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14 days in late May. Looking for beautiful scenery, hiking, and photograph opportunit

14 days in late May. Looking for beautiful scenery, hiking, and photograph opportunit

Jan 8th, 2019, 06:10 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 4
14 days in late May. Looking for beautiful scenery, hiking, and photograph opportunit

My wife and I are looking for some ideas for a trip to Europe in May. The only "must" is that we do Switzerland for 5-6 days. Otherwise we are COMPLETELY open to anyone's advice. We mostly want beautiful areas with good hiking (day hikes), photography opportunities (I am a photographer), and not too much snow.

The tentative plans for our trip are below
  1. (2 nights) Fly into Munich. I love beer so going to check a few of the breweries out. Also using it as a base camp to do some hiking near Garmisch-Partenkirchen area.
  2. (2 nights) Salzburg. Hike a few of the scenic areas there.
  3. (1 night) Trento Italy. A quick hike somewhere to see the dolomite mountains.
  4. (1 night) Florence to see the sights/eat some food
  5. (1 night) Cinque Terre for 1 day. Hike the high trail from Volastra to Corniglia.
  6. (5 nights) Grindelwald area. Use that as a base camp to check out some hikes, visit Grueyere etc.
  7. (1 night) Zurich for the night before flying back home to Pittsburgh

My questions are:
- Will the weather be decent in these areas for hiking in late May?
- Is the itinerary too aggressive ?
- Should we do public transportation? I looked into a rental car, and it seems to be the cheaper option.

Thanks so much!
noslenwerd is offline  
Jan 8th, 2019, 06:32 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 24,490
For historical weather data see: https://www.wunderground.com/

Yes, it is too aggressive, you don't seem to have allowed for travel time (and if you are using drive times from google maps they will be too optimistic, you might try this instead: https://www.viamichelin.com/ )

On transport see the discussion here: Car v Train: Confused by Prevailing Advice
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 8th, 2019, 07:25 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 16,516
Not sure why you think Florence is a big food place... while one day is just crazy to see all the sites.

If I wanted to do this whole Alps thing I would focus on just that for the whole trip and work my way along the miles and miles of small towns along the Italian northern border, there are so many walks, you could even drift into Slovenia/Austria without any problem.

I think you just need to aim for less is more. In May I might also make my decisions closer to the time, as 1) accom should not be a problem, 2) the weather might be.
bilboburgler is offline  
Jan 8th, 2019, 08:08 AM
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We’ve driven from Munich to Siena in a day, pretty straight forward but on your case I would absolutely cut out Florence and CT.

Spend the time in the Dolomites.

We are going to Garmirsh in a few weeks, can’t wait.
BritishCaicos is offline  
Jan 8th, 2019, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by thursdaysd View Post
For historical weather data see:
Thanks for the reply thursdaysd

Does this look more reasonable?

1. (2 days) Fly into Munich. I love beer so going to check a few of the breweries out.
2. (2 days) Train to Salzburg. Hike a few of the scenic areas there.
3. (1 day) Train to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Hiking in this area
4. (1 day) Train to Trento Italy. A quick hike somewhere to see the dolomite mountains.
5. (2 day) Train to Lugano. Mostly to break up the trip on the way to Grindelwald.
6. (5 days) Train to Grindelwald area. Use that as a base camp to check out some hikes, visit Gruyere etc.
7. (1 day) Train to Luzerne - then head to airport in Zurich
noslenwerd is offline  
Jan 8th, 2019, 08:22 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
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I'm a rather fast paced traveler and even I think you are being a bit overly optimistic on your itinerary. I think Italy (other than Dolomites) is what's compressing it. Maybe do Central/Southern Italy on another trip. If I wanted to focus on beautiful areas to hike and take photos this would be my first attempt at an itinerary for most of the things you want to see (keeping in mind i'm not a big hiker or photographer):
1. arrive Munich mid morning / sleepy day in Munich
2. Munich beer / rent car late afternoon / drive to Garmisch-P (2 hrs)
3. Garmisch-P
4. morning drive to Salzburg (3 hrs) / Salzburg
5. Salzburg
6. morning drive to Trento/Bolzano (4 hrs) / Dolomites
7. Dolomites
8. Dolomites
9. Bolzano to return car in Italy and likely pay big fee / train to Interlaken area
10. Alps
11. Alps
12. Alps
13. morning train to Zurich / Zurich
14. fly home

I kept most hotels to at least 2 nights. You can obviously swap out some mountain days in the Dolomites or the Alps for more time at one of the other stops. Maybe another day in Munich?

The issue is you need a train around Garmisch, Salzburg and in the Dolomites but it becomes a liability in Switzerland. You'll need figure out the cost to rent in Germany and drop off in another country and compare it to trying to get the car back into Germany before flying home.

EDIT - just saw your second itinerary - maybe drop a mountain day or two from my itinerary to fit in time around Lugano, but that's getting hectic.

Last edited by Wekiva; Jan 8th, 2019 at 08:29 AM.
Wekiva is offline  
Jan 8th, 2019, 08:35 AM
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Posts: 63,579
You are miscalculating almost everything. Using 'days' instead of 'nights' is part of the problem.

your new itinerary lists 14 'days'. But to get that much time in those different destinations would require almost 3 full weeks. To have a day free to hike -- you'd need 2 nights in the place. To get 2 full days in Salzburg = three nights . . . and so on.

So if you have 14 days 'free on the ground (not including your transatlantic travel days) you need to cut a few places.
janisj is online now  
Jan 8th, 2019, 08:36 AM
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Late May can be a bit too early for the Berner Oberland--it depends on the weather in any given year. I was there for a week in mid-June 2016 and the Manilchen-Kleine Scheidegg trail was still not open at that time, although I understand that is not typical. But, if you are looking for less snow and more green, May is not really the time for the Berner Oberland.
twk is offline  
Jan 17th, 2019, 10:49 AM
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Posts: 4
ITINERARY FEEDBACK NEEDED. Thanks everyone for feedback thus far on our Switzerland/Bavaria trip from May 24th-June 5th of 2019. We have a few pieces we are certain we are going to do, but narrowed it down to a few options for where to fill some gaps.

As a recap, things my wife and I are looking for from this trip revolve around nature (I am a photographer), mild weather (some snow might be okay) and some peace/quiet.:
- Beautiful landscapes
- Wildlife
- Wild Flowers
- Waterfalls
- Hiking
- Scenic Railroads

Munich, Salzburg, and Wengen are pretty much set in stone. But we can fill in 2-3 days at another destination. Right now our itinerary looks like this:

- 2 nights in Munich (beer, culture etc)
- 2 nights in Salzburg (via train from Munich)
- 6 nights Wengen before flying out of either Geneva or Zurich

***Here are our options. Would love your feedback!***

1. Lugano:. From Munich we will fly to Milan. We would take a train up to Lugano. See some of the castles in the area, hike a bit and relax. One of the main reasons we are considering this is because of the Bernese Oberland Railway, and mild weather in the area. We would take that up to Wengen afterwards.

2. Montreux: From Munich would fly into Geneva, train to Montreux. Read about how the wildflowers are in full bloom in this area. Might take day trip to Gruyere to sample some chocolate/cheese and see the castle. From here take the train to Wengen.

3. Dolomites: We realize this will add a lot of travel, but we really consider the train rides as part of the sight seeing. But we are having a hard time seeing the true travel time, or understanding what the weather might be like. We would pick a home base (maybe near Bolzano?) and explore for a couple days. Then from Bolzano train to Wengen.

4. Garmisch-Partenkirchen: From Salzburg we would take a train to this area. Maybe see Ettal Abbey, hike, relax etc. From here we would train to Wengen. The train from GP to Wengen, is it pretty scenic?

I know this is long, so thanks for looking/reading!
noslenwerd is offline  
Jan 17th, 2019, 11:52 AM
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Munich, Salzburg, and Wengen are pretty much set in stone. But we can fill in 2-3 days at another destination.>

As on your other thread I'd suggest thinking of substituting the Austrian Lake District just east of Salzburg instead of Garmisch which is a long train ride from Salzburg. For train info check www.bahn.de/en - German Railways site; www.seat61.com; BETS-European Rail Experts.

Gar-P train to Wengen is scenic the whole way via Innsbruck probably and Zurich-Interlaken- Wengen - the Interlaken-Lauterbrunnen part is scenic and Lauterbrunnen-Wengen even more.
PalenQ is offline  
Jan 17th, 2019, 08:09 PM
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Posts: 20,480
As twk noted, the Bernese Oberland is not necessarily a good destination in May. I was there in a different year than twk and also encountered closed trails in late June. If Wengen really is writ in stone, then do consider having some back-up options in mind.

Lugano and Montreux each have much to offer, but somewhat different things. Neither would be a bad choice IMO. If you haven't already seen it, you might find some useful information in my trip report:
My delightful sampling of Switzerland’s gems, with many thanks
kja is offline  
Jan 18th, 2019, 03:45 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 852
In September, we were in Munich, Wengen and Salzburg (and our favorite beer hall, Augustiner is there). One of our great day trips by rail was to magnificent Lake Hallstatt. Here is the report: 3 Countries, 8 Places, 8 Nights, Awesome!
whitehall is online now  
Jan 18th, 2019, 04:29 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 20,603
If traveling by train, go from Salzburg to Andermatt, and then Andermatt to Geneva and leave from Geneva. Given the amount of time you could interrupt the trip in Flims(https://www.google.com/search?client...ox-b-1&q=Flims which is 5.5 hours from Salzburg by train, and then continue your train ride over the top of the Alps going up the Rhine valley and then down the Rhone to Geneva.

Michael is offline  
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