Switzerland Itenerary Help

Dec 9th, 2005, 08:03 AM
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Switzerland Itenerary Help


My wife & I are visiting Switzerland for 9 days from May May 26 - Jun 4.

I'm planning an itenerary like this. Please suggest any changes or better places to visit.

1) Arrive in Zurich. Stay in Zurich
2) Train to Interlaken -> Gimmelwald
3) Bernese Oberland (Muren/Wengen/Schilthorn)
4) BO
5) BO
6) Golden Pass Train to Montreaux -> Chillon
Evening train to Zurich.
7) Zurich -> Chur -> Bernina to Tirano -> Pontresina.
8) St. Moritz/Pontresina area
9) St. Moritz/Pontresina area -> Night to Zurich
10) Home

Apart from any intenerary suggestions, please let me know if there are any interesting towns that we stay along the Bernina Express route. I have read someplace that there are some cute towns in that route. Right now, we are thinking of Poschiavo or Pontresina.

Thanks a lot
dealmama is offline  
Dec 9th, 2005, 08:39 AM
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I have a few suggestions.

You spend your first and last nights in Zurich, as well as the 6th night en route to Pontresina. Seems like a lot of inefficiency there, unless you really need to be in Zurich on those days.

How about this:

1) Land in Zurich and take 3.5-hour train to St. Moritz for first 2 nights.

2) Take scenic 6-hour train to Montreux. Stay 2 nights.

3) Take scenic 3-hour train to Lauterbrunnen. Stay in the BO 3 nights.

4) Take 3-hour train to Luzern. Stay 2 nights.

5) From Luzern take early 1.5 hour train to Zurich airport. Trains depart as early as 5am so you could make even an early flight.
Edward2005 is offline  
Dec 9th, 2005, 08:56 AM
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ONE alternative: Why backtrack to Zurich? Assume you will do Chillon; you could easily stay overnight in Montreux or go on to Brig for the night.

Take the Glacier Express as far as Chur or even on to St. Moritz the next day; then do the Bernina.

Intrepid1 is offline  
Dec 9th, 2005, 09:59 AM
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I have one question and one suggestion.

Why Gimmelwald? If it is because of a Steves recommendation, I suggest you investigate more closely. I have walked through the area more than once and it is quite small. It might be fine for your expectations, but take a look at the websites before making a final commitment.

I suggest you check train schedules before fully making up your mind about which trains you take.

The SBB website gives complete schedule information.
bob_brown is offline  
Dec 9th, 2005, 10:13 AM
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Gimmelwald is indeed very small and lacks the amenities of the near-by resorts. I love it. Here are some photos to help make up your mind:

Edward2005 is offline  
Dec 9th, 2005, 11:34 AM
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From Gimmelwald you can take a wal to the Kilchbalm, as well as other places. The Kilch is a deep recess that is a deadend in the depths of the mountains. The mountain walls rise almost vertically and water streams down the rocky faces in a shower of water falls amidst ice and snow pockets.

The hike out there is relatively flat as mountain trails go. The head of the valley is good grazing area for cows.
This view of the mountains is the total opposite of the ridges and peaks. As I said, it is a view of the inner mountain world.
bob_brown is offline  
Dec 9th, 2005, 02:18 PM
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As I said on earlier threads, I don't think Gimmelwald is a good place to stay. Too tiny IMO and inconvenient for day trips.

If your plane arrives early in Zurich you might consider to skip staying overnight in Zurich and head to the BO right away.

On day 6 stay in Montreux (or the area). Take the train to Brig the next day, hop on the Glacier Express or one of the regional trains in Brig and follow the Glacier Express route to Andermatt or Disentis where you could stay overnight. The next day continue to St. Moritz/Pontresina area.

To do the Bernina Express on day 7 is simply impossible (at least if you want to do justice to the scenic train ride and the cute villages and stop at a place or two).

Do the Bernina Express on day 8.

As far as I know there is no night train to Zurich from St. Moritz. You need to go to Zurich late on day 9 and stay overnight there.

Ingo is offline  
Dec 9th, 2005, 04:15 PM
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Hi everyone.

Thanks for your suggestions. Here's a revised itnerary.
1) Zurich -> Interlaken -> Gimmelwald(night)
2) BO (Schilthorn) -> Stay in Murren
3) BO (Jungfrau) -> Stay in Murren/Wengen ?
4) BO (Wengen) / some hikes
5) Golden Pass -> Montreaux. -> Chillon (if possible Gruyeres) -> Stay in Montreaux.
6) Glacier Express from Visp/Brig to St. Moritz.
7) St. Mortiz Area (some hikes)
8) Bernina Express -> Tirano -> Pontresina.
9) Explore lower Engadine villages(day trip) -> night in Zurich.
10) take Off

How does this look ?
dealmama is offline  
Dec 9th, 2005, 04:22 PM
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Hi Bob_Brown.

Yes. Gimmelwald was because for Rick Steve's recommendation. I was planning on 4 nights there. But after what a few folks are saying here, i'm thinking of staying there only 1 night and a few ngihts in Murren.
dealmama is offline  
Dec 9th, 2005, 06:12 PM
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Gimmelwald is small. Not much there. If you want peace and tranquility, I think you would find it there. I would be satisfied there for a couple of days I am sure because the scenery is exceptional.

Mürren is another one of those Swiss "shelf-of-the-valley" type of villages that are not reached by car. Next summer, there will be a new lift installed in Lauterbrunnen, but I think you will be there before construction starts.

The current ways of getting to Mürren are two: 1. Take the train or drive to Lauterbrunnen. Walk across the street to the lift, which is more of an elevator on wheels, and ride up to Grutschalp. (Means sliding alp in local German and that is exactly what it is doing - sliding slowly. Hence the new lift system.) From Grutschalp ride the little train to Mürren.
2. From Lauterbrunnen take the Post Bus to the valley station of the Schilthornbahn. It is located near Stechelberg, which is the end of the paved road in those parts. The first stop going up is Gimmelwald. The second stop is Mürren.

Wengen is another of those "shelf villages" which is not quite as far in the valley as Mürren. The train to Kleine Scheidegg and the Jungfraujoch goes first to Wengen.

Both villages are devoid of gasoline powered vehicles, but there are electric vehicles around for hauling various goods.

Hikes? Plenty of them. I can suggest 5 favorites other than the Kilchbalm right away. (And we can get into it deeper if you wish.)

1. My first favorite is the gondola ride from Grindelwald to the station named First. From there walk as far as you can toward the top of the Faulhorn. The Eiger north wall is splendid to the south as you ride up to First. Beyond the end station, you can walk to the Bachsee and take the trail along the west side of the lake toward the steep part that leads to the hotel on top of the Faulhorn. The views are mind boggling.

2. Also from First, walk the relatively flat path over to Grosse Scheidegg and take the Post Bus from the cafe back to Grindelwald. It is an easy walk but glorious.

3. Take the train up to Kleine Scheidegg and transfer to the Jungfraubahn and get off at the next stop up called Eigergletscher.
From there you can go down the Eiger Trail. I find it better, however, to take the train the other way to Alpiglenn and hike up the trail. Not as much danger of falling on your nose.
The trail goes along the north wall of the towering Eiger so that you get an up close and personal view of this steep, almost sheer face.

4. From Wengen, ride the lift up to that towering ridge on the east side of the valley. This ridge, named the Männlichen, also provides some awesome views. From there walk the easy trail down to Kleine Scheidegg. You can either walk down hill to Wengen, or take the train back all the way to Lauterbrunnen.

5. From Grindelwald, go to the church which is east along the main street.
Behind the church is the vally station of a short cable lift up to Stieregg. From there walk the trail to the cafe at Pfingstegg. The trail parallels the lower glacial gorge and leads into the glacial world. You can stop at the cafe for food and keep going deeper if you wish. I guarantee you that the views of the tumbling masses of ice are like none other you have seen unless you have been to Alaska.

6. (I knew I could not stop at 5) Walk from Grutschalp to Murren. The walk in that directions keeps the strain off your neck because to the south you have incredible views of the Jungfrau and the Mönch. The Breithorn also comes into the view as you go along. It is a wide, flat glaciated ridge that is beautifully snow covered.

If you get the idea, I like the place, you are correct.

If you are wondering where I stay on my visits, it is Chalet Horner. In 1998 I found a good apartment there and it is in a great location with a great rental situation. Having found a winner, I go there each visit. I know where I am and what to do to have a good time.

Each trip we find something we have not done before. Last year we found Kiental and the Hündefälle, a marvelous waterfall, plus some dramatic scenery with a road tilted at 28%. A little steep!!

You will have a good time if the weather is clear.
bob_brown is offline  
Dec 10th, 2005, 04:46 AM
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Hi, dealmama. Your second itinerary looks good to me. Two tiny comments. I'd choose one place to stay in the Oberland. Second, consider staying in Vevey instead of Montreux. They are just minutes apart by train, and Vevey would put you closer to the vineyard trails which provide interesting walks to lakeside villages. My favorites? St. Saphorin and Rivaz. Have a wonderful time. J.
jmw44 is offline  
Dec 10th, 2005, 05:43 PM
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Thanks a lot folks.

Ingo, can u please suggest any cute towns/villages in the Bernina Express Route ? or in the Engadine area ?

dealmama is offline  
Dec 10th, 2005, 06:41 PM
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I left you a question on another thread
JeanneB is offline  
Dec 10th, 2005, 07:52 PM
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OOPS. Surprised no one caught my error. The restaurant I mentioned above is in a location called Stieregg. The upper cable car station is named Pfingstegg.

The trail leads from the upper station to the restaurant. You turn west, go through a farmyard, which on my last trip featured two sleeping hogs, and then turn south at the edge of the glaciar gorge.

The trail itself is located high above Lower Grindelwald Glacier and leads to dramatic views of the icefields on the side of the Finsteraarhorn.

The restaurant has a western exposure and the sun porch can be rather warm, even hot, on a sunny summer day.

If conditions are right, you might be treated to the sight and sounds of tumbling masses of ice. For me, catching the sight of falling ice was an awesome sight.
bob_brown is offline  
Dec 11th, 2005, 06:05 AM
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I like your revised itinerary more. I get it that you want to take Rick Steve's advice and stay in Gimmelwald ... and if your heart is set on this, do it. IMO not a good idea to relocated from one to another accommodation in the BO with only four nights.

For the Bernina Express - Definitely get off at Poschiavo and stroll through this cute Italian style small town. See the bone chapel, the main church and the piazza. There is also a nice caffe Semadeni right on the Piazza (good ice-cream). On the southern end of Poschiavo there is a Spanish quarter, built by emigrants who returned. A few minutes walk from there you find a beautiful Baroque church. I don't think you'll have time for all this. Tirano has an old town, but seemed a bit shabby to me. If you like Italian ambience you are at the right place there

On day 9 you could take the train to Guarda, from there the bus up to the village, do some strolling there and add a short hike (2 hrs.) to Ardez, where you can see some more typical Engadin houses with sgrafitti etc. and take the train back to Zurich from there.

Since you will have only one more day for hikes in the Engadin I highly recommend (weather co-operating) that you do the famous hike Muottas Muragl to Alp Languard. Funicular and chair lift will most likely be in operation in early June.


as far as I know there is no restaurant Stieregg anymore. The building was torn down. I think I read it in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung. The small terrace on which the restaurant was located eroded more and more and they were afraid it might collapse soon.

Ingo is offline  
Dec 11th, 2005, 09:26 AM
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Sorry to hear of the restaurant's demise. I was not up there last year, and I had not heard that it had been removed.

I do know that the shelf on which it sat is glacial rubble with a thin cover of grass of some type. Just to the south of the restaurant is a huge gulley that has formed in the uncompacted soil. It was so steep that a cable had been strung to assist hikers get across.

Erosion and slippage of the top layer is the primary reason cited for the construction of a new lift system from Lauterbrunnen to Grutschalp.

The fear is that the upper station is sliding off the edge.
bob_brown is offline  
Dec 11th, 2005, 10:28 AM
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Hey Chuck,

Rent a car, it's really worth it as it saves you some time and money AND you can stop whereever you want, which is quite key in Switzerland: it's an amazing country, where you can find something beautiful everywhere.

Check out myswitzerland.com and just search for day or multiple day hikes, for places to visit etc. Don't plan too much, just go.

Make sure you have the right equipment and enjoy the mountains, the cities, the views. Local people know best, so ask around in the vilages.

Rock Fella
http://www.touristripoffs.com manage your travel expectations!
Rockfella is offline  
Dec 11th, 2005, 10:29 AM
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Thanks a lot Ingo and bob_brown and everyone.

The lower Engadine villages sound pretty nice.

Also, if we have some time to do a hike near Vevey, jm44 suggested St. Saphorin and Rivaz. Where can i get some maps fir vineyard trails near Vevey ?

Thanks a lot
dealmama is offline  
Dec 11th, 2005, 10:41 AM
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seriously: www.myswitzerland.com is really one of the best sources for a country's things to do and see you will ever find. It's in english as well, just click on the map and all activities will show up in the region. Or search for whatever you want.

All the best!

Rock Fella
http://www.touristripoffs.com manage your travel expectations!
Rockfella is offline  
Dec 11th, 2005, 01:27 PM
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I believe you will find some vineyard hiking trails on www.lavaux.ch (could be possible that this site is in French only). I hope our Montreux experts will chime in soon ...

I don't think you'll have enough time for a walk in the vineyards, though. Try to catch a ferry to Chillon for scenic views.
Ingo is offline  

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