Driving (off-road?) and camping in Switzerland

Driving (off-road?) and camping in Switzerland

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tomislaw
tomislaw
7 posts
new member
Oct 24, 2017 - 10:52 AM

Hi to everyone

I did a lot of research on the internet but still stuck with my planes. Basically, the idea is to make a "round trip" from Croatia over Slovenia, Italy, France, Swiss, Austria, and again back to Slovenia and Croatia. We will travel with two off road cars (not SUV-s, real off road cars, Pajero and Patrol that are capable to drive on the abandoned military roads, passes etc). The main info sources I did found are on two sites, www.dangerousroads.org / (not so go for planing) and alpenrouten.de/ (much better). In Italy and France is the car a big advantage, but then comes the problem, a car in Switzerland is a disadvantage. As far I did found on the internet, wild camping (bivouacking) is in Switzerland allowed over the tree line, but it is not so easy to come to this point with a car. In most cases, it is possible to come over the three line only by foot. So we changed the plan. We are coming from south (Aosta in Italy) and the plan is to stay in Zermatt, to be more precise, in a camping place in Täsch that will be our "base camp". From this point we will take the train (Swiss travel pass or Swiss flexi pass for 3 or 4 days, we will see). The intention is to travel thru some of the "panorama" lines, not necessary with the panorama trains, and come back to Zermatt to pick up the cars. Two "must see" points on this travel are Gornergart and Jungfraujoch. I guess, wee need for each location one day. Also, we are going From the West to the east of Swiss. From Zermatt to, lets say, Thur, St Moritz, etc. And then? Should we go to the North or to the South and then back to the West to Zermatt? I muss say that the second part of the Switzerland part of this travel will be with the car to the Bodensee region.

Any advice for off roading and camping over the tree line is welcome, if such a thing is legally possible at all. Wee will take our trip in the only possible period, late August and early September (because of the high passes in Italy and France that are drivable only in this period), accommodation in Switzerland mostly in camps, Schlafen im Stroh or bivouac if possible.

P.S.

I suppose we will not have problems to communicate in German and English in French and Italian speaking areas.

P.P.S.

Any idea from wich spot is this Photo taken?

Thnx and greetings from Tom.

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Lucas
Lucas
5608 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 24, 2017 - 5:21 PM in reply to tomislaw

Hi Tom and welcome to MySwissAlps!

Yes, mountain driving in Switzerland is quite limited / possibly illegal actually as it is normally all private land. You are also correct about camping restrictions - above the tree line and not in national/regional parks (again you run into private land issues as well).

I agree you are best off with using trains to explore the country. Campgrounds are fairly common but it will be shared with RVs etc - they aren't too private or isolated (roadside often). Here are more details about camping in Switzerland. There are a few other threads about camping in Switzerland as well. Be sure to use the search box and you will come across threads like this one.

A rail pass like the Swiss Travel Pass or Swiss Travel Pass Flex will be a good idea as they will get you free travel on most trains and discounts for trips to Gornergrat (50%) and Jungfraujoch (25%).

I'm not sure about the best direction for you after arriving in St. Moritz - best direction to see more of Switzerland?

You won't have any issues in Switzerland if you speak German and/or English no.

I think we've had a picture question similar to that before and another member I think knew the name of the area. I recall that it is just on the edge of Zermatt (up in the residential area). It is a small town and I don't think it would be hard to find a similar vantage point).

Last modified on Oct 24, 2017 - 5:23 PM by Lucas
tomislaw
tomislaw
7 posts
new member
Oct 25, 2017 - 8:35 AM

Thnx Lucas for Your quick response.

Also, a general advice is to discover the "urban side of Switzerland" by public transport or car, and the "wild side of Switzerland" by foot.

Tom

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Oct 26, 2017 - 1:05 AM in reply to tomislaw

Hi tomislaw-

<<"Also, a general advice is to discover the "urban side of Switzerland" by public transport or car, and the "wild side of Switzerland" by foot.">>

You plan to accomplish a lot in 3 or 4 days.

Zermatt is not central for wide ranging travel.

Maybe Interlaken or Luzern?

<<"Two "must see" points on this travel are Gornergart and Jungfraujoch. I guess, wee need for each location one day.">.

Correct, as long as you appease the Weather Gods. I'm told that ritual sacrifices are not really permitted in Switzerland anymore, so you'll have to rely on luck.

Jungfraujoch is a bit tough to reach on foot, and it is no fun if the clouds are thick, no matter how you get there.

I'm sure that you are aware of the network of hiking trails, auf Deutsch "die Wanderwege."

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

You may find this map useful. I have turned on hiking trails, and it uses the standard color coding. Blue is technical climbing. On foot. ;-

map.geo.admin.ch/?topic=ech&lang=en&bgLa yer=ch.swisstopo.pixel karte-farbe&layers=ch.bav.ha ltestellen-oev,ch.swisstopo.swiss tlm3d-wanderwege&layers_visi bility=false,true&X=95 398.51&Y=619620.97&zoo m=4

<<<"You won't have any issues in Switzerland if you speak German and/or English no.">>

In general Lucas is correct. However, in the French speaking regions, your conversation will be received more politely if it is in English rather than in German. ;-)

Slowpoke

Lucas
Lucas
5608 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 26, 2017 - 6:22 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Do they really prefer English over their country's other official language? ;)

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Oct 26, 2017 - 9:02 AM in reply to Lucas

Hi Lucas-

<<"Do they really prefer English over their country's other official language? ;)">>

Which other official language?

There are four national languages - German, French, Italian and Romansch. Official documents are always published in at least the first three of those.

Generalizations are always imprecise.

I have travelled in Welschland,

www.yourdictionary.com /welshland

( that is, the Suisse Romande) with Swiss friends from Canton Geneve who are fluent in many languages. In those journeys, it has become clear, especially in the smaller villages, that German is not as comfortable as English, by a small margin. Mostly, in the smaller towns and countryside.

The fluency in all national languages varies a a lot with the sophistication of the Swiss citizen you are speaking to. Those in international business pretty much must be able to use English, no matter where they come from in Switzerland. If they live in a small village in the less populated areas such as those Tomislaw would likely visit, fluency in national languages is less likely. Television teaches English to everyone.

And, as you know, although a high school student in some German speaking cantons such as Zürich and Basel Stadt must study French before he or she graduates, (and vice versa in the francophone cantons), English is frequently taught as the second language after German in those cantons.

Slowpoke

tomislaw
tomislaw
7 posts
new member
Oct 26, 2017 - 9:02 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Slowpoke, thnx for Your response.

<<You plan to accomplish a lot in 3 or 4 days. Zermatt is not central for wide ranging travel.>>

Actually 3-4 days are calculated as "transportation days". It will be more like 7-8 days in total. I assume that one day in Zermatt is enough to visit the Matterhorn paradise and Gornergart. Depending on the available time, we will go to the last Bergbahn station before the top on foot, or from center of the town/village to the top with the Bergbahn. The available time will be our boss :) The second day is an "alternative day" to see Zermatt and take some pictures in the early morning, but the second day is not a "must be done".

The main idea is to stay in one region (Zermatt, Lauterbrunnen and Bodensee) one or two days, and the rest of the days are the "travel days", to travel over the passes from one region to another (by car on gravel or paved roads, but in case of Switzerland it seems like it will be the train, still not sure). At this moment I stil have problems to decide to stay 1-2 day in/near Zermatt, and stay 1-2 days in/near Lauterbrunnen, or make our "base camp" somewhere in between this two towns (Brig?) for 3-4 days. And this is the main reason why I (we) prefer wild caping/bivouacking. There is no problems with dates and check in's or canceling the reservation in a hotel or camp. I did most my travels (eastern Europe, Balkan, Italy, France etc) with the jeep in this way. 2-3 days wild camping, 1 day in a hotel (well, the main reason is the shower :) ).

Fun fact about wild camping, in Italy is wild camping in most cases not allowed (depends on the municipalitie), in France it is some kind of legally gray area, but it is tolerated, better to say, nobody care about this until you not camp on someones property or in national park and far enough from populated places. And in Switzerland it is mainly allowed over the three line, but in reality, it is very hard to do, specially if you are with a car.

P.S.

"Better english than german in french region", that are nice little advices that are not written in any tourist guide. :)

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Oct 26, 2017 - 9:08 AM in reply to tomislaw

<<""Better english than german in french region", that are nice little advices that are not written in any tourist guide. :)">>

See my note to Lucas, above. Not a rule, but a hint. Try English first.

I don't speak French, but can converse a bit in fractured German. So, wherever I am, unless I know the person I'm speaking to, I start with "Please, may I speak with you in English."

Sometimes we fallback on my bad German and the other person's OK English.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Oct 26, 2017 - 9:11 AM by Slowpoke
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
tomislaw
tomislaw
7 posts
new member
Oct 26, 2017 - 9:50 AM

Wow Slowpoke!

Thnx a lot for these links. Stupid me! I search the internet all the time on english instead of german!

Lucas
Lucas
5608 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 26, 2017 - 12:24 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Sorry for your confusion Slowpoke!

You mentioned English might be preferred over German specifically in your post about French speaking areas, so German was the language I was referring to when I said their other official language. I guessed that you would guess that. :)

I am sure a lot of Swiss would be disheartened to know a Swiss person ever preferring to speak English. I've read several news articles/editorials complaining about the amount of English spoken here. The Swiss don't seem to like things to change too much.

Last modified on Oct 26, 2017 - 12:26 PM by Lucas
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Oct 26, 2017 - 12:41 PM in reply to Lucas

Hi Lucas-

<<"I am sure a lot of Swiss would be disheartened to know a Swiss person ever preferring to speak English. I've read several news articles/editorials complaining about the amount of English spoken here. The Swiss don't seem to like things to change too much.">>

There has been quite a battle over having English taught as the second language in primary school, instead of a National Language. ( I was mistaken before to say "high school.")

I recall a typical Swiss compromise:

A canton may choose English instead of the Federally required National language for a second language, as long as they tech the National Language before graduation.

Here it is from Swiss Info, in 2015:

www.swissinfo.ch/eng/s ociety/language-debateadd-the-underlinetwo-national-languages-urged-for-swiss-primary-school/41284160

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Oct 26, 2017 - 3:06 PM in reply to tomislaw

Hi Tomislaw -

One further thought about driving in the Swiss countryside.

There are many lanes in the country, which are paved but narrow, or on many unpaved roads., which exist primarily to serve a few farms. Or, they may be a back-road connection between villages.

Frequently, upon entering these roads, one sees the sign "Zubringer Dienst Gestattet." Or, some other indication that only residents and service providers are permitted on those roads.

I sometimes see them on narrow residentia roads in cities and towns as well. The aim is to divert traffic to the main roads.

Watch for them.

Also, you mention staying near the "Bode." Any special objectives? The mountains are a bit inland.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Oct 26, 2017 - 3:08 PM by Slowpoke
tomislaw
tomislaw
7 posts
new member
Oct 26, 2017 - 7:50 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Thnx for the hints Slowpoke.

About my "special interest", Bodensee. Yes, on my side there is a strong interest to visit Bodensee. I lived in Goldach near Bodensee by my seventh life-year. After my sevent life-year, I came to Switzerland for three months each summer in the next ten years. Since my last visit to Switzerland, twenty years have passed. So my (strong) desire to visit Bodensee and some of the people with I've am, thanks to the Internet, stil connected, are merely sentimental kind of interes.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Oct 26, 2017 - 11:19 PM in reply to tomislaw

<<"special interest", Bodensee.">>

I love the area. I like to stay in Steckborn, at at the Frohsinn.

The attached photo may bring back some memories.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Oct 26, 2017 - 11:24 PM by Slowpoke
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tomislaw
tomislaw
7 posts
new member
Oct 28, 2017 - 6:35 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Huh, at this times when I was in Switzerland I was a child, but this stil today bring memories. I remember Rheineck as a beautiful small town. :)

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Oct 28, 2017 - 7:15 AM in reply to tomislaw

Hi Tomislaw -

How about these, from the Untersee?

You can see from these pictures that there aren't many high mountain passes near the Bode. That is why I was puzzled at first by your goal.

Slowpoke

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tomislaw
tomislaw
7 posts
new member
Oct 29, 2017 - 8:38 AM

Sure, this is ono from manny options. Untersee, Mainau etc. Thnx again for the sugestion. :)

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