Need to book Swiss hotels in advance for late May?

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bcarman7
bcarman7
3 posts
new member
Mar 31, 2018 - 2:58 AM

Hello all,

My husband and I are planning our first trip to Switzerland at the end of May. We are flying into Zurich and plan on taking the train around the country. Our main interest is mountain biking, hiking, and seeing the country (Alps) via cog/train. My primary question is should we book our hotels in advance or leave our itinerary open so we can see the Alps (in case of cloudy/bad weather)? I was just curious if the smaller mountain towns will be busy during that time of the year where we wouldn't be able to find accomadion for the night. Thanks in advance!

Removed user
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Mar 31, 2018 - 4:42 AM in reply to bcarman7

Hi bcarman, and welcome to MySwissAlps!

>> My husband and I are planning our first trip to Switzerland at the end of May. We are flying into Zurich and plan on taking the train around the country. Our main interest is mountain biking, hiking, and seeing the country (Alps) via cog/train.

May is a tricky time for visiting the alps, as it is between seasons: the skiing season has finished, and the hiking season at higher altitudes doesn't start until around the second half of June.

Depending on which part/s of the alps you intend visiting, you may find much of the mountain transport has either closed for 4-6 weeks to undertake maintenance, or has not yet reopened after closing for the winter. Dates vary from place to place, so if you can be more specific about places and dates, we can probably provide information to assist you to make the most of what is open/operating.

>> My primary question is should we book our hotels in advance or leave our itinerary open so we can see the Alps (in case of cloudy/bad weather)?

My approach would be to plan an itinerary taking into account

  • what will be accessible/open/operating while you are there
  • staying as long as possible at each base to increase your chances of getting suitable weather for mountaintop visits and outdoor activities
  • having backup plans for days when the weather doesn't cooperate. Without knowing how long your trip is, and where you intend to go, it's hard to suggest how long to stay in each place, but in general I would say 4 nights/3 days as a minimum.
  • access to the panoramic routes, if you intend to do any of those trips

>> I was just curious if the smaller mountain towns will be busy during that time of the year where we wouldn't be able to find accomadion for the night.

They won't be busy, as it is off-season, but many hotels in the mountain villages and towns will be closed, so the number of rooms on offer will also be reduced.

I'm sure you could always get a room somewhere, but if you want accommodation that meets all your requirements in terms of location, proximity to public transport, amenities, price, and length of stay, in my experience you're more likely to get that by booking well ahead. Some establishments are quite small, especially in villages.

If you plan on incorporating scenic train trips into your itinerary, your overnight stops should be chosen with those routes and travel times in mind. There is a map of the panoramic routes to help with your planning: it is attached to the map showing where the Swiss Travel Pass is valid, and you can download it from the following page:

www.myswissalps.com/sw isstravelpass/validity

Approximate travel times for the scenic routes (one way) are as follows:

  • Golden Pass line (part) from Luzern to Interlaken Ost: almost 2 hours
  • Golden Pass line (part) from Interlaken Ost to Montreux: 3 hours
  • Palm Express (PostBus) from Lugano to St Moritz: almost 4 hours
  • Voralpen-Express from Luzern to St. Gallen: 2.25 hours
  • RegioExpress Lötschberger (full) from Bern to Brig: 1.75 hours
  • RegioExpress Lötschberger (part) from Spiez to Brig: Just over 1 hour
  • Centovalli Railway from Locarno to Domodossola: 1.75 hours

If you want to calculate travel time for short sectors along these routes, you can use the Swiss Timetable:

http://www.myswissalps .com/timetable

Alpenrose

Last modified on Mar 31, 2018 - 9:48 AM by Arno
Arno
Arno
11366 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 31, 2018 - 9:51 AM

Hi Bcarman7,

Similar to Alpenrose I would also book in advance as I prefer to get the accommodation and location that I like most. But I also don't think there is an absolute need to do so in low season. Do note that many hotel booking websites, including the ones we link to from our hotel section, allow late cancellation (even the arrival day in quite some cases). So you can book and still change your plans if needed. Do read the conditions as they can vary for each hotel!

Last modified on Mar 31, 2018 - 9:52 AM by Arno
bcarman7
bcarman7
3 posts
new member
Mar 31, 2018 - 12:48 PM

Thanks for the suggestions! We will be arriving May 28th in the morning and we leave June 5th so I believe that's 9 days total. I was thinking about basing out of Interlaken, Lucerne, and Lugano maybe? There's so much to see that I'm having a hard time pinning down exactly what to do.

bcarman7
bcarman7
3 posts
new member
Apr 1, 2018 - 3:35 AM in reply to bcarman7

I haven't booked anything yet so I'm able to be flexible and see what is open and arrange our schedule around that.

Lucas
Lucas
9644 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 1, 2018 - 6:36 AM in reply to bcarman7

Hi bcarman7,

Those are the popular towns for bases in Switzerland (especially Lucerne). Interlaken is a good rail connection for the area, but the smaller towns nearby are more scenic - have a look at Wengen for example. Lugano is a good option to base yourself to get a taste of the Italian side of Switzerland!

Removed user
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Apr 1, 2018 - 11:20 AM in reply to bcarman7

>> We will be arriving May 28th in the morning and we leave June 5th ... I was thinking about basing out of Interlaken, Lucerne, and Lugano

With those dates, plenty of mountain transport and boat services in the Interlaken area, Jungfrau Region, Luzern/Lucerne and Lugano will be available to you.

The following will be operating in the Jungfrau Region and nearby:

  • Gondola Grindelwald to First
  • PostBus Grindelwald to Meiringen over the Grosse Scheidegg
  • Train to the Jungfraujoch (cheaper if you go before 1 June)
  • Jungfraujoch Snow Fun Park
  • Cable car and train Lauterbrunnen-Grütschalp-Mürren
  • Bus and cable car Lauterbrunnen-Stechelberg-Mürren-Schilthorn
  • Gondola Grindelwald Grund to Männlichen (reopens 26 May 2018)
  • Cable car Wengen to Männlichen (reopens 1 Jun 2018)
  • Train Wilderswil to Schynige Platte (expected to reopen 26 May 2018)
  • Train to the Brienzer Rothorn (reopens 2 Jun 2018)
  • Funicular Interlaken Ost to Harder Kulm
  • Boats will be operating on both the Brienzersee and Thunersee (Lakes Brienz and Thun)
  • Trümmelbach Falls will be open

The following will not be operating:

  • Funicular Mürren to Allmendhubel (closed 9 Apr until 22 Jun incl)

In the Luzern area everything will be operating. This includes all modes of transport to Pilatus and the Rigi; the gondola to Titlis; the funicular and cable car to the Stanserhorn; the funicular to Stoos (steepest in the world); the Bürgenstock funicular and Hammetschwand Lift. Boats will also be operating on the Vierwaldstättersee (Lake Lucerne).

The Gotthard Panorama Express between Luzern and Lugano will be operating, but not on Mondays. On Mondays, you can follow the same route in regional trains instead.

In Lugano, the funiculars to Monte S. Salvatore and Monte-Brè will be operating, as will the boats on Lago di Lugano (Lake Lugano).

There will be plenty for you to do! For further information on individual areas and attractions, use the Where to Go, What to Do and How to Travel tabs on this website.

Alpenrose

Last modified on Apr 1, 2018 - 11:21 AM by Removed user

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