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Murren For a Week in July - Rental Car? Swiss Travel Pass? Coupon Book? Kids activities?

My wife, 3 kids (10, 10, and 8) will be flying in from Zurich and spending a week in Murren. As you can see, I have lots of questions :)

  • We will be staying in Murren and purposely do not have much of an agenda. Would you recommend having a rental car to access adventures and fun things within 1-1.5 hours (probably our max travel time one way) or will the train system be adequate?

  • I have read quite a few opinions on the Swiss Passport and the coupon book. I am curious if anyone has recommended activities in the area that are included on the pass or in the coupon books that would then make either worth it. For a family of 5, yes or not to either?

  • I would love any recommended activities for our family. This will be our first time! We like to be outside, have a low attention span for museum trips lasting more than 17 minutes, love sights/sounds/smells, and adventure.

Thanks!

Posted by
1102 posts

Definitely no rental car, as Murren is a car-free zone.

The funicular to the children's playground is great, as is the playground (my 11-yo and 8-yo really liked it, v. different than American playgrounds).

If you like to be outside, you'll find plenty to do. Lots of hiking and fresh air and mountain views.

You may want to consider the 4-day flex Swiss Travel pass. All your kids will be free if you add on the "family" option. There's also a regional Berner Oberland pass that may be useful if you're only staying in Murren and the surrounding areas.

Have you read Rick's guide to Swiss train passes? Also if you haven't already, borrow or buy his Switzerland book; it's well worth the read.

Posted by
11494 posts

Lots to do there! You will love it! We have spent a full week or more on 3 occasions in Lauterbrunnen in addition to two shorter stays and love going back. The trains and lifts are a dream so no car. You accnot haveone in Muerren, anyway, as it is car-free!

I am a big fan of the Berner Oberland Regional Pass so you can hop on the trains or lifts without thinking about out-of-pocket. If you have 7 nights there, buy the 8 day pass when you change trains in Bern as it is valid from there. Full info and map of the area of validity here. I do not think you need a Swiss Travel Pass as your time outside the BO is limited to to/from the airport. You can pop into Interlaken easily with the pass, a good place to buy groceries if you are cooking, take a boat trip on one of the lakes, or just joyride a mountain train. Only the Schilthorn and Jungfrau will incur extra fees.

Rick Steves book does such a great job of laying out fun things in the region, I sure hope you have it. It took us 5 trips to the area to get around to going to the Ballenberg OpenAir Museum and I highly recommend that for a day. The Aare Gorge hike was fun, too, and you could combine that with Ballenburg if you plan carefully.

Posted by
33337 posts

For the kiddoes there is just so much to do in and around the Berner Oberland, so easily done by train and the Berner Oberland Pass for the transportation. Model trains in Interlaken, ride on the steam boat (or the diesel) on the lake (if the steam boat there is a glass window to see the steam engine working, and you can see the paddle wheels working too), there is the steam train working up the steep mountain at Harder Kulm, and at the Brienzer Rothorn, if you venture as far as Meiringen you can climb up (or take an ancient funicular up) the waterfall that Sherlock Holmes had his famous death-defying (spoiler alert) battle on and even take a picture overlooking the falls at one of those stick your face through life sized cutouts of Holmes and Dr Watson.

None of that needs a car. Or on a rainy day take a train into Bern and explore the covered arcades and the ancient fountains. Or visit the three bears down by the river (walk down or use the free outdoor glass elevator).

Posted by
11294 posts

"Would you recommend having a rental car to access adventures and fun things within 1-1.5 hours (probably our max travel time one way) or will the train system be adequate?"

You've got it backwards! Muerren is car-free, as are many of the excursions you will be taking, so a car would spend a lot of time parked in the valley below (at Swiss prices). The various trains, lifts, boats, and buses will not only be "adequate," but for many places are the only way to get there.

I agree with looking at the Berner Oberland Pass. If you're not spending time in other regions of Switzerland, and aren't going to museums, you won't get much use of the greater coverage of the Swiss Travel Pass.

Do go to the Ballenberg Open Air Museum. Make sure everyone knows that in each house, you can go into any area not specifically barred. I saw a lot of people stay on the ground floors, not realizing they could climb the stairs, go into the other rooms, etc. This museum is included in the Swiss Travel Pass; I believe there's a discount with the Berner Oberland Pass, and with either one transport from Muerren to there and back should be fully included.

I also loved the Allmendhubel - the "playground area" above Muerren that was reference above. The views mean it's not just for children!

Check out the Talmuseum, on the outskirts of Lauterbrunnen. It's about traditional lifestyles in the region. I only went because it was raining, but it's worthwhile even in good weather.

Do be sure to get Rick's Switzerland book. His chapter on this area is one of his very best.

Understand that while Swiss restaurants are very expensive (particularly if you're feeding five), Swiss supermarkets are not. There are small supermarkets in Muerren and Lauterbrunnen, larger ones in Wengen and Grindelwald (over in the next valley) and giant ones in Interlaken. These have all kinds of prepared food items, so you needen't "cook" unless you want to. Plus, during the day, you don't want to be in a restaurant - you want to be out on trails! Carrying supermarket food and drink for lunch and snacks is the way to go when outdoors.

The stores in Interlaken (Migros and Coop) are a bit like Target in the US, and are great places to buy things at non-shocking prices. When my day bag tore, I got a replacement backpack at Migros for 20 CHF.

I'm very jealous for you and your kids - you'll all have a great time!

Posted by
768 posts

I agree with what was said about getting the Berner Ober. Pass, especially since the kids will be almost free (20 CHF total, as I recall).

I've taken young teens to the area several times, and they loved it. I think your kids will too. On the right trails, they can encounter cows, sheep, and goats. Every single time I've been to Mannlichen (next ridge over) and Almendhubel (above Murren) there have been grazing cows there that you can pet if you approach them wisely. Both of those places have playgrounds there as well. I've often seen sheep along the path from Murren down to Gimmelwald. They'd also love the Rodelbahn (luge with wheels) over at Pfingstegg.

Click on my name and you'll find a link to our dozen favorite trails in the area, with maps and pics.

Posted by
8889 posts

You can't drive to Mürren, the road ends in the valley bottom. You can't access any of the nearby "adventures and fun things" by car, but you can access them by train and cable car.
"will the train system be adequate?" The concept that public transport will get you anywhere but the road system will not may be new to you, but it is true in this area.

Recommended activities. Lots on the official tourist site here: https://jungfrauregion.swiss/en/summer/
Then click on "See & Do".
This is the area to be outside.

Posted by
7209 posts

And the best thing about this is that your kids will travel 100% EVERYWHERE in Switzerland with the free Swiss Family Card. They can even go to the super expensive Jungfrau 100% free. I remember when our kids were that age and the free travel for them was such a nice surprise.

Posted by
16927 posts

The Berner Oberland Pass will cost 30 CHF for each child.

The Family Card that comes with the Swiss Pass or Flex Pass is free for all three children, Nd provides free travel on all transport, including the lifts that the adults will have to pay 50%.

Posted by
8 posts

You all are incredible! Thank you so much for the great advice! I really appreciate it. It is helpful to know that getting around without a car is the right way to go. The kids are researching the various places you all mentioned, so they are getting very excited as well.

Can't wait for our trip.!

Thanks again!