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Appenzell or Lauterbrunnen for day trip?

Our command centre would be in Lucerne, the accomodations are non refundable so there’s no way i can alter our itinerary anymore. We are there for 3nts/4days and one of those would be spent on a whole day excursion to the Swiss countryside/off the beaten path, see the cows, mountain etc etc.. ,these 2 are the only places i can come with... Thoughts?

thanks in advance..

Posted by
8889 posts

1) Go up one of the three mountains near Luzern: Pilatus, Rigi, Titlis. Titlis is the highest and has a permanent snow-cap (small glacier) you can go on and in: https://titlis.ch/en

2) Take a boat trip on the lake. Go all the way to the far end and get a train back.

3) Lauterbrunnen and back again by train. This is a scenic rail route over the Brünig Pass; and Lauterbrunnen is 5-star eye-candy.

Appenzell is too far for a day trip.

Posted by
768 posts

I agree with Chris. It takes 2 hrs 20 min from Lucerne to Lauterbrunnen.
Also, if it is a nice clear day, take the train from Laut. to Wengen, then cable car up to Mannlichen, then walk down to Kleine Scheidegg (1.5 hrs), then train back to Wengen. You will NOT be disappointed. Also, every time I've been to Mannlichen, there have been plenty of cows there. Google image "Mannlichen" to see part of that hike.

Posted by
5742 posts

I agree with previous posters. The Lauterbrunnen area is beyond amazing. I'll only comment that if weather is poor or if you need more to do, you could think about a daytrip to Bern. It is an interesting city. BUT, Luzern and Lauterbrunnen valley are my two favorite places in Switzerland AND pretty high up on my favorites in all of Europe.

Posted by
32224 posts

Another resounding vote for Lauterbrunnen! The transportation time from Lucerne is reasonable and as a day trip location, it offers a lot of "bang for the buck". You could (for example).....

  • Take a trip to Mürren and then the famous Schilthorn, made famous by the James Bond movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service, which was partially filmed there many years ago. The scenery from the cable cars on that trip is spectacular! As it's also a revolving restaurant, you can have a fine hot meal while watching the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau glide by the windows.
  • On the return trip, you can walk down the hill from Mürren to the small village of Gimmelwald, featured in many of Rick's TV shows. Have a cool one on the patio of the Pension and admire the incredible scenery. From there it's an easy cable car trip down to Stechelberg, Post Bus to the station in Lauterbrunnen and then back to Lucerne.
  • Take the Cog wheel train up the hill to Wengen or go farther to Kleine Scheidegg and the Jungfraujoch. It's an expensive trip but very unique. One point to note is that the Jungfraujoch is at about 12,000 ft., so if any in your party have altitude issues, that could be a problem.
  • Take the Post Bus from Lauterbrunnen to Trümmelbach Falls for a look.
  • if you're interested in hiking, there are lots of possibilities. One easy hike is to take the Allmend-Hubel Funicular up the hill from Mürren and then walk back down. You'll probably see cows grazing, with bells around their necks (I've also seen cows in Gimmelwald). As I recall, there are a couple of Pub / Hotels on the way down, but not sure when they're open.
  • If you happen to be in Lauterbrunnen on the day of the annual "cow parade" you'll see lots of cows with bells!

When is this trip taking place? If taking any mountain lifts in that area, it's a good idea to check to find out when they're going to be closed for maintenance.

Posted by
5742 posts

Ken has great ideas. It is going to be a little tricky, day tripping from Luzern so keep your plans for the day flexible. If the weather is less than wonderful and visibility is poor, probably not worth the money to go up to the Jungfrau. If you do have a pass of some sort, Schilthorn may be included as free or at a reduced price and if you are James Bond fans, Schilthorn may still be enjoyable even if the visibility isn't great.We still enjoyed Gimmelwald when the weather wasn't awesome and another option would be the beautiful waterfalls in the Lauterbrunnen Valley. My experience with mountains is that, in general, the likelihood of clear weather is greatest in the am.

Posted by
7209 posts

I'm just curious why your accommodations in Lucerne are non-refundable. Did you book a hotel on your own and chose the non-refundable rate?

Posted by
32 posts

I'm back … Guess Appenzell is out of the running :)
These posts answered my question no doubt, but opened another ones:

  1. What's at the far end of the boat trip from Lake Lucerne?
  2. Will our Swiss Pass cover all those places mentioned? (Wengen, Mannlichen etc..etc) real life exp.
  3. Are we expecting a steep hike from Mannlichen down to Klein S. ?
  4. Is it still lush and green in October? What kind of weather are we trying to avoid here?
  5. Can 1&2 as stated by Chris be consolidated into 1 day?

to answer the queries, we are going 2nd week of October, our accommodation is thru a host from Airbnb who has a very strict cancellation policy - a superhost, had the best location in Lucerne and very much in demand.

Posted by
5742 posts

If you have the Swiss Pass, the trip to Mt Rigi is included. It includes a boat ride to a cog train. The view from the top of Rigi is lovely.The Swiss Pass also includes the entire amount of the trip to the top of Schilthorn. Swiss Pass gets you up to Murren, Gimmelwald, Wengen, and Grindelwald. My recollection that beyond those places transportation is discounted. The weather I was thinking about is mountain weather, like rain and thunderstorms. I have a friend who was in that area last year, late September maybe beginning of October and she reported great weather.

Posted by
8889 posts

1 What's at the far end of the boat trip from Lake Lucerne?

A place called Flüelen. The station is right next to the boat pier, so transfer is easy. The attraction of the trip is that the lake gets increasingly fjord-like and spectacular the further you get to the far end. The boats call at many places on the way, some also with bus or train connections, so you can do shorter trips if you want. Or just a loop back to Luzern, but then you miss the best bit at the end.

2 Will our Swiss Pass cover all those places mentioned? (Wengen, Mannlichen etc..etc) real life exp.

As far as Wengen, but no higher. See the official map of what is covered here: https://www.sbb.ch/content/dam/sbb/de/infotexte/uebersichtskarte-sts.pdf.download.pdf

4 Is it still lush and green in October? What kind of weather are we trying to avoid here?

Yes, but there might be a few snow flurries if you go very high.

5 Can 1&2 as stated by Chris be consolidated into 1 day?

Pilatus or Rigi yes, Titlis no, it is a bit further and not on the lake.
For Pilatus or Rigi, you can get a boat to the mountain, up one side, down the other and a train back.
Pilatus, see here: https://www.pilatus.ch/en/discover/golden-round-trip/
Rigi here: https://www.rigi.ch/en/Experience-Enjoy/Summer/Summer-experiences/Majestic-Round-Trip
or here (alternative route): https://www.rigi.ch/en/Experience-Enjoy/Summer/Summer-experiences/Classic-Rigi-Round-Trip

Posted by
768 posts

The Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg trail is fairly level, slightly downhill overall. The only "steep" (25 degree?) Portion would be at the very end, maybe the last 100 meters. But the trail is smooth and wide, packed gravel.

The weather in Oct. is probably similar to that in Denver. I'm fairly sure you can look up historical weather on the web. Personally, I'd take along a down jacket and a raincoat.

Posted by
32 posts

Lauterbrunnen it is! :)
I'm just caught between Murren vs Wengen .. ( maybe I need to start a new thread??)
Big thanks to all .. Appreciate it, I really do.

Posted by
5742 posts

I don't think you can go wrong between Murren and Wengen. You will probably visit all the towns anyway. Check out accommodations and prices in both. Wengen is probably bigger and perhaps a bit more central.

Posted by
11294 posts

Agree with Jules - both Muerren and Wengen are great, and and don't sweat picking one over the other.

If you have a Swiss Pass, for 2018 you are fully covered as high as Wengen (on one side) and Schilthorn (on the other side). However, you do get 25-50% off travel to higher places, as well as other routes not fully covered like the Allmendhubel. Just make sure that for places not fully covered, you buy your ticket BEFORE travel; show your Swiss Pass to get the appropriate discount.

Posted by
219 posts

All the above suggestions will make a wonderful day-trip. I'll add that Ebenalp (near Appenzell), from the cable car station up on the mountain to the outdoor cafe carved into the cliff, has a spectacular Swiss countryside view, and is do-able as a day-trip from Luzern if you start early in the morning.
Choose by where the best weather is forecasted--it varies greatly place to place at any time, and your experience is all about the view.

Posted by
32224 posts

Mürren vs Wengen.....

I find that Mürren is a bit more "rustic" and informal - https://goo.gl/images/WQDkAF , while Wengen seems to be more "touristy", with larger hotels - https://goo.gl/images/u3iXfj .

Which place to choose might depend to some extent on what touring you're planning to do in that area. If you're planning to visit the Jungfraujoch, then Wengen would be a good choice. If you're planning to visit the Schilthorn, then Mürren would be best. If you're planning to visit both sites, then Lauterbrunnen is the most central and efficient location.

Posted by
12 posts

I agree about Appenzall. IT was beautiful, but in late September it was so rainy that we could not hike because the trails were too muddy. I think Murren is one of the most magical places I have ever been and the Schilthorn trip and views were spectacular.
We also did Mt. Pilatis while in Lucerne and went by bus (after going the wrong way on the bus, but eventually we got there) and came back by boat. The tour office in the train station in Lucerne was SO helpful and gave us all the information we needed about using our passes, which we had purchased in the Zurich train station, not in the US.

Posted by
32 posts

All the suggestions here, reinforced with YT videos( Thanks for the keywords btw) are making me entertain the thought of writing off my deposit in Lucerne and moving our base to Lauterbrunnen.. It seems stuff in Lucerne can equally be done in the Valley.. Lesson learned.
thanks.

Posted by
5742 posts

@OP, I don't know your ability to make modification to air or lodging, but I think the ideal would be 2 days in Luzern and 4 in Lauterbrunnen area. There really is a lot to like about Luzern. In any case, you can't go wrong in that area of Switzerland.

Posted by
32 posts

For lodging, maybe i can .. For air, its too complicated as this was meant to be just a 4 day layover ...but nevertheless still wanted to juice everything i can out of it.

Posted by
312 posts

The overwhelming advice to go to Lauterbrunnen, not Appenzell, doesn't mean Appenzell isn't a great place to visit; I enjoyed my time there. Ebenalp does have some great views, and there are other mountain lifts in that area too (such as Säntis). But it can't compare to the Lauterbrunnen valley for pure jaw-dropping views.

Definitely don't sweat the Mürren/Wengen decision; I stayed in Mürren and loved it, but from my visit to Wengen I could tell I would have been happy there too.