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Upcoming trip to Lucerne and Bernese Oberland in July- some questions I have...

Hi all-

I'm new to the forum, but have spent the last few days vicariously living through all of the trip reports from posters here like Carol, Carrie, Pat, cchapin, Jane, and more! I really appreciate all the wealth of information that has been provided.

We are a family of 6 (my husband and I, my parents age 65 and 71, and two kids age 8 and 10) who will be traveling to Switzerland for the first time in mid-late July. We will be spending 2 nights in Lucerne (will directly train there from Zurich), 3 nights in Interlaken, 4 nights in Wengen, and last night will be in Zurich. We are predominantly an outdoors active family (love hiking) and not so much museums.

I am finalizing our itinerary and have some questions to ask. Would love to hear any insights from those of you who have already been to Switzerland. Clearly the 10 night trip I planned was not enough, as I have too many activities and places I want to see!

1.) Would you recommend getting a guide book for Switzerland (and which one)? I have heard good things about the Rick Steve's Switzerland Travel Guide. I have also looked at Walking in the Bernese Oberland. I have done tons of internet research and have basic ideas of the trails I want to do (they are all pretty popular and well known) but am hoping to get those helpful maps of the BO that have all the trails and descriptions. Hopefully this will be enough, unless you think there is still value in getting an official guidebook?

2.) How hot should I expect it to get in mid-late July? I know there can often be heat waves this time of year. This was unfortunately the only time we could book the trip, otherwise we would be going in late June. Our hotel in Lucerne and Wengen will not have AC. I am hoping that with opening the windows, it will be OK, and that the mountains and lakes (Thun, Brienz) will be somewhat cooler.

3.) We are only getting one full day in Lucerne (first day we will probably arrive in the afternoon and be jetlagged, second day is the full day in Lucerne we have, and the third day we are planning to travel to Interlaken in the afternoon). Does it make sense to just focus that second day on seeing Lucerne the city? Or, my original plan had been to use the second day for Mt Rigi, and the first day upon arriving, we would do a quick city tour (Chapel bridge, Spreuer bridge, Jesuit Church, the old town square, Musegg City Towers and Wall) and save anything we missed (e.g. Lion monument) on the last morning before we head to Interlaken. But, maybe that is too rushed?

4.) Are there any walks/hikes that you might recommend skipping due to the crowds, or advice on how to avoid the less crowded times of day? I had Mannlichen to KS on my list but heard some reports that they were too crowded to be enjoyable. Also was concerned about First to Lake Bashalpsee for the same reason. We could try to wake up early and do them first thing in the morning, or potentially late in the afternoon. Having said that, it doesn't make sense to spend a day walking on a crowded trail when there are so many other beautiful areas to explore.

5.) Brienzer Rothorn- is this overrated? We definitely plan to do Schynigge Platte. I have heard reports of the long waiting times and crowds. This is included in our BO Regional pass though, which is why I had wanted to do this.

6.) Half board option for dinner? While in Wengen, we will be staying at Hotel Baren, and they have a half board option for 3 course meal for 45 CHF. This seems appealing as then we don't have to worry about dinners (and will be likely cheaper than eating off regular menu), but then again it might be nice to be able to go out and eat at different restaurants.

7.) How important is learning common German/Swiss phrases before we go?

Thanks in advance for any advice you may have! We are super excited about our upcoming trip to Switzerland.

Posted by
1421 posts

I would eliminate Interlaken entirely from the itinerary and allocate the extra days to Luzern or Wengen. Anything near Interlaken you want to see or do can be reached almost as easily from Wengen, which will eliminate the hassle of changing hotels. And Wengen is much much better regardless.

Posted by
1105 posts

Nice Post

  1. I personally don't buy guidebooks. I usually scan through them at a library. The internet has much more up to date information.

  2. I have never been in Switzerland in mid-July, but I don't think you'll run into many days I would consider hot.

  3. The pace is up to your group. You can see the "main attractions" on the first day in Lucerne. The second day might be more enjoyable since you will be fatigued the first day.

  4. Again, I have never been on any hike that was "crowded". There will be other people, but it is certainly very manageable. Don't skip any hikes you have planned.

  5. Nothing to add.

  6. I have eaten at the hotel Baren and it is very good. I have not stayed there, but many on this forum have and it is popular.

  7. English is spoken pretty much everywhere in Switzerland.

My only question, why 3 nights in Interlaken? It is a nice town, but there is more to see and explore up in the Alps.

Have a nice trip.

Posted by
14 posts

Thanks for the responses! Well, it is a little late for me to change hotels and change those 3 days in Interlaken to Wengen, but my original reasoning was to use the days at Interlaken to spend time exploring the Niederhorn, Lakes Thun and Brienz and all the little surrounding towns, the Brienzer Rothorn, and Schynigge Platte. When I looked up the times to get there from Wengen, it seemed like it would take over an hour each way, and that didn't seem like good use of our time.

Posted by
6617 posts

seruleane,

More information is always a good thing. Yes, a guidebook, like Rick's, is good not so much at identifying sights, but for the information on logistics, transportation, details and other stuff you might not think of.

I agree with skipping Interlaken - its at the foot of the mountain valley, but not in the mountains. Its got name recognition because its a logistics hub for the going further up the valley, where you want to be, but there's nothing there worth staying to see. I'd take a night to add to Luzern, and the other nights to Wengen as recommended. You've got more ideas than time in the BO as it is. Beautiful place, and worth staying in, but the "city" attractions" are less interesting than the mountains and lake.

For only one day in Luzern, It kind of depends on how energetic and motivated your group of 6 is, and how you're all dealing with jet lag. If you can get all or some of them up and running early AM, check the weather on Pilatus and Rigli (hotel may know, or the webcams). Even if cloudy on the bottom, it might be sunny on top, but that changes quickly. If you cant get everyone moving, consider taking a cruise or ferry ride around the lake. Other than the bridge (a walk through) and the Lion Monument there's not much else worth your limited time (IMO).

Temperatures. The thing is, anywhere where you are in mountain country, the temperature will drop off in the evening, so a warm sunny day can turn into a chilly night quickly. You have to plan and layer up.

Half-board never made sense to me, as it locks you in to being back at the hotel every evening.

Yes, learning hello, goodbye, thank you, please, excuse me, etc., makes your experience better. Its not that no one speaks English - most oft hem do - its just polite. You get treated better if you are making an effort.

Posted by
1282 posts

1) I recommend the Rick Steves book as it covers all the places on your itinerary. I really like his walking directions. You’ve probably seen this website mentioned as it is a great resource. Thanks to Shoe for putting that together.

https://lauterbrunnenhiking.wordpress.com/

2) Expect it to be hot, hot, hot!!! I’ve been watching the weather as I leave in 2 weeks and it’s already been in the 80s in Lucerne. For May!!! Do plan to dress in layers as it will be cooler in the higher elevations. But, make sure you have some short sleeve shirts and either shorts or capris or a light weight pant.

3) I love Mt. Rigi and would make that the plan for day 2. You can see the city on your arrival day and when you are back from Rigi.

4) Check the link I have above for walks. I found the cities to be crowded, but not the mountain trails. Not sure how it will be in July.

6) In Wengen, I really liked the Pasta and More restaurant.

7) I suggest learning hello Gruezi (sounds like “gruet C” in Luzern and Zurich and “gruet sa” in the mountains.) And then merci for thank-you. I gave up on Danka as there are too many variations throughout the country. 😊

You have good reasons for your nights in Interlaken. I loved the Thun castle.

Sounds like a well thought out Itinerary. Should be a great trip!! Be sure to try the Zweifel paprika potato chips we are all obsessed with. 😊

Posted by
14 posts

Thanks Carrie! I loved your trip reports to Switzerland- they were so entertaining to read! I agree it seems we will get some hot weather in Switzerland this summer. I will keep the plan to go to Mt Rigi then, unless the weather is unfavorable or we are too jetlagged. Thanks for the reminder about Shoe's excellent website! I will be sure to save his maps so I can refer to them later.

Hope you have a wonderful trip to Switzerland! Look forward to reading about them on this forum (but only if you have time).

Posted by
14 posts

Thank you Stan! I agree that I have more ideas than time for this trip. If I had waited to book my plane tickets, I would have easily added a few more days. Hmm, I am still reluctant to change those nights in Interlaken for Wengen. Maybe I am just being stubborn, but Interlaken just seems like a really good base from which to explore Thun, Brienz, Niederhorn, and the Schynigge Platte. I know the train rides in Switzerland are beautiful, but with kids, I am thinking an hour each way from Wengen to Thun or Brienz is a long time to be in the train. I looked into staying in Murren as well, as the views there seem even more gorgeous than at Wengen, and found a beautiful place (Hotel Bellevue) and almost booked that instead, but ultimately decided the transportation to and from Murren made it not worthwhile. Maybe once I am there, I will change my mind!

Also, appreciate your advice about learning some of the more common Swiss phrases to use. I agree it is always nice to show the effort, and hopefully they will understand my clumsy attempts!

Posted by
27709 posts

I'd be interested to read your trip report, especially how you feel about the Interlaken base after having visited up the hill.

I stayed in Interlaken for the first three or four trips too, until I realized just how much we were missing in the evenings and mornings, and since then we have always stayed up the hill, always in Mürren.

So I'd love to see how it went for you...

Posted by
7675 posts

Those three days you give Interlacken can be much better used in Lucerne and Wengen . Interlacken is a transit hub.

Posted by
278 posts

Hi!

My family was in Switzerland last August. My trip report is here: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/italy-and-switzerland-trip-recap

I’m including the link as it outlines the hikes we did and the many alpine playgrounds we visited. I’ll echo what others said and encourage more time in Wengen (or Murren) rather than Interlaken. You could also look at staying in Lauterbrunnen if you’d like to be closer to some of the sights you mentioned. Feel free to ask any questions you have!

Posted by
3797 posts

Regarding Luzern: I find that a full day is plenty of time to visit the city itself. It is quite compact really. I have never made it to the Lion Monument (lack of interest for me), but it is not that far really, and you hotel should give you a car for free bus and trolleybus transport anyway.
The one time-consuming museum would be the (excellent) Swiss Museum of Transport, but that's not on your list.

Posted by
2066 posts

Glad you appreciated our trip reports.
I would add a day to Lucerne, because of the unpredictable flight cancelations and delays post-covid, which I have personally experienced on two international trips post-covid. What if you don't get to Lucerne on that first day, or get in around midnight????

And- don't forget that short trip to Mt. Stanserhorn on the open air Cabrio cable car, perhaps to see the sunset.

I agree, don't stay in Interlaken, when you have heaven so close to you in Wengen ard/or Murren. As one poster suggested, at least substitute Lauterbrunnen for Interlaken, as you'd be further up into the mountains. But- staying that whole time in Wengen or Murren is optimal.

Enjoy this fantastic country, who's beauty is unparalleled !

Posted by
834 posts

There is nothing special about Interlaken. Why not stay in Thun?

Posted by
1282 posts

I think Interlaken makes sense for the OP in her unique situation-- traveling with parents and young kids and wanting to be closer to some of her planned activities.

Posted by
13045 posts

I am with Carrie on the Interlaken stay. They are already committed to that, and using it as a base for activities that are away from the Lauterbrunnen/Mürren/Wengen and Grindelwald areas. So it will be fine. You will arrive in mid-afternoon from Luzern, have two full days for exploration, and depart on the third morning to Wengen.

Things to do from Interlaken: you have already mentioned Schynige Platte, but not what you intend to do there. There are a number of different loop trails you can take, a lovely botanical garden to,explore, and more. The restaurant up there has a large sun terrace where you can have lunch, and they do have a children’s menu. Information on the activities and a copy of the restaurant menu:

https://www.jungfrau.ch/en-gb/schynige-platte/

https://fullsuitcase.com/schynige-platte/

https://cdn.jungfrau.ch/Schynige_Platte/Panorama-Restaurant-Schynige-Platte_Speise-und-Getrankekarte.pdf?v=1576580034

On your other Interlaken day, consider a lake cruise on Brienzersee and a visit to Grandhotel Giessbach and the short hike to the waterfall behind the hotel. The hotel itself you will see across the lake as you ride the train from Luzern—-it looks like a fairytale castle.

https://www.giessbach.ch/en/

You can also reach the Giessbach dock by train to Brienz and short boat ride from there, so you can arrive by one route and return by the other.

Sherlock Holmes fans like to visit Meiringen for the Holmes museum and a look at Reichenbach Falls, where he and arch-enemy Moriarty had their apparently fatal last encounter:

https://sherlockholmes.ch/en/Welcome

I confess we have never been there, as we are too focused on hiking,/but it might make a good activity for a rainy day if you need one.

On your way to Wengen from Interlaken, you will change trains in Lauterbrunnen. assuming you depart Interlaken in the morning after check-out, you will be too early to check in to Hotel Bären in Wengen, so you could consider spending some time in Lauterbrunnen to see the waterfalls, perhaps even going into Trummelbach Falls. And/or have lunch in Lauterbrunnen. You can store your bags in lockers at the Lauterbrunnen train station if you want to do this.

Good choice on Hotel Bären. I highly recommend taking half-board there. The food is excellent—-they have a reputation among locals as the best place in Wengen for dinner. Owner Therese comes around at dinner to greet every table, whether hotel guests or not, and she seems to know everyone.

I recall one night we had veal scallopini with lime-ginger risotto and asparagus; another night it was Zanderfilet ( a local lake fish) with the fluffiest riced potatoes. Four courses in all, including dessert. And a very good value if you compare to standard Swiss restaurant prices. I believe there was a choice of main dishes at dinner, but I may be mis-remembering. I do know that they accommodated our pescavegetarian daughter-in-law with something very good the night the rest of us had the veal.

It is a good idea to learn a few polite words and greetings. Carrie mentioned the standard greeting, Grüezi, and how to pronounce it (I like the second syllable to sound more like a Z than a C). when there is more than one person in your party, you will hear something slightly longer and rhythmic-sounding from the Swiss person. They are saying ”Grüezi mitenand” which means “greetings among us (or between us”. But you will be fine with a simple Grüezi.

Please and thank you are Bitte and Danke. Yes there are words you can add to Danke to say “very much” or the equivalent, but you don’t need to. I use Danke sehr if I want more than one word, and a quick nod.

Some here may be old enough to recall a 60’s pop song in which singer Wayne Newton so horribly butchered the pronunciation of Danke Schön, saying “Shane” with a long A, to make it rhyme with “pain”. Don’t do that!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danke_Schoen

Posted by
13045 posts

I ran out of room. I want to recommend a Mürren hike combination that everyone might like. It starts near the top of the Allmendhubel funicular in Mürren. There is a large playground there, a restaurant, and a short look through an alpine garden with labeled plants that may or may not be of interest ( not much was blooming when we were there the first week of August in the midst of a heat wave). You can either ride the funicular up or hike up from Mürren ( our choice but our grandkids rode up with their parents).

There are several ways down, but for your group, I suggest one parent take the children down the fun Children’s Adventure trail, with slides,tunnels, and other features. The other parent and the grandparents can return by way of the North Face trail, which makes a long traverse out and then back at a gentle grade, not terribly steep. This is where I saw for the first time what has become one of my favorite alpine flowers—-totally missed them on 4 previous hiking trips in Switzerland, either because it was the wrong time for them to bloom, or the ubiquitous cows had grazed them all. We did see lots more later the same trip, on the Tour du Mont Blanc, in a lush high meadow near Courmayer. No cows there either. It is called Purple Gentian, but the color is actually a deep row is-red like this photo.

https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gentiana_Purpurea_Ble.jpg

From the North Face trail you will have beautiful views of the ridge of famous peaks across the valley, and signposts at various points tell the story of mountaineering history and first ascents of the peaks opposite. As you loop back toward Mürren there are various trails you can choose to reach Gimmelwald or Mürren, and there also may be an option to visit the Spruzi waterfall (a small one) as well. Not sure about that.

Note that this North Face trail is not the same as the Eiger North Face trail. That one is over by Grindelwald, starting at Eigergletscher above Kleine Scheidegg and descending on a traverse below the north face of the Eiger—-so close it is hard to see it, actually. But a great hike if you are looking for more.

I cannot find much information on the Children’s Adventure trail online, but this TripAdvisor review has some photos and reactions. I know my grandchildren loved it. So did their parents.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g188084-d12636476-Reviews-Flower_Park_and_Children_s_Adventure_Trail-Murren_Jungfrau_Region_Bernese_Oberla.html

Another thing I meant to suggest was to visit the Tourist Information office in Interlaken on the afternoon you arrive there. Something else to do with your time in Interlaken. They should have free hiking maps ( basic, but useful) and information brochures on other attractions and activities in the area.

Posted by
14 posts

Thank you all for the feedback. For those who keep telling us to just stay in Wengen- I hear you and appreciate the tip, I really do. I have reconsidered this many times and gone back and forth. So far, the consensus among my family seems to be that everyone prefers to spend time in Interlaken doing the lake side attractions, then head up to Wengen. But I am wondering if those of you who stayed in Wengen actually took the 1+ hour train ride to Brienz for the Brienzer Rothorn or boat tour, or the 1+ hour ride to Thun, or the 2 hour ride to get to the Niederhorn without feeling like you were wasting your time? I have a feeling if we stayed in Wengen, we would probably just fill our days with activities in the mountains nearby and not go down to the lakes at all unless the weather was really terrible, which is probably fine- there is no shortage of lovely trails to do. I do agree that if we stay in Interlaken, we will be missing out on the lovely mountain views after we eat dinner. I don't know if it would be reasonable to take the train from Interlaken further down along Lake Thun or Brienz and stroll beside the lake, or if that would be dangerous at night. Are there lots of pickpockets or or is nighttime crime an issue in Interlaken? If so, that could be a reason for us to change location.

Meg- I do remember your excellent trip report which I found very helpful, esp the detail about using the cable car both ways for Mt. Pilatus to take advantage of the playground at Kriens- what a great tip for those with kids! I also agree about the playgrounds- that is something we are definitely looking forward to!.

JR- I have considered moving the base to Thun, but the nicer hotels seem all booked up there, not to mention it would be quite far to Brienz and Schynigge Platte. I've also looked at Gunten, Beatenberg, Brienz, Bonigen, and Unterseen (the latter two are apparently very close to Interlaken but have a more charming atmosphere) but it seems these are also popular spots and it's difficult to find a room for 4 people without paying a fortune.

Lola- thank you so much for your detailed hiking recs and the report on Hotel Baron. Now I am very excited to eat there. We are also really looking forward to doing the Schynigge Platte panorama trail though my 71 year old father is trying to get us to do the hike from Schynigge Platte to First! I don't think my kids could do it, even if he could. I guess we can always take the trail as far as we are willing to go then come back if we get too tired. I have also thought about doing the Horizontweg trail from Hasliberg to Engstlenalp. Have you done this before? It looks beautiful but long! I am very much excited to do the trails from Murren that you describe, especially the Northface trail! Have you done the Eiger trail? I was looking at that one too, though my mom complains her knees hurt after some hikes, so I was worried about her ability to do the steeper descent near Alpigen. Some have said it may be better to hike the opposite way. My parents unfortunately have never used sticks while hiking, so I don't know if it would be a good idea for them to rent them and test them out for the first time in Switzerland.

Here are the hikes I am hoping to do during the 4 days/nights we have in Wengen (it will be 5 if we include the last day when we are heading back to Zurich the day before our flight). I am wondering if people think we can fit them all in, or if maybe this would be a reason to change our plans to 7 days/nights in Wengen.

Northface trail and Mountain View trail (combined on same day)
Eiger trail
Mannlichen to KS and KS to Wengenalp (combined on same day)
First Cliff Walk and hike to Lake Bashalpsee
Lauterbrunnen Valley Trail to Staubbach Falls and Trummelbach Falls
I'm sure there are other lovely walks close to Wengen that we will be enjoying

Thank you again!

Posted by
1282 posts

Lola, that darn Wayne Newton song is what screwed me up. 😊 That’s how I was pronouncing my danke. Like “don-ka” but I was corrected multiple times in Switzerland and told it was something like “don-kay.” After I had a conversion with hopper, who lives in Switzerland, about this I decided Merci would be a better option for me. 😊

seruleane, I took the train from Lauterbrunnen to Thun and the boat from Thun to Spiez then train to Interlaken and back to Lauterbrunnen. The train rides in that area are all gorgeous and to me was part of the excursion. It never felt like “oh no, we have x amount of time on the train to get there.” That being said, I still think it makes sense for you to stay in Interlaken those few nights.

As you are staying in Wengen, I suggest you check out some the walks that start in Wengen. I suspect they might be less crowded than some of the other well know walks.

https://wengen.swiss/en/summer/region/wengen/services/walking-trails-around-of-wengen/

https://wengen.swiss/en/summer/see-and-do/hiking/hikes/

Posted by
1282 posts

These are the walks I have on my list for my trip next month:

Hunneflue (35 mins)
--Starting point is Wengen railway station. From there you walk along the mainroad. At the Hotel Palace turn right and then left again. At "Ledi" you already have a wonderful view of the Lauterbrunnen valley. Continue along the wide path to "am Hubel". The last stretch takes us to the Hunneflue viewpoint after about 50 metres. Those who are not afraid of heights should not venture too close to the railing, as the view goes vertically 600 metres down into the depths.

Staubbachbanki Walk (25 mins)
--Face Coop and look for road that dips beneath train tracks and enters area of small hotels and houses. Keep left of Hotel Baren. (Stay left)
-- Turn left in front of the Hotel Bären. Follow the asphalt road straight on to "Innerwengen". Then about 5 minutes to Staubbachbänkli.

Monchblick (30 mins)
Starting point is Wengen railway station. From there you walk along the mainroad, past the Reformed Church and the Hotel Bellevue. The path is paved and wide until you reach "Am Sattel". At this point, the path continues to the right along a narrow path for about 150 metres until you reach the benches of the Mönchblick. A few metres further up there is also a bench.

Staublisegg (35 mins)
--This circular walk takes you through the village and offers the best views of the mountain world and the Lauterbrunnen valley. The starting point is Wengen railway station. From there you walk along the village street to the Reformed Church. It is worth stopping at the Reformed Church to enjoy the panorama. Continue to the Hotel Bellevue where the path turns right and leads back towards the mountains. The trail continues along the tracks of the Wengernalp Railway. Here it is worth taking a photo of the railway together with the Jungfrau and the Lauterbrunnen valley. Continue straight on to the Hotel Bären where the path turns left and takes us back to the station.

Allmend (45 mins)
--From the village of Wengen, walk up along the Stutz along the Hotel Regina and Falken. At the junction, take the road to the right (not the ski slope) towards Allmend. Halfway up, the hikers and the sledders will share the path. On the Allmend you have the best overview of the whole village of Wengen. In addition, the Allmend has a mountain restaurant and a stop for the Wengernalpbahn.

Leiterhorn (1 hour)
--The Leiterhorn Trail is primarily a snowshoe trail. Weather permitting, this trail can also be hiked with winter hiking boots.
Direct route: From Wengen village to Flüelenboden. From there continue in the direction of the Leiterhorn.
Circular route: From Wengen village in the direction of Hunneflue. From Hunneflue the path leads upwards to the right to the Leiterhorn. On the way back you can take the forest path towards Flüelenboden and on towards Wengen village.
The Leiterhorn offers a sensational view of the Lauterbrunnen valley and the mountain peaks of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. At the end of the trail you can see the other side of the valley as far as Interlaken.

Posted by
13045 posts

Carrie, I suspected that the Wayne Newton “Danke Schön song might be what caused your aversion to using “Danke” at all—-but I also thought you were too young to remember it.

It is definitely not “don-kuh” “don-ka” like he says it, and more importantly the Schön does not rhyme with “pain”! It is hard to describe the ö sound without a live demonstration, as we don’t have a similar sound in English words. So “Merci” is a good choice.

As for hikes—-I have done both the full hike from Schynige Platte to First, and the Eiger North Face (descent from Eigergletscher to Alpiglen). Both were on my first trip to Switzerland 20 years ago, with my Seattle hiking club. Your 71-year old dad may well be fine with the full hike, if he is a regular hiker, but maybe others in your family would find it tough and long, and perhaps rushed as you do not want to miss the last gondola ride down from First!!!! (We almost did). What you could consider instead would be to go up to Schynige Platte and enjoy the botanical garden, lunch, and Panoramaweg, maybe extending a bit toward First if that seems appealing, but return to Schynige Platte. Then, when you go to Grindelwald for the First cliff walk and hike to Bachalpsee, you could continue past the lake another 3 km (crowds will diminish) to the Berghotel Faulhorn for lunch or a snack. Or just have a look around from the mountaintop with its 360=degree view.

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

IThe Cliff Walk looks pretty cool. I guess your kids are too young for the other First activities, like the Trottibikes or mountain coasters? Actually they go by height, not age—-125 cm minimum for the Trottibikes; 135 cm for the coasters (sort of like go-karts). Or maybe the First Flyer? It goes by weight—-35 kg minimum.

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

If you want to continue down to Wengernalp after the walk from Maennlichen to Kleine Scheidegg, don’t be tempted to walk all the way back to Wengen. We did that last time, and it turned into a long, hot slog, and we had to stop at a cafe and bribe the grandchildren with ice cream to keep them going. We should have caught the train back at Wengernalp.

If your mom has tricky or trouble knees but is otherwise fit for hiking, you could do the Eiger Northface trail up from Alpiglen instead of down. I wish we had! But maybe she would like to look into hiking poles (I couldn’t hike without them once I reached 55) and possibly physical therapy, strengthening exercises, or taping that would help. I have greatly decreased my downhill hiking pain by taping my knees (a physical therapist taught me how) or wearing knee-cap stabilizing compression capris.

Posted by
834 posts

For anyone interested in Thun, this place is amazing. We have stayed several times in the past years. Very charming, and the rooms overlook the river below and the mountains. For a group of people, it's perfect as well. There are three large rooms, on which has several beds.

The BnB Thunerstern is located in the heart of the beautiful town of Thun, directly on the Aare River, just a 3-minute walk from the train station and lake. Be it for your holiday, a short trip or a business stay in Thun, you will feel at home at BnB Thunerstern. In a beautiful old apartment of a residential and commercial building, we offer you four individually furnished rooms.

Posted by
1282 posts

Lola, I probably should not admit this, but I know of the song from the movie ferris bueller’s day off.

Hopper pointed me to this video on you tube. There’s a discussion on thank-you starting at about the one minute 30 second mark.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B812yrtq5iU

I have such a hard time with languages. I think it's because i took latin in school instead of a language that is currently spoken.

Posted by
2066 posts

What an incredible wealth of info- I'm bookmarking this one!

Carrie, I also took Latin in high school, and am also terrible at foreign languages.

Am really enjoying this thread!

Posted by
14 posts

Carrie and Lola- thanks so much for the trail descriptions and ideas! Carrie- I will definitely check out some of the walks from Wengen- they sound lovely. Lola- your proposed plan for Schynigge Platte sounds much more appealing to me so I think that is what we will plan on doing. Thanks for the tips about how to prevent knee pain. My mom has some knee wraps so we will be sure to bring those.

Also Carrie, love the tutorial for learning quick Swiss German phrases! I had watched other videos from this guy about Switzerland travel but someone missed this one. Many thanks!

JR- thanks for the tip on the BnB Thunerstern. They are not available during the dates we need, but maybe in the future. I think once I make a first trip to Switzerland, I will have a better sense of the area/transport options and feel more comfortable staying in the smaller towns as a base in the future.

Posted by
278 posts

So much great information on this thread! It makes me wish I was going back--would love to spend a few weeks in the summer doing all these hikes. I am glad the trip report was helpful! Switzerland was such a fun place with kids. I hope you will report back about how your trip goes. :)