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Author Topic: Best time of year for Switzerland???  (Read 7624 times)
Lisa Nikodym
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« on: March 17, 2004, 10:49:23 AM »
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David & Francois -

Thanks for your comments.  I actually try to avoid the very high elevations, as I have a tendency to get altitude sick (even with acclimatization) above 10,000 feet, so earlier in the season isn't so bad for me as it would be for high-altitude-philes.  I was in Grindalwald for a short time some years back, and found there to be enough walks accessible at lower elevation - I think it was early June.  (And one of the worst cases of altitude sickness I've ever had was after taking the cog train from Grindalwald up the Eiger to Jungfraujoch, so I'd avoid *that* this time!)   Heat tends to bother me more than rain or cold, so I'd prefer to avoid it - does it get hot in early to mid July like it does in August, or it is cooler then?

This time, I'd like to go back to the Bernese Oberland (primarily Grindalwald & Lauterbrunnen?) for longer, plus maybe some time elsewhere in Switzerland; haven't decided where yet.  I'll look into Graubunden, David - does anyone have any other suggestions?  (My aesthetic sensibilities tend towards the tall, steep, rocky and impressive...)

Thanks -
Lisa

P.S.  Very nice photos, David!
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Timbo
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« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2004, 08:38:14 AM »
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Hi Lisa,

You won't be disappointed with the Berner Oberland (very biased opinion of course ;-) In this area the photo opportunities are essentially endless, but the time of year to visit really does depend on what exactly you are trying to see/photograph.

Usually May is time for spring flowers; the farmers have usually done ther first cut by the end May, but at higher levels June is earliest time to go. We still have had snow in early July (this is not usual). I live in a little village, and as has been already mentioned, the Postbus service is the only way to get around particularly to the countless valleys everywhere. When I go up into the mountain valleys in June, it quite late with the greenery, and cool. Pack a good jacket. Hiking is endless, but you didn't mention how long you were going to stay. At lower levels (500-1000m) July it is starting to get warm (30C's), cools down of course as you get higher.

The Swiss railway system (www.sbb.ch) offers a lot of weekly passes which entitle you to travel on all forms of transport (rail/postbus/boat). This is probably the best way to go, unless you can find like a Eurail Pass just for CH.

Message me if you need further details regarding accomodation options, locations etc.

Tim
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francois
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« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2004, 01:18:08 AM »
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I've visited Switzerland since early childhood and am quite familiar with Berner Oberland and Wallis. If hiking is your objective then I recommend you visit this site
http://www.wandersite.ch/default.htm.. It is in German but with a babelfish translation it would serve you well.
Thanks, it seems to be a good resource for hiking in the region!

 :cool:  :cool:  :cool:

francois
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Francois
Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2004, 04:01:17 PM »
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I'm thinking about going to Switzerland for hiking (and some incidental photography) later this year.  It looks like the weather is best in September or so, but I'm wondering whether it would be prettier in June or July when might be greener and damper (with better waterfalls).  Any comments from those who have been there?  If it matters, a little occasional light rain never stops me (I have good rain gear and a watertight camera bag).

Thanks
Lisa
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francois
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« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2004, 02:39:43 AM »
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Lisa,
As David mentioned if you plan to head for the mountains then June is a bit early. Not only you risk to find snow but most hotels/lifts/shops may still be closed until mid June. July is fine as well as August. My preference would late August.

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You do tend to find constant reminders that these mountains, whilst spectacular, are very much an exploited resource. Most lakes are dammed for hydroelectric plants, and the Swiss genius for civil engineering is everywhere.

So true

Francois
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Francois
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« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2004, 05:01:02 AM »
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Lisa,
I've read your post again I realized you were attracted by "green" stuff. June will indeed be better than July/August/September for capturing green landscape.
In Switzerland the railroad system is well developed and further extended by the postal bus system (in remote location). You'll be able to reach virtually every little hamlet without a car.
Searching the web for "Swiss railroad" will give you some idea...

If you have the time you may also wish to visit Chamonix valley for the famous "aiguilles" (needles). The picture (May 2003) below is nothing special but it can give you an idea of the sharp peaks and massive walls of that valley.

Be sure to take Aspirin and take it easy to minimize altitude sickness.

Francois
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Francois
Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2004, 10:15:18 AM »
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Francois -
Chamonix looks wonderful!  (I always like rocky spires...)  I'll look into it.  Thanks.

Lisa
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2004, 06:05:56 PM »
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Thanks, Tim.  Based on everyone's comments, I'm thinking about going at the very end of June or beginning or July, when it should still be cool and green at the middle elevations but not too snowy.  I was in Grindalwald for a few days some years back, so I have a little experience with the area already, and really look forward to going back.  I knew the train system was great, but now I also know about the post bus (which I'll do a little research on).  Do you have any particular recommendations for extra-special hikes, views, off-the-beaten-path valleys, etc.?  In general, what I'm most interested in is stunning views of mountain/valley landscapes (which I know I can find in Grindalwald, since I was there before).  I'll be there for about a week.

Thanks,
Lisa
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2004, 06:29:56 PM »
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Thanks, all.  I'll do my research (and likely stay at Wengen)...

Lisa
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nma
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« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2004, 08:42:48 PM »
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Lisa,

You might consider staying in Wengen (accessible by cog railroad from Lauterbrunnen), not too far at all from Grindelwald and much less crowded. The Lauterbrunnen Valley provides easy hikes and there are endless hiking opportunites at the mid to higher elevations. The only problem with this plan is the weather.  At the end of June we have run into a lot of rain and even some snow. You have to plan extra time to get some sunny days (10 days?).

The snobs sneer at Zermatt, but the weather is better and the views are wonderful, though we like Wengen et al when the sun does come out.

To help plan you trip, check out Chet Liptons' "Walking Easy in Switzerland." It will give a very good idea of what to take, where to hike, and where to stay.
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David Mantripp
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« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2004, 01:34:03 AM »
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Hi Lisa,

It rather depends what your objectives are. If hiking high up is a priority, then late mid-summer is best, when the snowline has retreated and the days are long.  The weather is not all that predictable, but looking at averages August is a month too avoid (can be very hot too).

Switzerland is actually quite diverse. The best hiking area is probably Graubunden in the east. Here you will find a wide expanse of unspoilt mountains, isolated mountain villages, high altitude lakes, etc. But then again, Ticino in the south is very nice too (and warmer), especially around the high lakes such as Ritom and Naret, and the Mt Cristallina region. High up, more or less everywhere, you will find marmots and ibex, and the marmots in particular are most photogenic in the late summer.

You do tend to find constant reminders that these mountains, whilst spectacular, are very much an exploited resource. Most lakes are dammed for hydroelectric plants, and the Swiss genius for civil engineering is everywhere.

Finally, for hiking, be sure to check out the Post Bus network. It is almost certainly the most comprehensive public transport network in the world. Generally speaking, if people live someplace, it is a Post Bus destination.

Hope that helps - check out my web site for some photos (see Ticino & Swiss Alps galleries in particular)

David.
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francois
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« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2004, 05:23:17 AM »
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Before you ask, yes Chamonix is in France but just 30 minutes from the Swiss border.

francois
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Francois
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« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2004, 05:40:51 PM »
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I've visited Switzerland since early childhood and am quite familiar with Berner Oberland and Wallis. If hiking is your objective then I recommend you visit this site
http://www.wandersite.ch/default.htm. It is in German but with a babelfish translation it would serve you well.
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