We just returned after spending two incredible weeks in Switzerland! This was a special trip as my dad turns 75 this year and he wanted to take his three daughters along with their families for a Swiss holiday! We were a large group (13 in all) with ages ranging from 3 to 75!
It was my second trip to Switzerland – the first was exactly 10 years ago! This was a BIG family trip, and we had been planning it for a while. We thought it would be logistically easier to be based in one location and do day trips to different cities. We debated between Lucerne and Interlaken as our base and finally settled on Lucerne.
Our apartments (which we booked through booking.com) were in the heart of Lucerne overlooking River Reuss and the famous Chapel Bridge. We were less than 5 minutes walk from the train station which was very convenient! And of course there were loads of lovely cafes and restaurants all around us since we were in the heart of the city!
To get around in Switzerland we used the 15 day Swiss Travel Pass from Rail Europe. It’s your all-in-one ticket to travel by rail, road and waterway throughout the country. This is an absolute must for stress free travel around Switzerland. It also entitles you to discounts on many key tourist destinations and free entry to many museums and exhibitions. You get travel passes for 3, 4, 8 or 15 days. The regular ‘Swiss Travel Pass’ is for consecutive days while the ‘Swiss Travel Pass Flex’ like the name suggests is if you want flexibility to choose your travel days.
Lucerne is a breathtakingly beautiful city. Since this was our base city we ended up spending a lot of time here which was lovely!
The Chapel Bridge is a covered wooden footbridge across River Reuss. Its the oldest wooden footbridge in Europe. We spent a lot of time just walking along the river, wandering the streets, and enjoying the beautiful Lake Lucerne.
The Swiss Transport Museum is an amazing place for all ages! You can easily spend the whole day at the museum and there will still be things that you missed seeing! If you have children they will ask to go back on another day! So budget an extra day or at least half a day in your agenda. There are different departments showing Switzerland’s transport journey. First up is the railways, then the waterways, then the roadways and finally the airways.
You get a 50% discount on the entry ticket with the Swiss Travel Pass
Some of us had an amazing time taking a dip in the water outside the Transport Musuem before hopping on the ferry (free with the Swiss Travel Pass) to get back to our apartments.
We have amazing memories of Mount Titlis from our last visit to Switzerland 10 years ago so we were really looking forward to this visit.
We took the train from Lucerne to Engleberg which is a 45 minute journey (free on the Swiss Travel Pass). At Engleberg station we bought tickets for Mount Titlis (50% discounted on the Swiss Travel Pass). From Engleberg its a 10 minute walk (or a short bus journey) to the Titlis valley station from where we took a cable car to go all the way to the top.
Our last visit was in May so there was a lot more snow and much colder than this trip (end July). So while the views enroute were beautiful, I remember it being even more breathtaking on our last visit. Once we got to the top it was very very crowded unlike our last visit. So overall it wasn’t as much fun as our last trip but we all still had a lovely time.
The sledging was a lot of fun for the kids and adults! My 75 year old dad also had a lovely time sledging!
Interlaken + Schilthorn
Lucerne-Interlaken-Lauterbrunnen is a 2.5 hour train journey and then a short bus ride to the cable car bus stop (Stechelberg Schilthornbahn) and then a beautiful cable car journey up to Shilthorn. The cable car journey has four levels where you can stop, have a bite or just enjoy the breathtaking views before boarding the next cable car. Stechelberg Schilthornbahn – Gimmelwald – Murren – Brig – Schilthorn
The summit has the beautiful Piz Gloria revolving restaurant which has amazing views all around. Breakfast, lunch, dinner – any meal will be an absolute treat. We were there for lunch. The restaurant can get very busy so make sure you book and only take the tables with a view!! We didn’t book in advance but put our names down as soon as we reached and were given a lovely table within 30 minutes. More about the restaurant in one of the upcoming blog posts.
We took the train to Stans from Lucerne (about 20 minutes) and then walked to Stanserhorn-Bahn (about 5 minute walk). And then the ride up to Stanserhorn is free on the Swiss Travel Pass.
The start of the journey is a lovely little wooden funicular which is open from both sides for some amazing views. It was a slightly cloudy day but we still got some splendid views.
At the terminus, you board the gorgeous open air cable car called the Cabrio! You can choose to stand in the enclosed area (down), which has a lovely clear viewing all around. Or take the steps up which is the open air portion of the cable car. On a lovely day you can enjoy the fresh mountain air with amazing views all around! We weren’t so lucky with the weather on the day as it was very cloudy with rain forecast later in the day.
The top has a lovely restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating! You can choose to hike further to get a view of the lakes and surrounding areas. I didn’t do the hike but the kids went up with some of the others and it soon started to rain….but they thoroughly enjoyed the experience!
Even though we had flown into Zurich we didn’t spend any time in the city and had taken taxis directly to our accommodation in Lucerne! We did a day trip to Zurich which is a one hour train journey from Lucerne. It was a beautiful bright sunny day!! We split into two teams – one team wanted to do a walking tour and visit some museums and the other one wanted to cruise on Lake Zurich! I was of course part of the second team! The boat rides are free on the Swiss pass….its a lovely, relaxing experience and you can get some amazing clicks! The boats are a mode of transport for a lot of people as it has various drop off and pick up points. We thought it was a round trip but later realised it was not! And since we had a restaurant booking for 3pm we got off and then took a train back!
Nehal (my sister) had been given a restaurant reference from a friend who insisted its an absolute must visit in Zurich and that we should book before going! So we had done a booking the previous day – Hiltl, its the world’s oldest vegetarian restaurant. I wasn’t really sure what to expect but I must stay it was outstanding! And I would most certainly go again! More about the restaurant in a subsequent blog post!
Bern wouldn’t normally have been on the agenda, however 1st August is Swiss National Day and each city has their own celebrations. Bern being the capital, had a lovely schedule of activities so we decided to spend the day there! Bern is just a one hour train journey from Lucerne so quite easy to get to!
Once we reached Bern, we wandered around a bit soaking in the atmosphere looking at people celebrating and then headed to the children’s area where the kids were occupied for a couple of hours! After that they were very exhausted so we grabbed a bite and headed back to Lucerne.
This was the last day of the trip for the rest of the family as everyone (except the four of us) were heading back to Mumbai the next day and we were leaving Lucerne to spend the next four days around Lake Geneva!