Pontresina to Wengen via Furka and Grimsel passes?

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Syd65
Syd65
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Jul 7, 2018 - 9:09 PM

Hi again,

Another traveller recommended a lengthy journey between Pontresina and Wengen that promises great scenery but involves a daunting schedule. Is it worth it?

Depart Pontresina at 10:02 - Glacier Express to Andermatt. Then Postbus over the Furka and Grimsel passes (bus change at Gletsch) to Meiringen and then train to Wengen, arriving at 20:19. It requires six changes. Plus, I can't seem to reserve the buses for those afternoon changes (681, 161) even though they're listed on the Postbus and SBB sites and state that reservations are necessary.

Any suggestions?

Removed user
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Jul 8, 2018 - 3:28 AM in reply to Syd65

Hi Syd,

>> Another traveller recommended a lengthy journey between Pontresina and Wengen that promises great scenery but involves a daunting schedule. Is it worth it?

Personal choice ;-) I would prefer to do the PostBus sectors separately, rather than including them in an A to B trip with luggage in tow. See below for some suggestions.

If you do this with luggage, I would leave the PostBus by the front door, and remind the driver that your luggage is in the luggage compartment underneath the bus, so he or she doesn't drive off with your luggage! The driver will also need to release the lock on the luggage compartment so you can get your luggage out.

>> Depart Pontresina at 10:02 - Glacier Express to Andermatt. Then Postbus over the Furka and Grimsel passes (bus change at Gletsch) to Meiringen and then train to Wengen, arriving at 20:19. It requires six changes. Plus, I can't seem to reserve the buses for those afternoon changes (681, 161) even though they're listed on the Postbus and SBB sites and state that reservations are necessary.

According to the timetable I can see, reservations on those PostBuses are not necessary (unless you have a bicycle), just on the Glacier Express sector. Usually PostBus reservations are only possible on specified tourist routes, or for some early/late services to small villages.

>> Any suggestions?

An alternative to consider would be to do the PostBus sectors as a separate excursion. You can choose from several excursions (and make online reservations) on the PostBus site:

www.postauto.ch/en/tra vel-information/reservatio ns/reserve-online-selected-tourist-routes

I did the Vierpässefahrt (Four Passes Trip) in 2016. If you are interested, you can read my trip report (with photos) here:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/postbus-through-four-passes-of-the-central-alps

Alpenrose

Last modified on Jul 8, 2018 - 3:30 AM by Removed user
1960man
1960man
644 posts
top member
Jul 10, 2018 - 12:00 AM in reply to Syd65

You don't need to reserve the bus.

However, one drawback is that you don't stop at the pass summits, or the Furka Belvedere for example, so you miss out somewhat compared to driving over the pass in your own vehicle. so the journey can get a bit laborious

Last modified on Jul 10, 2018 - 12:02 AM by 1960man
Syd65
Syd65
13 posts
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Jul 11, 2018 - 9:19 PM

Hi, Alpenrose and 1960sman,

Thank you both for your very helpful tips. I am a bit worried about the logistics of the trip, but the only other alternative I can find is the train route similar to one I will have already taken between Zermatt and Ascona -- although the route to Wengen will take me between Andermatt and Brig on the train, which I would miss if I went by bus. Alpenrose, you mention doing the bus trips separately, but I can't seem to find a tourist route that fits with my afternoon drop-off in Andermatt or my days in Wengen.

So given the bus route demands and the fact we won't get to stop at the summits if we go by bus, is the scenery still worth it, or would you opt for the train via Brig?

It might be helpful to provide my itinerary too: Montreux, Zermatt, Ascona, Pontresina, Wengen, Luzerne, Basel over about 33 days.

Thanks again!

Removed user
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Jul 12, 2018 - 3:05 AM in reply to Syd65

>> the route to Wengen will take me between Andermatt and Brig on the train, which I would miss if I went by bus.

Andermatt to Brig is not one of the most impressive sectors of the Glacier Express route. I wouldn't worry too much about missing it.

>> Alpenrose, you mention doing the bus trips separately, but I can't seem to find a tourist route that fits with ... my days in Wengen.

You would need to allocate a full day in your itinerary for doing a mountain pass trip from Meiringen during your time in Wengen.

>> So given the bus route demands and the fact we won't get to stop at the summits if we go by bus, is the scenery still worth it, or would you opt for the train via Brig?

In my opinion the scenery through the mountain passes is magnificent and the Vierpässefahrt remains one of the most memorable excursions of my 7-week trip to Switzerland in 2016. You have to make your own decision. Even in a 33-day itinerary, compromises have to be made ;-)

If you take the Vierpässefahrt round trip from Meiringen, you will get a short stop at each summit:

  • Grimsel Pass - 30 min
  • Nufenen Pass - 15 min
  • Gotthard Pass - 20 min
  • Susten Pass - 30 min

You also get a lunch break of almost an hour-and-a-half at Airolo.

Alpenrose

Last modified on Jul 12, 2018 - 3:06 AM by Removed user
Syd65
Syd65
13 posts
new member
Jul 12, 2018 - 2:31 PM

Thanks so much, Alpenrose. This is great advice. I really appreciate you laying out that day trip option. Sounds like a great idea and saves us having to haul around our bags. Thanks again!

1960man
1960man
644 posts
top member
Jul 12, 2018 - 11:49 PM in reply to Removed user

One minor issue is that on some high pass roads the summit is not necessarily the most spectacular place to have a break. On the Susten Pass for example, the stop ought to be made at the Steingletscher which is a spectacular bowl in the mountain with glaciers rising up behind, and lots of good walking paths away from the road below the glaciers.

Might be worth a separate day trip of its own, as there is mnore than one bus a day on some dasy, see the official timetable PDF:

www.fahrplanfelder.ch/ fileadmin/fap_pdf_fiel ds/2018/31.162.pdf

Last modified on Jul 12, 2018 - 11:50 PM by 1960man
Removed user
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Jul 13, 2018 - 12:14 AM in reply to 1960man

>> On the Susten Pass for example, the stop ought to be made at the Steingletscher

Thanks for pointing that out.

I should have been as specific above as I was in my original trip report. The Vierpässefahrt does in fact stop for 30 minutes at Steingletscher, rather than at the summit.

Alpenrose

Last modified on Jul 13, 2018 - 12:14 AM by Removed user

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