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How to plan a trip to Swiss Alps with bad weather

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new member
Jan 12, 2017 - 10:32 AM


First of all thanks a lot for all the useful information this site and forum provides.

My husband and I are planning a trip sans kids, that is we want to make the best of the short time we have. We can start our journey departing from Zurich on Sunday, Jan 19 around 4 pm and must be back in Zurich by Wednesday, Jan 26 at noon to catch our flight home. Since we are visiting relatives, we can always return to Zurich and spend the night there during this time. We already visited Luzern, the Titlis and the Zurich area in the past.

We have a huge wishlist but currently it looks like it will be snowing a LOT, i.e. cloudy. So the main question is if any of the items on our wishlist make sense in bad weather. If not, what alternative plans can you suggest? We plan on purchasing the relevant 4-day Swiss Travel Pass. Here is what we would like to include and the places where we would like to stay.

- We do not want to ski but want to go on at least one snowshoeing hike (we've never done that). We are both experienced runners (completed several half marathons) so we are in good shape.

- We want to take a panorama train but don't know which one/how to best combine them with the rest of our plans. Glacier Express - all of it or part of it? We also consider taking the Bernina Express but really don't want to spend the night in Tirano and the journey back from there to Zurich strikes me as too long.

- Zermatt : We'd like to sleep here 1-2 nights. Gornergrat or Kleines Matterhorn, which to you recommend? What to do there? Matterhorn Museum? Glacier Paradise? Recommended snowshoeing/winter hiking trails? What else do you recommend?

- Grindelwald: We consider sleeping here one night, depending on how it fits into our travel plans. Snowshoeing/winter hiking trails? Jungfraujoch? What else do you recommend doing there? Does it make sense to visit Lauterbrunnen and the waterfalls in winter? Can you get there by train/public transport?

- St. Moritz/Celerina: Is it worth adding this area as sleepover? If so, would there be time to do something in this area and what do you recommend?

I'd appreciate any help/recommendation you can give me.

14390 posts
expert &
Jan 12, 2017 - 8:46 PM

Hi NadineV, welcome to MySwissAlps!

You can have a look at our Zermatt, Grindelwald and St. Moritz pages to learn about the areas and activities. The Glacier Express connects Zermatt to St. Moritz, so that could be your scenic train ride. Another scenic ride can be included if you travel from Zurich airport to Lucerne, then take the Golden Pass line to Lucerne, and finally a train to Grindelwald.

I prefer Gornergrat over Klein Matterhorn, but both are wonderful. There will be winter hiking trails in all areas, and most probably snowshoe trails too. The local tourist office can tell you which ones are open, as this is weather dependent. Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg would be a wonderful one near Grindelwald.

The St. Moritz area is superb and there is enough to do for weeks. A trip across the Bernina line to Tirano and back is doable from there.

I wouldn't worry too much about the weather yet, as any predictions more than 3 days ahead are kind of a gamble in the mountains, and anything beyond a week is not worth taking into account. Waterfalls do not run in winter as the water feeding them is frozen.

Note that a 4-day Swiss Travel Pass won't work as you will be in Switzerland for 8 days. A Swiss Travel Pass Flex could be an alternative as you can use it on non-consecutive days but that would mean no free or discounted traveling on the other days. An 8-day Swiss Travel Pass is likely the best and most convenient option. You can print it at home through www.swissrailways.com/ en so you won't have to spend time on it at the airport. After filling out your address, they will show the delivery options. Pick "Online Ticket" from the bottom of the list. They will e-mail the pass (no delivery fees) within 1 to 3 business days.

Last modified on May 17, 2018 - 11:42 AM by Arno


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