Please review my itinerary, thank you!

Please review my itinerary, thank you!

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bella2020
bella2020
4 posts
new member
Apr 10, 2011 - 10:51 AM
Hi,

I will be visiting Switzerland end of May for 5 days (as part of a small group of adults) before moving on to other countries. I have the following itinerary planned and would greatly appreciate your kind feedback:

Day 1 - Arrive Zurich afternoon, rent car and drive to Beatenberg. We will be based at a hotel here for the rest of our stay in Switzerland.

Day 2 - Plan to visit Jungfraujoch. Drive to Lauterbrunnen. Rail/cable car Lauterbrunnen-Wengen-Mannlichen and hike Mannlichen-Kleine Scheidegg. Take train up to Jungfraujoch if weather conditions are okay. Return from Jungfraujoch to Lauterbrunnen via Grindelwald and Zweilutchinen. If we can't visit Jungfraujoch will instead return from Wengenalp-Lauterbrunnen after the Mannlichen-Kleine Scheidegg hike. (is it instead better to visit Jungfraujoch first then do the Mannlichen-Kleine Scheidegg hike later?)

Day 3 - Plan to visit Schilthorn. Drive to Lauterbrunnen. Grutchalp/Murren cablecar to Grutchalp and walk to Murren through Winteregg. Explore Murren and take Schithorn cablecar to top and back (if weather permits). Upon return go through Gimmelwald to Stechelberg. Explore Trummelbach Falls before returning to Lauterbrunnen.

Day 4 - Lake Brienz cruise with stop at Geissbach Falls and next half of day drive to and explore Bern (any other alternatives?)

Day 5 - Check-out, drive to Lucerne and explore Lucerne before driving on to Mendrisio for shopping at Foxtown Outlet. Mendrisio is our last stop before driving into Italy for our next leg of travels.

Please also advise if we need to get the Swiss Half Pass. Further, if the weather is not cooperative the days we are there, what are the other places you will suggest to visit? Are we trying to take on too much by visiting 2 mountains - both Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn?

Thank you in advance.
Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 11, 2011 - 6:01 AM
Hi bella2020, and welcome! I think you've definitely managed to arrange an impressive travel schedule. It may be a bit too tight on some days though. Some thoughts on your travel scheme:

Day 1: renting a car is an option or course, and I understand that it may come in handy when stayin in Beatenberg. Swiss public transport is great as well though. You could easily cover all travel plans using buses and trains.

Day 2: I'd personally prefer to visit the Jungfraujoch as early in the morning as possible. On most days, skies are clearer in the morning than in the afternoon. Moreover, the sun will be in a better position for making pictures (I'm not sure if this is important to you) towards the Aletsch glacier. However, it's best to adapt your scheme to weather circumstances of that day. Just check weather forecasts the evening before or the same morning, and then decide which order of plans is best.
With or without visiting the Jungfraujoch, I would advise to get down via Grindelwald. The Männlichen cable car offers great views of the Lauterbrunnen valley, and so does the cog railway down from Kleine Scheidegg and Wengen-Lauterbrunnen. Returning via Grindelwald allows you to explore another beautiful valley.

Day 3: Both Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn are great in their own ways, providing different views and experiences. If you like visiting mountain tops, and if weather is fine, just go for the Schilthorn as well. In all, this will be quite a full day. If it's a sunny day, you may want to skip the Trümmelbach falls (although they're quite impressive) and enjoy a relaxed afternoon or evening in Beatenberg.

Day 4: This is do-able, although it will be quite a long day as well.

Day 5: I'm not sure how much time you'd like to spend in both Lucerne and Mendrisio, but this may be too much for one day. Are you planning on staying in Mendrisio for the night, or do you have to move on to Italy the same day? Anyway, you'll have to drive to Lucerne first, which takes about 1h30. The trip from Lucerne to Mendrisio by car takes another 2h15/2h30. You may want to slow down a bit along the way and take some breaks, as the views are truly beautiful. If you leave early, it's all possible, and it's a matter of personal preference too. For example: you could spend your time in Lucerne from 9am to 12am, travel onto Mendrisio and do some shopping there between 3pm/4pm and 6 pm.

Yes, even with a car, the Swiss Half Fare Card will save you quite some money on the Jungfraujoch trip, other mountain trains and cable cars, and the boat ride.

Some bad weather alternatives are the Trümmelbach falls, the Aare gorge near Meiringen and the Beatus caves near Beatenberg. Further tips can be found on our Bernese Oberland day trip overview.

I hope this helps a bit!
bella2020
bella2020
4 posts
new member
Apr 12, 2011 - 12:02 AM
Thank you so much for your valued feedback Annika!

We will go up Jungfraujoch the first thing in the morning - with the Swiss Half Fare card we're not restricted to a specific time, unlike if we purchase the Good Morning Ticket. And will definitely take your advise to go back via Grindelwald. Apparently there's some nice chocolate to be bought from the Casagrande store there. I would appreciate your opinion though on how we're to fit in the Mannlichen-Kleine Scheidegg hike. Everyone seems to say that it's better to go from Mannlichen as the views will be in front of us. However since we're coming down from Jungfraujoch and reaching Kleine Scheidegg, I'm not quite sure if it makes any sense to go Mannlichen and then walk back to Kleine Scheidegg again (that would be the 3rd time in a day we'd be in Kleine Scheidegg - 1st when we go up to Jungfraujoch, next when we come down, and the last time after we finish the hike! ;-)). Further, what else can we do around the area if the authorities have not opened the Mannlichen-Kleine Scheidegg trail during the time we are there?

We'll definitely consider if we're up to going to Bern after the Lake Brienz cruise. We like to take things easy also, whatever is in our itinerary is not so much mandatory as it is a rough outline for our travels. Perhaps if there's any other places nearer to Brienz after the cruise for us to explore?

Finally concerning Day 5, we are not staying in Mendrisio for the night - have already got a hotel in Milan booked. We've planned to leave early from Beatenberg anyway especially since it's a long drive. And we couldn't pass up the chance to visit Lucerne since it's on the way. We just plan to stop by the Foxtown Outlet since it's practically on the way to Milan.

Thanks again for your insights.
Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 12, 2011 - 2:40 PM
Hello bella. You're right, Männlichen-Kleine Scheidegg can be preferred over Kleine Scheidegg-Männlichen because of the views. However, if you want to visit the Jungfraujoch first, you can just go for the Kleine Scheidegg-Männlichen variant. It's beautiful anyway; you should simply turn around a bit more often to take a look at the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau ;-). It would be too much of a hassle to get to Männlichen first after your Jungfraujoch visit, and then walk to Kleine Scheidegg. And if weather is fine all day long you could still choose to get up to the Männlichen first, take your hike, and then visit the Jungfraujoch. If the hiking trail is closed (which doesn't seem likely at the moment, as not that much snow has fallen over the past months), you could also hike down to Grindelwald from Alpiglen (a stop along the line Kleine Scheidegg-Grindelwald).

Another thing to consider, which just crossed my mind: I'm not sure when exactly you'll be visiting the region, but the Männlichen cable car is closed down for maintenance up to May 28. Alternatively, you could visit the Jungfraujoch getting up via Wengen and Kleine Scheidegg, return to Grindelwald and take the cable car to First from there (this one's open from May 21). That's a nice viewing point too, and you could take an easy hike to the Bachalpsee.

Meiringen is a lot closer to Brienz than Bern. The town itself is not that special, but you could visit the Reichenbach falls and/or the Aareschlucht, or get up to the Alpen Tower.
bella2020
bella2020
4 posts
new member
Apr 13, 2011 - 3:20 AM
Thank you once again Annika. Your replies are very helpful!

We'll be there just after the Mannlichen cablecar opens, so there shouldn't be any problem. However it is good to know the various options we have, eg. the Alpiglen-Grindelwald hike as well as that of First-Balchapsee... So much to do, so little time!!

Just one last question, and that's regarding clothing. We're going from the Swiss Alps down to the Riviera, with an escape to a real desert thrown in at the tail-end of our trip (we'll be doing our skiing at the desert too) - very different climates. I've got a lightweight ski jacket (waterproof, windproof etc. - the works) and I'm not sure if I should be lugging that all over? Just a little concerned about the temperatures up in the mountains as well as during hiking late May-early June. We're from the tropics. Noted also what you wrote about there being less snowfall than usual this year? I hear there are times when one can get by in the higher elevations with t-shirts and shorts... And since we're going to be doing just the easy hikes, will sneakers (vs. hiking footwear) do?

Best regards.
Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 14, 2011 - 9:51 AM
Hi bella2020. In fact, you should prepare for all kinds of weather. Yes, it can be warm and sunny by May and June, even high up in the mountains, but it can be cold (and even snowy) as well. Your visit to the Jungfraujoch requires warm clothing anyway. Even for relatively easy hikes in the mountains, you should carry along extra (light-weight) rain gear and/or a fleece sweater. Weather can change rapidly, and even during an 'easy' hike you don't wan't to get caught by rain or wind if you don't have the proper gear. For the same reason, I wouldn't want to hike with sneakers. If hiking paths get wet and slippery, you do need hiking shoes (let's say category A/B or B) with solid grip.
bella2020
bella2020
4 posts
new member
Apr 14, 2011 - 12:07 PM
Okay, noted on the clothing + footwear requirements. Many, many thanks to you Annika. You've been of great help with all your detailed answers. Have a great day!

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