Itinerary Help

Old Apr 10th, 2022, 07:05 PM
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Itinerary Help

Hopefully posting on this board helps as my topic is a bit broad. I'm going with two friends on a backpacking trip from 6/9 until 6/26. We fly into Munich and land on 6/10 and we fly out of Geneva, Switzerland on 6/26. We will be leaving Munich on June 12th. We would ideally like to go to a few places in Austria, spend a day in Bratislava, a day in Vaduz, and spend time in Switzerland. An added bonus would be to swing down to Slovenia to see Bled or Ljubljana. We would like to take trains from city to city and do not mind day trips from a base.

That being said, we need to find the most efficient itinerary from 6/12-6/25 knowing that we leave Geneva on 6/26. We are taking this trip on short notice so it would be great to hear some input or recommendations from some travel vets. For those of you who have visited this area, does this seem like a viable itinerary?

Thanks in advance!

6/9 Leave ORD

6/10 Munich 1/2 day

6/11 Munich

6/12 Salzburg

6/13 Vienna

6/14 Vienna

6/15 Vienna (Bratislava day trip)

6/16 Ljubljana

6/17 Innsbruck

6/18 Innsbruck

6/19 Vaduz

6/20 Zurich

6/21 Zurich

6/22 Zurich (Lucern day trip)

6/23 Bern

6/24 Bern (Interlaken day trip)

6/25 Geneva

6/26 Leave GEN
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Old Apr 10th, 2022, 09:05 PM
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Are you going to these places because there are things you want to see there, or just to check them off a list? You have far too little time in almost all of them, and have not allowed time for transit. Also, I can't imagine planning to spend almost a week in Switzerland and getting no closer to the mountains than a day trip to Interlaken.

It takes two nights in a place to get one full day of sightseeing. I would add another night to Salzburg and drop Bratislava and Ljubljana - I love Ljubljana, but one night is just not enough. On the other hand, there is no reason to spend a night in Valduz. Have a look around and move on. Forget Zurich and stay in the mountains near Interlaken - probably Murren or Wengen.

Just FYI, it takes a minimum of six hours to get from Vienna to Ljubljana, and a bit longer from Ljubljana to Innsbruck (timetables at bahn.de). Which means you would have no time to do much in Ljubljana besides eating dinner and breakfast.
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Old Apr 10th, 2022, 09:38 PM
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Thanks for your response! I appreciate it. There are a few things we'd like to see in each location, but are by no means married to them. The only locations that we cannot change would be Munich and Geneva. I've been to Munich and want to spend an extra day there to see more of it.

I was considering the same thing with dropping Ljubljana and adding to Salzburg. The reason we would stay in Vaduz would be a break from the long train ride and we would have to drop off our belongings to look around. Would you suggest using Zurich as a "base" or is there enough to fit in a few days in another city? I had not been familiar with Murren, but it looks beautiful! That said, would that warrant an overnight stay or two days?

That was my same thought with Ljubljana but my friends were really interested in going there. Personally, I hadn't thought one night would be enough and I'm looking for alternate suggestions to make better use of our time.

Thank you so much!
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Old Apr 11th, 2022, 08:42 AM
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There are several things you need to do before you can put together a good itinerary.

First: you need to articulate your interests, and those of your traveling companions (and tell us). Architecture (which period(s)), scenery (mountains, lakes, pastoral etc.), food (cuisines), wine, museums, cathedrals, hiking, people watching, etc.etc. Only then can you figure out what to see in each destination and how long to spend there. Note that you don't all have to do the same things - one person can visit an art museum while the others go hiking.

Second: you need to figure out transit times and work those into your tentative itinerary. You will find schedules for all trains in Europe here: https://www.bahn.com/en - and you could usefully spend time here: https://www.seat61.com/index.html - especially on the rail pass pages.

Third: you need to plan for all of you to travel light. You will not want to haul suitcases on and off trains and potentially up and down staircases if the elevators/escalators are out of commission or non-existent. I travel for months at a time with one 22-inch two-wheeler and a day pack.

For your specific questions you need to tell us why you are going to Switzerland. Most people go for the mountains and the scenic railways. Zurich is a terrible base for those. Also, if the clouds are down you can't see the mountains, so you need more time in Murren, for instance, if you are hoping to see them.

The train ride from Innsbruck to Zurich is less than four hours, you don't need a break. Plus, there is no train station in Vaduz, you would have to transfer to a bus. The castle is a private residence, and unless you are a postage stamp fanatic there doesn't seem to be much to do in Liechtenstein in summer aside from admiring the views.
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Old Apr 12th, 2022, 02:53 AM
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"The reason we would stay in Vaduz would be a break from the long train ride"
Innsbruck - Zürich by direct train takes 3 1/2 hrs. Up to Lucerne or Berne it would be 1 hr more.
Innsbruck - Vaduz by train and bus takes 3 hrs
Vaduz - Zurich by bus and train takes 1 1/2 hrs

Best train Vienna - Ljubljana: Vienna dp 7.58 - Ljubljana ar 14.00. The other connections are longer or not reliable (connection at Villach not guaranateed)
Ljubljana - Innsbruck: Ljubljana dp 9.23 - Innsbruck ar 15.40

You will waste your time with the Ljubljana trip and wit the stays at Vaduz, Zurich and Geneva. The real gems are elsewhere
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Old Apr 12th, 2022, 05:21 AM
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I actually don't think Zürich is a bad base for Switzerland, depending on what you want to see and do. It's 45-90 minutes away from the Rheinfall, the Zugersee, Vierwaldstättersee, Walensee and Bodensee (among other lakes), the Rigi, and the cities/towns of Luzern, Basel, Zug and Chur, and 2 hours away from the tops of Pilatus and Säntis. And Zürich itself has great museums, more restaurants and nightlife than elsewhere in Switzerland, and nice lakeshores and hikes (and June is usually the right month for that). You don't need to rush up to Lauterbrunnen/Mürren/Wengen/Grindelwald or to Zermatt and skip the rest like many overseas tourists. I do agree that you need to ask yourselves what you're interested in and why you want to go to Switzerland (and the other places). Also, while day trips work, consider also packing light and taking more circuitous and scenic routes from one place to the next, such as using the GoldenPass line when traveling from canton Bern to Genève, or the Brünig line (optionally with a journey over the top of Pilatus via cable car and rack railway) from Luzern to Interlaken.
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Old Apr 12th, 2022, 09:33 AM
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Nothing against Zurich, in fact I wrote a blog post about how I enjoyed my visit - https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...ecting-zurich/

However, many people go to Switzerland for the mountains (we don't know whether that includes the OP), and for that Zurich is not a good base.
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Old Apr 12th, 2022, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by thursdaysd
Nothing against Zurich, in fact I wrote a blog post about how I enjoyed my visit - https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...ecting-zurich/

However, many people go to Switzerland for the mountains (we don't know whether that includes the OP), and for that Zurich is not a good base.
Well, it depends on which mountains. It's a pretty good base for the Glarner and Schwyzer Alps (including Rigi and both sides of canton Glarus), the Appenzeller Alps and Pilatus. It's not good for the Berner and Pennine Alps or the Engadine.

If the OP gives some indications of their interests (hiking, glaciers, oretty valleys, alpine lakes, scenic railways, picturesque villages, waterfalls) we can try to ptrvide some suggestions…
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Old Apr 15th, 2022, 11:05 PM
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Ideally, I'd like to find one good hike that would take around a half day. A hike near a glacier would be ideal. It would be preferable to be a trail where it is not extremely strenuous. I read about some of the railway tours in the Alps. Do you have a suggestion of which one to look into? I have also read about Rheinfalls being a great place to visit. Would that be a recommendation? As for picturesque scenery, we would like to visit at least one castle with both great architecture and history.

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Old Apr 17th, 2022, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by fhssaber;[url=tel:17354241
17354241[/url]]Ideally, I'd like to find one good hike that would take around a half day. A hike near a glacier would be ideal. It would be preferable to be a trail where it is not extremely strenuous. I read about some of the railway tours in the Alps. Do you have a suggestion of which one to look into? I have also read about Rheinfalls being a great place to visit. Would that be a recommendation? As for picturesque scenery, we would like to visit at least one castle with both great architecture and history.
Let’s see; there are some, but overall not too many options for short and not too challenging hikes with glacier views.
The obvious option is to stay in Zermatt, take a cogwheel train or lift up (to Trockener Steg or Gornergrat, for instance) and walk down; it’ll be fairly busy with tourists but very scenic.
Another obvious place to go see glacier is the Aleschgletscher, the largest one in the Alps; you can see it from the north by taking the train to the Jungfraujoch (perhaps spending the night in Wengen), but you can’t hike there. You can, however, go to Fietscheralp, from the south, and walk down along the ridge with great views of the glacier, perhaps until Bettmeralp or Riederalp. There are lifts linking the Alp localities (ski resorts) to the valley floor, of course, and you can spend the night both up in the resorts or at the bottom, for instance in Fietsch.
Alternatively, you could stay in Crans-Montana (nice village and ski resort), take the lifts up to Plaine Morte and walk down; the view from the top is great, but you won’t see the glacier as you go down as it’ll be on the other side of the mountain.
Another nice glacier view is of the Rhonegletscher from the Furka Belvedere; you could take the bus on the eastern side of the Furka pass as far as you want, walk over the pass, down to the Belvedere and take the bus from the nearby stop.
Smaller glaciers can be seen above Göschenen, such as by taking the bus to the dam and walking up to Dammahütte and then back down. You can spend the night on Realp or in a hotel along the pass road or come from further afield.

Some of the most famous and scenic railway lines are the Wengeralp and Jungfrau rack railways, the Furka historical railway (with steam trains, going over a high-elevation pass), the Oberalp and Bernina railway (going over scenic passes), the Albula railway (along a narrow garage, up and then under a pass in a tunnel), the GoldenPass Line (actually a catchy name for multiple railway lines in the wooded mountains to the north of the main chains of the Alps), the old Lötschberg and Gotthard lines (maybe less scenic than some other lines, but if you’re travelling between the south and north it’s worth using them rather than the base tunnels), the Centovalli-Vigezzina line in the wooded hills and mountains between Ticino and Italy…
There are touristy scenic trains travelling on multiple lines among these, but they require an extra paid reservation and most of the time it’s better to just take a series of regular trains running the same route; the one exception is if you really want to go from one end to the other without brakes, such as between Zermatt and Sankt Moritz on the Glacier Express.

The Rheinfall is very nice; I don’t know if I’d take time off the mountains and lakes to go see it, personally, but if you were already thinking of spending at least one night in northeast Switzerland, I’d say go for it.

As for castles, two of the most famous ones are Chillon on the eastern shore of lake Geneva and Tourbillon in Sion (Valais). There are many, many other castles, though, and if you make an itinerary you can probably find nice castles in the areas you will be travelling to, without having to go out of your way. For instance, Regensberg has a nice castle with a big tower and is about in between Zurich and the Rheinfall. (It’s also at the start of the Lägern ridge hike to Baden, if you’re up for some hiking away from the Alps.)
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Old Apr 17th, 2022, 10:48 PM
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Ljubljana is a lovely small city but I would not go so far out of your way for such a short time. I would add that time to Salzburg.

Bern, Lucerne and Zurich are very attractive but I agree with others that the best of Switzerland is in the mountains and rural areas. I would prefer to visit Zurich for the day from Lucerne than the other way around.
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Old Apr 21st, 2022, 10:25 AM
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Staying at Lucerne, I would visit zurich for museums only. Everything else is a waste of time.
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