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Dark in Lauterbrunnen in May?

When does it get dark in Lauterbrunnen mid-May? We don't want to arrive in the dark but do have a long travel day that day. Trying to work our way backwards on determining when to leave Venice based on when we SHOULD be in Lauterbrunnen.

Thanks y'all.

Posted by
96 posts

Sunset is officially at 8:55 pm on May 15. Hope that helps. If it were me, I would aim for at least an hour before sunset and if it is cloudy (and I hope it isn't, for you) but that would make it appear dark earlier so I would at least plan for the possibility.

Posted by
7209 posts

I can tell you that we're leaving Venice on the 8:20am train to Milan with final destination Murren in mid-June. We'll arrive in plenty of time for daylight. Obviously the valley will fall into shadow earlier than the mountain tops, and there is a distinct possibility of a thick cloud rolling into the valley and blanketing your views of the mountains above you. Lauterbrunnen is a wonderfully beautiful place, but personally I would rather stay up in the mountains looking down into the beautiful valley rather than staying on the valley floor. You can see so much more from high up in either Murren or Wengen.

Posted by
72 posts

Thank you both! Yes, Tim, it is a beautiful area, that's for sure. We are staying in Lauterbrunnen for two reasons: 1. Cost (we are staying at the hostel); 2. We have three days - hopefully one day for either side and one possible to go up the Jungfrau. We did the Schilthorn 2 years ago and are considering the Jungfrau. Hopefully it is worth the $$. Have you done that trip and what is your opinion?

Posted by
9110 posts

Sunset is not darkness.

Civil twilight won't end until about a half hour later, nautical twilight another half hour later, and astronomical twilight an hour after that. Somewhere in that mess is 'dark'.

Posted by
9110 posts

Uhhh....oh yeah.

Sunset, etc is computed on the flat earth without regard to intervening mountains.

Guess which idiot has a masters in geography. And lives next to the ocean. On flat ground.

Posted by
72 posts

Yes Chris I looked at the sports chalet but for four people with Swiss passes so our third night in the same hostel is 1/2 off, it can't be beat.

Posted by
32196 posts

Heidi,

If the main focus of your trip is to visit the Jungfrau, staying in Lauterbrunnen will be the easiest solution, as it will add both time and cost to travel from Mürren or other locations as they're on the opposite side of the valley.

Whether the Jungfrau trip is worth the money depends mainly on the weather. If you're there on a clear day, the views are spectacular, however if it's fogged in with gale force winds (which was the case on my last visit), the views much less appealing and you won't want to spend any time outside. However, you'll still be able to see the Ice Palace and other indoor displays as well as buy some genuine Swiss souvenirs in the pricey shops. Note that the highest point is at about 12K feet, so keep that in mind if you have any altitude issues. Even climbing stairs will be more of any effort.

If you're planning to buy any Swiss passes for that area, you might consider the Jungfrau VIP pass, as that provides a "free" trip to the Jungfraujoch (but be sure to check the forecast before going).

Regarding your trip from Venice to the Berner Oberland, one of the quickest trips will be a train departing Venezia S.L. at 08:12, arriving Interlaken Ost at 14:28 (time 6H:16M, 3 changes at Venezia Mestre, Milano Centrale and Spiez). I used an arbitrary date of 15 May to search. If you'd prefer two changes with a slightly longer travel time, there's a train leaving at 07:50 that also arrives at 14:28. If you're buying P-P tickets, you may only be able to buy tickets in Italy as far as Spiez. If that's the case, just go inside the station in Spiez and buy tickets to Lauterbrunnen. You'll have to change trains again at Interlaken Ost and board the small Berner Oberland train (blue & yellow) for the short and scenic 20 minute trip to Lauterbrunnen. Arriving at about 15:00 should still give you enough daylight to do a walkabout and a bit of exploring.

When you arrive in Lauterbrunnen, you'll see a paved trail running diagonally to the left from the station up to the road. If you take that and turn left at the road, you'll find the Hostel on the left hand side (as I recall). It's not far from the station. If you need a bit of refreshment after your long journey, stop at the Horner Pub for a pint. I quite enjoy their "pub grub" also.

Posted by
1203 posts

Someone wrote me and advised what I need to consider in Lauterbrunnen. Here is what he said:

The Jungfraujoch is a railway station and observatory that sits between the Mönch and the Jungfrau. Essentially you take a train from Kleine Sheidegg up through the mountain to the Jungfraujoch (the highest railway station in Europe, and hence, "the Top of Europe"—note that there are higher mountains in the Alps). Once you actually get there, there are several things to do. The most spectacular is to go up the elevator to the Sphinx Observatory where you can get a great view of both the Mönch and the Jungfrau and also the magnificent Aletsch Glacier. You can also tour an ice cavern inside the glacier. If you do choose to go to the Jungfraujoch, only go if the weather is clear. This is at least a half-day trip and is expensive. If it's cloudy, you won't see a thing from the top. It can also be very busy. I really enjoy the Jungfraujoch but if I had limited time I might go to the Schilthorn or go on a hike instead.

Hope this helps.

Posted by
32196 posts

@Chris,

When I read the OP at the top, I didn't notice any reference to a Swiss Pass so I based my comments on using P-P tickets from Mürren to Lauterbrunnen and back. Without a Pass, the fare appears to be CHF 10.80 PP each way. While the actual trip may only be 24 minutes, realistically it will add about an extra hour for return travel time if staying in Mürren.

Posted by
7209 posts

Totally agree with Chris...as usual.