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Switzerland in September

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1. Posted by bgar15 (Budding Member 2 posts) 10w Star this if you like it!

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!

[ Edit: Edited on 15-May-2017, at 07:08 by bgar15 ]

2. Posted by travelfrosch (Full Member 17 posts) 10w Star this if you like it!

Sounds like an exciting trip!

First, I'd recommend you find a good hiking guidebook and read through it over the summer to prepare for your trip. When I was an active hiker back in the Mesozoic Era, I used "Walking Switzerland the Swiss Way" by Marcia and Philip Lieberman. Rough Guide and Lonely Planet also have some very good Swiss hiking guidebooks. Look through them and get an idea of which places you'd like to see. My personal favorites are Chateau d'Oex, Kandersteg, Saas-Fee, Zermatt, Lauterbrunnen, Engelberg, and Appenzell. Appenzell would be a great place to end the Swiss trip and work your way to Munich, possibly stopping in Bregenz or Lindau on your way to Munich. (BTW - if you're going to Munich during Oktoberfest, you might want to reserve accommodation early... like now)

Even though you are traveling in a group, driving is very expensive in Switzerland. It might work out to purchase a Swiss Travel Pass or Swiss Travel Pass Flex for part or all of your journey. These passes provide discounts on many mountain lifts and scenic trains, as well as provide free entry to dozens of museums around Switzerland. These can be an especially good value if you are under 26, because you can purchase the discounted Youth passes. See details at http://www.myswitzerland.com/en-us/transport-travel/transport-travel-passes.html . This pass would also cover the Martigny-Chamonix train route should you wish to visit Mont Blanc.

To save a bit of money, you might want to use the Swiss IYHF hostels and the high mountain Swiss Alpine Club (SAC, or CAS in French) huts. With the latter, you can actually plan multi-day hikes from point to point. With a Swiss Pass, you can also choose to have some of your luggage shipped to your hiking destination for CHF 10 per bag (allow at least 2 days for delivery). You can find details at http://youthhostel.ch/en and http://www.sac-cas.ch/en.html and https://www.sbb.ch/en/station-services/services/luggage-and-flight-luggage/luggage.html .

Finally, for rail travel to Munich, you have the choice of either purchasing budget (Europa Spezial Schweiz) tickets in advance, or taking local trains and using what's called a "Bayern-Ticket." The former can be purchased through from Appenzell to Munich, while the latter would be valid from Lindau. The best idea is to book these tickets through the Deutsche Bahn (German Rail) website, or through the DB Navigator mobile app. Find information at https://www.bahn.com/en/view/offers/europe/saver-fare-europe.shtml and https://www.bahn.com/en/view/offers/regional/regional-day-tickets.shtml . Feel free to come back if you have any other questions. Have fun!

3. Posted by Beausoleil (Respected Member 265 posts) 10w Star this if you like it!

Oktoberfest ends October 3, 2017 so plan accordingly. Here are dates and information. http://www.oktoberfest.de/en/

Also, for car rental, it can be difficult if you are under 25 or 26 years old. Check with the companies before you make all your plans one way or the other. Another possibility is leasing a car if you take it for 3 weeks. Age is not a problem with a lease and everything is paid ahead of time. We lease in France and drive into Switzerland, then return in France. You can pickup and return outside of France but the cost is very high. It's something to consider. Both Peugeot and Renault have lease programs. We've used both and they are excellent including full insurance and 24-hour roadside assistance.

Enjoy your trip.

4. Posted by bgar15 (Budding Member 2 posts) 10w Star this if you like it!

Quoting travelfrosch

Sounds like an exciting trip!

First, I'd recommend you find a good hiking guidebook and read through it over the summer to prepare for your trip. When I was an active hiker back in the Mesozoic Era, I used "Walking Switzerland the Swiss Way" by Marcia and Philip Lieberman. Rough Guide and Lonely Planet also have some very good Swiss hiking guidebooks. Look through them and get an idea of which places you'd like to see. My personal favorites are Chateau d'Oex, Kandersteg, Saas-Fee, Zermatt, Lauterbrunnen, Engelberg, and Appenzell. Appenzell would be a great place to end the Swiss trip and work your way to Munich, possibly stopping in Bregenz or Lindau on your way to Munich. (BTW - if you're going to Munich during Oktoberfest, you might want to reserve accommodation early... like now)

Even though you are traveling in a group, driving is very expensive in Switzerland. It might work out to purchase a Swiss Travel Pass or Swiss Travel Pass Flex for part or all of your journey. These passes provide discounts on many mountain lifts and scenic trains, as well as provide free entry to dozens of museums around Switzerland. These can be an especially good value if you are under 26, because you can purchase the discounted Youth passes. See details at http://www.myswitzerland.com/en-us/transport-travel/transport-travel-passes.html . This pass would also cover the Martigny-Chamonix train route should you wish to visit Mont Blanc.

To save a bit of money, you might want to use the Swiss IYHF hostels and the high mountain Swiss Alpine Club (SAC, or CAS in French) huts. With the latter, you can actually plan multi-day hikes from point to point. With a Swiss Pass, you can also choose to have some of your luggage shipped to your hiking destination for CHF 10 per bag (allow at least 2 days for delivery). You can find details at http://youthhostel.ch/en and http://www.sac-cas.ch/en.html and https://www.sbb.ch/en/station-services/services/luggage-and-flight-luggage/luggage.html .

Finally, for rail travel to Munich, you have the choice of either purchasing budget (Europa Spezial Schweiz) tickets in advance, or taking local trains and using what's called a "Bayern-Ticket." The former can be purchased through from Appenzell to Munich, while the latter would be valid from Lindau. The best idea is to book these tickets through the Deutsche Bahn (German Rail) website, or through the DB Navigator mobile app. Find information at https://www.bahn.com/en/view/offers/europe/saver-fare-europe.shtml and https://www.bahn.com/en/view/offers/regional/regional-day-tickets.shtml . Feel free to come back if you have any other questions. Have fun!

Awesome advice, thank you so much!

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?

5. Posted by travelfrosch (Full Member 17 posts) 9w Star this if you like it!

Well, Lauterbrunnen is of course in the Luterbrunnen Valley. Gimmelwald and the Jungfrau (including the famous Jungfraujoch scenic railway) are just above the Lauterbrunnen Valley. The Oeschinensee is just above Kandersteg. And the Berner (Bernese) Oberland is the name for the entire region you're mentioning.