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Help with 16 day itinerary

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9 posts
new member
May 3, 2015 - 6:38 AM


My friend and I are planning for a 16 day trip to Switzerland in Sep. Appreciate any comments on the itinerary. We are uncertain about arranging the Bernina Express and Glacier Express onto our itinerary. We would like to go for the Bernina Express and thus doesnt want to take the duplicate route on Glacier Express. We are into photography and some trekking. Also appreciate if there are places which should be visited, but have been missed out below.

Day 1-3: Lucern, Mt. Pilatus, Mt. Titlis and paragliding at Engelberg. One night stay at summit of Mt. Pilatus

Day 4 and 5: Travel from Lucern to Pontresina/St. Moritz including day trip on Bernina Express from Pontresina to Triano and back. I'm not sure which is the most scenic part of the Bernina Express? Would it be recommended to stay in Pontresina or St. Moritz?

Day 6: Travel from Pontresina to Chur. Overnight at Chur

Day 7-9: From Chur to Zematt. If weather is good, we will be taking the Glacier Express. If no, we will take the normal train. Would we have to reserve seats on Glacier Express in advance? We should be taking on 15/16 Sep. Any issues with bringing our luggage on Glacier Express? I read that we should not have an issue with luggage in other forums. We intend to do some trekking in Zematt, visit Rothorn valley, black faced sheep and vineyards.

Day 10-12: From Zematt to Montreux. We intend to do trekking (undecided on the trail and suggestions will be appreciated), Chillon Castle and Geneva. Base at Montreux

Day 13 - 14: Grindelwald and Interlaken. Base at Grindelwald

Day 15-16: Zurich. We will stop by Bern on the way from Grindelwald to Zurich. I believe there are lockers at Bern station for us to keep our luggages. Will be flying off on 16th morning

7567 posts
May 3, 2015 - 9:09 AM in reply to Varnia

Day 15-16: Zurich. We will stop by Bern on the way from Grindelwald to Zurich. I believe there are lockers at Bern station for us to keep our luggages. Will be flying off on 16th morning">>

There are luggage lockers in Bern main station

raileurope.com/ europe-travel-guide/switzerland/ bern/train-station/bern-bahnhof-train-station.html

That looks like very nice itinerary. The forum moderators, Arno and Annika are able to comment better than I, but based on my experiences over the years, it should all work. Some of your days are quite full, (e.g., paragliding near Luzern)and I would spend time on the SBB web site to make sure that the transport is available to fit around your plans.


On days four and five, you probably should allow most of one day for the Bernina Express round trip. Keep your camera handy near Brusio. When we did it, some years ago, we had trouble finding a decent spot for lunch near the station in Tirano. There is enough demand that there are probably nice places, but we had trouble finding one just by walking around. Plan ahead? '-)

The whole trip is quite scenic, and the only "short cut" might be to start and finish at Pontresina. By the way, the scenic walk from Muottas Muragl to the lift station above Pontresina is justly famous.

I'm not sure, but , to me, "trekking " implies multiday hikes wit overnights along the trail. Is that what you mean?

If I were making that trip, I would add a bit of time in the Berner Oberland to do some more walking in that very spectacular region. Not sure what I would take out...isn't that always the problem? '-)

The next link to a very good post on this site describes a variety of trails and multi-day hikes.

myswissalps.com/forum/ topic/tips-about-wengen-and-the-jungfrau-region-by-kim

This My Swiss Alps web site offers good information about hiking and various destinations/regions. I have not got the links memorized yet, but if you start on the home page, you can easily find that kind of information.

Two useful sources for hiking which this site will also lead you to, are the Switzerland Mobility site, with detailed route maps, places to stay, interesting features along the way, etc., and the SwissTopo site for good topos of all of Switzerland. On that site, click on the map at the right side of the home page. On the Switzerland Mobility site you may need to enter specific town names in the search box, although there is a regional selection menu.

wanderland.ch/ en/hiking-in-switzerland.html


swisstopo.admin.ch/ internet/swisstopo/ en/home.html

Tourist info in Luzern is by track #1 at the Hauptbahnhof. They can point you to a store with a good selection of maps, including hiking maps (Wanderkarte) with marked "Wanderwege" (Hiking trails.).

I like to use paper maps, but there area lot of on-line map services , also for smart phones.

I use Orell Füssli about 50-75 meters from that side of the station. Book stores have a hard time these days, so I'd double check at the Tourist Info.

In Zürich main station , Barth Bücherei is just down one short flight of stairs near tracks 1 and 2.

The Glacier Express requires reservations. On our trip a few years ago, the restaurant car also required a reservation. As you note, "regular" trains follow the same route, without the panoramic view cars.

I suspect that the Bernina Express might require reservations as well, but I am less certain about that.

You picked a good time of year, with the best chances for good weather. Early September is , perhaps, better in the Berner Oberland than late September, but usually the trails are good into October.

16099 posts
expert &
May 3, 2015 - 10:45 AM

Hi Varnia,

Both the Bernina Express and Glacier Express require seat reservations. Please see here for all sorts of details about the trains and the routes:

If you're into photography, you may prefer the local trains as they don't require reservations, so you can get on and off as you like. That allows you to get off, take some pictures, and take the next train onward (usually after an hour). If the weather is bad, that could be a reason to choose for the comfort of a direct train like the Glacier Express. Just a thought :-) Taking pictures from the train does not really work. At least, that's my experience. Take into account that the windows in most train do not open; certainly not in the scenic trains.

Your plans look like you could use a 15-day Swiss Travel Pass, or perhaps a Swiss Half Fare Card.

9 posts
new member
May 3, 2015 - 12:52 PM

Thanks Slowpoke and Arno for the prompt and detail response!

We decided to remove the one day overnight at Chur and use that extra one day in Bern as my friend is keen to visit the old town. Would you recommend that or we should just assign that one day in Berner Oberland region and if yes, where would you suggest that we head to?

Would you suggest that we stay over at St. Moritz or Pontresina? We cannot make up our mind over these two choices.

As for Bernina Express, we will take single way to Triano and take the local train back so that we would be able to stop along the way on our way back, including Brusio. We will assign one day to that.

We are two minded about travelling from St. Moritz/Pontresina to Zermatt by Glacier Express or the local trains. I tend to agree with Arno that taking pictures from the train doesnt really work. On the other hand, it seems like one of the "must do" for travels to Switzerland.

On paragliding, would you suggest that it be done in Lucern or in Interlaken area?

Thanks for providing the information on hiking. I will read up on it.

Thanks once again for all the help. Much appreciated!

7567 posts
May 3, 2015 - 3:55 PM in reply to Varnia
Varnia said:

<<"Thanks Slowpoke and Arno for the prompt and detail response!">>

You are welcome.

<<"We decided to remove the one day overnight at Chur and use that extra one day in Bern as my friend is keen to visit the old town. Would you recommend that or we should just assign that one day in Berner Oberland region and if yes, where would you suggest that we head to?">>

Bern -

I really enjoy the old city in Bern.

Here is a link to a long thread in the Photography Forum on Compuserve, which you might find interesting. It has some running jokes with my friends , but also some good information.. developed over several years....;-)

forums.compuserve.com/ discussions/Photography /_/_/ws-photography/ 36607.1

That said, on a first visit, I'd perhaps only alot a half day there, with a walk through the old town to the Rose Garden, and return.

Berner Oberland -

For sheer impact, nothing beats the Berner Oberland.

My recommendations are all consistent with this set of reports, posted on this forum by Kim.

myswissalps.com/forum/ topic/tips-about-wengen-and-the-jungfrau-region-by-kim.

St. Moritz -

Pontresina and St. Moritz are close enough that you can easily stay in one or the other. There are also satellite villages to St. Moritz ( Sils Maria, Silvaplana, St. Moritz Bad, which may offer lower prices than St. Moritz.)

We have stayed at various places in the region, and have no special recommendations. Over the years, we have tended to stay at the other end of the valley - Guarda, Ardez, Ftan, Scuol - which are less well known , less crowded, and more enjoyable for our preferences.

Also, take a look at:

myswissalps.com/hiking/ muottasmuragl-alplanguard


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