Planning a Swiss vacation. Is there any benefit to staying in Interlaken during my trip to the berner oberland ? I am not a hiker, but plan to see the mountains by train/gondola and want to check out all the small towns of Murren, Wengen, Gimmelwald, and Lauterbrunnen. Are there more dining and pub choices in Interlaken or should I just stay in the Alps ? Thanks, Beth
My opinion is... I see no reason to stay in Interlaken. Some of the most stunning scenery anywhere is less than an hour away. You don't need to be a hiker to enjoy these places. I'd stay in Wengen (our favorite) or one of the others...Murren or Lauterbrunnen.To be that close and stay in Interlaken? I don't know why.
There are more dining and shopping choices in Interlaken. Also, if your visiting during the off-season (oct-may) most restaurants and hotels are closed in the mountain villages, so Interlaken is a better place to base yourself during those months. In the Summer I would try and stay in the mountain villages:better views, and a more peaceful atmosphere. Having said that, staying in Interlaken isn't the end of the world; no matter where you stay your going have a great time!
Interlaken is best used for a transportation hub. Spend your time in the mountain villages. If you decide you want to travel down to Interlaken for dinner or lake cruise then it's only about a 20 minute train ride.
It all depends on when you visit. During the shoulder seasons, the hospitality industry in the Alpine towns almost completely shuts down. Although you can still visit and walk around places like Murren and Gimmelwald, nearly every restaurant and hotel will be closed. At these times, Interlaken is probably a better option. You may find more establishments open in Lauterbrunnen, but even there you will have limited choices.
Thanks everyone for your suggestions! Beth