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Help, we're travelling through Switzerland in November!"

Melbourne
posts: 7
reviews: 16
Help, we're travelling through Switzerland in November!"

My husband have 1 week in Switzerland as part of our European Adventure. We will be travelling from Italy, and want to finish the week in Geneva. Perhaps a couple of nights in Interlaken or Lucern along the way. We'd love to travel via scenic railways, but it seems some don't operate in November? We'd also like to experience mountain top views, such as from Jungfrau, or Monte Sal Salvatore, but I'm unsure if the funicular/railways operate at this time of year. We travel into Switzerland on November 8. Please can anyone advise what route we should take, and what mountains and towns we should choose? I realise November is not the best time to be traveling, but want to make the most of it anway!! Thank you!!

Anchorage, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Anchorage, Zermatt
posts: 14,412
reviews: 8
1. Re: Help, we're travelling through Switzerland in November!"

Hi and welcome to TA! Just a tip or two

First, it helps a lot if you break down your information into smaller paragraphs - it's hard to read one large paragraph and it's hard to respond to one large paragraph.

Also, we need details! Where in Italy are you coming from? Suggestions for things to do really do rely on knowing where you are starting from as well as where you want to end up. It's very different to come to Switzerland from, say, Venice, than from the Cinque Terre!

There's a terrific website where you can find tons of information such as the operating schedules and/or websites of many if not all of the scenic railways, etc. as well as getting lots of information on various places and activities all over Switzerland.

www.myswitzerland.com

Here's good news - most of the scenic railways operate over the same route as "regular" trains so you can still see that scenery! The trains probably won't have the panorama carriages with the windows that wrap into the ceiling but you'll still get plenty to look at!

Most of us here think Interlaken is not particularly the nicest place in Switzerland. The villages of Lauterbrunnen, Murren, Wengen, etc. are much nicer as is Lucerne. However, traveling in November may mean that your choice of hotels in the places that are also winter ski resorts is limited particularly if you are traveling in the first part of the month as many hotels close in Oct/Nov to refurbish etc. There will still be hotels open though so don't worry.

As you study your options, think about choosing two bases and doing day trips. If you are interested in the Ticino (Lugano, Locarno, Bellinzona, etc.) then you might want to spend three days there, spend a day traveling to Lucerne possibly and spend three days there before traveling to Geneva on your last day. A plan like this will give you plenty of time to see quite a bit in both places as well as saving packing and unpacking. If you don't mind a long travel day, you might consider making your way from the Ticino to Lucerne via the Centovalli Railway. It's a gorgeous scenic railway that runs from Locarno to Domodossola where you can catch the train on to Lucerne or elsewhere in Switzerland.

Hope this helps you to get started and please let us know how we can help!

Melbourne
posts: 7
reviews: 16
2. Re: Help, we're travelling through Switzerland in November!"

Thanks so much for your input!

OK, so here are the details in dot point!! ;)

+ We will be travelling from Bologna, Italy- so presumably train via Milan. So that it's not a very long travel day, would you suggest taking the regular train?

+ We will probably just choose just one other base apart from Geneva as we will spend a few days in and around Geneva visiting a friend who lives there.

Perhaps we will chose Lucerne on your suggestion rather than Interlaken.

+ Can anyone comment on the mineral baths on Rigi?

Thanks!!

London
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
posts: 2,555
reviews: 21
3. Re: Help, we're travelling through Switzerland in November!"

If you would like a special scenic travel experience, you can take the train from Milan to Lugano (circa one hour) then catch the William Tell Express to Lucerne. It involves train to Fluelen, then boat the length of Lake Lucerne to Lucerne. It operates all year round although there probably won't be a nostalgic paddle steamer in November. Lake Lucerne is gorgeous, and the wild side especially so.

See www.lakelucerne.ch/en for information on the William Tell and the Lucerne area. The train/boat journey can be done in either direction.

Continuing with another scenic journey, you can take the goldenpass route from Lucerne to Montreux and then travel on to Geneva. Sometimes the Lucerne to Interlaken portion of the journey is closed for maintenance off season, in which case you could still make your way to the start of the main portion of the scenic route by travelling from Lucerne via Bern or whatever to Zweisimmen and picking up the goldenpass there. See www.goldenpass.ch for details.

Alternatively, as kileysmom suggests, you can stop in the Ticino. A pretty option would be train from Milan to Locarno via Bellinzona. Stay a while in Locarno. Then take the scenic train route via Centovalli to Geneva. This alternative doesn't go to the heart of Switzerland though.

November is very off-season in Switzerland. However we have been there several times and must have dumb luck because we had lovely autumnal weather. That is the early part of November. If you are travelling in late November, it might almost be worth going to Zermatt from Milan, in case there is early snow - a different kind of Swiss scenery.

The concern about November is that if it is not clear in low-lying regions like Lucerne, it can be foggy and unpleasant. However Lucerne is very beautiful and has good mountains on its doorstep. At the least, if you take a Swiss travel pass boat to Vitznau and cogwheel train up to the Rigi is included.

If you don't want to take the time required by the boat portion of the William Tell route, you can get from Milan to Lucerne in as little as 3 1/2 hours. Sadly, I don't think it is practical taking in the Centovalli to get from Milan to Lucerne. It would taks HOURS. The William Tell Express a better scenic option if you want to take the time travelling.

Good luck, have fun. It would be nice to hear how you get on.

London
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
posts: 2,555
reviews: 21
4. Re: Help, we're travelling through Switzerland in November!"

Oops, I see you are starting from Bologna, in which case you would have to get a very early start if you wanted to get to Lugano in time to pick up the 10:30 William Tell train. It's still an option though.

5. Re: Help, we're travelling through Switzerland in November!"

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