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Interlaken

We will be in Switzerland from Sept 10-21 2014. Spending 2 nights in Lucerne and then to Interlaken for 2 nights.
We will not be hiking just enjoying the sights. What to do in the area?
Thanks Michele

Posted by
8889 posts

Definately take a boat trip from Luzern. The longer the better, as the further south you get on the lake the more fjord-like and spectacular it is.

Go up Titlis. Train from Luzern to Engelberg, then cable car to the summit. See www.titlis.ch

The train from Luzern to Interlaken, following the "Brünigbahn" route via the Brünig pass is an excursion in itself.

From Interlaken, if it is a clear day, take the train up the Jungfrau. If it is a really clear day this will be the highlight of your trip. But it is expensive.

A lesser excursion to Grindelwald or Lauterbrünnen ("the valley of the waterfalls").

If you have any time left, day trip to Bern. Lovely old town. Don't forget to say hello to the bears.

There is lots more, lakes and mountains, but you have only limited time.

Posted by
26 posts

Thanks good advice. New question. Should we stay in Interlaken or Murren for the 2 nights??
Can we get to Murren by train, no cable cars for me.
M

Posted by
120 posts

Michelle, sorry to say that you cannot get to Murren other than by cable car. If you want to stay inthe mountains then I would suggest Wengen, also a car free resort or Grindelwald, not car free and busier than Wengen.

Posted by
26074 posts

to build on Pauline's answer, other than hiking up the steep path up the cliff edge, the two ways to Muerren both involve a large cablecar. These cablecars are quite large. I've never counted but I would guess that they hold 50 to 75 people standing. They are quite quick.

The simplest way to Muerren is from Lauterbrunnen, directly across the street is the cablecar up to Grutschalp where the passengers change onto the train along the top of the cliff to Muerren. They had to put in a cable car to replace the previous funicular which suffered from ground movement.

If you can't put up with cablecars that's fine, but it is a very scenic ride.

Wengen is on the opposite side of the valley, the side which is much lower and much flatter. Also car-free, it is reached by train from Lauterbrunnen. From Wengen the train goes up to Jungfraujoch via various intermediate villages and junctions. Wengen is also linked to the ridges via cablecars.

Grindelwald is yet further over, reached by trains from Interlaken, and linked to the trails by cablecars and the train up to Jungfraujoch via a different route for some distance. It also has plenty of cars and buses.

Posted by
16869 posts

If you're taking the gondola/cable car but afraid of heights, I would grab onto a pole as close to the center of the cabin as possible and let other people fill in near the windows. If you decide not to go to Muerren and Schilthorn because of that gondola, then a train would continue from Wengen to Jungfraujoch for a different high mountain view (even more expensive, so only do it on a clear day).

Posted by
7205 posts

The Murren gondola is not one of those that travels across hair-raising precipices - it only goes just above the tree tops before you transfer to a train...it's a no scare type of gondola. It would be very very sad for you to miss Murren just because of that 4 minute little gondola ride.

Posted by
26074 posts

just think of it as a horizontal and vertical elevator with windows. You don't HAVE to look down.... You can look up, or sideways, or not at all.

It doesn't have that clunky noisy feeling at all as it goes over the intermediate towers - not at all like Disneyland or San Diego Zoo. Very smooth, no swinging, if you are in the middle you'll perhaps barely notice the movement.

Posted by
26 posts

Thanks for all of the encouragement. I think I can do 4 minutes. I think we will stay in Interlaken and do a day trip to Murren for a short hike and visit the town.
Michele

Posted by
139 posts

Michele,

We visited Muerren using the cable car a couple of times (driving from Interlaken to Stechelberg) about a month ago and the descriptions are very accurate - smooth as silk, almost imperceptible sideways motion and if you stand toward the center it probably has less felt motion than a typical hi-rise elevator.

The real payoff for braving the trip are the views from Muerren! Oh my...I have had so many people comment on the new pictures on my office wall - I printed them 16"x20" and people just stop dead in their tracks and stare. We walked down from Muerren to Gimmelwald - which I highly recommend - and every 75 yards there was another not-to-be-missed scenic view.

Posted by
7205 posts

Staying in Interlaken is not a good idea. If you came here to see the alps and the wonderful villages then why wouldn't you stay in them? You know, they have chalets and restaurants and hotels and grocery stores and bars and souvenir shops...and drop dead gorgeous scenery. And you'll be right in the middle of everything that's wonderful if you stay in Murren, Lauterbrunnen or Wengen. Interlaken is not bad, but compared to what you will have in the other villages will make Interlaken look very very sad.

Interlaken has so much publicity that I can understand how some people probably would equate Interlaken with the Swiss Alps. But it's not. Not even close.

Posted by
187 posts

Michele
I am afraid of heights, but everything that the previous posters said is true. The cable car ride to Murren is very short and smooth. The scenery is so beautiful that I was soon one of the riders attempting to get a place by the windows! I agree that the walk from Murren to Gimmelwald is scenic and an easy walk. We had rainy weather when we were in Switzerland, but it didn't stop us from seeing the beautiful sights. When you are in the Berner Oberland, you expect to see Heidi and her goats approaching!

Posted by
185 posts

Michele,

If you are staying in Interlaken, consider taking a cruise on one of the lakes, Brienzersee or Thunersee. People say the Brienzersee is more scenic but I like both. For the Brienzersee, the boat leaves opposite the Interlaken Ost rail station and is about a three hour cruise out and back. For something a little different, get off at Brienz and take a ride on the Brienz-Rothorn steam railway. Just head to the rail station near the dock. You can hop on another boat back to Interlaken or just take the train back. The cruise on the Thunersee is a little more than 4 hours long R/T but halfway through, the boat stops at the town of Thun where there are frequent trains to Interlaken (if you don't want to spend that long on a boat). This cruise leaves from the dock opposite the Interlaken West station. A rail pass will usually give you a discount on both (if you are using one). Everyone is right; it is much nicer to stay, say, in Lauterbrunnen (which has some nice hotels) and take a train to Wengen or Grindelwald for the views of the valley and mountains. P.S. the walk from Murren to Gimmelwald is really nice but it's all downhill with cutbacks to account for the steepness in some spots; the walk back up to Murren is much harder due to it being all uphill but the cable car up from Gimmelwald is always an option.

Posted by
756 posts

Stay in Lauterbrunnen or Wengen preferably Lauterbrunnen. The problem everyone is forgetting is that Murren is 2000 feet above the valley floor and to get to the Jungfrau or Ballenberg or Trummelbach Falls you have to start out on the valley floor which means time and money spent going up and down from Murren on a cable car. I love cable cars so it's no problem for me but for you it is a different story, besides with only 2 nights you don't have the time to waste going up and down from Murren you will spend enough time waiting for buses and trains in Lauterbrunnen. People seem to have forgotten that once you take the 4 minute cable car ride there is a 15 minute train ride to the north end of Murren. That being said, if time allows, close your eyes and take the cable car up to Murren, the views from there are simply magnificent.

Posted by
39 posts

My only thought is the whole area is so stunning you really can't go wrong with where you want to stay. If you like cruising or kayaking then Interlaken is a great place, but if you like hiking then going down from Wengen to Lauterbrünnen is one of the most famous vistas.

Another thing to consider is whether the cable cars are included in your travel pass. For example, the Schilthorn cable car is a very expense ride.