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Help with 7 day Switzerland Itinerary for Sept.

Help with 7 day Switzerland Itinerary for Sept.

Jun 9th, 2001, 07:28 AM
  #1  
ilene
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Help with 7 day Switzerland Itinerary for Sept.

any suggestions on a relaxing but fun week long trip to switzerland. Names of places and hotels are appreciated. I work a lot and live in a city so I would like to enjoy the outdoors (in a comfortable hotel though) and go hiking, etc. I am less interested in Zurich or cities that are nice but not that different from any other city. Local charm, character, etc. would be great. Also if I plan a trip involving almost entirely outdoor activities should I be concerned about the weather (rain) in Sept. Thanks!
 
Jun 9th, 2001, 08:31 AM
  #2  
Bob Brown
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I think you could spend a week having fun in the Berner Oberland. We were there for 7 days, third visit in 3 years, and took full advantage of the Regional Pass (which covers a wide area)
to run all over the place riding mountain cable lifts, trains, and buses. We did have a car, but except for a couple of trips over various mountain passes, we did not really need it.

The biggie trips in the area are:
the train trip to the Jungfraujoch, the lift trip to the Schilthorn, and the gondola to a station named First.
From First, a hike to the Faulhorn will take you to one of the most glorious viewpoints in all of Switzerland. I have been there twice, and I regret I did not put it on the list for this year.
You could pick Grindelwald, Murren, or Wengen as your base and go from there.
All three places are full of hotels and good ones at that. The views of the mountains from Mürren are terrific.
I lived in an apartment in Lauterbrunnen because it is centrally located. We were not usually there during the day because we were up on a ridge somewhere, or deep in a valley. The train station was a 10 minute walk way, and we could park our car within 50 yards of our apartment door.

We spent our share of time in Mürren staring at the mountains, but there are so many other places to see that we chose a place that made it easy to get to them all for prolonged day visits.

My advice is to do the mountains as early in September as you can.
The weather seems to turn on you after the 3rd week. Last year we got there before the end of the first week and had clear skies every day for 5 consecutive days. But in the previous year, we tried arriving late in the month and rain spoiled our hiking.
I think you would like Zermatt, too.
But the Berner Oberland is beautiful and much more reachable than Zermatt.
There is enough to see and do there to keep you occupied for a week, particularly if you hire a car one day and take the Three Pass Drive. From Interlaken, you head east to Innertkirchen. From there you go over the Grimsel, Furka, and Susten Passes.
The Furka is a steep winding pass, but keep your cool and it will be a fun drive. At the top of the Grimsel Pass there is a hotel and a restaurant.
The route is a loop so you return to Innertkirchen after you descend the Susten Pass. (The Grimsel Pass is no slouch either; it is thrilling and scenic.)

Just before you leave Innertkirchen to ascend the Grimsel Pass, there is a bakery at the crossroads. It has the best goodies I have found in all of Switzerland. We stopped coming and going to perform like gluttons.
I don't think the lady who ran the place objected to our eating the goodies right there. Then we took a big sack of them back to our apartment. (The justification of course is that hiking burns so many calories that you have to replace them so you will have energy for the following day. And I can think up some more reasons, too. Better quit this pastry talk, I am getting a Pavlovian response.)

Fortunately my hiking buddy is also a darn good driver, so we did use our car to go various places. But putting in 12 to 14 hour days is a routine for us
when the sun is shining. There are places to eat all over the mountains, so don't worry about taking along much other than sun screen, rain protection and plenty of drinking water.
 
Jun 9th, 2001, 08:43 AM
  #3  
Ed
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Ilene, I'm sorry but I'm about to run off for the day, but wanted to get in a comment on your question. Bob's answer, in short, is a good one. I'd like to add more, including a strong suggestion to stay in Mürren.

With time short though, may I suggest you take a look at the ideas that start at www.twenj.com/swissvisit.htm After you've had a look at those pages (and there are almost 50 of them!) Julie and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, here, or by e-mail.
 
Jun 9th, 2001, 09:19 AM
  #4  
Bob Brown
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If you wanted a sampling, you could start with 2 or 3 nights in the Berner Oberland area, then visit Zinal in Val d'Anniviers for 2 nights and Zermatt for 2 nights. That would burn 7 days faster than you can count them.
Or visit Saas Fee for a couple of nights. That is an area not usually visited by Americans, so if you speak a little German you can find plenty of people to talk to. I lived in Saas Grund for a week, and had fun doing it.
The mountains there are overwhelming.
The Dom rises to your west and towers about 10,000 feet overhead. It is not so much beautiful as it is awesome.
From Zermatt there are many places to ride. The train to the Gornergrat takes you along some great scenery and the view from the station at the end of the line out over Monte Rosa and the huge glaciers that it spawns is something else again. And if you want to shiver and marvel at the same time, ride the gondola to the Klein Matterhorn.
(It is in a notch, and the wind howls through there something fierce.)

One thing about Mürren is this: yes the view is great, but you have a non trivial task of getting in and out.
You do not drive there. The most common way to get there is to take the train to Lauterbrunnen from Interlaken, then take the cable lift up the hill to a station called Grutschalp,then take a little train (2 cars) to Mürren.
Often during the day the crowd bound for Mürren is quite large. I have walked by the lift station and had to detour around the crowd standing in the street waiting to ride up.
Coming out for a day trip else where, to Grindelwald for example, can involve some of the same delays. The trains can bring passengers to that elevator on wheels faster than it can haul people up and down. (We knew when the train from Interlaken was coming in, so we would get to the lift to Grutschalp about 5 minutes ahead of the Interlaken train.)
The other way to get to Mürren is take the bus (or drive) to Stechelberg and take the Luftseilbahn up the hill, first to Gimmelwald and then to Mürren, on to the Schilthorn for an added fee.
There is a big parking lot at Stechelberg, but you pay to park just about everywhere I have gone in the mountains.
Wengen is a little more accessible by train from Lauterbrunnen because there is only one change in Lauterbrunnen. And trains run about every half hour. Wengen is full of good to excellent hotels and has its own view of the mountains. It sits on a shelf a little ways up on the side of the Männlichen Ridge on the rail line to Kleine Scheidegg, which is the change point for the final leg of the Jungfraujoch trip. (pricey but fun)
The ridge itself is accessbile by a Luftseilbahn. From the top of the ridge, the north wall of the Eiger is in full view as is the Jungfrau.

I frankly look for ease of getting in and out the area where I am staying. Yes, Mürren does have great views, but if I am on a trail from the Grimsel Pass out to the glacier, or buried in the Kilchbalm deep in the inner gorges, that view from Mürren is not within range.
Now, I will admit this: we did take the lift upwards on a night that had a full moon just to get the view of a lifetime.
But, you can time the full moon and make arrangements. The mountains by the light of the late evening sun can be beautiful too.
But if you want the view to end all views, spend the night at the hotel on top of the Faulhorn and get up before dawn to watch the sun come up.
 
Jun 9th, 2001, 09:35 AM
  #5  
scurry
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Based on some suggestions from this site, my wife, in-laws and I just returned from a trip that included two nights in Interlaken and a day trip up to Grindelwald.

It was great (& the weather was amazing). After being in Rome, Florence and Venice the week previously, Interlaken was perfectly relaxing. Just the right size, not a city, but still big enough that there's plenty of things to do/see.

We can't wait to go back.

EMail me if you're interested in the hotel & restaurants we visited while there. Great food!
 
Jun 9th, 2001, 01:41 PM
  #6  
ilene
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did most of you who responded rent a car and drive while you were there? or did the trains and cable cars make most things accessible? how did the prices in switzerland compare to other places in europe (e.g. at the moment I would consider italy and france a good deal but England remains expensive).
 
Jun 9th, 2001, 02:04 PM
  #7  
richard j vicek
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Good afternoon, Ilene
Another prospect is Grindelwald, yes it
is more touristy, however it does have
Grindelwald, First, reachable by gondola and from there many trails lead of
to various destinations, including
Schynige Platte, Faulhorn, Bussalp, and
many others. Also reachable by gondola
is the Mannlichen froim there Alpliglen,, Kleine Scheidegg and
Grindelwald are some possible destinations. Have to totally agree with Bob and Ed on the Berneroberland.
 
Jun 9th, 2001, 02:21 PM
  #8  
richard j vicek
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Sorry , tried to reply type it twice
and twice was rejected by Fodors...
This has happened much lately and is
very discourging. Richard of LaGrange Park, Il...
 
Jun 9th, 2001, 02:42 PM
  #9  
Ed
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Ilene, you'll have to excuse Bob. He gets a little apoplectic when someone suggests Mürren is marvelous place to stay as well as visit. Getting to and from Mürren IS trivial.

It's just a 25 minute trip with some of the best scenery along the way you'll find in the.

If that little amount of time is important to you, one may ask what's the tradeoff ... the reason Ed and Julie are willing to spend the extra few minutes? Just, simply, the spectacular views morning and night. The last we thing we see at night is the triad of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau glowing in the sunset while the moon rises, and the that's the first thing we see in the morning. A bit better and refreshing of a view than in the deep valley ... albeit a pretty valley with its waterfall. Of course there are some great hikes and activities up there on the Mürren side so we don't have to make the trip on many days.

As to car or train? We've traveled about both ways extensively. We now use the trains almost exclusively. Particuarly when visiting the mountains as cars don't ascend 60 degree slopes up 2 or 3 000 feet very well. Cars are a bit useless in the mountains. Maybe one year out of three we'll rent a car for a day or two for some special trip where the car has an advantage, to some particularly hard to get to location, or for a spin around the outrageously scenic 3-pass drive that Bob mentions. For most of our travels in Switzerland now we find the SwissPass really ideal.
( www.twenj.com/swissrail.htm )
 
Jun 9th, 2001, 02:47 PM
  #10  
Ed
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Oh, yes. You asked about prices.

By and large we find the common belief that Switzerland is expensive somewhat of a fiction. Certainly in the major cities (esp. Zürich and Geneve) hotel and food prices are in the general range of other world class cities like London, Paris and Rome ... perhaps just a tad less. In the mountains, though, we find scenery and activity that is incomparable, really, anywhere in Europe, at prices that are far below European big city prices. So since we find ourselves spending most of our time in Switzerland in those mountains we find holidays there much less expensive than city holidays in Europe. And one thing about Switzerland ... tourists are treated well. Food is good. Service is good. Hotels are good. The >value< one gets for whatever one spends is generally greater than one gets for comparable prices elsewhere.
 
Jun 9th, 2001, 03:41 PM
  #11  
scurry
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We did not rent a car -- we travelled by train (very good) and foot (very good for us).
 
Jun 9th, 2001, 06:33 PM
  #12  
Pedro
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Apart from the above mentioned highlights of Berner Oberland with what I basically agree, I would like to add a couple of gorges I found among the most interesting sights in Switzerland.
Those are Aareschlucht ( Gorges of Aare river near Meiringen ) and Gletscherschlucht in the outskirts of Grindelwald. Among the small cities remark Fribourg and Neuchatel.
 
Jun 11th, 2001, 03:08 AM
  #13  
Greg
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Murren is a great place to base in the Jungfrau region.

But after several trips to this area, I think I would rather use either Grindlewald or Wengen as a homebase.

People say that the views from Wengen are not as good as the views from Murren are, but hey, the views from Wengen are not too shaby either.

The Jungfrau, Monch and company are most certainly in your face in Murren.

But you never lose sight of them in Wengen either.

Since Murren is just across the Lauterbrunnen valley from Wengen, a person can pop up to Murren with little problems.

I'm staying in Wengen a few days in 01. One of the things I want to do is check out the mountain bike trails above Murren. The views of the Jungfrau range are wonderful up there to be sure.

Anyway, either place is nice.
 
Jun 11th, 2001, 06:08 AM
  #14  
Ursula
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To the top for Frank
 
Jun 13th, 2001, 10:16 AM
  #15  
chris
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We are going to Murren in July for 2-3 nights.

Regarding transportation to Murren & the Swiss rail site www.rail.ch

Does anyone know (twenj?) that if when you put in the departure field "Bern" and in arrival field "Murren", & then the system gives you arrival & departure times...does this include the funicular ride up the mountain??

We will be traveling from Florence & hope to make it to Murren in the same day.
 
Jun 13th, 2001, 11:07 AM
  #16  
chris
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whoops...i think i see it now. looks like it does include the funicular ride.

I'm just glad that the funiculars continue to run so late
 

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