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Ideas for a family of 7 active adults in September

Our family of seven adults is coming to Switzerland for a family trip of a lifetime. (It's been our dream for years.) The whole family will come for nine days, Sept. 10-19, and my husband and I will be staying an additional nine days, Sept. 7-25. We're staying in a vacation rental home in Mürren for the first week of the family time. We have two additional nights and would love to experience another area in the Bernese Oberland area (in another vacation rental home or hotel with great views and outside areas). I was considering Interlaken, Wengen, Lauterbrunnen, or Lucern? Would these towns offer activities, types of places to explore, and unique dining experiences that would be different than what we can do in Mürren?

Our family is very active. We would love to truly experience the culture and beauty of this area. We're not looking for the touristy tours or big crowds (unless there's a festival or event:) ) Any festivals or events during this time would be great! We're not into museums and the like, but would very much like to enjoy the cattle in the upper meadows, traditional cheese making, the most beautiful hikes (fun places eat along the routes), special pubs or restaurants or dining experiences that are unique and "Swiss." Activities like the Mürren Via Ferrata, canyoning, rappelling, exploring glaciers, and the like seem amazing, along with scenic trains, cable cars, and funiculars- anything else you feel would be a true Switzerland adventure. Any suggestions for any of this would be truly appreciated!

Oh, and I've really tried to research and ask about whether to buy the Swiss Travel Pass, Half Pass, OB pass, or combination of these for our situation. I am still confused. I want to be wise with our money, but I also want it to be as easy as possible. Thank you, and be blessed!

Posted by
484 posts

Hi, I see you have no answers yet and it will be easy for your post to get lost, so I will suggest a few things.

If you want to see another area of the Berner Oberland after your time in Mürren, why not research places like Kandersteg, Adelboden, Lenk, Gstaad Saanenland, etc. These are all places that I enjoy going to, but they are less frequently mentioned here.

Luzern is beautiful, and a good choice, it does not fit your description of “we're not looking for the touristy tours or big crowds”, because you will certainly have that there.

Here is a very Swiss event happening during your dates

https://www.interlaken.ch/en/planning/events/top-events/chaesteilet-justistal

The cows will be beginning to come down from the mountains at this time. Check here and local tourism websites for dates:

https://www.myswitzerland.com/de-ch/erlebnisse/veranstaltungen/veranstaltungen-suche/?rubrik=alpabzuegeaelplerfeste

If you don’t like following links, for the above I just googled "Alpabfahrt 2024", the link is what myswitzerland.com has posted thus far, but there will be more to come.

Posted by
16190 posts

Mürren is a great choice for a week with your family. We spent 6 days there last September with our own active family. Don’t miss the Via Ferrata. My husband and son have both done this, and recommend it highly.

In addition to the hikes right from Mürren, consider a day traveling to Grindelwald for the First Gondola and the hikes and activities there:

https://www.jungfrau.ch/en-gb/grindelwaldfirst/

Ride up the gondola, hike to Bachalpsee and beyond to the Faulhorn mountain hut for lunch, then hike back to the First gondola and take a zip line or ride a Trotti-bike down to Grindelwald.

Or you could hike the long and beautiful ridge top trail from Schynige Platte to Faulhorn, then on to the top station of the First lift for your choice of descent back to G-Wald. Just make sure you arrive there before the lift closes, or you’ll have a long hike back down.

https://www.faulhorn.ch/en/faulhorn/access

https://iainwalks.com/stories/faulhornweg

All of these activities are best if you have a Berner Oberland Pass to cover the lifts. We went to Grindelwald from Mürren by joyriding lots and trains, down to Lauterbrunnen, train up to Wengen, then the cablecar up to Männlichen. We rode the gondola straight down to Grindelwald from there, but one can also hike the easy Panoramaweg to Kleine Scheidegg and the short distance beyond to the Eiger Express gondola down to Grindelwald. All of these are free with the Berner Oberland Pass (otherwise 50%off with a Swiss Travel Pass).

All of this will be clearer from the map of the Swiss rail and lift systems:

https://www.mystsnet.com/en/download/swiss-travel-system-map-en-2023/?wpdmdl=14294&masterkey=63a023c8da36c

As I read your main question, you are looking for a place nearby to spend 2 more nights with the family, is that correct? Wengen, Lauterbrunnen and Interlaken are all very close to Mürren, so any activities that attract you to those towns (such as canyoning) would be possible from Mürren. So I will suggest that you head to Luzern, perhaps breaking the journey at Meiringen to hike the Aareschluct gorge (check to be sure there is luggage storage in the train station):

https://aareschlucht.ch/en/welcome

Then continue to Luzern, but do not stay there—-the city is touristy and busy, and not the place for outdoor enthusiasts like your family (or ours). Take the boat from the dock outside the train station to the village of Weggis, at the base of Rigi, and spend those 2 nights in a lake side hotel like this one:

https://www.gotthard-weggis.ch/en/

Our family had 3 rooms there, all with lake view. The hotel has sea kayaks for guest use, and the lake was fine for swimming in September. On the full day, you can hike up Rigi on the Mark Twain trail, or ride the cablecar up to Rigi Kaltbad and begin hiking to the top from there. All with a lovely view of the lake below.,

https://www.rigi.ch/en/experience/summer

http://squarelilypad.com/2022/06/20/hiking-the-mark-twain-trail-weggis-to-rigi-kulm/

For the rest of your time in Switzerland, after the rest of the family departs, you might consider adding this place to your itinerary for some spectacular hiking.

https://www.aletscharena.ch/en/aletsch-arena/places/bettmeralp

https://www.aletscharena.ch/en/world-natural-heritage-site/great-aletsch-glacier

Posted by
16190 posts

For a cheese-making demo, you can sign up for this one at the Mürren sports center:

https://muerren.swiss/en/map/detail/tour-of-the-schiltalp-alpine-cheese-dairy-7cf1b3c5-4519-47a3-be48-807198a5b6e6.html

My son and his family did this and really enjoyed it. You start early, hike up to Schiltalp with the guide, meet the farmer and watch the cheesemaker demonstrate his craft, then enjoy a farm breakfast. Afterwards have them point the way to the North Face trail for your hike back to Mürren (or maybe the guide will head back that way).

Last September, it was only offered on Wednesday, and was actually scheduled to end by the time we arrived on Sept. 16. But they opened up 2 more new dates while we were there.

Posted by
409 posts

Sounds like an amazing time! We spend our summers living in Murren and never run out of things to love and enjoy about the place, so I think you're doing great by choosing to stay there for a week!

In your week in Murren you're going to find yourself seeing Lauterbrunnen, Wengen & Interlaken so I wouldn't move lodging for that. You'd make all the effort to move to a place you've already been through multiple times on your week of adventure. Either extend your stay by 2 nights and stay that whole time in Murren or more somewhere else to explore something truly new. If everyone is flying out of Zurich, you might enjoy finding a place on the non-touristy side of Lake Luzern (look at places like Fluelen, Ingenbohl, etc. which are near the Stoos Ridge hike, the world's steepest funicular and offer lots of water activities as well) or go to Appenzell to do the Seealpsee hike, etc. Both of these options get you closer to the airport for a short stay.

I think the Berner Oberland Pass + Half Fare card will probably be a good fit for you all. It allows you to hop on/off included routes without having to coordinate buying tickets for your big group. Based on your list of desires, I'd recommend looking into these options to see what strikes your fancy...

--Murren North Face hike counterclockwise from Allmendhubel with lunch at the Suppenalp mountain inn (easy hike)
--Murren Via Ferrata ending in Gimmelwald with lunch/dinner at the Mountain Hostel (wood fired pizza with an amazing view) and Pension (their own Schwarz Monch beer + Schward Monch chocolate cake) -- even if you don't do the via feratta you can ride the cable car down to Gimmelwald and enjoy
--Paragliding from Murren (AirTime Paragliding)
--Schilthorn + Birg + hike from Birg to Grauseeli and either return via cable car back up at Birg or hike all the way down to Murren via the ridge to Bryndlii (the hike down to Grauseeli and back up to Birg would be easy/medium level, going all the way down to Murren will require hiking poles and sure footedness and I'd categorize as medium+)
--Hike Murren to Rotstockhutte with lunch (medium level hike)
--Hike Gimmelwald to Tanzbodeli (challenging hike)
--Mannlichen + Royal Walk + walk to Kleine Scheidegg + optional detour to Fallbodensee + walk to Wegneralp + train to Wengen and return to Murren (easy walk/hike)
--ebike the Lauterbrunnen Valley (Imboden Bike rental in Lauterbrunnen)
--There is a cheese making hike/tour from Murren once a week. I can't remember the day, but ask the Sportzentrum Tourist Office. You'll also hike by the dairy on the North Face hike but if you want the actual tour, it needs to be the official one, as otherwise they're just working
--Schynigge Platte + ridge hike to Oberberghorn (easy hike) ---- https://fullsuitcase.com/schynige-platte-hikes/
--Brienzer Rothorn + boat trip on Lake Brienz + optional hike to Giessbach Falls + funicular up to historic hotel
--There is a canyon swing over in Grindelwald

Posted by
7 posts

Wow! What thorough, extraordinarily helpful answers you all took the time to give us. Thank you so much! :) :)

Posted by
16190 posts

I ran out of room and could not finish what I wanted to say about the Aletsch glacier area. We generally include 3-4 nights in Bettmeralp in our Swiss itineraries. It is a car-free village perched high above a valley, similar to Mürren, but being on the “sunny side of the Alps” (south) it is favored with better weather. There are numerous nice hotels and an abundance of apartments, as (like Mürren) it is a popular ski destination in winter.

I wouldn’t spend your whole “post-family” time there, however; 3 nights would be just about right, and then maybe Zermatt for the rest?