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3 Nights in The "Alps" - October 2015

I am planning to spend two or three nights in Gimmelwald in October 2015. Any advice regarding choosing Gimmelwald versus Murren?
Personal experience with accommodations in either or both ??

Yes, Gimmelwald and Murren came up in reading RS's guide. In addition, individuals have stated that it is a beautiful location with options to explore areas nearby by hiking and public transportation. I do have a concern regarding the "touristy" factor versus alternative destinations mentioned below.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, including considering a different locale to stay in the area. My next destination is Cinque Terre for 3 nights. Travel is by train.

Possibly, Bettmeralp & Riederalp ?? Many Thanks !!

Posted by
11453 posts

First, try for 3 nights. If you only spend two and the weather is poor on your one full day you will miss a lot of scenery. If the weather is good for both days, it's a bonus,

Gimmelwald is truly a village. Limited restaurants at best. It's cute to pass through, but I would not spend 3 nights there. Stay up in Murren where you will have choices. You can get to Murren via the little railroad form Grutschalp as well as by cable lift. Alternatively, you can stay in Lauterbrunnen in the valley and have easy access to both side of the valley. Spend one day going up to Murren, the Schilthorn and ALmenhubel, and the next to Wengen, Kleine scheidigg, Mannlichen. "Touristy" or not the scenery is amazing. You cannot beat the transportation system.

Posted by
12040 posts

"I do have a concern regarding the "touristy" factor"

The tourist industry in Mürren chiefly consists of hotels, restaurants and sporting goods stores... ie, the stuff most visitors usually want to help them explore the mountains. Maybe some trinket shops here and there, but I don't recall them being overly intrusive, as in, say, Rothenburg odT. Don't worry about being reminded that you're a tourist. The mountain scenery will make you not care.

And yes, give yourself 3 nights, particularly if you're traveling in the latter half of the month when the weather is less reliable.

Posted by
487 posts

I completely second what Laurel said about the weather. We went to Gimmelwald in September 2006 and the first few days we were there it was so foggy that we could not even tell we were in the mountains other than the extremely steep paths immediately before us. The third day cleared off and the views were incredible! We would have been so disappointed if we never got to see them. We still had fun on the foggy days, it was just a much different experience.

Posted by
11294 posts

Gimmelwald was interesting to explore - for a half day, including dinner. It's really tiny. Mürren had many more food options (including a small supermarket) and better quality restaurant food, as well. I agree that while Mürren has many things for tourists, it's not "touristy" in the sense of feeling spoiled. And Gimmelwald is "spoiled" in its own way, with its "honor shop" and other things that wouldn't exist without international tourism.

I was very glad I stayed in Mürren instead of Gimmelwald (or, for that matter, Lauterbrunnen). The views from Mürren are everything they're cracked up to be, and I also enjoyed the convenience of having easy access to both the train and the cable car; they're at opposite ends of town, which only means a 10 minute walk. I stayed at the Hotel Edelweiss, and my single room didn't have a balcony like the larger ones, but had an amazing view straight across the valley to the mountains!

I found that for Swiss hotels, it's very important to e-mail them directly. Rooms that were not shown on their Internet booking sites were available when I contacted the hotels directly, and at often lower prices than on the websites too (remember to specify that you found them in the Rick Steves Switzerland book).

I was also very glad I stayed for 4 nights (3 full days), so that my day of cloudy weather didn't cause problems (I had already gone up the Schilthorn on a sunny day and the Jungfraujoch on a mixed day). So, stay as long as you can spare.

Posted by
755 posts

We stayed in Murren for 3 nights and loved it! Great lodging, nice restaurants and still a little Alpine village. On our last day we wheeled our suitcases down a service road to Gimmelwald and spent the afternoon exploring the village. We enjoyed a delightful lunch on the patio of the youth hostel.