Autumn in Switzerland: The Fog
In a special series this week, we are welcoming the Autumn season here in Switzerland. Today, it’s all about the fog!
1. Get above the fog
Autumn days can be very foggy here in Switzerland. Not being able to to see the sun after several days can really bring down one’s mood. But the good news is, if there is fog down in the valley, you can almost always find the sun and blue skies above.
The trip through the fog is amazing in and of itself, and once we’re in the middle of the fog during our ascent, I often wonder if we will ever get above it. But once we do, the sight is just magical. The skies open up and the clouds pass underneath - it’s like something out of a fairytale.
The German word for this dreamy sight upon breaking through the fog layer is “Nebelmeer”, which translates into the sea of fog - it definitely looks like it stretches on forever when you’re above it.
If you’re in search of Nebelmeer, your first port of call should be the SwissWebcams website. Here you can find out how far the fog stretches up and how high you will have to go in an attempt to get above it. Sometimes you will have to go quite high up to get above the fog, other times maybe only as high as 800m.
My favourite App when it comes to the weather in general is the Meteo Swiss App. The forecast itself isn’t written in English, but the rest of the app is and it is easy to move around even if you don't understand German. It's great to check local temperatures, the radar and has a 5-day forecast.
Once we have figured out how high we have to go to find blue skies, then we have to narrow down where to go. Here are three of our favourite places to go close to Zug.
1. Sattel Hoch Stuckli
In the town of Sattel in Canton Schwyz you will find gondolas for their mountain Hoch Stuckli. The hiking trails, jumping castle area, summer toboggan runs and their new tubing run make it an ideal place for families with children. Your journey begins in a revolving gondola, and when you reach the top, the kids are always excited to be greeted by the jumping castle. We enjoy these attractions after the hike motivate the kids to keep hiking until the end! (open on good weather days till 5th November).
Before you head up to Hoch Stuckli, check out their website to see what features are open and for their own webcam which will show you where the fog is located.
At the end of your day when you ride the gondola back down to the car park, you will find a farmers market shop filled with local produce. It’s also a great stop before the hike if you need to pick up some sausages and bread on your way up.
2. Rigi: Queen of the Alps
The Rigi is a fantastic area to explore every day of the year, but it’s particularly great on foggy days. The Rigi stands high enough that you are almost certain to get above the fog. Reaching to 1798m, it’s a little smaller than other famous mountains around here such as Pilatus (2128m) and Titlis (3238m) but I find that because it has so much to offer, the Rigi is my favourite mountain to visit.
The Rigi’s also has numerous webcams. This will help you narrow down which area of the Rigi is without Fog and will allow you to pinpoint the area you’d like to explore.
There are many different hiking routes, a variety of places to stop and have lunch, as well as many places to enjoy the panoramic alpine views. Our favourite trail in any season (in winter you can even pull a sled!) is the Rigi Panorama Trail. The trail is almost completely flat except for the very last section so it’s a great starting point for new hikers. Start at Rigi Kaltbad by taking the train up from Goldau and walk the 7.1km to the Rigi Scheidegg where you can take the cable car back down to Goldau via Kräbel. The stroll takes about 2 hours and there are numerous places along the way to enjoy something to eat, or you can even bring along something to grill on the fire.
There are numerous other kid friendly hiking trails on the Rigi, and you can check them out here.
If the fog is at a higher elevation, you may need to go all the way to the top of the mountain. The train from either Vitznau or Goldau will take you all the way to the top. Bonus: if you go by Vitznau you’ll get to ride the Vitznau-Rigi Kulm cogwheel railway which is famous for being the the first European mountain railway.
3. The Zugerberg
The Zugerberg is our closest mountain and it’s where you will find us when foggy days descend down onto the town. This place can get quite popular when the fog has set in, and the parking can be limited at the top (and also quite chaotic), so the best way to head up is by taking the number 11 bus (it even has a sign on the front if it’s sunny up above or not) and then the Zugerberg Bahn. From the top its just a short walk to a great playground.
The Zugerberg has just opened a new Adventure Trail called Zugiblubbi Erlebnisweg. Its a 4.5km long trail that is suitable for families with kids up to around 10 years of age and along 9 different posts, you are in search of the diamond. The signs are also translated into English.
These are our favourite places to escape the fog in the autumn, and I would love to hear how you escape the fog. Leave your ideas in the comments section below and I will create a post at a later date with all your suggestions.