should I rent in Geneva and return the car in Zurich at the end of my trip? Or should I rent a car in each city and take the train between cities?
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Old Nov 8, 19, 5:27 am
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I would advise renting a car in each city. The Geneva-Zürich train ride is about 3 hours, very comfortable, and if you drive on that route you might find quite a bit of heavy traffic.
FYI, I live in Lausanne and it's a city definitely worth a visit :-) A great cathedral (built in 1235), wonderful museums (amongst which the brand new Plateforme 10, the Ousider art museum - "Musée de l'Art Brut" - which is world renowned, and the Musée de l'Hermitage in a beautiful old mansion), and a lovely lakeside.
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Old Nov 8, 19, 6:48 am
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One of the best vacations of my life was a few years ago when I flew to Zurich with my pre-purchased Swiss rail pass and took the train everywhere I wanted to go, beginning at the airport. I would not rent a car for the entire time but rather use rail. If, in some instance you decide you want a car, then rent it at that point. However, the transportation within towns and cities is also excellent.
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Old Nov 8, 19, 9:14 pm
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What else is there to do in Grindelwald if we will not be skiing, hiking, nor biking?
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Old Nov 9, 19, 1:23 pm
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Parking here in Switzerland can be a royal pain, and expensive. The train is usually pretty good, but it can get pretty crowded on the line between Zürich and Bern during rush hour. For a trip of two weeks, Basel might even be worth a visit. There are some pretty cool museums there, especially the musical instrument museum, and the Kunstmuseen (Art Museum). The paper museum is fascinating, but is only open one day per week.
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Old Nov 9, 19, 7:56 pm
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Originally Posted by boybi View Post
What else is there to do in Grindelwald if we will not be skiing, hiking, nor biking?
At the risk of triggering a lot of posting from offenced Grindelwald fans, if you do not ski, hike or bike, the answer is simple: sleep or watch TV.
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Old Nov 10, 19, 1:20 pm
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We did a 10 day road trip through Switzerland in August, and I am happy we had a car (cost 450CHF for 11 days rental)
I've gone to Switzerland by train (with an Interrail pass) before and with a car it was much easier, faster and efficient (and probably cheaper), but we also avoided big cities, and made sure to stay in places with free parking. Even in the summer, traffic was not an issue anywhere, and the driving culture is excellent in Switzerland.

After landing in Zurich, we visited Liechtenstein, Locarno (and via Verazsca/Lake Maggiore), Zermatt and mountains (stayed in Tasch and trained in - get Zermatt pass for cable cars if dont have a rail card), the hot pools around Brig on a rainy day, then onto Interlaken are (Interlaken, Lauterbrunner,Murren, Gimmewald), Bern, Gruyeres area and Montreaux. Flew out of Geneva
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Old Nov 10, 19, 6:34 pm
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Originally Posted by boybi View Post
What else is there to do in Grindelwald if we will not be skiing, hiking, nor biking?
Take the cable car up to Maanlichen and sled back down to Grindelwald.

Since you'll be in that area anyway are you not planning to go up to Jungfraujoch?

Anyway last summer I did a 10-day trip, video/itinerary below if you're interested in a first-timer, non-expert's experience. About the only thing I'd change is to either do Jungfraujoch or Mont Blanc / Chamonix, but not both in the same trip.

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Old Nov 11, 19, 5:29 am
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Originally Posted by dlffla View Post
One of the best vacations of my life was a few years ago when I flew to Zurich with my pre-purchased Swiss rail pass and took the train everywhere I wanted to go, beginning at the airport. I would not rent a car for the entire time but rather use rail. If, in some instance you decide you want a car, then rent it at that point. However, the transportation within towns and cities is also excellent.
I checked the Swiss Travel Pass and there are 2 types: Travel Pass and Travel Pass Flex. What’s the difference?

If I get this pass, do I literally have unlimited ride on all public transport in Switzerland? Does this include CGN ferries? How about cable cars and gondolas?
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Old Nov 11, 19, 5:34 am
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Originally Posted by shuigao View Post
Take the cable car up to Maanlichen and sled back down to Grindelwald.

Since you'll be in that area anyway are you not planning to go up to Jungfraujoch?

Anyway last summer I did a 10-day trip, video/itinerary below if you're interested in a first-timer, non-expert's experience. About the only thing I'd change is to either do Jungfraujoch or Mont Blanc / Chamonix, but not both in the same trip.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otXOMWfHFEg
Great video! How many times did you change hotels in your trip?

Is it advisable to just stay in 2 different hotels for my 2 week trip? 1 in Geneva and 1 in Zurich, then we’ll just take day trips by train or ferry from these 2 cities?
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Old Nov 11, 19, 7:27 am
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Originally Posted by boybi View Post
I checked the Swiss Travel Pass and there are 2 types: Travel Pass and Travel Pass Flex. What’s the difference?

If I get this pass, do I literally have unlimited ride on all public transport in Switzerland? Does this include CGN ferries? How about cable cars and gondolas?
The difference between regular and flex is whether the days are consecutive or not. For example, with a regular one, if you buy an 8-day pass, the eight days begins with the date of the first usage. If you are visiting for ten days, you cannot use it the tenth day of your trip if you first used it the first or second day of your trip. If you wanted to use it the 10th day of your trip, you couldn’t use it before the third day of your trip. With the flex one, you can use it eight days and they do not need to be consecutive. I was able to use mine for museum entrances (free or reduced price), on city transportation and boats but here is a link to the definitive answer of validity. https://www.myswissalps.com/swisstravelpass
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Old Nov 11, 19, 11:23 am
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Originally Posted by boybi View Post
I checked the Swiss Travel Pass and there are 2 types: Travel Pass and Travel Pass Flex. What’s the difference?

If I get this pass, do I literally have unlimited ride on all public transport in Switzerland? Does this include CGN ferries? How about cable cars and gondolas?
We went this past summer.
It includes some cable cars and ferries. Others are at a discount. Same with Funiculars.
I would highly recommend going to the top of at least one of the mountains. The views are spectacular. We did the top of the Schlithorn. One of the Bond movies was filmed there. Spectacular views. And you can stop at some of the villages on the way down or up that are not car accessible. You don't have to hike to enjoy the quaint towns.

We did both car and train. Advantages and disadvantages to both. As stated, parking can be a pain and/or expensive. Transport gets you to almost very town. We stayed in Interlocken and took trains and ferries to various smaller towns. Quick easy. But we also drove to places that may have been a hike to get to otherwise. But on the other hand, we had to skip some towns as parking was non-existent, where the train could have taken us right there.
The town of Thon was interesting. Nice ferry ride there and train back. Don't just concentrate on the big places.

Use the grocery stores for breakfast/lunch. Way cheaper. Also, no fast food, way too expensive. If you can find restaurants off the beaten path, they can be cheaper as well.

Switzerland became my favorite place and would love to go back. We struggles with the train/car thing and what the pass covers is a bit confusing, especially since many of the package tours use the same transport methods. Wish I could point you to a great resource for that, but we never found one.

Make sure you have the Raclette cheese some where.
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