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Staying in Murren, Lauterbrunnen or Interlaken?


My roommate and I are taking a 10 day trip to Switzerland August 29- September 7. We are spending 3 nights in the Berner Oberland region and are deciding whether we should stay in Interlaken for convenience or Murren/Lauterbrunnen for the atmosphere. We are wanting to go paragliding and canyoning but are definitely drawn more towards the quaint feel of the villages vs the hustle and bustle of Interlaken.

  1. Is it a waste of travel time to stay outside of Interlaken, or will it not be too much time to get to Interlaken for our activities if we stayed in Murren or Lauterbrunnen

  2. If not, Murren or Lauterbrunnen? How do you travel between Interlaken and these towns? How much travel time?

  3. What are the best companies to go paragliding and canyoning with?

Thank you! Looking forward to everyone's feedback!

Posted by
7209 posts

I've been to this region at least 15 times and thank goodness on my very first visit we dared to stay in Murren. Thank Heavens! I would have been very sad indeed to spend the night in Interlaken and then daytrip to the Lauterbrunnen Valley and Wengen and Murren and to see what I COULD HAVE HAD.

1) it takes 20 minutes to get from Lauterbrunnen to Interlaken.
2) don't understand the question
3) I don't do paragliding and canyoning, but if I were staying with Denise at the Chalet Fontana in Murren I would ask her advice because she's a wealth of knowledge about the whole area.

use to find travel times between all Swiss destinations.

Posted by
221 posts

When we were in the Berner Oberland region, we stayed in Lauterbrunnen and really enjoyed the location. We did some hiking, and it was easy to get to Gimmelwald(quaint little village) and Murren. At one of the bars, there was usually a group of base jumpers congregating. You might find some info about paragliding etc. on tripadvisor. We did not spend any time in Interlaken, just went through there on the train to and from Lauterbrunnen. We really wanted to absorb the small village atmosphere. Although it rained most of the time that we were there, we just put on our jackets and did whatever we planned on doing. One night we could hear someone playing their alpine horn. Where ever you end up, you will really enjoy that region.

Posted by
9429 posts

We've been to the Berner Oberland twice and stayed in Murren both times because we absolutely love it there. I would not want to go all the way to the Swiss Alps and stay on the valley floor in Lauterbrunnen... or worse, Interlakken, and have to look up at the Alps. I want to be in them... when I go to sleep at night, when I wake up in the morning, and all day long... that's why I've traveled so far to be in the Alps. Murren is 5,000' up and enveloped by the Alps. The scenery is unbelievable from Murren. All the great hikes and walks you can do from Murren is another plus for me. My son went paragliding from Murren and L O V E D it but don't remember the name of the co. He loved it so much he came home, took lessons, and got his license. I don't think there is anywhere more spectacular to paraglide.

Posted by
55 posts

My husband and I spent two nights a couple of weeks ago in Gimmelwald. The views are absolutely breathtaking. While Gimmelwald is very quaint, it's also very small with only two restaurants and no grocery store. I'd recommend staying in Murren. We had lunch there and the views are magnificent as well. You'll find more hotels and restaurants and a Coop grocery store, which is very convenient since eating out is quite expensive in Switzerland. The next time we're in Berner Oberland, we plan to stay in Murren instead. It's just a short cable car ride from Stechelberg. Enjoy this gorgeous place!

Posted by
32244 posts

I'd suggest staying in the Lauterbrunnen Valley and not in Interlaken, as you'll waste too much time getting back and forth each day. Which location to choose will depend to some extent on where you'll be doing the majority of your touring while in that area. I prefer to stay in Lauterbrunnen as it's the most convenient transit hub for getting to both sides of the valley (that's where the trains arrive from Interlaken). The fact that it's on the valley floor isn't really a concern, since it's still very scenic (IMO). I only use the hotel for sleeping, showering and meals, so being in the valley isn't a problem, as I'm in the mountains during the day anyway.

Regarding your questions.....

  1. Yes (IMO), it will be a waste of travel time to travel to the sights every day. What "activities" are you planning to do in Interlaken?
  2. Either Mürren, Gimmelwald or Lauterbrunnen would be good choices, depending on your preferences. To reach that area, you'll first have to take a train to Interlaken Ost (there are two stations in Interlaken) and once there you'll transfer to the small Berner Oberland train. The trip from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen is about 20 minutes. If you're staying in Lauterbrunnen, just walk to your hotel. If you're staying in Mürren, walk across the street to the Cable Car for the short trip to Grütschalp, where you'll transfer to the small mountain railway for the short trip to Mürren. I can provide directions for Gimmelwald if you're interested.
  3. You may find it helpful to look at THIS Post from earlier this year, as it lists one company you might use in that area. When you arrive there, the locals will be able to provide more information. I don't have any information on "canyoning", but again the locals will know the best firms to use. Base Jumpers from all over Europe frequent that area, and they usually congregate in the HORNER PUB in Lauterbrunnen. After a jump they come back to the Pub to upload the images from their helmet cams (and usually have a pint).

One other point to mention is that Switzerland tends to be expensive. If you'd like to save money on accommodations, there are Hostels in both Lauterbrunnen and Gimmelwald.

Posted by
74 posts

Like the above posters, I recommend staying in Murren. The views are so beautiful that I can't believe they are real even when we are there.

Weather permitting, we will be paragliding with Airtime in a couple of weeks. I am sure they will be very helpful with your Canyoning also.

Don't forget about the via ferrata from Murren to Gimmelwald.
Google via ferrata murren to see amazing photos and details.
You can rent via ferrata gear from the sports center in Murren.


Posted by
7209 posts

Some of our group just did the via Ferrata in Murren. They said they had a great time doing it. Some of their photos made my stomach hurt!

Posted by
16894 posts

I would only stay in Interlaken as a last resort. How to Look Up Train Schedules Online gives you the DB train schedule link and tips for using it. For Switzerland, it also includes funiculars, gondola lifts, buses, and some ferries. If you are using Rick's Switzerland book, then see also travel times and connection points in a map format on p. 151.

Posted by
9429 posts

"The views are so beautiful that I can't believe they are real even when we are there."

Agree! That's exactly what we say!

Posted by
11294 posts

I haven't been to Switzerland, but am going in September 2014. Chris and others here will not be surprised to find that, after doing research, I'm staying in Muerren.

But, sdmcd, I'm puzzled by one thing. You ask about getting to Interlaken for your "activities," and say staying here would be more "convenient." I haven't found many compelling activities in Interlaken, other than getting from there to the mountains themselves (hence the unanimous recommendations above to stay in Lauterbrunnen, Muerren, etc). And Interlaken is thus less convenient than the other locations, not more.

So, what were you planning to do in Interlaken? (I see Ken had the same question). This may sound a bit sarcastic, but I'm genuinely interested to know if I've missed something.

Posted by
7209 posts

Harold - you've not missed anything. Interlaken is OBVIOUSLY highly advertised, but I'm guessing a great deal of that advertising is coming from travel agents / agencies who probably have never been there themselves. Congratulations to you in listening to what the experts here are actually telling people. I have nothing to gain by telling people to not stay in Interlaken and to head for Murren or Wengen or Lauterbrunnen instead. Having been there so many times myself my only gain would be increased competition for hotel rooms (not a good gain).

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you all so much!! These were great recommendations! We will definitely stay in Muerren and I am looking into staying at either Hotel Bellevue or Hotel Blumental. If you have any thoughts on either please let me know!

Will look into paragliding in Muerren and canyoning with another company. Thanks again!

Posted by
33133 posts

Both are good hotels, and I'd use Chris's suggestions for your adrenalin activities. - (Looked for you and the dogs last time I was there, Chris, but missed you....)

All the action is up in the hills, not down in Interlaken, unless you want to be a bus spotter - see how many number plates you can get in 15 minutes - or unless you want (very nice) boat trips on Brienzersee or (nearly as nice) Thunersee.