We have two 8 yr. Old twins that we would like to take them up to see Gimmelwald. We are staying in Interlaken. We have the Eurail Flex/Saver Pass 1st class. We have one full day to see Gimmelwald and surrounding area. Please help us propose a full day itinerary for the boys to experience this area ...train...cable car...light hiking...farms...cows...mountains...food...We will start out from Interlaken after breakfast ... Please suggest websites to research train/cable car times + cost. Does the Eurail pass help with any transportation discounts here? Hope to give the boys a taste of the swiss alps.
Espe, Here's one possible route..... (1.) Take the train to Lauterbrunnen and then the short Cable Car ride to Grütschalp. Transfer to the small mountain railway for the trip to Mürren. When you arrive in Mürren, do a quick "walkabout" to explore this quintessential Swiss town and then stop for lunch (this will provide a "rest & nutrition break" for your twins). After lunch, take the Allmend-Hubel Funicular up the hill and then hike down. It's about a 1.5 hour hike as I recall and very easy. There's a small Hotel/Bar on the way down where you can stop for a cold drink and rest stop. One cautionary point to mention - if there are Cows grazing, you'll see a small white "string" at about knee height. DON'T allow your twins to touch it, as I believe it's an electric fence! When you get back to Mürren, walk down to Gimmelwald on the small paved track (it's all downhill so shouldn't be difficult for the twins). It won't take long to explore, but you can stop at the Pension for a beverage if you need a rest. Take the Cable Car down to Stechelberg (it's steep and spectacular), and then board the Post Bus for the trip back to Lauterbrunnen. if time permits you can stop at Trummelbach Falls, however I suspect by this time your twins will be worn out! A visit to the Schilthorn would certainly be interesting, but as the others have mentioned it's NOT cheap! Having a meal in the revolving restaurant while watching the beautiful views of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau is a wonderful way to spend an hour or so. If there are Paragliders launching from the Schilthorn, I'm sure that would be of interest to your twins. I'm not overly familiar with the best fares for children, so I'll leave that to the others. Happy travels!
As you will be staying in Interlaken be sure to take your twins to the Swiss Rail Museum near the Interlaken West Station. It's three floors of working model trains! With one day I would take the cable car to the top of the Schiltorn. Then take the cable car back down to Murren, walk around Murren then hike down to Gimmelwald (you'll see lots of cows, goats, and sheep along the way). Take the cable car down to the valley floor,and can catch the Postal Bus to nearby Trummelbach Falls. After your done with the falls catch the bus back to Lauterbrunnen, and connect with the train to Interlaken. Unfortunately the Eurail Pass doesn't cover transport past Interlaken into the Alps. http://www.schilthorn.ch/en/ http://rail.ch http://www.truemmelbachfaelle.ch/enmain2/main2.php
Unfortunately the trip to the top of the Schilthorn is very expensive for a family. The adult fare is 74 CHF RT above Mürren. Children are half fare, but you can reduce that to zero by buying a Junior Card for 30 CHF at your first rail station in Switzerland. Then they will travel for free with you while in Switzerland. Instead of going up the Schilthorm an native you might consider from Mürren is the Allmendhubel funicular. A return ticket is 12 CHF for adults, but most people ride upland walk down. There is a marked trail ( I'll have to look up the name) especially for children. You are much more likely to see cows in this area above Mürren than down by Gimmelwald. Some people have a cow or two in their yard, but most of the "working" cows are in the higher pastures in summer. After returning to Mürren you would continue with the plan Michael suggested, walking down to Gimmelwald, etc. You will probably be ready for lunch either at Mürren or Gimmelwald. Places in Mürren I would suggest are the Asian restaurant on the main street if the kids like Chinese food ( non atmosphere but they have outside tables and the food is good), or the patio at Stägerstubli nearby if you want to try Swiss specialties like Rösti (like hash brown potatoes but much better). You can get it plain (Natur) or with cheese, an egg, sausage, etc. There is also a bakery on the other side of the street where you could buy bread or pastries for snacks.
Espe, I agree with Ken and Lola. You're best itinerary for one day would probably be getting to Murren, taking the Allmendhubel Funicular up and doing the family friendly hike down. I had forgotten about the electric fences til Ken mentioned them. My husband accidentally touched one and we quickly realized they were electrified. I think in the new RS Switzerland book he mentions a new children's activity area on the way down on this hike. If I remember correctly there is a hipline and some other fun activities. You are entitled to a 25% discount on trains / lifts past interlaken when you show your eurail pass (doing so doesn't use up a day of your pass). You should also consider buying a swiss family card for 30SF which would allow your children to travel with you for free as long as you have a valid ticket. You can find fares and times at www.sbb.ch, but when I'm just looking for times, and not prices I find the DB website much easier to use.
Thank you for the great info ...I am mapping the route now. There seem to be two hiking sections with Ken's suggestion... 1) Allmendhubel Funicular hike back down to Murren ...1.5 hrs. 2) Murren walking/hiking to Gimmelwald ...how far/long is this walk ? How much is the Allmendhubel Funicular ..cable car/gondola ?
If I buy the Swiss Family Card 30 CHF ...will I get further discounts on rails/bus/cable car/etc. Actually I am just guessing how much the transportation on this day/itinerary will cost our family...Trying to budget for this leg of out trip. Thank you again for all your input, greatly appreciated.
Espe, Before deciding on hiking routes, one question that needs to be addressed - when will you be travelling in the Berner Oberland. The Allmend-Hubel Funicular will be closed for maintenance from 16 April to 1 June. To answer your questions: > The walk from Mürren to Gimmelwald is about 20-30 minutes as I recall. This will of course depend on walking speed, so you'll have to judge how fast that will take with two 8 year olds. > The return ticket rates for the Allmend-Hubel Funicular are listed as: - Adults CH$ 12.00 - With half fare or Swiss Card CH$ 6.00 - Children CH$ 6.00 I don't know if they offer one-way fares. You'll have to ask. Summer operating times are 09:00-17:00, departures every 20-minutes. It is neither a Cable Car or Gondola but rather a Funicular. Your kids will probably find it rather a unique ride. This Website shows what it looks like. Cheers!
Nigel, What an excellent description of the different types of rail and Cable Car systems!!!! Thanks for posting that! Espe, Have you got any flexibility in your schedule to perhaps visit the Gimmelwald area a few days later? If not, taking the Cable Car from Lauterbrunnen to Grütschalp, then the train to Mürren, hike down to Gimmelwald and then Post Bus to Trummelbach Falls is another option. That should also be a good day for your twins. Cheers!
Our travel day for Gimmelwald is May 30. Looking At the Allmandhubel Funicular on those websites, I can tell the boys would have loved to take a ride in it. Too bad it's closed for maintenance on that day. As I am reading on some other responses in this forum, there is some sort of cable car or gondola correct ? This is where I got confused with the Funicular.
If the kiddos get hungry in Gimmelwald (or maybe you might) you could do worse than having a pizza on the terrace of the hostel near the cable car station overlooking wonderful scenery. I think we have once had Raclette there too, served the traditional way. Some view... Just to clarify - A cable car is a small to medium size compartment suspended from a moving cable which travels above the land from tower to tower (sometimes a virtual tower). It may have capacity from 1 person to a couple or so dozen, probably with a cargo area below. A gondola is just a big cable car, sometimes holding many dozens of folk. Wengen to Mannlichen is a gondola. There may be, depending on the design, many or several or one cable car on the cable at once. The Swiss Sky Ride at Mickey's place is cable car. The large cable cars between Lauterbrunnen and Grutchalp; and the valley floor to Gimmelwald, Muerren, Schilthorn are also cable cars or they could be thought of as small gondolas. A funicular is two carriages on rails which are both attached to a cable running between the tracks. One car will start at the bottom and one at the top, and they will cross in the middle. The weight of the the two cars counter-balance each other so only a relatively small winding engine is needed to move them. They both move at the same time. The funicular up the mountain from Muerren to Allmendhubel is one of those. The train from Grutchalp to Muerren is a standard adhesion train, electric powered. The trains from Interlaken up to Lauterbrunnen, and continuing up all the way up to the Jungfraujoch are narrow gauge cog railways which means that there is a gear which protrudes below the train and links into a rack between the rails. The movement of the cog against the rack lifts the train up and down the steepest parts.
And another clarification, if you buy the 30 CHF Junion Card, your boys will travel for free with you on trains, boats, and cable cars throughout Switzerland.
It is helpful to look at the German names to understand the different types of cable cars and gondolas. The large ones are called Luftseilbahn, which translates as aerial cableway. These are large cars fixed on a cable, usually in pairs 180 degrees apart. One starts at the top and the other at the bottom, so they act as counterweights. The two cars pass in the middle each has an operator riding in the car who can control the movement. The car is stationary for boarding, and you ride standing up. The Schilthorn cable car is this type, as is the one going from Lauterbrunnen up to Grutschalp ( Although this one is a single car without a twin, as the distance is short). Some North American ski resorts have these same cable cars, Snowbird in Utah for example. They call theirs an aerial tram. A Gondalbahn or gondola has many smaller cars fixed at intervals on the cable. They hold 4 to 6 people seated on benches facing each other. They run continuously, so you board while the car is moving, although some have a mechanism to slow down as the car passes through the boarding area. Some of these have windows you can open. Tomride a Gondolbahn in the Berner Oberland area, you could go to Grindelwald and take the First Gondalbahn, or the one up to Mannlichen from Grindelwald
Grund. A funicular runs on tracks like a train, but is pulled by a cable. It is too bad the Allmendhubel funicular is closed during your visit. There was one going up to Grutschalp but it was replaced with the cable car. There is one at Zermatt, but it runs underground and is noisy and not fun.
Don't know your schedule but eight year olds (adults too) would enjoy Ballenburg. Very interesting and well done plus there are animals. The cows in the area you hope to visit will be hard to miss-no shortage and they are beautiful. I remember goats in Gimmelwald and you can buy cheese at the cute cheese "hut". Have a great trip!
You could also take the train to Lauterbrunnen and then the bus to Stechelberg Schilthornbahn where you can take a cable car all the way up to the Schilthorn. However, like previous posters have said, this is very expensive. This cable car's first stop is Gimmelwald and then Muerren. You could take this cable car up to Muerren, walk around and have lunch and then walk down to Gimmelwald. In Muerren, there is also a small grocery store, Coop, where you could buy lunch fixings. Also, lots of small stores and cute homes if you walk up into the town. I found the road down to Gimmelwald to be very steep, but it's probably okay for your boys. (Maybe there's a trail that also takes you down.) If you have the Rick Steves' tour book for Gimmelwald, he outlines a walk you can take in Gimmelwald which describes the town's buildings, their age and uses. At the town's hostel, there is a balcony where you can have a drink or small lunch, at least when we were there they were doing this. Along the walk, there is a hut where alpkase is stored, tasted and sold. We were fortunate enough to find the gal at home whom sells the alpkase from this hut. From Gimmelwald, you can take the cable car all the way back down to Stechelberg and head back to Interlaken. Have a great trip making lifetime memories with your family!
I like to recommend a loop to Mürren and Gimmelwald, using different forms of transport, rather than going up and down the same way. Here's how: From Lauterbrunnen, catch the cablecar that goes directly up to Grutschalp. The cablecar station is just a few meters away from the train station, easy to spot. At Grutschalp, you can either hop on the train that takes you into Mürren, or you can walk. It is an easy walk of about a mile along a level road, and you will pass a dairy farm (cows). We happened by there when the farmer and his dogs were bringing the cows in for milking. They were wild! I have never seen staid dairy cows run and jump like that. You will also pass the little restaurant at Winteregg, but it will probably be too early for lunch. After looking around Mürren, maybe buying a snack or having lunch, walk down to Gimmelwald. Yes, the road is rather steep. There are footpaths, but they are even steeper. We saw a toy construction set in one yard along the walk-Tonka-type trucks, but we knew it was a Swiss construction set as it included a helicopter. From Gimmelwald, after you have a look around, ride the cablecar down to Stechelberg. If you are lucky you will see paragliders in the sky above the cablecar. At Stechelberg there is a Postbus to take you back to Lauterbrunnen, or again you can walk. If you want to include Trummelback Falls on this leg of the journey, ask here is the Postbus stops there on the way. I don't know, as we have always walked that section.
Espe, I'll be back there this fall, and also really looking forward to it. Have a great trip!
Thanks everyone for such detailed information. We can't wait for this trip.