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Wengen versus Murren - Early October - Base For Exploration

Any recommendations based on the time of the year ?

Fog seems to often be a concern regarding traveling for views up the cable cars to Schilthorn, hiking, photography.

Ease of transportation could also be a deciding factor. We will arrive by train from Lake Como and depart most likely by train to Geneva.

We are planning on three or four nights. Any personal experience with lodging and dining ??

Many Thanks !!

Posted by
31435 posts

gd,

I've been in that area in October and the weather has been good, but there's no way to predict what it will be like this October. Spending three or four nights in that area is a good idea, as if one day is cloudy you'll have other days to take the high mountain lifts (provided the weather clears up, of course).

Wengen and Mürren are on opposite sides of the valley. If you're planning to tour both sides, Lauterbrunnen makes a more convenient "home base" location.

"Lodging and dining" will depend on which location you choose to stay, so it's difficult to make suggestions. You might find it helpful to have a look at the Switzerland guidebook, as it has lodging and dining suggestions in each of the towns in that area.

Posted by
9996 posts

We liked Hotel Alpina in Murren for a 4 night stay. Views to die for and nice breakfast spread. The rooms are basic, but clean and adequate. We also stayed -- last minute decision left few choices -- at Hotel Steinbock in Lauterbrunnen and while nothing elegant, we did manage to get one of the two rooms with a private bath. :-) I liked Lauterbrunnen as a location to facilitate hiking on both sides of the valley. Next year we may rent an apartment there for a week. Seem to be some good places to rent in Lauterbrunnen to give one a bit more space than a hotel and also allow some home cooking to be kind to the budget and waistline. Those Roesti are killer!

Posted by
11280 posts

I stayed at Hotel Edelweiss in Mürren, and would do so again (found in Rick's book). For all Swiss hotels, I found better prices and room availability by e-mailing them directly, compared with booking on the websites. Be sure to say you found them in Rick's book for better prices!

If the Schilthorn is your primary interest, staying in Mürren is better, because coming from Wengen will entail more travel time. By the time you get from Wengen up the Schilthorn, there's more chance the weather will have changed. Of course, visibility can change in minutes, as you'll see once you're there. If you have iffy visibility, a great thing to do is the Allmendhubel. The view is not as good as from the Schilthornbahn, but cost is much lower as well.

Conversely, if going up the Jungfraujoch is your priority, staying in Wengen shortens your time to get up there. And staying in Lauterbrunnen splits the difference, at the cost of views (in Mürren I had amazing an view right from my room, which was practically hanging off a cliff!). I also didn't like the town of Lauterbrunnen as much as Mürren; I didn't look around Wengen, but it's larger than the others.

As for ease of transportation, all the towns are connected (details are in Rick's book, and will be much clearer once you get there). Some seem to mind schlepping their luggage up to Wengen or Mürren, but you only have to do that on arrival and departure, so for me it was a non-issue. I did like that from Mürren, you had easy access to both the train and funicular to Lauterbrunnen (with further trains to Interlaken or Wengen/Jungfraujoch) and to the cable car to Gimmelwald/Staubach (going down) or Birg/Schilthorn (going up). The train and cable car are at opposite ends of town - which means a 10 minute, largely level walk.

As for restaurants, I had good food at several of the restaurants in Mürren (many are in hotels). My one meal in Gimmelwald, at the Pension Gimmelwald, was of notably more "basic" quality (think fuel, not cuisine, as opposed to Mürren restaurants, which featured cuisine).

Posted by
145 posts

Harold:

Instead of hijacking this thread, I will create my own asking for help in planning. That said, I would appreciate it if you could elaborate on your comment about Wengen vs. Lauterbrunnen about time to get to Jungfrau vs. Schilthorn. My understanding was that those two peaks are about 3 hours apart, so any intermediate place would still be only an hour or two more either direction. Am I missing something?

Porcupyn

Posted by
11280 posts

"That said, I would appreciate it if you could elaborate on your comment about Wengen vs. Lauterbrunnen about time to get to Jungfrau vs. Schilthorn. My understanding was that those two peaks are about 3 hours apart, so any intermediate place would still be only an hour or two more either direction. Am I missing something?"

I don't have the exact travel times in front of me. But, for instance, the full trip up the Jungfraujoch is about 2 hours journey from Lauterbrunnen. To get to Lauterbrunnen from Mürren, you take a train to Grütschalp, then a cable car down to Lauterbrunnen (these are coordinated with almost no wait time), then you have to wait for the train in Lauterbrunnen (not coordinated with your arriving cable car from Mürren). It's not difficult, but the extra 45 minutes or or so does mean more of a chance for the weather to change. That's what happened to me; when I left Mürren, the weather was clearer than when I finally go up to the Jungfraujoch. From the first outdoor viewing area, I could hardly see anything. However, I spent some time up there (as you will want to; there's several things to see, and it costs a lot to go), and later on from a different area there was better visibility. The extra transit time also means that you have to wake up earlier if you want to be up on a peak (either Jungfrau or Schilthorn) as early in the morning as possibility (the usual recommendation for best chance of good visibility).

It's not a deal breaker, by any means. As you see, I ended up seeing both sides of the valley (as well as a walk on the valley floor on my last, cloudier day). And I'm still glad I stayed in Mürren over Lauterbrunnen.

But the walk from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg is a good example of how where you stay can have an impact. Despite staying 4 nights (3 full days), I never had the combination of physical energy, good weather, and proximity to make it work for me. From Mürren, you take the train to Grütschalp, then the cable car down to Lauterbrunnen, then the train up to Wengen, then walk across Wengen to take the lift to Männlichen - to start your downhill walk! I had a Swiss pass, so all except for the lift to Männlichen would have been completely covered; I just didn't feel up to it after my other activities. The natural time to do it was after my Jungfraujoch excursion, but that took longer (and was more tiring) than I planned, so I just went back to my hotel and rested. If I had been staying in Wengen, I almost certainly would have gotten to do it at some point - but of course, I might have missed something else; I certainly would have missed Mürren's drop dead views! (I know I keep talking about them, but Chris, our poster from Mürren, is right - they really are something).

Posted by
9 posts

We stayed 5 nights in Muerren in June 2013 at Chalet Boebs, which was amazing and highly recommended. We had a small apartment for 3 adults which cost CHF 120 per night. Our windows looked out over the valley. Fantastic. We saved money by cooking for ourselves. We visited Wengen and didn't like it as much - bigger and more touristy.

Posted by
145 posts

We stayed 5 nights in Muerren in June 2013 at Chalet Boebs, which was
amazing and highly recommended. We had a small apartment for 3 adults
which cost CHF 120 per night.

How did you book the apartment? That sounds like a steal!

Posted by
4341 posts

I guess we're on the of few Forum posters who stay in Wengen. Our hotel last September was Hotel Alpenruhe Kulm which had fantastic views of the Jungfrau & valley from the hotel room deck. Also, the room came with a wonderful free breakfast in a nicely decorated dining room. We walked from the train station at Wengen, but the hotel offers a ride in their electric cart if you call them when you arrive. We like Wengen for the easy access up to Kleine Scheidegg, a variety of restaurants and the town has a decent grocery store to pack picnic lunches. We actually spent less money per day on food when we were in Switzerland than when we were in Italy!

The train connects Lauterbrunnen to Wengen (15 minutes), and goes onto Kleine Scheidegg.

Posted by
12933 posts

We like both Wengen and Mürren, and have even stayed in both on the same trip. In Wengen we love Hotel Bären.

http://www.baeren-wengen.ch/?lang=en

The dinner included with half- board is excellent--- very fresh and modern cuisine.