12 nights in Switzerland itinerary in August

12 nights in Switzerland itinerary in August

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Kiwimarg
Kiwimarg
10 posts
new member
May 19, 2017 - 3:27 AM

Hello everyone, I love your web site, its been so much fun exploring everywhere, there’s no route or activity you guys don’t have an answer for! Thanks so much for all the time you put into helping us all. I’m having a great time planning our trip to Switzerland in August/September this year using your site.It has taken me months to get this far. So I now just need a bit of reassurance I am on the right track.

Our itinerary is rather full as I am trying to get every train trip and scenic journey included in my time in Switzerland! I’m of the theory: do it once, do it right. We’ll probably never be back, it’s a long way from New Zealand, so we need to do it all! So here we go

Aug 28: Arrive in Zurich at 6.30am and train to Lucerne. Stay 3 nights. Hopefully if we are not too jetlagged hop on the Pilatus Gold Round Trip today. But we have 3 days so can afford to wait for a cloudless day.

Aug 29: Boat to Vitznau and cogwheel to Rigi Kulm and do the hiking I’ve checked out on this website, cable car to Arth Goldau and walk to Brunnen and the Swiss Army Knife factory, via cable car at Urmiberg. Train back to Luzern.

Aug 30: Train to Mt Titlis

Aug 31: Gotthard Panorama Train to Locarno. Stay 1 night

September 1: Train to Zermatt. Stay 1 night

Sept 2: Train to Murren. Stay 5 nights. This is the only hotel already booked

Sept 3: Jungfraujoch all 4 days and activities mix/match as weather and mood and further investigation dictates

Sept 4: Lauterbrunnen Valley

Sept 5: Schilthorn

Sept 6: Schynige Platte

Sept 7: Train to Vevey on the Golden Pass train. Stay 2 nights

Sept 9: Train to Geneva airport and fly away

Now my questions are.

1. What do you all think? I’ll be going home for a holiday!....but remember: do it once , do it right!

2. Locarno to Zermatt. As you can see we are not going on the Glacier Express. I’m feeling a tad distraught about this, as it is the most recommended of train trips. But I just can’t see how it fits. So I wondered if instead of training from Locarno to Zermatt via Domodossola, we went via Andermatt and joined the Glacier Express there, or have we missed the best bits by that stage. Or does it make it too long a day. We only have 1 night in Zermatt, so ideally want to arrive midday to start exploring that afternoon and again the next morning before we leave late for Murren. Or have we covered ample sufficiency of train vistas with what we are already doing?

3. Train passes….groan, I hear you say! I am thinking the Swiss Pass is the one for us?

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this and hopefully comment on my main dilemma, the lack of GE trip.

Lucas
Lucas
3365 posts
expert &
moderator
May 19, 2017 - 8:21 AM in reply to Kiwimarg

Hi Kiwimarg and welcome to MySwissAlps!

It's great to hear you are finding our website so useful!

  1. I think your itinerary is great - it really doesn't seem like any day is too packed with things and you are careful to be flexible which is the most important thing!
  2. The options for trains from Locarno to Zermatt are:
    Locarno - Domodossola (change) - Brig (change) - Zermatt (2 changes, 4 hours)
    Locarno - Bellinzona (change) - Göschenen (change) - Andermatt (change) - Zermatt (3 changes, 6 hours)
    Totally up to you on how much time and how much of the Glacier Express route you want to do.

    You are on the Glacier Express route at the last leg of both trips (Andermatt to Zermatt and Brig to Zermatt)....whether you are on a panoramic train is up to you and the scheduling of the trains.
    Check train timetables here (Glacier Express panoramic Trains are labelled GEX)

    Personally I would take the route via Domodossola and Brig (and not bother trying to get on the panorama train at Brig). The route via Domodossola is also very scenic and you get a little taste of Italy!
  3. Yes, a 15 day Swiss Travel Pass (the Swiss Pass is for Swiss residents only) for sure!

I hope that helps! Let us know if you have further questions!

Lucas

Last modified on May 19, 2017 - 10:08 AM by Lucas
AlanPrice
AlanPrice
140 posts
active member
May 19, 2017 - 12:58 PM

Hi KiwiMarg,

As long as you catch the early trains on your travel days, you should be able to pack most of this in. I do have concerns for your plan on the 29th Aug. It seems quite full and I'm not sure you would have enough time to enjoy it all.

I also think you are short changing Zermatt a bit by only staying one night. I understand the accomodation in Mürren is already booked which limits flexibilty, but you won't have much time to do more than stroll around town on the day you arrive and travel up to the Gornergrat on the day you leave. Still, this may whet your appetite to go back!

Have a great trip!

Alan

Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
1185 posts
top member
May 20, 2017 - 2:45 AM in reply to Kiwimarg

Hi Kiwimarg,

>> Aug 29: Boat to Vitznau and cogwheel to Rigi Kulm and do the hiking I’ve checked out on this website, cable car to Arth Goldau and walk to Brunnen and the Swiss Army Knife factory, via cable car at Urmiberg. Train back to Luzern.

From Rigi Kulm down to Arth Goldau is a train, by the way.

Do I understand rightly that you are planning to walk from Arth Goldau to Brunnen? Which route are you taking, and how does the Urmiberg cable car fit into it?

Perhaps I've misunderstood your plans!

Alpenrose

Kiwimarg
Kiwimarg
10 posts
new member
May 20, 2017 - 10:16 AM in reply to Lucas

Thank you all for replying. I realise there are many of us out here in holiday land wanting answers so many thanks for the time you dedicate to this web site.

hi Lucas thanks for the affirmation that I am on the right track with my itinerary. I will follow your advice and travel from Locarno to Zermatt via Domodossola. And the Swiss Travel Pass for us. Thanks.

Gidday AlanPrice Re 29 th August, yes a busy day , but we will play it by ear, if having a ball smooching around following Slowpokes tips for the best trails we will cut and adjust/change plans as we go. But the idea is to see it all Within reason. We had better get train for all this walking!

Hello Alpenrose thank you very much for correcting my mapping skills. I have double checked and don't go to Arth Goldau at all to get to urmiberg cable car and Brunnen. We walk straight from Rigi Kaltbad to Urmiberg to the cable car and down to Brunnen and train home. So thank you AlpenRose for correcting me on that.

Alan Price. Thank you for your concerns on Zermatt. I know this sounds a bit blasé but we have funny vibes about the Matterhorn. It's just one of those places you must go see, everyone asks, so best we go see what all the fuss is about, but really not too bothered if we don't get to see the mountain, plenty more to come in Murren. However we are trying our best to fit the Matterhorn in! We are planning to catch the early train at8.50 from Locarno to Zermatt and arrive at Zermatt at 1pm, which I hope gives us enough time to travel to Gornergrat that same day. If the weather doesn't play ball we still have the next day. I see sunset is not until8 pm, so the next day when we train from Zermatt to Murren we will be able to leave late in the day maybe the train at 2.15 pm and still arrive at Murren in daylight which will give us 3/4 of the day in Zermatt for exploring.

Thank you all very much for your replies and follow up.

regards Kiwimarg

Kiwimarg
Kiwimarg
10 posts
new member
May 25, 2017 - 1:24 AM in reply to Kiwimarg

,Hi everyone. I am having second thoughts about missing the Bernina Express. What do you think? Is it a must do? See my itinerary above. I could change things around quite a bit. 3 Days Luzern and then somehow Glacier Express to St Moritz, stay night, Bernina Express to Locarno, via bus etc for 1 night, 1 night Zermatt, 5 Nights Murren. , 1 night Vevey. That will change my already booked nights in Murren by one night....but fingers crossed I can do that. So the only difference is I swap the Gotthard panorama for Glacier Express and Bernina. What do you think? Which is the must see train trip? Or am I overkill on the trains? thanks Kiwimarg

Arno
Arno
9616 posts
expert &
moderator
May 25, 2017 - 12:35 PM

Hi Kiwimarg,

I'm afraid only you can decide how much time you're willing to spend on board of trains :-) Personally I think the Bernina Express is one of the best, if not the best, train routes in Switzerland. But you can't see everything in 12 nights only. Just come back for more later! Our scenic train pages explain about all the train and route details, so that hopefully helps you prioritize.

Kiwimarg
Kiwimarg
10 posts
new member
May 25, 2017 - 8:35 PM in reply to Arno

Hi Arno. Thanks! That's the reply I needed to sort my priorities out. And the answer is no. We don't want to spend days on trains and limit the time we have for exploring. A day on the train to get to Lugano, another day to St Moritz and then another even longer day on the Glacier Express to Zermatt. I will stick to my original plan and take it a bit easier and you never know......we may be back to travel on the Bernina Express one day. Thanks for the sage advice!

regards Kiwimarg.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
3753 posts
expert
May 25, 2017 - 9:57 PM in reply to Kiwimarg

Hi KiwiMarg -

<<"Hello Alpenrose thank you very much for correcting my mapping skills. I have double checked and don't go to Arth Goldau at all to get to urmiberg cable car and Brunnen. We walk straight from Rigi Kaltbad to Urmiberg to the cable car and down to Brunnen and train home. So thank you AlpenRose for correcting me on that.">>>

I was there last week on Saturday. Great weather.

I was waiting to comment about your plans on the 29th until I re-visited the territory, and you have partially dealt with my concerns.

The distance from Arth Goldau to Brunnen is about 10 km, all at low altitude. Nice walk, but high altitude is better. You got that fixed. I'd not do it.

I went up to Urmiberg from near Brunnen. The trip cost 12 CHF each way, or 20 CHF RT, no discount for my half-fare card. The views from Urmiberg Bergstation of the lake near Brunnen and Seelisberg are great, especially if you are a fan of the region. Also, the Uri Alps and the Valais Alps. Some pictures are in my camera; I'll try to get them up in the next few days. However, my computer on which I process images is acting cranky....thinks it was neglected while I was away I guess, so I may be delayed.

The posted time for the walk to or from Rigi Scheideg/Urmiberg Bergstation is about 3 hours. The posted time from Rigi Kaltbad, where I always stay, to Rigi Scheidegg is a bit over two hours. Those are scenic walks, although RK to RS does not show the lake for a good part of the trip. I've done that walk. That used to be a railroad until the 1950's so it is a rather level walk.

The stretch from RS to Urmiberg is not level. The 250 +/- meter descent is spread out over enough distance that it should not be a knee-killer. I've not done that walk.

map.wanderland.ch/?lang=de&route=all&bgLa yer=pk&resolution=10&X =682470&Y=207790&layer s=Wanderland

Unless you are very fast hikers you will not beat those times. There is also a cableway from Rigi- Scheidegg to/from Arth -Goldau, which is what I thought you meant in your earlier post.

Urmiberg Talstation is about 1 km (level ground) from the main station in Brunnen, or the boat dock if you prefer the lake boat.

The Talstation is a stop on the bus route between Brunnen and Küssnacht am Rigi

map.search.ch/?pos=688739,206047&z=25 6

Slowpoke

Kiwimarg
Kiwimarg
10 posts
new member
May 26, 2017 - 2:34 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Slowpoke. Thanks for your reply.

You were there last Saturday! How cool is that! I love this website.

So if we were to cogtrain to Rigi Kulm and hike around there, using your suggestions, and then take train down to Arth Goldau, and then cable car back up to Rigi Scheidegg. This would save us the 2 hour walk from Rigi Kaltbad to Rigi Scheidegg. we then walk on to Urmiberg and Brunnen. Would that save us much time, and energy, do you think?

And are you suggesting that the bus from Urmiberg Talstation is the way to go back to Lucerne, rather than a train. It does seem easier if we are at a bus stop anyway.

Looking forward to seeing your photos. If you can get Mr Cranky to perform!

Thanks

Kiwimarg

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
3753 posts
expert
May 26, 2017 - 9:09 AM in reply to Kiwimarg

Hi KiwiMarg -

<<"So if we were to cogtrain to Rigi Kulm and hike around there, using your suggestions, and then take train down to Arth Goldau, and then cable car back up to Rigi Scheidegg. This would save us the 2 hour walk from Rigi Kaltbad to Rigi Scheidegg. we then walk on to Urmiberg and Brunnen. Would that save us much time, and energy, do you think?">>

I'm not sure how long a day and how much trekking you want to manage.

Check out the timetable for individual sections of your plans. And, study the maps carefully.

The earliest boat from Luzern is at 0812. Arrive Vitznau 0909. good connection to the cograilway.

Train to Rigi Kulm 0915 till 0947.

Hike one hour to Rigi Kaltbad ( I'd take longer than that because i look around and take pictures at Känzeli and along the route. Less if you follow the main trail and don't divert at Rigi Staffelhohe.

Look at the map - there is a short cut to First from Staffelhohe via Oberer Firstweg. Saves some altitude change but I only did it once. I like the scenery from Känzeli. (By the way, these days, First is nothing but a trail junction and a few buildings.)

map.search.ch/?pos=678847,211137&z=25 6

The map also lets you see how the old rail line ran from Kaltbad to Scheidegg; it is obvious from the trail contour.

Arrive Kaltbad 1047?

Lunch? 20 minutes if you bring a sandwich.

Leave RK and walk 5 + hours to Urmiberg Talstation arrive 1615.

If you want to use the transport down to AG from Kulm, the lowest point at which you can get it is Rigi Staffel, the next station below Kulm, where the rail lines diverge. The trip down to AG from Rigi Kulm takes 51 minutes. The station for the cable way to Rigi Scheidegg is at Rigi Kräbel, a bit above Arth -Goldau, and 32 minutes from Rigi Kulm. It may be "halt on demand" stop; not sure.

I've done that trip and I recall a need to move fast to catch the cableway...tight connection. It runs every 30 minutes at during the day at xx55 and xx25.

So, if you timed everything to catch the transport(s) you would save about an hour.

To be sure, I just checked the online timetable and also the arrival and departure panel and can find no service in August. Hmmmn. Looked it up in my paper copy and found that they are renewing the cableway from March 20th until sometime in the Fall. So, no go this year.

<<"And are you suggesting that the bus from Urmiberg Talstation is the way to go back to Lucerne, rather than a train. It does seem easier if we are at a bus stop anyway.">>

No. I am suggesting that you look at timetables and the map to see which route is fastest. Both involve a bus and a train. There is likely more service from Brunnen to Luzern than from Küssnacht am Rigi. Brunnen is a stop on all the trains along that route. Küssnacht am Rigi is a smaller and more "local" station. Just guessing on that one. I'm sure that going through Brunnen is faster if you make reasonable connections, because the bus in the other direction has too long a trip. Scenic, though, along the lake.

However, you can walk from the Talstation to Brunnen easily. The other direction is too far to walk.

Please look at this link.

map.search.ch/?pos=690564,206124&z=64 &poi=bergbahn,halteste lle,zug

The cableway at Urmiberg is a small time operation. It has 6 passenger gondola cars. (They claim 4 passenger capacity, but they can hold 6.) Runs twice an hour at xx05 and xx35 ( the sign says "approximately.) One car goes up and one car goes down each half an hour. If they have alot of people, they run extra trips.

All signage at the Talstation is in German. There was no live person there. The cable cars are controlled form the Bergstation. If you go upwards, you cannot pay until you get to the top,.

The guy at the top who runs the cableway has a video hookup and can see you in the lower station and make announcements...such as when the car is about to leave. A mysterious voice tells you in German that it is time to get in the car. Since one goes up while one goes down, the one going up may suddenly close its doors and go up; there is no one there to get you into the car. At the top, there is someone there to take your money and to get you into the car.

This particular part of your route is off the beaten track for most tourists. It does not have all the English language information that the bigger stations have.

I can't find the time of the last trip down in the timetable. I'm guessing about 1830.

( I just looked up their web site. It is at 1800.)

www.urmiberg.ch/

You should make that easily ,but if you are slow hikers, I'd worry.

Once you are down, you've got a 7 minute bus ride to Brunnen....3 times per hour at xx08, xx38, and xx53. Then, about an hour train ride back to Luzern. You can check those connections.

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
3753 posts
expert
May 26, 2017 - 8:17 PM in reply to Kiwimarg

Hi Kiwi Marg-

just in case...I forgot to mention that in the maps from Mapsearch.ch, you can turn on icons for the transport stops in the menu under "Points of Interest/Traffic."

Once you zoom in far enough to separate the icons on the screen, mouse over an icon.

You'll get the name of the station and some limited near term information about schedules to/from that location.

Also, O share your opinion about Zermatt. there is a lot more available in the Jungfrau region, and by staying there for several days, rather than splitting your time with Zermatt, you increase your chances for having some good weather days.

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
3753 posts
expert
May 27, 2017 - 5:00 PM in reply to Kiwimarg

Hi KiwiMarg -

<<"Looking forward to seeing your photos. If you can get Mr Cranky to perform!">>

I spoke nicely to the computer (whose name is actually Sir Cranky) while kicking the case on the left side. Seems to have worked, for now.

I have to open it up and reseat all the connections; it's been a few years since I built it.

I've attached 4 pictures related to Urmiberg. The one with the lake boats is not as clear as I would like; there was some haze in the atmosphere to blame. It does show the Treib-Seelisberg Bahn, curving up the hill. It's a funicular, and it is a bit amazing tho think about the long cable attached to the two cars.

The Talstation at Urmiberg has a very small restaurant, and it is on a modest ledge on the rather steep mountainside. You can tell from the picture with the people at tables...I was looking down on them from the path above the restaurant.

Also, the picture of the farm and pasture taken from the restauarnt shows just how steep the mountainside really is. You can see Brunnen below in this one.

The view southward over the Urnersee ( the southern portion of the lake, in Canton Uri) lets you pick out Isleten and Sisikon (barely visible).

Other pictures of the southern part of the lake are in this thread:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/the-swiss-path-and-southern-lake-lucerne

I have attached a few related images from around the lake, including one taken on the walk to Rigi Scheidegg in 2002.

Along that walk you will probably see a caboose on a short section of track preserved from the old Rigi-Scheidegg Bahn, now ( or in 2002, anyway, made into a clubhouse).

The area around lake Luzern has been one of our preferred places for many years. Good for many days of sightseeing, hiking........

Slowpoke

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