Switzerland itinerary for next May - 10 day trip

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Ascharpf
Ascharpf
4 posts
new member
Jun 20, 2018 - 2:14 AM

Wow, I must confess I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed right now. I am just starting to plan an approximately 3 week train trip for next May. My husband and I are flying into Vienna and plan to spend a few days each in Vienna, Budapest and Venice and then spend the rest of the time in Switzerland. I thought we would aim for the Interlaken / Lauterbrunnen area. But now I am looking at sites like this and the options are paralyzingly gorgeous and abundant! I am hoping that some of the Switzerland travel experts on this site could give a bit itinerary advice if I specify some of our trip parameters/preferences.

  • I would really like to limit transport to rail / bus / foot, if possible. We've never taken a train trip and I think it would add to the adventure to adhere to that constraint. (I.e. no taking a taxi to the next town over from the train station.)
  • We love walking / hiking (easy to moderate) and taking pictures. We fancy ourselves a pair of budding Ansel Adams :-) and would like to have a couple of extended walks (3 - 6 hours) – again, that are accessible by rail / bus / foot. I don't imagine there will be any difficulty finding photo worthy locations!
  • Also interested in beautiful train rides.
  • Mount Pilatus looks like a lot of fun.
  • Since the first half of the trip will be entirely urban/cultural, we're looking to be outside as much as possible and bask in Switzerland's majestic Alpine beauty!
  • Probably 8 - 10 days, including start from Venice (Bernina Express) and a day at airport city.
  • My druthers would be to spend the days in only two locations – even one, if there is a spot that is really good for spoke day trips. I would like to have the trip be low stress - minimize unpacking and moving from place to place.

I have "purchased" our frequent flyer tickets to Vienna but will not be able to reserve our return flights for another week or so. I had originally thought we would take the train up to Zurich and spend the night there before returning ... but now am looking at the map and train routes and think it might be easier to return from Geneva. Is there a significant difference in the ease of reaching either of these airports from the Bernese Oberland?

Thanks for any advice you can give on the best towns to stay in and which airport to fly out of.

Ann

Lucas
Lucas
9837 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 21, 2018 - 5:56 AM in reply to Ascharpf

Hi Ann and welcome to MySwissAlps!

No, I think both Geneva and Zurich are similar distances to the Bernese Oberland to not matter much which you go to. You should use the Swiss railways (SBB) timetable here to find schedules between all towns and mountains in Switzerland: https://www.myswissalp s.com/timetable

Hope that helps get your trip planning started!

Ascharpf
Ascharpf
4 posts
new member
Jun 21, 2018 - 8:25 PM

Thanks for the quick response! I have booked hotels at both Wengen and Grindenwald. I was surprised to find that several hotels were already booked for the dates I'm thinking of, so I went ahead and booked a few! I will make final decision in next week or so and cancel the others. Right now I am waiting for an email back from Beausite Park Hotel. It looks beautiful and the half board option was very appealing. If they are available for 23-May through 30-May, I will cancel the other bookings. I think we will stay put in one place and do what we can as day trips from that area.

My only concern now is that I looked on another site and someone commented that hiking would not be a very good option in May. Will hiking trails be open in this area in late May?

Ascharpf
Ascharpf
4 posts
new member
Jun 21, 2018 - 8:33 PM

Never mind! I see this topic has been well addressed on the site and am perusing the advice now. One question I do have, though, I what altitude is considered "high altitude" in terms of hiking? I see that lower altitude trails are likely to be open but not high altitude ones. When I look at trail descriptions, will high/low be included somewhere so I can determine whether to include them as options?

Thanks!

Removed user
Removed user
0 posts
new member
Jun 22, 2018 - 3:12 AM in reply to Ascharpf

Hi Ann,

>> I have booked hotels at both Wengen and Grindenwald. I was surprised to find that several hotels were already booked for the dates I'm thinking of

At that time of year, it is more likely that the hotels are closed, rather than booked out :-) The ski season finishes in April, and the hiking season starts in the second half of June, so many hotels close for part of this period.

>> Will hiking trails be open in this area in late May? ... what altitude is considered "high altitude" in terms of hiking? I see that lower altitude trails are likely to be open but not high altitude ones.

Hiking options in May in this area would mostly be limited to valley floors and lakesides. You might have to contend with muddy patches on some walks.

Options could include:

  • Grütschalp-Mürren

www.myswissalps.com/hi king/gruetschalp-muerren

  • Lauterbrunnen-Stechelberg

www.myswissalps.com/hi king/lauterbrunnen-stechelberg

  • Faulensee-Spiez

www.myswissalps.com/hi king/faulensee-spiez

  • Lake Brienz

www.myswissalps.com/hi king/giessbach-iseltwald

  • Wilderswil-Zweilütschinen

www.myswissalps.com/hi king/wilderswil-zweiluetschinen

You can check with the local tourist offices for details of what other trails are open when you are there.

The 2019 timetable for trains, buses, boats and cable cars etc will be released in mid-October this year, but based on this year's operational dates, transport in the Jungfrau Region is likely to be as follows for the period 23-30 May 2019:

Likely to be operating

  • Gondola Grindelwald to First
  • Bus from Grindelwald to Meiringen via the Grosse Scheidegg (probably from 18 May)
  • Train to Jungfraujoch (operates year-round)
  • Cable car Lauterbrunnen-Grütschalp
  • Bus Lauterbrunnen-Stechelberg (operates year-round)
  • Cable car Wengen-Männlichen (possibly from 18 May)
  • Cable car Stechelberg-Gimmelwald-Mürren-Birg-Schilthorn
  • Train Wilderswil to Schynige Platte (possibly from 25 May, but depends on snow cover - this year, opening was delayed by a week due to snow removal and safety work taking longer this year because of the amount of snowfall during the winter)

Trümmelbach Falls will also be open

Not likely to be operating

  • Funicular Mürren-Allmendhubel
  • Gondola Grindelwald Grund-Männlichen (closed for entire summer season 2019 due to construction of new gondola)

Alpenrose

Last modified on Jun 22, 2018 - 3:20 AM by Removed user
Ascharpf
Ascharpf
4 posts
new member
Jun 22, 2018 - 7:35 PM

Beausite Park Hotel emailed me back today and they re-open on 24-May! We just have to add one day to our trip so that we can book for their seven day package which includes two of the regional rail passes as well as the five-course dinner each night! I am tingly excited!!

Thanks again for your detailed response! I'll be going through it in detail over the next few days.

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