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Barcelona to Murren with toddlers. Fastest Route?

Hi,
I'm travelling with my young family (toddlers 2yrs and 4yrs) from Barcelona to Murren in June 2019. I'm a little stuck on deciding which is the most efficient and easiest combination of transport options (with less transfers) available. Should we:

  1. Fly into Basel or Zurich?
  2. Then train or private transfer to Lauterbrunen? Whats the difference in cost?

I know the trains are the most scenic, but our luggage (x2 checkins, x2 backpacks + travel stroller) worries me if changing through different train lines.

Thankyou for any advice in advanced.

Posted by
12023 posts

I've looked at rail schedules from the two airports, and there is so little variance (maybe 10 minutes, and both typically with 4 transfers) as to make no difference. It could come down to some factor of which I am not aware.

It appears that the driving distance is about 10 miles shorter from Zurich, which might help moderate the cost of a private transfer just a bit. Or you could go to Interlaken by train and just take a taxi the rest of the way. But I haven't been to Muerren and don't know whether you can actually get all the way to the town by car. You may have to do the last leg by train, anyway.

Posted by
20687 posts

Katherine,

No taxis or cars are permitted to go up the cliff to Mürren.

The route by cable car and train from Lauterbrunnen is detailed in Rick's Switzerland guidebook, as is the route by bus and 2 cable cars via Gimmelwald.

Is it just you and the two toddlers and the luggage, or is there an able bodied person travelling with you? It sounds like you have luggage for 2 adults but you only mention "I", not "we". It will likely make a difference.

Bern is a very small airport and not well connected. If you want to fly into Switzerland, Zürich airport is the place to be. There is a train station right at the airport.

If you are on the train there is place to put the kids down so they can move around a little, and there are toilets with changing tables. The last carriage of Swiss double decker trains (big windows, great views) has a childrens' playground upstairs, with slides and dinosaurs. Look for the abbreviation FA on timetables and display boards. FA = Familie Abteil. All the information (in English) is on the official website of the Swiss Railways (SBB) at https://www.sbb.ch/en/station-services/on-the-train/family.html and explained there is also the new FA on the single deck trains now available.

I would have thought that the munchkins would have been much happier there than cooped up in a taxi seat for ages - and likely the taxi wouldn't have two child seats, or even one. And if a munchkin is happy, my experience is that the parent is happy too.

Posted by
2135 posts

I agree on Nigel regarding the train if you are with another adult. Swiss trains are very comfortable and will allow the kids to move around. Most often there are extra seats, too, unless you are traveling at the beginning or end of the day. I found the people at the ticket counters in Switzerland to be very helpful. You will actually get an itinerary of sorts, listing the platforms and times.

Posted by
10212 posts

I agree with Nigel that the children would be happier on the train. If you book a car service, you will still have 2 transfers, from the van to the cablecar up to Grutschalp, and then to the little train into Muerren. (They usually transfer your luggage for you at that point). Or if you take the car service to Stechelberg, you board the Schilthorn cablecar and change cars at the Gimmelwald station.

If you want to use a car service, here are a couple I found:

https://www.alpinbus.com/transfer/zurich-airport-zrh/lauterbrunnen. 307 CHF quote

https://www.suntransfers.com/zurich-airport-to-lauterbrunnen This one offers car or van, 345-368 CHF

If you want to take the train, there are direct trains from Basel SBB to Interlaken, but you have to get from the Basel airport to the SBB train station. If you fly into Zurich, you can get a train right in the airport that will lake you to Bern, but you have to change trains there to reach Interlaken.

That change in Bern can be a beast at high season. We were heading to Muerren from Basel last July to meet up with my son and his family (two 6-year-olds, luggage, and a bike). They were coming from Zurich and the plan was for them to board the same train we were already on at Bern. The platform was so crowded it was chaos, and they barely made it on the train. But maybe it is not always like that.

Posted by
287 posts

Hi! I just did this back in July! Don't forget about the Geneva airport as an option, too!

We flew EasyJet from Barcelona to Geneva. Took the train from Geneva to Bern (~2 hours) and spent the night. Then took train from Geneva to Murren next day (also ~2 hours).

There are several connections involved in getting to Murren that are unavoidable. You first switch trains in Interlaken, then in Lauterbrunnen, then a cable car up the valley, then a teeny train up the hill to Murren. I did it with an 8-year old and an 11-year old and it was fine. Most of the trains stop right next to where you have to transfer to the next train and it's pretty brainless. It will help if the 4-yo can roll his/her own suitcase.

When leaving Murren, we took trains/car back down to Interlaken, and then did the Golden Pass route via Lucerne to Zurich. This also took about 4 hours if I recall. There is a faster route via Bern to Zurich that takes 3 hours, but it is not scenic, and it was well worth the extra hour to do the route we did.

If you want to read a trip report I did, check it out here: https://www.disboards.com/threads/5-day-mediterranean-plus-3-days-in-switzerland-7-17-18-trip-report.3696022/ (The first part is about a Disney Cruise, and the last part is about Switzerland. I suspect you are also doing a cruise if you're leaving from Barcelona.)

Posted by
3 posts

Thankyou to your replies and invaluable information. Sorry I should have said 'We' (husband and I) + toddlers are travelling.

Out of curiosity, which train route would be the most scenic - Zurich to Interlaken or Basel/Geneva to Interlaken?

We are also leaving Switzerland to Paris via train so we will need to consider which direction would best suit too if anyone has travelled this?

Cheers,
Katherine

Posted by
2135 posts

I am a mom of four (now all in their 20s) Cars are great because you can more easily access things you need and also aren't doing the transfers. HOWEVER, we traveled a lot and I can recall many times when the driver is concentrating on that task leaving the other person to manage cranky kids. That gets tiring. Additionally, its hard to navigate and take care of kids at the same time. On a train, the kids can move around and there are now two people to keep them happy. Plus, I had a couple "train crazy" kids. It was a treat for them to be on a train.

Posted by
7123 posts

Out of curiosity, which train route would be the most scenic - Zurich to Interlaken or Basel/Geneva to Interlaken?

Neither by the direct route (via Bern). And I would recomend the direct route, as you will be carrying luggage.
From Zürich or Basel airports, the longer route Zürich/Basel - Luzern - Interaken is more scenic but takes longer and requires more changes.
From Geneva airport: Geneva - Montreux - Zweisimmen - Interlaken is also more scenic, takes longer and requires more changes.
Note you would travelling from Zürich airport (Station name: Zürich Flughafen), NOT Zürich city (station name: Zürich HB), two different places. Similarly the station at Geneva airport is called "Genève-Aéroport"

We are also leaving Switzerland to Paris via train so we will need to consider which direction would best suit too if anyone has travelled this?

You do not need to know the route to look up train times, just look up Mürren to Paris on the SBB website ( https://www.sbb.ch/en/ ). The answer is usually via Basel.