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Please help me plan my nine day journey through the Swiss and Italian Alps!

Please help me plan my nine day journey through the Swiss and Italian Alps!

Mar 19th, 2013, 02:32 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 48
Please help me plan my nine day journey through the Swiss and Italian Alps!

Thanks to great forum members like Ingo, Steve James and pja1; I inquired about this trip a year ago and got some great advice to plan the overall of this trip. I already bought our plane tix, so we are going for sure

Now I would truly appreciate tips for places to stay and some guidance about the crucial choice I feel the need to make in the last part of the trip.

W/r/t places to stay, my wife and I prefer cozy, traditional places; no need for fancy hotels.
We are travelling between 3 - 11 August. Will arrive in and depart from Zurich.

Day 1: Land in Zurich, train to Bern
Day 2: Bern
Day 3: rent car, leave to Lauterbrünnen
Day 4: Lauterbrünnen
Day 5: Leave to Sils in Engadin
Day 6: Engadin
Day 7: Leave to EITHER Castelrotto in ValGardena or Maienfeld.
Day 8: Another day in either castelrotto or Maienfeld
Day 9: Drive back to Zurich, fly back

There have been a lot of people raving about the Dolomiti, but it's going to take a 3.5 hour drive from Sils and another early 4.5 hour drive back to Zurich Airport. If I were to take Val Gardena out of the picture and stick with touring Switzerland, it would also relieve me of "too much driving". The burden of switching hotels every other day + driving all the time is going to be tiresome I think. I even pondered renting a motorhome, but read some threads in Fodor's advising against it in Switzerland.

So, it would be great if you could:

- advise if this is a good itinerary
- if I should choose the Dolomiti OR Maienfeld + Stein am Rhein
- if this set up is going to be too tiring for me as the sole driver
- if you could also give some advice about cozy, traditional and humble places to stay in Bern, Lauterbrünnen, Sils, Castelrotto, Maienfeld and Stein am Rhein, that would be great.

I would like to thank you for your tips in advance.

All the best,

Medbird is offline  
Mar 19th, 2013, 04:31 PM
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While we love the Dolomites, with 9 days and what looks like 8 nights, I'd stick with Switzerland and forget about renting a car and driving. For the Berner Oberland (Lauterbrunnen), I'd switch Lauterbrunnen for Wengen and stay a minimum of 3 nights (we stayed 4 nights and wished we didn't have to leave!). Add 2 nights in Lucerne or maybe Zermatt.

pja1 is offline  
Mar 19th, 2013, 11:54 PM
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Forget Dolomites, the drive is longer than you think and on mountain roads. I like Maiefeld very much, but it is only a little quaint village with a theme park on Heidi - the park is beautiful and the walk up the park is very beautiful as well, if it does not rain, but if Heidi is not one of your interests it is not the place to be.
asps is offline  
Mar 20th, 2013, 12:37 AM
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Good people to the rescue again


1 - Isn't it going to be tough w/o a car ? With so many places and things to see, having to rely on public transport is going to be very challenging. Furthermore, I always feel the car gives you "flexibility" to dictate your own terms as opposed to being dictated by time schedules.
2 - The idea of Lauterbrünnen comes from the fact that we will have a car, and that we will go to Wengen, Mürren and all sorts of places from that base. Would you rather sack the car and stay in Wengen for three days ?
3 - So you prefer Lucerne to the Engadin Area ?

@ both asps and pja1 - I could change my plane tix so that I would be flying back from Innsbruck, which is one hour to Castelrotto. My wife and I are both big kids and still love Heidi, so cannot ditch that either

Medbird is offline  
Mar 20th, 2013, 01:20 AM
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Hi Hilfe,

Switzerland is easier without a car. Relying on public transportation in Switzerland is not challenging at all. Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Muerren, etc. are places I wouldn't think of having a car. You'd park the car in a lot in Lauterbrunnen and leave it there for you entire stay. There are no roads to, nor are cars allowed, in Wengen, Muerren, etc.

Going by your original plan, by having just 1 full day in each place, the chances THAT day will be clear is a gamble. Could you imagine that the day you alot for Lauterbrunnen and the Berner Oberland (probably one of the most beautiful area's in Europe) and it's overcast or raining? Then you make the long drive to the Dolomites and your 1 day there is similar? Talk about something that would ruin your trip. To travel that far to see the Alps and/or Dolomites and have it all hinge on having the weather be perfect on the 1 and only day you have in each place? I'd still suggest a Swiss trip, by rain, and pick 3 places to stay. Wengen (at least the Berner Oberland), Lucerne and Zermatt would be the places I'd put on my list. We've been to St. Mortiz and it didn't impress us enough to want to visit again. The Berner Oberland, I'd love to spend an entire week there.

pja1 is offline  
Mar 20th, 2013, 02:21 AM
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I agree with everything above.

Go to either Engiadina Ota (Sils im Engadin/Segl Maria) and Val Gherdeina/Groednertal/Val Gardena (be aware that Kastelruth/Castelrotto is NOT in this Valley, but on Seiseralm/Alpe di Siusi)
to the Bernese Oberland and may be Valais (Aletsch Glacier, Zermatt)
but not to both.

You plan to rent a car and to use railways nevertheless (ZRH-Berne, Lauterbrunnen - Wengen, Lauterbrunnen - Murren, etc), but not enough in order to rentabilize a railpass. I suppose you know that this is the most expensive way do do your trip (about 200 CHF/USD for railway tickets without Jungfraujoch).

BTW: Lauterbrunnen - Sils/Segl Maria means 4 mountain passes, some of them with hairpin curves.
neckervd is online now  
Mar 20th, 2013, 05:17 AM
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Hi Medbird,

Just want to confirm whatpja1 says above about the Swiss train system -- it really is so great that you won't miss your car at all.

Train departures are frequent, like two or three per hour, so you never have long to wait (and waiting time can be a whole lot of fun as you have some ice cream or just sit on a bench and people-watch). You can always get the schedules in advance so you'll have an idea of what time would be best to be at the station.

You'll have a lot more freedom with the train, no hassles/fees for parking, accidents on the road, getting lost, etc.

All of the mountaintops and the sweetest villages don't even allow cars, so, yup, your car will mostly be an expensive piece of metal sculpture during your stay.

Have fun as you plan!

swandav2000 is online now  
Mar 20th, 2013, 09:40 AM
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Just to remind that, as the railway stops at St.Moritz, Sils is not reached by a railway line.
asps is offline  
Mar 20th, 2013, 10:17 AM
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Dear All,

First of all, upon popular demand and voice of reason; I am leaving out the area of Engadine and Dolomiti. Impossible to do justice to all of these in 8 days. So I am limiting myself to Switzerland only (might just do the old St. Bernard Pass to Italy and back, but that doesn't count

I just did my homework to list the number of sights I would like to see in Switzerland - and the number is: 62. Of course not all are museums, actually just a few, and some are just a "pass" or a building to enjoy the view; but nevertheless, I have something like 50 stops to make.

Even though I would like to ditch the car and have a real vacation, I do not see myself doing these without a car. The idea of picking the car up once I'm done with the beauties of the Jungfrau region makes sense though.

I've collected the places I would like to see in a Garmin Map and exported them as a Google Earth layer, which you can find in the link below. I look forward to your comments/ideas...

Medbird is offline  
Mar 20th, 2013, 01:23 PM
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Sorry, couldn't get anything from the link.
pja1 is offline  
Mar 20th, 2013, 02:48 PM
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Sorry about that, the previous link does work but the layout is so bad it's nearly impossible to figure out the link. This one works Please choose Google Earth as the program to open the file.

Medbird is offline  
Mar 20th, 2013, 04:10 PM
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sorry again. nothing.
pja1 is offline  
Mar 20th, 2013, 04:31 PM
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I am so sorry - I checked this one on three different browsers. It is my public folder on dropbox. If you choose to download the "Recently Imported from the Swiss Alps" file and open it with Google Earth,it should work

Medbird is offline  
Mar 21st, 2013, 01:44 AM
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Dear all, rather than expecting you to download the file etc, here's the list if you are still interested

Appenzeller Brauchtumsmuseum
Belvédère (furka)
Benediktinerabtei Maria Einsiedeln
Bettmeralp - Aletsch Glacier
Château de Chillon
Château de Gruyères
Col Du Grand Saint-Bernard
Disentis/Mustér-Piz Ault
Glasi Hergiswil Museum
Gübelin Juwelen
Hospice Du Grand Saint-Bernard
KKL , Luzern,
MUSEE BAUD - Musical Box Museum
Museum Appenzell
Musée International D'Horlogerie Musée International D'Horlogerie, La Chaux-de-Fonds, neuchâtel
Musee Mécanique D'Art CIMA - Musical Box Museum
Passo Del San Gottardo
Saas Fee
Schweizerisches Freilichtmuseum
Spielzeugmuseum, Graubünden, CHE
Spielzeugmuseum Sammlung Depuoz Zürich
Spielzeugmuseum, Dorf- Und Rebbaumuseum Im Wettsteinhaus Riehen, Basel-Stadt
Stein Am Rhein
Sierre - val d anniviers
Urner See
Verkehrshaus Der Schweiz

Many thanks, and all the best...
Medbird is offline  
Mar 21st, 2013, 05:14 AM
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You have forgotten the most beautiful of them all: the ancient library at St. Gallen
asps is offline  
Mar 21st, 2013, 06:10 AM
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@asps - how can I thank you. Just checked it on the net - absolutely stunning. Truly appreciated
Medbird is offline  
Mar 21st, 2013, 04:06 PM
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Don't waste your time in Gstaad...biggest waste of time and money.
susant100 is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2013, 12:12 PM
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Hi again,

That's a pretty long list! 8 full days and 9 nights? I think to get better help, you need to pare it down. I could only do it based on MY interests.
pja1 is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2013, 01:34 PM
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I'm not an expert, but it looks like you are trying to see more than I expect to fit in to my upcoming 30-day trip. I don't think any of us can choose for you - you'll just have to think through your priorities. You should see some wonderful things no matter what you choose!
kja is offline  
Mar 24th, 2013, 06:30 AM
Join Date: Mar 2013
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If you want really any help, give us a geographical list, not a alphabetical one
neckervd is online now  

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