We are looking at Crown Jewel in 2023. Any of you do a pre-or post trip? Is there another cool place we could see while on this trip? Also, have any of you done the trip in late June or July? Any comments abt the best time to go?
We did it last Sep which was an excellent time. Weather was not too hot or cold. Not crowded but then that was largely because of covid and many people unwilling or unable to travel. Jul/Aug could be very crowded 2023.
We arrived an extra day in Lausanne which was enough time to tour the Olympics Museum and the cathedral. If we'd had more time there are other things to see in the area - museums, a wine region, chocolate train, etc.
We also stayed extra days in Zurich though that was to use as a base to go to Schaffhausen/Rhine Falls and to be near the airport. Lucerne would be a better place for additional days so you had time to go up Mt Pilatus, Rigi, several museums.
Let me know if I can answer anything else.
I did book this trip for 9/5/22.
Since I fly into Geneva, I would like to find out if anyone has been to visit CERN and viewed the Large Hadron Collider? If so, how was your experience?
Secondly, anyone been to the Patek Philippe Museum?
I was also planning on staying a day or two longer after the tour - in Zurich. However, from what I have read in this forum, it seems that spending that time in Lucerne may be a better choice. Any other opinions on Zurich vs Lucerne?
When we arrived, the Tauck driver was at the Geneva airport to drive us to the hotel in Lausanne so no chance to see Geneva unless you arrange with Tauck ahead of time.
I'd choose Lucerne over Zurich especially if you've never been. We only went to Zurich because we specifically wanted time to go to Schaffhausen (my gran-dads home town) and it's closer to Zurich. Both locations have some hotels that are less expensive than the Schweitzerhoff if you want to stay longer and the price tag is a bit much or just have Tauck add them to your tour. Tauck was great about taking us to our hotel in Zurich instead of the airport. Then the hotel there helped us arrange a shuttle van to the airport or we could have taken the train. A little harder with luggage. Zurich is more big city, museums, shopping vs Lucerne that has more outdoor sights, very pleasant to walk around, etc.
On an independent vacation, my husband visited the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva while I wandered around the neighboring area. He loves watches, so he wanted to go. The building itself is quite nondescript, probably because of the value of the contents inside! Sorry I can't offer more other than to say he enjoyed it.
Both Zurich and Lucerne are beautiful cities. If you only have one extra day to explore, I agree with Claudia Sails that Lucerne might be better, especially after a Tauck tour when you are tired and may want to take leisurely strolls.
I appreciate the responses, Claudia and kfnknfzk.Thank you.
At the end of our Crown Jewels trip we stayed for a week in the Lauterbrunnen Valley area near Interlaken. You can get a week long rail pass ( The Berner Oberland pass) which is good for rail travel from Lucerne to Interlaken and throughout the Lauterbrunnen Valley for rail, bus, gondola and ship transport. The Lucerne rail station is two blocks from the Tauck Hotel (Hotel Schweizerhof). We stayed in Murren, a small carless village above Lauterbrunnen. This area is popular with walkers and hikers. The Jungfraujoch is in this area, but your Tauck trip includes the day trip there from Interlaken. The valley is beautiful in late summer or very early winter. Using the Berner Oberland pass you can travel on two boat cruises on Lake Brienz and Lake Thun which are around Interlaken. Trains travel to numerous small cities around the region and from there you can take gondolas to the mountain tops.
At the end of the week you are able to use the Berner Oberland pass to travel back to Lucerne. We stayed at the Tauck hotel in Lucerne the last night (a week after the Tauck tour had ended) and Tauck provided the car from Lucerne to the Zurich airport.
This week long stay in Murren was very relaxing and restful. A week sounds like a long time, but we filled seven days just enjoying nature. The transportation is amazingly coordinated between bus, train, and gondolas most all of which are included in your rail pass.
Lucky you Buzz. There is so much to see in that valley. If we hadn't been able to take the tour in 2021 we were planning our own Switzerland trip with a stay there.
We are on the late August Crown Jewels trip this year. We are arriving several days earlier and have two trips planned from Geneva. (We thought we might as well explore the area, as long as we are there. ) We have planned a trip to Annecy, France, which is supposedly a charming town in the French Alps, on Lake Annecy. We also have a trip planned to Chamonix, a ski town up in the mountains. We obviously haven’t gone yet, so can’t give a report on them.
Desertfolk, you do know that the actual tour and first night start in Lausanne though they assume you will be flying into Geneva?? If you are staying on your own in Geneva prior to the start, make sure Tauck knows of your plans. It will cause some adjustments to the tranfer.
Annecy is indeed a charming little town. Touristy shops and a rather forgettable castle (Chateau d'Annecy). There are apparently better castles nearby. Chamonix has much more to do. Be sure to take the cable car up the mountain to the Aguille du Midi (the Noon Needle). Spectacular views. From there you can take the gondola to the Italian border across the glacier (the border actually runs through the gondola station). I believe the gondola runs all the way into a town in Italy, but the border is as far as I've gone. There is also a cogwheel narrow gauge train that runs part way up the mountain to a glacier that (sadly) has mostly retreated. Rick Steves has a video on Chamonix.
We were on this lovely tour this past year in early September and it is fun, jaw-dropping beautiful, and enormously interesting. I think we were on the tour prior to Claudia's . We were fortunate and had perfect weather every day, no clouds around the Matterhorn, sunny atop Jungfraujoch, and were able to see all the vistas on the cogwheel trains. We stayed extra days in Zurich -- there is the Beyer clock and watch museum there, fyi, which is small but interesting, and went to Rifferswill an absolutely charming town on a day trip. If you're early to Lausanne as we were, do think about Vevey as a day trip to visit the Charlie Chaplin Museum. Even if you're not an avid fan, the museum and his home are engaging. I wish we'd spent extra time in Montreux which is a Mediterranean climate with palms and bougainvillea, and of course a jazzy vibe. The Jazz Festival is going ahead this year - Lionel Ritchie a major attraction - in July. We had private guides in Zurich and Lausanne, and am happy to recommend if you send me a message. I'd go back in a minute!
Lausanne is a nice place with some interesting things to see. And the free public transport card helps getting around (mostly up and down its hilly location. I would have liked to have time for Vevey and the wine region nearby.
If one of the attractions to you for this tour are the train rides, let me first suggest the Golden Pass train. We did this on our extra day in Lausanne due to our early arrival. Short walk from the hotel to the Lausanne train station and then a frequently operating commuter train to Montreux where you can take the Golden Pass Train to Zweisimmen (passing through Gstaad). At Zweisimmen you can turn around and catch a return train and then connect back from Montreaux to Lausanne. More information here: https://www.myswissalps.com/goldenpass.
At the other end (Lucerne) check out the Mt. Pilatus cog railroad (https://www.pilatus.ch/en/discover/cogwheel-railway)...the steepest in the world. A relatively short walk from the hotel to the Lucerne train station, a commuter train to the cog railroad station and then the cog railroad up to the summit of Mt. Pilatus. You can then either return by train or take a multi-part cable car system back down with a bus back to the hotel. You can get a package ticket that includes all the transportation.
Claudia Sails: We have already arranged for Tauck to pick us up at our Geneva Hotel and transport us to Lausanne on the day the tour starts. Of course that means that we will have to arrange our own transportation to our Geneva Hotel from the airport ourselves, which is fine - But thanks for the comment - it would have been very important for us to know that.
Ken from Vegas: Thanks for the information. We have. already planned on taking the cable car up the Aguille du Midi and thought of taking the narrow gauge train up to the glacier. I didn't know about the gondola to the Italian border - that is something that we might consider, so thanks. (I live not too far from you, in Tucson.)
Best of luck DesertFolk on your tour. Switzerland is lovely.