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Berneses Oberland, Switzerland

We are planning a trip to the Bernese Oberland June 22 for 8-9 days. We are thinking of 1 or 2 bases.. Wengen , Murren or?
We are seniors who love the mts. and hiking. We would like to visit Wengen, Murren, Interlaken, Grindlewald,Lauterbrunan areas. Would 1 base be ok or would you suggest 2 bases and what would they be? We want to hike, paint and enjoy the peace and beauty. Would it be difficult to get to these places from a base?
Bonita

Posted by
115 posts

We enjoy the Hotel Bellevue in Murren. Lovely rooms and great food!

Murren is a great base for all the hikes in the area, a trip to the Jungfraujoch or the Schilthorn, or Trummelbach Falls.

As fellow seniors, we found the tourist office in Murren to be very helpful in planning hikes and excursions in the surrounding area.
I would be thrilled to spend 8-9 days here just because of the amazing beauty you will be enjoying.

Have fun!

Posted by
12 posts

Thank you Lynn.
Someone recommended Wengen, but Murren looks so beautiful and smaller. Have you also staid in Wengen?
Did you have problems visiting other areas from Murren( Wengen, Interlaken, Grindlewald,Lauterbrunan areas.)?
What time of year did you stay in Murren?
Thank you for your input!
Best Regards,
Bonita

Posted by
5778 posts

We stayed in the Lauterbrunnen Valley and visited Gimmelwald and Murren. I'm told Wengen is lovely, but we didn't get there. We went over to Grindlewald and it was pretty, but we thought the other side we much prettier and more central. I think that Wengen and Lauterbrunnen would be more central and unless you wanted to experience both life in the valley with the incredible views of mountains around you AND a view from higher up (like Murren or Wengen) I would just stay in one place.

BTW, Luzern is close and a favorite European city of mine. If you haven't been there and have time you might consider a couple days. It is close to Berner Oberland

Posted by
1091 posts

The best views are from Murren and Wengen. Lauterbrunnen is in the valley, so you would want to stay up at one if those two towns. I don’t think you can go wrong with either. We stayed in Wengen a couple of years ago at Hotel Baren and loved it! There are better views of Jungfrau from Murren. You can take the train everywhere from both locations. But be forewarned, the trains are expensive in Switzerland. Well, everything is expensive in Switzerland. 😂😂 But well worth it!

Posted by
11294 posts

If you are really there for 8-9 days, you can have two bases (for a shorter trip, I'd just have one). Muerren and Wengen are perfect, since they are on opposite sides of the valley, but are up in the mountains and are car-free.

All places in the Berner Oberland are accessible from any one place, but the amount of time it takes to get there will vary depending on your starting point. For instance, it takes about a half hour less to get to the Jungfraujoch from Wengen as opposed to Muerren (since the Jungfraujoch is on the Wengen side of the valley). The opposite is true of the Schilthorn, since it's on the Muerren side.

While Lauterbrunnen is in the bottom of the valley (and thus equally convenient for both sides), it is not car free and is, to me, not as nice as either Muerren or Wengen, Gimmelwald is too small for me, meaning that it has no ATM or grocery store and a very limited selection of eating places. Do note, however, that all four - Muerren, Wengen, Lauterbrunnen, and Gimmelwald - have their fans, and you really can't go "wrong" with any of them.

Just don't stay in Interlaken, which is near but not in the mountains, and only needs to be visited for its large stores, sex shops, Asian restaurants, jewelry stores, and large tour groups. The Migros in Interlaken was very handy when my daybag broke; I was able to get a nice backpack as a replacement for only 20 CHF, and to this day it's a treasured Swiss souvenir. And where else can you find a "Paksitani" restaurant (that's what the sign said, like Punxsutawney Phil from Groundhog Day).

Do investigate passes for your trip - either the Swiss Travel Pass, the Berner Oberland Pass, or the Half Fare Card may be the best deal for you. But with 8-9 days, at least one of them is almost guaranteed to be a better deal than just buying full priced tickets every time. Due to the geography of the area, you're always going up, down, or across on something (bus, cable car, rack railway, etc), and the costs do add up.

Posted by
20290 posts

I've stayed in Wengen and it is a beautiful car-free village. But I was struck by the character of Muerren when I visited for the day. I'll stick with Wengen for winter skiing, but Muerren would be my choice in the summer.

Posted by
1722 posts

I stayed in Wengen for 6 nights and would go back in a minute. It is a little smaller than Murren, but has everything you need. I would stay in Murren as a second choice. Grindlewald was too touristy for me. Lauterbrunnen is in the valley and Interlaken is a commute daily to the mountains. Two bases would be a nice option. Like some have said, try Murren and Wengen. IMO the hiking around Wengen is better and more scenic, but that is just my preference. You can't make a mistake choosing either one. Enjoy. It is a magnificent region. PS...I belong to that senior club also.

Posted by
3551 posts

Lucky u to have choice. My favorite is Murren. I have stayrd in lauterbrunnen also only becuz i could not get more nights in Murren. Both are vg but Murren my favorite for views, hiking etc.

Posted by
1821 posts

Last month we stayed four nights at the Hotel Silberhorn in Lauterbrunnen. We had a view of the Stubbach waterfall and distant peaks from our room. We had originally planned to eat each night at a different restaurant but we ended up eating at Silberhorn all four nights. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was very friendly.

We liked Lauterbrunnen because it was a convenient location for all three of our day trips: 1 Jungfrau, late lunch at Kleine Schieldig, and a walk in the Lauterbrunnen valley; 2. Silberhorn and Murren for lunch, then First and Grindelwald; and 3 Lake Brienz, Interlaken for shopping and lunch with a view, and Tummelbach Falls. We only used our car on the Silberhorn day. We did NOT find Lauterbrunnen was dark because it was in a valley. It is a very small town with about two blocks of shops.

With 8 or 9 days, we would probably chose a different part of Switzerland or possibly the French Alps for the second part of the trip. But we like to experience different locations instead of staying put in one area for many days.

Posted by
16470 posts

We have stayed in both Muerren and Wengen on various visits. I prefer Muerren for the views right from the village. This past summer we had an apartment toward the far end of the village, near the Hotel Bellevue recommended above. I loved the views from our balcony; I could spend long periods just gazing across the valley to the serrated ridgeline of the Jungfrau massif. Neither my husband nor I could recall having such a glorious view before, but it was simply because we had not booked a place with a view on previous visits (trying to economize). Now I would not return unless I could have that view again.

Of course our days were spent away from the apartment, hiking. But at breakfast and dinner, we had that view.

Book a room with balcony at Hotel Bellevue and you could set up your easel and paint that view.

(Our hotel in Wengen, Hotel Baren, also had a balcony, but the view is very different from there; not as full of snowy peaks.)

With 8 or 9 days, you do not need another base nearby in the Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald area, but I would suggest two nights in another part of the Berner Oberland, specifically Kandersteg. Take the train via Interlaken and Spiez to the village, then walk from the train to the gondola that takes you up to Oeschinensee, a beautiful alpine lake surrounded by cliffs and peaks. You can spend two nights at the rustic mountain inn there, Hotel Oeschinensee, with nice walks at lake level and some nice vantage points for painting. Look through the summer photos here:

https://www.oeschinensee.ch/en/summer/hiking/

Posted by
768 posts

I prefer Lauterbrunnen as a base for all the places, because you are sort of in the middle of all the places, and there is good transportation in 3 directions. Murren is my close second choice. Wengen is a beautiful setting, but not so convenient for hikes. If you want to see our dozen favorite hikes covering all those places, click on my name and in my profile you'll see a link to a webpage with maps and pics.

Posted by
32228 posts

I normally prefer to stay in Lauterbrunnen as it's the transportation hub and central to both sides of the valley. There are some good hotels there, although like anything else in Switzerland they're not cheap.

If you're mainly interested in the most convenient base for touring various towns in that area and you plan on being out of the hotel during the daytime, Lauterbrunnen is a good choice. If you want a more of a "scenic experience" that provides incredible views and a nice atmosphere in the evenings, Mürren is the place I'd choose. It's not difficult to get from Mürren to Lauterbrunnen via Grütschalp, but that will have a slight additional cost in both time and money.

You may enjoy having a look at this - https://muerren.swiss/en/summer/ .

Posted by
361 posts

“Do note, however, that all four - Muerren, Wengen, Lauterbrunnen, and Gimmelwald - have their fans, and you really can't go "wrong" with any of them.”

As Harold pointed out, where to stay is very subjective but the good thing is if you end up picking what turns out to be your least favorite of the four, you still will have a wonderful trip. I have stayed in Wengen (twice) and Murren once. For me, Murren is slightly prettier as the views are a tad better than Wengen. It is also smaller and a bit less touristy than Wengen. One prior post incorrectly indicated Murren was larger than Wengen, which is not the case. Regardless, we tend to prefer Wengen to the others, because:

  1. More restaurant choices and things to do in the evening after a long day of hiking.
  2. More centrally located in a sense as staying in Wengen opens up the Grindelwald side of the valley a little easier-such as wonderful day hikes to First, Bachalp Lake and such. We grab a week long Berner Oberland Pass and the Mannlichen lift is free with that and many beautiful hikes and day trips start from there. We have spring boarded over there when we stayed in Murren but it takes a bit longer to head down to Lauterbrunnen and back up to Wengen.
  3. We prefer staying in one spot for a week or more. The good thing about Wengen is that there are a lot more apartment rentals to choose from. We like having a kitchen, balcony with lovely view and set up home for a week or more. To be fair, the bad thing about Wengen is that it has more apartment rentals compared to the other three.
Posted by
11392 posts

We just completed our 5fh trip to the area. We spent 4 nights in Muerren one Sept but our favorite base for the other 4 trips (4 nights once in winter, 7 to 9 nights the other 3 times in fall) has been Lauterbrunnen. Why? As Ken said, it is a great base for the whole region. With a long stay like you have the extra ride up to Wengen on the little train or to Muerren via bus + gondola or gondola + train, will get tiring.

For example, if you stay in Wengen and take the trip to the Schilthorn, it will add 40 to 60 minutes to your transit time to get from Wengen to Muerren. If you stay in Muerren and want to go to Grindlewald, you have to get to Lauterbrunnen first, so have to plan in 30 or 40 minutes extra for gondola + train or bus.

We like to get an apartment for those longer stays as Swiss food gets tiresome and it it expensive. So we cook 5 out of 7 dinners. LMK if you want a recommendation. Send me a PM.

Other tips: get a Berner Oberland Regional Pass for your whole stay so that you do not have to even think about transportation costs. It covers all the buses, most of the lift and train costs,etc.

Be sure you get to Isenfluh and Sulwald for the view from there and have a Sulwald Burger at the cafe!

Posted by
12 posts

Thank you all so much for all your input.!! So helpful and inspiring.! We did plan staying in Wengen the whole time, thinking it was easier to have one base, but are thinking of staying in Murren for a few of the days. Sounds like going from village to village might be too time consuming. Still trying to decide.
Bonita

Posted by
12 posts

Lola thank you for your suggestion of going to Kandersteg for 2 nights. I think we will do that. It looks wonderful!.
Bonita