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Leaving for Switzerland in 2 weeks! Last minute itinerary tweeks?

Leaving for Switzerland in 2 weeks! Last minute itinerary tweeks?

Aug 27th, 2008, 02:53 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2005
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Leaving for Switzerland in 2 weeks! Last minute itinerary tweeks?

Hi everyone! Countdown begins! Dates are set, hotels reserved, so not too much room to change. But I'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts on "what not to miss" while we're at the following places:

6 days in BO, staying in Grindelwald: hikes as recommended by many of you (we can't do strenuous stuff) -- Grutschalp to Murren with Schilthorn; Kleine Scheidegg to Mannlichen, possibly with exploring Wengen; First to Bachsee; First to Gross Scheidegg; Lauterbrunnen to waterfalls. Any other easy ones? If there's time, do you recommend repeating any of these -- either in a different direction or just once more for the sheer beauty of it all? (We once were in Lake Bled in Slovenia, & walked around the beautiful lake several times -- each time a different perspective & almost a new view to behold -- would a repeat of any of these hikes offer chance of such an experience?)

Trips to Schilthorn, Jungfrau, Schynige Platte, also to villages Wengen, Murren, Gimmelwald.

What have I missed here in the BO that you would include?

Then on to 4 days in Luzern: 1 day exploring old town, 1 day for Pilates, 1 day for Rigi, 1 day for day trip into Zurich. What else?

Last 3 days in Schaffhausen: 1 day for town & waterfall (is this town worth more time?), 1 day for day trip to Stein Am Rhein (is this worth 2 days?? it looks unbelievable!) or how about a day trip to St. Gallen? too far? Another village or town nearby for 1 last day trip?

Thanks for any ideas. I've appreciated all the input this forum has provided thus far.
logogm is offline  
Aug 27th, 2008, 03:13 PM
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Suggestion for the last day trip from Schaffhausen: Untersee (the Western part of the Bodensee, to put it simple - it's actually a separate lake) with the island of Reichenau and its medieval churches (not to be missed: the treasure chamber in the church in Mittelzell), Konstanz, perhaps Arenenberg palace, the refuge of Napoleon's relatives. A lovely landscape with a LOT of history. A combination of boat and train will be best.

Stein am Rhein is tiny. One day is definitely enough.
quokka is offline  
Aug 30th, 2008, 08:58 PM
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thanks much quokka...knowing Stein am Rhein is doable in a day is helpful. I'm looking up info on towns along Bodensee. I hadn't thought of lake cruises. Which of the towns did you enjoy the most? Have you been to St. Gallen? Is it worth a trip? Can we do the Rheinfalls and the town of Schaffhausen in a day? thanks again for any input.
logogm is offline  
Aug 31st, 2008, 01:37 AM
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One day for Schaffhausen and the falls is enough. I second quokka's recommendation of Untersee etc.

St. Gallen is well worth to see. Cathedral plus library, exploring old town would take almost a full day.

Diessenhofen is also a cute small town. No highlights, but enjoyable. Island Mainau would be a beautiful two hours or so.

In the BO I would add the cog-wheel train ride from Wilderswil up to Schynige Platte. Very scenic, short circle hike around the top (botanical garden).

From Luzern a day trip to Engelberg/Titlis would be a good option.
Ingo is online now  
Aug 31st, 2008, 01:59 AM
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Yes I have been to St. Gallen. The monastery, the baroque library and the medieval manuscripts in there are marvelous - if you are into this kind of things and know a bit about it. Since I'm an art historian, to me it's a must. But it's - well, how to call it - a place for 'specialists'. If you are able to "ooh" and "aah" about, for example, the famous 9th century ground plan of the perfect Benedictine monastery, go for it.
St. Gallen would be a suitable option also on a bad weather day.

If you prefer a more mixed and less specialized programme, something like the Bodensee tour might suit you better. You'll want good weather for that, though.

The Bodensee and Untersee offer more than enough to do and see for two weeks. You don't mention your means of transport - I assume here it's public transport, of course all these places can just as well be reached by car.

The island of Reichenau is just lovely - the whole island is more or less one big vegetable garden. Then there are the 3 medieval churches that belonged to the once rich and powerful monastery and have made the island UNESCO World Heritage. The treasure chamber of the church in Mittelzell holds breathtaking medieval church art (be warned: the guided tours are horrible if it's still the same guy who does them).
Reichenau can be reached by boat - from the landing you have to walk across the whole island to Mittelzell church (no worries: the island is tiny, this will hardly take longer than 15 minutes) an then decide if you want to walk on and see the others.
In case you're going by car, the island of Reichenau is connected with the mainland by a road dam.

I liked Konstanz a lot. Konstanz has maintained a pretty and authentic historical old town. They weren't hit by World War II bombs thanks to the cleverness of the mayor. Since Konstanz is so close to the Swiss border, he decided not to darken the city but leave all lights on, so bomber pilots thought this was Swiss territory and left it alone.

Another option could be going to Konstanz by train (or car) first thing and then taking the boat over the Bodensee to either Meersburg (beautiful but quite touristy - this is where everyone goes) or to the island of Mainau with its beautiful park.

The Rhine falls are more or less in Schaffhausen and can easily be combined with seeing the old town and the castle. One full day in Schaffhausen should give you enough time to see all this at leisurely pace.
quokka is offline  
Aug 31st, 2008, 04:11 AM
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Hello logogm

I can feel your excitement! You have certainly done your research. Well done!

Did you ever find an apartment in Grindelwald, or did you just decide on a hotel? Either way, it's all good!

The TV in your place will probably have a channel with webcams of the area (and the train station offices does as well). Be sure to check it out before making any sort of trek up the hill, like to Jungfraujoch or Schilthorn or Schynige Platte.

When we were there in August, it seemed the mornings were always clear, but like clockwork in the afternoons around 2:00 or 3:00, the storms came in and clouded everything in. Don't know about September, but just be prepared.

If weather is being uncooperative (hard to believe in Switzerland, I know), but a lovely cloudy-weather-day walk is the valley of Lauterbrunnen. There is a pamphlet you can pick up that has all the various names, heights, etc. of the many waterfalls. It is an easy flat walk. If you start from the train station, then you can take the Post bus on the return leg, or vice versa of course.

I assume when you go to Pilatus that you are doing the Golden Roundtrip...


It's a fun day. We started with the ride on the lake, then the cogwheel train up to Pilatus, gondola down to -- oh, can't think of the name but it had a terrific summer bobsled ride - wow, the views of the area as you ride down! - and then down into Lucerne, where we caught the bus back to town.

And I agree with Ingo (no stretch there , lol!) about an excursion from Lucerne to Engelberg. The Titlis area is another great area to explore. The train is exactly one hour from Lucerne, then it's a short walk over to where you catch the tram up to Titlis. Be sure to do the Glacier Flyer while you're up there. Unbelievable!

Happy travels!
swisshiker is offline  
Aug 31st, 2008, 06:07 AM
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Thanks again to you all!

To quokka: I think we'll spend that 3rd day in Schaffhausen in the Bodensee area. Riechennau and Konstanz sound wonderful. But, boy! that library in St. Gallen sure intrigues me! I'm wondering if we might combine a quick trip there with some other day? perhaps shorten the time in Zurich to a very quick walking tour, then hop back on train for afternoon in St. Gallen, before returning to Luzern. Or perhaps skipping Rheinfalls on that day in Schaffhausen, & just enjoying that town for a morning & then moving on to St. Gallen (I read somewhere the notion that if you've seen Niagra Falls, Rheinfalls is not all that fantastic)

To Ingo: yes, we'll definitely do the cogwheel to Schynige Platte. I didn't know there was a hike from there -- thanks

To swisshiker: We'll be using public transport. Yes, we'll do the Golden Roundtrip tour. About Engleberg & Mt. Titlis: I have read much about it & am wondering if those 4 days in Luzern might have room to squeeze it in. We're pretty "hyperactive" travelers, not needing to sit around too much, preferring to squeeze in as much as we can. Pilates sounds like a full day, but could Rigi be combined with Titlis in same day? or with the day I've planned to explore Old Town in Luzern? If I can't squeeze it in, is Titlis better than either Pilates or Rigi?

Thanks for the detail everyone! Yes, I've done a lot of homework, but the input from you experts is the finishing touch, for sure! Invaluable fine tuning!
logogm is offline  
Aug 31st, 2008, 06:46 AM
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We took a boat down the Rhine from Stein Am Rhein where we stayed to Schaffhausen. Did a walking tour of Schaffhausen and then did the falls in the afternoon, and we were definitely unimpressed by the falls. We then took the train back to Stein Am Rhein. This was all part of a package offered through the rail system. I imagine you could do this in reverse, starting with the train to Stein Am Rhein.
Ruff is offline  
Aug 31st, 2008, 09:05 AM
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"...could Rigi be combined with Titlis in same day? or with the day I've planned to explore Old Town in Luzern?"

I wouldn't want to combine Pilatus and Rigi on the same day. I wish I could remember the name of the village where the bobsled run is. We sure enjoyed that, did it several times. Then we had lunch at this little chalet style restaurant before heading back down. Anyway, that whole trip took quite a big chunk out of the day. When we were done, that is when we walked thru Lucerne.

Others here can spend days walking thru Lucerne, and that's great! And there is no bigger fan of taking a paddlesteamer ride than moi! But when I'm in Switzerland, it's all about the Alps for me.

And if I had to choose between Pilatus and Rigi, Pilatus wins hands down. IMHO.

Engelberg, on the other hand, is a totally different experience, with their rotating cable car and of course the mountain-top experience once you get up there. The town is cute, too. There is a monastery there that has a cute little restaurant / shop, where they actually make cheese! It is fun to watch them at work.

If you go into the flower garden at Schynige Platte, be sure to locate the Edelweiss. It's the only place I've really seen them blooming (well, other than in Migros or Coop in a pot, lol!)

But really, the Berner Oberland is the motherlode. You will be mesmerized and captivated. Welcome to the club!!
swisshiker is offline  
Aug 31st, 2008, 09:18 AM
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"...could Rigi be combined with Titlis in same day? or with the day I've planned to explore Old Town in Luzern?"

That would be an overkill, especially since they offer the same views.

I know tourists usually enjoy Pilatus more than Rigi but I personally love the Rigi. I love the walk from Rigi Kaltbad to Rigi Unterstetten along the "cliff path". Then we walk down to Rigi Klosterli and catch the train back to Arth-Goldau. The paths take you through green fields, cows with bells and beautiful views.

It's a tough choice between Pilatus and Rigi. Do Pilatus if you don't want to spend much time on the mountain. Do Rigi if you'd like to add some hiking to your trip.
kleeblatt is offline  
Aug 31st, 2008, 09:43 AM
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Schuler -- yes, it's all about the "tough choices!" I'm trying to figure out a way to "have it all..." Your description of the walk on Rigi sounds just like what I'm trying to experience.

Is is there a way to get to all three from Luzern in the 4 days we have there -- i.e., Pilates, Rigi, + Titlis? If not, what should I cut out?

Also, trying to figure out a way to get St. Gallen in somewhere...

Ruff seems to confirm what I read that the Rheinfalls are somewhat underwhelming. Perhaps I should delete that time & devote it to an afternoon or morning for side trip from Schaffhausen to St. G. Or cut the day trip to Zurich short & get to St. Gallen to there, then return trip to Luzern.

Anyway, thanks again for all the ideas & food for thought.
logogm is offline  
Aug 31st, 2008, 10:25 AM
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Personally, I think that's a lot of mountains in 4 days but doable weather permitting.

That's the key word to your trip: weather.

I'd get a list of things to do for bad and good weather and then be flexible. If the weather is bad in the north, consider visiting Lugano or Locarno, which may have much better weather.

Back to the Rigi, you can do a lot of good hiking in Engelberg too.

kleeblatt is offline  
Sep 1st, 2008, 10:48 AM
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When you are in Lucern(sp) if it is still there, we went to a great Restaurant Called Spegettio Valentinos or something close to that named after the Italian silent movie actor. It was on a square(not in old town) & we were looking for a place to eat many years ago & the aroma from this place drew us in from about a block away. It was one of the best meals we have ever had. The pasta dishes were just simply great, not just good. We dined that day & our Daughter & SIL drove like mad people a week later so they could have dinner there the next Friday after leaveing us at the Flornece Train station. I think you have a full agenda for your time but I thought I would suggest this place to eat. Hope it's still there & you find it & it's still great.
RONREYN2008 is offline  
Sep 1st, 2008, 11:05 AM
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Hi Log,

> Have you been to St. Gallen?

It has a sort of interesting abbey, with a wonderful old library.

I wouldn't go far out of my way to visit.

ira is offline  
Sep 4th, 2008, 05:19 AM
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thanks again to everyone to replied. It's good to know a rainy day won't spoil those hikes that are down lower. Also to understand theh rapid changes in forecast that can be expected almost minute to minute. I feel much better now!
logogm is offline  
Sep 4th, 2008, 06:11 AM
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hey, sorry -- above reply was intended for my post re: rain and clouds in Grindelwald. sorry if I confused anybody.
logogm is offline  
Sep 4th, 2008, 06:25 AM
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Just saw this post, hope I'm not too late replying. But, while in the BO, I'd do at least one boat trip on Lake Brienz or Thun. Probably Brienz because the boat leaves from the Interlaken Ost station, the connection to Lauterbrunnen and the mountains. Then you could get off at Brienz and take a bus to the Swiss Open-Air Museum.
Mimar is offline  
Nov 8th, 2008, 05:20 AM
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I read many of the suggestions here as you planned your trip. We love hiking, would love someday to hike in Switzerland and would love to read how your visit went. Have you written a trip report?
LindainOhio is offline  
Nov 8th, 2008, 05:23 AM
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topping as well for 2009 trip.
sweetannie is online now  
Jan 13th, 2009, 09:03 PM
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bookmarking for trip - thanks!
see_the_world7 is offline  
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