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Swiss Alps in Bernese Oberland and Beyond: the ways to tackle the

Swiss Alps in Bernese Oberland and Beyond: the ways to tackle the

Feb 10th, 2019, 02:44 PM
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 105

You continue to spell it “Grindelward” instead of “Grindelwald”. As someone above said, you won’t find “Grindelward” in the train timetable.
jacooper is offline  
Feb 10th, 2019, 07:07 PM
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Thank you for the reply. Thanks for your reminder @jacooper, I will correct them in the future. Working on the itinerary @ PalenQ, for comments and suggestions.

Thank you
jane86 is offline  
Feb 10th, 2019, 07:29 PM
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JMO, but I think you would benefit from plotting some options out on a map and/or calendar. Look up connection times within Switzerland on sbb.com and see how the various connections work for YOU. Just as an example, some people love mornings and want to start their days at the crack of dawn (if not before); others want to wait until later in the day. As another example, some people want just an overnight in a place -- just a place to sleep; others want the better part of the day before and after in that location. Fodorites can weigh in "until the cows come home" (as one saying goes), but ONLY you can figure out what works for YOU, and that means that you've got to actually work some things out for yourself. JMO, offered in an effort to be as helpful as I can.

Good luck!
kja is offline  
Feb 10th, 2019, 11:18 PM
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Annecy and Chamonix are in France and local transport is not great in France. Lausanne to Annecy means going to Geneva, walking to the Gare Routière and taking a bus to Annecy. Annecy to Chamonix you take a train to La Roche sur Foron, change to one to St Gervais and then again for the train to Chamonix. Will take quite a bit over 2 hours. Renting a car would make things easier but you would have to then return it in Switzerland to avoid huge drop charges. There is no rental car return in Martigny but there might be in Montreux definitely is in lausanne.

Note that the Goldenpass trains are all normal trains and not at all like the Glacier Express. There is a dining car on the Luzern/Interlaken sector but that is it. Plus things will be changing quite drastically on the Goldenpass line in the relatively near future. Fewer changes of train to make etc.

it makes zero sense to travel Chamonix/Martigny/Brig, then overnight in Brig and then travel to Zermatt (presumably you want to be on the Glacier Express for the latter sector?) The normal trains that run Visp/Zermatt also have panoramic windows and you could be in Zermatt for the night after you leave Chamonix and not in Brig! Plus the GEX sector Brig/Zermatt is far from the most scenic of the entire route. Problem is that once the train turns up the Vispatal (valley up to Zermatt) it is so narrow that views, even from panoramic windows, are restricted and you cannot even see half way up the mountains on each side.

I think it makes a LOT more sense to put the Glacier Express at the end of your stay here - travel Grindelwald/Interlaken Ost/Spiez/Visp/Brig (total time is about 90 mins) and get the GEX in Brig. Take it to Chur and connect there to Zürich. From Grindelwald your connection to Brig takes about the same time as the GEX takes Zermatt/Brig so overall there is not much in it. And then you will see the best sectors of the entire GEX route...
Hambagahle is offline  
Feb 11th, 2019, 05:54 AM
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I think Gimmelwald is a waste of time. It is a tiny village, nothing there except some houses and a hotel. The views are nice, but you can see views everywhere in the BO.

I would rather go up to the Schynige Platte.

Pepper_von_snoot is online now  
Feb 11th, 2019, 08:06 AM
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Yes not much in Gimmelwald but the hotel makes a nice stop for a snack but if short on time just transit the tiny hamlet and keep going down to Stechelberg via cable from Murren/Schilthorn.
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 11th, 2019, 09:34 AM
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It seeems to me that your itinerary get worse and worse. But everything is possible, of course:
If you are referring to post 7, that means that you skip Brienzer Rothorn and Lake Brienz area and go directly from Lucerne (dp 7am) via Goldenpass to Montreux. It's a long train ride, but it's possible, of course!
then, if I understand right:
June 12th: Montreux - Lausanne - Evian or Geneva airport - Annecy
June 13th: Annecy dp 7.32 - Chamonix (of course no train change at La Roche)
June 14th: only up to Brig. Why?
June 22nd: Grindelwald - Bern - Zurich airport (2 train changes).

As said above: everything is feasible. but I don't see the reason for this change. The snow at Chamonix and Zermatt will probably not melt faster than that of Grindelwald.
neckervd is offline  
Feb 11th, 2019, 08:08 PM
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Thank you all very much for your replies. I read all the suggestions and comments, will get back to you.

Thank you!!
jane86 is offline  
Feb 12th, 2019, 02:10 PM
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Hi Everyone,

Thank you again for your replies and suggestions.

I think that the suggested itinerary on post #7 by neckervd is great, it basically meets our purpose of this trip, to spend time in different alpine areas in relatively short time. I did try to look over different possibilities and played with the map @kja, it's hard to do, but still trying.. I took considerations regarding to the scenic routes @ PalenQ and Hambagahle, you are all correct, we should not plan the route just for the sake of the scenic route, should plan the route efficiently, and fit the scenic in, The driving options are good suggestions @ Hambagale, we can consider driving to Chamonix, Annecy, Zermatt and Montreux (in the itinerary below). Which cable car to go? @thin, look at the Schynige Platte, it seems doable in cloudy day? it that true? do you mean you prefer Schynige Platte to Schilthorn? How to get there from Grindelwald? If Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegy cable car won't be open, what other short cableway with hiking routes would you suggest? If already been up to Matterhorn and Aiguille du Midi, which tops should we go up in OP? PlalenQ, if going up to Schilthorn, will follow the route you suggested, so going up one route and going down via Gimmelwald.

I want to try to reverse some destinations in the itinerary (post #7) @nerkervd, understand thawing snow will be in any area around mid to late June. In Chamonix and Zermatt, we probably won't do any hiking, whereas in Oberland we wish to do some if possible, I try to put Grindlewald after Zermatt, hoping the Oberland will be better then (the weather may not make any difference in reality). Will go all the way to Zermatt, you mentioned Sion or Brig, may worth a day trip to Brig (for the city, Stockalper castle and Aletsch Glacier?) if weather no good in Zermatt . Does this version make any sense? Please advice.

June 8th: arrival at ZRH, direct train to Lucerne, Lake Lucerne cruise
June 9th Lucerne - Schuepfheim - Soerenberg - Brienzer Rothorn - Brienz - Aar Gorge - Bruenig - Lucerne
June 10th: Rigi, Pilatus, Stanserhorn or whatever
June 11th: Lucerne - Brienz (stop over, visit Ballenberg) - Lake Brienz boat - Interlaken - Zermatt (how to store the luggages?)
June 12th: Zermatt
June 13th: Zermatt , Zermatt to Chamonix (by renting a car)
June 14th Chamonix -take gondola ride to Aiguille du Midi - Pointe Hellbronner - Entreves (Italy) (How to deal with the car if going to Entreves?)
to Annecy by driving a car
June 15th Annecy, for half day after lunch, Annecy to Montreux by car, stay in Montreux (drop the rental car)
June 16th visit Chillon castle; take historic paddle steamboat along the Lavaux vineyards up to Lausanne, dinner in historic city center of Lausanne and go back to Montreux, stay in Montreux
June 17th Montreux dp 9.44 - Zweisimmen- Interlaken - Grindelwald ar 13.38 - - GOLDEN PASS PANORAMIC EXPRESS
June 18th Grindelwald
June 19th Grindelwald
June 20th Grindelwald
June 21th Grindelwald
Do a day trip to Lucerne for the medieval city, etc or do the Ballenberg, whichever is feasible. Grindelwald could cut one day short? to fit elsewhere if needed.
June 22th Grindelward to Zurich, dp in the afternoon is fine.

Thank you all for your advice and help!
jane86 is offline  
Feb 12th, 2019, 02:24 PM
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(by renting a car) Zermatt-Chamonix by car - a wonderful drive or really scenic train rides - from Martigny you go thru neat Alpine scenery to Chamonix and you can detour odff the road to take in the famous Emosson Barrage or damn:

PalenQ is offline  
Feb 12th, 2019, 11:46 PM
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quote: "@ Hambagale, we can consider driving to Chamonix, Annecy, Zermatt and Montreux (in the itinerary below). Which cable car to go? "

You CANNOT drive to Zermatt. There is a road but you are not authorised to use it. You need to park in Täsch and take the train to Zermatt. If you rent the car in Täsch you can take the trains from Luzern or wherever you are to zermatt with connections in Bern and Visp. Then take the shuttle train back to Täsch and walk over to the garage (or have them collect you) and rent your car. IF you can drop it in Montreux - fine. If not drop it in Lausanne and take the train to Montreux. (20mns). Your car will have a vignette on it which covers our autoroute tolls.

Route if you are going Zermatt Chamonix would be to Martigny (stop here for a while. Visit the town which is lovely and has a lot of Roman ruins including a 5000 seat amphitheatre, in use today. Plus a world class art museum - Gianadda. And the Museum of St Bernard Dogs or "Barryland". Then take the Forclaz pass and Montets pass to Chamonix. Stop at the top of the Montets for the views. IF you have time you might also stop at le Ch telard and take the funi / little train /funi up to Emosson. Great views from up there.

Then to Annecy which will take you about an hour. After that Annecy/Geneva takes 30mns on the autoroutes. Geneva/Montreux will take another 45mns. if you don't hit traffic around Geneva.

Very workable programme. Just don't try to rent a car in Zermatt!! Täsch is what you need to look for...
Hambagahle is offline  
Feb 13th, 2019, 07:06 PM
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Thank you for your reply and suggestions @PalenQ and @Hambagahle.

Sorry for the confusion, if we rent the car, we will do that when leaving Zermatt, so from Zermatt to Montreux or Lausanne will be by car (to save sometime), the rest will be by train. Is this good arrangement?

Emosson Dam and funicular train are good ideas, stop over at Martigny for Roman theatre, foundation Gianadda etc sounds interesting. I wonder how could we fit them into the schedule, didn't seem to have that much time. On the suggested itinerary, we will be leaving Zermatt in the late afternoon for Chamonix. If we do all these, we need either to leave in the morning from Zermatt (losing one day in Zermatt), or delay half or one day in Martigny/Chamonix. Any suggestions?

What are the Fforclaz pass and Monteets passes?

Thanks a lot!
jane86 is offline  
Feb 13th, 2019, 11:11 PM
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Renting a car in Täsch makes sense. You cannot rent one in Zermatt. First there are no rental car companies and second you are not authorised to drive on the road down to Täsch as I think I said above. So don't look for Zermatt on a rental car site. Look for Täsch.

In order to make the stops in Martigny I suggested you would need at least 3 hours. So given you plan to leave Zermatt in the afernoon this won't work. Once you leave Täsch (mentally tack on 30mns for the trip Zermatt/Täsch because you have to take the train which takes 12mns but they only run every 20mns and you might have to wait for one and you then have to find the garage where you will rent the car...) it will take you about 1hr 20 to get to the 1st Martigny exit from the A9. Take that and once you are through the tunnel turn right onto the Forclaz pass road.

The Forclaz pass is a low mountain pass (1500m) and very easy to drive. Only a few hairpins and the scenery is great. As you go up at about the 3rd hairpin you will see a huge parking area on the bend. Pull in there. You have a wonderful view of the entire central Valais.

You come to the Montets pass right after crossing the French border at le Ch telard. This is also a low pass (1400m) BUT the road is narrow and in some places has open drains on one side so watch out for those. At the top of the pass is a large parking lot on your left. Stop there and walk to the Information centre - views from there on a clear day of the Mt Blanc and the Chamonix "needles" are superb. The hairpins on the Montets are all on the Chamonix valley side...and that part of the road is wider than the drive up to the pass.

Martigny to Chamonix not counting stops at the view points takes me 45mns unless I get stuck behind a bus or cyclists. Which happens a lot in summer. Figure an hour and you will be fine.
Hambagahle is offline  
Feb 14th, 2019, 07:40 AM
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Sorry for the confusion, if we rent the car, we will do that when leaving Zermatt, so from Zermatt to Montreux or Lausanne will be by car (to save sometime), the rest will be by train. Is this good arrangement?>

Don't see why you are driving in Switzerland at all - trains are great to all those places and once in Montreux lake boats are nice.

Reconsider driving IMO.
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 14th, 2019, 09:18 AM
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I second Palen: there is not the slightest need to rent a car for the Western Switzerland leg. Trains from Zermatt to Visp - Martigny - Chamonix run every hr (Swiss Travel Pass valid) and those from Chamonix to Annecy are frequent too. So are the buses from Annecy to Geneva.
If you really want to do a scenic car ride through the Swiss Alps, you better rent your car at Lucerne and drive via Aar Gorge - Grimsel Pass to Brig - Taesch.
A day trip from Grindelwald to Lucerne and back (at least 5 1/4 hrs in trains!) doesn't make sense either as you will have stayed at Lucerne a week before.

There has never been and will never be a gondola from Maennlichen to Kleine Scheidegg.
neckervd is offline  
Feb 14th, 2019, 09:49 AM
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There has never been and will never be a gondola from Maennlichen to Kleine Scheidegg.-No but is a gondola from Grindelwald and Wengen to The Mannlichen for the Panoramic walk slightly downhill to Kl Scheidegg where there are trains to Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen via Wengen or trains up to the Jungfraujoch, western Europe's highest train station.
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 14th, 2019, 07:38 PM
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Thank you all very much for you suggestions, reminders and information in details for helping out, really appreciate Hambagahle, PalenQ and neckervd.

We still need time to digest and put together the information you provided. Driving a few days may give some freedom and provide chance to see some off beaten path such as Emosson Dam (take funicular train), and may decrease the transition times from Lausanne or Montreux to Annecy, but not sure about the parking situations, is it easy to park in these towns? We will have luggages in the car sometimes.. Is it easy to follow the scenic routes Tasch to Martigny to Chamonix ? Thank you @Hambagagle, for the detailed explanation of this route, we still need to know map before we go. May consider a day trip to Emosson Dam and Martigny if the weather on the first day in Zermatt were not good. If we have a good weather on first day, we will do Matterhorn and Gornergrat cable car on the same day, so next day we can leave Zermatt in the morning, in this case, we can use a car to do Tasch to Martigny to Chamonix scenic route, is this good?

Could you explain Lucerne via Aar Gorge - Grimsel Pass to Brig to Taesch route, @neckervd? How could it fit into the schedule? How about the route you suggested on June 11th in post#7?
You are right Grindelwald to Lucerne day trip may be too time consuming, we should give an extra day for Lucerne in the first week. But how about half day Ballenberg trip, could that be easily done from Grindelwald?

Thank you for pointing out that there is no cable car from Maennlichen to KS, I made a mistake.

Thanks very much!

jane86 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2019, 09:22 PM
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Hi jane86,

No, it is not easy (or cheap -- think about parking fees higher than 10-15 chf per day) to park in Montreux or Vevey, and it is not easy to drive through them.

I once rented a car for a trip that included Montreux (before I was really aware of the damage to the environment and actively trying to decrease my carbon footprint), and it wasn't fun at all. It would take me a lot of time to find a parking spot, and then also some time to maneuver into it!

Since then, I have gone car-free. Your hosts will give you a Riviera Card, making the trains and busses and funiculars between Villeneuve (other side of Chillon castle), Montreux, Glion, and Vevey free. The busses run every 10 minutes, and there are stops at just about every other corner. Believe me, it is A LOT easier to just meander to a bus stop and hop on the bus than it is to find and maneuver and pay for parking.

The Swiss train system has a service where you send your luggage separately to your destination, for a fee -- same day service is possible as well as 1 or 2 nights. That way, you can spend your transit day luggage-free, and you can hop on and off the trains as you want. This won't work with destinations in France, however.

Have fun as you plan!

swandav2000 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2019, 11:15 PM
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It is quite easy to park in Montreux IF you are not there during the Jazz Festival. And if you park for a few hours you will pay about 8frs. Overnight will cost you around 30frs... There is a very convenient parking garage near the covered market and it is right on the lakefront. Look for signs "Marché" to find that. If you are going to Chillon there is ample parking along the lakefront road on both sides and it is free. When I go to Montreux I usually drive. I have never had a problem finding parking. There are automated signs along the roads telling you which garage has how many spaces available. I do try not to park at the Casino because in order to get into the garage on foot to get your car you have to stop at a desk in the casino and show your ID. Which is a nuisance... (rules governing access to casinos)

The SBB Luggage service was changed drastically last year and it is not possible to send bags with express service from all but a very few stations. Normal service is not much help for tourists - it takes around 48hrs to get a bag from one station to another now. Their Door to Door service is overnight BUT that doesn't work, for obvious reasons, in car-free villages like Zermatt or Wengen. In- and Out-bound flight luggage is now restricted to Zürich airport only.

Clearly if you want to see Emosson AND save time in travel between the Valais and Chamonix you have to drive. As I said, it takes me 45mns to drive from Martigny to Chamonix and it takes 90mns by train... Also while there are trains almost every hour from Chamonix to Annecy all necessitate at least one change and some two. And that journey takes over 2hours. I can drive Chamonix/Annecy in an hour... Bus Annecy to Geneva takes 90mns. I can drive that in 40mns.
Hambagahle is offline  
Feb 15th, 2019, 12:29 AM
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Lol Hambagle. Dueling experiences.

While your experience of parking in Montreux is more recent and more numerous...Still my experience is my experience. I had tons of trouble finding parking spots and getting in & out of them. It was not during the Jazz Fest.

swandav2000 is offline  

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