My husband will be in Zurich for business and we will have 3.5 days to venture off into the Alps. We love to hike and like off the beaten path type of things to learn about new cultures. Will be traveling in mid September. Any recommendations?
Well, the Berner Oberland is not "off the beaten path", and it was not off the beaten path when Mark Twain visited in the 1870's, but it is something to behold. Go to Muerren and hike and experience that other culture and be awestruck by the scenery all around you.
Murren, Wengen, Lauterbrunnen (not Interlaken) are all amazing - you won't believe your eyes!
I agree that with 3.5 days, spend them all in the Berner Oberland. The villages of Lauterbrunnen (in the valley), Wengen (up one side of the valley) and Muerren and Gimmelwald (up the other side) all have their fans, but you really can't go wrong with any of them. Just find accomodations in one of these four, and from there you can explore the whole area.
If you get Rick Steves Switzerland, he has an extensive chapter on this region. Other than his excessive focus on Gimmelwald (over the years he has made friends there, so he finds it much more interesting than most of us do), it's one of his very best chapters, and will cover everything you need for your sightseeing time there, including what to do if the weather is not great.
Thanks so much for all your responses. We plan to go to murren or gimmewald depending on what accomodations are available. Now I need to find a good hiking map!