#1 5-15-2017 6:39 AM

bgar15
Couch Potato
Posts: 4

Switzerland in September!

Me and 2 friends (in our mid 20's) are heading to Switzerland for the first time this coming September for almost 3 weeks!

We're very active, big into hiking / mtn biking / etc. We'd like our trip to contain a good mix of difficult hiking trails and outdoor activities along with some general sightseeing and touristy aspects. We'll be flying into Geneva in early September and heading East, as we'll be flying out of Munich 3 weeks later (we'll be hitting Oktoberfest for a day or two to end the trip).

Given our active and outdoorsy nature...after Geneva, what are "must see" areas on our way up to Munich? I've heard great things about Interlaken, Mt Blanc, Grinderwald, Zermatt, etc.

What areas/hiking trails should we 100% have on our list? I know everyone is different but just to give you some context, we love tough hikes similar to what Grand Teton NP offers, Yosemite, Zion, 14's in Colorado, etc...

Also, should we rent a car or use the rail system?

We plan on doing a mix of tent camping/hostel stays. Really appreciate any and all insight!

Last edited by bgar15 (5-15-2017 7:07 AM)

 

#2 5-15-2017 8:44 AM

sarahelaine
Sarah Elaine
Manchester, England
Award: Community LeaderAward: Photographer IVAward: Critic IVAward: Writer IVAward: Happy Happy HappyAward: TravelpedianAward: Bedbug IIIAward: Vox Populi VAward: Spambuster IIIAward: Most Helpful Hotel Reviewer (Past Winner)
Globetrotter
Posts: 5953

Re: Switzerland in September!

I went hiking in 2005 in the Port du Soleil area, not far from Geneva.  We didn't do much hard core hiking like you're describing, but gentler stuff up in the mountains.  One of the real highlights for me was a visit to a vineyard about Laveaux.  The local white wine is a heavy, sweetish wine that is slightly naturally sparkling, rarely exported because the terrain means they still bring it in by hand at quite a small scale, and even if you aren't devoting any time to the vineyard it's worth trying the wine.  Chillon castle is near there and nice too.

Mont Blanc is stunning.  Again, we didn't walk on Mont Blanc itself as the people I went with were not mad into the hardcore stuff.  We walked along the Aguilles Rouge range opposite, with the sun shining on the Mont Blanc glaciers.  That was lovely, but might be a bit gentle for you?

Interlaken is one of the most beautiful places I've been. 

Different trip, we took the train up to the Jungfraujoch.  It's expensive and very, very kitsch.  But I like a bit of kitsch occasionally, and once you wade through the gift shop and ice sculptures there's this view of the glacier - http://www.travbuddy.com/photos/blogs/6094324  which I thought was worth the trip.

 

#3 5-15-2017 12:45 PM

lauro
Germany
Award: Community LeaderAward: Photographer IVAward: Critic IVAward: Writer IVAward: Happy Happy HappyAward: TravelpedianAward: Bedbug IAward: Vox Populi IVAward: Most Helpful Hotel Reviewer (Past Winner)
Explorer
Posts: 4122

Re: Switzerland in September!

ive been all the places you mentioned

Interlaken, Mt Blanc, Grindelwald, Zermatt


of the 4, mont blanc is the cheapest option but the area is very small, the best hiking trails are centered in chamonix, everywhere in the trail you can see mont blanc. there are cable cars that takes you to the trail heads above 2000 meters. there are not much 4000 meter peaks here, so mont blanc is the dominant of all - but what i love are the shapes of the peaks - specially behind mont blanc called aiguilles - because they look like needles, although they are mostly around 3800 meters, they look spectacular - aiguille du chardonnet, aiguille du dru, aiguille du plan, aiguille de la republique and aiguille du midi for example.  there are lots of mountain lakes here in high altitude - lac blanc - it mirrors the aiguilles and mont blanc and a spectacular view of les grandes jorasses and mer de glace.


interlaken and grindelwald are the most expensive - because interlaken is FAR from the mountains so you have to take mountain trains - cars are not allowed in most places (mürren, wengen) where most of the trail starts. so you have to take the expensive mountain train / cable car system. there are very very very few 4000m peaks here - but when you are on top of the schilthorn peak - around 2900 meters and määnlichen 2300m you will see the entire panorama length of the bernese alps! it is so impressive because its very long and unbroken! ive been to two mountain lakes here - grauseeli (under schilthorn) and facing the bernese alps wall and bachalpsee mirrorring schreckhorn and the highest peak of  the berner alps - finsteraarnhorn.

lastly - zermatt is my favorite - well because of the matterhorn - but the peaks here (outside of mont blanc) are the highest in the alps - there are more than 30 peaks over 4000 meters. behind zermatt is the gorner glacier - then you would see the monte rosa massif (2nd highest aft mont blanc) then 8 peaks in the top 10 in the alps, you can see. very impressive - but matterhorn really stood out the most because its an isolated mountain.  you cant go here by car, coz its a car free zone, you have to park the car one mountain train station before zermatt.

all these places are wonderful but i am much more impressed in zermatt because its so close to the glaciers and the peaks while hiking but you should also take consideration the weather - coz the peaks would be always covered in cloud - waste of money. i was so lucky to see all of them cloudless when i was there, but i had to go back 2x to zermatt because the matterhorn is the most difficult to see - always covered in clouds.

i recommend to stay:


chamonix - mountain high hostel (rue de la chna) it has hostel beds and camping places with sauna and whirpool

interlaken - in interlaken west - camping jungfrau - they have tennis courts, very clean - far from the noise and onwned by a nice family.

zermatt - only one camping place - camping matterhorn - very basic, no amenities but the owner is so nice and funny! he looks grumpy but when you get to know him - he could give you wonderful advices on trails.



from geneva - there is a taxi service - sharing that takes you to chamonix, theres no direct train connection then from chamonix to either zermatt or interlaken - im sorry that i dont know the details but you should check sbb.ch coz i only know how to get there either from bern or zürich.

if you have anymore questions - please ask, id be happy to help.

 

#4 5-16-2017 5:19 AM

StevieP
Steve
United Kingdom
Sightseer
Posts: 58

Re: Switzerland in September!

We went in September and were rewarded with some glorious sunny days, quite a few sunbathing on and around Lake Geneva. We Also spent a day go to Glacier 3000, you can catch the train there, takes about 3 hours but its well worth it and the second train of the two is very scenic. Chamonix is there biggest tourist selling point. Geneva is a stunning city in itself and take a couple of days to wander around leisurely and soak this beautiful city up

 

#5 5-16-2017 9:21 AM

bgar15
Couch Potato
Posts: 4

Re: Switzerland in September!

Thank you so much for the help guys! Exactly what I was looking for.

 

#6 5-16-2017 9:27 AM

bgar15
Couch Potato
Posts: 4

Re: Switzerland in September!

lauro wrote:

ive been all the places you mentioned

Interlaken, Mt Blanc, Grindelwald, Zermatt


of the 4, mont blanc is the cheapest option but the area is very small, the best hiking trails are centered in chamonix, everywhere in the trail you can see mont blanc. there are cable cars that takes you to the trail heads above 2000 meters. there are not much 4000 meter peaks here, so mont blanc is the dominant of all - but what i love are the shapes of the peaks - specially behind mont blanc called aiguilles - because they look like needles, although they are mostly around 3800 meters, they look spectacular - aiguille du chardonnet, aiguille du dru, aiguille du plan, aiguille de la republique and aiguille du midi for example.  there are lots of mountain lakes here in high altitude - lac blanc - it mirrors the aiguilles and mont blanc and a spectacular view of les grandes jorasses and mer de glace.


interlaken and grindelwald are the most expensive - because interlaken is FAR from the mountains so you have to take mountain trains - cars are not allowed in most places (mürren, wengen) where most of the trail starts. so you have to take the expensive mountain train / cable car system. there are very very very few 4000m peaks here - but when you are on top of the schilthorn peak - around 2900 meters and määnlichen 2300m you will see the entire panorama length of the bernese alps! it is so impressive because its very long and unbroken! ive been to two mountain lakes here - grauseeli (under schilthorn) and facing the bernese alps wall and bachalpsee mirrorring schreckhorn and the highest peak of  the berner alps - finsteraarnhorn.

lastly - zermatt is my favorite - well because of the matterhorn - but the peaks here (outside of mont blanc) are the highest in the alps - there are more than 30 peaks over 4000 meters. behind zermatt is the gorner glacier - then you would see the monte rosa massif (2nd highest aft mont blanc) then 8 peaks in the top 10 in the alps, you can see. very impressive - but matterhorn really stood out the most because its an isolated mountain.  you cant go here by car, coz its a car free zone, you have to park the car one mountain train station before zermatt.

all these places are wonderful but i am much more impressed in zermatt because its so close to the glaciers and the peaks while hiking but you should also take consideration the weather - coz the peaks would be always covered in cloud - waste of money. i was so lucky to see all of them cloudless when i was there, but i had to go back 2x to zermatt because the matterhorn is the most difficult to see - always covered in clouds.

i recommend to stay:


chamonix - mountain high hostel (rue de la chna) it has hostel beds and camping places with sauna and whirpool

interlaken - in interlaken west - camping jungfrau - they have tennis courts, very clean - far from the noise and onwned by a nice family.

zermatt - only one camping place - camping matterhorn - very basic, no amenities but the owner is so nice and funny! he looks grumpy but when you get to know him - he could give you wonderful advices on trails.



from geneva - there is a taxi service - sharing that takes you to chamonix, theres no direct train connection then from chamonix to either zermatt or interlaken - im sorry that i dont know the details but you should check sbb.ch coz i only know how to get there either from bern or zürich.

if you have anymore questions - please ask, id be happy to help.

Really appreciate your in depth response.

I've also heard great things about the hiking/beautiful nature in Lauterbrunnen Valley, Oeschinensee, Gimmelwald, Jungfrau, and Bernese Oberland. Are these areas that are all worth visiting as well?

Last edited by bgar15 (5-16-2017 9:28 AM)

 

#7 5-16-2017 11:21 AM

lauro
Germany
Award: Community LeaderAward: Photographer IVAward: Critic IVAward: Writer IVAward: Happy Happy HappyAward: TravelpedianAward: Bedbug IAward: Vox Populi IVAward: Most Helpful Hotel Reviewer (Past Winner)
Explorer
Posts: 4122

Re: Switzerland in September!

all the places you mentioned i was there - except oeschinensee coz its very far from interlaken.

every places belong in the berner oberland - the bernese alps. the jungfrau is the most dominant though not the highest mountain, you can see it in any direction even in interlaken which is far.

i dont know if you could drive to lauterbrunnen, im not sure if its a car free zone coz i took a mountain train to get there but lauterbrunnen is spectacular to see from above rather than walking below it - for example if youre at männlichen peak, the view of the valley is spectacular.

i passed gimmelwald on the way down from the schilthorn trail, no cars allowed there, and its very expensive to get from interlaken (coz again its far). this trail (schilthorn trail) is spectacular from gimmelwald up to the schilthorn peak (i did it the other way around because its very steep) coming from above using mountain train and cable car then walking below. mürren is the treeline border once you pass this mountain village, there's only rocks then you will pass the high mountain lake - grauseeli. if you want to hike this area - dont base yourself in interlaken - go deeper in the valley - for example in lauterbrunnen / wengen / mürren / gimmelwald so you can save yourself money just buying mountain train tickets. wengen and männlichen are the best places to see the jungfrau - the mountain angle is so wide there. while in gimmelwald / schilthorn trail the angle of the mountain is narrow.

as sarah said - you can also take a trip to the jungfraujoch but its 200+++ euros the train there - the highest train system in europe, not worth it if the weather is bad, visbility is limited plus its very touristic.  but when youre up there - 3400 meters - you can walk to the mönch hut - 3600 meters following the aletsch glacier - i tried but i had wrong shoes so i had to go back. comparing that in chamonix when you ride the cable car up to aiguille du midi - 3800++ meters only 50++ euros roundtrip. dont even mention the restaurant prices in the jungfraujoch, while the view is breathtaking, the prices will really take your breath away because its so expensive.

my friend i hiked with bought a swiss rail pass - she travelled all over switzerland with it for almost a month and gives discount to mountain trains and cable cars but not much in interlaken something like 30% percent but in zermatt 50% while my swiss friend bought me a swiss day ticket, so i could travel around switzerland for free for one day and gave me 50% discount on all mountain trains / cable cars regardless of any area.

 

#8 5-16-2017 11:26 AM

lauro
Germany
Award: Community LeaderAward: Photographer IVAward: Critic IVAward: Writer IVAward: Happy Happy HappyAward: TravelpedianAward: Bedbug IAward: Vox Populi IVAward: Most Helpful Hotel Reviewer (Past Winner)
Explorer
Posts: 4122

Re: Switzerland in September!

when youre up the jungfraujoch you would see the aletschhorn, its the 2nd highest peak in the berner oberland and the aletsch glacier - the longest glacier in the alps. in grindelwald - you could seee finsteraarhorn - the highest peak in the berner oberland but you must hike to bachalpsee to see it.

 

#9 6-2-2017 2:17 AM

dchinmay
Chinmay
Mumbai, India
Couch Potato
Posts: 17

Re: Switzerland in September!

Hello, here pretty much everyone has covered the spots. My favourite is Zermatt. Other spots you can consider are Grindelwald, Interlaken, Walensee, Lauterbrunnen and Appenzell.

All the best guys for your trip, hope it goes best.

 

#10 6-3-2017 1:07 AM

pilgrim68
Chris
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Award: Community LeaderAward: Photographer IIIAward: Critic IAward: Writer IIIAward: Happy Happy HappyAward: Bedbug IAward: Vox Populi IV
Explorer
Posts: 1357

Re: Switzerland in September!

I stayed in Brienz in the Youth Hostel. Not far from Interlaken and pretty close to Lake Lucern. It was a good base for a couple of weeks for day trips. One of which was to the Reichenbach Falls. Famous for it's place in the Sherlock Holmes story. A spectacular series of falls with a drop of 250m.

 

#11 8-22-2017 5:20 AM

bgar15
Couch Potato
Posts: 4

Re: Switzerland in September!

I know most say to "do the math" when calculating what rail pass is most practical, but our trip will be much less of a plan and more of "take each day as it comes." The only dead set plans are flying into Geneva, heading to Chamonix for a couple nights, heading back East towards Interlaken/Bernese Oberland, spend a decent chunk of time there, then head East towards Zurich. We will then be spending the final nights in Munich. This trip will include a lot of backpacking/hiking/mtn biking.

What do you guys think? Does it make more sense to get a Swiss Travel Pass then just pay for our transportation out of pocket to and from France/Germany? Or does it make more sense to obtain a 3 country Select Eurail pass?

Last edited by bgar15 (8-22-2017 5:22 AM)

 

#12 8-25-2017 4:02 AM

german_eagle
Dresden, Germany
Award: Photographer IIAward: Critic IIIAward: Writer IAward: Happy Happy Happy
Couch Potato
Posts: 17

Re: Switzerland in September!

I would get the half fare card valid for one month. Gives you 50% off on almost all fares. https://www.myswitzerland.com/en/tickets.html
The Swiss Pass is only valid for max. 15 days, so doesn't cover your whole trip. For the trip Zurich - Munich the Flixbus is inexpensive.

 

#13 8-27-2017 7:51 AM

alisyed88
Syed
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Couch Potato
Posts: 13

Re: Switzerland in September!

If you are looking more beauty and calm then i will prefer to go Liechtenstein. The valley of Vaduz has more beautiful places then switzerland has and its more cheaper then that. You can have more information from here: www[dot]tourismus.li/en/our-country/about-liechtenstein/

 

Board footer

Powered by PunBB
© Copyright 2002–2008 PunBB