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After RS 12-day Swiss tour: options for a few more days?

Hi, all. I'm booked for the Rick Steves 12-day guided tour of Switzerland in June 2024 that begins in Luzern and ends in Bern with stops in Appenzell, Lugano, Lausanne, and Murren).

"While I'm there," as they say, I'm wondering what I could see and do if I added 2-4 few days of exploring other Swiss sites on my own before flying back to the U.S. -- probably from Zurich.

Any ideas what could be accessibly easily after Bern? I'm 68 and, while I'm no mountain climber, I can easily walk 3-7 miles in a day if the trail pitch isn't to steep. I'd like to spend time away from big cities (Zurich sounds uninteresting unless shopping is a priority, and it isn't with me) and, instead, see more of the countryside and the great Alps.

I've I thought that I might add a few days after the tour ends in Bern to visit Meiringen and the Sherlockian Reichenbach Falls. I've read that the Sherlock Holmes museum there is fun, and that the funicular to the top of the falls provides a spectacular vista.

I've also read that the trail from Mannlichen to Kelein Scheidegg is a popular and easy hike, with Mannlichen accessible by train from Grindelwald, and Grindelwald appears to be an easy train ride from Bern.

Are either or both of the options sensible, or are there other options you'd recommend to complement the RS tour?

Posted by
399 posts

Depending on your travel dates in June, you’ll have to check if the trail from Männlichen to KS will be open. Because of snow it typically doesn’t open until end of June. It is a lovely walk, highly recommend. I think Meiringen, Grindelwald or Wengen would be great options. The tour doesn’t give you nearly enough time in the Berner Oberland, so you’re probably going to leave Murren wishing you had had more time, so being able to go back to that area will be nice.

Posted by
4672 posts

Bern back to the BO is about an hour train. I'd return to the BO and stay in a different place from your RS tour- so if the RS tour lodged you in Murren, use your extra days and stay in Wengen. So much of Switzerland is amazingly beautiful, but nowhere is better than actually being in the Alps. Safe travels!

Posted by
472 posts

I took this tour in 2022. Terrific!

You might also want to add extra time in Luzern at the beginning of your journey. We easily filled up a day and a half extra there.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks to all for your thoughts. I have time, thankfully, to research and plan. I've learned that, yes, extending a stay with a RS tour is a gift that keeps on travelin'. I will explore everyone's recommendations and report what I finally did when I return and stop yodeling. ahem.

Posted by
11282 posts

Depending on your travel dates in June, you’ll have to check if the trail from Männlichen to KS will be open. Because of snow it typically doesn’t open until end of June

That trail opened May 27 this year (the day I left the area, of course!) and I think that is fairly typical. Everything should be open in June.

I agree with all the recommendations to come back to the Lauterbrunnen Valley. Once you’ve been you will be plotting your return. Mürren, Wengen, and Lauterbrunnen are my first choices, but there are fine easy hikes near Grindelwald as well.

Posted by
2659 posts

That trail opened May 27 this year

Actually, it was the cable car up to männlichen that opened on May 27th. The trail did not open until June 10th. I was tracking it. 😊

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/switzerland/fyi-panorama-trail-mannlichen-kleine-scheidegg-now-open

https://www.maennlichen.ch/en/summer/information/timetable.html

https://www.maennlichen.ch/en/summer/experiences/panorama-trail.html

The cable car starts running the end of May and the trail typically opens mid-June, depending on the amount of snow on the trail.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks for these additional recommendations and observations. I grew up in New England, where the Beautiful Berkshires are mere hills compared to the Almighty Alps. I'm so looking forward to walking (and gondola-ing) among Real Mountains in Switzerland! Being a Sherlock Holmes fan, I feel obliged to at least visit the Reichenbach Falls... in a deerstalker hat, by Jove!

I will explore everyone's comments and develop options to execute when I get there... depending on the weather, of course. I promise to report the results of your advice on this forum when I return!

The game's afoot!

Posted by
11282 posts

Actually, it was the cable car up to männlichen that opened on May 27th. The trail did not open until June 10th. I was tracking it. 😊

Thanks, Carrie. I remember WengenK’s experience from last spring and while I didn’t get to walk the trail due to my departure, the hotel told us many were doing it even from Kleine-Scheidegg as an out-and-back before the Männlichen lift opened as the trail was “not too bad.” Certainly not with flip flops, though!

Posted by
1 posts

My husband and I are scheduled for this tour 1st week of September 2024. We booked 3 extra days in Lauterbrunnen at the end from Bern. Wondering about weather in early September and if parasailing is something anyone has tried

Aeb

Posted by
65 posts

Hope your going early into Luzern too. I just finished this trip last week and only went 1 day early to Luzern where we did the boat/cog train/cable car/boat trip to Mt. Rigi. If we'd had more time I would have gone to Pilatus and the train museum too.

We went back to the BO for 3 more nights in Murren. Actually I regret going back to Murren as we had already hiked around that area on the tour and it was kind of a pain to go back down to Lauterbrunnen and then up thru Wengen to get to Kleine Scheidegg. I would have stayed in Wengen for a change.

We went to Meiringen and toured both falls there one afternoon and took a very exciting bus ride back to Grindelwald up over the mountain.

We purchased both the 1/2 fare card and the BO 4 day pass for our trip.