Packed 16 day Switzerland itinerary in Sept advice

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ben
ben
39 posts
active member
Jul 23, 2017 - 12:32 PM

Dear All,

I previously posted here www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/geneva-ticino-16-days-sept-itinerary-feedback but my itinerary was attached as an excel because of the sheer volume of information and also that was how i had planned it. But i was advised to make it as a forum post so that people could read it straight away and provide any advice for the relevant section of the trip. Please find the itinerary below.

Few things to note:

1) I was in Geneva on 10 & 11 June en route to Chamonix this year , so I will proceed straight along the shores of Lac Leman.

2) You will notice Jungfrau is not on my list. That's because I have been up Jungfrau a long time ago. (almost 15 years in Dec 2002) and Interlaken, Luzern & Mt Titlis.

3) I will be travelling solo and have the 15 day Swiss Travel Pass.

Day 1 & 2: Montreux

Fly into Geneva @ 7.45 am, with luggage being a 40L backpack. Train towards Montreux (which will be my base for the 2 nights at the youth hostel), stopping by Lausanne and Vevey. Might take the Belle Epoque paddle steamboat from Vevey to Montreux depending on timing and schedule.

2nd day - take the steam cruiser to Chillon Castle and explore nearby cable car options. Suggestions please. I will have a Swiss Travel Pass (STP). I have also been suggested to explore Villeneuve. Any thoughts please ?

Day 3: Bern

Catch the 8.44 am MOB Belle Epoque train, change at Zweisimmen for the Lotschberger to Bern. Explore old town and Rosengarden, Parliament tour at 3 pm. I think I need to book in advance for the Parliament tour and it’s in German. But oh well, as long as I get to enter and have a look inside its fine.

Day 4: Thun & Leissigen

Train to Thun. Explore the town and the 3 castles of Thun, Oberhofen & Spiez using the boat cruise. I am aware the boats are not very frequent as they run hourly so will plan accordingly. I am also interested in Scholl Schadau right at the lake side which has amazing views, but I understand it’s a restaurant now (Swiss Gastronomy Musuem)? Is it possible to just wander around Schadau Park?

From Spiez, I will catch a train to Leissigen Youth hostel. Perfect location by Lake Thun as it was previously a summer residence of Albert Wander, inventor of Ovomaltine, with its own private beach!

Day 5 & 6: Kandersteg

Day 5 - Definitely the must do is Oeschinensee. Plan to do a hike around and above the lake. Might add Allmenalp via ferrata, depending on how energetic I feel. Blausee Lake

Day 6 – Day trip to Bettermeralp for Aletsch glacier panoramic path.

Day 7: Lauterbrunnen (Valley of 72 waterfalls)

Things to do:

1) Murren – Gimmelwald Via ferrata.

2) Hike from Murren to Birg for the Thrill Walk.

Day 8 & 9: Grindelwald

Day 8 – before leaving Lauterbrunnen for Grindelwald, plan to spend half day to explore around if haven’t such as Wengen and the Staubbach falls. Not sure if Trummelbach falls is worth going? Arrive in Grindelwald in the afternoon and explore the town.

Day 9 – Cable car to First and hike to Bachalpsee and possibly to Faulhorn. Maybe Schynigge Platte if time permits.

For the BO region (Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald) I have read there are a couple of very scenic and easy hikes to be done that has been mentioned on the forum. But I can’t remember.

Day 10: Brienz

Grindelwald to Brienz via Interlaken and Isetwald

Things to do:

Harder Klum & quick exploration of Interlaken to see how much has changed in 15 years

Bus to Isetwald, then boat to Brienz. Might stopover at Giessbach depending on time.

Rothornbahn depending on weather. If not then, it will be the first train, the next day and it will be 11 CHF cheaper for the morning ticket :)

Day 11 & 12: Luzern

Day 11 will be long. Plan to do both Trift bridge (Starts at 8am) @24 chf + GELMER FUNICULAR (9am) @32CHF. There is no discount for either with the STP. Will have to book the tickets online so that I don’t need to queue for tickets which will save a lot of time. I think most likely I will probably do only Trift bridge, especially if I were to do Rothornbahn in the morning. Arriving in Luzern pretty late either at 8 or 9 pm.

Day 12: Mt Pilatus golden round trip and possible Mt. Rigi. Both free with STP. Of course the famous Chapel Bridge and the Lion Monument.

Day 13: Zurich

Just exploring the town. This would be a kinda leisure day. Anything to recommend?

Day 14: Locarno

Take the fast train to Locarno from Zurich (2.5 hours). I can’t bear the 5 hour train if I take the Gotthard Express. I think by now, I would have seen many scenic train rides and boat cruises that it wouldn’t matter to me that the Gothard Express is scenic.

To do:

1) Funicolare Locarno-Madonna del Sasso (To the church)

2) Cable car and chair lift Orselina - Cardada – Cimetta (might just go to Cardada instead of all the way to the top of Cimetta)

Day 15: Locarno

Catch train from Locarno to Rivera Bironico for the cable car up to Monte Tamaro aka Alpe Fopa & see the Church Cappella Santa Maria degli Angeli church. Then, head to Lavertezzo.

I might change this to overnight in Bellinzona instead of Locarno. Any advice? I will be staying at the Bellinzona Youth Hostel below the Castle Grande.

Day 16: Bellinzona

My STP would no longer be valid but I will still have my Ticino ticket. Plan is :

1) Funivia Monte Carasso-Curzútt-Mornera for the Tibetan bridge "Carasc"

2) The 3 medieval castles

Catch the 5.40 pm express bus from Bellinzona to Malpensa arriving at 7.45 pm. 2 hours before my flight departure time of 9.45 pm. malpensa-express.com/en/schedul es.html

The End.

Thank you for spending the time to read my full itinerary and I would greatly appreciate your advice/ feedback. I look forward to your replies.

Cheers !

Ben

Lucas
Lucas
9627 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 23, 2017 - 5:40 PM in reply to ben

Hi Ben,

This looks like a nice and well-thought out itinerary! You seem to understand where you have busy days and not so busy days.

I know you have chatted to Alpenrose as well but I'll put in my 2 cents where I can. :)

Day 2: I like the area around Vevey (haven't been near Villeneuve). Have a read on this post from Arno as well as a vineyard hike idea here.

Day 8: I was just in the Lauterbrunnen valley on a day trip and didn't go into Trümmelbach Falls - looked nice enough but decided to save the money - really a personal call there. It also "weirds me out" to pay to walk into a little canyon with waterfalls haha - even though they look very impressive.

Day 13: We have a page on things to do in Zurich here. It has a small but nice old town as well as a lot of art galleries and museums if that interests you? I'm not sure what you may like to do.

Day 15: From what I've heard from Friends (not personal experience) I would overnight in Bellinzona over Locarno. Other members who have been there should be able to give you their thoughts too.

I hope that helps with finalizing your itinerary. If you have more questions please let us know!

Lucas

ben
ben
39 posts
active member
Jul 23, 2017 - 7:53 PM

Hi Lucas,

Important question about what weather/temperature to expect early Sept ? I am planning to travel light and will have waterproof shell and a water resistant softshell. Everything else will be light, quick drying and wicking material. Would it be wise to bring a light and compressible down jacket just in case ?

Thanks for your input. Yes, i have put in a lot of effort into planning the itinerary. Reading trip reports on this site, reading travel blogs on specific places, Youtube video for hikes and via ferrata to see if its worth my limited time to try to fit into my itinerary and train connections and travel times on SBB. But i really enjoy researching and planning as i have learned so much about each place and Switzerland in general.

It was initially an 8 day itinerary, but then i just kept discovering more and more gems and it became 16 days ! The STP price difference between 8 days and 15 days was not too significant, which certainly helped.

I agree with you on Trummelbach Falls, it is impressive but there's a fee even with my STP ( maybe 50% off) but i will cover what is on my itinerary first as i have decided that those are my priority. If i have free time, then will consider Trummelbach Falls but I wouldn't lose sleep over missing out on it. (unless somebody disagrees)

Not a fan of art galleries and museums. I'll save them for the rainy days. I prefer the amazing scenery Switzerland has to offer which might not be around for too long. I can always go to galleries and museums when i'm like 60 when i cannot physically be hiking in the outdoors. That's my current travel philosophy.

Yes, i am leaning towards changing my 2nd night to Bellinzona.

So excited for this epic adventure ! Just hoping the weather would co-operate.

I'm looking forward to a couple of seasoned forum members such as Alpenrose, Slowpoke and most recently Rockoyster for their input.

maggiehorswell
maggiehorswell
642 posts
top member
Jul 23, 2017 - 9:24 PM

Hi Ben

I agree your plans look very exciting! We wish we had discovered the delights of Switzerland while we were young enough to enjoy the hiking. We now have to tailor plans to fit our age and energy levels! (mid-70's and not very fit!)

Thun is the area we know best so I can answer your question about Schloss Schadau - it is indeed now a restaurant. The Schadau gardens are very pleasant to walk around - lots of trees are labelled and we picked up a leaflet one time which detailed them. We were very amused to see one tree - old and gnarled with some low-reaching branches which had a notice saying "please climb me!" and a couple of youngsters were doing just that! So if you want a peaceful half-day which is not too energetic then a stroll through that park and by the lake could be just the thing. Though if you are only there for one day and are planning to visit all the castles then you won't have time.

One word of caution about castles - I do hope that day 4 is not a Monday! Spiez is not open till the afternoon and Oberhofen is closed on Mondays! Thun is open every day from 10 to 5, Spiez Tues to Sun from 10 to 5, and Mon from 2 to 4, and Oberhofen Tues to Thurs and public holidays from 11 to 5 according to a leaflet I have found in our holiday apartment. I thought Oberhofen opened more days than that so I will check it out and let you know later - though this leaflet appears to be a recent one.

I agree with you that the more research you do the greater the need to stay longer or come more often! We have been coming to Switzerland every summer since 2001 and still find new places to explore every year though we do revisit favourites as well!

I am sure your careful research and planning will bring you the anticipated exciting holiday. Enjoy!

Maggie

ben
ben
39 posts
active member
Jul 23, 2017 - 10:25 PM

Hi Maggie,

Thank you for your input on Thun. I would say age is just a number. I was in Chamonix recently and seen a number of mountain guides in their 60's still being quite active and fit. I was in the Dolomites last year and our guide was also in the early 60's and was fitter than me ! (i blame the desk job)

I am happy to say that day 4 is NOT a Monday as I start on a Sunday (Day 1). Yes, i have to be mindful on weekends when things are either not opened or opened only for a short period of time. You have just reminded me that i need to research on the opening times of each attraction !

How lucky of you to be able to return to Switzerland year after year for summer ! I say that because its one of the most expensive country, even more expensive than Scandinavia which is another amazingly beautiful place, at least for Norway. But i'm sure you agree that its worth it.

>>I am sure your careful research and planning will bring you the anticipated exciting holiday

Fingers crossed that I have good weather throughout because that's the only thing you can't control.

Cheers !

Ben

Lucas
Lucas
9627 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 24, 2017 - 6:17 AM in reply to ben

Hi Ben,

Yes pack a down jacket of some sort. If you plan on spending time above 2000 meters in get quite cold at any time of year.

If you aren't interested in art galleries and museums or shopping etc. I would reduce your time or leave out Zurich entirely. There are limited outdoor activities here (at least compared to the other areas you are visiting). There are hikes and lakes around but similar to and/or less impressive than your other visits.

Lucas

maggiehorswell
maggiehorswell
642 posts
top member
Jul 24, 2017 - 12:04 PM in reply to ben

Hi Ben

Unfortunately for us age is no longer just a number as I have developed a medical condition which does affect how active I can be. I can walk around Ok but only slowly especially uphill and need to take frequent rest stops! A few minutes stop and I can go again as recovery is quite quick but it all just takes much longer than it used to! However I am determined to keep going!

We keep our costs down by renting a holiday apartment and shopping in Co-op for food for breakfast and evenings (usually mixture of cheeses, cold meat, bread and salad vegetables.) At lunch we eat wherever we happen to be! It can be a typical Swiss dish such as roesti, sausage and onion gravy or alpmacaroni or sometimes just a sandwich!

Last year and this year we have treated ourselves to a luxury week first in St. Moritz hotel followed by 3 economy weeks in apartment in Bernese Oberland which is where we are now. The hotel in St. Moritz is expensive at first sight but they gave us an Engadine card which covered all our transport costs even cable cars and they also had a lot of vouchers available for other attractions - we did a free boat ride on Silsersee, a free horse and carriage ride into the Fex Valley and back, had a free meal in Soglio and also on top of Piz Corvatsch, free entry to National Park museum in Zernez, free ride into National park on "little train", so spent very little extra on top of our hotel B and B bill - just a few lunches and food - co-op sandwiches and cake! - to eat back in hotel (usually on the terrace overlooking the lake)

We have just started our Bernese Oberland leg - about 2 and a half weeks to go.

Maggie

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