8 day itinerary for May trip - any insights?

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17 posts
new member
Mar 14, 2017 - 6:04 PM

Hello fellow Swiss adventurers, I posted a rough draft of my itinerary a couple of months ago and have changed a few things since. This here is my finalized comprehensive itinerary (bear with me).

I mostly would like to know if these plans are realistic or are too much of an undertaking. I am physically active and when I am experiencing new things fatigue tends to not bother me at all. Any feedback or suggestions would be appreciated as the date is quickly approaching!

This is my first time traveling to Switzerland and Europe in general.

The trip will be from may 17th to the 26th and I am traveling solo. I have a hobby for photography, hence why I will want to be in certain places at certain times as stated in itinerary. I plan on getting the 8 day Swiss Travel Pass as it seems the most ideal for my needs. I have also done a lot of digging into the transit system and lining up travel times to get the best idea of where ill be and for how long I can be there to make the most of everything.

I've looked into weather and conditions for that time of year and from my understanding it can be a hit or a miss depending on where you are regionally. Any insight of weather experience during this month is welcomed. I understand weather is crucial for trips to Switzerland as much of it is scenic views.
Any ideas to substitute a daytrip in the event of bad weather would be welcomed.

Ill arrive in Zurich the morning of the 18th and leave via rail for Luzern, Luzern will be my first base.

Upon arriving at Luzern I will check in to my hotel and venture around old town and certain sights of Luzern (i understand I most likely be jetlagged, so doing lots the first day may not be ideal). Hopefully getting a good night sleep.

On the 2nd day (19th) I plan on getting up very early to hike up Grosser Mythen to see the sunrise. (I hear if there is a place to be at sunrise, this is it). I have a big question on this however, Is hiking in darkness up a mountain solo common? how dangerous can it be? should I really consider this plan for my own good?

I plan on taking a Mt. Rigi day trip which from my understanding will take the majority of the day. This would complete my 2nd day.

3rd day (20th) I plan on checking out and doing the Mt. Pilatus trip (this will be the first day the golden round trip is open for the season). It will be the later afternoon by the time this trip ends so I plan on getting right on the rail for Lauterbrunnen. Lauterbrunnen will be my 2nd base for the trip.

Upon arriving in Lauterbrunnen Ill check in and just stay local. end of 3rd day

on the 4th day (21st) I plan on exploring the surrounding areas. First to Murren and to the Schilthorn; big Bond fan (I plan on getting to some of these destinations via hiking such as Murren via Grutschalp). From my understanding hiking may not be an option in higher altitude areas do to there still being snow at those heights, any insight on this would be appreciated.

After the Shilthorn I will return to Lauterbrunnen and may look into paragliding there (gotta have at least one extreme experience!). As the later afternoon approaches I planned on Heading to Interlaken and hiking Harder Kulm to be there for Sunset, taking the funicular back and ending my day. I looked into sunrise and set times and noticed the sunsets rather late at this time of year (9+pm!).

day 5 (22nd) Early morning trip to Jungfraujoch, from Jungfraujoch Ill goto Grindelwald. While searching forums I came across a place called Bussalp. People who have gone said there isnt much there but the views are priceless, it can be reached via bus or hiked. Once again I am not sure about the hiking conditions at this time of the year and if this little excursion is doable. From Grindelwald I will goto Wengen and finish there before heading back to Lauterbrunnen. Originally I was looking to goto Grindelwald then First to Lake Bussalp. However the cable car to get there is not operational at this time. Is this still accessible through another mode of transportation?

day 6 (23rd ) I will head to Lake Thun via Interlaken for a lake trip to Thun. I will explore around Thun followed by train ride to Bern. Ill explore old town Bern and some sights there then head back towards Lauterbrunnen. According to the times ive coome up with throughout this day, ill still have some daylight left by the time I leave Bern. Any suggestions on the way back to Lauterbrunnen? Spiez? Neisen?

Day 7 (24th) Plan on taking the first train to Zermatt (this being the longest travel from my base). From Zermatt Ill go to Gornergrat and see the sights there, followed by Rotenboden. I plan on hiking from here to Riffelsee for that famous shot of the Matterhorn. Ill head back to Rotenboden and take the train back to Zermatt.

From here Ill go back out to the Klein Matterhorn "glacial paradise". I catch the final connection back to Zermatt and finally head back to Lauterbrunnen. End of this day.

Day 8 (25th) Checkout and take the train all the way back to Zurich. Check in to hotel and explore old Zurich. This day is up in the air. Any suggestions for the remainder of my last day?

Day 9 (26th) checkout head to airport for the long journey back! Hope I have an amazing experience in this beautiful place.

Any and all feedback will certainly help me for this trip, Thank you!

5005 posts
expert &
Mar 16, 2017 - 2:48 PM in reply to Balan214

Hi Balan214!

You've thorougly prepared your itinerary. As for weather: you've understood correctly that there's no way of telling what it will look like during your stay. Weather conditions are highly unpredictable and changeable, so dress for all kinds of weather and do make a list of back-up plans (boat rides, train rides, city visits, the Ballenberg Open Air Museum, the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne, etc) in case it doesn't work out as you hope. This general seasonal information may help as well. Here are some more thoughts on your plans:

  • day 2: I would be very cautious about hiking alone in the dark, as has been discussed in your previous topic. The choice is up to you, but please be warned. Unfortunately casualties do occur among hikers who underestimate the difficulty of a trail, and darkness is an important complicating factor. So may your jet lag be. A mountain hut or hotel up at a mountain top would be a safer alternative to enjoy the views during sunrise/sunset. Your trip to Rigi looks fine;
  • day 3: note that the start date for the cog train from Alpnachstad to Pilatus is an estimation. If weather/snow conditions aren't good enough yet, the train may start operating later in the season. You'll still be able to use the cable car from Kriens though;
  • day 4: indeed, high altitude hiking is mostly not possible in May. It's very probable that the trail between Mürren and Grütschalp is accessible though. Walking down in the Lauterbrunnen valley is beautiful too;
  • day 5: there are hourly buses between the Grindelwald rail station and Bussalp. They can be found in the timetable;
  • day 6: Spiez is certainly nice. You may enjoy a stroll along the lake (it does take a little ascending/descending from the rail station). The funicular to Niesen won't be running that late;
  • day 7 is very long. You seem to have checked your schedules well though, and as long as your energy level is fine, you're ready to go!
  • day 8: please see our Zurich page for tips in and near the city.
17 posts
new member
Mar 17, 2017 - 1:52 AM in reply to Annika

Thank you for the info, Grosser Mythen may just need to be done in daylight. Wouldn't want my loved ones getting a call from the embassy about an accident! As for Mt. Pilatus, would there be info on the conditions for the cogwheel train before? the cablecar at Kriens is an alternative route from the other side i am assuming. Thanks again for the suggestions!

10385 posts
expert &
Mar 17, 2017 - 6:50 AM in reply to Balan214

Hi Balan214,

For Mt.Pilatus it is best to check once you are in Luzern (at hotel or tourism office at train station). It is possible they will update their website when they have selected the exact opening date. The cogwheel may even open earlier. If it isn't open there is always the cable car route that you can take - so you will be able to go to Pilatus either way.


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