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3 nights in Lauterbrunnen and 1 night in Lucerne in mid-October


My mom and I will be flying in to Zurich on Oct 15, then staying 3 nights in Lauterbrunnen, 1 night in Lucerne and flying out of Zurich on Oct 19. I know that's not nearly enough time, but any advice on "must see or do" is appreciated! Or favorite restaurants? I would also like to know the best options for rail passes.

My mom is 66 and not physically fit enough to do any major hikes, but she does enjoy walks. She loves mountains and waterfalls. I think she would be happy just sitting on our hotel patio and taking in all the beauty, but I want her to have some wonderful experiences.

Thank you in advance!

Posted by
8889 posts

Walking along the bottom of the valley at Lauterbrunnen, and seeing all the waterfalls, is pleasant and easy.
You have trains and cable cars that can take you as far as you want up the mountains. From Lauterbrunnen you can go up Schilthorn on one side. On the other side you can go up to Wengen and Kleine Scheidegg (click here), down again to Grindelwald and then loop back to Lauterbrunnen via the valleys.

Consider the Berner Oberland pass (click for website) as it has good coverage of the mountain railways and covers you to Luzern. CHF 250 for 4 days. You then just need to buy additionally tickets Zürich airport to Bern (see coverage map here) and Luzern to Zürich airport

Posted by
11286 posts

A big advantage of the valley floor walk over any others is that there is bus service (twice an hour for most of the day) all along it. So, if she gets tired, she can take a bus back to Lauterbrunnen.

Along the valley floor, about halfway between Lauterbrunnen and the lift station to Gimmelwald/Mürren/Birg/Schilthorn, there are the Trümmelbach Falls, which are largely inside rock. There is some climbing involved, but I believe parts can be seen without climbing (an elevator takes you up to the start, and you can walk down and still see much of it, without having to walk up).

If you do get good weather, do splurge for the Schilthornbahn and/or the Jungfraujoch. These are specifically designed not to require climbing (in effect, you're paying all that money for motors to do all the work; you just enjoy the views). Even with a Berner Oberland Pass, they're not fully covered, and they're not worth it if the weather is not good. Alas, that was my situation last week, and in October the weather is even iffier.

If you're not sure about the weather or just want to save money, the view from the top of the Allmendhubel (reached by train from Mürren's upper road) is great; you get to see the three peaks of the Eiger, the Mönch, and the Jungfrau in a row. I see it's fully covered by the Berner Oberland Pass, and is cheap at full price in any case, so, unlike the Schilthornbahn or the Jungfraujoch, you haven't lost much time and money if the weather turns bad once you get up there.

The Ballenberg Open Air Museum was quite interesting, but will be much less so if your mother can't climb stairs. These are old houses, and you can go into almost ever part of them, but they haven't in any way been retrofitted to be made more accessible. If she can climb a flight of stairs at a time, she will be fine here. While this is promoted as a "rainy day activity," be aware that the paths between the houses get very muddy in the rain (ask me how I know). So, while it's great when it's cloudy or lightly raining, it's not so much fun in the pouring rain. With a Berner Oberland Pass, the transit there is covered, and you get a 20% reduction on admission (very high otherwise).

She might like a boat ride on Lake Thun or Lake Brienz. Again, these boats, and the trains from Lauterbrunnen to them, are included in the Berner Oberland Pass, so you can decide on the spur of the moment. If it's really raining, however, you won't see anything (again, this was my situation; from the train station I could see that visibility was zero, so I didn't bother taking one).

All of these, and much more, are covered in Rick's Switzerland book; I hope you have this.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you both! I do have RS book, but I tend to be an overplanner and want to cram too much in. I thought you all would be able to offer some expert advice. Thank you!

It sounds like the Berner Oberland pass is the best way to go. I had read on other threads about the Swiss Pass, and using it to take the Golden from the Zurich airport into Lauterbrunnen. Is that something you would advise? Or would sticking with the region pass be better?

Thank you again!

Posted by
8889 posts

take the Golden from the Zurich airport into Lauterbrunnen

Carol, I think you are referring to the "Golden Pass Express". This, and the other special named trains, are merely extra trains that follow the same route as normal hourly trains. You see the same things out the window on the extra tourist trains as you see on the normal trains. The "Golden Pass Express" route is Montreux - Zweisimmen - Spiez - Interlaken - Meiringen - Luzern. It DOES NOT start at Zürich airport.
You will be following the second part of this route when you do your transfer from Lauterbrunnen to Luzern. This will be covered by the Berner Oberland Pass.