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What to do with 5 days in Wengen September 2016

Hi fellow travelers, I am trying to determine if to purchase a half fare card or a regional pass or just point to point tickets for Switzerland. My first issue is to determine where to go and what to do in the 5 days. We are interested in going on the Cog railway and going for some 2 to 3 hour walks. As I am only just starting out planning for this area, any suggestions are welcome.

Are there any "not to be missed things to do"

Posted by
300 posts

We spent a few days in Wengen a number of years ago. I think you'll make enough use of public transportation (in addition to trains the pass is valid on cable cars, funiculars, buses and boats in the region) to make the pass worthwhile, but you know how much riding vs. hiking you'll plan to do.

Don't - miss waterfalls include Lauterbrunnen falls (on the Lauterbrunnen valley wall opposite Wengen - can't miss it) and the Trümmelbach falls, up the valley toward the Mürren tramway.

A couple of scenic, super-easy hikes:

From Wengen, train down to Lauterbrunnen than bus to Stechelberg. Tram to Gimmelwald to explore, then follow-on tram to Mürren for more exploring. Level hike to Grütschalp then tram back down to Lauterbrunnen.

From Wengen, tram to Männlichen. Moderate uphill to your left to the Männlichen summit, then nice hike down from there to Kleine Scheidegg with great views of the Eiger and the North Face. Continue hiking or take the train back down to Wengen.

It's an amazing region and you'll be wishing for even more time.

Posted by
39 posts

Hello Peter. Thank you for your reply. That has given me a great start to working out my itinerary.

Posted by
11404 posts

Hello, JennO. We are just wrapping up a weeklong stay in Lauterbrunnen. Here's how we spent our 6 full days in the area.

  • Trip to the Jungfraujoch -- on our third visit to the area finally popped for this and it was worthwhile. We went ont he first train the first day we saw good weather there on the WebCam. After lunch, we walked to Staubbach Falls.

  • Hike from First to Grosse Scheidegg. Train to Grindelwald, lift to First, lovely walk of about 2 hours to Grosse Scheidegg, then Grindelwald Bus to Grindelwald, lunch, train back to Lauterbrunnen.

  • Grutschalp to Muerren walk (hour and 20 minutes?), lift down to valley floor at Stechelberg, walk to Trummelbach Falls (additional 40-45 minutes.

  • Boat trip on the Brienzersee, then hike at the top of Harder Kulm. This was our least favorite day. The hike did not have great views and was kind of difficult.

  • Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg hike (about 1-1/2 hours). I love this hike!

  • Day trip to Bern where we followed Rick Steve's self-guided tour

Of course, we also wandered in Muerren and Grindelwald.

We bought a Swiss half-fare card which covered all of our transport in Zermatt for 3 days/4 nights, plus gave us a discount on the Berner Oberland Regional Pass we bought for 8 days. We had to pay a bit extra for the Jungfraujoch and also for the Grindelwald bus down from Grosse Scheidegg, but the passes more than paid for themselves. We saved about 600 CHF on all the travel in 12 days in Switzerland. There is also a Jungfrau Region VIP pass, but it covers less territory. Once you know what you want to do more-or-less, someone at the TI can help you figure out which pass is worthwhile. The half-fare card is a good starting point if you are going to have a couple of legs in Switzerland just getting to Wengen.

Posted by
11294 posts

Rick's chapter in his Switzerland book on the Berner Oberland region (where Wengen is) is one of his very best, with the exception of his over-emphasis on Gimmelwald (it's an interesting few hours, but hardly the life-changing, earth-shaking experience he makes it out to be). I found it hard to follow the chapter before I got there, but easy as pie once I was there - so be sure you have the book. And good for you for having 5 days; with the activities there being weather dependent, you want as much time as possible to enhance the number of clear days for things like the Schilthorn and the Jungfraujoch.

As for not to be missed, I'd put both the Schilthorn and the Jungfraujoch in that category, as long as you can do them on clear days. For the Schilthorn, be sure to stop in Birg on the way down (it's included in the ticket). When I went, the views of the Jungfrau from the top of the Schilthorn were obscured, but from Birg they were crystal-clear and breathtaking.

Determining which pass to get for Switzerland can be quite difficult. To start, how much time are you spending in Switzerland in total, and where else besides Wengen are you going?

Remember that while you may get a better deal with a regional or national pass, it's hard to lose with the half fare card. Since you get half off EVERYTHING that moves in the country, from local buses to the very pricey Jungfraujoch excursion, it pays off quickly. The big advantage of a pass is that with a half fare card, you have to buy tickets every time. With a pass, you only have to buy tickets for something that isn't 100% covered (such as the Jungfraujoch, Schilthorn, and Allmendhubel rides). For everything that is fully covered, you just flash your pass - a great convenience, particularly in the Berner Oberland, where you are constantly on trains, lifts, buses, etc.

Posted by
39 posts

Thank you all for the great ideas. To answer one of the questions. We will be travelling by train from the town of riomaggiore, staying 5 nights in Wengen and then heading to Dijon for a couple of nights before heading to Paris. I am not sure of the route we will be taking yet, but from what I have read, if I purchase the Half Price Card for Switzerland I can then purchase half price point to point tickets for the Switzerland journey. As I am unaware of the route I am not sure which are the swiss border towns that I will cross. Once I have these sorted out I can start checking out prices and decide on whether the regional pass is worth it. If someone has already done this I would be thrilled to know the outcome. Also, if anyone knows the best route that would be excellent as well. What a wonderful forum. Thanks for all the help guys.

Posted by
12040 posts

with the exception of his over-emphasis on Gimmelwald (it's an interesting few hours, but hardly the life-changing, earth-shaking experience he makes it out to be).

Thank you. Although I would say more like "interesting for maybe 30 minutes".

Posted by
39 posts

OOPS Thanks Tom. I am guessing that Grimmelwald is very commercial? Lots of shops selling souvenirs maybe?

Posted by
1238 posts

Actually very little shopping in Gimmelwald. The pub/hostel is a pleasant place to pass some time and soak in the views, though.

Check out this RS video of Gimmelwald. There are way more folks in the video than I encountered on my stroll through.

Posted by
101 posts

Gimmelwald, below Murren, is very small with only a few cafes. If however you are thinking of Grindelwald, across the valley near Wengen, it is very commercial.

Posted by
82 posts

We have just returned from RS Alpine Europe My Way Tour with extra days spent in Muerren on our own after the tour. Everybody has given you great advice here. Is there a reason you have chosen to stay in Wengen? We stayed at the Bellevue Hotel in Muerren after the tour and can highly recommend it. It is a beautiful little village with wonderful views in all directions and you can still easily access all the places that Laurel has suggested.

  • we went up the Schilthorn with a stop at Birg on the way down
  • walked down to Gimmelwald & rode the tram back up. Quintessential Swiss village - a must see, but yes about an hour's stay will do it.
  • took the funicular up to Allmenhubel and hiked around for a couple of hours.
  • Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg hike - great hike! Accessed this hike when we stayed in Lauterbrunnen with the tour.
  • Staubbach Falls & Trummelbach Falls We just loved this whole area and I think that anybody who enjoys travel, whether they are a hiker or not, should treat themselves to a stay here. Switzerland is expensive but well worth it in my opinion.

We purchased the half-fare card as we had other train travel in Switzerland (from Chamonix to Muerren and to Lucerne and Zurich) . We didn't find it a problem purchasing our tickets - no lineups and we could purchase several tickets at once as we knew our travel days and tickets are day specific but not time specific. Once you know your itinerary for sure then you can do a spreadsheet or a chart to figure out whether the Swiss Pass or Half-fare card makes sense for you.

This forum has some great posters with a lot of travel experience and we found everybody extremely helpful when planning our trip. Thank you again to all.

Have a wonderful trip JennO.

Posted by
39 posts

Thank you Lynne for the itinerary. It makes it so much easier. I agree there are some great posters. Thanks Debbie for the video link and to brdcollie you are correct. I had got the two towns confused. Thanks for clarifying.