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Zermatt and Interlaken in late March

Hi everyone!
I will be visiting Switzerland for a week with 5 people (ages 26-31, fairly active). I have a couple of questions I will separate out:

  1. Hiking trails in and around Zermatt? We've heard Matterhorn is "the thing" to see so looking for options to get views but not necessarily hike itself.
  2. Leaving early morning and traveling to Interlaken by car to be able to hop out along the way. I keep seeing Lauterbrunnen Valley recommended in other posts but not much detail. Specific trails we should do? Any other stops along the way from Zermatt?
  3. We plan to do one night in Zermatt (arriving early morning to explore the whole day) and have 2.5 days for getting to and exploring Interlaken area. I have read that Interlaken is not as popular on this forum compared to Lauterbrunnen Valley, so how would someone suggest breaking that time up?
  4. This one is silly so please don't laugh me off the forum. I must be really blind since I can't find the information but what is this magnificent train traveling north from Interlaken?! I see gorgeous pictures on social media but can't find a name.
  5. Is weather in late March making our hopes of hiking foolish which in turn means we should overhaul our current plans?

Thank you thank you for any help!

Posted by
1443 posts

Most mountain trails will be blocked by snow in late March. Walks along the valley floor in Lauterbrunnen should be possible.

Posted by
16710 posts

As for the train, could you post a photo from the internet so someone can identify the train you seek? The only named “scenic train”that passes through Interlaken is the Golden Pass, but you may be looking at photos of a different one, such as the Glacier Express from Zermatt to St. Moritz.

You can see photos of the Golden Pass train here:

http://www.goldenpass.ch/en/goldenpass/offer/view?id=14

But it will not be green in March.

Posted by
20321 posts

The hourly Luzern-Interlaken Express, goes, as its name implies, to Luzern. It has panorama cars, and is one leg of the Golden Pass train journey. It goes along the lake (Brienzersee), then over the Brunig Pass on the way to Luzern. You could go part way, then turn around and come back.
https://www.zentralbahn.ch/en/interlaken-express

It is still ski season in Zermatt, but plenty to do and see for non-skiers. Gornergratbahn or Glacier Paradise.
https://www.zermatt.ch/en/Media/Attractions/Gornergrat
https://www.zermatt.ch/en/Media/Attractions/Matterhorn-glacier-paradise

Posted by
33131 posts

Number 4 - is it possible that you actually mean south and are referring to the train which goes through the mountain to a summit of Jungfrau?

What colour is it? Is it steam powered or electric? Or do you mean the train which goes straight into a mountain and over passes and through mountains and goes around a huge loop and into Italy? If so, that's not near Interlaken.

Posted by
7 posts

Hi again! I have learned so much over the past month in planning that my previous questions seem quite naive. Any insight on these particular hikes? I'm running into LOTS of trails/areas being closed in Late March. I haven't found information on the below stating it is closed so in case anyone here has insight.
1. 5 Lakes/ 5-Seenweg
2. Mannlichen-Kleine Scheidegg

Suggestions on other hikes open around the B.O? The group isn't wanting to ski or snowboard, but considering sledging (or other snow activities) in Grindelwald.

Posted by
20321 posts
  1. Maennlichen-Kleine Scheidegg will be snow covered, with skiers coming off the lifts at either end.
Posted by
33131 posts

what about that train you want to find? Description, colours?

Posted by
1443 posts

In late March you may have more luck finding passable trails on the Murren side of the Lauterbrunnen valley. Here is a tourist's map of that area which has a lot of great hikes on it. The Grutshalp to Murren walk is easy and beautiful and has a decent chance to be clear. Your hotel manager or the TI office in Lauterbrunnen will have up-to-date info on trail availability when you arrive. Worst case scenario is your walks are restricted to the valley floors but even those are awesome. You'll have fun regardless so don't worry too much.

But there's no escaping that it's likely to still be winter there in late March. You can see from this webcam there is snow on the ground today at that elevation. Same for this other webcam. Sporatic snow showers are common even into late April.

Posted by
7 posts

Hi Nigel. After looking at some of the trains recommended, we may have to pass on doing one. We will have a car and most are one directional. We're taking a train from Paris to Geneva on our first day, and using the Lötschberg Tunnel train when traveling from Tasch north toward Interlaken. We found lodging in Lauterbrunnen as base for both days in the valley.

I'm actually pretty bummed about the hiking. I am positive the views will still be gorgeous no matter where we are, but was really hoping to get active outside with a challenge. I had read on another post that most trails/paths are cleared during winter months; is that only specific areas? (We expected to be walking through snow.)

Posted by
11449 posts

I had read on another post that most trails/paths are cleared during winter months; is that only specific areas? (We expected to be walking through snow.)

Some trails are cleared and groomed in winter months. The more challenging ones are higher, more rugged, so probably not. Still, you will have a wonderful time. For a longish hiking day, Hike Grutschalp to Muerren then walk down to Gimmelwald. From there, take the gondola to the valley floor and walk back to Lauterbrunnen.

You can also go up to Kleine Scheidegg on the train and walk down to Alpiglen or Wengen, as I recall, but you have to check locally to see what the current status is.

Posted by
8889 posts

Jigna, you say in your latest post:

We're taking a train from Paris to Geneva on our first day

In your original post you said:

Zermatt? . . . . traveling to Interlaken by car

Where are you picking up this car? Where are you returning it?
I hope you realise you cannot drive to Zermatt. The road ends further down the valley in Täsch, You will have to park your car (pay) and take a train for the last section to Zermatt.

You will also have to leave your car in the valley bottom in Lauterbrunnen, and take trains or cable cars up the valley sides to your hiking routes (unless you want to hike up the valley sides).

These links might help
Photo of Lauterbrunnen: https://hikingontrails.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/img_4728.jpg
Photo of Lauterbrunnen valley from Wengen: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-JFfpOIj2nyI/TXBSzfMwxUI/AAAAAAAAAG4/DdoM2yYslYA/s1600/Lauterbrunnen.jpg
Hiking trail between the two: https://www.outdooractive.com/en/hiking-trail/bernese-oberland/lauterbrunnen-to-wengen/23182558/

Topographical footpath map of the area. You can zoom and pan, and print maps to PDF at any scale. Green lines are paths, red lines are railways and cable cars.: https://map.schweizmobil.ch/?lang=en&bgLayer=pk&logo=yes&season=summer&resolution=5&E=2635900&N=1161385&layers=Wanderland

Posted by
7 posts

Hi Chris. Apologies for my confusion. We arrive from Paris via train to Geneva. We get the car rental from Geneva same day and return in Zurich 7 days later. As for Zermatt and other areas, that was part of my naivety when I originally posted. We booked lodging in Tasch to leave the vehicle and use the train to travel south. Same with lodging in Lauterbrunnen to leave our car for 2 days while we explore with local transport.
Sunday: early arrival to Geneva, staying the night in Montreux
Monday: Zermatt, staying in Tasch (mainly coming to see Matterhorn)
Tues-Wed: Lauterbrunnen
Thur: can come continue in Lauterbrunnen if enjoying ourselves or head to Luzern. Staying the night in Luzern by evening.
Fri: Luzern
Sat: Zurich, flight home in the late afternoon

Posted by
8889 posts

Jigna, sounds OK, except I would do that route by train, a lot easier. Then you also aren't restricted to staying in Täsch and Lauterbrunnen, you could stay in Zermatt and Mürren or Wengen.

Also, check your hotels have parking, especially in towns (Luzern, Montreux). Many don't.