View Full Version : Switzerland

Randy Redford
23-Feb-2008, 12:13
I have about 10 days available to me in either September or October and would like some ideas of locations in Switzerland. I am mainly interested in mountain landscapes. I will be on my own but will have a car available. I have not been to Switzerland for over 20 years and am sure that things have changed rather dramatically. All advice welcome. Thanks.

Randy Redford
23-Feb-2008, 14:06
I forgot to include advice as to which month would be better for scenery and access. Thanks.

Thomas Greutmann
23-Feb-2008, 15:22
A few suggestions from a native Swiss (though I live in Germany now).

First of all, it is quite difficult to find places in Switzerland without mountain landscapes. :)

If you travel by car I would suggest to visit one of the three following regions - they have some of the most spectacular sceneries. Find a place in the middle of one of the regions to stay and take daytrips from there.

1) The Wallis - you will find the Matterhorn, the Aletsch glacier, the Rhone glacier and of course much more. A central place to stay may be Brig or Fiesch.

2) The Berner Oberland (Bern Highland). Stay in Interlaken and you can do trips to the Jungfraujoch, the Schilthorn, to Grindelwald and Wengen, to the Brienzer Rothorn or take spectacular steamboat rides on the Lake Thun or Lake Brienz. I have a few pictures from that area on my website (www.blackandwhitegallery.de).

3) The Engadin around St. Moritz, with the Bernina area and the Engadin lakes.

All these areas attract many tourists and the infrastructure for tourists is excellent. Of course there are many other places that will be spectacular, some of them less traveled than three regions mentioned here. For instance, the Glarus area, the area around Disentis, the southern Italian-speaking part (the Tessin) or the Saentis region (one of my favourites).

September and October are both good months for traveling. The air is often very clear and you will have an excellent view at high altitudes, much better than earlier in the year. There are often long periods of high-pressure weather in Sept and Oct, which means warm weather at high altitudes but fog in lower regions. October can be quite chilly and you may encounter snow at higher altitudes (which is an interesting subject for photography). This is particularly true for the Engadin which is at 6000 ft altitude.

If you are a flexible traveler: check the weather forecast when you get there before you decide where to go. The Alps are a weather barrier, so the weather north of the Alps is often the opposite of the weather south of the Alps. It may be sunny in the south and rainy in the north or vice versa. And Switzerland is fairly small so you can get from north to south in a few hours.

Even if you have a car: Switzerland has an excellent public transportation system with connected trains, buses, mountain railways and boats. So you may take a boat ride first, then use a cable railway to get up on a mountain, hike down the other side and get back by bus or railway. This will give you some more flexibility if you plan to hike. You can check the options locally, or check on the website of the Swiss railway (www.sbb.ch).

Greetings, Thomas

Armin Seeholzer
23-Feb-2008, 16:50
Some very good suggestions you already have from Thomas and I still live in Switzerland. I recomand not to do it in Oktober weather is saver in September many streets over mountains like San Gotthard can be closed and are also wonderfull!
Wallis and Berneroberland and of course I recomand Lucerne and the Vierwaldstättersee region inkluding mount Pilatus and Engelberg with Titlis.I find the mountains in the Engadin not so interesting the lakes are okay!
Zermatt with the Matterhorn is almost a must, even A.Adams was there!
If you need further assistents just tell me, Armin

John Kasaian
23-Feb-2008, 18:21
Something to rev your engine:

Nathan Potter
23-Feb-2008, 18:40
I would recommend studying an overview of Switzerland on Google Earth. The resolution is quite excellent and you can fly the valleys and glaciers with enough detail to actually set up your prospective views ahead of time. You can get some dandy views of the areas mentioned above.

Nate Potter

23-Feb-2008, 19:00
You are welcome to Switzerland.
Be warned though that you will be permitted to set your tripod almost everywhere!
I may be around to "largeformat" the autumn colors in October (In Valais, wrongly named "Wallis" by the Swiss German here in the LF;) ). Yes the Cervin (wrongly named "Matterhorn" by the same :p) is a good place to shoot, but you have to walk a bit outside the city, or to take the Gornergrat Bahn (costly) to face the Cervin.
Every lateral valleys of the Valais is worth the detour (Illiez, Derborence, Evolene, Saastal, etc.). Lot of lakes and dams on which mountains reflect...
When you are ready to fly, send me a pm.

Paul H
24-Feb-2008, 03:10
I'd also take a look around Ticino (La Svizzera). Some stunning scenery there. Oh, and proper (Italian) food :p

Enrico Faini
24-Feb-2008, 10:26
I'd also take a look around Ticino (La Svizzera). Some stunning scenery there. Oh, and proper (Italian) food :p
:eek: :rolleyes:


Emmanuel BIGLER
25-Feb-2008, 02:16
As a French native & citizen living close to the border I'll place another vote for Le Valais - Wallis where I often go for mountaineering if I had to choose a single location. Berner Oberland would of course comme second but the climate is not as nice as in le Valais as explained by Thomas G.

And yes, Switzerland has magnificent glacier views to offer, the Great Aletsch Glacier being the biggest in continental Europe (to find bigger glaciers you have to go to Svalbard or Iceland)
The famous view of this glacier is accessible from Wallis-Le Valais, the place to put your tripod is named : Bettmeralp and is a favourite of classical Swiss calendars ;)

However I would recommend for autumn shots not to overlook smaller mountain ranges with no glaciers like the Fribourg area and the Jura, both areas with limestones cliffs & peaks with a nice forestry environment. Superb autumn views.

From the Jura range you get magnificent vistas over the north side of the Alps
Just above Geneva (actually, the point of view is located in France) you get a superb view over the Mont Blanc and the Wallis Alps
Above Neuchâtel at Le Chasseral peak (accessible by a paved road) you get the maximum number of alpine peaks over 4000m to count ;-)

Depending from where you start in Switzerland, the Jura offers many nice photographic opportunites. For example if you start from Geneva, the Jura is worth a stop on your route to Wallis.
However if you start from the Zürich airport, the Berner Alps on one side or Säntis, Glarus on the other side make a logical choice. In 10 days you'll have to make a (cruel) choice according to where you start, this will allow you to prepare for a second travel later ;)

Andreas Hagenbach
25-Feb-2008, 08:20
All mentioned areas are worth a look. I'd say, you should start in Andermatt. There you are in middle of it. To the east you'll go to Graubünden. To the west over the Furka to the Obergoms, where you might head to the Grimsel and enter the Aletsch area through that passage. Or you head down the Goms valley until Bettmerboden, where you'll take the cable car up to Bettmeralp. A very nice area is also Val d'Anniviers, you'll lodge in Grimentz or Zinal, and then you have some 4000m peaks very close. Or in the next valley in Arolla.

Other suggestion: you go around the Engadin valley, check out Diavolezza, Bernina, the neigbouring Vale di Poschiavo, Vale di Bregalio, Albulapass. I can recommend Lai di Lunghin above Maloja, but it is a steep way. In the Heutal you'll have a good chance that some mountain goats chase you around. Whereas in the Valais the Ehringer cows are already back in the stable.;)

The Glarner Alpen are sometimes spectacular, but a really special area is Glattalp. You go to Muotatal, continue direction Bissistal until Saliboden. There you take the cable car up to the Glattalpsee. You can walk either to Braunwald or return to Saliboden with either cable car or walk. There is a bus from Muotatal until Saliboden. And if you call the cable car and reserve a place, then you don't wait!

The idea with the Jura is nice, but you'll see everthing form very far and it really depends on the weather. There are some days which leave you speachless, but those are very few and you can't tell them to come on the snap.

Daniel Strasshofer
29-Feb-2008, 15:15
Hi, in October 2007, I spent a week in the Vale di Bregalio (Bergell). Phantastic place to photograph: the wonderful chestnut-tree forest, a park with huge trees, is located on the gently sloping terrace above Castasegna.

4-Mar-2008, 12:17
I suspect the diversity of opinions on where to go in Switzerland is more confusing than helpful. The best suggestion, imo, is to use Google Earth - it hasn't failed me yet!

Basically, there are very few locations in Switzerland where you can't take good photographs. With a small number of exceptions, wherever you go, you'll find something nice to point your camera at. :)

My own preference is the Jura region around Neuchâtel (Gorges de l'Areuse, Creux du Van, Gorge du Doubs). The mountains are not so spectacular but the limestone geology makes for dramatic cliffs and deep gorges. For big mountains Wallis/Valais is the place to head for. But don't forget the slopes around Lac Léman (Lake Geneva), either. They're covered in vineyards which will look fantastic in the Autumn...

So much choice - it was 10 months you said you had available...? :D

Julian (a Brit at large in Switzerland ;) )

12-Nov-2009, 02:16

I recently move to Switzerland and just this week ordered a LF camera (prior I did MF travel photography), and quite interested in trying the equipment. And as far as I can see, here are also photographers from Switzerland. So... may be someone is interested in going for a day? I know.. I know that November is not the best option, but... Yeap less and less colorful autumn views, but why not "semi winter"? May be in December with just snow?

Just PM me or reznitsky@gmail.com.

Sascha Welter
12-Nov-2009, 03:01
If you're not much into hiking (and therefore carrying your equipment), check out which mountains tops (or places with view on mountain tops) can be reached by cable car or train.

One such easily reached peak that already has been suggested is the Säntis. This mountain is not *that* high, but since the surrounding mountains are lower, you get a far view (on good days you can see 6 countries). The downside is that the buildings on the top are a concrete monstrosity. But then you can even stay overnight in the hotel if you want to catch the sunrise or sunset.

Don't listen to the "it's called Valais not Wallis" stuff, the canton of Valais/Wallis is multilingual just like Switzerland itself and we Swiss are very easy, not to say proud about this stuff.

(From a Swiss from San Gallo / Saint Gall / Sankt Gallen, now living in Greece)

12-Nov-2009, 03:14

I'm actually ok with hiking, The only thing is that now it's short daylight and there's not that much time to do hiking and photography.

I've already been to Interlaken, Rigi, Pilatus from both sides(and made a flight from there http://rezdm.livejournal.com/149663.html ), Engelenberg but without LF ;)

Sascha Welter
12-Nov-2009, 03:18
Oh, and given the mentioned time of year, maybe you have a chance to catch the sun shining through the Glarus thrust (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glarus_thrust). Basically there's a hole in the mountain, where in spring and autumn the sun shines through for some hours, quite accessible. Some images on the German wikipedia article Martinsloch (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martinsloch).