My 3 weeks sightseeing/hiking trip itinenary

My 3 weeks sightseeing/hiking trip itinenary

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Hyphos
Hyphos
4 posts
new member
Feb 14, 2016 - 6:35 AM

Hi all! I will be visiting Switzerland solo from 18 June to 10 July this year (22.5 days). I intend to do mainly sightseeing/hiking and I will be travelling on public transport. I'm hoping for you guys to critique my rough itinerary:

Arrive 18th June morning at Zurich airport. Take rail to Lucerne.

Lucerne (18 – 19 June, 1.5 days),Arrive 18 afternoon

I plan to visit Mt. Pilatus and Mt. Rigi. I'll probably do a walking tour around the town and a short hike around Rigi.

Leave Lucerne 20th June morning, do a short stopover in Lungern for phototaking (20 June, 0.5 day)

Lauterbrunnen (20 to 27 June, 7.5 days), Arrive noon

I will be doing the following activities when the weather is clear:

  1. Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg hike, then taking public transport up to Jungfraujoch
  2. Hang gliding in Interlaken and visiting Niederhorn
  3. Hiking from Schynige Platte to First
  4. Hike from Grütschalp to Murren, then visit Schilthorn and Gimmelwald
  5. Hike from Stechelberg to Oberhornsee and back.

I can probably do the above in 4 to 5 days so the remaining days are contingency for bad weather. Bad/cloudy weather alternatives:

  • Visit Meiringen
  • Grosse Schneidegg
  • Day Trip to Thun and Bern
  • Lake Brienz cruise
  • Visit Trümmelbach Falls and StaubbachFalls

Leave Lauterbrunnen 27 June evening

Kandersteg (28 June – 1 July, 4 days), Arrive 27 June night

Clear weather activities:

  1. Hike the Gemmi Pass
  2. Hike in the Gasterntal valley
  3. Visit Oeschinen Lake
  4. Visit Allmenalp
  5. Hike from Griesalp to Gamchi glacier

It'll be about 3.5 days for the above activities so they are prioritized in order in case of rain. For bad weather I'll make a trip to Lötschental.

Leave Kandersteg 1 July evening

Zermatt (2– 4 July, 3 days), arrive 1July night

Clear weather activities:

  1. Cable car to Matterhorn glacier and Schwarzee paradises
  2. Höhenweg Höhbalmen hike
  3. Visit Rothorn Paradise and hike the Zermatt lakes trail from Blauherd to Riffelalp
  4. Hike from Gornergrat to Sunegga

Again I don't expect to do them all in case of bad weather so I'll be prioritizing the above activities in order. I'll follow this link for bad weather plan: www.zermatt.ch/en/vill age-experience/Indoor-bad-weather-alternative-programme

Leave Zermatt 4 July evening

Pontresina (5– 10 July, 5.5 days), arrive 4 July night

Clear weather activities:

  1. Hike from Mount Corvatsch -> Fuorcla Surlej -> Val Roseg
  2. Visit Morteratsch Glacier and Diavolezza
  3. Hike from Muottas Muragl to Alp Languard
  4. Visit Piz Nair
  5. Hike from Rovian to Soglio to Casaccia
  6. Visit Lago di Saoseo

I can probably do the above in 4 days.

Leave Pontresina 10 July afternoon for Zurich airport (flight at night)

If my last day (10 July) is raining or free, I'll leave Pontresina in the morning and do a stopover in Appenzell.

Now for my queries:

  1. Is my itinerary reasonable? How would you prioritize my clear weather activity list for each location if you had to give up some in case of bad weather?
  2. Are the dates ok in terms of trails opening? It’s the start of the summer season so I’m worried some trails might be closed. Same question for cable car operations.
  3. What rail and other public transport passes should I buy?

Sorry for the long post and thanks a lot for taking the time to read through it! I’m hoping this will be the best trip of my life! :)

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Feb 15, 2016 - 12:55 AM in reply to Hyphos

Hi Hyphos-

<<"Is my itinerary reasonable? How would you prioritize my clearweather activity list for each location if you had to give up some incase of bad weather?Are the dates ok in terms of trailsopening? It’s the start of the summer season so I’m worried some trailsmight be closed. Same question for cable car operations.What rail and other public transport passes should I buy?Sorryfor the long post and thanks a lot for taking the time to read throughit! I’m hoping this will be the best trip of my life! :)">>

Last first -

Your presentation speaks of extensive though and planning, and is well organized for us to consider. Definitely do not apologize for the length. Everyone else should take the trouble to think through their itineraries the way that you have.

Next to last-

The forum moderators - Arno and Annika - are the experts on rail passes. I'll pass on that one.

Dates -

Even if the weather (snow load) has been heavy, you are still likely to be OK everywhere, although some high trails may be partly blocked still on June 18 or thereabouts. Unlikely below 2300 meters.. Until recently, the alpine resorts have been complaining about lack of snow....

You can keep up with that by internet, Swiss TV, local travel info offices, and train stations near your alpine destinations.

Reasonable and priorities.

Priorities are fine, to the extent of my knowledge (which is incomplete on several items you have listed.) . I don't know several of your planned walks or hikes, so I cannot offer a full commentary on the various options.

Everyone has their own preferences.

For others to help, it would be good to know just how experienced you are as a hiker, and how much experience you have at high altitudes,say , above 2000 meters.

Item one at Pontresina may be a tough hike ( from misty memories). Don't believe me, but check it out on Switzerland Mobility:

www.schweizmobil.ch/en /schweizmobil.html

Same for Kandersteg -

The Gemmi Pass is not an easy hike. Not sure about altitude/snow at your travel dates.

There are several hikers in this forum who can probably offer more educated opinions on those items.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Feb 15, 2016 - 1:56 AM by Slowpoke
Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 15, 2016 - 1:16 PM

Hi Hyphos, thanks for joining us!

Switzerland is great in June. Pretty much all cable cars and other mountain attractions are open, most hiking trails will be cleared of snow and you still won't have the tourist peak that comes in July/August. I think your plans are well-balanced and allow you to enjoy some of the prettiest Swiss regions. You've also created a good set of back-up plans. Most of your hikes and mountain top visits heavily depend on clear skies, so you may need your alternative plans - but let's hope that won't happen often. I do think your list of plans for the days in Pontresina is a bit ambitious, as most of your trips take about one day each. But that's no problem: just choose whatever appeals to you most once you're there.

Now, as for passes: you'll have to make calculations to make sure which option is cheapest of your specific plans. Apart from the costs, here are some options and thoughts to consider:

  • a Swiss Half Fare Card will cover all days of your stay and grant a 50% discount on all trips. This does require you to buy tickets for each and every trip, which isn't convenient to some tourists;
  • an alternative is the Swiss Travel Pass Flex Combi, allowing a few days of free traveling to be used for your longer and more expensive transfers and 50% discount on remaining days;
  • you may supplement either pass with a (discounted) Regional-Pass Bernese Oberland for your days in Lauterbrunnen and Kandersteg. It has great coverage and allows free traveling on many routes in this region, even including quite some cable cars and mountain trains;
  • if you prefer unlimited traveling, without the need to buy tickets, you should look into Swiss Travel Passes (e.g. a 15 day version plus a 4 day version). You'll still have to buy additional tickets for cable cars though, and since you plan to use many, I'm not sure if this option suits your plans that well. It does offer a great amount of flexibility, which is especially nice in case weather isn't good. It allows you to make scenic boat, bus and train trips throughout the country, either to get to a region with better weather conditions or simply to enjoy the ride.

I hope this helps you decide.

Last modified on Jun 28, 2016 - 6:25 PM by Annika
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Feb 15, 2016 - 6:25 PM in reply to Hyphos

A couple more comments -

At Pontresina- Muottas Muragl to Alp Languard is easy and takes only a couple of hours. Really great and varying scenery as you progress.

Please let us know if you are experienced hiking at high altitudes or on alpine and mountain trails.

It will help us better judge our advice or comments regarding your proposed hikes.

Sometime I err on the side of too much caution, aiming to guide inexperienced hikers...... On the other hand, we have experienced hikers discuss and take hikes that require good physical condition and experience...such as Wengen to Männlichen. Then they went to Kleine Scheidegg. Easy for some, impossible for others.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Feb 15, 2016 - 6:29 PM by Slowpoke
Hyphos
Hyphos
4 posts
new member
Feb 16, 2016 - 1:25 PM

Thanks Slowpoke and Annika! I hike pretty slowly due to my lack of fitness and long frequent stops for photo taking. I have no experience hiking at high altitudes, for reference I have hiked 20 km in 9.5 hours without ascent and 12.5 km in 6.5 hours with 800 m ascent.

I may give up the stopover in Lungern to have more time in the Engadin, what do you guys think?

Oh and one more query: I can’t find much info on how to get to Lago di Saoseo in Engadin, can anyone here provide some guidance? Thanks!

Arno
Arno
7719 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 16, 2016 - 2:07 PM

Hi Hyphos,

There's a bus stop called "Alp Camp" at 500 m from the lake. The timetable shows how to get there. It's not in the Engadin by the way. It's south of there, in the valley of Poschiavo.

Last modified on Feb 16, 2016 - 2:08 PM by Arno
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Feb 16, 2016 - 2:27 PM in reply to Hyphos

<<"Thanks Slowpoke and Annika! I hike pretty slowly due to my lack of fitness and long frequent stops for photo taking. I have no experience hiking at high altitudes, for reference I have hiked 20 km in 9.5 hours without ascent and 12.5 km in 6.5 hours with 800 m ascent.">>

I have not gone back to check the topography of your suggested hikes, so I'm guessing a bit here. But, with your background, I think your plans are pretty ambitious for time and distance.

Once you are above 1600 meters, and especially above 2000-2200 meters, you will find that you will be slowed by lack of oxygen, and will need to pause frequently on uphill slopes. At least, that has been my observation. You will tire easily until you have been at high altitude for a few days...or longer. I too stop for photos. If you carry a heavy camera with lenses, that extra weight can add up.

I have switched to micro 4/3 gear, specifically to deal with that issue. ( I use an Oly EM-5 for alpine walking or hiking, even though I have a Canon 5-MkIII for many different types of photography).

I recommend that you use the links that I provided earlier to review your hikes.

Switzerland Mobility is excellent for detailed maps, and altitude profiles, if they cover your particular hike.Often, they do not, but searching for names along the route can help.

www.schweizmobil.ch/en /schweizmobil.html

Here is a different walk from Muottas Muragl:

www.wanderland.ch/en/r outes/route-0804.html

and, general info:

www.wanderland.ch/en/s ervices/places-of-interest/sehenswuerdig keit-0346.html

Nearby is Alp Grüm:

www.wanderland.ch/en/s ervices/places/ort-0438.html

Swisstopo has fantastic detail and, of course, altitudes. Here is Alp Camp bus stop.

map.geo.admin.ch/?topic=swisstopo&lang=e n&bgLayer=ch.swisstopo .pixelkarte-farbe&layers=ch.swisst opo.swissimage-product&X=142415.00&Y= 806071.00&zoom=10

Both allow names searches.

Mapsearch.CH is also very good, particularly for access to public transport as all station stops with abbreviated time tables can be made to appear on the map at an appropriate zoom.

map.search.ch/Alp-Camp-Station-Stop?z=16&x=-1055m&y=113m

Slowpoke

Last modified on Feb 16, 2016 - 2:38 PM by Slowpoke
Hyphos
Hyphos
4 posts
new member
Feb 16, 2016 - 2:56 PM

Thanks for the concern Slowpoke! Yeah I know some of the hikes are ambitious, but I believe there's about 15 hours of sunlight each day during my holiday, hopefully that will give me more time. I can always give up on the tougher hikes if I find that I'm having trouble with the shorter ones, I have already noted down the distance and ascent for each major hike. :)

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Feb 16, 2016 - 5:42 PM in reply to Hyphos

<<"I can always give up on the tougher hikes if I find that I'm having trouble with the shorter ones, I have already noted down the distance and ascent for each major hike.">>

Good planning.

Go for it!

Don't forget that descent can be hard on your knees if you are not in shape.

Before my arthritis reduced my knees' capabilities, About 400 meters of "down" began to be bothersome. Going up did not bother my leg muscles, just made me pause to catch my breath for me.

Slowpoke

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