3 weeks Switzerland & outdoor sports in September

3 weeks Switzerland & outdoor sports in September

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bgar15
bgar15
10 posts
new member
May 15, 2017 - 1:59 PM

Me and 2 friends (in our mid 20's) are heading to Switzerland for the first time this coming September for almost 3 weeks! We're very active, big into hiking / mtn biking / etc. We'd like our trip to contain a good mix of difficult hiking trails and outdoor activities along with some general sightseeing and touristy aspects. We'll be flying into Geneva in early September and heading East, as we'll be flying out of Munich 3 weeks later (we'll be hitting Oktoberfest for a day or two to end the trip).

Given our active and outdoorsy nature, after Geneva, what are must see areas on our way up to Munich? I've heard great things about Interlaken, Mt Blanc, Grinderwald, Zermatt, etc.

What areas/hiking trails should we 100% have on our list?

Also, should we rent a car or use the rail system?

We plan on doing a mix of tent camping/hostel stays. Really appreciate any and all insight!

Annika
Annika
4992 posts
expert &
moderator
May 15, 2017 - 6:03 PM

Hi bgar15, thanks for joining us!

Great that you get to spend 3 weeks in Switzerland. September generally is a great month for hiking and other outdoor activities. There are of course lots and lots of options, but a high density of hiking trails and outdoor sports can indeed be found in (amongst others) Zermatt and the Jungfrau region. You may want to spend some time on both locations. Lake Lucerne is popular too, but the mountains here are a bit less high so it may not quite be what you're looking for. Please find more information through the links I included, and pay attention to the "What to do" tabs for hiking and other suggestions. Schynige Platte-First is considered to be a true highlight. Suggestions for outdoor sports are listed here.

Apart from these resources I recommend to take a look at http://www.wanderland. ch/ as it lists some longer and more difficult trails.

Switzerland's rail system is excellent and gets you pretty much everywhere. You can do some research for yourself through myswissalps.com/carver sustrain. If you choose to use public transport, you should pick the right rail pass to help you save money.

bgar15
bgar15
10 posts
new member
May 16, 2017 - 5:47 PM in reply to Annika

I appreciate all the advice, thank you so much!

I've also heard great things about the hiking/beautiful nature in Lauterbrunnen Valley, Oeschinensee, Gimmelwald, Jungfrau (as you mentioned), and Bernese Oberland. Are these areas that are all worth visiting as well?

Arno
Arno
11161 posts
expert &
moderator
May 16, 2017 - 7:06 PM in reply to bgar15

Well, Gimmelwald is a tiny settlement on a mountain. You can start or end a hike there. But it's not a day trip destination as there's nothing there. Except for great views, but you get those in lots of other places too. The others you mentioned are well worth a visit. The Bernese Oberland is a large region, not one single destination to visit: myswissalps.com/ berneseoberland. The other places are all within that region.

AlanPrice
AlanPrice
194 posts
active member
May 18, 2017 - 12:44 AM

Hi,

There are a few hikes to recommend for fitter people, but some of the destination points start to close in mid to late september. The walk up to the Hoernlihuette on the Matterhorn is a great excursion, but because of it's altitude (3260 M) it only has a short season and closes in mid-september. If you are in Zermatt, you can check with the guides office to see if the hut is still open. If it is and you decide to go, take the gondola from Zermatt to Schwarzsee and hike up from there. Don't be late coming back - the last gondola back to Zermatt leaves about 1530 and it's a long walk back. www.hoernlihuette.ch/r eservation_46.html

Mountain biking is big around Zermatt. I remember sharing the Rothorn cable car with a guy with a bicycle. He was wearing motocross style gear and his bike was best described as armroured, which made me wonder what he was going to do. Trails are well marked and the sport has exploded in the last 10 years. Check out www.zermatt.ch/en/bike

In the Grindelwald area, the hike up to the Glecksteinhuette on the side of the Wetterhorn is quite an experience. Parts of it are very exposed and quite exciting. The hut is a popular day trip destination, or you can stay overnight for a true alpine hut experience. gleckstein.ch/english-francais/english/index .html.

Cheers

Alan

bgar15
bgar15
10 posts
new member
May 23, 2017 - 7:08 PM in reply to Annika

I'm trying to research this online but I can't find a consensus.

I guess my biggest question is what rail pass should we purchase? The

Swiss Travel Pass, Travel Pass FLEX, or the Swiss Half Fare card?

We'll be traveling from Geneva to Zurich for about 12 days and plan on making multiple stops (Zermatt, Bernese Oberland, Lucerne, etc).

Which do you recommend? It seems the Half Fare card is much cheaper but does it not offer the convenience of the FLEX pass?

Lucas
Lucas
8909 posts
expert &
moderator
May 24, 2017 - 6:40 AM in reply to bgar15

If cost and convenience is a the top of your want list in Switzerland I would look at the 15 day Swiss Travel Pass (not Flex). It is cheaper and you can get free access to museums etc on any of the 15 days (with the Flex it must be on a day you use the pass for travel).

bgar15
bgar15
10 posts
new member
May 24, 2017 - 11:00 AM in reply to Lucas

Thank you so much Lucas!

Good to know regarding the Swiss Travel Pass. Although I did notice the Half Fare Card is much cheaper. I tried looking it up but it wasn't clear to me. Why is it so much cheaper? Do they not go to the same destinations as the Swiss travel pass? We're predominately doing a hiking trip so we won't be making many trips to museums

Lucas
Lucas
8909 posts
expert &
moderator
May 24, 2017 - 11:44 AM in reply to bgar15

The Swiss Travel Pass will cover most trains, buses and boats fully (100% of the ticket cost). Although a few routes up into the mountains get 25 or 50% discounts - noted here.

The Swiss Half Fare Card limits you to 50% off all train, bus and boat tickets, plus you always have to buy a ticket before you go anywhere.

With the Swiss Travel Pass you can just hop on the train or bus or boat and go! (assuming it covers that route fully, which it does 85% of the time) so it is much more convenient.

If you want to be sure you buy the most economical ticket you can visit out page here and 'do the math'with our provided excel sheet to compare (once you know all the trips you will be taking).

Lucas

bgar15
bgar15
10 posts
new member
May 24, 2017 - 2:34 PM in reply to Lucas

That excel sheet is a great resource thank you.

Based on our trip and our plan to stop in various destinations, sounds like the Swiss Travel Pass is the way to go...sounds more convenient too. Is it worth paying a couple of extra bucks for the FLEX?

Lucas
Lucas
8909 posts
expert &
moderator
May 24, 2017 - 3:03 PM in reply to bgar15

No, the benefits are the same, it would only make sense if you left Switzerland for a few days and then came back for several more days to travel more - but you are here for 12 days straight so all you need is the consecutive Swiss Travel pass for 15 days (which is cheaper).

You can buy it online here and have it emailed to you to print at home - that way you have it ready and you just hop on your first train when you arrive!

Last modified on May 24, 2017 - 3:03 PM by Lucas
bgar15
bgar15
10 posts
new member
May 24, 2017 - 3:07 PM in reply to Lucas

Lucas, you're the man. Appreciate all the tips... safe travels

bgar15
bgar15
10 posts
new member
May 26, 2017 - 5:59 PM in reply to Lucas

Lucas, so my friend kind of just threw a wrench in our original plan.

He wants to go to Chamonix after Geneva so we can hike Mt. Blonc. At this point, is the Swiss Travel Pass irrelevant? Should we get one of the 2 or 3 country passes? Is that the best course of action since we'd end up being in France, Switzerland and Germany?

Arno
Arno
11161 posts
expert &
moderator
May 27, 2017 - 8:18 AM in reply to bgar15

Hi bgar15,

The Swiss Travel Pass gets you to Chamonix for free (via Martigny), see the map. But no further discounts from there. You'll have to do the math so see if this changes anything. I don't think it will if this means you are adding one cable car ride, which would be full price.

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