Switzerland in summer

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  • Switzerland in summer
  • marcus

    I’m looking to spend a couple of weeks in Switzerland this summer with the family including 3 and 5 year old girls.I’ve got a week booked in lauterbrunen (sp) which will be nice but looking for suggestions for the second week. Will have caravan with full compliment of bikes and canoes etc. cheers


    Depends on what you want to do and how long you might take to get there with the caravan?

    The Jura and the Vosges in eastern France are well worth visiting, as both riders and non riders with plenty to do and quite unique local cultures.

    If you want to stay in Switzerland then the lakes are well worth a visit, as is Annecy.

    As above, depends what you want to do….

    Premier Icon Lummox

    The Swiss are very outdoorsy so you should be spoilt for options, and I’m sure you’re already aware but it’s flipping pricey out there so if you can stock up heavily before entering the country.

    Premier Icon allfankledup

    Was there last week. Prices are astronomic.

    Public transport was excellent, but as a destination it wasn’t the most interesting place on earth (spot the massive understatement).

    Toblerone cost mega bucks…

    Premier Icon on and on

    I’ve been living in geneva for the past 5 months.
    Yes it’s costs a bomb but you can nip over to France and buy stuff for a greatly reduced price.

    Jura lakes are nice. What sort of stuff are you looking to do ?
    Switzerland is pretty dull – extremely beautiful, but dull.

    One tip – you can get quite a few free apps which may help you.


    Was going to suggest Interlaken then realised you are practically there the first week. Lots to see and do in that area.

    Premier Icon rickmeister

    My experience of Swiss walkists whilst biking around Zermat was uber grumpy people who dont mind telling you that there is a 2m width trail rule and why do you have to bike here. Our record for following walkers who deliberately spread out across the trail to stop us passing was 15 mins.

    Premier Icon Schweiz

    If they’re quoting the 2m trail width rule at you then they are almost certainly German since no such rule exists anywhere in Switzerland. Swiss walkers are typically very friendly and open to sharing the trails. Zermatt attracts mostly foreign tourists (in my 14 years of experience)


    Loving the remarks so far!

    Swiss german side is more ‘regulated’ but sounds like you met some strange folk ‘rickmeister’ it happens..even in the uk.

    This site is quite good: http://www.myswitzerland.com/en-ch/destinations/holiday-destinations-in-switzerland.html

    As you have young children im guessing activities etc are a must – not sure if you can do via ferrata with so young but would be good if you can.
    Canoeing – i have no idea personally but here: http://www.myswitzerland.com/en-ch/interests/adventure-sports-summer/riverrafting-and-canoeing.html seems to suggest places.

    We are near to Lausanne, but in the country really. I like the city but also the surrounding area is nice with several attractions..

    Camp sites are pretty common – though there is no official body like in the uk that groups them together.

    On and On – you’ve been in Geneva 5 months and you find it dull? What have you been doing?



    i was in Zurich for 8 years in total – but I agree with On and On. It is a stunning country – in the summer the motocycling in the Alps was just brilliant, the snowboarding in the winter fantastic.

    But the grey foggy ridden Springs and Autumns wre not so great. The generally distant Swiss are not friendly. So you mix with expats. Expats are a strange bunch. It is like someone has taken a bell curve of normal behaviour in their home countries, turned it upside down, selected either end and made them the expats. I found myself socialisng a lot of the time with people I wouldn’t dream of mixing with in the UK.

    But CH for the summer – great if you have the money – but you can do everything CH offers much cheaper in France, Germany, Austria or Italy. TBH CH would be 5th choice because of the costs. You would do betetr to base youself over the border in the Morzine / Cham area and do day trips

    Premier Icon big_scot_nanny

    For family holiday, places I would recommend with lots of outdoors stuff going on:

    Premier Icon rickmeister

    Agree with the comments above and the riding in Ch is stunning. We are lucky in that 3hrs gets us to loads of good riding and some long weekends are in the plan… The recent thread on here has got me on google earth and looking at the EIger trail….

    WE have joined DIMb to raise the 2m German trail rule to be debated for change so we are hopefull that shared singletrack will appear soon, but for now its Ze Cheeky Trails, zen ze Cooler if there is a problem….

    Havnt met any ex pats though there is a very active crew in Basel…


    If you want to do what will almost certainly be the best riding of your life, drop these folk a line and see if you can join one of their groups for a day or six http://www.bikeverbier.com


    rickmeister – Member

    My experience of Swiss walkists whilst biking around Zermat was uber grumpy people who dont mind telling you that there is a 2m width trail rule and why do you have to bike here. Our record for following walkers who deliberately spread out across the trail to stop us passing was 15 mins.

    my first thought was that you had encountered Schermans from Schermany.

    Switzerland is a stunnigly beautiful place at times. but so are the Bavarian Alps, the Austrian Alps, Italian Alps and dare i say it the French Alps, too (not been that far west in a long time).

    i spend quite a bit of time in summer driving through die Schweiz lugging luggage around for a bike tour company. it really grates me that they charge over 10€ for a cake and coffee, yet 20 minutes further on across the border in Italy you still have a stunningly beautiful view of the same mountains/range yet pay 1,70€ for a better coffee and cake.

    whatever you do, stock up on as much as you can before crossing the border.

    some of the passes are truly spectactular… Abula being one that stands out in my mind. oh, and the Bernina. both doable by train. probably more impressive than driving up. the engineering that went into it is almost mind-boggling.

    Italians, Austrians and even Germans are generally friendlier than the Swiss, IME (and i can speak German/Bavarian…)

    Premier Icon andytherocketeer

    My experience of riding in Switzerland was a cheery wave from walkers and horseriders, although much of that was on path of indestinguishable width. edit: how wide is a 1ft wide sheep track across a field?
    The only exception to that was a right telling off for riding the ridge and descent near Champery (Arete du Berroi?) that’s been on here. It’s a nature reserve and the bit we were on is apparently banned for bikes.

    The “German 2m rule” is actually either non-existent, possibly existent, or planned depending on which “Land” you are in. AFAIK Hessen changed their mind and chose a sensible option – ie any path installed by owner or land manager is fair game for walkers, joggists, cyclists, pushchairs, wheelchairs, etc. with no hierarchy, but that users must use common sense to determine priority, not hinder other users, and not cause damage etc. (DIMB did a lot. I guess I must double check that’s actually what the politicians signed off)

    As for places to go… I’d probably suggest somewhere in the Neuchatel sort of area. Not as mounatainous, but still hilly, some more lakes (that aren’t as murky as lake Geneva),…


    it is in Baden-Wurttemberg that the 2m rule exists… last time i was there (Freiburg) no-one paid it any attention. Freiburg is different, though…. about half the population are bikers.

    i’m sure up on the Alb where there are more oldies the rule is seen as Gospel.

    Premier Icon andytherocketeer

    Yeah the proposed Hessen one was going to be “a track or path traversable by Landrover, 4wd pickup, etc.”.
    Loads of us here signing the BaWu petitions, since the Hessen-BaWu border runs right thru the Odenwald.

    Other Swiss suggestion was going to be somewhere over near Bodensee / Lake Konstanz. No idea about canoeing. Much flatter there. But then I thought that’s where allt he Dutch caravanners go… A3 autobahn in Germany is chocka every saturday in summer with Dutch caravanners heading to south of Germany and German caravanners heading to Dutch seaside. I’ve seen convoys of 10+ caravans before the next vehicle.


    I love how these threads always bring up the Swiss clichés that are for the most part untrue. I’ve ridden around Switzerland more than most and don’t limit myself to any one area and have guided the author of two of the articles on Switzerland published in Singletrack in the last year (one in the current issue).

    Switzerland doesn’t have to be expensive. If you go to the well know, popular tourist resorts you will get fleeced. If you stay a little off the beaten path you are onto a winner. Bed and Breakfast in the Hotel Sporting in Bettmeralp will cost less than I used to pay for B&B in Ireland 15 years ago. I’ve had an evening meal in restaurants in Bettmeralp of 20-25CHFpp including drink.

    Val d’Anniviers (day 2 in the Swiss Article in the current magazine) offers free lift passes for all of the lifts in the area and the post bus from Vissoie up the valley for a single night stay, that includes staying in a camp site.

    Davos includes your lift pass with your hotel room (but is probably still a bit more expensive than some of the less publicised places)

    Some of the Alpine huts are quite easily accessible and won’t cost an arm and a leg and can be quite comfortable. (I think about 50CHF for bed, breakfast and evening meal) Cadagna Hut between Graubunden and Ticino is one such hut.

    I could go on, but the expensive Swiss Cliché does not have to be true.

    As others have pointed out the 2m rule is non-existent in Switzerland. Each Kanton has different rules. Gruabunden has it specifically written into law that mountain biking is allowed. Wallis says that the hiking trails are to be used for “slow traffic” bikes are included in this. Berner Oberland (around Lauterbrunnen) is a grey area does not have a specific ban, but you will find a lot of trails have a sign forbidding biking on them. Appenzel has a mountain bike ban on singletrails (luckily this is a very small area of the country). For the most part Switzerland is quite forward in terms of allowing mountain biking on trails.

    I’ve been told off for biking in Zermatt too. Without exception every single time was by tourists. Usually German tourists. Last summer we were slightly disappointed to see that a few trails in the Zermatt area had been decorated with Biking forbidden signs, but it was only a few trails around the Blauherd area. The rest was fair game including the Europaweg trail to Taschalp and down to Tasch. The trail down from Gornergrat is a really nice trail, but you’ll need to do it at non-peak times to not get too many hikers on it.

    The infrastructure for biking in Switzerland is second to none. It’s possible to ride from one side of the country to the other almost entirely on singletrail and use the Bus, Train lift network to take most of the slog out and leave you fresh for the fun bits.

    One thing I would add is that the ability to get so much out of biking in Switzerland is down to an attitude of mutual respect and friendliness with the hikers and also a degree of consideration for the environment. We want to ensure not only that the trails remain there to be enjoyed for many more years, we also want to ensure that biking will continued to be allowed on those trails. Therefore it is appreciated if you slow down, smile and say “hello, have a nice day” (“Gruezi mittenand, Schoene Tag” in the German speaking part)and refrain from riding with a locked back wheel. The trails and those of us who live here will be very thankful. 🙂

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