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Berner Oberland in mid-April

In 2010, there was a posting on this forum indicating that trips to Gimmelwald, Murren, the Schilthorn & the Jungfraujoch in mid-April were extremely iffy. I'm flying in to Amsterdam in early April and flying out of Frankfurt at the end of April and hoped to fit 2-3 days in the Berner Overland as part of my little piece of the "the Best of Europe" tour. Am I crazy to try to do Switzerland at that time of year? All those closed hotels in Gimmelwald suggest that I could be wasting my time even if I stay in Interlaken or Lauterbrunnen. I'm not planning to hike for hours, just trying to experience the area, but I might feel a little cheated if I couldn't get up into the heights at all. Am I crazy to spend the time on the train to get there at this time of year?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Posted by
796 posts

It is pretty cold there in April which leaves little to do unless you are going for the skiing and winter sports. I would suggest waiting a couple of months.

Posted by
27447 posts

It may be 5 years later but April is still April.

Too late to ski. Too early to hike.

Good for mud.

Good if you don't mind the side effects of liquified cow and goat manure power sprayed over the hillsides for fertilizer. That's the farmer's job in April..

Amsterdam to Frankfurt-am-Main by train, easy.

Amsterdam - Basel - Bern -Interlaken - Lauterbrunnen and up, a pretty long day.

Lauterbrunnen - Bern - Basel - Frankfurt-am-Main, a pretty long day.

Will you be OK if you make those two day long journeys and see less than you want (fog - rain - low clouds - mud - smells) during the trip?

If that's OK, go for it and hope that you luck out.

Posted by
31435 posts

Carole,

While April will be a bit "uncertain" in terms of weather and other factors, you could just "take your chances" and hope for the best. One other point to consider is that the Schilthornbahn will be closed for maintenance from 20 April to 24 April, so no trips to the famous Piz Gloria if your trip coincides with that. You should still be able to reach Mürren via the Cable Car and BLM railway from Lauterbrunnen.

I suspect there won't be as much of a problem with "fertilizer odours" in Lauterbrunnen or Wengen. I've never been there at that time of year, but there should be a few hotels open in Lauterbrunnen, but you could also stay in Interlaken if necessary, as it's only about 20 minutes from Lauterbrunnen.

Posted by
11 posts

Thanks for the feedback. After I posted this message, I realized that I was really looking for certainty in an uncertain world and no one is going to be able to provide me with that. I'm going to have to think about this a bit more taking into account your comments. It might be smarter to hold off on Switzerland until I can be sure of better weather (if a person can ever be sure of that). It's not like there aren't a lot of other less weather-dependent things to see in Benelux & Germany. Or maybe I should just take a chance..... Perhaps it's coin flipping time. But thanks again! It's great to be able to throw out a question and get an independent opinion to help with a decision.

Posted by
12040 posts

What Nigel said... muddy, cloudy, rainy, and feculant. There's a reason the tourist infrastructure shuts down in April. There's no assurances for visiting the Alps at anytime of the year, but April and November are the two months in which your odds of good weather are the lowest. If you absolutely must see the Berner Oberland (even if the cloud cover prevents you from seeing anything), then it's your call if you think the considerable time and money to get there would be worth it. Plus... I think RS and the community on this website kind of overblow it. It is quite beautiful... but so is most of the Alpine chain everywhere, if slightly less so. And I don't get why Mr. Steves devotes an entire chapter to a tiny little hamlet like Gimmelwald...

If you want to try to experience some of the Alps in April, try an area with a larger year-round population, like Garmisch-Partenkirchen/Ehrwald, Mittenwald, Innsbruck or Berchtesgaden. You'll have other possible activities that won't depend on ideal weather. Plus, the skiing season on the upper Zugspitze will still be going on, so very little of the tourist infrastructure should be closed.