14 day Switzerland itinerary, too many "must do's"

14 day Switzerland itinerary, too many "must do's"

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Schnacky
Schnacky
16 posts
new member
Apr 18, 2017 - 2:11 PM

Hello!

My husband and I are traveling to Switzerland from September 20, 2017 (arriving early morning in Zurich) through October 5, 2017 (departing Zurich.) I figured we have a total of 14 travel days (excluding our arrival and departing days.)

This will be our first time in Switzerland and boy after reading and researching everything to do and see, my list is too big. Sadly, I have to dwindle down my "Want to do and see" list. We only want to stay in two cities. (after our Italy trip of staying in a multitude of cities, we only want to unpack and repack 2 times) For starters we are staying in Wengen from September 20th-27th. I figured that would give us time to explore and hike many of the cities and the things we want to do. (I hope) We will land in Zurich and then take a train into Wengen.

Here is my "Want to do and see" list and hopefully you will not think I'm too crazy and help me in my decision making. :) (Please except my apologize for any misspellings!!)

  • Wengen: Home Base for first 7 days
  • Zermatt: Matterhorn, Glacier Paradise, Museum, Gorner Gorge, Gletschergarten Dessen, Glacier Trail
  • Saas Fee: Express Cable Car, Eispavillion, Beer Making
  • Bern: Baren Park, Munster Gothic Cathedral, Zytglogge
  • Les Diablerets: Glacier 3000, Peak Walk/Tissot
  • Interlaken: Harder Kulm Mtn. . Heimwehfluh Mtn., Schynige Platte
  • Grindelwald: Hiking Trails, First Flieger, Mountain Cart
  • Kleine Scheidegg: Hiking Trails
  • Jungfraujoch: Ice Palace, Atetsch Glacier - Flying Fox
  • Schilthorn: Skyline View Platform, James Bond Exhibition
  • Lauterbrunnen: Trummelbachfalle, Staubbach Falls
  • The Lakes: Lake Thunersee, Thun, Schloss Thun, Spiez, Schloss Spiez
  • Faulensee: WWII Bunkers
  • Meiringen:Reichenbachfalle, Aareschlucht Gorge, Gletscherschlucht Rosenlaui Gorge, Triftbrucke Bridge
  • Murren: Northface Trail, Allmendhulsel Funnicular, Klettersteig Via Ferrata
  • Gimmelwald: Shark Fin Mtn. in Stechelberg
  • Kandersteg: Hike, Oeschinensee Lake, Gemmi Pass
  • Gstaad: Hike, Dairy Trail, Downhill Scooter Trail, Llama hike
  • Gruyeres: Chateau de Gruyeres, La Maison du Gruyeres, Sentier des Fromageries, Fromagerie d'Alpage de Moleson
  • Neuchatel: Watch Making, Cheau de Neuchatel Castle, Chocolaterie Walder, Vue-des-Alpes, Fairyland Absinthe, Abbayede Bellelay
  • Lucern: Kapellbruckle Bridge, Lion Monument, Spreuerbrucke Bridge, Mussegmauer Fortress, Mt. Pilatus, Stanserhorn, Klewenalp, Mt. Rigi,
  • Brunnen: Swiss Knife Valley Museum, Urmiberg Cable Car
  • Engelberg: Brunni Cable Car - Angel Mtn., Mt. Titlis, Revolving Cable Car, Titles Glacier, Ice Cave, Cliff Walk, Ice Flyer Chairlift, Glacier Park
  • Rheinfall: Schlosslauten, Kanzeli Viewing Platform, Ferry, Adventure Park
  • Zernez: Swiss National Park
  • Bellinzona: Castle Grande, Castello di Montebello, Castello di Sasso Corbaro

So there you have it! I am sure everyone is thinking that I am crazy! I know that there is no way possible to do all, but if someone, anyone can help me dwindle down this list, I will appreciate this so very much!!!

We also need our second home base. I was thinking of staying in Zurich on October 4th since we are departing early on the 5th for this last night only. So any thoughts of where to make our second home base??

I want to thank you in advance for helping me! I am soooooo confused and excited!! :)

Kindly, your new Swiss Alps friend from the USA

Lucas
Lucas
5608 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 19, 2017 - 7:23 AM in reply to Schnacky

Hi Schnaky,

Phew, where to start?! :) As you can see there is a lot of things to see and do in Switzerland - unfortunately, I can't tell you what you will like the most and what you may not like and can skip. And of course you can't do it all!

As for a 2nd home base, I might look at Montreux to give you a different taste (not nestled in the Alps) of Switzerland. From there you can visit: Neuchatel, Gruyeres, Gstaad, Les Diablerets, Saas Fee and of course a boat cruise on Lake Geneva.

From Wengen you can visit: "The Lakes" of Thunand Brienz, Interlaken, Luzern, Kleine Scheidegg/Jungfraujoch, Grindelwald, Gimmelwald, Murren, Meiringen, Lauterbrunnen, Schilthorn easily enough (they aren't too far away) during your 7 days, but it depends on how much traveling per day you want to do!

If you are focused on seeing the Alps and hiking opportunities I might leave out Bern and Zermatt (as it is quite far from your bases, unless the Matterhorn is a must see). I would also skip the Rheinfall and maybe Brunnen? But as I said its hard to tell you what is worth skipping for you.

Once you decide on a 2nd base, choose the attractions and towns that are most easily reachable and interest you the most. You have to think whether the Matterhorn, for example is worth a day trip from Wengen at 2.5 to 3 hours each way on the train. How much time you want to sit on trains is also a worthwhile thought!

You can search all train schedules here to help you on your travel planning.

I look forward to your thoughts!
Lucas

Last modified on Apr 19, 2017 - 4:26 PM by Lucas
rockoyster
rockoyster
3391 posts
expert
Apr 20, 2017 - 3:14 AM

Hi Schnacky,

WOW - that is some wish-list. Thanks for sharing. Sorry I can;t help you narrow it down but it sure gave me some new leads on places I might look at visiting when I am over there. ;-)

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Apr 20, 2017 - 8:19 PM in reply to Schnacky

Hi Schnacky-

Welcome to My Swiss Alps.

<<"We also need our second home base. I was thinking of staying in Zurich on October 4th since we are departing early on the 5th for this last night only. So any thoughts of where to make our second home base??">>

For a good base within easy train ride distance to Zürich Flughafen, Luzern comes to mind.

I hate to pack and unpack and waste time by staying at too many places. You are wise to limit your number of bases. That said, you probably could be comfortable with three bases instead of two for a 14 day trip.

I am puzzled by your long list. (Yes, I know, so are you. ;-) )

As far as I can tell from your note, you want to "see" these places. I also see the verb "do." But, I don't know what "do" means. I don't know why you want to go to those particular places.

The other verb that we get here a lot is "cover." Thanks for not using it. ;-) I don't know what that means, either.

I do know what "see" means. You can see most places in 5 minutes. Get off the train. walk out of the station, and look around, go back in and get on the next train. So, perhaps you want to do more than "see." Maybe you want to explore? It takes time to explore the old city of Luzern, for example. And, you probably have some criteria for "what to see" and, more important, "what to do." Can you articulate them....possibly with some reasons "I like old cities" "I like to walk in mountain scenery."

Why do you want to see the Swiss National Park?

Maybe you can select ideas such as -

take easy walks, or,

take moderately difficult hikes, or ride a lake boat,

photography,

or ride special scenic trains,

or, visit historic churches,

or, visit art museums,

castles,

military ruins,

or, eat at vegetarian restaurants,

or, explore the little know but excellent wine scene that has developed in the last few years.

Force your self to rank those things, in an ordered list. Let the top items on the list help guide your choices..

Some places are better than others for those items, so, if you can rank the reasons or "to do's" m, you can helps us refine your choices.

If you want to see "High Alpine Regions" make a list of the ones in your list. There are several. Aggregate the ones in the Jungfrau region ( near Wengen) in a single group. Assign a fixed number of days to those. Since - by your criteria so far as we understand them so far - they are all good, it doesn't matter which ones you throw away. Go there, and sort them out after you arrive.

List all the other high Alpine regions and throw away most of them. Unless, those are the only things that you want to see. Still throw away most of them, but keep a few.

Go to the Jungfrau region first. Late September is still great. As you get into October, the chances of weather issues in the mountains increases.

Have you been to Niagara Falls? If so, skip the Rhine Falls. If not, skip the Rhine Falls anyway, and go to Niagara.

Put some of the others on a map.

I use thumbtacks or sticky notes on a large map when I plan a trip to a new country. Do that, then throw away the geographic outliers, unless they meet some of your selected criteria.

There are good resources to help understand how long it will take to get to these places:

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

map.search.ch/?pos=637384,161088&z=32 &poi=bergbahn,halteste lle,zug

With altitudes:

map.wanderland.ch/?lang=en&route=all&bgLa yer=pk&resolution=20&X =636060&Y=157880&layer s=Wanderland

By the way, you forgot the Engadine...whether near St. Moritz, or, my favorite at the end near Austria - Scuol, Ftan, Guarda and Ardez. Just wanted to make sure that you had enough to choose from. ;-)

Slowpoke

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Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Apr 21, 2017 - 12:08 AM in reply to Schnacky

Hi Schnacky-

second reply.

When you are in Wengen, you can easily get to Gimmelwald. Once there, you will see that there is nothing there except a few hundred Rick Steve's fans with his book in their hands. It is a stop on the series of cableways from Stechelberg up to Mürren and Schilthorn, so it is easy enough to hop off and hop on the next one, but, if I were doing it, I'd avoid the Rick Steve's fans.

Brunnen-

Brunnen is a pleasant town on the lake shore. The lakeside promenade, and the terrace restaurant of the Hotel Waldstätterhof are nice.

You have to choose your priorities on seeing that museum you mention... I have never gone there in many trips to Brunnen and nearby although such museums interest me a bit , and I don't know why that cable car is better than any other. Perhaps you are aware of something special about it? You'll have some really super cable car rides near Wengen and Schilthorn....

What I do instead is soak up some serious Swiss history in Schwyz:

www.bundesbrief.ch/en/ exhibition.html/3

One of the attached pictures was taken in 2009 when I took my granddaughter to Switzerland. It is a page from a photobook that I prepared to document the trip. In Schwyz, we went into a small museum in the back of the Ital-Reding mansion museum (nice to see how the rich lived in past centuries). Behind the nice mansion is the oldest building in Switzerland - Bethlehem House. Built in the 11th century, it was occupied continuously until the 1950's. Now, there are some interesting exhibits that caught my granddaughters interest.

Also, when I am in that area - which is frequently - I cross the lake on the boat to to Treib, take the funicular up to Seelisberg, then reverse, or walk back down to Treib, sometime eat at Volligen, or have a beer at Treib. Zoom in more on the following map, and mouse over the bottom station icon of the fiunicular...you'll see that it is at Treib. ( Rütli is not where that map shows it. It is just below Seelisberg on the lake. Odd.)

map.search.ch/?pos=688424,204720&z=32 &poi=bergbahn,zug

Or, as described in this following thread, I walk the Swiss Path from Seelisberg to above Bauen, down the hill to Bauen ( 400 meters descent) and catch another boat back to a train at Flüelen or Brunnen and head back to Luzern or Zürich.

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

That will give you some idea of the terrain, and what the lake boats are like.

I also like the attached picture taken by a forum member from the top of Pilatus, with a grand view of the southern part of Lake Lucerne.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Apr 21, 2017 - 12:15 AM by Slowpoke
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Schnacky
Schnacky
16 posts
new member
May 3, 2017 - 2:59 PM in reply to Lucas

Hi Lucas thank you so much for getting back to me. I appreciate the info you provided. I am seriously thinking of using Montreux as another base. That makes sense since I do not want to be traveling by train more than 2 hours. I also went through my list and crossed out a bunch and then still had to much. lol Then I had to have a reality check and seriously cross more out. I understand that being a first time Switzerland traveler that my list was exceptionally long, but boy is it hard to decide as most everything sounds amazing. I had to go through my map and figured out just how long train travel was between my bases and my want to do and see list.

My questions to you now are...If my husband and I are into uutdoor activities, hiking and walking...is Bernese Oberland the best region? If we want to do some beer making and chocolate tours, where would you recommend? Do you think that Gruyeres is worth going and doing a cheese tour etc? Also, last but not least...What waterfalls do you find the top waterfalls to go to?

Thank you again!

Schnacky

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
May 3, 2017 - 4:42 PM in reply to Schnacky

Hi Schnacky-

<<"My questions to you now are...If my husband and I are into outdoor activities, hiking and walking...is Bernese Oberland the best region?:>>

There is excellent hiking of various kinds all over Switzerland.

www.alpenwild.com/stat icpage/trail-signs-in-the-swiss-alps/

The Bernese Oberland has a range from easy to technical, and lots of great views.

Here is some useful information:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/tips-about-wengen-and-the-jungfrau-region-by-kim

However, many prefer long distance hiking and consider that to be "best."

An example - The Via Alpina.

map.wanderland.ch/?lang=en&route=all&bgLa yer=pk&resolution=650& X=734792&Y=206069&laye rs=Wanderland&highligh t=WanderlandRoutenNati onal*1

Ask a Swiss where they like to walk, and, after the high mountains, many will mention inn-to -inn hiking in the Emmental as the best for their family:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/langnau-in-may/page/2

Scroll down to April 6th, 3:47 PM for some pictures of the show dairy.

The hiking is really pleasant, not spectacular. mostly rolling hills, with nice vistas. You will note that there is a show dairy in this thread, in Affoltern im Emmental. The attached panoramic image was taken from the trail at an overlook a few miles south of Affoltern, over Sumiswald.

Slowpoke

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Lucas
Lucas
5608 posts
expert &
moderator
May 3, 2017 - 6:14 PM in reply to Schnacky

Slowpoke has some excellent hiking information for you!

When I think of beer tours in Switzerland I think of Saas Fee - check it out here.
You can go to Gruyeres for chocolate and cheese (and a chocolate train!) and it is near Montreux.

Finally, waterfalls are tough...perhaps Trümmelbach waterfalls? It is on my list to try to get to this summer and the area has several waterfalls (Lauterbrunnen).

Lucas

Last modified on May 3, 2017 - 6:14 PM by Lucas
Schnacky
Schnacky
16 posts
new member
May 3, 2017 - 7:51 PM

Slowpoke and Lucas...

Thank you very much for the information! I am going to research the links you provided me the rest of the week and will definitely I keep you posted! Thanks again and I'm sorry that I didn't thank you earlier Slowpoke for giving me all the info you did before!!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
May 3, 2017 - 10:49 PM in reply to Schnacky

<<"Thanks again and I'm sorry that I didn't thank you earlier Slowpoke for giving me all the info you did before!! ">>

No problem. Hope it was useful. Ask if you want more detail...I used the shotgun approach.

If you want to do some walking and scenic stuff, Luzern is better than Bern. But, Bern is a really nice town, and closer to the Emmental if that sort of country interests you.

map.search.ch/?pos=633760,206592&z=8

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
May 4, 2017 - 1:22 AM in reply to Schnacky

<<". I also went through my list and crossed out a bunch and then still had to much. lol Then I had to have a reality check and seriously cross more out. I understand that being a first time Switzerland traveler that my list was exceptionally long, but boy is it hard to decide as most everything sounds amazing. I had to go through my map and figured out just how long train travel was between my bases and my want to do and see list.">>

As I noted earlier, if you let us know your criteria for weeding the list, we can offer suggestions based on knowledge.

II'm glad that you have made progress, but your posts don't give us the criteria by which you reduced your list...other than 2 hours train travel.

Slowpoke

Schnacky
Schnacky
16 posts
new member
May 18, 2017 - 3:22 AM

Thank you for all your useful information and taking the time to help me with my decision making! After weeks of going through my "Want To Do and See List,” I think I have pretty much finalized my Itinerary. Please let me know if you think that I am crazy, that there is no possible way this can be done or this is achievable. Also, please give me suggestions or more advice. Thank you again!! :)

•9.20.17 - Arrive in Zurich then to Wengen

•9.21.17 - Wengen - Männlichen/Kleine Scheidegg - The V Cableway

•9.22.17 - Wengen - Jungfraujoch, Ice Palace, Aletsch Glacier, Flying Fox, Snow Park

•9.23.17 - Wengen - Trift Bridge

•9.24.17 - Wengen - Schilthorn/Bond World -

•9.25.17 - Wengen - Shark Fin Mt. via Stechelberg/Gimmelwald

•9.26.17 - Wengen - Wilderswil - Schynige Platte or Murren/Allmendhubel Funicular to North Face Trail

•9.27.17 - Wengen - Montreux - Chateau Chillon

•9.28.17 - Montreux - Chocolate Train

•9.29.17 - Montreux - Les Diablerets/Glacier 3000, Peak Walk Tissot

•9.30.17 - Montreux - Zermatt - Matterhorn, Gornerschlucht, Gletschergarten Dessen, Glacier Trail, Museum

•10.1.17 - Montreux - Lucern via G.P.S. Panoramic

•10.2.17 - Lucern - Engelberg - Mt. Titlis - Cliff Walk, Titlis Glacier, Ice Cave, Ice Flyer Chair Lift, Glacier Park and Outventure Park

•10.3.17 - Lucern - Stans/Stanserhorn or Klewenalp

•10.4.17 - Lucern - Mt. Pilatus via G.R.T. (and Seil Park)

•10.5.17 - Lucern - Zurich - Depart

Thank you very much! Looking forward to any input!

Schnacky
Schnacky
16 posts
new member
May 18, 2017 - 4:34 AM

Sorry I forgot to add one more thing...do you think the Swiss Travel Pass is my best option? I looked into other passes like the "Region Passes" however I think that the STP will workout the best. Please let me know. Thank you again for all your time in helping me. :)

Lucas
Lucas
5608 posts
expert &
moderator
May 18, 2017 - 10:11 AM in reply to Schnacky

Hi Schnacky,

It looks like a pretty doable itinerary - busy for sure but you understand that!

Definitely the Swiss Travel Pass would be best for this itinerary - as you are moving through different regions of Switzerland.

Lucas

Schnacky
Schnacky
16 posts
new member
May 18, 2017 - 3:07 PM

Lucas, thank you for your quick reply! I really appreciate it! :)

Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
2131 posts
top member
May 19, 2017 - 4:18 AM in reply to Schnacky

>> 9.21.17 - Wengen - Männlichen/Kleine Scheidegg - The V Cableway

The V-Cableway hasn't been built yet!

www.jungfrau.ch/en-gb/corporate/v-cableway/project/

Have you thoroughly researched your planned hikes?

Alpenrose

Last modified on May 19, 2017 - 4:19 AM by Alpenrose666
Lucas
Lucas
5608 posts
expert &
moderator
May 19, 2017 - 8:30 AM in reply to Alpenrose666

Good catch Alpenrose! Always good to have a 2nd set of eyes on these long itineraries! :)

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