My teenage daughter and I will be landing at Geneva Airport for a stay in Switzerland October 25-30th. This past summer we spent 2 weeks in Leysin while she attended a camp I did day hikes and sightseeing. We fell in love with Switzerland and now back for a 2nd short visit. I always see recommendations for Bern, Lauterbrunnen, Wagen, and Grindelwald. Could we get advice on the best location for such a short stay? We would only do day hikes, like restaurants and cafes, but love Alpine mountains and seeing the cows! We can rent a car or use a train. My daughter may like 1 day for shopping. We may travel with a backpack if necessary. constantly moving every day is not desirable for us. We like a home base and venture out.
I spent 2 weeks in Switzerland in July and if I was to go back for a 5 day visit I would head straight to the Lauterbrunnen Valley and spend 4 days at Murren and then one day at Geneva for shopping and setting up my return flight arrangements. I love Switzerland and plan to go back several times in the future.
I'm with Donald.. Murren is a great base. So many nice hikes can start from there. The view is incredible too!!! But honestly, all of the villages in the Lauterbrunnen/Grindlewald valleys are wonderful, you can't go wrong!!!!
Thanks. I watch all of Rick's videos and love this site. It's great to have first hand advise.
Should I just try to find an AirBnb or do you have a good place to recommend?
By "Berg" do you mean "Brig?" And by "Wagen" I assume you mean "Wengen?" I would stay in Lauterbrunnen as you have easier access to both sides of the valley and options when the weather does not cooperate.
Be aware that some lifts are closing down. Allmendhubel funicular on Oct 13 and the Grutschalp to Muerren service from Lauterbrunnen is closing for maintenance 10/21-11/8. You will still be able to get around on the trains and some lifts continue but it will be the start of the time of year when it is late for hiking and too early for skiing. The cows are in the valley, for the most part...or will be. We are in Lauterbrunnen now and most cows are down except a few we've seen at First.
You can get snow at higher elevations in late October. Keep that in mind for any hikes you want to do. Cows should all be in the barns by the time you will be there.
As Laurel noted, most of the cows are already down in the valley, so you won’t see many by the end of October. Also, some hotels and restaurants close in October and re-open for ski season.
If you stay in Lauterbrunnen, you have more convenient access to hikes on both sides of the valley and you can get to Interlaken more quickly if you need supplies or to shop. However, the views of the Alps are not as grand; there are still some great views, though. Staying in Murren offers grand views of the Alps, especially in the afternoon/early evenings. It takes longer to get to hikes on the Wengen side, though.
The most convenient Lauterbrunnen to Murren route (which is the cable car to Grutschalp and the mountain railway to Murren) will be closed. You can get to Murren from Lauterburren by taking the bus to Stechelbery and riding the cable car to Murren.
From Murren, there are several great day hikes, either the North Face Trail or Mountain View Trail. With the Allmendhubel funicular closed, you would have to walk from Murren to Allmendhubel, which adds about another 2k to the distance. You can also hike from Murren to Winteregg or the Grutschalp station and back (this parallels the train route, and it’s not too steep (about an hour ten minutes one way).
The walk from Murren to Gimmelwald along the road is pleasant with great views as well. It’s steeper hiking back, so you could take the cable car back. There are several trails in the Gimmelwald area as well, including one leading to Sprutz Waterfall (which is also available from the North Face Trail.
Here’s a link to the Mountain View Trail:
From Lauterbrunnen, you can also take a train to Wengen, then take the Wengen-Männlichen Aerial Cableway until 27 October 2019, so that’s an option the first few days you’re there.
From Mannlichen you can hike to Kleine Scheidegg and take the train back to Lauterbrunnen.
There are also nice trails from Lauterbrunnen along the river going toward Interlaken. It it’s too snowy or cold in the upper trails, these would be an option and you might see more cows there.
From Interlaken, you can take a bus to Beatenbucht; then a funicular to Beatenberg, and a cable car to Niederhorn. There are nice hikes from there that are lower than the high Alps hikes and that offer great views of the Alps and Lake Thun. I hiked from Niederhorn to Gemmenalphorn and back (a great half day hike) and saw an ibix.
Here are links to sites with great information about hikes in the area:
Hope you have some great hikes.
I recommend the Valais region: there are tons to do in autumn, the weather is still pretty good, and you have both hiking and leisure opportunities. Leukerbad is a place to consider, with the thermal baths and many many things to do around.
The food is also incredible in the area, and in this period you can have a taste of the famous brisolee.
You can read more about Valais here: https://thefoodellers.com/en/valais-switzerland
here, I think that with that amount of time it's the best choice.
Highly recommend Gimmelwald !
At Mittlerschwanden you can experience amazing weather changers that time of the year. There is a Spa up the mountain by train, easy to reach, in case it gets cold.