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Wengen or lower down?

I am planning a last-minute trip to Switzerland 29 March - 3 April. I was planning to stay in Wengen / Murren. According to the long-term weather forecast it seems as if I may hit 5 days of rain, snow, clouds. I realize that it is just an educated guess at the moment. I have never been to Switzerland before and do not know how to think about this.
However, if I take the pessimistic view and want to plan for bad weather, does it make more sense to stay in a town like Spiez or a city like Bern where it is at least a few degrees warmer? Does it make sense to stay in the mountains when the weather does not cooperate?
According to the pictures, Spiez looks like a very pretty town, but it seems that there may be a lot up/downhill walking. Does anybody know if there are buses to make this easier for somebody who is not 22 any more?
My interests: I would so love to experience nature. I love easy walks in beautiful places. I also enjoy scenic train/bus rides. Interesting old cities, beautiful town squares, good food, great art ... would also be really nice.

Posted by
16165 posts

I don't know if a long range weather forecast that far out can have any meaning, but climatologically, you could be right. It will actually be the tail end of the ski season, so there will be a few people getting their last runs in for the season and hoping for some nice spring snow.
Interlaken is certainly flatter than Spiez. It has a good local bus network, access to Wengen, Muerren, and the Jungfrau from Interlaken Ost train station, and will be snow free.

Posted by
10 posts

Thanks Sam! I would actually prefer to stay in a smaller / quieter place, but I do see your point about Interlaken being a good hub from where to explore. Please tell me if I am wrong in saying - if the weather turns nasty, I will not be able to see much from Murren or Wengen, and the walks that I crave will not work out. Should I just book in one of these towns and hope for the best? Which one do you prefer? If I do not stay in the mountains, where else is a nice smaller place with great views served by railway connections or regular boats. Please advise!

Posted by
10 posts

I see that Interlaken has about 6 000 people - not as big as I thought!

Posted by
8954 posts

Staying in Interlaken isn't the end of the world:) As you noted it's more of a large town than a city. While it's not as scenic as the mountain villages, on the plus side it's got good transport connections to places like Bern in case you run into bad weather, and there is also a greater variety of restaurants which are a bit cheaper to boot!

Posted by
12040 posts

You picked one of the worst times to visit the Berner Oberland for hiking. Depending on the winter conditions, the ski season may not have even ended yet, but winter hiking still may be feasible. And as soon as the snow pack retreats, the farmers start to fertilize the pastures with liquified manure. It's as pleasent as it sounds.

Staying in Interlaken might be sacrilegious on this website, but it's actually a pretty nice town.

Posted by
10 posts

The dates were decided for me, but yes, the more I read the more I wonder ... and that was before I learned about the liquid fertilizer!!! Should I ditch the dream of hiking (taking walks) in the mountains and just stay in a town near Luzern to take day trips from there? Interlaken for some reason does not sound like my kind of place - especially with tourist buses glogging up the main streat. As I said, I would prefer a smaller town with easy access to rail and boats, nice views, perhaps some gentle hiking. I do not care for shopping / nignt life. My plane lands in Zurich. I can still go in any direction, but i do need to make up my mind!

Posted by
12040 posts

You're visiting too early for Alpine hiking, in the Berner Oberland or anywhere else in the Alps. The season really doesn't start until late May, and even there, some of the trails aren't yet passable. Spring will have barely begun at the time of your visit.

Posted by
10 posts

Thanks Tom! I have now accepted that hiking is not going to happen this time. What about the rest of my question: if I do not select to go to Wengen / Murren, what else to do, where to go. I assume I will still have the opportunity for boat trips and scenic rides. As I said before, I have never been to Switzerland and I am struggling to get my head around this little trip. I have a few ideas but I do not know if it is a good plan or not. I can stay in Luzerne the entire time - find a hotel on the lake, take day trips. I can go down to a town near St Moriz (which one?). I can stay in the Spiez area on the lakes (this is what i think I will do).. I think I should pick a spot, find a nice hotel, and just stay in the same place for the entire time. If the weather is nasty, so be it. If the weather surprises me and turns out to be OK, I can still do a day trip to (e.g.) Murren. As I understand it today, I will have beatiful places where-ever I choose to go, but nowhere will be as spectacular as in the BO. What do you experienced swiss travellers think?

Posted by
10 posts

Hi Michael! Still wanted to thank you for the heads-up about Interlaken. From other threads it seems as if this is a place that people either like or do NOT like at all! Can you perhaps recommend an area / hotel that is a bit away from the main focus of most tourists?

Posted by
10 posts

Thank you so much everybody, for your great help. I have now booked 3 nights in Wengen (Hotel Alpenrose). I think I would have preferred Murren, but the transport to Wengen seems a bit less complicated ... and I am sure whatever I chose, it will be fine! Any tips on Wengen and surroundings will be really appreciated.

Posted by
8954 posts

IMO, Murren and Wengen are completely interchangeable. One sits-up on the left side of the valley, the other the right side. You'll have a great time at either village.

Posted by
12040 posts

Interchangeable with the exception of the skiing. Much, much better on the Wengen-Grindelwald side.

Posted by
10 posts

Thanks again everybody. I am not planning to ski. I will take day trips, see if I can go for short walks, just experience the place.
I think this thread will help everybody who is trying to decide where to stay in the BO - when you start reading it all seems such a muddle! Can I ask again: do you have any favourite places to eat in any of these towns? What is your favourite day trip? Any specific places that you can recommend? I will have only two full days, so will appreciate any pointers!

Posted by
26039 posts

I prefer the Mürren side to the Wengen side for views but acknowledge some great walks on the Wengen side. The reason I prefer Mürren is that in the morning when the sun shines on Wengen across and down the valley Wengen really looks yummy. Then I can look directly across and it looks like I can practicaly reach out and touch the three mountains of the Monch, Jungfrau and Eiger. You can't get that exact feeling in Wengen, IMHO.

Both are good but that is my preference.

Posted by
50 posts

I would stay in Lauterbrunnen, from which you can easily get to Interlaken, Mürren, Wengen, etc. We stay here; tell them Prof. Black referred you.