Itinerary help- 2 weeks late April in Switzerland

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Jess
Jess
3 posts
new member
Apr 18, 2018 - 9:55 PM

Hi,

I have found this website and forum really helpful in planning and learning new things. I have a trip coming up, I leave on Wednesday, and will be arriving in Zurich Thursday morning. I wanted to ask for some advice to see if I am making enough time for each destination. I have 19 days in Switzerland, and I am hoping to take 3 or 4 of those days for a side trip to Italy. I'll take any and all advice - places to see, hostels to stay at, how long I will need, etc. Thank you in advance!

Zurich/St. Gallen (Thursday to Saturday)

-Gerold Chuchi Umbrella Street

-Grossmunster Cathedral

-Sprungli Chocolate Shop

-Rhine Falls

Lucerne (Saturday to Tuesday)

-The Chapel Bridge

-Nolliturm Tower

-Lake Lucerne

-Day trip up to Mt. Pilatus (Golden Round Trip)

--> want to do the Toboggan run + hike the Esel Trail

Interlaken (Wednesday to Friday - taking Golden Round Trip from Lucerne)

-Schynige Platte + Brienz lake

-Schilithorn

-Lauterbrunnen

--> cable care up Murren via Winteregg, hike down to Gimmelwald

-Trummelbach Falls

Montreux (Friday to Sunday via Golden Pass)

-Lake Promenade

-Cog railway to Rochers de Naye

-Chateau de Chillon

Zermatt (Sunday to Wednesday via Glacier Express)

-Matterhorn (Take sunnegga express)

-Gornergrat (stop @ Rotenboden for Riffelsee Lake)

Milan or Turin, Italy (Wednesday to Saturday)

*taking Bernina Express back to Zurich from Milan or Tirano.

What do you think? Anything I should add or take away? Thank you!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5163 posts
expert
Apr 19, 2018 - 12:19 AM in reply to Jess

Hi Jess-

Welcome to My Swiss Alps.

<<"I have a trip coming up, I leave on Wednesday, and will be arriving in Zurich Thursday morning.">>

Where I am, it is 4 hours until Thursday.

Unless your date is in the future, it is a bit unclear exactly what help you are seeking.

When are you traveling? And, what are your particular interests? Trains? Mountains? Old towns in cities? Museums? Hiking? Restaurants?

By the way, the Jungfrau region is rather full of snow. these days.

And, I'm not sure, but I suspect that cograil up to Pilatus has not started running yet. Too early in the year. Have you looked at the timetable?

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

Slowpoke

Jess
Jess
3 posts
new member
Apr 19, 2018 - 12:39 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi,

Sorry to not be very clear. I live in Canada so not a 4 hour flight unfortunately. I arrive on April 26 and am there until May 14th. I’m hoping to do quite a bit of travelling by train to see the mountains and such. I’m into scenery and nature. I’m really open to anything as I’ve never been before.

I didn’t think to look at the timetable but I shall. Thank you for the heads up!

Lucas
Lucas
9607 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 19, 2018 - 6:14 AM in reply to Jess

Hi Jess,

If your primary interest is mountain visits I would focus on the Lucerne area and the Bernese Oberland area (more specifically the Jungfrau region).

The later you move around in Switzerland the better for mountain visits. I'd try and do Italy first and southern Switzerland (if that interests you, such as the Ticino region and Geneva / Montreux) before heading to Lucerne and the Bernese Oberland (if possible) as more of the mountain transports will be running (but not all). Look on this link to get an idea of opening dates for mountains in the Spring.

Have a look here for what to do in Switzerland and where to go in Switzerland. For that long of a stay a rail pass of some sort will also be very beneficial. Read about how to choose the best rail pass here.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5163 posts
expert
Apr 19, 2018 - 7:12 AM in reply to Jess

Hi Jess-

You did not mention hiking?

What part of Canada?

For some perspective on the weather to expect, Bow Summit , the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, is 6800 feet above sea level.

That is 2073 meters. I work in meters, because all of the Swiss maps are in meters.

For comparison, Männlichen, near the Jungfrau, and the starting point for a very nice hike to Kleine Scheidegg, is at 2221 meters and Kleine Scheidegg is at 2061 meters.

www.myswissalps.com/hi king/maennlichen-kleinescheidegg

So, there will be plenty of snow at higher altitudes while you are there. That particular trail does not open until mid-June in the average year. There was heavy snow this pat winter.

Altitude is everything.

By early to mid-May, lower altitudes will be well into Spring. For example, Luzern ( local German spelling) is at 435 meters. St. Gallen at 668 meters.

All of the links on this page are helpful to give you general information about traveling in Switzerland:

In particular:

www.myswissalps.com/ab outswitzerland/nature

A few random thoughts about your plans...neither complete or well organized, but at least a start -

Especially considering jet lag, you are wise to allow a couple of days at the start at a base such as Zürich, or the much more scenic Luzern, for day trips. And, it is terrific that you can put a few days at your selected bases. We normally recommend Luzern, because it is in or near high mountains, has a beautiful lake, a really nice old town, and as does Zürich, some world class museums. For travel to die Ostschweiz ( East Switzerland) such as St. Gall, Zürich is a better base than Luzern..

www.myswissalps.com/zu rich

www.myswissalps.com/lu cerne

Rhine Falls? Have you seen Niagara? If so, you'll be underwhelmed by the Rhine Falls. Powerful, especially in the Spring, not very high.

I really enjoy St. Gall.

A quote from another thread:

"St. Gall ( Sankt Gallen) (watch the spellings) is a favorite of mine for a nice old town, the Abbey library, and a 700 year old restaurant. If you would like more details, I'll be pleased to explain. I did not recommend it before, because I did not understand that you were interested. Note that the timetable tells me that it is 1hr 2 min or 1hr 9 min from Zürich main station.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Abbey_of_Saint_Gall

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Abbey_library_of_Saint _Gall

whc.unesco.org/en/list /268

Images?

www.google.com/search?q=st+gall+images+of+ab bey+library

The restaurant is Weinstube zun Baümli:

www.weinstube-baeumli.ch/

In Luzern, the Jesuit Church ( die Jesuitenkirche) has another amazing interior.

This thread talks about hikes, but, it has a of of pictures of Lake Lucerne. (German name- der Vierwaldstättersee).

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/the-swiss-path-and-southern-lake-lucerne

More later.

Slowpoke

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Apr 20, 2018 - 12:53 AM in reply to Jess

Hi Jess,

Unfortunately your travel dates aren't suitable for some of the activities you hope to do, and you might have to modify your itinerary a bit to fit in with the opening/operational times of others. Here are the details:

>> Day trip up to Mt. Pilatus (Golden Round Trip)

The Golden Round Trip to Pilatus is only possible when the coghweel train from Alpnachstad to Pilatus Kulm is operating. It closes for the winter, and reopens sometime in the first half of May, depending on the weather. If the cogwheel train is not operating, you can go up and back on the cableway from Kriens. Use this link to find out the status of the cogwheel train on the day you travel:

www.pilatus.ch/en/nc/l ive/

>> hike the Esel Trail

I would be surprised if the trail is open at this time of year, but you can check when you are there.

>> Schynige Platte

The train from Wilderswil to Schynige Platte is not expected to reopen after the winter break until 26 May.

>> cable care up Murren via Winteregg

The cable car from Lauterbrunnen to Grütschalp, which connects with the train from Grütschalp to Mürren via Winteregg, is closed for maintenance between 30 Apr and 4 May.

>> Montreux ... via Golden Pass

Due to construction work on the Golden Pass route until 1 Jun 2018, there are substitute buses for the sector between Château-d’Oex and Montbovon (a stretch of about 10km, 15 minutes), and you won't be able to make reservations between Zweisimmen and Montreux. However, don't let this deter you - it will still be a wonderful trip.

>> sunnegga express

Closed for maintenance 23 Apr to 30 May 2018.

Alpenrose

Last modified on Apr 20, 2018 - 11:11 AM by Arno
Jess
Jess
3 posts
new member
Apr 20, 2018 - 7:13 AM

Wow, I’m so glad I posted in this forum or I would’ve been quite disappointed when I got to Switzerland and wasn’t able to do half the things I wanted to haha,

I’m thinking of scrapping my itinerary and starting anew. I’m still set to stay in Zurich and St. Gallen from the 26th to the 29th but I was thinking of going straight to Italy first and then work my way back up in hopes that some places will be open.

I can take a train from St. Gallen to Chur and then the Bernina Express from there to Tirano correct?

How would I get from Tirano to Zermatt? From what I can tell I need to take the Bernina Express bus I believe to get to Lugano and then take a train from Lugano to Zermatt

Thank you for all your help!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5163 posts
expert
Apr 20, 2018 - 9:21 AM in reply to Jess

Hi Jes-

You wrote:

<<"I didn’t think to look at the timetable but I shall. Thank you for the heads up! ">>

And -

<<"I can take a train from St. Gallen to Chur and then the Bernina Express from there to Tirano correct?

How would I get from Tirano to Zermatt? From what I can tell I need to take the Bernina Express bus I believe to get to Lugano and then take a train from Lugano to Zermatt">>

You have a good part of the answer at your finger tips. Please learn to use the timetable.

As the instruction page that I linked you to above states:

<<"Enter your departure location, the arrival location, the travel date (day. month. year) and travel time (24 hour format, so 5 PM is 17:00). You can optionally enter a "via location" if you prefer a specific route and not necessarily the quickest route. Click the button to find all travel options. The location name can be a train station, bus stop, boat dock, cable car station or street address.">>

That is a subtle way of saying that the timetable defaults to the fastest route unless you plug in a "via" or several "Vias."

So, try St Gall to Chur to Tirano, and see what you get.

I did and I get two choices every hour.

The Bernina Express does that route, as do regular trains:

www.myswissalps.com/be rninaexpress

I did did not check the all the timetable links to see which one is the Bernina Express, and I don't know if that special train over that route runs at a certain time that I missed.

From the page I linked-

<<"The winter timetable of the Bernina Express is limited. There is only one train per day from Chur to Tirano and back, and an occasional one from St. Moritz to Tirano and back. Also, the Bernina Express bus from Tirano to Lugano does not operate. See the timetable for details. But there's something extra too: the regular trains from St. Moritz to Tirano have a panoramic car attached. This concept is called Bernina Panorama Winter. You can sit there after paying a supplement, and enjoy the superb winter scenery in a very comfortable manner.">>

April could likely still be winter.

Regular trains run all year but have train changes.

In order to put in the "vias" you need some understanding of the basic geography and where the trains run.

There different ways to figure that out, but the one that I personally prefer is to use Mapsearch.CH.

Start with the overview, then zoom in:

map.search.ch/?pos=692864,147072&z=1

It lets you see the overall geography, especially if you use the aerial view. Then, if you zoom in to zoom level 32, the train lines appear prominently. It helps you with setting up reasonable routes that may not backtrack.

map.search.ch/?pos=720256,97984&z=32

and

map.search.ch/?pos=627728,96992&z=32

The simplest and most direct route from Luganio toZermatt is indeed the bus. However, I don't know if it runs in April on whichever dates you choose. The paragraph that I quoted says in does not run in Winter, and says that Spring starts in May for that line. So, it probably does not run.

So, I pick my date and try the timetable. Then, I pick a date in the Summer and try the timetable to see what happens. If you find the routte in Summer but not in April, that's a clue.

Italy first makes sense, but it sill won't get you on much of the alpine mountain transport, as Alpenrose has noted.

Slowpoke

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