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Wengen or Lauterbrunnen

I am trying to decide between staying 4 nights in Wengen or Lauterbrunnen. Will my Swiss rail pass get me all the way to Wengen? Do I have to change trains? How much further is it than Lauterbrunnen? I see by YouTube videos that Wengen is more scenic but is it worth the extra travel time?
Also ,any hotel recommendations? Our budget only allows us a splurge (for us ) of about $250 or less.

Posted by
6088 posts

Yes Wengen is worth it! We did not care for Lauterbrunnen any where near as much, down deep in a valley.

Posted by
622 posts

Wengen is 12 minutes from Lauterbrunnen.

Posted by
660 posts

I stayed in a one bedroom chalet (apartment) in 2018 for 5 nights in late June for 126 euro per night in Wengen. The view was fantastic and the apt was very well appointed. I rented through Interhome. Wengen is a great location with great views, a couple of grocery stores, nice restaurants and a quick cable car ride to Mannlichen. From Mannlichen there are numerous hiking trails to enjoy with absolute magnificent views of the Eiger North Face. The trails connect to other spots to enjoy food and drink with rail connections. While Lauterbrunnen is nice, it is on the valley floor. You can always visit Lauterbrunnen from Wengen.

Posted by
11890 posts

Yes a Swiss railpass will take you to Wengen.

Yes, you will change trains in Lauterbrunnen.

As others have, said, it is worth the extra travel time. The ride itself is scenic, and the car-free village is much nicer than Lauterbrunnen.

Posted by
80 posts

Agree with everyone else - we loved Wengen. Incredibly scenic with great hiking. It is well worth the extra travel time. Our kids also fondly remember the large outside public pool that had amazing mountain views!

Posted by
844 posts

We stayed across the valley in Murren and we loved it. I imagine Wengen would be very similar just on the other side. Another vote for Wengen!

Posted by
24547 posts

Mürren looks down (and across to) Wengen and they both look down on Lauterbrunnen (but probably can't see it from Mürren).

Lauterbrunnen looks up at Wengen and they both look up at Mürren (metaphorically) (see Two Ronnies sketch).

I've never stayed in Wengen, but I have passed through a few times. There is more food and entertainment in Wengen than Mürren, but Lauterbrunnen has access to both sides and the valley, and is closer to Interlaken.

Posted by
150 posts

Lauterbrunnen seems more alive with guests, has all the transport to Wengen, Murran &
off to Interlaken for boat rides etc by trains *cable cars and some nice Hotels-Silberhorn &
Oberland-so that's my vote.

Posted by
649 posts

Stay in Wengen! We spent 4 nights there back in the July 2017 and feel we made the right choice when comparing it with Lauterbrunnen. It's in the mountains rather than the valley and the train up starts in Lauterbrunnen - so you'll visit it as well.

Posted by
31167 posts

I tend to prefer staying in Lauterbrunnen as it's the transportation hub for that area, and easy to get to both sides of the valley. As far as "being down in the valley", I haven't found that to be much of a problem since I'm usually out touring in the daytime and viewing the scenery isn't as much of an issue at night. As others have mentioned, Mürren is also a good choice, especially if you're planning to visit the Schilthorn.

Posted by
344 posts

We stayed in Muerren and visited Wengen and Lauterbrunnen. I would stay again in Muerren -- we like small, quieter places, and the views are just stunning.

But if I had to choose between Wengen and Lauterbrunnen, I would choose Wengen. I think it is nicer to wake up, look out the window, and be gobsmacked, plus no traffic. Yes, you will have to travel through Lauterbrunnen to get to the other side of the valley, but it's not that much extra time and very easy to navigate.

Posted by
73 posts

Thank you all. Still undecided. Leaning towards Lauterbrunnen for transportation convenience.

Posted by
24547 posts

Bear in mind when considering for transportation convenience how much like a Swiss watch the connections between trains and other types of transportation, like cable cars, gondolas, boats, and other trains is.

Your train pulls in, you get off and walk a few feet across the platform and get on the next train or funicular or cable car or boat. Really seamlessly and easy to do.

Don't let Lauterbrunnen being a local transportation hub overwhelm other considerations.

It may be an important consideration for particular individuals but do be aware of how easy connections are.

Posted by
3585 posts

We stayed in Lauterbrunnen during our RS tour. A few years later, we returned to the area and stayed several nights in Wengen. Spectacular views!

If you’re wanting to watch expenses, we stopped in the Wengen co-op grocery store for picnic lunch supplies. A nice breakfast was provided at our hotel, so we just had dinners as the larger expense of the day.

Posted by
31167 posts

Suzanne,

One of the reasons I prefer staying in Lauterbrunnen is that it typically facilitates my onward journey when I leave there. I often head for Italy after staying in the Berner Oberland, and the shortest rail travel time is often a train that departs Lauterbrunnen at 07:00 - 07:30 (or earlier). Taking a later train can add an hour or two to the journey, which is not desirable.

Even though the travel times are relatively short, staying in one of the higher villages means I have to get up that much earlier in order to make the Lauterbrunnen departure I want. Although the actual travel time from (for example) Mürren is only about 15-20 minutes, one has to allow time to walk to the station, waiting times, boarding and then the short walk to the rail station in Lauterbrunnen. Depending on the departure time of the train I want, I may be able to get a quick breakfast at my Lauterbrunnen hotel, and then I only have to allow time for the short walk to the station.

That's my preference but YMMV.

Posted by
574 posts

We stayed in Wengen on a Rick Steves Alpine My Way tour a few years ago and were happy with the location. No matter where you stay, you will be going up and down the mountains probably to see the sights on both sides.

We stayed at the Hotel Belvedere: https://www.belvedere-wengen.ch/en, and were lucky enough to have one of the corner rooms so we looked right out on the mountains--breathtaking! Even so, there is a good sized deck on the front of the hotel with tables and chairs and gorgeous views.

We also had a Swiss Travel Pass for our 3 days there (even though we were on the tour, we were adding time in Switzerland when the tour was over and it worked for us.) The Pass worked on most of the things we did and was very handy. It doesn't work on the Jungfraujoch train, and we didn't go up, but when we hiked the Mannlichen trail, the train from Kleine Scheidegg down to Wengen is on that line and we had to buy tickets for that. (Maybe it was half piece, I don't remember.) Otherwise, we just flashed our Pass and got on busses or trains.

Posted by
529 posts

We stayed in Lauterbrunnen and enjoyed it very much. Thought the view looking up at the mountains and the easy walk along the stream lovely. We choose it because we knew we would be doing day trips to different places and did not want to go down to Lauterbrunnen to start our day out. For example 1)Day 1- up to Murren and Shilthorn- really enjoyed that 2) Day 2- Wengen and Jungfrau 3) Day 3- Glacier Express to montreaux.
So I would suggest thinking about what you are planning to do and then decide.

Posted by
7201 posts

When I your life do you ever have the option of staying in a high alpine village without cars?? Lauterbrunnen isn’t bad, but good grief, take the one opportunity you have and stay high up in the alpine splendor.

Posted by
7406 posts

We've stayed in Murren twice, love it best. Wengen was too touristy for us but i’d choose it over Lauterbrunnen for sure. Lauterbrunnen is on the valley floor so you’re looking up at the Alps, instead, having traveled so far to be there, i’d much rather stay up in the Alps with the mind-blowing views you get at 5000’. Lauterbrunnen is also full of cars, traffic and a busy train station.

Posted by
30 posts

Also, Wengen has the relocation of the cows through town each day in June when we were there. It was so sweet to hear their bells ringing in the AM.

Posted by
5 posts

A lot depends on the time of year as well. In Fall/Winter/Early spring Lauterbrunnen only gets a few hours of sunlight per day, as it is in a very deep valley. Wengen has more sun in the afternoon, Murren in the morning. Getting from Wengen to Lauterbrunnen and vv. is trivial. Getting to other places is easy too, as the transfer between the WAB train from Wengen and the BOB train to Interlaken in Lauterbrunnen is just across the platform.

Posted by
99 posts

I watched a video last night that I think might help with your decision: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xqgW2Ha7kg

It’s a walking tour from the train station and thru Lauterbrunnen and down to Staubbach Falls. It really gives you a sense of the area. Looks like a movie set. There's just something about those waterfalls.

He also has a walking tour of Wengen that I have not watched yet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDtdPELvSiY&t=10s

My trip to Switzerland was cancelled this year, but we were going to stay in Lauterbrunnen. It seemed more convenient for what we wanted to do—stare in awe at waterfalls, walk or bus to Trummelbach Falls, cruise on Lake Thun to see castles and St. Beatus Caves, trip up to Schilthorn, walk from Murren to Gimmelwald.

If we were more of the hiker types, I think Murren or Wengen would be a better option. I really think there is no wrong choice. I joke with my sister that Switzerland is just so amazing that it looks fake. We’re gonna get there and find out it’s not real. 😊

Edited to add, if you prefer to avoid clicking on above links, you can find the videos on You Tube by doing a search for "Lauterbrunnen walking tour." The video is by City Walks.

Posted by
73 posts

I love this forum. Rick has so many good followers with great information and different points of view. Thanks for taking the time to reply. I am filling these covid days dreaming and planning for my June trip. (Hope it happens)

Posted by
7406 posts

Just wanted to say you don’t have to stay in Lauterbrunnen to enjoy what it has to offer. And you don’t have to be a “hiker type” to enjoy Wengen or Murren.
What’s so enjoyable for us are all the groomed paths which makes walking (not hiking) so easy and fun. You take a lift, cable car, funicular, etc up to a higher elevation, then walk down, with mind-blowing scenery all around you.

Posted by
74 posts

Great discussion. I generally agree with the above points, but I'll add my two cents because I tend to differ from the majority of posters on these forums. First, I always rent a car rather than use the trains. Although the Swiss trains are great, I really like the flexibility of having a car for taking day trips and getting around the Berner Oberland and surrounding areas. From Lauterbrunnen, we've taken side trips to Lucerne, Bern, Meiringen, Interlaken, Murten, Lausanne, Zermatt, Kandersteg and Thun.

Second, I don't stay in hotels. I use VRBO to find apartments with a kitchen, sitting room, and a balcony with a view of the mountains. We've been to the Berner Oberland three times (a total of 32 nights) and stayed in Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald. Third, hiking in the mountains is my major priority. Proximity to the lifts and mountain trails is important to me. (See my profile for a trip report and discussion of hikes in the Berner Oberland.)

Regarding costs, if it's just my wife and myself, a car is a little more expensive than two train tickets. Sometimes we travel with another couple. In that case, a car is definitely less expensive than using the trains. Also, I've found that a VRBO apartment is about the same cost of a hotel room for two persons. A two-bedroom apartment is definitely cheaper for four persons (with a lot more room). I've stayed in a very nice two-bedroom apartment for $150-160 per night in both Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald.

Regarding Lauterbrunnen versus Wengen, I think Lauterbrunnen is interesting and a fine location, but Wengen has gorgeous mountain views. I've never stayed in Wengen but I've walked through the village several times and taken hikes that started there. But if I wanted to stay in a car-free village high in the mountains, I think I'd choose Murren for the reasons discussed above by other posters. Also, although both villages are close to many trails, I personally like the hiking trails around Murren better. It's also relatively easy to get to all of the excellent hiking trails from anywhere around the Berner Oberland.

In addition, I prefer Grindelwald to Lauterbrunnen (even though both are very good bases IMO) mainly because of the greater number and choice of restaurants. I know many posters will not agree, but I don't mind the somewhat greater size or number of tourists in Grindelwald. I spend most days on the hiking trails, however, and with a car, I can easily get to Lauterbrunnen, Stechelberg, Murren, Wengen, Gimmelwald and other nearby locations quickly -- or go into Interlaken for lunch or dinner, or sightseeing in Bern, Thun or Meiringen.

Posted by
32 posts

Reliving our wonderful trip there in May 2012 through these posts. So good to still see Lola and Michael and the others giving great advice and information as they did for us for that trip. Staying in Murren in a house apartment (Chalet Rauftubel) still remains the highlight among incredible experiences of that whole trip from there to Lauterbrunnen to Grindelwald to Meiringen. Lauterbrunnen Valley was described to us as Yosemite Valley on steroids, and it did not disappoint. Have a great trip!

Posted by
8 posts

We stayed in Wengen and loved it. It was incredible to wake up, look out the window and be right in the heart of the Swiss alps! If you are really undecided and have 4 nights available, why not stay 2 nights in each town and have the best of both worlds!