There's pressure from Mrs Wilko for some easy Alpine walking with mechanical assistance and LOTS of wildflowers. Also, we are thinking of somewhere we could easily reach from UK by train. I have a few ideas, but would welcome any input based on the experiences of others. The demand for flowers means limestone areas have a head start.
The Stubai possibly? I'm not sure how easy it would be to get there by train but shouldn't be too horrendous from my experience of Austria's railway network.
The Queyras might suit? Can't recall much mechanical assistance in the area though.
Very good bus service from Innsbruck to stubaital and a very nice light railway as far as Fulpmes.
Dunno how they rate on the flowers front, but there's some nice stuff doable with lifts / trains in the Oberammergau / Garmisch area of Bavaria by train*. How many days walking are you looking for?
*train/fly to Munich, then train down to Garmisch or change in Murnau for the branch line to Bad Kohlgrub / Unter/Oberammergau. No need for a car. You can continue on the train westwards to Reutte or south to Innsbruck from Garmisch, but I've not done stuff down there.
Dolomites is possible (and has some amazing wildflowers). I did it using the Paris-Venice sleeper train then used Collett's for accomodation and Venice-Corvara/Badia minibus transfer.
Plenty of cable cars and seat lifts around, and buses up to the high passes.
Col de Izoard & Col Agnel are 2 361 m & 2 744 m and are crossed by roads so even if there are no lifts its possible to start walking at a reasonable altitude. If you do go to the Queyras I'd recommend the Belvedere de Viso for a mix of plants, geology & scenery.
Thanks to all who've replied - some food for thought.
Re flowers - needs to be a limestone area (otherwise Chamonix would be favourite).
Also, not intending to hire car.
If it's meadowfuls you're after rather than the shy individuals among the rocks, then getting the timing right is important before they're mown. I was on the northern side of the Bernese Alps for the whole of last summer; up until the end of June the alpine pastures were stunning, after that just simply pretty
What about The Eiger area? You can get a train up to 3000m if you really want to! The walk under the north face from the Eigergletscher station down to Grindelwald is quite pleasant, albeit a lot of downhill.
Bagnes valley is a doddle by train from Geneva, head to Verbier for mechanical assistance, the upper meadows around the resort are amazing in summer
Remember to get to the high alpine pastures before the cows are taken up (early July in the Queyras). One day, thigh high floral bliss; the next, stubble and poo. The cheese improves, mind.
Yes, Grindelwald had crossed my mind.
Thanks, I'll have to look that up.
Yes, I've had that experience, too.
A recommendation for Sixt - Fer a Cheval, which is just up the valley from Samoens. You could get there by bus from Cluses on the TGV line. I was Rambler's Holidays Leader there in summer 1980 and there's enough walking to keep you busy for a fortnight with the possibility of some two-day trips, for example over via Chalet D'Anterne to the Brevent and cable car down into Chamonix, an absolutely superb little expedition.
Dolomites is amazing and would be my choice.
Grindelwald is also lovely, however, save up as it's a costly place. The train up the Eiger is eye-wateringly expensive as well as food and drink.
and great limestone scenery all the way to Geneva along the GR5..
Thanks, another one I had lurking in the back of my mind, but hadn't done anything about it!
For this week's Friday Night Video slot, we have a double bill of some extraordinary climbing in Australia. The first video shows the captivating headwall on the Taipan Wall classic Groove Train (f8c) and the second is from...