Thoughts on Aare river cruise + 3 lakes area?

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Micalj
Micalj
70 posts
active member
Mar 3, 2019 - 2:02 PM

Greetings,

I've been reading and interacting on this forum for several months and have a question. I did do several searches to find info, but I have not been able to find that this topic is covered. We are returning to Switzerland in late May / early June of this year and continue to refine and add options to our itinerary. We plan to return to some of our favorite places - (Bernese Oberland, Zermatt, Montreux, etc) but are considering the Arre River cruise along with the 3 lakes region to add a new destination to our Swiss adventure, a good portion of which is shown in the graphic here:

www.bielersee.ch/de/bi llette.html

We are looking for feedback from anyone who has made these ferry trips - river and lake in this region. What are the highlights? Any segment of this that stands out from the rest? One of the things that piqued my interest is the stork colony at Altreu, and the serenity of that river cruise. But the 3 lakes also...

Didn't see any trip reports that highlighted this area so any feedback on the sites and attractions would be helpful. We see this area as a great area to visit as we continue to expand our cultural understanding of Switzerland.

Thanks so much for any feedback. I consider this site to like a large mansion with many rooms (threads) to explore, and still learning daily from what's here, and what is being contributed. Sign me grateful for this resource and the experts that make it go.

Mike J

Last modified on Mar 3, 2019 - 2:59 PM by Micalj
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
6873 posts
expert
Mar 4, 2019 - 2:10 AM in reply to Micalj

I Mikec-

Here is a start:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/wengen-in-early-may-3-4-days

Read the whole thread.

I have done some of that boat ride, but visit the region twice per year.

More later,

Slowpoke

Micalj
Micalj
70 posts
active member
Mar 4, 2019 - 4:38 AM

Thanks Slowpoke, I'll check it out. I also found a description on the Aare River Cruise at another web site.

Mike J

Steph
Steph
1984 posts
top member &
moderator
Mar 4, 2019 - 3:22 PM in reply to Micalj

Hi Mike J,

Apparently no one of the community has made this trip yet, me included.

I found this page which will be helpful for you to find out about the available cruises in the area of the Jura and the three lakes. Hope this helps.

www.jurathreelakes.ch/ en/transport/cruises.h tml

Looking forward to any more input you might receive and otherwise to a nice trip report letting us all know about your experience. :)

Enjoy,
Steph

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
6873 posts
expert
Mar 4, 2019 - 3:31 PM in reply to Micalj

Mike-

I'm kind of busy these days.

I shall briefly mention that We took it from Ligerzr to Sugies, to have lunch at Hotel de l'Ours.

www.hotel-ours.ch/en/

That part of the route was not all that interesting, and the trip through the canal to the Murtensee was very very slow, to avoid damage to the mud banks of the very small canal.

There is actually quit a lot to see at some of the towns in the area.

I've got a lot of pictures, which I'l post this week as I have a few spare moments.

A some friend took the whle route a few years ago. I'll ask for their recollections.

Slowpoke

Micalj
Micalj
70 posts
active member
Mar 4, 2019 - 4:04 PM

Slowpoke,

No worries. I understand. From your feedback at this point we'll likely start at Solothurn and do the Aare River cruise. Can always get off at one of the stops should we decide to move our travels elsewhere. Typically the train station isn't too far away from the Schiff station. We also have Swiss friends in Morges that we haven't asked about the area, so we'll hit the up and see if they have any info.

Steph,

Thanks for the info. I'd be delighted to provide feedback in the form of a trip report if this excursion materializes - I am kind of acting as tour guide / itinerary manager for two other couples traveling with us, so trying to balance the destinations to please both Swiss first timers and "old timers"! But we do look forward to it.

Mike J

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
6873 posts
expert
Mar 5, 2019 - 12:16 AM in reply to Micalj

Hi Mike-

The first three big pictures on this website are of Ligerz:

www.bern.com/en/detail /cruising-the-three-lakes-region

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
6873 posts
expert
Mar 5, 2019 - 12:25 AM in reply to Micalj

Hi Mike.

Here is a start on images that I promised. There will be redundancy. There is wealth of nice places along the "Bielerfüss" rail line...northwestern shore of the Bielersee.

I like to stay at Ligerz, and Schafis is right next door.

Not sure how physically active your co-travelers are, but the walk through the vineyards from above Ligerz at the church to above Twann was something we liked a lot. Hot sun on summer day, however...not unexpected in a vineyard.

Slowpoke

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Micalj
Micalj
70 posts
active member
Mar 5, 2019 - 2:44 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Slowpoke,

Thanks for taking the time to post your reply. Enjoyed the pictures and they help greatly to give a feel for the setting. I see that Ligerz is on the lake, so we might just grab the train after the Aare river trip. How long / strenuous is the hike to the church? We could certainly incorporate this into a trip to Lausanne / Morges area to visit our friends.

We also have enjoyed the ferry from Nyon to Yvoire (a bit further on Lake Leman from Morges), but that's way too much to manage in one day. We'll figure it out...

Thanks again,

Mike J

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
6873 posts
expert
Mar 5, 2019 - 9:40 AM in reply to Micalj

<<"How long / strenuous is the hike to the church?">>

Hi Mike -

Read the text on composite #2.

Here is a highly detailed topo map of the Bielersee shore by Ligerz:

map.geo.admin.ch/?topic=ech&lang=en&bgLa yer=ch.swisstopo.pixel karte-farbe&layers=ch.bav.ha ltestellen-oev,ch.swisstopo.swiss tlm3d-wanderwege&E=2576903.7 2&N=1214902.58&zoom=11

Switch to aerial view if you wish. Zoom out for the overall environment of the region. Several of the towns are nice to walk around in. Le Landeron, in particular, but it is a bit of a distance from the train station.

You can clearly see the funicular on that topo map

It runs once per hour in Winter, twice per hour in Summer. Check the timetable for your dates. The Bergstation is named Prêles/Prägelz. They speak German at the bottom; French at the top. You are exactly on the Röstigraben. The climb is steep but short, so if you happen miss the funicular timing you can make the climb, perhaps with a few pauses. Paved.

The upward journey is synchronized with train arrivals. People get off the train and go very quickly to the funicular. Ticket machine is at the train station, on the street side, not at the funicular. If you have a Swiss travel pass, no problem. Sometimes tourist buses arrive just before departure. The boat landing is several meters further away from the funi, and lower, at lake level, of course. I'd not dawdle, or maybe I'd plan to catch the next one if it is on the 1/2 hourly schedule. The trains in each direction along the lake shore run once per hour, and both stop at Ligerz at about the same time. There is also a peculiar gap in the train or lake boat schedule, as I recall. One particular hour of the day, I think maybe that the boat stop is skipped. Check the timetable.

If your friends from Morges wish to meet you there, I can recommend the Hotel Kreuz for a meal. Simple menu, excellent kitchen. Herr Mettler is a very good cook. Frau Mettler's family own some local vineyards.

The funicular is one of the newer single-cable types, and the operator has been known to run people up to the Pilgerweg between regular trips, if he is around. He volunteered that service for me one time when I had a sore leg.

If you wish to ride the funi down from the Pilgerweg, make sure to push the "Halt an Verlangen" button not long before the car is due, or they'll wave at you as they pass you standing by the station. I pressed it once as the car went up the hill above the station, and it re-set before it came back down. Did not stop. The trail crosses the tracks there, and sometimes people are just waiting for it the car to go past. The church is supposed to be unlocked during the day, and is definitely worth a look inside. I know about it because friends were married there many years ago.

Late May, early June is a good time to walk that stretch of the Pilgerweg from Ligerz to Twann. However, it can get very hot in the sun, even then, and it would likely take too much time out of a day trip.

When you look at the map , slide it along the shore line to the left for Schafis. It is close to Ligerz. Betwen the two, there is a lot less territory to cover than at Yvoire, and it is not as prettified.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Mar 5, 2019 - 9:49 AM by Slowpoke
Micalj
Micalj
70 posts
active member
Mar 5, 2019 - 9:53 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Slowpoke,

Excellent information and valuable detail. With that info, we can make an run to the church, and not miss the funicular on the way back. Without that tip, I'm sure we would have been waving as it passed by. So, we may have to change our tentative plans and stop in Ligerz. I was remiss not reading the text on composite #2, but my excuse is we were looking harder at the Aare River cruise, and I didn't think we have time to do the Aare River, Ligerz, and head to Morges / Lake Leman.

Meeting at Hotel Kreuz for a meal sounds like a good idea -- but charting it in Google maps, it would be an hour drive for our friends from Morges, so we'll see what they want to do. Now also complicating things -- I see my Swiss castle map has 4 castles on Bielersee - Château de Neuchâtel, Château de Boudry, Château de Grandson, and Château de Chenaux, and haven't been to any of those places. So once again faced with the dilemma of way too much to see and not enough time. But I am nonetheless grateful and appreciative for the options you have taken the time to share. We will certainly incorporate some of this in our plans. It may be that Bielersee gets its own day on our itinerary.

Very fascinating about the funicular that German is spoken at the bottom and French at the top. That amazed me on a bigger scale when traveling the Golden Pass line from Gstaad to Chateau Deux. By the way, I think I read in one thread that you're in Connecticut (pardon me if I'm mixed up). I spent a year working in Old Saybrook before moving back to SE PA where we now sit in the heart of Amish country. It is a small world.

Mike J

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
6873 posts
expert
Mar 5, 2019 - 11:49 PM in reply to Micalj

<<"By the way, I think I read in one thread that you're in Connecticut

(pardon me if I'm mixed up). I spent a year working in Old Saybrook

before moving back to SE PA where we now sit in the heart of Amish

country. It is a small world.">>

Am. Buy my cheeses in Old Saybrook, and eat at Liv's Oyster Bar:

livsoysterbar.com/.

Grew up in Delaware County, Pa.

Do you have any Amish, Mennonite , Church of the Brethren.....roots? If so, we should talk about the Emmental, and, possibly the Jura.

I will still post a bunch of images of the other places near Ligerz that are worth seeing.

It is quite possible that your friends would come north by train. The Swiss do use their trains.

I assume that there are too many on your group to fit in one car with your friends from Morges,, so using it to visit a couple of the high points would not be feasible.

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
6873 posts
expert
Mar 6, 2019 - 10:46 AM in reply to Micalj

Hi Mike-

Reached friend who had done the river trip a while back. Nice trip, no specifics, other than enjoying the stork colony.

I spent a little time with schedules and a map + the timetable:at the SBB website

www.sbb.ch/en/

www.bielersee.ch/de/fa hrplan.2804.html

map.search.ch/?pos=584972,220024&z=12 8&poi=bergbahn,haltest elle,zug

Unfortunately, to turn on the ship landings in that map, it is necessary to check the box for buses/trams under points of interest ( the "star" menu) and traffic. The the map populates with a zillion bus stops, making it hard to use on a large scale.

I wanted to see what the connections were like at Biel/Bienne.

In late May and early June you could put together a few different itineraries from Solothurn to Ligerz, or vice versa.

There is frequent train service - 4 times per hour - between Solothurn and Biel. The train line between Biel and Neuchatell,along the lake through Ligerz, hence to Morges, runs more frequently than I remembered. It passe through Ligerz twice per hour on the hour and approximately the half hour, except for the gap between 1300 and 1500, when it only runs at 1400.

The level walk between Biel/Schifflanding and Biel Bahnhof is about 400 meters. There is a bus (#9) 4 times per hour from the ship landing to the Bahnhof every 15 minutes ( xx00, xx15, xx30, xx45)

The boat that leaves Solothurn at 0910 arrives at Biel/Schifflanding at 1155, so you could get off and walk or ride to the Bahnhof for a train ti Ligerz at 1222, arriving at Ligerz at 1232, or stay on the boat and arrive at 1240.

There is a later boat with a modest lunch on board, although all boats have a restaurant.

If you were to eat at Ligerz, at 1250, you could catch a funicular up to the Pilgerweg at 1404, (extremely unlikely) or 1434 - good timing, could possibly include a bit of a walk around Ligerz before you go up or g up at 1504, 1534, 1604, etc.. To return, funiculars go down from the Pilgerweg at xx19 and xx49, giving 8 or 10 minutes connections for Morges, and somewhat less tight connections to Biel. Or, you can walk down.

If you don't want to eat at Kreuz Ligerz (closed Monday and Tuesday) You can work out other schedules.

Slowpoke

Micalj
Micalj
70 posts
active member
Mar 6, 2019 - 3:34 PM

Hi Slowpoke,

<<"Am. Buy my cheeses in Old Saybrook, and eat at Liv's Oyster Bar:

livsoysterbar.com/.

Grew up in Delaware County, Pa.

Do you have any Amish, Mennonite , Church of the Brethren.....roots? If so, we should talk about the Emmental, and, possibly the Jura.">>

it's been about 20+ years since my time in Old Saybrook and I remember on many occasions grabbing a sub at the local town sub shop (Orsini's I think, likely out of business by now) on Main, and driving to The Point to eat it. A gorgeous spot. Regarding my roots, they are French Huguenot, and been traced to Alsace region of France in early 1500's with my ancestors being driven out of the area later with the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1661. A full circle bit of irony, our current property in PA is located on the original 2000+ acre tract of land granted to Madam Mary Ferree (in our ancestry) by William Penn in 1712. The real estate agent did not recognize any pre-existing family claim to the property nor was any discount given thereof when the lot was purchased. ; )

Thanks for reaching out to the friend and passing on his recollections on the river cruise. Sounds like morning river cruise would be best - Train from Zurich, Solothurn to Biel river cruise,and I like the idea of staying on the ferry to Ligerz. We'll see what the rest of the group would like to do, and contact our Swiss friends also to see if they are interested. I know as a boy, one of the couple was raised in Biel (my wife as a child with her parents visited the family there), so it could be that he may enjoy an outing there or at Ligerz. Also thanks for letting us know that Kreuz Ligerz is closed Monday and Tuesday. With your help, I feel like we have been to the area before now, and can make good decisions around a visit. Many thanks. I will certainly give a report about this part of our trip to the forum here.

Mike J

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
6873 posts
expert
Mar 6, 2019 - 4:21 PM in reply to Micalj

<<"Sounds like morning river cruise would be best - Train from Zurich, Solothurn to Biel river cruise,and I like the idea of staying on the ferry to Ligerz">>

If you catch the 0803, you get to Solothurn at 0856. First Class has high occupancy. Ship landing is 500 meters away.

0730 gets you there at 0824

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
6873 posts
expert
Mar 6, 2019 - 9:33 PM in reply to Micalj

<<"Thanks for reaching out to the friend and passing on his recollections on the river cruise. ">>

Second friend got back to me:

<<"thanks for your mail - we took a boat ride from Biel to almost Murten, in fact, we stopped at the lovely restaurant - Bären, I believe. [ de l'Ours in French at Sugiez] You have visited there several times, if I remember correctly.

The boat ride was enjoyable, maybe a bit long but we had a good time going through the canals. I can recommend it if one has leisure time.. ">>

For us, even if only from Ligerz, it seemed a bit long, in no small part because of the very slow speed through the canal de la Broye between Lac Neuchatel and der Murtensee.

When we got on in Ligerz, there was a large family group at a table in the restaurant. I don't think tha theu looked out of the windoows more than once or twice. They had anhours lonng party....probably all the eay to Murten.

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
6873 posts
expert
Mar 6, 2019 - 9:43 PM in reply to Micalj

<<"4 castles on Bielersee - Château de Neuchâtel, Château de Boudry, Château de Grandson, and Château de Chenaux, and haven't been to any of those places.">>

Grandson is on Lac Neuchâtel. Ch. de Chenaux is in Estavayer-le-Lac. I stopped there last year. It is now a town hall and police station. I don't think you can get inside. However, you can visit the outstanding restaurant owned by the Chenaux family in Fribourg. I have begun to stay there on most trips.

www.hotel-sauvage.ch/en/.

I suspect Château de Neuchâtel is on lac Neuchâtel, and don't know Boudry.

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
6873 posts
expert
Mar 6, 2019 - 10:39 PM in reply to Micalj

As noted - "I will still post a bunch of images of the other places near Ligerz that are worth seeing."

Le Landeron is very nice walled town. It is a bit of walk from either the boat landing or the train station of the same name. I reposted one composite so they'll be together.

Pictures attached. It is a nice area to wander around in, and, of course, Murten is a well known tourist destination. No pictures.

I'll split out some from on or near Mt. Vully in another post.

Slowpoke

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Slowpoke
Slowpoke
6873 posts
expert
Mar 6, 2019 - 11:03 PM

I'll split out some from on or near Mt. Vully in this post.

Motier is a very pretty wine town, but it is hard to get good pictures.

The top of Mt. Vully has been used as a viewpoint and for fortifications since neolithic times. There are substantial remnants of WWI fortifications. From the top, the possible north/south routes for armies or invaders are clearly visible

The view toward Bevaix, about 10 km from Neuchatel, is from on top of Mt. Vully

Slowpoke

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maggiehorswell
maggiehorswell
682 posts
top member
Mar 7, 2019 - 1:08 PM

Hello

We have done the river cruise twice in the past, once in each direction! I remember being fascinated by the stork colony. We enjoy boat rides so don't mind how long they take! We have also done the 3-lake cruise and enjoyed that too. We stopped off briefly at Murten which intrigued us so on a later trip we spent a whole day there, visiting the churches, walking the walls and enjoying food in cafes in the main street.

We have also walked along the "vine path" from Biel, enjoying the views of the lake and I remember lovely food in Twann!

Maggie

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