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10 Days in May: Switzerland Itinerary Help

10 Days in May: Switzerland Itinerary Help

Dec 15th, 2017, 08:22 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 2
10 Days in May: Switzerland Itinerary Help

2+ years ago, I spent 4 days in Mürren with my sister and I've been day dreaming about those 4 days ever since. I'm planning a return trip to Switzerland, this time I've convinced my boyfriend to join and we'll have 10 days instead of 4. Our trip is planned for late May 2018. We are in our 20's, avid hikers and are looking to spend the majority of our time in the mountains hiking and adventuring. I realize that our alpine hiking options will unfortunately be limited/non-existent in May, but I'm hopeful that you kind folks might have some suggestions to make our time worthwhile Some other details: We are likely going to purchase half fare cards. We would prefer to keep costs low, but understand Switzerland is not the most economical place to travel. We don't speak german and can barely speak french (pardon, désolé, toilet) but I'm learning some elementary german before our trip. We plan to hike most days and are open to backpacking, but are likely going to be storing luggage and hiking with day packs only. Here's what we've got planned so far (not much.)

Saturday evening arrival into Zurich
Train to Appenzell > Night in Appenzell (booked)

Sunday: Appenzellerland
Would love to hike Ebenalp-Santis-Meglisalp but trails aren't open until June
Night at Berggasthaus Meglisalp (booked)

Monday: Appenzell > ?
Return to Appenzell... Head to another location?

Thursday: Mürren ?
Friday: Mürren ?
Saturday: Mürren ?
Sunday: Night in Zurich
Monday: Flight leaves Zurich

Some things that have piqued our interest but may/may not be feasible: Walking the st bernards at Martigny (we love dogs), paragliding, lake kayaking or cruising, another hike to mountain hotel for overnight stay, scenic spa splurge, alpine slides, via ferratas, fondue hike in Gstaad.

We're seeking recommendations for:
- Another "base" town where we could potentially accomplish some of the items on our list (again, we prefer mountains to cities)
- Other adventurous activities suited for May weather (preferably low cost)
- whatever strikes you

Thanks for reading!!
somanyquestions is offline  
Dec 15th, 2017, 09:15 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,872
I'm not a fan of Mürren in general, even less so at that time of year.

Paragliding will not likely be "low cost" -- and if it seems so, please be sure to do some research about the safety and reliability of the companies offering "low cost" options.

I'm no expert, but believe that May is not ideal for some of your interests. Be sure to give some serious consideration to the drawbacks of visiting magnificent Switzerland at that time of year.

Good luck!
kja is offline  
Dec 16th, 2017, 02:19 AM
Join Date: Mar 2013
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" I realize that our alpine hiking options will unfortunately be limited/non-existent in May"

Not at all: the snow line on sunny slopes of Valais (everything between Lake Geneva and Aletsch Glacier) and Ticino (trails around all 3 lakes and in adjacent mountain valleys are usually free of snow below 2000 metres.

So is the Jura crest trail (Zurich airport - Geneva airport), all on the top of the Jura mountain chain.

Bernese Oberland and Appenzell are colder: snow and ice go away later in these areas and hiking in May may not be very pleasant.

Gd St. Bernard (2500 m) is usually free of snow on the Italian (Aosta Valley) side (towards end of May), but most probably not on the Swiss side. But you can easily visit the dogs at Martigny, down in the Rhone valley (together with the Roman amphitheatre, the exhibition of paintings of Toulouse-Lautrec, the oldtimer car (many of them built in Switzerland) museum and some celtic ruins).
neckervd is offline  
Dec 16th, 2017, 02:34 AM
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As onyx told you, most Swiss huts are at altitudes of 2000 metres and more, that means in the snow. Most or them are not completely closed; there is usually a winter room left open. In some huts, you can even cook something, but you have to bring your own food, firewood and matches with you. And the access hike my be very strenous (I once went to the Cadlimo Hut in May and I sunk into the snow up to the knees with any step).

That doesn't mean that you cannot do stupendous mountain hikes in May, but at lower altitudes. You will then have to sleep in small hotels or village restaurants with rooms.

Have a look at the following copies of my ansers to similar previous threads:

Easy trails in Valais for late April:
Open the map: http://map.geo.admin.ch/?lang=en
Search for Sion, click several tims into the map and zoom up to the scale where the yellow and pink streets get white. That corresponds to the scale 1:10.000 (scale at the left hand bottom corner). Calculate with feet if that's easier for you.
You can now follow the Bisse (water channel) de Clavau Trail in detail:
go from the railway station to the north, through the old city up to the second roundabout (parallel small lane on the right side). You will then see the small path (broken black line) leading to the blue channel. follow now this channel on a panoramic small trail through the wineyards, later on through woods and a small tunnel up to Les Combes (690m), where you cross the Lienne river over a bridge. Go then up to Monteiller and Icogne (restaurant, bus stop, shop) and begin your pnaoramic walk aloong the next channel, the Grand Bisse de Lens. Head southwards (be careful under the rocks of Le Chatelard, it looks dangerous, but the trail is usually in good condition, safe and easy to hike) up to point 1029m (some seat benches, view over the whole Rhone Valley), where the Bisse and the trail change direction, cross the Lens - Flanthey road (bus stop, more buses at Lens) and reach the Sierre-Crans road above Chermignon, close to the Diogne bus stop. Bus to Sierre and Montana about every hour. Restaurant in the village of Chermignon.
The trail contiues from Diogne bus stop to Diogne (chapel, fountain, some houses) and then down the Tsillon forest to Tovachir (seat benches and tables, fine view to the Glacier of Weisshorn in Val d'Anniviers). Then it follows another water channel and later a small road to Carles and Darnona cablecar station (trains to both, Montana and Sierre every hour). The trail continues eastwards and reaches the Sierre-Montana road at the bus stop of Retana (buses only all 2-3 hours). Go down the road for a few metres up to the signposted Bisse Neuf (also called Bisse de Venthone or Venthner Suon) and follow it up to the Miege - Cordona road. Follow then the signmarked trail to Proprija (fine sunny place on the stairs leading to the lower entry door of the always closed first house). The trail goes then a little upwards up to the next channel, the Grossi Wasserleitu (also called Bisse de Varone or Varner Suon). This latter ends at Taschunieru. From there you follow for a short bit the small bituminized road and can either go down to Varen (bus stop, restaurant, shop) or go up to point 1051 - Rumeling (bus stop, hotel). Cross the Dala river on the bridge of the Leukerbad - Leuk road and take then the (rather steep) trail upwards to Albinen (bus station, hotels, shop). From Albinen the (good) trail goes to the southwest, up to point 1463m and then through sooty charred trees (the forest burnt a few years ago) to point 1434m and finally to Guttet (bus stop, hotel). Go then down to Feschel (1 km away), cross the Feschilju river on a small bridge and continue along the path up to Erschmatt (bus stop, restaurant, shop). Take the path which goes down from the church up to the road and follow it up to Bratsch. Cross the village of Bratsch and the Tschingel river (1105m) and go down up to Gampel (bus stop, Denner shop, hotel). Cross the Lonza river (you are now in the village of Steg) and go up to the first bend of the Gampel - Goppenstein road. take there the small path to the village of Hohtenn, cross it upwards until you reach a water channel and follow it for about 2 km to the east up to the Jolibach. A few minutes later you reach the very popular Loetschberg-Suedrampe trail (some benches and tables). this excellent trail goes gently up to the railway line (restaurant which may already be open in April). You will then go through some short tunnels and cross the Bietsch river on the railway bridge. Shortly afterwards you follow a nother water channel almost up to the village of Ausserberg (trains to Bern and Brig, bus to Visp, hotels, shop). The trail crosses the village, follows another water channel up to Mili (Mill) and goes then down to the bridge over the Baltschieder river (916m). then it goes up to Eggen (bus stop, restaurant). Take a small path which leaves the roads immediately before the restaurant and go up to a water channel called Gorperi Suon. Follow it to the right up to the Visp-Finnen road and turn to the right after a few metres: you are now on the path to Oberi Brich - Ferchu - Mund (bus stop, hotel, shop). Don't go down up to the church; take the (signposted) trail to Mundchi, cross the Mund river and continue up to Birgisch (bus stop, restaurant). Take then the (signposted) trail to Geimerblatt - Geimen (bus stop, restaurant) - Ahoru - Blatten (bus to Brig, cableway to Belalp, hotels, shop). Cross the Bruchi river and go through the Blattnerschliecht (forest) to the Mass Bridge (1336m). Turn down and follow the Riedera (old Rieder water channel) up to the village of Ried Moerel (frequent gondolas to Moerel railway station, restaurant).


VS Water channel trails
In order to give you an idea: water channels 7, 14, 16 and 18 (see link below) as well as the trails linking them can usually be done in winter.
That will give you:
Sion - Bisse de Clavau - Igogne bus stop - bisse de Chermignon et de Lens - Chermignon d'en Bas bus stop - Tovachir - Darnona cablecar stop - Retana bus stop - Bisse de Venthone/Bisse Neuf - Varner Leitu - Varen bus stop - Leuk bus stop - Ober Rotafen - Turtmann railway station - Staegjeru-Luegjeru - Raron - St. German - Ausserberg railway station - Laldneri - Lalden railway station - Badneri - Birgisch bus stop - Naters - Brig.
Map (click several time into the map at the place where you guess Sion): http://map.geo.admin.ch/?lang=en

The Jura trail goes roughly from Zurich airport to Geneva airport.
The most scenic part begins at Weissenstein or Biel/Bienne-Frinvillier.

You may consider the following shortcuts:

If you begin at Solothurn: hike from Oberdorf or Gaensbrunnen to Weissentein. Or take a bus from Solothurn to Balmberg or from Grenchen to Untergrenchenberg. Consult the timetable: there aren't many of these buses:

If you begin at Biel/Bienne: go by bus to Les Pres d'Orvin (http://www.sbb.ch/en/), then on foot to Les Colisses - Chasseral - Chaumont and down to Neuchatel by cablecar. If you are too late for the last cable car, go down from Le Grand Chaumont to Savagnier and take there the bus to Ntel.

Take the train from Ntel to Noiraigue and walk from there to Ferme du Soliat (sentier des 14 contours). Go then on up to Ste-Croix. If it is too far, take the bus from Bullet to Ste-Croix.

Take the bus from Ballaigues to Vallorbe.

Take the train from Vallorbe to Le Pont.

Note that the trail continues from La Dole to La Baudichonne - Puthod - Col de la Faucille - Petit Montrond - Grand Montrond - Pas de l'Echine - Colomby de Gex - Col de Crozet - Montoisey - Grand Cret - Cret de la Neige - Mont Reculet - Grotte de la Maire du Jura - Pierre de la Lune - Refuge du Gralet ....... up to Bellegarde sur Valserine. The French part of the trail is no longer called Sentier des Cretes and it is signmarked with French signs (red an white).

Swiss map on the net (any scale, give double clicks into the map): http://map.geo.admin.ch/?lang=en

Map with all hotels, restaurants (with phone numbers) and bus stops (with actual timetable): http://map.search.ch/index.en.html (double clicks into the map too)


BUT BE AWARE THAT WEATHER IS ALWAYS UNPREDICTABLE IN THE ALPS. North-Eastern Switzerland (Appenzell, etc.) and Central Switzerland (Lake Lucerne) are usually the wettest areas of Switzerland, followed by Bernese Oberland and Emmental. The driest places are in the Swiss Rhone Valley: Sion - Sierre - Brig.

BEST ALPINE FLORA in the second half of May:
Narcissus: high above Montreux (on the way to Gruyeres)
Rhododendron, Blue gentian: above Lakes Lugano, Maggiore and Como, side Valleys above Locarno, Lugano and Biasca.
neckervd is offline  
Dec 16th, 2017, 07:18 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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If going to three different places you may want to reconsider Swiss Travel Pass - for one thing 100% valid to and from Murren anyway do the maths - great sources on Swiss transports and such: www.sbb.ch; www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com.

You loved Murren but maybe a change of venue would be interesting and folks here all rave about Wengen - better situated for many excursions if going around Jungfrau Region.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 16th, 2017, 08:00 AM
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- Another "base" town where we could potentially accomplish some of the items on our list (again, we prefer mountains to cities)>

Zermatt would be your cup of tea too. Or Gstaad area. Both easy to reach by train from Interlaken area.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 16th, 2017, 08:56 AM
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Lucerne would be another possibility with lots of hiking venues though not at high elevations - especially consider hiking up Mt Rigi - read Mark Twain's A Trmap Abroad for an account of his hike up Rigi.

Engelberg near Lucerne is also an Alpine Wonderland for high elevation hikes.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 16th, 2017, 11:20 AM
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kja, thanks for your quick response.

I agree May is not ideal but unfortunately our travel window is not flexible so we’re hoping to make the best of it.

As for a low cost paragliding, wouldn’t that contribute to the thrill? Only kidding. I only meant I’d appreciate recommendations for low cost activities, as I have no problem coming up with high-cost activities

somanyquestions is offline  
Dec 16th, 2017, 02:01 PM
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CH 170? Cheap?
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 16th, 2017, 06:48 PM
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OK I've been to Murren and Wengen and Zermatt. I loved Murren, until I went to Wengen, it was amazing in july esp for hikers. Easy train to Zurich from Wengen, one hour by train. Awesome hiking trails with Junfrau and Monch overhead, Eiger nearby. Wengen has open vistas of mountains, and a plateau above Wengen, where Murren is rather closed in by the walls. Zermatt is about 4 hrs from Wengen, pretty touristy, but the ride up to the Gorgernaut (sp) is pretty awesome, and views of Matterhorn. Why not try a new place that is pretty near Murren, but weather is a variable. Sue
Sue81 is offline  
Dec 17th, 2017, 08:17 AM
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where Murren is rather closed in by the walls.>

You thinking of Lauterbrunnen - Murren which may mean wall is on top of those walls and views for miles around???
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 17th, 2017, 09:10 AM
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Actually, PalenQ, Sue81 may be thinking of Mürren. I know that I found that wall of mountains across the way rather oppressive in certain lights.
kja is offline  
Dec 17th, 2017, 09:23 AM
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Do firm up your itinerary before purchasing any kind of pass or card for the train. It helps to know precisely how often you will be on the trains to figure out if buying a pass or card is the better value.

(for some trips buying 2nd class point-to-point at the train station works fine)
suze is offline  
Dec 17th, 2017, 09:28 AM
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Value of a pass if close in price to Half-Fare Card or not pass is if you are not sure how many train, boat, bus rides you'll take. But yes if you have a definite itinerary then compare costs. But like in Alpine areas poor weather may dictate a day trip out somewhere like to Bern from Jungfrau Region, etc.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 17th, 2017, 10:20 AM
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Actually, PalenQ, Sue81 may be thinking of Mürren. I know that I found that wall of mountains across the way rather oppressive in certain lights.>

OK never thought of that but makes sense -takes away a large chunk of views to the east - to me Grindelwald has the finest panoramic views in the whole area, even better than Wengen.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 17th, 2017, 12:35 PM
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"I agree May is not ideal"

hiking and paragliding would be fine in May (see my post above). But it's up to you!
neckervd is offline  
Dec 17th, 2017, 12:42 PM
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neckervd is a Swiss resident and knows of what he/she speaks IMO. I think May would be sweet with flowers out and nearly no other tourists - there will always be some trails open I'd think.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 21st, 2017, 06:43 PM
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Hi Palen, it definitely was Murren, we stayed in a small cabin with high mtn walls across from us, lot of pretty waterfalls, but it definitely was Murren, right on the walkway/path in the main part of the village. It was lovely, but couldn't compare to Wengen for me, esp up the Mannlichen with the incredible vistas up there. You have to go up the lift in Wengen to see it, lift is right in town.
English lady owned the cabin in Murren, some years back. Sue
Sue81 is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2017, 04:40 AM
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thanks Sue!
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2017, 07:31 AM
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Again, Wengen is the place of choice for Fodorites it seems.
PalenQ is offline  

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