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Alpabfahrt in October? And day trips from Lucerne

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BibiL
BibiL
10 posts
new member
Apr 2, 2021 - 9:41 AM

Hello and good day!

For our first trip to Switzerland in October 2022 (yes, planning this early!), my husband and I will be based in Lucerne for 5 nights.

I am looking at day trips to Lauterbrunnen, Mt Pilatus (or Rigi or Titlis - still undecided), and St Gallen+Appenzell. There may be another free day available for another day trip - maybe Zurich or Bern?

I hope we are able to catch a cow parade. Will we be able to see one in October? Does this happen only on weekends? Is there a website where I can find the schedule for this?

Thank you in advance for any help!

Anna
Anna
1037 posts
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Apr 2, 2021 - 7:31 PM in reply to BibiL

Hi BibiL,

Welcome to MySwissAlps!

The colourful cow parade known as Alpabfahrt is an end-of-summer Swiss tradition that usually takes place between the end of September and early October. I'm not too sure about the dates in 2022 but this year some of the more bigger and popular cow parades are scheduled in the last week of September. You can check the event calendar on MySwitzerland.com website. Alpabfahrt is also known as Alpabzug or Desalpe in French.

As for day trips from Lucerne, if you have the whole day free, I would recommend visiting the French-speaking region for a change. Montreux or any places along Lake Geneva are within easy travelling distance from Lucerne. Perhaps take the Golden Pass route to experience the beautiful Swiss countryside from Zweisimmen to Montreux. You can find more information in the following links:

Hope this helps!

Regards,

Anna

Last modified on Apr 2, 2021 - 7:32 PM by Anna
BibiL
BibiL
10 posts
new member
Apr 3, 2021 - 3:32 AM in reply to Anna

Hi Anna,

Thank you so much for the inputs.

Seems the cow parade usually happens until mid-October. I will check the schedules next year for a better picture.

About the decision-making process to choose among Pilatus, Titlis or Rigi - what should I look for? We enjoy views of landscapes and nature, and would jump at the opportunity of doing an easy hike for 30 mins to 1 hour (easy - our 60-yr-something knees aren't as strong anymore!). Would seeing one of these 3 peaks be enough, considering our limited time in Switzerland?

I mentioned that we are looking to do a day trip to Interlaken/Lauterbrunnen. Is it realistic to include Schilthorn for this day?

Thanks again!

Danielsan
Danielsan
147 posts
active member
Apr 3, 2021 - 5:13 AM in reply to BibiL

Hi BibiL,

I was in the village of Wengen (Bernese Oberland region) in 2018 in exactly mid Sept. and there was a cow parade (that I unfortunately slept through) during that time. It may vary in times from year to year, village to village, town, city, etc.

As far as the Schilthorn, if you go to Lauterbrunnen on a day excursion, you can definitely see it (the train to Interlaken Ost is approx. 2 1/2 hrs. Then, approx. 30 min. to Lauterbrunnen) Directly across the street/ from the Lautertbrunnen train station is a cable car that takes you up to Grutschalp (a few minutes ride). From there you can walk/hike to the village of Murren. Its about, maybe, a bit less than two hours, (thereabouts) depending on stops for pics, rest, etc. You will have spectacular views of the Eiger, Monk and Jungfrau in your sights the whole time. It starts out an uphill climb for a bit but once it levels out its just a walk from there. Spectacular hike/walk, if the weather is good. Or, you can just take the train, which basically parallels the walk, in a meandering sort of way. Once in Murren, a ten minute walk through the beautiful village will bring you to the lift to the Schilthorn. So it can definitely be done. There are a few different ways to get back to the Lauterbrunnen train if you don't want to just do it in reverse, including the Trummelbach Falls in the valley, as well as other sights along the way.

If you go to Mt. Titlis from Lucerne, if you get an early start, you can also go up to the Stanserhorn on the way back. The train to Engelberg (Mt. Titlis) is the last stop, (approx. 40-45 min.) but it goes right through the village of Stans. There is a very old, but peaceful ride on the funicular that takes one to the double-decker cable car (the Cabrio) to finish the ascent to the Stanserhorn itself. A beautiful ride with some stunning scenery. Both excursions would require an early start right after breakfast. These are just a couple suggestions, as there are so many things to do and see both in and around Lucerne. You obviously have plenty of time to plan and research things to do. Enjoy both, and hopefully all this will be able to take place with no restrictions for a great trip.

Danielsan

BibiL
BibiL
10 posts
new member
Apr 3, 2021 - 9:07 AM in reply to Danielsan

Hi Danielsan,

Thank you very much for that suggestion of walking to Murren from Grutschalp. The idea has a lot of appeal! I assume the trail is well-marked ?

Did you pick out Mt Titlis for any special reason? I am really at a loss choosing among the 3 (Titlis, Pilatus, Rigi). Nevertheless, I am taking note of your suggestion about Stanserhorn. You got me at "stunning scenery"!

Yes, we all hope that we will be able to travel safely sooner than later.

Kind regards

Anna
Anna
1037 posts
top member &
moderator
Apr 3, 2021 - 10:20 AM in reply to BibiL

Hi BibiL,

An excursion to Lauterbrunnen and Schilthorn on the same day is definitely possible. If you catch the early train, you may even have time to visit Mürren or make side trips to the Trummelbach Falls. Here are the links to the hikes which Danielsan suggested:

Between Rigi, Pilatus and Titlis, if you're looking for easy hikes, I think Rigi would offer you more options and variety. You can take the cogwheel train all the way up to the summit and hike down from there whereas this is not possible if you're visiting Titlis or Pilatus. For more details about Rigi, you can check out this link: www.myswissalps.com/rigi

In Pilatus or Titlis, many of the easier trails are accessible from the middle stations.

Regards,

Anna

Ltiggis51
Ltiggis51
6 posts
new member
Apr 4, 2021 - 11:31 PM

Hi BibiL,

We also are planning a trip to Switzerland in September 2022, flying into Zurich then train to Lucerne for 5 or 6 days and doing day trips then to Montreau for a couple of days. This will be our 2nd trip to Switzerland, 1st trip was passing through on guided tour. This time on our own doing public transportation.

Just as a suggestion, Keeping an eye on the weather may aide in which days to visit which mountain. Things can change in hours. Also, in my research, I have found that some transportation at altitudes start shutting down around October 1st for maintenance and retooling for winter months. Just something to keep in mind.

Regardless, Im sure you will love your trip. We found Switzerland to be one of the most beautiful countries and with friendly people. Enjoy!!

Danielsan
Danielsan
147 posts
active member
Apr 5, 2021 - 10:34 PM in reply to BibiL

Hi BibiL,

Yes, almost all, if not all trails, are well marked in Switzerland. At the beginning, after the train station, (at Grutschalp, stay to the left after the gate...)

...you will see the rail tracks and again, just follow them and it will take you right into Murren.

I picked out Mt. Titlis because it was one of the destinations you were deciding upon. There is a lot to see, includung the Cliffwalk bridge. Not a lot of hiking per se, but quite an experience with the Cliffwalk, the glacier, and again, stunning scenery. Even the ride up is quite beautiful, as the village gets further away. Everything is so green. On the top it's easy walking around and just a beautiful excuhrsion to see. And to see the Stanserhorn as well, on the way back, would be just a great day. Again this was just a suggestion. And easily attainable from Lucerne. As Anna pointed out, there are trails at the mid-stations as well. In Titlis' case the Traubsee Lake is beautiful to walk around, maybe have a picnic, etc.

When I went in 2018, the lift up to the Stanserhorn was open later on Fridays (for ascents) I believe, to catch sunsets over the lakes. Something to keep in mind if you are there on a Friday and the weather is good. Happy trails.

Danielsan

BibiL
BibiL
10 posts
new member
Apr 6, 2021 - 3:24 AM

Thank you to all who have replied.

All of you mention weather when planning for the trips to the mountains. Does the unpredictability of weather make the case for buying the Swiss Travel Pass over advance purchase of point-to-point tickets, because the former would provide flexibility?

Truly appreciate your inputs.

Anna
Anna
1037 posts
top member &
moderator
Apr 6, 2021 - 5:36 AM in reply to BibiL

Hi BibiL,

In my opinion, the Swiss Travel Pass will definitely give you more flexibility. For your information, if you have a Swiss Travel Pass and decide to go to Rigi, your transportation is covered for the entire trip. Stanserhorn too.

Regards,

Anna

Last modified on Apr 6, 2021 - 5:38 AM by Anna
Ltiggis51
Ltiggis51
6 posts
new member
Apr 7, 2021 - 4:45 AM

Hi BibiL,

Regarding the Swiss Travel Pass, we plan to buy the pass. Not only just weather flexibility, but everywhere in Switzerland hop on and off most trains, all buses, boats, at your own pace without buying additional tickets. Just step on and show your pass. Some cable cars and funiculars no cost, others discounted price with the STP. Also free admission to all museums I believe. I have been working with SBB timetable available on line to research ticket pricing vs the STP but even if it costs us more, the easy use and flexibility of travel is worth a few Swiss franks in my opinion. Enjoy!!

Larry

Ildiko
Ildiko
1076 posts
top member &
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Apr 7, 2021 - 4:32 PM in reply to Ltiggis51

Hi Larry,

that is right, many (around 500) museums are also free with the Swiss Travel Pass.

You can see the link to the list at www.myswissalps.com/swisstravelpass/details.

Take care,

Ildiko

CabinJon
CabinJon
160 posts
active member
Apr 9, 2021 - 4:04 PM

BibiL,

Never too early to plan a trip, that's part of the fun. My wife and I have only been there twice, and stayed in Lucerne while taking several day trips. It is very easy to do. As others have mentioned, a STP is wonderful and provides maximum flexibility in case of weather changes, or simply if you just change your mind on where or when you want to go on any given day. Or during the day for that matter. We did that several times. A Traveler's WiFI and the SBB schedule app make travel planning and changes on the fly pretty easy. We went to all five of the mountains you mentioned. Of those, Pilatus and Stanserhorn were our favorites. Pilatus because of the amenities at the top, short trails/walkways (including through the rock tunnel), and a fantastic open deck for sunny day lunches. Stanserhorn has basic amenities at the top, a nice short hike around the peak, a big deck, and of course great scenery. Plus the open air train car shuttle to the gondola provides a cow bell symphony along the way, which was actually quite relaxing. Both are close to Lucerne too.

Titlis and Schilthorn were incredibly crowded when we were there in October both years, especially the gondolas to the top. Spacing inside those was about 1.5 inches between people, if that. Although getting off at Trubsee 1/2 way up to Titlis wouldn't be bad. The gondolas to that area were not jammed and it looked like a nice place for an easy walk and/or picnic. Rigi was our least favorite. In our opinion, it was actually pretty boring at the top, but it did offer multiple stops along the way.

If you do venture over towards Schilthorn, one item to consider is doing the Grannie's Walk from Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg, An easy walk, plus you can have an outdoor lunch at the KS train station while looking at the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau directly in front of you. There are numerous posts here on MSA about the Grannie's Walk.

All the principal peaks in Switzerland seem to have mountaintop web cams so you can check the weather before heading out. Just because it might be drizzly in Lucerne doesn't mean the sun isn't shining at the top of Pilatus.

If you need to fill in a day, a quick trip to Zurich to explore the Old Town section might be enjoyable; it is very close to the train station. Or take a boat ride on Lake Lucerne; boats are frequent, plenty of stops, and the boat dock is directly in front of the train station.

Have fun planning!

BibiL
BibiL
10 posts
new member
Apr 10, 2021 - 5:16 AM

Again, I send my thanks for all of the replies to my post. I am happy to absorb all of your suggestions and tips!

About the Grannie's Walk from Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg - how does this compare to the walk from Grutschalp to Murren? I had originally planned to do the latter, appreciating the option to stop walking at Winteregg and take the train to Murren.

Kind regards to all.

Anna
Anna
1037 posts
top member &
moderator
Apr 10, 2021 - 8:12 AM in reply to BibiL

Hi again BibiL,

Both trails are categorised as easy covering a similar distance (just slightly over 4 km). I think they are both equally scenic but personally I would recommend the Grannie's Walk if you're looking for spectacular mountain views. Having said that, Mürren is a lovely village. If you have the time, I would certainly suggest doing both hikes.

You can find more details about each trail below:

Grütschalp - Mürren: www.myswissalps.com/hiking/gruetschalp-muerren

Männlichen - Kleine Scheidegg: www.myswissalps.com/hiking/maennlichen-kleinescheidegg

Regards,

Anna

Last modified on Apr 10, 2021 - 8:15 AM by Anna
BibiL
BibiL
10 posts
new member
Apr 10, 2021 - 10:25 AM in reply to Anna

Hi Anna,

Is it possible to do BOTH walks, one before Schilthorn, and the other, after leaving Schilthorn?

Thanks!

Anna
Anna
1037 posts
top member &
moderator
Apr 10, 2021 - 11:49 AM in reply to BibiL

Hi BibiL,

You can certainly combine your hike to Mürren with a visit to Schilthorn. How to get to Schilthorn from Mürren is explained here: www.myswissalps.com/schilthorn/gettingthere

Whether it's possible to do the Männlichen - Kleine Scheidegg trail on the same day depends pretty much on how much time you plan to spend on Schilthorn and in Mürren. But it is certainly possible with a bit of planning. If you wish to experience the Thrill Walk at the mid station Birg, make sure you take that into account too when you 're planning your journey. It takes roughly about 1.5 hour to get from Schilthorn to Wengen (for the cable car to Männlichen), via Lauterbrunnen. Please plan your journey using the SBB timetable: www.myswissalps.com/timetable

Hope this helps.

Regards,

Anna

BibiL
BibiL
10 posts
new member
Apr 10, 2021 - 1:05 PM

Hi CabinJon,

Where would one get eats on a trip to Stanserhorn? I see that Stans is a nice town to go around. Are there restaurants open everyday (including Sunday)?

Hi Anna,

I think we may have to choose either the Grannie walk or Grutschalp-Murren on this trip. Would love to do the other trail some other time. (As if we needed more reasons to keep returning to Switzerland!)

All - Is there such a thing as a "skip the line" or priority pass when boarding these mountain cable cars? I was surprised to read CabinJon's reply about the gondolas to Schilthorn being crowded in October, which is supposedly an off-peak month (and which is when we will be going in 2022).

Thank you and kind regards

Anna
Anna
1037 posts
top member &
moderator
Apr 10, 2021 - 4:20 PM in reply to BibiL

Hi BibiL,

In the past you could buy a Schilthorn Boarding Pass that gives you a guaranteed departure time but I think this has since been discontinued. Schilthorn is a popular tourist destination so yes, sometimes there could be long queues for the cable cars. The best tip I can offer is to start your journey as early as possible to allow plenty of time to make your connections, and if possible plan your visits during the weekdays when there are fewer visitors.

By the way, don't worry, there's a restaurant at the top of Stanserhorn and it's open on Sundays too.

Regards,

Anna

Last modified on Apr 10, 2021 - 4:25 PM by Anna
CabinJon
CabinJon
160 posts
active member
Apr 11, 2021 - 3:20 PM

BibiL,

As Anna said, there is a restaurant at the top of the Stanserhorn. We only had coffees there, since we were in between breakfast in Lucerne and lunch in Engelberg. I expect there are some restaurants in Stans but we did not look for those.

For our trip up to the Schilthorn, we started from Stechelberg, reached via bus from Lauterbrunnen. From Stechelberg, there are in fact four gondolas you need to take to get to the top. The first two were very crowded, the last two not so much since some folks were getting off along the way. The trip from Lucerne to the Schilthorn takes about 3.5 - 4 hours, not counting any delays for getting the gondola tickets, waiting for space on the gondolas, etc. We left Lucerne about 8 am, knowing it would be a long day.

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