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2nd Trip to Switzerland - Advice for where to go in November

singapore
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2nd Trip to Switzerland - Advice for where to go in November

Hi all, this will be my 2nd trip to Switzerland. went on a package tour in 2010 October. Now, i will be on free & easy and in mid Nov for 10 days (10-19 nov). Know nov is not really a good time to visit and i have explored other options in Europe but finally still decided on Switzerland.

Have been spending whatever time i can in front of computer admist my busy wk schedule and sickness (falling sick as too stressful as such of last minute planning).

Now i hope some of the kind souls here can help to reduce the time i need to dig through the tons of notes and websites and help me make up my mind so that i can get another great trip in a not so good month.

I have been to Mt Titlis, Bern, Jungfrau, Lucern, Interlaken, Chillon castle and Zermatt in my previous trip. A mad rush trip then with 1 day at each place.

For this 2nd trip, I know i want to return to Zermatt and probably on a 2-3 nights stay. I did not get to go up to Gornergrat Ridge and do the cablecar ride then. so it's a must this time round. wanted to experience the igloo village too. do you think 2 nights stay is good enough or i should do 3 nights in order to not hv regrets again?

Other than Zermatt, i cannot make up my mind where i should base and where i should go. I am greedy and it seems so short for 10 days in switzerland. Wanted to try some of the renowned scenic train rides too, but i just do not have enough time to do everything. What would you suggest in November? golden pass? Wilhelm tell? Bernina Express? arghh..... thought i should go lugano area since I have not traveled there yet.

St Moritz. is charming too. I believe it will be on the way to Lugano?

However, my partner traveling with me hv not been to switzerland and if i m to dictate going Lugano and St Moritz by Bernina Express, will it still be what a first timer should experience and prioritize?

Is there any possibility of squeezing in (1) Lucerne/ Interlaken with visit to either titlis or rigi? if this is possible which one wd be a better choice in Nov? (2) and also going to Montreux for Chillon?

I also hope to have a night in one of wellness hotel with scenery & hotspring but hope to do this on a budget. any recommendation?

Last question, with so many mountains on the list, i guess it's okay to miss Jungfrau (thinking of my partner...)? or jungfrau shoud be top on the list? which one is the best in nov?

Oh boy, i really ask many questions. coz i need to book the air tickets asap and wanted to see whether i should end off the trip at zurich (the arrival pt) or i shd fly back fr Geneva.

Look forward to responses soon! Thanks!!

by way, i went to Austria last year and simply love the lake areas. esp hall statt and obertraun.

Martigny...
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1. Re: 2nd Trip to Switzerland - Advice for where to go in November

In a short time and in November you cannot possibly do everything that is on your list and you are correct in understanding that most places in the mountains will be closed (eg the cable car up to the Klein Matterhorn, though the Gornergrat train will be running).

if you want a taste of various regions I would suggest 2 bases - Luzern (Titlis, Rigi etc) and Lugano. And be warned that there is a lot of low fog at this time of the year on the plateau. usually the top of it is around 1500m which means that the mountain resorts are in the sunshine (if it isn't snowing, that is!) but since most hotels etc up there are closed this doesn't seem like a great option... But since you can visit Rigi easily in a day and Titlis as well (if the Rotair is working! Check the schedule) this is OK. you will be out of the fog for at least part of the day...

the Ticino gets little fog and so is a nice place to travel around in November. And there are interesting things to see and do in the major towns (Lugano, Locarno and bellinona).

The Glacier Express doesn't run in Nov. I am not sure about the bernina but I think it does... check their site. In any event you can take normal trains over the same route if you want to, sometimes with an additional change or two. Same holds true for the Goldenpass (normal trains, I mean!)

Wellness hotel on a budget? I can only think of Ovronnaz here in the Valais. But sadly for you almost all the hotels up there will be closed. if you can spend a little money think about Lavey-les-Bains or Charmey in Fribourg. nice hot springs in both. I personally prefer Lavey.

Finally back to the question of air tickets - if you are flying from Singapore SQ has daily service non stop to Zürich. Flying out of Geneva means a connecting flight. Swiss is starting non stops to SIN but I am not sure of the start date... worth checking since they might have some deals. so if you are taking SQ a "circle route" would be the best option. Lugano to Zürich airport is roughly 3.5hrs...

singapore
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2. Re: 2nd Trip to Switzerland - Advice for where to go in November

Hambagahle,

Thanks for reply.

I have done some research based on my preferences and yr advice, realised i really cant do all the things i want. i have some further questions:

1) from tirano to lugano: know i can take palm express but i guess it's not running in november except the weekends. and i just cant fit into my trip as my dates are 10-19 Nov. in this case, i will still be able to take train, right, just that it's a long journey? is the train ride scenic as well?

will it be better if i go to milan from Tirano, stay a night and then from milan travel to lugano? at least the journey is not so tedious and can visit one more city in Italy.

2) back to fundamental question: is it a good time to take the bernina express? have checked and it's running. if indeed not a good time, then i will forgo it and focus to valais and ticino area instead.

3) what is the best way (in terms of duration and few transfers) to get to Zermatt from Lugano / St Mortiz since Glacier express is not operating?

That's all for now. Many thanks in advance!!

Martigny...
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3. Re: 2nd Trip to Switzerland - Advice for where to go in November

I have not taken the train from Tirano to Milano but I see no reason why you could not do this -- I have taken a train from Milano to Lugano and that takes about an hour. so unless you want to visit Milano there is really no reason to spend the night there. That said, Milano is an amazing city, full of the unexpected and well worth a week of exploration!!

From Lugano to Zermatt is easy. Go to Locarno and take the Centovalli train to Domodossola. Change there for Brig. Change again there for Zermatt.

From St Moritz to Zermatt - you can go the fast way, St Moritz to Zürich, Zürich to Visp, Visp to Zermatt which will take you around 6 hours. OR the slow way, on the GE line, on normal trains which run all year. To get the schedule for this put in St Moritz to Zermatt via Andermatt. You will have to change trains in Chur and Disentis and maybe also in Andermatt and Visp, depending on the timing of the train you take. All in this route will take well over 8 hours with the connections.

singapore
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4. Re: 2nd Trip to Switzerland - Advice for where to go in November

Hi there.

It's confirmed we will be flying in from Milano and flying back from Zurich. Cheaper air tickets in this way.

Due to time constraints, the plan is now more or less like this:

Day 1 - arrival at Milano in the morning

Day 2 - to Lugano

Day3 - Lugano

Day 4 - to lucerne via Wilhelm Tell express / Centovalli train to Domodossola (hmm, now with yr recommendation of travelling to Zermatt via Centovalli train to Domodossola, i will reconsider whether to travel to Zermatt directly)

Day 5 - to Zermatt

Day 6 - Zermatt

Day 7 - back to Lucerne

Day 8 - Lucerne

Day 9 - to Zurich

Day 10 - departure

What do you think of this plan? Yup, I have to forgo bernina express with much sorrow. what to do, but to come back again for third trip next time.

see that it's very gloomy these few days all around switzerland fr the webcams. fog and rain/snow. even Zermatt is foggy.... checked extended weather forecasts and stated likely to snow in various part such as Sion, Lugano and even Lucerne on 9 -10 November. did the cold season started early this year?

Thanks for advice!

singapore
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5. Re: 2nd Trip to Switzerland - Advice for where to go in November

of course while in Lucerne, will consider whether to travel to interlaken on day trip and to mt titlis which will only be opened fr 17 nov onwards.

wondering whether i should squeeze in sion as well :P

Martigny...
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6. Re: 2nd Trip to Switzerland - Advice for where to go in November

Don't go to Luzern and then turn around and go to Zermatt! Go to Zermatt from Lugano and then go from there to Luzern. Backtracking wastes time and money.

If you want to go to Sion then you should do this when you leave Zermatt and before you head north to Luzern. It is a small deviation - take the train to Sion from Visp (about 30mins), spend at least a morning or an afternoon in Sion and then take the train back to Visp, change for a train to bern, and from there to Luzern. There are ample lockers at the station in Sion for luggage but you could also ship your bags via the SBB in Zermatt (before 9am) and they will be waiting for you in Luzern at 6pm same day.

I would say that if you spend two nights in Zermatt, forget Titlis. ot worth the effort and time to get there especially since you have jsut come from zermatt. Interlaken is not worth it either IMO. Very dull place (but a good place to buy souvenirs as it is crammed with souvenir shops and kiosks!).

we have no clue as to what the weather will be like on 9'10 Nov. Right now here in the Valais it is raining and 10C. Forecast to go down to about 0 tonight and snow right down to here. Tomorrow frigid temperatures and more snow. (UGH!) that does not mean that winter is here to stay and we could easily get better weather by the end of next week.

Sounds like your trip is shaping up nicely!!

singapore
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7. Re: 2nd Trip to Switzerland - Advice for where to go in November

Hi thanks for pointing out and fine-tuning the itinerary.

hence now, more or less it looks like this:

Day 1 - arrival at Milano in the morning

Day 2 - to Lugano

Day3 - Lugano

Day 4 - to Zermatt as suggested by you (via Locarno - Brig - Zermatt)

Day 5 - Zermatt

Day 6 - to Sion (via Visp as suggested) to Bern

Day 7 - to luzern

Day 8 - luzern

Day 9 - to Zurich

Day 10 - fly back

I have a few more questions. for Luzern, i know it may be foggy in November. If indeed it's foggy, where would you suggest we head to? Does Bern gets foggy too usually in November?

If Mt Titlis is not worth it after been to Zermatt, how about Pilatus or Rigi? I know we should forget about Jungfrau in November. By the way, i love the train ride up to Jungfrau.

To me, Bern and Lucerne are similar kind of towns. Actually, we prefer something that is more countryside with nice little houses. Do you have any suggestion for us to deviate or fit into our itinerary?

In fact, I thought of going another way after Zermatt:

Day 6 - to Sion (via Visp as suggested) (half day) to Bern (half day) to luzern (sleep)

Day 7 - luzern (whole day) then go to chur (sleep)

Day 8 - Take Bernina Express route by normal train and explore the places along the route (back to chur for the night)

Day 9 - to Zurich

Day 10 - fly back

For this alternative plan, I will not have to forgo bernina express, but it will be a hectic and perhaps more tiring way of travelling. Do you think this alternative will be too much and too rush? Does the route along bernina express likely to get foggy in November too?

I also realised hotels in Switzerland is not cheap. Is it necessary to book the hotels before we go? or can we just book for the part up to zermatt and rest of it by walk-in as we felt probably better to decide where and what depending on the weather then. for walk-in like this, will the hotel rates be much more expensive?

After deciding on the route and hotels, next will be train passes. There are so many types that it made me felt stressful and tedious in preparing for this trip. Guess i will go for 4-day pass as there's a 2 for 1 promotion going on now.

Back to topic of weather over yr end, heard that Milan is raining too. Hopefully the good weather return soon and stay on.

Thanks for all the help!

Martigny...
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8. Re: 2nd Trip to Switzerland - Advice for where to go in November

The programme still sounds a bit hectic to me and I certainly prefer the first version to the second (Bernina etc). But only because taking the BE from Chur to Tirano and back is a LOT of train riding in one day, even before you add time to visit Poschiavo. But you know your energy levels and what you can do!

There are in fact two ways to get to Bern from Sion. One, the shortest, I outlined for you and that is sion/Visp/Bern. The other is longer BUT has Montreux en route. If you wanted to stop in Montreux in the afternoon that you visit Sion that is entirely possible.

bern and Luzern are quite different. The centre of bern has truly an "other era" feel about it. Much was constructed in the 15th and 16th centuries. It is stunningly beautiful. Luzern always strikes me as more of a city, with some high rises and a very small (but pretty) old town. Luzern has the lake. Bern has the river Aar. Both are subject to fog in winter, as are all the towns and cities in the country except (usually) those here in the Valais where we rarely get any fog. And it is not, in general, ground fog. It is a layer of dense cloud that hangs at about 600m and goes up to around 1500m. Above that there is sunshine. Below the fog you can see things perfectly well - but there is no sun and it is cold and dank.

Hotels - in November it really isn't necessary to book ahead except for Zermatt where there will only be a few open. On arrival in a town go to the Tourist Office and ask them to help. Most will book you whatever you wish for a small fee. If you do spend the night in Chur you might want to book there ahead of time as it is small and there are only a few hotels...

We have snow on the ground (2cm) this morning and it is around 0C. But I live on the plain, at 471m. In the mountains there is a lot more snow and it is very cold.

singapore
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9. Re: 2nd Trip to Switzerland - Advice for where to go in November

Hi, have confirmed flying in from Milan and leaving from Zurich.

decided to take yr advice to go for a slower paced trip rather than spending time to rush around. moreover, we may not be used to the cold.

Do you it's possible to finish sight see lugano, bellinzona and still visit Fox town, fossil museum in 2 days? interested in old towns, cruise, monte bre and 3 castles. considering whether i should spend 3 days in Lugano instead.

As for the train DOMODOSSOLA - BRIG

there are 2 choices:

National Swiss network from CHF 7.60

National Swiss network from CHF 17.00 Via BUS PAG

Would appreciate it if you can advise which one to choose? what is the difference?

Thanks!!

Martigny...
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10. Re: 2nd Trip to Switzerland - Advice for where to go in November

Not sure but I think the bus reference is to either the place you get it, OR the name of the company... and most likely the bus will go over the Col which takes a lot longer than the train. At any event, schedule your connection so that you take the train. Hugely easier! And the Col can close at any time (usually not for long though) in winter.

Spend 3 nights in Lugano, given what you want to do. And don't expect too much from Foxtown. Orchard Road it isn't!!