5ish days in Switzerland

Discussion in 'EMEA' started by Quinn Otte, Sep 27, 2017.

  1. Quinn Otte

    Quinn Otte Been here awhile

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    Hi all,

    Looking to get an itinerary/route together for a trip over to Switzerland, 2nd week of October (soon!!) I'll be flying into Zurich on Friday the 6th or Saturday the 7th. I'll be free until I need to be in Basel on Tuesday night (the 10th) for business meetings the 11th and 12th. I'll be off the hook the night of the 12th in Basel until I fly out of Zurich again on the 15th.

    So yea, it's an awkward amount of about 3-2 full free days twice in northern Switzerland.

    I HAVE had the pleasure of riding in the country once before, and basically made a straight line across the country from Geneva to Interlaken to Lichtenstein. I was thinking I'd like to maybe ride down to the mountains for my first set of free days, and the Black Forest area from Basel before flying back out of Zurich.

    I also need a recommendation on bike rental places!!
    #1
  2. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    I LOVE Switzerland - I try to spend a few days there each year.

    I've rented from Moto Mader in Oberentfelden (train from Zurich airpport to Aarau - about 35 minutes - they used to pick you up at the Aarau station. They may still do.) a few times and would do so again. I've also heard good things about Moto Center Thun/Bern.

    Were it me, I'd rent from Moto Mader and head for Andermatt for a couple of nights before heading for Basel (my assumption is that you'll keep the bike the whole time).

    Basing in Andermatt can give you 2-3 very busy days in the saddle without having to drag all of your stuff along every day. You can Autobahn the Andermatt-Basel leg in a couple of hours, but I'd back road it via Bern taking 4-5 hours.

    From Basel, you're just north of the Jura. Not the Alps, but some very nice riding. Take a day to get down towards Montreux, and head back towards Zurich through Gruyeres & Fribourg.

    Detailed suggested daily routes on request.
    #2
  3. Quinn Otte

    Quinn Otte Been here awhile

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    I'd love to hear your suggested routes! Hit me!
    I'm almost positively going to rent a KTM from Moto Center- their prices seem significantly better.
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  4. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    It's a bit more complicated getting there - you'll almost definitely have to change trains at Berne for a local to Steffisburg (the only moto shop that I've ever been in that has a bar on premises), but that's not a killer. What you want is a bike with reasonably quick steering and a lot of low end grunt. If you're going to be in the mountains, you will be spending a LOT of time in lower gears winding up and down the hills. There's little to no off road/dirt roading in Switzerland that I know of. France and Italy seem to have that all sewed up - and what they do have is disappearing fast.

    Verify that the bike you rent has a Swiss Vignette to allow you to ride on the Autobahns. I know that you won't want to, but sometimes the convenience factor wins out, and it's nice to have the option. I know that Moto Mader used to provide them, not sure about Moto Center Thun.

    Anyhoo - routing. I'm assuming a base in Andermatt. It's central and has a lot of accommodations. It's losing its "small village" character, but it isn't totally gone yet. Note that Switzerland is on the expensive side for tourists, so don't cry too hard and just enjoy it for the few days that you're there. Great roads, gorgeous scenery and someone has to pay for it.

    The following assumes that you leave the States on the 6th and arrive in Zurich on the 7th. Adjust accordingly. Also assuming that it will be early afternoon before you're actually on the bike. Note that times given are saddle times. Adjust for meals, picture stops and whatever. If you leave the States on the 7th, I'd chop the "Day 3" route below. The "Day 2" route is much more scenic.

    Day 1 - Oct 7. Thun to Andermatt - about 150 kms (it will seem like much more than that - expect to cover 250 kms +/- in a long day of riding). Easy day and you're coping with jet lag.
    Steffisburg to Interlaken along the north side of the Thunersee. From Interlaken, take a ride into the Lautenbrunnen valley - lovely. On the way out you may also want to visit Grindlewald and see the Eiger, Monch & Jungfrau.
    Back into Interlaken and along the north shore of the Brienzersee to Meiringen & Innertkirchen. Go right at Innertkirchen and go over the Grimsel pass, down into Gletsch, up over the Furka pass and down into Andermatt.
    Get some sleep.

    Day 2 - Oct 8. 275 kms and 5-6 hours. North over the Oberalp Pass to Ilanz. At Ilanz turn south and take the road to Bonaduz that runs along the Rheinschlucht (waypoint towns are Valendas & Versam). South from Bonaduz towards Thusis and through the Via Mala. Continue straight theough Splugen and over the San Bernardino Pass down to Castione, and then north towards Airolo. From Airolo over the St. Gotthard pass and back to Andermatt. If the weather's dry, take the old cobblestoned road (La Tremola) over the pass instead of the new road.

    Day 3 - Oct 9. 165 kms and 3-4 hours. Over the St. Gotthard to Airolo (I still recommend La Tremola). From Airolo head west over the Neufenen Pass to Ulrichen and head north towards Gletsch and over the Grimsel (the other way this time) to Innertkirchen and over the Susten Pass to Wassen. From Wassen north back to Andermatt.

    La Tremola:

    [​IMG]

    Day 4 - Oct 10. Andermatt to Basel:
    Option 1 - Autobahn, about 170 kms/2hrs. :puke2

    Option 2 - About 190 kms and 3-4 hours. Head north to Brunnen on the Vierwaldstattersee. Continue along the lake's northern shore to Luzern and north into Basel. From Luzern on to Basel. From Luzern, you're entering the flat parts, and I haven't spent much time there except to transit to someplace lumpier and more interesting.

    Days 5 & 6 - Basel, work stuff.

    Day 7 - Oct 13. Basel to Lausenne through the Jura - about 260 kms and 5-6 hours. Waypoints are Tavanne, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Ste.-Croix and down along the lake to Geneva.

    Day 8 - Oct 14. Geneva to Steffisburg - 200 kms and 4-5 hours. Along the south shore of the lake towards Montreux. Before Montreux, head north at Aigle towards Saanen. There are two routes and they're both good. From Saanen, it's pretty much a straight shot to the Thunersee and Steffisburg.

    If you had another day or two, it could get REALLY interesting - although some of the roads might be closed for the season by then.

    Note - Martigny. I spent a night in the Hotel des Sports and thought it was pretty cheap (by Swiss standards) and like the Motel style parking:

    [​IMG]
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  5. Quinn Otte

    Quinn Otte Been here awhile

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    Thanks a million, just gotta get these routes saved onto google maps!
    What's the weather? I'm not expecting anything below freezing, is that a safe bet?
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  6. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    I've had snow in August on the passes. Valleys sunny and warm all day....
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  7. Quinn Otte

    Quinn Otte Been here awhile

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  8. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    Looks familiar. :evil

    It's busy, but not terribly so. Having a hotel waiting for you at the end of the day takes a lot of pressure off.

    Oh yeah - prepare to have your mind blown and be prepared to not want to ride in your local area for a month or so after you get back. At least, that's been my experience. Even after 13 seasons.
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  9. Quinn Otte

    Quinn Otte Been here awhile

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    Busy as in populated?
    I switched day 2 and 3. Gave myself the shorter day after my long travel day, in case I need another full night's rest to fully adjust.
    I've ridden in Switzerland before in the spring 2016, but Grimsel, Furka, and Gotthard were all closed, and I'd had my card info stolen at the time I was in Switzerland and those few days are a bit tainted in memory, but still magnificent. You actually influenced my route on that trip too, so thanks again! I thought I'd have to wait another 10 years before I got back to this side of the world, I'm VERY excited to experience it again.
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  10. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    Busy as in lots of quality saddle time. Most of the "heavy" traffic tends to be on the Autobahns, leaving the back roads open. As they should be. The only time I encounter traffic in Switzerland is in the cities (duh!) and the stretch of road between Sion and Martigny - but that's almost a linear city in itself.

    Road work is always a wildcard, but most of that should be over by now. There is some ongoing work just north of Andermatt in the Schollenen Gorge where they appear to be putting in a bike/hiking lane, but that's only about 5 minutes at worst.
    #10