Advice on 3-week Switzerland trip June/July

Advice on 3-week Switzerland trip June/July

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jeanlegal
jeanlegal
16 posts
new member
Oct 16, 2016 - 10:18 PM

Bonjour from Canada,

I'm currently planning a trip to Switzerland for June-July 2017. My idea is to arrive in Zurich and immediately go to the Interlake region to do mountain hiking for 7-10 days. A day trip to Luzern will be included. From there, I'm planning to add 5-6 days around Locarno and maybe 3-4 days around Davos to finish with a few days in Zurich before coming back home. Il all cases, I'm considering chalets or apartments.

My questions:

  • Car or Train;
  • Realistic or ambitious,
  • Any advices?

Merci!

Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 17, 2016 - 8:25 AM in reply to jeanlegal

Bienvenue jeanlegal, welcome to MySwissAlps!

Sure, that's perfectly possible. June and July are good months for a hiking trip, although June might still be a bit risky for the higher trails: myswissalps.com/bestti metovisit. If high altitude hikes are your main goal, it would be wise to try to start your visit in July, or alternatively to plan the higher trails towards the end of your stay. So you may want so start off in Zurich and Locarno, then visit Davos, and then end in Interlaken to maximize your chances of snow-free trails in the Jungfrau region. Please find hiking suggestions at myswissalps.com/hiking.

Davos is definitely recommended, especially in June. The rest of Graubünden is stunning as well. You may want to include a day trip to the Engadine.

I'd recommend train traveling, especially for a hiking trip. Please compare for yourself at myswissalps.com/carver sustrain. If you intend to follow the itinerary as described above, you could get from Zurich to Locarno using the beautiful Wilhelm Tell Express (which will soon be callled Gotthard Panorama Express - we're updating our information about this). Mind to compare rail passes if you decide to travel by train: myswissalps.com/train/ ticketspasses/practica l/chooserailpass.

Apartments are listed at myswissalps.com/rental s. Note that quite some apartments can only be rented by full weeks from Saturdays to Saturdays, especially in tourist high season. If you book early you may find exceptions though, and if not, there are lots of hotels to choose from.

Does this get you started?

jeanlegal
jeanlegal
16 posts
new member
Oct 18, 2016 - 1:28 AM in reply to Annika

Absolument! Merci beaucoup!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Oct 19, 2016 - 1:31 AM in reply to jeanlegal

Hi jeanlegal-

5 or 6 days around Locarno could be a bit much, depending on your interests.

A day trip from the Bernese Oberland to Luzern does not do justice to the region around Luzern.

Perhaps opu plan to visit Luzern from Zürich at the end of your trip?

I'd make sure to spend time in or near Luzern, and, consequently, reduce time at Locarno or the Bernese Oberland.

What are your specific interests for activiites...is hiking your pricipal goal?

That can influence our recommendations.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Oct 19, 2016 - 1:37 AM by Slowpoke
jeanlegal
jeanlegal
16 posts
new member
Oct 19, 2016 - 2:30 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Metci!

Day hikes are definitely on the list. We love Italy, so Ticino is appealling to us as I thought that we could combine some hiking with lake fun (swimming, vistas,...) and the swiss version of italian lifestyle. Your advices are very good. Maybe I coud spread my time better with my two alpine destinations and increase time in Luzern.

jeanlegal
jeanlegal
16 posts
new member
Oct 19, 2016 - 2:33 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Would you say that all of this, even if I reshuffle the durations, is workable by train? This is my preferrence but I'm still not 100% sure that train is better than car!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Oct 19, 2016 - 8:41 AM in reply to jeanlegal

Your itinerary is excellent for train travel.

Especially, if you do go to the Ticino, try to go via the Gotthard pass on at least one of the journeys. You will see wonderful views that you could never see from a car, and everyone gets to look.

Trains are fast, frequent and convenient. Buses and lake boats supplement. They can get you to trailheads if you choose to walk in the more rural areas.

In the Bernese Oberland, you cannot use a car for the best scenic areas. So, you will need some kind of rail tickets or a rail pass for that region.

www.myswissalps.com/ca rversustrain

A rental car can be more economical for a party of 3 or 4, unless the kids get free "family/youth" passes along with the adults' passes. With larger parties, it can be expensive to rent something with luggage capacity for that many people.

This link shows a superb hike in the Bernese Oberland:

www.myswissalps.com/hi king/maennlichen-kleinescheidegg

That trail opens when the snow melts at round the second week in June.

I attached a few pictures from that walk. Some of them look down on the walk from a side branch up to Männlichen Gipfel ( Peak)

Here are a lot more:

www.myswissalps.com/hi king

Here is information about hiking around Lake Lucerne:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/the-swiss-path-and-southern-lake-lucerne

Slowpoke

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jeanlegal
jeanlegal
16 posts
new member
Oct 19, 2016 - 11:52 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Thank you so much!

jeanlegal
jeanlegal
16 posts
new member
Oct 24, 2016 - 8:45 PM

Things are moving with my planning! Two questions:

- I am considering Wengen as a "base" for 1 week to hike and discover this area. We will probably include some time around Interlaken during this week but the main goal is to Hike. Is this a good idea?

2. Train will be our way to go. With a week around Wengen, 4-5 days in Ticino, 6-7 days around Davos, 2-3 days in Luzern and finaly 1-2 days in Zurich, for a total stay of 23 days, I'm sure that the Swiss Pass will be the best but does it goes beyond 15 days?

Merci!

Last modified on Oct 24, 2016 - 8:48 PM by jeanlegal
jeanlegal
jeanlegal
16 posts
new member
Oct 24, 2016 - 8:47 PM in reply to jeanlegal

I'm of course open to suggestion for our base. I'm looking for an apartment or chalet as we prefer to stay for a while instead of changing places every day or two!

Last modified on Oct 24, 2016 - 8:52 PM by jeanlegal
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Oct 24, 2016 - 9:15 PM in reply to jeanlegal

Hi jeanlegal-

Arno linked to apartment sources in his earlier post.

I don't know much about Davos as a summer destination. More for skiers, in my mind.....

Search on My Swiss Alps for for "Davos" for some clues about what others have done.

I'd suggest an alternative. That is, unless have specific knowledge or interest that leads you to Davos?

My experiences in the Lower Engadine have been very positive. More variety; unique culture.

www.myswitzerland.com/ en-us/lower-engadine.html

www.myswissalps.com/lo werengadine

I have been to Davos once in the summer, and have not gone back for summer activities again. On the other hand, we have returned to the Lower Engadine many times. Stayed in Ftan, Zernez , Guarda. Good hikes. Near the Swiss National Park with special hikes. Took the train to St. Moritz or Pontresina from there more than once.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Oct 24, 2016 - 10:13 PM by Slowpoke
jeanlegal
jeanlegal
16 posts
new member
Oct 25, 2016 - 12:13 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Your question on Davos is very pertinent! My only reason is that a very good friend of mine has been there twice and raves about it. It must be noted that he has never been to Berner Oberland, which based on what I have seen so far during my research, seems to be exactly the Switzerland I have in mind! I have mention why I want to visit Ticino (and forgot to mention that I have been to Como for work while my wife has never had the pleasure to see something similar; so the Swiss version of Italy is appealing for us). We love mountains! Two years ago we visited Berchtesgaden in the German Alps and loved it and last summer we hiked the Canadian Rockies. So the main goal of this trip is really to discover the Alps an do lots of day-hikes. That is why I would like to rent somewhere relatively central that would allow us to explore. That is why Wengen seems appealing to me with is relative proximity to the lakes, Brienz, Thun, Grindelwald, Jugfraujoch, Mirren, etc. so we can have a mix of nature and a bit of small cities. Your question made me realize that we could probably spend 2 weeks in this area and be perfectly satisfied! We will be flying in and out from Zurich and will of course spend some time to explore this city as well as a "detour "to Luzern.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Oct 25, 2016 - 1:21 AM in reply to jeanlegal

<<"Do you have specific knowledge or interest that lead you to Davos?">>

<<"Your question made me realize that we could probably spend 2 weeks in this area and be perfectly satisfied! We will be flying in and out from Zurich and will of course spend some time to explore this city as well as a "detour "to Luzern.">>

I agree.

The clearer your priorities are, the better we can help you plan.

I think they are hiking, Also, hiking. And, perhaps, in between, more hiking? ;-)

If so, spend time here:

www.schweizmobil.ch/en /schweizmobil.html

Did your friend go to Davos in the Summer?

There is, as you are realizing, a lot more in the Bernese Oberland than in Davos. Of course, a lot of people reallize that. ;-)

however, I'd not automatically reject the Engadine if it fits your schedules.

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Oct 25, 2016 - 8:12 AM in reply to jeanlegal

Hi Jeanlegal-

A couple more comments as I reread your post(s).

More than likely, some more thoughts will appear, from time to time.

<<"So the main goal of this trip is really to discover the Alps an do lots of day-hikes. That is why I would like to rent somewhere relatively central that would allow us to explore. That is why Wengen seems appealing to me with is relative proximity to the lakes, Brienz, Thun, Grindelwald, Jugfraujoch, Mirren, etc. so we can have a mix of nature and a bit of small cities.">>

I like Wengen. So does Kim:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/tips-about-wengen-and-the-jungfrau-region-by-kim

Wengen is a great place to stay for access to scenic locations and hiking. See a few attached images related to Wengen, and Männlichen. (Unfortunately, the Hotel Eiger referred to in some images has been converted to apartments. Super location close to the station, and the restaurant on the ground floor has gotten very good. Fortunately, available to the public.

This is a spectacular easy walk...not really a "hike." Walk toward Kleine Scheidegg, not the reverse.

www.myswissalps.com/hi king/maennlichen-kleinescheidegg

Many peope like Grindelwald, too. It is amore commercial than Wengen.

Interlaken is an excellent base for train travel to the rest of Switzerland and onwards. There is main-line service to Interlaken. From Interlaken into the Lauterbrunnen Valley, the lines are meter gauge or smaller. However, Interlaken really does not have much scenery of its own.

<<" Mirren, etc. so we can have a mix of nature

and a bit of small cities.">>

Although Mürren is the correct spelling...watch for umlauts....it is pronounced sort of like Mirren. Close. ;-)

By the standards of Canada or the USA, all cities in Switzerland are "small." Zürich has a population of around 400,000 pepole. The ones that have a substantial metropolitan core include Zürich-- quote from Wiki:

<<"Zürich or Zurich (/ˈzjʊərɪk/, Swiss Standard German: Zürich [ˈtsʏrɪç], German Standard German Zürich [ˈtsyːʁɪç], Swiss German: Züri [ˈtsyɾi], French: Zurich [zyʁik], Italian: Zurigo [dzuˈriːɡo], Romansh: Turitg [tuˈritɕ]) is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zürich. It is located in north-central Switzerland[3] at the northwestern tip of Lake Zürich. The municipality has approximately 400,028[4] inhabitants, the urban agglomeration 1.315 million,[5] and the Zurich metropolitan area 1.83 million.[6] Zürich is a hub for railways, roads, and air traffic. Both Zürich Airport and railway station are the largest and busiest in the country.">>

Zürich is quite sophisticated. It's attractions tend to be more cultural than scenic. It is an excellent rail hub.

www.myswissalps.com/wh eretogo/towns

Geneva, Bern, Basel. are the most "city-like." Although most Swiss have French as a compulsory language in their education, and you will find it spoken almost everywhere, if you would like to practice your pure (classical) French accent and compare it with the Swiss version of French, you could consider a side trip to the French speaking regions. Montreux is easily accessible from Interlaken by slow scenic train via Zweisimmen, or faster trains via Bern.

Luzern is not as large as the other well known cities

However, Luzern, due to its location, combination of lake , mountain and countryside terrain, a very nice old city (full of tourists, unfortunately) . it is the usual recommendation for a starting point for first time visitors to Switzerland. It has pretty good central location. In Switzerland, the regions around Switzerland are called "die Zentralschweiz." The region is the heart of the old Federation.

Slowpoke

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Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2657 posts
expert
Oct 25, 2016 - 8:21 AM in reply to jeanlegal

<<"So the main goal of this trip is really to discover the Alps an do lots of day-hikes.">>

Best things first.

This is the ultimate topo map of Switzerland:

map.geo.admin.ch/?topic=ech&lang=en&bgLa yer=ch.swisstopo.pixel karte-farbe&layers=ch.bav.ha ltestellen-oev,ch.swisstopo.swiss tlm3d-wanderwege&layers_visi bility=false,true&X=16 2602.62&Y=633951.81&zo om=5

If you find your way back to the home page, you will find a description of maps 9paper and smartphone app) as well as many other resources:

www.swisstopo.admin.ch /

Their are many other resources available to support hikers of all intensities.

More on that later.

Slowpoke

Arno
Arno
7722 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 25, 2016 - 10:33 AM in reply to jeanlegal

As for a rail pass that covers your 23 day stay: unfortunately the maximum validity of a Swiss Travel Pass is 15 days. Here are some options to consider:

  • a 15 day plus an 8 day Swiss Travel Pass;
  • a 15 day Swiss Travel Pass Flex. This will leave you with 8 days without free traveling or discounts. It may fit your plans if you think you'll be having days without the need of trains/buses, or with short local (and thus cheaper) trips only;
  • a Swiss Half Fare Card, which isn't as convenient as the Swiss Travel Pass though as it forces you to buy tickets for each and every trip.

Alternatives for stays longer than 15 days are also discussed at myswissalps.com/swisst ravelpass/details.

jeanlegal
jeanlegal
16 posts
new member
Oct 25, 2016 - 11:00 AM in reply to Slowpoke

This forum is amazing! Thanks to all of you! I will read this carefully!

Merci beaucoup!

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