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Switzerland and Trains

This is my travel plans for Switzerland:

Day 1 Paris--> Gimmelwald and stay in Gimmelwald Pension
Day 2 Gimmelwald Hiking to Schilthorn
Day 3 Gimmelwald day trip to Jungfrau (return to Gimmelwald for sleep)
Day 4 More Gimmelwald hiking
Day 5 Leave Gimmelwald to Venice

I will travel with a europass and have just been informed that the europass will not cover the trains beyond Interluken. Given this information plus my itinerary, are there any additional passes I should buy?

I think at this point, when I arrive into Paris, I should just purchase the major trains (to Gimmelwald and Jungfrau) at the Paris station using my europass's discount for the part that is not covered by europass. In other words, no purchases over the internet while I am stay in the US.

Is the above the right thinking?

But I do realize that I need to purchase the BeoAdo for 59CHF (at the Lauterbranne station) for unlimited cable/local train/bus ride since I will be needing the cable to go to/leave Gimmewald as well as to Jungfrau. Or should I use the pay as you go b/c the cost will not add up for 59 CHF?

Thank you!

Posted by
6898 posts

Judy, a Eurail pass will only get you a 25% discount on the Jungfraubahn and the Schilthornbahn. These are the private railways that operate from Interlaken Ost (East) into the Lauterbrunnen Valley and up to the mountain tops. It will provide no discount on the post bus that you will ride from the Stechelberg gondola station to Lauterbrunnen. You get to Gimmelwald from the Stechelberg gondola station.

I've never heard of the "BeoAdo". However, you can CLICK HERE to see the P2P fares for these railways and gondolas. The fare from Interlaken Ost to Gimmelwald is 7CHF. Note that it's expensive to go up to the Jungfrau and Schilthorn. I don't think you will be able to purchase tickets for these rail and gondola systems in France. I know you can't from Italy. These systems want to be paid in Swiss Francs and you can't do this from France. You can easily purchase a ticket in France to Interlaken Ost but that's it.

Posted by
31524 posts

Judy,

"Day 2 Gimmelwald Hiking to Schilthorn"

I hope you're in good shape! The hike from Gimmelwald to the Schilthorn is best for very experienced hikers. There are some "treacherous" spots, and depending on the weather (and snow), that part of the hike may not be accessible. You might want to consider the Cable Car ride to the Schilthorn instead.

I believe the Eurail Pass provides some discounts on trains and lifts in Switzerland, provided that the Pass includes Switzerland. Check Rick's "Rail" section on this website for more specific details (you might want to download the free PDF Rail Guide).

It's very easy and not that expensive to buy a ticket to Gimmelwald in the station at Interlaken Ost ("take a number"). That will include all modes of transport (Rail, Post Bus and Cable Car). On the return trip, you can buy your ticket at the Cable Car station in Gimmelwald (which is only a very short distance from the Pensione, about a one minute walk).

It's great that the Pensione is open again! It's been closed for a year or two.

Happy travels!

Posted by
80 posts

Since I will be traveling by myself, the Pension Gimmelwald is asking for 60 CHF per night per person. I will have my own room. Breakfast included. Is that reasonable?

I really would like to go to Jungfrau. I checked the price--and it seems like it will cost less than 200 CHF by train. Is that roughly the price you pay to go to Jungfrau? Other than sighseeing in Jungfrau, what else can you do? I see that Ricks' son also went sledding?

Posted by
6898 posts

Judy, about 180CHF is the round trip fare from Lauterbrunnen to the Jungfraujoch. You go up on a cog train. It takes 2hrs to go up and 2hrs to come back down. When we did it, we had a Swiss pass. The Swiss pass covers all fares, buses and gondolas up to Gimmelwald, Murren and Wengen. But to get to the mountain tops, the Swiss pass only gets you a 50% discount.

Posted by
213 posts

Judy, as another responder said, the hike to Schilthorn is very strenuous--about a 5,000-foot elevation gain from Gimmelwald with portions of the trail extremely steep. It requires sturdy hiking boots as well as being in the very finest physical condition. You'd be ahead to take the cable-car up to Shilthorn. Then, take it down to Birg (the stop below Schilthorn) and hike down from there. If the super-steep section of trail between Birg and Schilthorn is not snow-covered, it is possible to hike down from there. That will also require sturdy hiking boots, but you need not be in Ironman condition to do it. You did not indicate that, if you hiked up to Schilthorn, you would also hike down. If you hiked up, you'd almost certainly want to ride down. It's a looooong hike between Gimmelwald and Schilthorn.

If you get an early start for the Jungfrau excursion, you'd have time to do the trail at the base of the Eiger--going down to Grindelwald or to Alpiglen. From either you can catch the train to Wengen and work your way back to Gimmelwald. Or, you can hike from Kleine Scheidegg to Mannlichen--a very easy trail--then take the cable-car down to Wengen and work your way back to Gimmelwald.

For hiking in the Gimmelwald area on day 4, consider going up to Murren and taking the funicular up to Allmendhubel, then hiking the Mountain View Trail from there to Grutschalp. You can either walk the paved trail back to Gimmelwald or take the train/cable-car. The views from Mountain View Trail may be the best in all of Switzerland from an easily-accessible trail. Hiking up the Sefinental valley is also a worthy and easy day hike. Whatever you do, savor this spectacular scenery.
By the way, it will be a long day from Paris to Gimmelwald.

Posted by
80 posts

Thank you for the detailed itinery! I am really grateful and will most likely follow this advice.

I will arrive in Jungfrau around June 7, 2009. I have khaki and sweater. Would that be sufficient?

I don't plan to bring my hiking boots...hence will eliminate all hiking trips requiring hiking boots.

I will probably use the first day (when I arrive from Paris) to go to _______? Any recommendations?

Full Day:
Gimmelwald - Oberhornsee Lake OR
Gimmelwald - Schilthorn OR
Gimmelwald - Bietenhorn

Half Day:
Gimmelwald - Tanzbodeli OR
Gimmelwald - Chilchbalm OR
Gimmelwald - Sprutz - Spielbodenalp - Bryndli OR
Gimmelwald - Trummelbach Falls

I got the above from the following website: http://www.gimmelwald.com/hikes.html

Posted by
6898 posts

Judy, CLICK HERE to see another list of hiking trails throughout the area. It has maps and hiker ratings.

Posted by
80 posts

Which town/city should I stay if I want to go to Jungfrau? From Berne or Gimmelwald?

Posted by
6898 posts

The easiest places to stay are Lauterbrunnen or Wengen if you want to go to the Jungfrau. The cog train originates in the Lauterbrunnen train station and it passes Wengen on the way up. There is also some very good hiking on that side of the valley. The Gimmelwald side of the valley is a bit steeper. Don't rule out Gimmelwald though. You'll love it up there. From Gimmelwald to the Lauterbrunnen train station will take about 30 minutes. The gondola down runs about every 30 minutes and there is usually a post bus at the Stechelberg gondola station to take you to Lauterbrunnen.

Posted by
351 posts

Hi Judy,

I will also be taking the train from Paris to Lauterbrunnen on June 4 (going via Montreux to see Chateau Chillon - the kids love that). Planning one day to go up to the Jungfraujoch with my youngest son (I've been twice before, with his older siblings), then a day of hiking, before heading off to Munich. I love staying in Lauterbrunnen because it's very central for going up the Jungfraujoch or up the Schilthorn/Gimmelwald side. I have stayed at the Hotel Staubbach and at the Hotel Oberland and both are nice. This time, we are trying the Valley Hostel.

We like going up the Jungfraujoch first thing in the morning. We check our first day for clear weather - if it's clear, we go. If not, you can go the next day. We also found, on both trips up, that the weather was clear early in the morning, then the clouds rolled in and the views were obscured. This leaves our afternoon free for a hike, or in once case, a trip up to Pfindsteg to do the sommerrodelbahn.

We have a 4 days swiss railpass - second class - and I have the family card so that my son travels free. This works perfectly for us, as I just bought a TGV ticket for Paris to Geneva, then on departure day, I just need my ticket from the Swiss border to Munich. I don't know if you can purchase your trip up to Jungfraujoch in Paris, or whether that would save you any money. I would just purchase at the Lauterbrunnen station in the morning before you get on the train to go up. That way you are free to modify your plans if they weather is not cooperative, and I have never had a problem doing that. They were very helpful about getting us our discounts, etc...

Posted by
80 posts

Originally I was going to stay at Valley Hostel too :)

But they only have dorm beds. Plus, I wanted to experience no cars, true Switzerland village life (I do need electricity and hot running water though) Hence, I booked a private bedroom with Pension Gimmelwald in Gimmelwald.

I will remember to buy my ticket to Jungfrau at Laudenbrunnen.

Btw, I might go from Paris--> Bern--> Gimmelwald. I will just take a quick look at Bern (3 hours) on my way into Gimmelwald. Is that a wise idea?

Posted by
80 posts

I have a better idea...please tell me if it is unreasonable:

Paris--> Montreux to see the Chateau (that Linda mentioned)--> Bern--> Gimmelwald for sleep...I will accomplish this in one day.

Bern is on the way from Montreux to Gimmelwald.

Posted by
31524 posts

Judy,

If you have time when you return, I'd be interested to hear your impressions of your stay at the Pensione, which is under "new management". Others here may also find the information useful?

Cheers!

Posted by
80 posts

I realize that I am being too eager again. Thus, I will just travel from Paris into Gimmelwald. No Bern. No Montreux.

Thank you all for your input! I will be doing a lot of hiking and breathing in mountain fresh air :)

Posted by
6898 posts

Judy, just a hint that Bern is not on the way to Gimmelwald from Montreux. Now I see that you are giving up both Montreux and Bern. But, FYI, all of your train runs from Paris to Intelaken will go through Bern. Some runs route via Geneva with a train change in Bern. Other runs go through Basel or Zurich and then stop at Bern on the way south. Either way you will most likely be stopping at Bern. The train stop in Bern is centrally located so if you want to stop there for a few hours, you will might have to arrange your tickets to do it (i.e. Paris/Bern and Bern/Gimmelwald). But, you do have a Eurail pass and if your second train is a Swiss IC train, you should be able to just hop on a later train.

Posted by
80 posts

Yup! I will stop by Bern :)

Btw, if you know anything about Normandy Beach Tour (costs over $100) and whether it is worth joining, let me know :)

Posted by
488 posts

Judy,

First, the Normandy Tour...YES!!..Definitely worth it! We went on the Battlebus 1 day American Highlights tour and loved it. Definitely worth the $100 or so to do.

Also, I would go up to Jungfraujoch if you can and the weather is good. Not sure how you are set with your rail pass, but maybe you could use it in a different country and buy a Swiss Pass/card/or other variation to get the 50% discounts in the Lauterbrunnen Valley. If you go up to both Schilthorn and Jungfraujoch, the 50% discount is quite substantial. Not knowing the particulars of your rail travel, you'd have to crunch the numbers to see if this would be beneficial.

For a great hike, we hiked from Mannlichen to Klein Scheidegg and then took the train from there up to the Jungfraujoch. The hike is on that side of the valley and is mostly downhill (except for an uphill detour to a lookout point in Mannlichen). The views are spectacular and a very easy hike. Plan on about 3 hours for a leisure hike.

Have a great trip!

Posted by
351 posts

I agree that Bern is on the way. Going to Montreux to see Chateau de Chillon is definitely out of the way, but doable, as I have done it before. I don't think you could reasonably see both the Chateau de Chillon and Bern on the way from Paris to Gimmelwald, so picking one or the other would be the way to go. I am leaving at 7:58 am to be able to stop in Montreux and still get to Lauterbrunnen around 7:25pm.