Day 3 – The Golden Pass line: from Lucerne to Interlaken

Previous:  Day 2 – Lovely Lucerne

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From Lucerne, we took the Golden Pass Panoramic train to Interlaken Ost.
There is a “Golden Pass line VIP seats” on offer by the Swiss railway site but I decided to ignore it and just followed the same route via regular train for a fraction of the price and which is covered by our Swiss Pass anyway so we just hopped on.  With the VIP seat, you have to pay extra. I’m glad I made the right decision since the train we took was the same “panoramic” train but on 2nd class which is not really a big deal.  You see exactly the same view.

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This is a map stuck on all the tables on the train showing the mountainous journey from Lucerne to Interlaken.  Travel time is a little over two hours.

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By “panoramic”, you get a commanding view of the exceptionally picturesque scenery consisting of mountains, colourful Swiss chalets ….

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 …. pretty villages with their tall almost needle-thin church towers

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..serene lakeside towns such as Brienz which is a good starting point to explore the Bernese Oberland

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The train turns to cogwheel mode as it slowly climbs up the mountains

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Finally arrived in Interlaken where my guests saw snowcapped mountains for the first time since arriving in Switzerland 3 days ago.

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But the real highlight of our short trip to Interlaken was the paragliding adventure of my 11-year old nephew

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photo courtesy of the Twin Paragliding company

For 160CHF (206USD) and half an hour floating in the air, it’s an experience of a lifetime!

Next:  Day 4 – Wengen and the Jungfrau Glacier

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6 thoughts on “Day 3 – The Golden Pass line: from Lucerne to Interlaken”

  1. Hi Ms. Maria,

    My husband and I, together with our 21 year old daughter are planning to visit Europe On October, 2012. We are interested in the Golden pass, with the chocolate train and also the Bernina express. While searching for some info, I saw your blog about the Golden pass. Can I ask some questions? If we have a rail pass that includes Switzerland, can we just hop on the golden pass train without reservation? From Manila, our entry point is Montreux via Geneva. We plan to do the golden pass from montreux, with a stop at Interlaken, then proceed to Lucerne. Can you give us some travel tips?

    Maraming Salamat!

    Luming Balanga

  2. Hi Luming..

    Thanks for stopping by my on site. I’m sure you are all excited for your trip to Europe and October is such a perfect month – especially for Switzerland – as this is the time when leaves of trees have changed colours, from green to yellow, orange and fiery reds!

    Last summer, I was the tourist guide to my sister and her family who flew in from Dubai for their multi-city European tour. Upon landing at Zurich airport, they bought a 6-day Swiss Pass for 3 adults; their 12-yr old child was automatically exempted due to the Family Card given to them. With that pass + FC, it allowed us free unlimited rides on public transports (trains, trams, buses, ferries) all over Switzerland and discounts on glacier tours such as the funicular train to the Jungfrau, the cable car around the Matterhorn, and many others.

    We DID NOT NEED to make any reservations as we only followed the normal schedule of trains for ECONOMY CLASS. We just hopped on and off unlimitedly!

    We did not try the Chocolate train in Montreaux but reading their site, if you hold a 1st class railpass, you don’t need to pay extra, but if it’s a 2nd class railpass, you only have to pay a supplement fee. It’s worth checking with them beforehand as you might also need to book your seat. Here’s the link:

    http://www.eurorailways.com/kb/brochures/swiss/scenic_train_chocolate_train.pdf

    The benefits of having a Swiss Pass are awesome:
    – Unlimited travel throughout the rail, bus and boat Swiss Travel System network
    – Covers local trams and buses in 41 cities
    – Covers scenic trains
    – 50% reduction on most mountain-top trains and cable cars
    – Free entrance to over 400 museums
    – Children from 6 to 15 years inclusive travel free with a Family Card if accompanied by at least one parent
    – Free travel on Swiss Postal Buses
    – 50% discount on numerous mountain lifts

    Good news is, if you have enough time, you can follow all the scenic routes of the Glacier Express, Voralpen Express, Bernina, Wilhelm Tell without making any reservation, just hop on hop off, as long as you are taking the economy class trains….

    http://www.myswitzerland.com/en/transport-travel/public-transport.html

    Here is a link to Rick Steves’ site showing the difference between a Eurorailpass and a Swisspass. I see that the former doesn’t cover everything and you get more freebies with the latter.

    http://www.ricksteves.com/rail/switzerland.cfm

    And here is the link to the Swiss Travel System where you can compare the prices between the two:

    http://www.swisstravelsystem.ch/index.php?id=134&L=1

    Have you booked your hotels yet? I recommend Booking.com as it is very reliable. We booked all our hotels for our two-week holiday from this website, and it helps that the hotel you choose is in the centre so you just walk to the sights, very easy.

    Please feel free to ask me more questions, if you like. I will reply to you as soon as I can…:)

  3. I wish to travel from Interlaken to Lucerne by the Golden Pass Line. If I have swiss pass with me together, I do not to pay anything on this ride? Is that true? can I carry my luggage together?. Thak you.

  4. Hi BT…
    Yes, that’s right! If you buy a Swiss Pass right from the Swiss airport (or train station) of your arrival, you can start your hop on, hop off of all public transport of the entire country (except for some funiculars or cable cars) during the x number of days specified on your pass. After all, the pass itself is expensive – you just benefit from the ease of travelling without going through queues on ticket counters or machines.

    Here is the link to the pass so you know how much it costs:

    http://www.myswitzerland.com/en/transport-travel/tickets/swiss-pass-en.html#details

    And if you have a child/children under 16, you must get a Family pass so you don’t have to pay for them…

    Good luck!

  5. I’ll immediately grab your rss feed as I can not in finding your e-mail subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly let me understand so that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

  6. hello maria,
    i am planning to go to London-Paris- Lourdes this March.
    It will be our first time to travel to Europe.
    Can you help me with the itinerary since we will be staying there for two weeks only?
    can you recoomend what hotel we will be staying that is budget and at the city center?
    what about the tours we will get?
    We want to go to Lourdes for the healing.
    how do we go there from london?

    your advices will be very valuable to us. i am sure you will understand our situation sine we will be coming from the Philippines.

    thank you

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