Advice on itinerary 16 days in September

Advice on itinerary 16 days in September

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Varnia
Varnia
11 posts
new member
Aug 16, 2015 - 12:20 PM

Hi,

I will be in Switzerland for 16 days in Sept (from 9 Sept). The draft itinerary and my queries are as follows:

Day 1: Zurich Airport to Luzern: Visit Lion Monument , Jesuitenkirche, Chapel Bridge and Old Town. Followed by Sunset Paddler Steam in the evening.

Question: I will arrive at Zurich at 08:00: Is the plan too packed?

Day 2: Mount Pilatus, overnight stay at Mount Pilatus. We intend to walk the circular trial (from Pilaus to Dragon Path, up to Chriesciloch and back to Kulm)

Day 3: Mt Titlis, overnight at Luzern

Day 4: Luzern to St. Mortiz. Hike the Heidi's Flower Trail

Question: We will probably only reach St. Moritz at 13:00. Would we have enough time for the Heidi's Flower Trail?

Day 5: Bernina Express from St. Moritz to Tirano. From Triano, we will take the local train back to St. Moritz, stopping at Privilasco

Day 6: Glacier Express from St. Moritz to Zermatt, overnight at Zermatt

Day 7: Rothorn Sunrise tour (www.matterhornparadise .ch/en/summer/mountain -adventures/sunrise) followed by 5-Seenweg hike, overnight at Zermatt

Question: We intend to start the 5-Seenweg hike from Blauherd summit station. Would it be feasible for us to go to Blauherd from Rothorn? I tried to search for cable cars, but am not sure of the route. In addition, would we be able to complete the 5-Seenweg hike in half a day? We love to take photos and thus, should be stopping quite often along the hike.

Day 8: Riffelsee hike from the Rotenboden station of the Gornergrat Bahn cog. Followed by Matterhorn Museum and Old Village in the afternoon. Overnight at Zermatt.

Day 9: Zermatt to Montreux. Chillon Castle and Maison Cailler Chocolate Factory. Overnight at Montreux.

Day 10: Chexbres - Tour de Gourze - Cully hike or Rochers de Naye-Montreux hike and Salt Mines at Bex.

Question: We would like to visit the Salt Mines. Is this worth going? I believe we would not be able to do the hikes if we are going to the salt mine. Is there any other suggestion for the day with Salt Mines?

Day 11: Lavaux UNESCO vineyard terraces - The Great Trail, overnight at Montreux.

Day 12: Montreux to Grindlewald

Day 13: Interlaken (paragliding at Interlaken), overnight at Interlaken

Day 14: Bern. Visit Bern Old Town

Day 15: Zurich. Shopping

Day 16: Home Sweet Home

Question: Appreciate any suggestions on the above itinerary. Thanks very much!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Aug 16, 2015 - 5:51 PM in reply to Varnia

Very well organized.

I have only skimmed it, but t looks like you have been using the available tools.

My only specific comment at the moment is an answer to #1 -

<<"I will arrive at Zurich at 08:00: Is the plan too packed?">>

No. Unless you are jet lagged, which might cause a pause during the day.

You will be in Luzern by before 10AM, if you catch the o847 direct train. That is quite possible, but it may be that some minor delay will put you on the next train (the 0913) with an easy 13 minute change in Zürich. Then you will be in Luzern at 1025.

Are you staying close to the main station?

When does the cruise start?

You can do the city walk you described in 2 to 2.5 hours, and should also consider to try the Bourbaki Panorama, near the Lion.

A couple of other comments-

Interlaken is not really very much of a scenic tourist destination. It is more like a transfer point for Mürren or Wengen or Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen or the Jungfrau or Schynige Platte. It is where the intra-valley and mountain railways connect with the main train lines of the nation and of Europe. To better appreciate the area, and in balance with the other regions you are visiting, I personally feel that you should consider some more time in the Jungfrau region south of Interlaken... There is nothing more spectacular or impressive than this region in all of Switzerland, I think.

www.myswissalps.com/be rneseoberland

www.myswissalps.com/ju ngfrauregion

More on the detail rest of your note when I have some time.

A couple of brief comments in passing...maybe I missed something?

The walks you mention near Montreux - if I have read them correctly - are many hundreds of meters of difficult climbs. Are you experienced at hiking at high altitude?

I love to walk in the vineyards of the Cote Lavaux. They can be steep. The train Vevey to Puidoux is a great short scenic ride.(in the sun,especially.)

When you choose alternatives, focus on things you can only do in Switzerland (e.g., Jungfrau) , unless you plan to come back frequently.For example - there are caves near Interlaken. But there are caves all around the world. There is only one Jungfrau. Unless the weather is awful, it makes sense to experience the outdoors.

Here is an idea of what is available in the area near the Jugfrau and Wengen in particular -

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

Others may offer a different perspective, and I am impressed by how well you have identified very nikce scenic and unique opportunities from your own perspective. Many of those would not be found by a first time visitor? Have you travelled in Switzerland before?

Last modified on Aug 16, 2015 - 7:48 PM by Slowpoke
Varnia
Varnia
11 posts
new member
Aug 17, 2015 - 11:10 AM

Thanks Slowpoke!

Are you staying close to the main station?

yes, our hotel is about 5mins from the train station. When does the cruise start?

the cruise is scheduled at 19:15. We are still in the midst of making reservations. You can do the city walk you described in 2 to 2.5 hours, and should also consider to try the Bourbaki Panorama, near the Lion.

thanks! We will include Bourbaki Panorama into the itinerary. A couple of other comments-Interlaken is not really very much of a scenic tourist destination. It is more like a transfer point for Mürren or Wengen or Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen or the Jungfrau or Schynige Platte. It is where the intra-valley and mountain railways connect with the main train lines of the nation and of Europe. To better appreciate the area, and in balance with the other regions you are visiting, I personally feel that you should consider some more time in the Jungfrau region south of Interlaken... There is nothing more spectacular or impressive than this region in all of Switzerland, I think. www.myswissalps.com/be rneseoberlandwww.myswi ssalps.com/ju ngfrauregion

thanks for pointing out about Jungfrau. I realized that this was missing after posting the draft. Will definitely look to include in our itinerary.

More on the detail rest of your note when I have some time.

thanks for your help. I'm really not sure about getting from Rothorn to Blauherd after the sunrise tour. We goggled but couldn't seem to find info. Appreciate your help on this. A couple of brief comments in passing...maybe I missed something?The walks you mention near Montreux - if I have read them correctly - are many hundreds of meters of difficult climbs. Are you experienced at hiking at high altitude?

Thanks for pointing this out. We are not very experienced at hiking at high altitude. Thus likely to modify our tour on this. thanks for providing the links. The info is really useful. I hvnt finish reading all, but will definitely do so!.Others may offer a different perspective, and I am impressed by how well you have identified very nikce scenic and unique opportunities from your own perspective. Many of those would not be found by a first time visitor? Have you travelled in Switzerland before?

My friend and I are visiting Switzerland for the first time. Bulk of the info was goggled from the Internet. We are hoping to cover Switzerland as much as we can at an average pace. Thus, greatly appreciate any comments or suggestions! Thanks!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Aug 17, 2015 - 12:12 PM in reply to Varnia

Rochers de Naye is at 2046 meters. You will notice that altitude. There are some trails up there. but eventually, you have to come down.

If you walk up or down, Montreux is at 390 meters. Unless you are in training for it, a climb like that either up or down will kill your knees.

<"thanks for pointing out about Jungfrau. I realized that this was missing after posting the draft. Will definitely look to include in our itinerary.">>

Days 10 and 11 have considerable overlap or duplication. Perhaps there is room there to condense.

Your trip from Montreux to Grindelwald can be about 3 hours via Bern, OR, about 4 to 4 1/2 or even more hours via Zweisimmen (The Golden Pass Route, recommended by the forum moderators for scenery) OR an uncommon, different and scenic route of 4 1/2 hours via the Rhone Valley to Brig, over the Lötschberg Pass to Spiez, and on to Grindelwald. On this route, make sure to select the old route over the pass via Hohtenn or Kandersteg in the "via" option once you are using the timetable with a full entry page -

www.sbb.ch/en/home.htm l

The link to the timetable on this web site (My Swiss Alps) does not give you a "via" choice until you have made your first search or selected "Search Connection."

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

Look at a map to see the three routes.

The benefit of the southern route is the ride up the Südrampe of the BLS line on the "Lötschberger Express." AAnd, the ride down theKandertal on the other side has great views, too.

www.myswitzerland.com/ en-us/bls-regioexpress-loetschberger.html

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/travel-to-and-from-wengen

If you don't use the "via" entry when you fill out the timetable, the timetable defaults to the fastest route, through the new, lower, faster, boring tunnel.

<<" I'm really not sure about getting from Rothorn to Blauherd after the sunrise tour. We goggled but couldn't seem to find info. Appreciate your help on this. ">>

I don't know that area. Sorry.

If no one else jumps in, remind me again and I'll try to do some searching on maps. Perhaps the tourist office for the region can help?

Last modified on Aug 17, 2015 - 2:26 PM by Slowpoke
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Aug 17, 2015 - 2:13 PM in reply to Varnia

<<"We intend to start the 5-Seenweg hike from Blauherd summitstation. Would it be feasible for us to go to Blauherd from Rothorn? Itried to search for cable cars, but am not sure of the route. Inaddition, would we be able to complete the 5-Seenweg hike in half a day?We love to take photos and thus, should be stopping quite often along the hike.">>

Here is the best I can do, since I do not know the area.

Switzerland Mobility is the premier resource for hiking in Switzerland. They do not include every possible hike, and I always have trouble finding the right search terms to pin down a detail. But, once you have found a hike on that site, you know all there is to know, or have a good link to it. Very good detailed maps, at a more detailed scale than other sites.

Here is the English home page

www.schweizmobil.ch/en /schweizmobil.html

The following is the link to the region near Zermatt. You can see trails and transportation:

map.wanderland.ch/?lang=en&p&X=624402&Y=9 5807&route=all&wanderw egnetz=all&bgLayer=pk& layers=Wanderland&reso lution=10

That is the best I can do, and it may not answer your questions. Sorry. There are Zermatt experts on this web site, and Annika likes Zermatt, so I'll hope that they can help you.

However, that link, if you enlarge the map shows a lift from Unterrothorn to Blauherd. Is your breakfast at Unterrothorn?

I don't know the other traila that you mention. The map shows a good trail running east from Riffelalp, and some possible lifts. But, they maybe "winter only." And, it is not obvious to me how to used the trail and lift network up there to avoid extensive climbing at that altitude. You will go slowly, unless you are in condition for high altitude. Climbing will be accompanied by panting. If you did wish to hike from Blauherd to Riffelalp you are blocked from a simple direct route by the valley of the Findelbach.

If some of the routes are Wanderwegen, then they will be well marked. I don't have a "Wanderkarte" for the area, which would highlight the marked trails.

I hope that this can guide you about the lay of the land. I'd send a query to the tourist office at Zermatt.

Slowpoke.

Last modified on Aug 17, 2015 - 2:29 PM by Slowpoke
Varnia
Varnia
11 posts
new member
Aug 17, 2015 - 3:01 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Thanks Slowpoke for rendering so much assistance. We really appreciate all the help and advice given! I finally just managed to get a response from the company organizing the sunrise tour. The representative mentioned that a cable car is available to travel to Blauherd. Thus we will do a single trip for the sunrise and take a cable to Blauherd on our own.

The info you provided is really useful. My friend and I are still digesting the information but it is really helping us to get a better idea. Thanks so much once again!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Aug 17, 2015 - 3:12 PM in reply to Varnia

<<"The representative mentioned that a cable car is available to travel to Blauherd. ">>

Good to hear. Always nice to get feedback.

You did such a good job pulling together information on your own that I thought you'd have a framework all set up to add more bits and pieces. ;-)

Glad you find it helpful.

Slowpoke.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Aug 18, 2015 - 11:19 AM in reply to Varnia

<<"The representative mentioned that a cable car is available to travel to Blauherd. Thus we will do a single trip for the sunrise and take a cableto Blauherd on our own.">>

I did some searching on the SBB timeable web site. I wanted to see when the service ran.

It looks like they may only run until until September 13th this fall. If that causes a problem with your dates, you'd better confirm that you are OK. Usually, if it is printed in the timetable, that is what happens.

At first I had some trouble finding those routes, and only partially recognized some of the abbreviations.

Then, I found that the name of the station on the Rotthorn is Rotthorn VS. (VS = Valais?)

I took a couple of screen captures to show you what I found.

Mainly, my aim was to see what the timetable had to say to you.

Slowpoke

Please login to see the attached documents
Varnia
Varnia
11 posts
new member
Aug 18, 2015 - 12:33 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Thanks Slowpoke! Really appreciate your help in this.

I am quite confused. I just checked on SBB timetable website, and it seems that there is cable on 15 Sept (the date for the sunrise tour). Am I interpreting the timetable wrongly?

Please login to see the attached documents
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Aug 18, 2015 - 12:43 PM in reply to Varnia

<<"I am quite confused. I just checked on SBB timetable website, and it seems that there is cable on 15 Sept (the date for the sunrise tour). AmI interpreting the timetable wrongly?">>

Probably I am the one who is confused. I was being called to breakfast, and was glad to have found the correct names, so I rushed.. If you can find it on the SBB site, it will be there.

The map suggests to me that you go through Blauherd on the way up.....correct? if so, it has to be running. ;-)

Near the end of season or at unusual hours, they may sometimes run the lift for special groups, since it is already to go, anyway.

I'll look further.

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Aug 18, 2015 - 12:58 PM in reply to Varnia

Second reply -

Open up the Show all Details option.

You will see that the service restarts on Sept 14. That is the way they show a change to a different schedule. Shutdown the old schedule and start a new one.

The moral of the story - always check on your exact date.

I was too lazy to go back and calculate the date from the earlier data which you supplied....better that you do it anyway. ;-)

Slowpoke

Varnia
Varnia
11 posts
new member
Aug 18, 2015 - 1:08 PM in reply to Slowpoke

I see. Thanks very much for your help! My friend and I are reviewing all the different treks based on the information you provided. I will place the final itinerary here in the forum when done, for comments and also if others find it useful for their trip as well. Thanks!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Aug 18, 2015 - 1:41 PM in reply to Varnia

Glad to help.

I enjoy learning about areas that I do not know well, so your request was fun for me.

When you record your treks, note the start and finish altitude. Relevant in the Fall for weather (snow line) and adjustment to high altitude.

If you can find the trek on Switzerland Mobilty, use the height profile tool to preview what kind of climbing you will be doing. Steep ascents and descents at 2400 meters are demanding on yur lungs and hearts.

Mike guess is that a lot of the trails you mention are "Berg Wanderwegen" - Mountain Hiking Trails. If so, you really want to have boots or sturdy shoes with lugged soles. I prefer the ankle support of boots.

Also, a hiking stick.

Check out

www.myswissalps.com/hi king.

You are doing a lot of hiking on rough trails at high altitude. For safety, I'd recommend that you consider investing about $30-35 US per person in ski and hiking rescue service. It has been invaluable for two Swiss friends (accomplished hikers) who slipped on ordinary trails and broke ankles. I renew mine every year.

The best known is REGA (I belong, as do any of my family who walk in Switzerland with me).

www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&s ource=web&cd=1&cad=rja &uact=8&ved=0CB8QFjAAa hUKEwjYre6o4rLHAhWClQ0 KHYe-CFY&url=https%3A%2F%2F www.rega.ch%2Fen%2Fhom e.aspx&ei=NDfTVdjDGYKr Nof9orAF&usg=AFQjCNEZp q6bCKgSdNNdZqeSXvGLavw akA&sig2=DoctiIABNhZk_ 3x55OPenA&bvm=bv.99804 247,d.eXY

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Rega_%28air_rescue%29

If you are a member, the rescue is free.

They'll still rescue you if you are not a member, but you'll get a very large bill afterwards.

Last modified on Aug 18, 2015 - 1:51 PM by Slowpoke
Varnia
Varnia
11 posts
new member
Aug 18, 2015 - 2:14 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Thanks Slowpoke. I trekked in Bhutan at about the same altitude beginning and noted that it is indeed demanding on the lungs and heart. Really appreciate you pointing out on the altitude, my friend and I are actually re-looking at the hikes and we may make changes. I did realise that we seem to have included too many hikes and thus we are also looking to cut down on that. Have the necessary boots and hiking stick.

I actually bought travel insurance, but I'm doubtful if it covers rescue. I'm checking with my insurance agent. If no, I will get the ski and hiking service rescue service per your suggestion.

Once again, really appreciate all help and advice you gave. It really help my friend and I in planning for our trip!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Aug 18, 2015 - 3:28 PM in reply to Varnia

<<"If no, I will get the ski and hiking service rescue service per your suggestion.">>

You can do it online. they will mail a membership card to your home. It may not get there in time. Don't worry - once they have your money, you are covered.

Write down their number in case you don't have their membership card....1414

In Switzerland, that is a totally "no-hassle" service.

<<"Once again, really appreciate all help and advice you gave. It really help my friend and I in planning for our trip!">

You are more than welcome.

Do you like to hike from paper maps? Or, a Smartphone App?

I like paper - the batteries never run out, and you can write on them. Here are some comments on maps..

Switzerland has a nationwide well organized trail net work....die Wanderwege. Or, one (singular) "hiking trail" is 'der Wanderweg,."

or "ein Wanderweg."

Trail markings -

www.myswissalps.com/hi king/etiquette

Swisstopo-

This is the site of the federal land office. They publish excellent maps and apps. Extremely well done.

Homepage - www.swisstopo.admin.ch /internet/swisstopo/en /home.html

Online map - great detail

map.geo.admin.ch/?X=190000.00&Y=660000.0 0&zoom=1&lang=en&topic =ech&bgLayer=ch.swisst opo.swissimage

Products tab selected -

www.swisstopo.admin.ch /internet/swisstopo/en /home/products.html

Hiking maps -

www.swisstopo.admin.ch /internet/swisstopo/en /home/products/maps/le isure/hiking.html

die Wanderwege trails are marked in red. Public transport stops are marked.

Once you are in Luzern, stop at the (T.I.) tourist info office by track #1. Talk to them about what kind of maps they have available.

Generally, not a lot; but the city walking map is useful.

They will direct you to a bookstore for maps. The nearest I am aware of is to go out the backdoor of the T.I, across the street, and down the block 100 meters or so away from the station on the left. Name - Orell Füssli.

Ask for the map section.

To learn about the maps -

Pick up an orange colored 1:50,000 Wanderkarte (hiking map) for a region you will be hiking - such as the Cote Lavaux or Zermatt - and look carefully at what it gives you.

If it is not a hiking map, the red-marked Wanderwege will not be colored red. The cover will be green not orange.

If you really want detail; look at a 1:25,000. I like those in steep mountains. Fewer Waderkarten wege are available so far in the 1:25,000 scale.

The maps are not cheap. There are some areas where I think they are worth the prices. In a region with a lot of trails close to one another, and steep terrain, they can be helpful. Sometimes there will be two routes listed on a trail marker, both the the same destination, with dramatically different times to destination.

Which one is uphill, and which one is level, or vice versa.......?

In addition to the maps which fit on the national grid, there re some "composite" maps at different scales that show a region....such as the CoteLavaux, named "Lausanne" on the map. They save you from buyin 4 maps to cover on little piece of territory where the national grid brings 4 quadrangles to a juncture at a corner.

Maps for your whole trip would be more expensive than i would personally like to buy, but one for a single area might be worth a try.

Oh yes, forgot to say -

Topo maps for a locality are widely available at convenience stores (Aperto, Kiosk, Volg) and other stores in almost any town in Switzerland. More so in the mountains or areas popular for hiking.. If you decide you want one after your first day in ....e.g., Zermatt, you'll be able to find it. Maybe not a map for Geneva, but certainly for the Zermatt area.

Last modified on Aug 18, 2015 - 8:31 PM by Slowpoke
Varnia
Varnia
11 posts
new member
Sep 6, 2015 - 9:11 AM

Hi,

Here's the more or less finalised itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Switzerland (Zurich). Head to Lucerne. Visit Lion Monument, Bourbaki Panorama. Back to old town for a walk. Sunset Paddler Steam ride. Overnight at Lucerne

Day 2: Mt Pilatus (We will be going on the Golden Round Trip) - Circular Trail at Mt. Pilatus. Overnight at Mt. Pilatus

Question: Can the Golden Round Trip ticket be used over two days as we are staying over night at Mt Pilatus?

Day 3: Back to Lucerne. Paragliding in late afternoon if weather is good. Overnight at Lucerne

Day 4: Lucerne to St. Mortiz. Depending on weather and time, Muottas Muragl or cableway Diavolezza. Overnight at St. Moritz

Day 5: Berina Express from St Mortiz to Tirano. Local train back to St Moritz from Tirano. If time permits, on return leg from Tirano will stop at Privilasco. Overnight at St. Moritz

Day 6: Glacier Express from St. Moritz to Zermatt. Overnight at Zermatt

Day 7: Sunrise at Rothorn. From Rothorn, will take train to Blauherd. 5-Seenweg hike. Overnight at Zermatt

Day 8: Riffelsee. Overnight at Zermatt.

Day 9: Zermatt to Montreux. Chillon Castle. Overnight at Montreux.

Day 10: Château-d'Oex, overnight at Montreux

Day 11: Montreux to Geneva. Walk around Geneva

Day 12: Geneva to Grindelwald. Boat ride to Lake Brienz, short hike to Giessbach falls. Overnight at Grindelwald

Day 13: Jungfrau. Grindelwald to Männlichenbahn. From Männlichenbahn to Wengen. Wengen to Top of Europe. Look around at the top. From Jungfrauch to Eigergletscher. Walk from Eigergletscher to Kleine Scheidegg. From Kleine Scheidegg to Grindelwald. Overnight at Grindelwald.

Day 14: Grindelwald to Bern. Walk around old town.

Day 15: Bern to Zurich. Shop around Zurich.

Day 16: Home sweet home.

Welcome any comments/suggestion to the itinerary!

Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
Sep 7, 2015 - 12:57 PM

Hi Varnia!

This schedule allows you to see an impressive amount of highlights during your 16 day tour. It does involve a lot of traveling, but I'm sure that you've checked the timetable and that you're okay with that. One important thing to consider is that many or your plans are weather dependent. This especially goes for mountain top visits and hikes. In reality, you may not be able to do all activities on the exact days you've planned them, and your relatively short stays in each base town don't easily allow for flexible planning. What you can do is make some back-up plans (museums and other indoor activities) for the regions you'll be visiting.

I'm not sure if you've checked rail passes already, but I'd definitely recommend a 15 day Swiss Travel Pass for this itinerary. Details can be found at www.myswissalps.com/sw isstravelpass; resellers are listed at www.myswissalps.com/sw isstravelpass/price. The cheapest option for Singapore residents currently is a purchase through www.raileurope-world.com. Don't wait too long, as shipping takes up to 8 business days. If you don't think you'll receive your pass in time, you can order through www.swissrailways.com instead. They allow you to order an e-ticket that you'll receive within 2 to 3 days after your purchase.

A Golden Round Trip-ticket usually is valid for 1 day only. But if you have a Swiss Travel Pass, a few legs of this trip are covered anyway. You only need tickets between Alpnachstad-Pilatus and Pilatus-Kriens, and you can buy them at the spot. Alternatively, explain your plans at one of the desks at the Lucerne railway station and show your pass. They'll be able to provide you with the additional tickets for the right dates.

Did you book all of your hotels already? If not, you can start looking at www.myswissalps.com/ho tels/populartowns.

Last modified on Sep 7, 2015 - 12:58 PM by Annika

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