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Jungfrau and what else

Hi. First time posting and VERY new to travel. I live in the US (Midwest) and am running the Jungfrau marathon in Switzerland on 9/10. I'll be traveling with my two older teen children and meeting some adult friends. My experience with overseas traveling is limited to Windsor/London about 20 years ago.

Top of mind is setting an itinerary. We're thinking of spending 7 or so days. I'm not sure what to expect as far as costs but would like to keep things somewhat in check. I'm sure that doesn't help but just trying to pass my mindset. We don't have to stay at hostels but not 5 star either. Maybe we go VRBO.

Was originally thinking of hitting Switzerland for a few days and then another area like Italy (e.g. Florence?) or Spain but I'm worried the travel in between might be too long. What do you think? What about arriving in one airport but flying out of another? Best place to find airfares and places to stay? Direction is appreciated! Thank you - Brian

Posted by
843 posts

I wouldn’t choose a second location with only 7 days to spend total. I could easily spend 5 or 6 nights in the Berner Oberland and not get bored. Then travel to wherever you flight departs from (Zurich?) and spend the night. Fly home the next day.

Once you consider that you want to spend the night before your flight in the city where the airport is, it cuts down your trip time. Unless there happens to be an international airport in the place you want to visit. That’s generally not the case in Switzerland. Most people go to see the alps.

Be prepared for high prices in Switzerland. I’m planning a trip for a group of 6 next summer. Apartment rentals and hotels are VERY expensive, and hotels generally don’t have rooms that sleep 4, unless your kids like sharing a sofa bed. You’ll pay US 5 star prices for 2 star rooms.

Posted by
16722 posts

Have you checked the official race website for accommodations? I see an apartment in Wengen for a week that sleeps 4 costing 1120 CHF for the week. Suggest to get there on Monday so you can adjust to the altitude. I see the finish is at the Eigergletcher tram top station. You will be climbing to almost 8,000 ft, so coming from the Midwest, altitude adjustment is important. Wengen is at about 4200 ft

The location is fabulous and you will have plenty to do. If you want to go to Florence, take some more time after the race, at least 3 days, and 4 would be better. You could fly home from Milan.

Posted by
1279 posts

I was in Switzerland last Sept. during the marathon (not to run it) and it is a great time to be there. It was also my first trip in 20 years and first to Europe and I found Switzerland to be a very easy country to travel in. So easy in fact that I am returning in a couple of weeks by myself. The trains are super easy to navigate (get familiar with the SBB app before you arrive) and everyone we encountered was friendly and spoke some English.

With such a short amount of time, I would fly in and out of Zurich and spend 4-5 nights in the Jungfrau region and 2-3 nights in Lucerne. From Lucerne, you can take a train right inside the Zurich airport in just over an hour the morning of your flight. Are you near Ohare airport? Swiss Air has a nonstop daily flight to and from Zurich. Super easy. Probably around $1200 per person unless you happen to catch a sale. Last year our flights were $885.

I suggest booking accommodation as soon as possible as prices are often cheaper the earlier you book.

While Switzerland is expensive, the grocery stores are a great place to get sandwiches and salads. And water is free from all the many fountains.

Posted by
13044 posts

It would be an excellent idea to spend 4-5 days at altitude before the marathon, as Sam suggests. Mürren, at 5400 feet, would be a good choice and is right in the area (as is Wengen). i’ll check if the apartment at Chalet Fontana is available, as it is moderate in price and sleeps 3 comfortably.

Our niece ran the Jungfrau marathon a few years back and loved it. She was actually using it to train for a different race in the Sierras. She lives at sea level, so to help acclimate she came to spend a week with us at our timeshare in the Wasatch mountains of Utah (near Alta), sleeping at 8000 feet and hiking up from there. That worked out well for her.

Edit: the Chalet Fontana apartment is available for only 3 nights in September, but they happen to work out to be dates that could work for you: Sept. 7-10, $190/ night. You can book it on AirBnB or email Denise. I suggest booking it on AirBnB now as it won’t last long, and you can figure out the rest later. You would have to check out the day of the marathon, but the teens could handle that and move you to a nearby hotel while you are running.

Posted by
6615 posts

Jack, do yourself a favor and get a guidebook, now. Rick's is very thorough. There are likely many questions you dont even know to ask until you know more.

Switzerland is expensive. If it were me, I'd have booked rooms, yesterday, as it might be a problem this late. Especially if you're trying to coordinate with friends. To save time, I'd start with to get an idea of cost and location. You cant dither with this too long or you'll be staying far out.

I'd stick with one country for a new traveler. There are plenty of sights and cities to see in Switzerland. Adding another country is like going to see the Grand Canyon and trying to add on New York City and Miami. IMO.

PS yes flying into one city, and out of another (called multi-city ticketing on airline websites, aka open-jaw) is an efficient way to travel, usually with a fare that is near roundtrip to one.

Posted by
714 posts

I agree with travel4fun that you can easily spend 7 days in the Jungfrau region.

Accommodations: I assume the race will start at the Camping Jungfrau site south of Lauterbrunnen. It has in the past. You might consider renting a trailer or bungalow there. Much cheaper compared to a hotel, especially since you can make your own meals there which saves a lot of money.

What to do: take a look at for all the hikes and sights in the area. Plenty of pictures to see what interests you. If any of the teens are under 16 their travel is almost free with the Family Card.

Posted by
16722 posts

Looks like the race is starting in Interlaken and finishing at the Eigergletcher top tram station.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you Thank you Thank you for all of the kind and informative replies!

Posted by
2564 posts

Just to repeat, get a guidebook and do most of the heavy lifting on your own. Then come back with specific questions.

Or hire a travel agent, no shame.

Posted by
2564 posts

And remember, if the weather is bad, it's Rick's fault