Seeking advice on intinerary of 11 days in Valais

Seeking advice on intinerary of 11 days in Valais

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flochan
flochan
7 posts
new member
Aug 17, 2016 - 4:21 PM

Greetings from Hong Kong.

My friend and I are planning for our second trip to Switzerland in early October. The dates are not fixed yet, though we can only be away from work for two weeks at most. That means we probably have around 10 to 12 nights in the country between our flights from home to Zurich and from Zurich back home. Both of us are mainly interested in scenery, easy hiking (3 - 4 hours at most), and taking strolls in village. Last time we enjoyed ourselves, at a fairly leisurely pace, in exploring the Bernese Oberland region for 8 nights, basing in Interlaken (3 nights) and Grindelwald (5 nights). This time we'd like to base in the Valais canton to do likewise and explore some areas, again with the use of public transport as we don't drive. Below is our tentative itinerary (for 10 nights). I would grearly appreciate comments and advice.

  • Days 1 - 2 (Nax Mont-Noble): Arrive at Zurich airport in the early morning (ard 6:30). Travel to Nax Mont-Noble. Check in to the hotel (Maya Boutique Hotel), relax and enjoy the facilities on the first day. On the second day, Go hiking along the nature trail from Nax to Eison.
  • Day 3 (Brig): Travel to Brig before noon. Explore the town.
  • Days 4 - 5 (Zermatt): Leave our luggage behind in Brig and travel to Zermatt in the morning and explore the village on the first day. On the second day, go hiking along the lake trail from Blauherd to Gornergrat.
  • Day 6 (Brig): Go back to Brig in the afternoon to stay the night.
  • Days 7 - 8 (Bettmeralp): Travel to Bettmeralp. Check-in to hotel there and have a walk in the village on the first day. On the second day, go hiking along the Aletsch Glacier trail from Betterhorn via Marjelensee to Fiescheralp.
  • Days 9 - 10 (Zurich): Go back to Zurich. Check-in to hotel and have a walk in the city on the first day. On the second day, go to the Rhine Falls.
  • Day 11 -- Go back home from Zurich, probably by the flight departing at 1:30pm.

In fact I've got stuck at this planning stage as I actually don't want to move around hotels that frequently. Would it be better for me to spend Days 3-6 all in either Zermatt or Brig? I'm also not sure if it's worth the fuss to go to Nax Mont-Noble, while really wishing to have a relaxing time in a quiet and not touristy area.

And at this point of time, I still haven't thought of the issue of rail pass. Guess I can only decide after fixing the skeleton.

Thank you for reading this long post. Hope to hear some feeback soon.

Arno
Arno
7716 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 17, 2016 - 5:03 PM

Thanks for joining us flochan!

If you just base yourself in Brig you can easily make day trips to Zermatt and Bettmeralp from there. Also you can consider staying in Lucerne instead of Zurich, unless the Rhine Falls are a must for you. Lucerne is just an hour from Zurich but still in the Alps. Zurich is not in the Alps.

Your plan of staying in Nax is interesting! You're definitely going off the beaten path there.

Last modified on Aug 18, 2016 - 10:01 AM by Arno
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2652 posts
expert
Aug 18, 2016 - 12:32 AM in reply to flochan

Hi flochan-

Watch out for reduced tourist services in the higher regions in October. Early October may be OK...but, as the month progresses, many facilities shut down until mid-December ski season opening.

Slowpoke

flochan
flochan
7 posts
new member
Aug 18, 2016 - 3:24 PM in reply to Arno

Thank you so so much for your replies, Arno and Slowpoke!

We totally agree that doing day trips is better than moving around hotels, especially with out luggages. Since the train journey between Brig and Bettmeralp is shorter, we'll probably stay in Brig for the 7th and 8th nights instead. We still fancy staying in Zermatt for the 4th and 5th nights, though, just to save some commuting time. Do you think that's a sensible decision? Or would it be more interesting to stay in Tasch? And have you got other recommendations for us regarding the hiking trails?

We're not a big fan of Zurich and Rhine Falls is not a must, haha. But strangely both of us haven't really thought about going to Lucerne before. If we're to spend the last two nights of our trip there, do you have any suggestions for us about what to do/see? We can spare one full day (Day 10) to explore the city or do a day trip. Maybe it's best to go to Rigi?

As for Nax, I myself am still a bit unsure, yet I do like visiting one or two 'under-explored' areas during trips, just to avoid the crowd and gain some authentic local experience. I cannot really get much information about the village/area regarding the local transport, hiking trails, etc. on the web, though. Would you be able to give us some clues?

Speaking of seasonal services, is there a fixed period for the summer season? I guess I'll probably set out on September 30 and arrive at the country on October 1. So I'll have completed my journey before mid-October.

Thank you once again for your time!

Best regards,

Flo

Arno
Arno
7716 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 18, 2016 - 6:35 PM

Hi Flo,

Saving on commuting time is certainly a factor, but so is the weather. If you're unlucky, your two days in Zermatt are cloudy. When based in Brig, you can watch the weather forecast each day and "strategically" make plans for the next day.

Mount Rigi is wonderful and free if you have a Swiss Travel Pass. The link to our Lucerne page in my previous post gets you plenty of other suggestions for things to do.

I can't help with Nax. It's a tiny village, and I have to admit I know of it's existence because of your post. The tourist office of nearby Sion might be able to help you: siontourisme.ch.

There is no fixed period for the summer season. The timetable contains the schedules of all public transport including cable cars, funiculars, etc.

flochan
flochan
7 posts
new member
Aug 19, 2016 - 4:01 AM in reply to Arno

Thank you so much, Arno.

You're right about the importance of allowing oneself greater flexibility to cope with weather changes. And I have also considered rejuggling my route a bit to avoid too much train changes on the very first day of our trip. May I have your advise on my revised itinerary below? Hope that sounds better without necessary commuting. I may need some advice on accommodation in Brig, though. Perhaps I should post in another forum about that. Many thanks!

Best, Flo

  • Zurich Flughafen -- (direct train) -- Brig (Days 1-6: day trips to Zermatt and Bettmeralp)
  • Brig -- (direct train to Sion; change to bus or shuttle to Nax) -- Nax (Days 7-8)
  • Nax -- (bus or shuttle to Sion; change to train to Lucerne with changes) -- Lucerne (Days 9-10: day trip to Mt Rigi)
  • Lucerne (Day 11: flight back home) -- (direct train) -- Zurich
Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
125 posts
active member
Aug 19, 2016 - 8:55 AM in reply to flochan

>> I cannot really get much information about the village/area regarding the local transport, hiking trails, etc. on the web, though. Would you be able to give us some clues?

Hi flochan,

I don't know the Nax Mont-Noble area either, but out of curiosity, I did a little research.

As you already seem to be aware, Nax is reached by bus from Sion railway station. The service isn't all that frequent, and varies according to the day of the week, but with careful planning you could make it work. I have attached a timetable for the stop closest to your hotel, Nax poste. (There is a closer stop, but that only seems to be operational in the high season). You will have a walk of about 750m to your hotel from the bus stop. The first half looks fairly level, on pavement through the village, but the second half might be uphill a bit. You can have a look on Google street view.

The hotel looks very interesting! It seems their restaurant is not open every night in the off-season though, so it might be worth enquiring what your options for the evening meal would be. There might not be many other restaurants open in October, or you may perhaps have to walk a fair way to get to anything that's open. (I get the impression this is essentially a ski resort, with limited services outside the ski season. Perhaps a little bleak in October!).

I don't know the nature trail from Nax to Eison myself, but information on the internet indicates that the trail as a whole might not fit your hiking preference of easy hiking of 3-4 hours: it's nearly 14km, at an average altitude of around 1600m, with a rather steep climb at the start - basically an all-day hike.

Here is the information I found about it:

www.myswitzerland.com/ en-au/nature-trail-from-nax-to-eison.html

www.sentiers-decouverte.ch/culture-nature/sentier-nature-148.html

October is probably not the ideal month to do such a walk, given the altitude and the apparent lack of bail-out opportunities along the route. Perhaps you could just walk for an hour or two and then go back the same way - if the steepness of that stretch does not deter you!

I hope you find this information useful.

Alpenrose

Last modified on Aug 19, 2016 - 8:57 AM by Alpenrose666
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Arno
Arno
7716 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 19, 2016 - 12:46 PM in reply to flochan

Hi Flo,

Your revised itinerary looks better I think. You'll be more flexible. Please check here for accommodation in Lucerne. If you need help finding hotels in Brig or Lucerne, please post in the Accommodations forum and include some additional information as requested here.

flochan
flochan
7 posts
new member
Aug 19, 2016 - 5:26 PM in reply to Arno

Thank you so much, Arno! Can I have some more advice regarding the hikes in Zermatt? Is it not possible to do the 5 Seenweg when the Sunnegga to Blauherd lift is closed? I've checked with the tourist office and learnt that the lift is closing from October 2. Just wonder if there're still other ways to do the trail as I've been fancying to see the reflectio of Matterhorn in Stellisee, Grindjisee and Leisee lakes. Or msybe there are still other hikes with sceneries just as good?

Best regards,

Flo

flochan
flochan
7 posts
new member
Aug 19, 2016 - 5:39 PM in reply to Alpenrose666

Dear Alpenrose,

Thank you so much for all the information. I'm very touched.

In fact, I did contact the hotel for some basic information about the area earlier on. I have been assured that there are many restaurants in the village and a grocery store, so I probably need not worry too much about meals. I have also been told that the nature trail is not so difficult and there are some other hikes around the area. Transport, though, can be a problem for non-drivers like me. I cannot find the any images of the nearby area of the hotel from the google street view app. The worst is to arrange a shuttle service which is indeed not cheap.

Frankly, I'm still not 100% sure but I do really wanna give it a try to have this little 'adventure'. I'll let you know if I am really going, if you're stil interested to know.

Habe a good weekend!

Best regards,

Flo

Arno
Arno
7716 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 19, 2016 - 6:57 PM in reply to flochan

I walked along most of those lakes without going to Blauherd: myswissalps.com/ hiking/riffelalp-sunnegga.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2652 posts
expert
Aug 19, 2016 - 8:51 PM in reply to flochan

Hi Flo-

<<" I have also been told that the nature trail is not so difficult and there are some other hikes around the area.">>

Swiss standards for "not so difficult" can be extremely steep trails for long distances. Alpenroses description should not be ignored or discarded.

In that region of the world, peasants and farmers used to walk routinely over the hills from valley to valley, or down to Sion.

May I suggest that you look into the region Evolene, les Hauderes, la Forclaz?

map.search.ch/Les-Haud%C3%A8res?pos=607264,104800&z=32

It is accessible from Sion by regular bus.

Many many years ago I took a bus in from Sion and walked from La Forclaz to Evolene on a trail above the road, up on the side of the valley. Easy walk. The farmers were cutting hay by hand with scythes, in old style peasant dress. The storehouses were up on stilts with "mazots" ....the thin circular stone disks characteristic of the Valais architecture.

The villages look like they might be large enough to have a store and a place to eat, but, at least then, they were very definitely not crowded, modernized, or full of rich peoples ski chateaux.

Times have changed, and ski chateaux have sprung up everywhere all over Switzerland, like some kind of fungus, but If I were seeking the experience you describe, I'd at least look into that area.

Slowpoke

The villages have been there a long, long time, and were not created purely for skiers.

I really don't know much about the area, but it was very peaceful

flochan
flochan
7 posts
new member
Aug 20, 2016 - 4:02 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Thank you so much for your kind advice and suggestions, Slowpoke. I'll try to do a bit more research on the neighbouring areas before finalizing the intinerary. It would just be lovely to spend two nights or three in a peaceful village away from the hustle and bustle of the more touristy areas. Especially for people like us, having lived in a crowded small city all along.

Best regards,

Flo

flochan
flochan
7 posts
new member
Aug 20, 2016 - 4:04 PM in reply to Arno

Oh, Arno, thank you so much. Sorry to have overlooked the details of that particular route earlier on. In this case, there's no need for me to make changes on my travel dates just to meet the schedule of that lift.

Best regards,

Flo

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2652 posts
expert
Aug 20, 2016 - 5:47 PM in reply to flochan

<<"It would just be lovely to spend two nights or three in a peaceful village away from the hustle and bustle of the more touristy areas.">>

If i were looking for that experience, in the Valais, I 'd start my search in the region I mentioned.

I don't know if I would end up there.

Seems possible, perhaps likely.

Slowpoke

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