Sep 30, 2017 - 5:35 PM
My brother and I (ages 59 and 66) recently returned from our 10 day Swiss trip. We based ourselves for 5 nights in Lauterbrunnen and 4 nights in Ardez. We each purchased the 8 day Swiss Travel Pass back in May during a promotion so received 2 free extra days covering our entire trip. Would like thank this website for all the invaluable information it provides.
Lauterbrunnen area: We booked the holiday flat at the Hotel Silberhorn. The apartment was spacious, comfortable, fully equipped kitchen, and quiet. It made a perfect base for our excursions. We were there for the hiking/walking and not necessarily mountain top trips. Some highlights:
- The Panorama Trail at Schynige Platte. We arrived to several inches of fresh snow and clear skies and very few other hikers. This was one of my favorite trails as the views were fantastic. Hiking boots and poles definitely needed on the snow covered trail.
- Watching the Alpine Descent of the Cows in Wengen. Good pastries from Vincenz bakery and cheese from Chas Gruebi. Also there is an easy walk from Wengen to Staubbachbankli, ending on a ledge looking at Staubbach Falls with plenty of benches to sit, relax, and enjoy the view.
- The North Face Trail from Allmendhubel. Another clear day but we did not encounter many other hikers. At Schiltalp we split up with my brother hiking up to Birg and the Thrill Walk then back down, while I continued on to Gimmelwald and then to Murren. Delicious apricot cake and coffee at the Pension Gimmelwald.
- Gondola from Grindelwald to First, hike to Bachalpsee then on up to Faulhorn. Less people on the trail after Bachalpsee. Delicious lunch and incredible views on the terrace of the Bergrestaurant Faulhorn, then a long descent (very touch on the knees!) to Bussalp and bus back to Grindelwald.
Village of Ardez in the Lower Engadine: We stayed at Schorta's Alvetern, a small family run hotel. We had 2 single rooms with balconies, breakfast included, and you were encouraged to make sandwiches and take snacks for your daily hike. Half board is available which we did not take, but we did have a wonderful dinner there one night with regional specialties (capuns are delicious!) This hotel and the area are now one of my favorite places in Switzerland (this was my 3rd trip). First time visitors to Switzerland should definitely head to the Bernese Oberland but on a subsequent trip should try to include this friendly, rural, and quiet region of Switzerland. Some highlights:
- Hike starting at the top of the Motta Naluns lift station in Scuol to Prui-Alp Laret-Alp Valmala-Ardez. We encountered dense fog, sleet and rain, lots of mud, cows, goats, sheep, brilliant sunshine and less than 10 other hikers.
- Nature Trail in the Swiss National Park. We took the postal bus into the park to get to the start of the hike. The trail has informative signs describing the vegetation, animals, and birds found within the park. This was probably the driest trail we encountered during the whole trip as there was little snow on the peaks on this side of the valley.
- Another hike starting at the top of the lift in Scuol but this time in the opposite direction eventually descending to the small village of Sent.
- A bus ride to the village of S-Charl which is only accessible by bus in the summer and horse drawn sleigh in the winter. On the ride in you can see the results of various rock slides and there is on-going construction to repair damage to the road. S-Charl appears to be a good base for lots of hiking so hope to return some day to explore further.
- The villages of Ardez, Guarda, Ftan are all worth seeing. There are walks connecting them all. The flowers, the fountains, and the painted building facades (called sgraffito) are beautiful. (Note: there seems to be a project to bury the power lines underground so some walking trails were blocked by construction equipment).
We also managed quick sightseeing in Bern and Lucerne. It was an excellent trip. The weather cooperated with sun and cooler temperatures. Everyone we encountered was friendly and rail travel is so easy and dependable. I'm already thinking about my next trip!