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Old 1st December 2010, 20:22   #16
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@Nimbleguru - My mistake that I didn't point out Gajadonga's thread. One of an awesome thread on Swiss in the recent times - http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...t-germany.html (A trip to France Swiss alps and Frankfurt(Germany))

My bad @gajadonga that I didn't recall your thread.
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Old 2nd December 2010, 09:43   #17
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Originally Posted by aargee View Post
@Nimbleguru - My mistake that I didn't point out Gajadonga's thread. One of an awesome thread on Swiss in the recent times - http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...t-germany.html (A trip to France Swiss alps and Frankfurt(Germany))

My bad @gajadonga that I didn't recall your thread.
Thank you for the comment aargee.
My travelogue was to show pictures of the Swiss trip.
If it is going to encourage someone to go out there am happy about it.
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Old 2nd December 2010, 15:43   #18
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@PRASAD14 : Thank you for all the useful links. I'm going through all of them one by one.

@gajadonga, @aargee: I'll let out a secret. I was inspired by your thread.
I am planning only for swiss at present not interested in other nearby countries.

Since I'm on a budget and reading through all your suggestions it is clear now that I stick to the fantastic swizz public transport.
Although I would have loved to rent a car; but my damn budget smacked me on my face and said absolutely no !

Really appreciate all of your inputs.
Can somebody help me with the itinerary ?
I did check the maps and some travel agency itinerary ; each suggests a different city/route.
Also, the city names !! It's all Greek and Latin to me.
I'd like to start from Zürich airport and return back to Zürich airport.
A Google map detail would be wonderful
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Old 2nd December 2010, 16:45   #19
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Originally Posted by nimbleguru View Post
@PRASAD14 : Thank you for all the useful links. I'm going through all of them one by one.

@gajadonga, @aargee: I'll let out a secret. I was inspired by your thread.
I am planning only for swiss at present not interested in other nearby countries.

Since I'm on a budget and reading through all your suggestions it is clear now that I stick to the fantastic swizz public transport.
Although I would have loved to rent a car; but my damn budget smacked me on my face and said absolutely no !

Really appreciate all of your inputs.
Can somebody help me with the itinerary ?
I did check the maps and some travel agency itinerary ; each suggests a different city/route.
Also, the city names !! It's all Greek and Latin to me.
I'd like to start from Zürich airport and return back to Zürich airport.
A Google map detail would be wonderful
nimbleguru: If you can provide with the number of days you are planning for the trip then i can send you the plan of which cities you can cover.
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Old 2nd December 2010, 17:50   #20
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nimbleguru: If you can provide with the number of days you are planning for the trip then i can send you the plan of which cities you can cover.
@phanitha: 6 to 7 days is preferable. Thanks again.
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Old 2nd December 2010, 21:00   #21
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Guys,

I just roughly sorted out the routes.
No hard-and-fast rules as such, but I need your opinion.

As per the below map :

(E)Zurich ==> (B)Engelberg ==> (C)Interlaken ==> (D)Bern ==> (E)Zurich

Name:  swizmap.JPG
Views: 1223
Size:  76.3 KB

Can this be done in 6-7 days ?
Most of the interesting places seems to be in and around these main places.


I want to go step-by-step.

Once the places/routes are decided, I'll start to explore more about each locations.

I'm thinking of :
1.Budget stay
2.Easy access to all the "mountain locations"
ETC.
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Old 2nd December 2010, 21:49   #22
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Originally Posted by nimbleguru View Post
Guys,

(E)Zurich ==> (B)Engelberg ==> (C)Interlaken ==> (D)Bern ==> (E)Zurich

Can this be done in 6-7 days ?
Most of the interesting places seems to be in and around these main places.

.
Sounds pretty good and could be done in 6-7 days. Pl. consider the following additional inputs:

1. Unless you are very fond of mountains, limit mountain top visit to possibly 2 mountains (Titlis is very good and possibly one more in Interlaken region, though I found Jungfrojouch touristy and hyped). These mountain top transport are quite expensive.

2. There are lot of options around Interlaken for hiking and adventures, depending on interest, time and fitness. I found Lauterbrunnen Valley and Grindelwald very beautiful and intereting. (Interlaken is very touristy).

3. Please add atleast one cruise (free with your Swiss pass). You'd have 4 lakes on your way (Lake Brienz, Lake Thun, Lake Luzern and Lake Zurich).

4. Pl. take a look at my trip photos (along with commentary) here. We traveled in most places that you are planning to go. If you have questions on something, I'd be happy to answer.

5. If you are flying Emirates, choose the one that leaves bangalore at 4:15AM, so that you reach Zurich by 1:15PM or so and that day won't go waste. On the way back, choose the flight that leaves Zurich at 9:30PM or so, so that even your last day is utilized fully.

6. Pl. note that you can save 15% more if you opt for Swiss Saver Pass, instead of Swiss Pass, the only condition is that both you and your wife have to travel together all the time, which I'd assume would be the case.

Hope this helps,

Prasad
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Old 2nd December 2010, 22:02   #23
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@Nimbleguru - I don't know how strong are you with Vitamin M or this is a office sponsored combined with personal; either case, you have plenty or you borrow to make the trip, I would say, spend more time rather than hurrying up & visiting places.

Do a relaxed trip; take about 15-20 days off, categorize the places MUST visit, good to visit & if time permits visit; try living at a certain place for about 1-2 days.

If you hurry up in visiting places, then you can only remember the incidents but cannot remember the experience & hence the suggestion.
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Old 2nd December 2010, 22:15   #24
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Originally Posted by aargee View Post
@Nimbleguru - I don't know how strong are you with Vitamin M or this is a office sponsored combined with personal; either case, you have plenty or you borrow to make the trip, I would say, spend more time rather than hurrying up & visiting places.

Do a relaxed trip; take about 15-20 days off, categorize the places MUST visit, good to visit & if time permits visit; try living at a certain place for about 1-2 days.

If you hurry up in visiting places, then you can only remember the incidents but cannot remember the experience & hence the suggestion.
Completely agree with aargee. I stayed in Spiez for 15days and had a very relaxed trip. It was almost like living in Switzerland, as we were frequenting markets, going in local trains, talking to Swiss people, going to the local park etc., But then it is not always possible to get 2 weeks off.

Most decisions are based on Vitamin-M. But the diff b/w 1-week trip and 2-week's trip is not huge, particularly if you stay put in one region. You can, for example, use 1-week Swiss pass to visit far-off places and can use the regional pass when you are stationed within a region (say around Interlaken for example). If you cook (or carry packed food), you can save a lot.

Pl. consider.

Prasad
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Old 3rd December 2010, 09:03   #25
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Originally Posted by prasad14 View Post
It was almost like living in Switzerland, as...the local park etc.
+1; even if not this much, I would suggest not running around places in a hurry to see everything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by prasad14 View Post
If you cook (or carry packed food), you can save a lot.
+1000000...strongly agreed!!!

@NimbleG - Also I remember Chetan once saying that, he planned it for over 2-3 years. He took a membership with one of the hotels here where they offer free accomodation for a week or so in a year for next 25 or 99 yrs. You may want to try that because, it also allows to postpone or prepone your stays.

Which means, you don't use the week off for 3 years, then you get 3 weeks to stay & prepone the stay of next 2 years, so one gets totally 5 weeks. All the more its FREE staying abroad!!!

Agreed that the membership will cost like a Lakh or so. But over the years, it WILL work out cheaper. Also in a trip like this, the next most expensive thing after flight tickets are accomodation. So if you can plan & save on it, there's nothing like it.
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Old 3rd December 2010, 10:20   #26
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Though many have already given some good inputs, but I am can say with confidence that DIY to Swiss is very much possible. Just do a good ground work.

Though I am little doubtful about your budget.
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Old 3rd December 2010, 11:18   #27
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I haven't visited Switzerland from India as a tourist but have been there as a tourist when I was working in Germany (2006-07) 3 times and a couple times on a business visit (2008-10) through my present company. So, my inputs may not help you in terms of air tickets, visa, travel agency et al, but hope it will in terms of places to see, modes of transport and food.

For a stay of 6-7 days, you need to plan geographically. For sure you cannot cover the length and breadth of the country and as many friends said here, it will be pointless to rush through. My personal experience in the northern part has not been exemplary. So, you can avoid it. You can either set base in Central, Western or Southern Switzerland.

In Central, nothing beats Lucern. Its a culturally rich city surrounded by beautiful mountains – Titlis and Pilatus. Titlis is very snowy and beautiful. It offers plenty of winter sports. Pilatus offers breathtaking greener views. Lucern is dominated by Swiss-Dusch (German dialect with a nasal influence) speaking people and are wonderfully friendly. Homestay is the way to go. You may not get it in the center of the city but in the suburbs and slightly outside but its worth it. One biggest advantage of homestay is the kitchen. You can cook stuff and this is a big money saver. I personally do not recommend hotels because not only they are expensive but most of them are without kitchen. Another advantage of Lucern is that most of the panoramic express trains start from here to Inerlaken (2 hours), Geneva (Glacier express ~ 2.5 hours) and to the east (not sure where the trains head but the journey is not more than 3 hours). And as you know, Interlaken is the haven for tourists. You can visit Jungfrauhoch and Shilton from Interlaken. The other advantage of Lucern is that cities like Bern, Zurich are pretty close. I do not recommend you to see all the cities because that’s not what Swiss is for. Half a day or one day max in any of the cities is good enough. So, stay in and around Lucern should be your first choice.

The west is dominated by Geneva and Lausanne with French speaking folks. Don’t ever stay in Geneva. Its horribly expensive. Its like any other European city and dominated by UN organizations. But there are many beautiful homestays on the Geneva – Lausanne highway which can be had for a bargain because not many tourists prefer staying here because of proximity issues. Michael Schumacher stays here The advantage ofcourse is that Zermatt is close by (2 hours car drive) which houses the famous Matterhorn. Zermatt is a beautiful place and according to me you should not miss it.

The south cities of Locarno and Lugano are also pretty popular for home stays and one can easily notice the Italian culture of bistros and open air restaurants. This area is Italian dominated and you might have guessed by now that the language and culture influence is due to proximity of the neighbor countries of Germany, France and Italy. Apart from the 2 cities there is nothing much to boast about. Generally, the south is the place to drive/ride to from central or west because either routes cut through the Alps and offer beautiful roads, lakes and mountains.

Of the three choices, best option is to stay in and around Luzern. Visit Interlaken by taking the golden panoramic express. From Inerlaken there are n number of places to visit. Any tourist info office will guide you. Once you cover the central area (say about 2~3 days), take the glacier express which goes to Geneva and again cuts through the mountains and valleys offering you beautiful views of glaciers and lakes. Both these trains have big windows which offer you almost an all around view. To the south my suggestion is to rent a car (may be a bad choice if you take the weekly swiss pass) but tell you what its definitely worth it. From Luzern to Locarno/Lugano (Lugano is just ahead of Locarno) in a car/bike is the most exhilarating experience one can have. You can literally see big mountains and deep valleys up close very next to the highways. This is route is actually riders paradise. Many of my colleagues from Germany come here especially for the rides.

Haven’t explored the east but many tell me it’s a trekkers paradise. Sorry to be of not much help.

For transport, ideal thing to do is take the Swiss pass for a week. You can travel in buses, trams and trains in 1st or 2nd depending on the pass you have brought. But note that cable cars, cogwheels and some special mountain trains either offer you a discount or charge you separately upon producing the pass. So, not every transport is free with the pass. But nevertheless it’s a great option for transportation.

Food in a decent restaurant for 2 in a sit out area will cost you anything between 40-60 CHF. Takeaways like burgers and sandwiches can be had within 20-25 CHF. Many Indian and Srilankan stores are available in most of the cities to buy groceries Incase you decide to cook at the home stay.

This trip should be done DIY and is definitely doable. Swiss tourism websites are of immense help and you can contact them directly for any info.

Wherever you go, people are extremely friendly and most of them speak English. Looking at you, they’ll definitely utter one word – Bollywood?

Do keep us updated on the plans and will try to help you with whatever I know.

All the best!
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Old 3rd December 2010, 13:08   #28
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(Wanted to post this yesterday night but had insane connectivity issues just with TBHP in particular. Anyway, here goes.)

Another vote for a 15-day trip.

Our ~17-day itinerary was this -

Zurich -> St. Moritz -> Zermatt (via the Glacier Express) -> Montreux -> Interlaken -> Lucerne (via the Golden Pass Panoramic line) -> Zurich

We did a *lot* of local travelling around, as follows -

St. Moritz: The Bernina Express ride and visit to Piz Nair
Zermatt: Obviously the ride up the Matterhorn (Gornergrat) and another mountain on the other side of town (forget the name now) and also Saas Fe (quite a distance away from Zermatt)
Montreux: Gruyere cheese factory, Geneva, Lausanne
Interlaken: The usual places in Interlaken, Bern
Lucerne: Transport museum in Lucern, Engelberg/Mt. Titlis (including some skiing), the glass factory at Glasi Hergiswil. We also almost attended an opera in Lucerne but desisted because we were running slight colds and didn't want to enrage the connoisseurs with our coughing/sneezing!

If I remember correctly, the special trains (Bernina/Glacier/Golden Pass) aren't covered in the Swiss Rail Pass. Please check, though.

We had a great time, but Interlaken was a let-down because all the lake cruises were not in operation (courtesy of the winter). We would've have loved to spend more time in Geneva/Lausanne, Bern and Montreux but we enjoyed the off-beat places we visited (cheese/glass factories, Piz Nair etc.). We could've gone more off-beat as well (esp. in NW Switerland - the French part, or SE Switzerland - the Italian part) but maybe some other time.

If we were to do this same trip again we would drop a few of the places above and enjoy a slightly more relaxed trip (without adding any new locations -- maybe with the exception of some local sight-seeting in Zurich).
As others have said, there's little point rushing through and our itinerary, if you look at it, it was a *bit* rushed even though the trip was 2.5 weeks long.

We stayed in hotels rated 3 stars (at least) and depended on food from restaurants. While I was gung ho on trying out the local cuisine, wife depended on the Indian restaurants and McDonald.

Local transportation was totally SBB and co. Not a single taxi anywhere.

The entire cost of the trip included return flight tickets and hotels and food was around 3.25l INR. Given that it was a honeymoon trip we didn't focus so much on keeping costs down.

If you cut down on the number of places and stick to budget accommodation, a 15-day trip in the off-season (which December is unfortunately not because of all the skiing -- we actually travelled in December 2007) should be quite a bit less than 2l INR for two people.

Definitely consider a 2-week trip and plan your stay well to get as much of the local flavour as possible.

Regards,
spadix
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Old 3rd December 2010, 17:12   #29
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Guys, I cannot express my gratitude in words. All I can say is THANK YOU once again.
Such an overwhelming response. I mean, taking some time out of your busy schedule, just to help a brother out. BEAU-tifull.

Unfortunately, Vitamin "M" is the biggest deficiency for me :(
Max as of now I can afford is 1 Lakh per person (Me and my wife that's all about it)
To top that, this visit is self-sponsored. I'm not one of those lucky guys to get a office-sponsored trips.

I completely agree with most of you. I do not want to visit (read rush) each and every place in Switzerland.
That is one of the biggest reason I'm not going for a "group tour" or packages.

I'm fine even I'm able to visit only 1 or 2 cities in swiss. Most important is, as RamPrasad and others said, enjoying the trip.

@prasad14 : Thanks for sharing your snaps. Very beautiful photos.
My determination to visit swiss has only strengthened.
Have you put your swiss travel thread here ?
I'm not found of mountains as such, but I’m interested in "snow" and I figured best place was swizz alps.
Not a big fan of hiking though.
cruise...For free ??? Bring it on, I say

@aargee: Vitamin-M ==> big problem!! No office sponsor!!!

@JVH : Very very detailed and nicely written. I’ll go thru it once again and get back. Thank you.

@:spadix: thanks for the advice.

After going thru all of your suggestions, what I could gather is :
1. Minimum 1 Lakh per person (two of us)
2. Best to avoid winter season
3. Stick to service apartment and self cooked food (in lieu of the budget)
4. Extend the trip to 15 days (with this budget ??)
5.Most importantly = relax and enjoy

I'm not too keen on cramping every nook and corner of swiss. I'd rather stick to 2 or 3 places and absorb the swiss beauty.

Again, can somebody be kind enough to let me know the key places so that I can research more on these places (for near by places and stay and all)

Thanks again sincerely,
nimbleguru.
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Old 3rd December 2010, 18:13   #30
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Again, can somebody be kind enough to let me know the key places so that I can research more on these places (for near by places and stay and all)
If you were to ask me to limit myself to 3 places, here's what I would suggest based on my (admittedly little) experience -

Lucerne - lots of things to see in and around (including Engelberg/Mt. Titlist)
Montreux - The cheese factory at Gruyeres, the Nestle chocolate factory (if you're interested in such things) and the Chateau de Chillon at Montreux itself (and Lausanne and Geneva aren't *very* far off)
Zermatt - rustic beauty (St. Moritz runs very close as a more refined version, and then there's the mind-blowing ride on the Bernina express)

If you want a more urban experience, substitute Montreux or Zermatt/St. Moritz with Bern or Geneva or Zurich (these three are reasonably far away from each other that you'd have to pick one).

Remember that these are based on my experience of winter travel. In winter, Interlaken isn't all its hyped up to be and can be safely missed IMHO. Of course you'll have everyone ribbing you for not going up the Jungfraujoch but Interlaken as a whole didn't impress us much at all.

Regards,
spadix

Last edited by spadix : 3rd December 2010 at 18:16.
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