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3 Day Quintessential Swiss Alps Trip?

Hi everyone! I need some help filling my August Alps destination gaps wisely. I've never been to Switzerland and am hoping for a great scenic hike between two points in the Alps and then on to an accessible scenic train close to the Alps toward Italy. Friday: travel from Zurich to Bern Saturday: from Bern to Alps starting spot Sunday: hike to Alps destination spot Monday: leave Alps for Italy I don't know where the best point to point hike would be that would give me a great 2 night Alps experience. I also don't know what the best train to Italy to catch when we come out of the Alps. Your thoughts and experiences would be fantasticly appreciated!

Posted by
13045 posts

Adam, are you a fairly experienced hiker? there is a great section of the Alpine Pass Route that will fit your description perfectly. It takes you over two of the highest alpine passes through gorgeous scenery and a bit of rugged terrain. It is a route that does not parallel the train routes and cannot be corered by lifts, etc., only by hiking. From Bern, you would go by train and cablecar to the village of Mürren. The hike starts there. (If you have luggage you may want to send it by rail to the town of kandersteg, where your hike will finish. Swiss rail is very good at this.) the hike goes from Muerren up around the side of the Schilthorn and into the Sefeinental, where you have a lunch stop at Rotstockhutte. From there, you climb over the Sefeinenfurka (pass) into the next valley, the Kiental. this is a remote valley reached only by car or postbus. There are several mountain inns there in the alp settlement of Griesalp) if you want to spend the night. Pension Golderli is popular. From Griesalp you hike up and over the highest pass (Hohtürli). There is an alpine hut there for a lunch break if you like. then you drop down to the shores of beautiful Oeschinensee. You can spend the second night at the mountain inn by the lakeshore. A lift will take you down to the town of Kandersteg, or you can hike the 2 km down. Kandersteg is on one of the main lines from Switzerland into Italy (ending at Milan). Board the train in Kandersteg, change at Brig for a train to Milan. Unfortunately this train spends aquite a bit of time i na tunnel so it is not terribly scenic.

Posted by
41 posts

Wow, your post truly got us thinking about both our true desires. We are not huge hikers, we just enjoy long walks and awesome sights. We aren't really afraid of inclines or putting all our strength into a hike, but what we're really looking for is a "quintessential" Alps trip we can do in a couple days. I discussed this with my travel partner and I think we're now resigned to the fact that we don't need to hike from one mountain location to another, but we do want to do a couple day trip that truly glimpses the Alps experience. So, we've toned down our expectations a bit. What do you think of this: Day 1: Bern Day 2: Bern, then travel to Lauterbrunnen (stay night in Latuerbrunnen) Day 3: Lauterbrunnen to Murren, up to Schilthorn and back down, over to Gimmelwald and then either: 1) Back to Lauterbrunnen for the night or 2) Travel from Gimmelwald to another city for the night before heading to Italy Day 4: Onward to Italy (Lake Garda area)

Posted by
13045 posts

That is a nice trip too, if you don't want to do hut to hut strenuous hiking. You have 2 nights, and to save time you might want to spend them both in the same place. I suggest either Mürren of Gimmelwald if you reallly want an "alpine" experience. Something like this: Bern to Lauterbrunnen is only an hour and 20 minutes by train. Stow your bags in th elockers at the lauterbrunnen station and take a couple of hours to explore the valley and waterfalls. Then retrieve your bags and head up to the high village, either to Gimmelwald by bus and cablecar, or to Mürren by cablecar and then train. You will have a full day on Day 3 to hike and take the ride up the Schilthorn. On Day 4, you have 2 choices for your route into Italy. The faster and less scenic one goes via Spiez and Brig, through 2 long tunnels into Italy at Milan. The longer and more scenic one takes you east from Interlaken to Luzern via the Golden Pass route, then a short hop to Arth-Goldau to pick up the Gotthard route train running down to Milan (passing through Lugano and the town of Como). If you were going to one of the lakes other than Garda, this could be your stop. But to get to Garda, which is farther, you may have to go via Milan and Brescia to Descenzano del Garda.

Posted by
41 posts

We've extended our stay a bit and refined some details with your suggestions playing a huge part in our decisions. Thank you so much! Day 1: Fly into Zurich at 11am - Travel to Murren Day 2: Explore Berner Oberland Day 3: Explore Berner Oberland
Day 4: Leave Murren via the Golden Pass en route to Lake Como, Brescia, or Lake Garda I'm just now starting to piece together travel from Zurich to Murren and then Murren to Luzern to Italy. We'd like to visit Jungfrao or Schiltorn and will likely be taking the train between Zurich - Murren - Luzern - Milan - Brescia - Florence - Rome. Any suggestions on the most economically intelligent train pass(es) to buy? Thank you so much again!