Does this 2 week itinerary seem reasonable?

Does this 2 week itinerary seem reasonable?

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jsanderfield
jsanderfield
11 posts
new member
Aug 14, 2016 - 2:04 AM

Below is an itinerary I am considering. Can someone tell me if they see any obvious flaws with it?

We will arrive in Zurich on Sept 2nd. We will spend the day running around Zurich and at the end of the day head for Lucerne.

There we will spend three nights the 2nd, 3rd and 4th. This will give us 2 full days there. One to run around the city and another if the sky cooperates to head up to Pilatus.

On the 5th we will head out to Lauterbrunnen where we plan to stay for four nights and do some hiking in the area.

On the 9th we will head up to Bern spend a few hours there and then head back to Thun where will spend 2 nights and visit the area.

We will head out on the 11th and head for Betten planning to see the Aletsch Glacier and spend the night here.

On the 12th we will head for Zermatt spending 2 nights visit Gornergrat and Zermatt.

On the 14th we will take the Glacier Express to St Moritz and spend 2 night there. Weather permitting there are several opportunities here for hiking.

On the 15th we will head up to visit the Rhine Falls, back to Zurich and fly home on the 17th

I realize that the weather has to cooperate for some of the hiking opportunities and such. This will allow us to hike and see Switzerland, ride the scenic Glacier Express and visit some cities. Aside from weather issues, does this sound ok? Does anyone have thoughts or insight into things I may not have considered?

Thanks so much.

Jerry

SummitClym
SummitClym
16 posts
new member
Aug 14, 2016 - 5:54 AM in reply to jsanderfield

I've done a very similar itinerary with a couple of variations. We started at Rhine Falls with a stop at Schaffhausen, only viewed Aletsch from Jungfraujoch. plus we included a trip over to Gruyere and down to Locarno and to Chur on the Glacier Express. Based on my experience, your itinerary looks well balanced for a little faster pace Tour de Swiss! Ours was great for our first trip to Switzerland. Only would suggest Zurich on the front end or back end but not both. I say go for it!

Arno
Arno
7696 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 14, 2016 - 10:20 AM

Good tips from SummitClym here. As long as you realize it's a fast pace tour you're good to go. It does seem doable to me, and you will see a lot in a short time as long as the weather cooperates. September is known for nice weather; but no guarantees of course. The main risk is you may want to come back to see more ;-)

I would stay put in Lauterbrunnen instead of shifting base to Thun. Thun is only an hour from Lauterbrunnen. Thun and Bern can easily be visited from there as a day trip, and you'll be more flexible weather wise.

Please see here for hotel and rail pass tips:

jsanderfield
jsanderfield
11 posts
new member
Aug 14, 2016 - 12:58 PM in reply to Arno

Thank you gentlemen for your replies.

While I plan to do the Top of Europe I guess I thought that Betten and going to see the Aletsch Glacier was going to allow me to hike and that it would be a different view. It seemed as though that might be pretty. But knowing that I was doing the Top of Europe would you suggest I not stop at Betten and use that time somewhere else?

Also I know there are a couple of different opportunities at St. Moritz that seemed nice. Again are they worth it or would I be better off to stay in Lauterbrunnen or add a day or two to Zermatt? I do realize it is a little fast paced but I may not make it back to Switzerland. I am 62 years old and I am getting a late start on travelling and have a lot of places I want to go.

One last question when hiking in the Lauterbrunnen area I thought I saw someone mention the colors of the signs on the trails meant different things but they did not elaborate. Can you tell me is there a color scheme?

Again thanks so much.

Jerry

Arno
Arno
7696 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 14, 2016 - 2:50 PM in reply to jsanderfield

Hi Jerry,

Betten will indeed give you a very different perspective. All places you mentioned are worth it to stay for much longer, so it's really up to you if you prefer to spend more time in one place or explore more places for just a few days. The St. Moritz area is amazing as well. I have spend weeks there, multiple times, and didn't get bored yet.

All about hiking and the signs can be found here: myswissalps.com/ hiking/etiquette.

jsanderfield
jsanderfield
11 posts
new member
Aug 14, 2016 - 6:28 PM in reply to Arno

Thank you Arno for your reply. I personally believe everything is subjective. What my likes are in terms of mountain views and what another persons taste are can be very different. For example I love the view from the Lauterbrunnen area of the Alps. I know everybody loves the Matterhorn, but I personally am not as drawn to it as I am the Eiger. That is one reason I don't plan to spend a lot of time in Zermatt. I am heading there from where we are to ride the Glacier express and then wok my way back to Zurich for the flight home. Having said that I felt I would really like the St. Moritz area a lot. While I realize my taste may be different than another's I feel as though you seem to like the St. Moritz and Lauterbrunnen areas a lot, so I have a sense our taste our pretty comparable. If that is true, would you agree that I would want to spend more time in St. Moritz than Zermatt? Thanks again

jsanderfield
jsanderfield
11 posts
new member
Aug 14, 2016 - 6:33 PM in reply to jsanderfield

Sorry to be a pest but I forgot to ask. I looked at the signs and saw the Regular trail versus Mountain trail. But I have no clue as to what the difference is between the two. Can I assume the Mountain trail may be a little more rugged or difficult to take than the regular trail? Again, many thanks.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2641 posts
expert
Aug 15, 2016 - 7:01 AM in reply to jsanderfield

Hi Jsanderfield:

Here is some more explanation of the hiking trails:

www.alpenwild.com/stat icpage/trail-signs-in-the-swiss-alps/

There is more explanation at the bottom of this list:

www.jungfrau.ch/en/som mer/tourism/destinatio ns/kleine-scheidegg/hiking-trails/

Kim has some more notes on page 5 of her omnibus guide to the region:

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

Most guides say you can walk the yellow trails in "ordinary " shoes or sneakers. They'd better be waterproof.

The "mountain trails" (red) expect boots or hiking shoes with heavy lugged soles and at least one hiking staff. In German "ein Spazierstock."

All that may be true, but I've been hiking around Switzerland for about 30 years and am now in my 70's.. I am not a long distance hiker. I do day hikes. I would not think of getting on the trail without hiking boots and a hiking staff.

Why? Ankle support. It is easy to slip on the gravel on the best of trails, and if you turn your ankle, you will not hike for a while.

Lugged soles are recommended because you have better grip on uneven surfaces, and they are thick enough to absorb minor irregularities.

A hiking staff provides invaluable support on downhill stretches with gravel or slippery surfaces. I put mine out ahead and brace against it.

My own boots are Lowa Renegade II's. Selected for relatively light weight, Vibram soles, a good brand name, and availability in large sizes. (Big feet.) Plenty of other good brands exist. Thos boots are not rugged enough for extensive hiking on trails with lots od scree; they can abrade and have sewing on the exterior surface.

The following link provides the best topo map of Switzerland. It has a large variety of overlays, tremendous detail, and good altitude data.

In this link I have turned on an overlay ("additional maps" for hiking trails. (Also, public transport stops.) They are color coded to match the yellow, red, and blue (technical climbing) trail makings:

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&X=161530.00 &Y=637120.00&zoom=6

This map is more easily used, but I have not figured out how to turn on altitudes. Gotta have altitudes.

Under "Points of Interest" you can turn on lots of different kinds of information, including hotels and restaurants ( under Gastronomy.)

Slowpoke

Last modified on Aug 15, 2016 - 7:08 AM by Slowpoke
Arno
Arno
7696 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 15, 2016 - 1:28 PM in reply to jsanderfield

I do think you'll like the St. Moritz area, and it has the advantage of being much larger than Zermatt. So more to explore. Please see myswissalps.com/ upperengadine.

jsanderfield
jsanderfield
11 posts
new member
Aug 15, 2016 - 6:09 PM

Thank you gentlemen for your kind replies. Slowpoke as I was reading your reply and saw the part about you being in your seventies I couldn't help but wonder if that is why the username slowpoke? I must admit I slightly chuckled at the thought. I am not a to far behind you as I am 63 and live in the U.S. I have hiked a lot here and in the Canadian Rockies but we don't have the wonderful trail signs you all do and that is why I was not to up on the meaning of them. I do have good hiking poles to save my knees and I have a pair of Vasque hiking boots for the very reason mentioned to save my ankles. But to be honest I have never heard of lugged soles and I don't know where to rate these in regards to that. I have used these and I know they have saved my fanny on many occasions from hobbling or being carried down a mountain. Thanks again gentlemen.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2641 posts
expert
Aug 15, 2016 - 7:49 PM in reply to jsanderfield

Hi Jsanderfield-

Your Vasque boots have lugged soles. Perhaps that is slightly to strong a word,but the soles have substantial texture and have a deep pattern. That is what you need.

The largest size Vasques almost but not quite fit me. Toes jam on downhills.

I am a US citizen and live in Connecticut. The Swiss "Wanderwege" are a wonderful concept, and well implemented. there are some really good topo maps, too. A special kind (die Wanderkarte" have the wanderwege marked on them.

travelingnaturally.blo gspot.com/2011/01/wand erwegthe-magic-of-walking-in.html

The nickname comes from the speed with which I climb hills when hiking.

By the way, there are some interesting concepts associated with foot travel in Switzerland:

1.- The first, and strangest to the average US citizen, is that walking is a legitimate form of public transportation.

2.- In Switzerland, a "level" trail runs anywhere from up or down at 10 or 15 degrees inclination to ,on occasion, level. ;-)

3.- The Swiss walk just as fast uphill and down as they do on an easy level trail. How do I know? The trail signs have times posted in hours and minutes. (die Stunden = hours) . If I walk a level trail, my times usually come close to matching the posted times. If the trail is hilly, it takes me about twice as long as the posted time.

Hope you have time for some of the trails.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Aug 15, 2016 - 7:51 PM by Slowpoke
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Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2641 posts
expert
Aug 15, 2016 - 8:07 PM in reply to jsanderfield

Hi Jerry-

<<""On the 15th we will head up to visit the Rhine Falls, back to Zurich and fly home on the 17th">>Long term members of this forum are aware that I think there are better things to do with precious time in Switzerland than look at the Rhine Falls. Others do not share my opinion.

However, if you have seen both the Niagara Falls, the Rhine Falls are a non-event. Powerful, some close approaches, but not very high. And, in the Fall, water flow is less than in the Spring.

I'd have a look at St. Gall and perhaps Stein on Rhine myself. Or, spend another day near Luzern, perhaps going up on the Rigi for a nice walk, and returning directly to Zürich from Arth Goldau ( the least scenic access point to the Rigi Bahns.>

www.myswissalps.com/ri gi

www.myswitzerland.com/ en-us/st-gallen.html

www.myswitzerland.com/ en-us/unesco-world-heritage-abbey-precints-of-stgallen.html

www.myswitzerland.com/ en-us/stein-am-rhein.html

(Warning- can be full of tourists on weekends. Nice place for lunch- climb up the hill through the vineyards to the castle for lunch with a view.)

Slowpoke

Or, since you've had

jsanderfield
jsanderfield
11 posts
new member
Aug 16, 2016 - 1:47 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Thank you slowpoke for all of your information and I will consider your point about the Rhine Falls as maybe I should reconsider. It all goes back to my comment about everything is subjective and what I like is not necessarily what another likes. I am amazed you are from the U.S. as it seems you have done a lot of hiking here. That is wonderful and I am jealous. I am curious have you hiked in the Canadian Rockies in Lake Louise and drove up to Jasper? I love the Lake Louise area in the fall when the larch trees are turning colors. Going back to your comment about being somewhat slow, slow and steady always gets the job done. I for one can't run up hills with the young kids either. Thanks again for your insight I appreciate it.

Last modified on Aug 16, 2016 - 1:52 AM by jsanderfield
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2641 posts
expert
Aug 16, 2016 - 9:39 AM in reply to jsanderfield

Never hiked in the Canadian West.

As for the larch trees, I've seen them in the US West, perhaps near Bryce in the Fall...not sure,

However, why leave New England when you can see the sugar maples on display as attached?

Slowpoke

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Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2641 posts
expert
Aug 16, 2016 - 9:49 AM in reply to jsanderfield

<<"I will consider your point about the Rhine Falls as maybe I should reconsider. It all goes back to my comment about everything is subjective and what I like is not necessarily what another likes.">>

Just my own subjective opinion. ;-)

Lot's of people enjoy them....but. it surely depends on what you have seen before, and what else is available that is truly unique to Switzerland.

Or nearby-

You can get to the Zeppelin Museum in Friedrichshafen in 2 hours and 15 or 20 minutes form Zürich HB....by German trains...no Swiss Travel Pass. If you use all Swiss transport including the boat on Lake Konstanz, it takes a similar time via Romanshorn..

Google "Zeppelin Museum" for some pictures

Slowpoke

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