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Help! Where to spend 3 weeks ( Jungfrau, Engadin, Dolomites or Austria)

Help! Where to spend 3 weeks ( Jungfrau, Engadin, Dolomites or Austria)

Old Feb 9th, 2022, 04:24 PM
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Help! Where to spend 3 weeks ( Jungfrau, Engadin, Dolomites or Austria)

I am planning a trip for late August early September and can not decide what I want to do! We have 3 weeks total so I want to cover three different areas each week. We are in our late 30's and adventurous. We like to hike and basically do any outdoor activity (horseback riding, kayaking, rafting, fishing, ATV riding, biking, etc.). We want nature and not a bunch of people or buildings. We don't mind driving as long as there is good scenery and cool scenic places to stop and/or short hikes. Or last international trip we did a road trip around the South Island of New Zealand. We absolutely loved it. Everyday we were so impressed with the scenery and just pure beauty. Looking to have that same feeling again with this trip! I am aware of the places that are car free and the public transportation system but depending on where we go it seems the Dolomites and Austria would be better with a car. Below are a few routes I was thinking but I can't decide which three places we should see!

1) Zurich -> Jungfrau -> Engadine -> Dolomites -> Venice (I am aware of the large car rental fee for international drop offs so I would probably just rent a car in Bolzano and drop off in Venice unless we think we need a car in Engadine)
2) Zurich -> Austria -> Engadine -> Jungfrau -> Zurich
3) Zurich -> Austria -> Dolomites -> Jungfrau -> Zurich
4) Zurich -> Austria -> Dolomites -> Engadine -> Zurich
5) Could do all four Zurich -> Austria -> Dolomites -> Engadine -> Jungfrau -> Zurich but I think that would be to much travel and not enough time at each location
6) Also open to scratching everything and doing something completely different
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Old Feb 10th, 2022, 08:15 AM
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I did a 2 week Switzerland trip in 2016. You don't need a car in Switzerland--in fact, you really don't want one. The Swiss public transport system is amazing, and can be a real help for someone looking to hike a variety of areas in the mountains. Switzerland is not cheap (both lodging and transport) but, you can get a consecutive days pass (3, 4, 6, 8 or 15), a flex pass (same number of days over a month, I believe) or a half fare discount that will save you a lot of money. We stayed in Wengen in the Berner Oberland for a week and quite liked it, and, with the unlimited 15 day rail pass, we could take a train to lower elevations (places like Bern and Luzern) on days when the weather did not cooperate in the mountains. So, if you wanted to do option one, I'd get one of the travel passes, and rely upon public transport at least until you get to Italy. I haven't been to the Dolomites, so I don't know if you'd want a car there, but you certainly wouldn't in Venice. I would think the Berner Oberland, Engadine, and Dolomites would be plenty of mountain scenery without getting in to Austria.
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Old Feb 10th, 2022, 09:41 AM
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I agree that Bernese Oberland (Jungfrau region) - Engadin - Dolomites makes the perfect itinerary. No need for a car in Switzerland and also not for the journey to Bolzano.

However, you are aware of the fact that you will hit three very popular spots in the Alps, no? Especially the Jungfrau region and some famous parts of the Dolomites will be full of hikers (and other tourists.)
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Old Feb 11th, 2022, 08:23 AM
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Public transport: Trains, mountain railways, gondolas and buses up to the remotest places run usually every hour, sometimes every 30 min in Switzerland AND South Tyrol (Dolomites). There is absolutely no need for a car for places like Merano, Bolzano, Ortisei, Lago Caldaro, Brunico, San Candido, Lienz.............
In Switzerland, high season ends mid August, in Italy not before August 28th.
Weather is always unpredictable in the Alps. Austria has usually more rain than the Dolomites and Switzerland. In the latter, the driest area is tha Canton of Valais (Matterhorn).
In South Tyrol (Dolomites), you can get a very cheap railpass, called Mobilcard (28 EUR/week) valid on all trains and buses.
For the Bernese Obarland Pass, valid in the whole Bernese Oberland and up to Lucerne, Berne, Montreux, Brig and Andermatt (on the way to Engadine) you have to pay 320 EUR/week.
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Old Mar 1st, 2022, 12:00 PM
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All the areas mentioned are gorgeous and you couldn't go wrong with the combo of Bernese Oberland, Engadin and Dolomites but since you mentioned your love of the NZ roadtrip, you might consider cutting one of those three and adding in Austria to mix things up - such as the Salzkammergut region which is more of a low lying mountain/lake district vs the three big peak Alps regions. This adds need for a car in Austria but if you are looking to experience the adventure of a road trip and some diversity in types of mountain regions, you might consider! Our personal favorite area is Berner Oberland (usually stay in Wengen) but we loved driving around Salzkammergut and doing some boating on the various lakes.

Last edited by NorCal_Jo; Mar 1st, 2022 at 12:08 PM. Reason: font size wrong
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Old Mar 2nd, 2022, 06:50 AM
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I personally would recommend a car since you're planning on going to Engadin and then South Tyrol. It's so much easier to drive and you have much more flexibility.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2022, 07:08 AM
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The Berner Oberland (Jungfrau) is not a place one visits in August or September if wanting to avoid people. It's a tourist magnet, as is the Dolomites that time of year.

Some areas of the Engadine might be quieter, especially if you avoid spots like St Mortiz and head further afield to some of the lesser known villages, but even then you'll encounter plenty of European tourists.
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