Long-time reader, first-time poster.
I'm planning a pre-Poland-wedding adventure for my siblings and a few friends. We're all young/students so trying to do this on the cheap. There will be a total of 5 of the more rugged of us in week 1 and four more (for a total of 9) in week 2. Week 1 we want to do some more intense hiking, Week 2 we're looking for farm experiences, day hikes, swimming in waterholes, affordable dinners in the city (haven't decided on Locarno or Lugano).
Week 1: July 7-14
1. FLEXIPASS DAY 1 Geneva airport - Lauterbrunnen (camping or hostel)
2. Lauterbrunnen - Murren - Gimmelwald (via ferrata) (Mountain hostel)
3. Gimmelwald day hikes / rest / acclimatize (Mountain hostel)
4. Gimmelwald - Bundalp - hike (Berghaus)
5. Bundalp - Kandersteg/Oeschinensee
7. Kandersteg buffer day (camping)
Week 1 input:
- The best deals I could find for our itinerary were camping in Lauterbrunnen, the Mountain Hostel in Gimmelwald and the Bundalp Berghaus. Any others I should consider?
- Are there any grocery stores in the Lauterbrunnen valley to do our own cooking while camping in Lauterbrunnen? Or for less expensive but still good food (meat)?
- Other than the Gasterntal and Oeschinensee Lake what are some other breath-taking day hikes from Kandersteg that people would recommend? If we can't fill 2 days with appealing activities then I thought we could tack on an extra day in Lauterbrunnen to see waterfalls. Which would be more rewarding?
Week 2: July 15 - 21
8. Kandersteg day hike to Gasterntal - bus to Selden (out of pocket bus fare rather than use up a Flexipass)
(9). Extra day here perhaps if we really like Oeschinensee -- hike/gondola up, stay at the hotel/berghaus on the lake -- it's a Monday so perhaps less busy)
9. FLEXIPASS DAY 2 Kandersteg to Brig (lift over the glacier to Goppenstein OR bus/train via the Mittaltunnel?) to Domodossola
10-12. Cimalmotto farm stay and/or Brontallo
13. FLEXIPASS DAY 3 Cimalmotto/Brontallo to Lugano/Locarno (hostel)
14. Lugano or Locarno to Milan (airport) (FLEXIPASS or one-way?)
Input on Week 2:
- How much is the lift from Kandersteg to Goppenstein (or whereever it ends) that doesn't appear to be covered by the Flexipass? SBB says 10CHF... really?
- DAY 9: Is it possible to get from Kandersteg to Brontallo or Cimalmotto via Domodossola in one day?
- DAY 9: The appeal of going via Domodossola is to have a rest day seeing some sights by transit. A big appeal is the "Hundred Valleys Train" -- I can't tell from the Flexipass map -- is that train covered by the Flexipass?
- DAY 9: If traveling that route in one day isn't realistic, then where would be a good place to stay overnight?
- DAY 10-12: The appeal of Brontallo is the cliff diving I read about -- is that open to the public? Is there a cost? http://www.myswitzerland.com/en/whdf-cliff-diving-world-tour.html If so, is there good local day hiking around there? How about any recommended hostels? I can't seem to find any using the Switzerland website.
- DAY 10-12: The appeal of Cimalmotto (if Brontallo turns out to be less appealing) is a sustainable dairy farm that has WOOFF-type guests (people that like to help out on the farm and have those types of experiences) that I have yet to write to inquire. Has anyone heard of this farm or stayed there? http://www.muntlareita.ch/index.html
- DAY 10-12: If the bus fare from Cimalmotto to Brontallo was cheap enough we could even do 2 days in Cimalmotto and 1 in Brontallo without using up a Flexipass day. The SBB site says 12CHF -- how can this be? I thought postbus was expensive (30+CHF)?
- Day 13: We'd like to have a relatively inexpensive city experience involving dinner and perhaps drinking our own wine. Would Lugano be the place for this or Locarno? Suggestions in each?
- Day 14: We go to the airport. Our flights are all award flights (easily changed), so we're thinking of changing the departure city to Lugano if it's too expensive for transport to Milan. What's the best way to find out these fares?
- Day 14: I know this is a Swiss forum, but which is 'better' for the budget travelers: Lugano, Locarno or Milan? We have to pick one place to 'stage' as we all fly off on 7/21-22.
Based on this itinerary I'm thinking the Flexipass would be the most cost-effective choice given our interests and I'm hoping experienced members can weigh in on this thought as well as my other questions. If I should separate these questions into the other forum area, let me know and I can repost?
- Is the flexipass for a 24 hour period starting whenever you first use it or from midnight to midnight?
- How does it work? Do you have an electronic profile that is tracked or is it a booklet stamped by someone on your first use for that day?
- On an active flexipass day do I get to use the 50% off on mountain lifts/gondolas that aren't covered by the flexipass?
- When you buy it online, does it ship within a certain period of time? Does it require a photo? For the flexipass for 2+ travelers with the 15% discount, is it a joint pass with 2+ names in it?
- Where do I find prices for just a 1-way trip up/down a mountain lift (like Stechelberg to Gimmelwald or up/down Jungfrau)? It would be nice to know prices of mt. lifts so I know off of what price I'm getting 50%.
- I'd like to get the 15% discount for the flexipass since we'll always be travelling together. Will that discount be automatically applied when I buy it online?
- Of the days we'll be using a flexipass which ones definitely require reservation? How does one tell which lines require reservation?
Thank you so much for any input you can provide and for reading my incredibly long post :-) !!!