Switzerland late June 18 days - trip planning help

Switzerland late June 18 days - trip planning help

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scrapinasnap
scrapinasnap
5 posts
new member
Jan 4, 2018 - 10:01 PM

Hello! We are a family of 4 (2 kids age 15 and 12) arriving in Geneva in mid-June, staying in Switzerland for 18 days, departing from Zurich after the first week of July. Looking for:

- Insight as to travel options for getting around (should we book private tours to take us from place to place or take the train).

-Should we have a "home base" in major cities and do day trips from there? Or is it best to just move from city to city on a daily basis? I don't relish the thought of moving hotels every day. We would rather explore fully the cities we visit rather than be rushed from one city to the next.

- Summer skiing: What are the options for ski resorts, rentals, lift tickets and accommodations near the slopes? Most everything I find is information for winter visitors.

-What cities are not to be missed? We aren't necessarily looking for what most tourists do. We like off the beaten paths that will help us fully experience the country.

-Looking for a bit of adventure, so hiking is definetly planned (we hiked 5 days to Machu Piccu last summer as a family, so we are fit and capable, but we aren't looking for another hiking adventure more than a day or two). I read about the World's Largest Suspension Bridge, but am wondering if we have to book a 2 day hike to cross it, or are there options to cross and come back in one day?

Thank you in advance for any advice!

Removed user
Removed user
0 posts
new member
Jan 5, 2018 - 2:36 AM in reply to scrapinasnap

Hi, and welcome to MySwissAlps!

>> Insight as to travel options for getting around (should we book private tours to take us from place to place or take the train).

Switzerland has an amazing public transport network. Trains are definitely the way to go. Please see here:

www.myswissalps.com/tr avel/inswitzerland

>> Should we have a "home base" in major cities and do day trips from there? Or is it best to just move from city to city on a daily basis?

For an 18-day trip, I would recommend 4 (or maximum 5) bases. Two of them should probably be Luzern and one of the mountain villages in the Jungfrau Region (Grindelwald, Wengen, Mürren, Lauterbrunnen). The others will depend on your interests and priorities. I would avoid major cities and choose small towns and villages with a railway station for your bases.

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. The following map of scenic routes in Switzerland might help with your planning:

www.sbb.ch/content/dam /sbb/de/pdf/bahnhof-services/am-bahnhof/infra_services -uebersicht-karten-uebersicht-sts-panorama-de.pdf

The Wilhelm Tell Express is now called the Gotthard Panorama Express.

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

To plan all your trips by train, bus, boat or cable car, and if you want to calculate travel time for short sectors along the panoramic routes, you can use the Swiss Timetable:

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

>> Summer skiing: What are the options for ski resorts, rentals, lift tickets and accommodations near the slopes? Most everything I find is information for winter visitors.

Zermatt and Saas-Fee are the only summer skiing options I can think of.

www.zermatt.ch/en/summ er-skiing

www.saas-fee.ch/en/skifahren/so mmerski/

>> What cities are not to be missed? We aren't necessarily looking for what most tourists do. We like off the beaten paths that will help us fully experience the country.

In Switzerland, the main attractions are not cities, but rather villages and small towns - and the alps of course, which you should not miss! There are also many beautiful lakes.

If you make one of your bases in the Engadin (e.g. St Moritz in the Upper Engadin or Scuol in the Lower Engadin), you would enjoy a visit to Guarda I am sure. I have written trip reports about Guarda and Scuol (with photos), which you can read here if you are interested:

Scuol

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/scuol

Guarda

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/trip-report-lower-engadine-guarda-october-2016

There is also a wealth of information on the MySwissAlps website, which I recommend you explore. Please use the tabs "Getting Started", "Where to Go", "What to Do" etc to develop an itinerary. Once you have an itinerary, we can provide feedback and suggestions on it.

>> Looking for a bit of adventure, so hiking is definetly planned

There is information here to help:

www.myswissalps.com/hi king

>> I read about the World's Largest Suspension Bridge, but am wondering if we have to book a 2 day hike to cross it, or are there options to cross and come back in one day?

Zermatt would be a good base for this hike. You can do a shorter version from Randa. Details are here:

www.europaweg.ch/en/ci rcular-hike-to-the-suspension-bridge-in-randa/

Alpenrose

Last modified on Jan 5, 2018 - 6:55 AM by Lucas
scrapinasnap
scrapinasnap
5 posts
new member
Jan 5, 2018 - 2:49 AM in reply to Removed user

Thank you Alpenrose! I have been scouring this site all day and was getting overwhelmed with all of the options. Your advice and links will be a great help as I continue my research, especially the regions for the base stays. I will be in touch once I have a more outlined plan. Again, thank you for the time and effort of your reply. It is much appreciated.

scrapinasnap
scrapinasnap
5 posts
new member
Jan 22, 2018 - 10:27 PM

After much research we have narrowed our trip itineray down to the basic outline(below) for our 18 days. However, I still have many questions that I am hoping to solicit help on. For ease (I hope) of understanding our plan, I've included the actal dates of check in/out. Obviously our arrivals and departure times will depend on rail times.

Day 1 & 2 (June 19-21): Arrive Geneva (approx 9am) - We will most likely stay close to Geneva city center and explore on our own with an early dinner and bed, since we will probably be jet-lagged. Thinking the 2nd day would be spent exploring the waterfront and possibly a 1/2 day trip to Annecy, France. Does anyone have hotel suggestions that is close to the train station or somewhere easy to get to from the trains.

Day 3 (June 21): Leave Geneva

Day 3 & 4 (June 21-23): Arrive Lausanne for 2 nights. On the 4th day we'd like to take a day trip to Gruyeres to see the cheese factory and then a possible trip to the chocolate factory in Broc.

Day 5 (June 23): Travel from Lausanne to Zermatt (via Montreaux). We will most likly spend a few hours in Montreaux before arriving in Zermatt

Day 5-9 (June 23-27): Arrive Zermatt late afternoon. We will split our days with skiing and hiking, with time to visit the Gornergat and a hike along the suspension bridge in Randa

Day 9 (June 27): Leave Zermatt and Travel to Interlaken: This is where I'm getting stuck in planning. Is it best to stay in Interlaken or one of the smaller villages of Wengen, Murren, or Grindelwald?

Day 9-13 (June 27-July 1): Arrive Interlaken. We have 3-4 days here, most likely 4 so we can work around any incliment weather. What are some suggestions for this area? Obviously we would like to see the Jungfrau. Is that a full day event?

Day 13 (July 1): Travel to Luzern via Bern. I'd like to at least see the Capital of the country I'm visiting. Is it worth a full day there, arriving late in Luzern?

Day 13-16 (July 1-5): Arrive Luzern. Points of interest include Mt. Pilatus and Mt. Rigi. Is there anything else that is a must see? Any suggestions of where to stay? Is it best to stay in the city itself or somewhere on the outskirts?

Day 16 (July 5): Depart Luzern for Zurich

Day 16-18 (July 5-7): Arrive Zurich. Any suggestions on hotel? I'm thinking of using our one full day to take a trip to see the Rhine Falls. We do not leave Zurich until 5 pm on the 18th, so I figured we could visit the city on the day we arrive and on our final day.

With this itinerary, is it best to get the Swiss Travel Pass for Family? Both our girls will be under 16 and I read (somewhere...I can't remember where I saw it) that they travel for free.

Should any of our travel days be spent on a scenic rail intstead of just taking the quickest route?

rockoyster
rockoyster
3724 posts
expert
Jan 23, 2018 - 1:52 AM in reply to scrapinasnap

Hi scrapinasnap,

Sounds like a good plan. Just some thoughts to mull over .....

I'd suggest looking at Montreux as a better base than Lausanne. It's right on the lake. Lausanne is close if you want to visit there. Chocolate train departs fromMontreux but read about disruptions here www.mystsnet.com/filea dmin/doc/01_News/Const ruction_works_MOB.pdf. In fact I would go straight from Geneva Airport to Montreux and establish your first base.

In the Jungfrau I'd say Wengen is the pick. Car free, fantastic views and an old-style Swiss alpine village feel. Only 15 minutes to Lauterbrunnen and a perfect starting point to reach Jungfraujoch. Mürren is smaller again with not quite as good access to the rest of the area. You may visit there to reach Schiltorn.

In Luzern the Swiss Transport Museum may appeal to the kids. Definately good for a rainy day fallback. Titlis near Engelberg is very popular.

If you visit the Rhine Falls (I wouldn't make it a priority) you could consider making a day of it by heading to Konstanz, boat cruise up the Rhine to Schaffhasuen stopping at Stein-am-Rhein on the way and then on to the Falls and back to Zurich.

Last modified on Jan 23, 2018 - 1:58 AM by rockoyster
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4738 posts
expert
Jan 23, 2018 - 10:03 AM in reply to scrapinasnap

Hi scrapinasnap

<<"- Summer skiing: What are the options for ski resorts, rentals, lift tickets and accommodations near the slopes? Most everything I find is information for winter visitors.">>

You've got an answer on that from Alpenrose.

However, late June is not Summer at high altitudes.

For example, in most years the trail from Männlichen (2229 meters) to Kleine Scheidegg at 2061 m is not opened until June 15th +/- a few days. Obviously, that depends on the previous winter's snowpack.

www.myswissalps.com/hi king/maennlichen-kleinescheidegg

There seems to be an unusually large amount of snow this year. The problem is not just getting a clear trail, but avoiding avalanches. Likely that that nice trail won't open until late June, and it is not at really high altitude.

Usually, the snow hangs on into June, depending on altitude, but it is not fit for skiing and interferes with hiking.

While Spring arrives in May at the altitude of Luzern ( and probably early May or even April at sunny Lausanne and Montreux) mid-June is typical at 2000 meters. Maybe early June, maybe not, at Wengen at 1274 meters.

Switzerland has an amazing network of hiking trails....everywhere. Well marked. Well mapped.

www.myswissalps.com/hi king

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

I've turned them on in the menu of this map:

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&E=26 38992.96&N=1162940.02& zoom=1

There is an extensive discussion of the on-line resources to support hiking in this thread...at various parts of the thread:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/itinerary-advice-8

Here are couple of low altitude hikes that I've enjoyed, likely easier than you are seeking, but scenic:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/the-swiss-path-and-southern-lake-lucerne

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/bls-sudrampe-trail

Slowpoke

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