travel within switzerland

We are planning a holiday to Switzerland in may. The plan is to land in Zurich , spend a day-go to Grindelwald , stay there for 4 nights. do day trips from there to lucern, Jungfrau etc. What would be the best mode of travel. should we pick a swiss pass or hire a vehicle. We are 4 adults, 2 seniors citizens and two kids aged 10 and 5. I need help on this , am thoroughly confused regards

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17796 posts

Sadeev, If I read your post correctly, your group consists of eight people? If that's the case, I wouldn't suggest renting a car. Having a car will be of no benefit in visiting the Jungfrau. A few points to consider with that particular trip: > The trip to the Jungfrau is one of the most expensive, and that will certainly be the case for a group of eight. > The top of the Jungfrau in the Sphinx Observatory is at about 12,000 feet. You'll need to consider whether that will be a problem for the senior citizens in your group. I was there in September and found that I slowed down considerably at that altitude. The easiest method of getting around Switzerland is to use the excellent rail network. I'm not sure if one of the Swiss Passes would be the best method, as that would take some time to work out. Hopefully one of the others can help with that. You may get some useful information by having a look at the Railpass page on this website. You can easily research rail trips in Switzerland using the Swiss Rail website. Could you clarify the length of your trip. It only appears to be about one week? Good luck with your planning!

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

One can eat very well and pretty inexpensively in Switzerland by taking half-board at your hotel. Did you try that at the Alpenrose? 25 CHF for a very nice 4-course dinner. We stayed at the Baeren which has fantastic food and the half-board charge there is only 20 CHF. Vegetarian meals are available on request.

Posted by Sadeev
Mumbai, India
2 posts

Dear Ken, thanks a ton for the help. swiss pass it is for us. Now the task of figuring out which one. any recommendation here ...anybody You're right we are there for a week only. Hopefully the height should not be a problem coz mom and dad did Leh a couple of months back and that was around 15,000 feet. thanks for the heads up though. any places you would recommend? regards

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8761 posts

May is early for the Berner Oberland, unless you mean the very end of May. Make sure that the attractions you want to see will be open, and the transportation running (annual maintenance happens in April and May) at the time you are there. You are very much speaking of the shut down time between the tourist seasons in early May. Grindelwald is not well positioned for day trips to the rest of Switzerland. If you are in Zurich or Luzern do those two together. Luzern will give you more to see than Zurich IMO, and is cheaper (as far as anything in Switzerland can be said to be cheaper). There are frequent fast direct trains from Zurich airport through Zurich to Luzern - no changes required. Moving a group of 8 around will be a challenge. Train is almost certainly easier than the two automobiles you would require. What else do you want to see on your day trips?

Posted by JR
texas, usa
117 posts

We just got back from Switzerland. Train is the way to go for a group of 8. We left a cople of days early because we found Switzerland to be WAY too expensive. In Zurich, a hamburger at McDonalds was $12 US and a large pizza was $40 US (before water, cokes, etc.) Switzerland is beautiful, but bring your checkbook. You're gonna need a lot more than you think here. Grindlewald is not a quick trip from Zurich.

Posted by Sasha
Bainbridge Island
1590 posts

From the zurich airport where you land you can take a train direct to Lucern in one hour. Spend two nights there and then take the train over the scenic Golden pass route to Interlaken Ost and then catch the train to Grindelwald. The children will travel free on all the trains is you request a Family Card with your Swiss Pass. Since you are going up the Jungfrau, your best option for a pass is probably the Half Fare Card, which costs 110 Swiss francs, and gives you half-fare on all the train, including the Jungfrau train. Oter Swiss passes only give you 25% off the Jungfrau trip. Swiss food is very good and not that expensive if you avoid places like McDonalds (I doubt a family from India would eat there anyway). A nice plate of Roesti, a Swiss potato dish, costs around 10 francs and it a filling meal. If you are vegetarian you will find lots of good options to eat, most including cheese which the Swiss are very proud of.

Posted by Nancy
Scottsdale, az, us
37 posts

We went to Switzerland in Sept. Flew into Zurich and trained straight to wengen, stayed at the Alpenrose which was wonderful. Switzerland food IS very expensive and they seem to look down upon sharing. That said Switzerland is just beautiful. We did both Jungfrau and Schilthorn and preferred schilthorn and much cheaper. We got the 8 day swiss pass which covered just aboout anything we wanted to do. We are seniors and had no problems with altitude. From Wengen we took scenic train to Montreux which is the best part of the route. Montreux is just beautiful but expensive as well. From there we went to Lucerne which oddly was our least favorite part of the trip. Felt it was dirty and too crowded In any case from there to Lugano and then bused to Italian Lake Region (Varenna) and flew out of Milan. It was a great trip all by train which was very easy. You will love it. The kids will love all the cablecars and other modes of transportation. I think part of the fun was all the ways to travel and most included in the swiss pass. Have fun.

Posted by Nancy
Scottsdale, az, us
37 posts

We did actually get the half board the first night and it was just okay but it was the cheapest meal we had I think. However, we like to try different restaurants. We especially wanted to try the fondue. However it was really expensive and too much for 2 people. It was funny but most waiters tried to talk us out of it saying it is too heavy and they don't eat it. We did find a small italian place in Wengen that was fairly reasonable. You do have to look at the menus posted especially if you are traveling with kids or it can be expensive.

Posted by Geraldine
New Salem, Massachuse, USA
11 posts

If it is the Junfrau and its environs you wish to see, I'd definitely stay in Wengen or Murren and NOT Grindlewald! It is over the mt. from where you get the rail to the Jungfau or the Shilthorn. Lots of money is essential. I usually land in Zurich, stay a day to catch up on sleep, then spend a day in Lucerne (which I really like). Next I would go to Wengen or Murren and travel from there to the Jungfrau. The cable car from Wengen up to Mannlichen is worth the money and may even be a good substitute for spending the money to go up to the Jungfrau. CAUTION: as has been suggested, you must be aware that in May all the travel systems may not be operable during your visit. Study the geographicl maps and the rail system map and you will see that what looks like an easy trip as the birds fly, but may take a whole day on the train! I have done the sights you wish to see and I stayed in Lauterbrunnen (the base for getting to Jung., Wengen, Murren, etc.) or in Interlaken. At Interlaken you can stay at the hostel near Inter. Ost, and get trains to Lucerne for a day trip and a short ride to Lauterbrunnen. If your group could possibly endure it, it would be more time efficient to go straight to Interlaken from the airport. From there all your the sights worth the trip can be reached from there. Happy traveling.

Posted by Sasha
Bainbridge Island
1590 posts

There is a train from Grindelwald up to Jungfrau as well. I think 8 people, including seniors and children, coming all the way from India would do best to spend their first night in Zurich or Lucerne, and not press on to Interlaken. I also do not think they want to stay in a hostel. There are lots of nice and suitable family accommodations in Grindelwald, Murren, and Wengen, and if they choose to stay in Grindelwald that is just fine. It is alrger than th eother villages and yes, there are cars there, but also many more shops and restaurants. And it is closer to Schynige Platte which is a delightful train trip, with the alpiine garden and great views at the top.