Trying to find suitable month

Trying to find suitable month

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Posts: 9. This thread is closed.
joker134
joker134
4 posts
new member
Oct 24, 2011 - 7:08 PM
Hi all,

Kindly bear with me for 4-5 minutes for these questions:

Okay, we are a young couple, planning to travel for 3 weeks time to Switzerland/Italy/France.

Detailed as below:

Day 1: Zurich
Day 2: Bellinzona (train to Italy next day morning)
Day 3 - Day 6: Italy (flight to Paris next day morning)
Day 7 - Day 9: Paris
Day 10 - Day 21: Switzerland, planned route:
- Montreux (1 night), day trip to Geneva
- Bettmeralp (2 nights)
- Grindelwald (4 nights), day trip to Jungfraujoch and Lauterbrunnen
- Lucerne (3 nights), day trip to Engelberg and Chur
- back to Zurich

Main activity: Hiking (beginner to moderate), Small walks, Small to medium sized town walks.

The main concern:

1. What is the most suitable month for us to do this? At first, our plan is end of June to mid of July, but it seems a lot of friend advise to go from mid May. The problem is, our friends did not do any hike / minimum hike.

I have read somewhere that on May, still a lot of hiking paths are closed.
So, from experienced travelers' perspective, which one is better?

mid May to mid June / mid June to mid July? I need this as I have to purchase air tickets, preferably in near time

2. Weather-wise. I know this has been asked numerous times and as we experienced in New Zealand previously, the weather IS unpredictable. However, looking from our itinerary, which month can we go to maximize our experience?

3. May I know how to make a "plan B" (in case of bad weather). I do not see many options in Switzerland doing indoor stuff. Coming from big cities, we do not like malls :-)

4.Any feedback/advice on the itinerary above?

We'd love to hear any response from you all :-)

Thanks for reading
Regards,
R
Annika
Annika
4355 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 26, 2011 - 8:11 AM
Hi R, and welcome to the forum! You're right: weather is unpredictable, especially in the Swiss mountains, so there are no guarantees whatsoever. The best month for your trip ultimately depends on your wishes. May is beautiful in terms of nature; there aren't many tourists yet and you'll find more snow on the mountain tops than in June and July. But hiking trails at higher altitudes may still be closed (this can be the case in June too, depending on the weather). Several mountain trains and cable cars won't be running yet either. So if you want to have access to all mountain transportation and as many hiking trails as possbible, July might be better. May can bring great spring weather, although temperatures in June and July will be higher. The climate maps at MeteoSchweiz may help you out here.

There are lots of bad weather alternatives, such as museums throughout the country. Entrance in many of them is for free if you have a Swiss Pass, which might be convenient for the Swiss part of your trip anyway. Swiss rail traveling is an attraction in itself, even if weather isn't that good. There are gorges (such as the Aareschlucht), caves (Beatus caves), waterfalls (Rhine falls, Reichenbach falls, Trümmelbach falls) and quite some castles too.

I hope this gets you started!
Last modified on Dec 28, 2014 - 4:35 PM by Arno
joker134
joker134
4 posts
new member
Nov 1, 2011 - 5:38 AM
Hi Annika,

Thanks for your reply!

We have decided to omit France this time around.
So here is the updated itinerary if you have time, kindly advice what is wrong :-)

=======================
Day 1 - Day 8: Rome/Venice (1 night in Milan)
=======================

=======================
Day 9: From Milan to Tirano end up in Chur (Bernina Express)
=======================

Question 1:

Any other alternatives to Bernina Express? I have read somewhere that if I take local usual train, it will provide same beautiful scenery to BE.

Chur : 3 nights (Schaltzaap, Swiss Grand Canyon hike/Rhine-Gorge)

Question 2:

I read, to have a Rhine-Gorge view from above, one has to take bus from Chur to Flims Waldhaus. Will it be the same view if I hike Swiss Grand Canyon?

=======================
Day 12: Lucerne, 3 nights (Lake Lucerne, Pilatus or Rigi, Engelberg)
=======================

Question 3: I feel like I have too many nights here without any major activities. Any ideas? Or better off somewhere and reduce nights in Lucerne?

=======================
Day 15: Brig, 3 nights (Geneva, Montreux, Aletsch hike, Ice Pavilion Saas-Fee(time permits) )
=======================

=======================
Day 18: Lauterbrunnen, 5 nights (Trift Bridge, Eiger Trail, Jungfraujoch, First, Kleinn Scheidegg)
=======================

Question 4: Is the Eiger trail same as Jungfraujoch? If it is the same I can leave 1 day empty as a reserve day if weather not permits a hike

Question 5: Will Lauterbrunnen provides better base than Grindelwald, looking at this itinerary

=======================
Day 23: Zurich, fly back home
=======================

I feel like there are still some things that I can fix but of course I will need all of your inputs, considering the experience in Switzerland.

My concern is I do not have reserve days for bad weather . Which of these you guys think I can omit to visit.

Some of my backup plans including : Trummelbach Falls, Lake Brienz, Lake Thun.

Regards,
R
Arno
Arno
7328 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 2, 2011 - 4:05 PM
Hi R,

You can indeed travel by regular train instead of the Bernina Express. Just check out the timetable to see all the options. Three nights in Lucerne is not too much. There's a lot to see and do for all weather conditions, including boat trips, museums such as the Swiss Transport Musuem and the Glacier Museum, or even a day trip to Zurich. The Eiger Trail and Jungfraujoch are in the same area; the trail starts from one of the rail stations of the Jungfrau railway. Grindelwald would be slightly closer to the locations on your list, but it's not that big of a difference.

Unless the weather is 100% perfect, you won't be able to do everything on your list. But there alternatives such as the ones you already found: Trümmelbach Falls, boat trips, train rides, city trips. If you have a rail pass, it would be very easy for you to just go where the weather is good, as local differences can be significant sometimes.
joker134
joker134
4 posts
new member
Nov 4, 2011 - 3:38 AM
Hi arno,

Thanks!

One quick question though, if you are to be presented with option:

a. Late June to Mid July OR
b. Early September to Mid September

Which one will you prefer over the other for hiking activity?

Regards,
R
Arno
Arno
7328 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 4, 2011 - 3:50 AM
Option b would offer the best chances of snow free high altitude trails. Option a provides slightly longer days and sometimes better views of snow capped mountain tops. All in all, option b is the best to maximize hiking options.
joker134
joker134
4 posts
new member
Nov 4, 2011 - 4:03 AM
Hi Arno,
Thanks for the swift reply.
Actually our main consideration is the clear days (July vs September)
I read through several weather historical data in several website, they mentioned September (I digged only year 2011) had more clear days compared with July where the climate was Mostly Cloudy / Rainy
Is this an actual data of what happened this year? I know July 2010 was quite the worst of all :-)
Oh by the way, I thought on the mountains, they will have snowcapped throughout the year?
Regards,
R
Arno
Arno
7328 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 5, 2011 - 4:52 AM
Hi R,

Well, this year, the second half of the summer was much dryer than the first half, but I'm not sure about averages regarding clear days. I've had beautiful days in both July and September. The high peaks are indeed covered in snow throughout the year. However, the amount and freshness of the snow is better in late Spring, early Summer (again, on average).
Removed user
Removed user
0 posts
new member
Nov 22, 2011 - 2:36 AM
The suitable moth is December where you can enjoy holiday season.

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