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Bernese Oberland Itinerary Help

Hi all!

My parents and I are traveling to Switzerland in October, and I'm looking for some help/suggestions on our itinerary in the Jungfrau region. Do we have too much planned, does it make sense, etc... I know a lot of it is dependent on the weather, so we'll be flexible on what days we do things.

We will be staying in Lauterbrunnen the whole time, and we are planning on getting the Jungfrau travel pass.

Here's our planned itinerary so far:

Saturday, - Arrive in Lauterbrunnen (coming from Appenzell)

Sunday, - Mannlichen Mountain Brunch, Pfingstegg Toboggan and Fly Line, Grindelwald

Monday - Eigergletscher (possibly Jungfraujoch), walk Kleine Scheidegg to Wengernalp, Wengen

Tuesday - Murren, Gimmelwald, Sagiweg Hike, Lauterbrunnen Valley Walk

Wednesday, - Schynige Platte, drive to Lucerne spend a few hours here, drive to Zurich

Posted by
502 posts

If you have the hiking ability to do the Sagiweg hike from Gimmelwald, which is 800 ft elevation loss, 800 ft gain and 3.5 miles, I would suggest there are more magnificent options from the area. That hike goes a lot through the woods and has limited Mountain views. Instead, I’d recommend the North Face hike, which has much grander views. If the Allmendhubel funicular is still open on the dates you’re there, walk it counterclockwise from there. Otherwise, I still recommend doing it counterclockwise from Murren, walking up through the Valley by Murren Beef to Suppenalp and then proceeding from there.

Posted by
897 posts

Schynige Platte train closes in October. You may want to check dates to make certain it will be available.

Posted by
16 posts

Thank you wanderweg, that is very helpful! I was trying to find a hike that my parents could easily handle and that wasn't too long.

Thank you Marc as well! We double checked the dates for Schynige Platte, and it looks like it will still be open while we're there.

Posted by
368 posts

Much depends on weather, I would have an idea of places or things you want to see and be open to doing it on the best day for that particular thing. By October there is usually a snowstorm or two in that area and if the winds are high the gondolas are closed, they are also closed for maintenance that time of year. If it's raining see Trummelbach Falls or one of the nearby castles. It's nice to have a plan and I understand that, however this a beautiful part of the world that requires everyone to "go with the flow". Enjoy your trip, J

Posted by
502 posts

Great easy hike in the area is Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg. North Face Hike counterclockwise from Allmendhubel will be easier than the Sagliweg and much more picturesque. If you want an even easier hike from Murren, you can start the North Face hike from Allmendhubel and when you get to Suppenalp, just cut back down to Murren. It would give you a taste of the North Face with no uphill at all.

Posted by
203 posts

Re: Schynige Platte
This was one of the bucket list trips for me earlier this month. When we arrived in Wilderswil we easily made the cogwheel train and found seats. The seating is on hard wooden benches for 4 facing 4 in cars that seat @40(?). There we sat for at least 20 minutes on an extremely hot day with poor airflow before the train departed. The 55-minute trip to the top was more uncomfortable than scenic IMHO. Once atop, we wandered the Alpine Gardens and then headed for the closer overlook of the lakes-it was closed. Lunch at the restaurant was good with generous portions-too much for me, but no take-away box permitted. The Alphorn players only performed briefly @ every 30 minutes.
I would choose other options than this time-consuming excursion!

Posted by
16 posts

Thank you joanne1108, we're pretty easy going, so we'll just go with the flow and see what happens. :) Which nearby castles would you suggest just in case? I know there's one on Lake Thun, but that's the only one I've seen so far.

Thank you Wanderweg! This is extremely helpful. I think we'll take your suggestions and do Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg, and what you suggested for Murren.

Thank you beejaybeeohio, this is very helpful as well, and I think we'll follow your suggestion as well. We were worried that day was going to be too busy anyways. Maybe we'll opt to just spend the morning in Lauterbrunnen before we head out for Lucerne.

Posted by
5035 posts

I'm assuming you're flying out of Zurich? If so, spend the night in Lucerne and take the easy 1+hour train right into the Zurich airport.
I saw the reference to driving at the end of your post . Why do you think you need a car? The Swiss transportation system is very user- friendly, dependable, efficient, and is a joy to use.. Why spend lots of money on gas, parking, etc? I've been to Switzerland three times and relied on public transportation entirely each time, and will do so again when I return.
Have a great trip in this beautiful country. Safe travels!

Posted by
530 posts

Hi Mikayla

On the lake of Thun there are several castles. Here is a link that shows them.

In the castle of Thun you can climb up into each of the four towers and enjoy the view.

Schadau Castle is beautiful from the outside and is in a very nice park. It is a hotel/restaurant and therefore not possible to tour the inside.

Hünegg Castle is more of a posh home. Very beautiful inside and out.

Oberhofen Castle is quite unique…and even has a Ravensburger puzzle made from it’s image

Spiez Castle is also quite interesting to visit and you can climb up into the tower there as well.

I always wonder if the weather, time of day or time of year have much of an effect on how people experience a particular outing. I think that the has certainly been the case for @beejaybeeohio.

Schynige Platte is a real favourite destination of mine. It is true that train ride is almost an hour long and the seats are wooden, but they do follow a schedule, so it is possible to know the departure time beforehand. In my experience they do not shut the doors of the train until just before departure (it is possible to get out and move around if you are waiting for a long time and get uncomfortable), and the windows open.

The first half of the journey is through the forest, but after Breitlauenen you have beautiful views of Interlaken and the lakes of Thun and Brienz - it all depends on the weather.

Once at the top you will see the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, the Lauterbrunnen valley and Grindelwald (this can really help you see where they are in relation to one another). If you walk over past the restaurant to the playground area you can see the Lake of Thun as well.

I don’t know why it would not be possible to get a take-away box from the restaurant, I have only had coffee and dessert there, and that is always delicious.

Everyone’s experience is different, but having been to Schynige Platte multiple times over many years I would highly recommend it. 

Posted by
502 posts

I strongly disagree with the review on Schynigge Platte and find it really not representative of the average person’s experience there. It sounds like it’s coming from someone who might just be really hard to please. I’ve done this excursion multiple times, as well as taken people on it who came to visit us and have only heard amazing reviews.

It was a hot day for this reviewer, so everything was going to be hot. That’s not an SP issue, but it sounds like it strongly affected this person’s experience. For a 20 minute wait you can easily put your bags on a seat to reserve it and then stand outside the train right at your spot with a personal fan and/or umbrella if you’re sensitive to heat.

The seats are wood, because it’s a historic open air train. I’ve never heard anyone complain about them and never felt uncomfortable.

The train ride passes cows grazing, views of the lakes… it’s the Swiss Alps, so if it was not enjoyable, that’s not the location’s fault.

Not sure what overlook they are talking about being closed, but the hike to Oberberghorn has absolutely stunning views of the lakes & mountains and was definitely not closed, as well as views from the restaurant, the alpine garden, the walk to the 1,000 year old dairy farms. There are beautiful views in every direction whether you want to do a full hike or just sit in one place.

Too much food sounds like a better problem then not enough? Complaining about too much food is really not relevant to someone’s enjoyment of a Mountain View experience.

The alphorn players play every single day from 11-2 both at the restaurant and on the hill above the train station. They are dragging those huge horns back and forth for 3 hours and playing for you. Not sure what more you can expect from them. If they played for hours straight exactly where you want to sit, would that be more acceptable?

Posted by
203 posts

Not hard to please and don't appreciate your mischaracterization of me. Wanted to share my thoughts about the drawbacks of visiting SP on a hot day in a full train. Good tip about putting bags to hold our seats, but too late. And riding in one of the few open cars would have been great had we been able to do so. The Daube viewpoint was closed and hiking up to Oberberghorn in the heat wasn't for us that day. We had a wonderful stay in Wengen, but SP was not the highlight I was so looking forward to.

Posted by
89 posts

Hi all,
Not to hijack this thread, but my daughters are looking for help with this itinerary as well except in December. Is hiking even a thing then?

Posted by
502 posts

Hiking in December isn't really a thing up in the mountains. Hiking trails often turn into snowshoe routes in the winter or are covered over with snow and become ski slopes. There may be some hiking options down at low elevations, but Switzerland in the winter is meant for winter activities like skiing.

Posted by
16 posts

Thank you Pat! We will be travelling through Germany and Austria beforehand, which is why we'll have a car. We're visiting some friends and family, so we wanted the option to come and go as we please.

Maureen, thank you for the advice on the castles as well as Schynige Platte. We still have it on our list to do, but of course, we'll wait and see what the weather is like, and then make our decision on what to do.

Thank you Wanderweg as well! I appreciate your advice on Schynige Platte.

Thank you beejaybeeohio too. I appreciate both view points. I think it's good to realize that not everything always goes perfectly on a trip, so it's good to be aware of things that could happen. We'll keep an open mind and see what happens when we get there!

Thank you all for you help and kind suggestions! We're excited to leave soon!