Hello All Planning to stay in Switzerland for 4 nights in August. Want the real alpine experience. Wondering whether to stay at Interlaken or Lake Lucern. Not sure which would be more spectacular and things to do. Dont want to be busy while we were there - loads of relaxing and taking in scenary but not bored either.
That begs the question, what do you expect of an alpine experience? For me and most Swiss people they are just large market towns... Either town would be a good base for trips into the mountains, but by the same token, you'd probably find cheaper hotels within say 15 minutes by train from there that would work out just as well. Oh the other hand, if you are looking to hear cow bells as you fall asleep in an old wooden bedroom, you need to go higher into the mountains.
Thanks - I dont really have many expectations at all - just want a visually amazing experience there. Relaxing but with access to nice walks, trip up the mountain if possible but not essential, access to food options.
Krystle, If you'd prefer incredible mountain scenery, cows grazing and lots of hiking, the Lauterbrunnen Valley outside of Interlaken would be a good choice. You could also take Cable Cars to the Schilthorn revolving restaurant where the James Bond movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service was filmed (the only time the Australian actor George Lazenby played Bond), or to the top of the Jungfrau (expensive, but unique). Depending on your preferences and budget, you could stay in Wengen, Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, Mürren or Gimmelwald. If you're adventurous, you could try Paragliding while there. If you'd prefer more of an urban experience in a beautiful city, Lucerne is a great choice. While there you could take cruises on the lake, an excursion to Mt. Pilatus, walk across the historic and beautiful Chapel Bridge, see the famous Lion of Lucerne or visit the extensive Museum of Transport. Local walking tours are offered at the Tourist Office, and there are lots of great restaurants and shops. If you want to browse posh shops with $10K Rolex Watches and Diamonds, there are Bucherer stores in both Interlaken and Lucerne. Happy travels!
I can't really compare the two since I only spent a couple of hours in Interlaken for a lunch break but I stayed in Luzern and really loved it there. It was so nice to walk around and we loved the excursion up Mt Pilatus (up by gondola and down by incline railway). The alpine vista from up at the top was awesome.
Interlaken is the base for lots of adventure like paragliding, canyon emerging, and kayaking if you are interested in that. If you want to relax and soak in the scenery stay up in a village like Wengen or Mürren, or up on Rigi near Lucerne.