August 8-day trip report: Lucerne, Zermatt, Wengen

August 8-day trip report: Lucerne, Zermatt, Wengen

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Posts: 5
joshua77
joshua77
6 posts
new member
Sep 4, 2016 - 10:44 PM

We had an amazing week in Switzerland last month, including spectacular weather throughout most of the trip. Over the course of 8 days, we were always busy but never quite rushed, and our Swiss Travel Pass made travel a complete breeze.

Day 1 - Fighting jet lag, we traveled from Zurich airport to Lucerne in the morning, briefly stopping at our hotel, then taking the train to Alpnachstad to begin the Pilatus Silver Round Trip. After about an hour wait, we were able to board the cogwheel train to the peak. Gorgeous views and clear skies made it a stunning start to our journey. We returned back down the other side via cable car, gondola and bus (stopping for the incredibly fun alpine slide in Kriens), and walked around Lucerne before ending our first day.

Day 2 - We boarded an early boat on Lake Lucerne to Vitznau, followed by the cogwheel train to Rigi Kulm. From here we hiked down to Rigi Kaltbad (taking a beautiful, out-of-the-way path), then back up to Rigi Staffelhohe, this time returning by a separate meadow path to Rigi Kaltbad. This particular path was recommended by Slowpoke on the forums here and was one of the highlights of the day, as the 360-degree views felt almost unreal. Back at Rigi Kaltbad, we rode the cable car to Weggis and caught a boat back to Lucerne. We walked more of Lucerne in the evening, exploring the Musegg Wall and its wonderful views of the city.

Day 3 - Early the next morning, we traveled the Wilhelm Tell Express route to Locarno. We didn't book the official WTE package, but had no problems obtaining the exact same experience with our Swiss Pass - including the "reserved" panoramic train seating. Our time in Locarno was short, but we managed to take the funicular to the Madonna del Sasso, visit the Piazza Grande, walk the path along Lake Maggiore in both directions, experience a delicious Italian meal and make multiple stops for gelato.

Day 4 - We traveled to Zermatt from Locarno, stopping briefly in Italy to change trains, on what was my favorite train ride of our entire trip. After a stop at the hotel, we rode the cogwheel train to Gornergrat, then back down to Rotenboden where we began a hike to Riffelalp. This several hour walk was absolutely breathtaking, and the views of the Matterhorn and surrounding region will be burned in my memory forever. Car-free Zermatt is full of charm, and after making a lap through the city, a fondue meal was the perfect ending to our day.

Day 5 - In the morning, we took a quick walk through Gorner Gorge, then began our train ride to Wengen. We couldn't have been happier with the decision to base our two days within the Jungfrau region in this town. Upon arrival, we hopped the cable car up to Männlichen and walked the ridge path to Kleine Scheidegg. Clouds covered some of the mountains, but we still had a beautiful view of the Eiger as we walked.

Day 6 - A quick train ride, and we began our walk through the Lauterbrunnen Valley, including stops at Staubbach Fall and Trümmelbach Falls. Despite a complete downpour the last 45 minutes of our walk, we made it to Stechelberg and caught a bus back to Lauterbrunnen for lunch. The weather was mixed for the rest of the day, but that didn't stop us from returning to Wengen, riding the cable car to Männlichen again, and this time taking the gondola to Grindelwald. After walking the town, we returned to Wengen by train.

Day 7 - To begin our last full day in Switzerland, we went paragliding. From Mürren, we descended into the Lauterbrunnen Valley in an experience that will be hard to forget. The beautiful and unique views of the falls and surrounding area were stunning. After our flight, we boarded a train to Zurich, where we spent the remainder of the day buying chocolate, walking the city and cruising the lake. Zurich was lovely, but I'm quite glad we only devoted half a day there - any more would taken away from our time directly in the mountains.

We flew home to the United States from Zurich Airport the next morning. We miss Switzerland already and look forward to exploring more of this beautiful country some day!

Josh

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Arno
Arno
7719 posts
expert &
moderator
Sep 5, 2016 - 7:10 AM

Hi Josh,

Thank you for taking the time to write your report. The pictures look amazing and you were quite lucky with the weather. You've seen Switzerland at it's best I would think.

Looking forward to your new travel plans :-)

Jet2016
Jet2016
2 posts
new member
Sep 5, 2016 - 11:06 PM

Hi Josh thanks for sharing your experiences and your beautiful pics! I hope you don't mind me asking you to share some more details (start/end point, how long?) about your hikes around Mt Rigi, sounds like you did a couple nice ones... I'm looking for ideas as I will be stopping at the mineral spa in Rigi Kaltbad on the way down and I thought hiking would justify my lazy time there lol... Also could you share what company you did the paragliding with in Murren? Any more info about that would be great... How terrifying was it lol?? Thanks again :)

joshua77
joshua77
6 posts
new member
Sep 6, 2016 - 12:33 AM in reply to Jet2016

Happy to share -

After taking the cogwheel train to Rigi Kulm, we hiked from there to Rigi Kaltbad. The trails in this area are extremely well marked, and most signs usually even include walking time to the destinations. So it's pretty easy to adjust your path as you go. On our way down to Rigi Kaltbad, we extended the walk by taking an eastern path through some beautiful rolling hills - I think that made the entire hike, from Rigi Kulm to Rigi Kaltbad, about 1 hr 20 min. We then hiked back up to Rigi Staffelhohe (the next train stop heading toward the top) which took about 20 min, then back to Rigi Kaltbad via a meadow path that was awesome. That took about another 45 minutes. That path is marked here: goo.gl/maps/avXBUHdJNv y

For paragliding, we used Paragliding Jungfrau (www.paragliding-jungfrau.ch/wp/) because of their reviews on TripAdvisor. There was an option to fly in Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen (from Murren), and we went with the latter because we were already staying near there and really wanted to paraglide near the waterfalls. They picked us up from the Lauterbrunnen train station by car, drove us to the cablecar to Murren, and then drove us back to the train station after the flight. The actual airtime was about 15-20 minutes. It wasn't as scary as I expected - You jog down a small hill with the glider deployed, and before you know it, you're in the air and gliding above the valley. Totally worth it and definitely one of the highlights of our trip.

Hope that's helpful, happy planning!

Josh

Jet2016
Jet2016
2 posts
new member
Sep 6, 2016 - 5:24 PM

Thanks so much Josh!! Sooooo excited to get there and see everything I have been reading about for the past year :)

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