Is it possible to get good weather from mid to late May in the Berner Oberland? If the probability is low I will try to move our travel schedule to June. Also, if anyone has any good feedback for the area in general I would love to hear it.
Sorry, we didn't go in May but went in October about 10 years ago. Feedback in general...probably the most beautiful place we've been. We stayed in Wengen at the Hotel Eiger. Very nice hotel with unbelievable room balcony views! We took a walk from the hotel just south of Wengen and found some benches facing the mountains, the other side of the valley and the valley below. Incredible. We heard nothing, absolutely nothing, except the distant sounds of cowbells. Pure magic. We did go to the Jungfraujoch. This is an excellent trip, although pricey. The views from Kleine Scheidegg (last stop before heading to the Jungfraujoch) of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau were incredible. My opinion, you can't go wrong if you're in the Berner Oberland!
We were there a few years ago in early June. There was still quite a bit of snow at the upper elevations which made hiking something of a problem. Otherwise the weather was fine.
Hi Teri---I wish I could give you a good answer to this question. I love the Berner Oberland---it's one of my favorite places in the world. But I've only been there in July and August, so I can't speak from personal experience about conditions in May. But I'll quote what a very knowledgeable person said on another travel forum:
"I personally would not go to the BO in mid-May, your "hikes" are either going to be rained out, or in snow or mud. It's really not spring at all there. It tends to be quite foggy, which means no views of the mountains or from the mountain heights. Ferries are running, on a very abbreviated schedule, and it it is cold out on the lakes still at that point. The better hotels are closed in May."
I was able to check on that last statement, and of 4 hotels I checked in Wengen, three (Alpenrose, Eiger, and Bellevue) appear to be closed for most of May; they don't list rates for rooms until May 25 or even June 1. One hotel, the Alpenruhe, opens May 1.
So it's definitely "low season". That can be an advantage in some ways--low prices, no crowds. I think the weather can be as nice in May as in June. But the trade-off is you may find snow and mud on the ground instead of green grass and wildflowers. On the other hand, the valley villages, like Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald, may be fine.
If it were I taking this trip, I'd go in June rather than May if I could. But I go for the hiking and the high mountain views, and your goals may be different.
I'd be happy to answer your general questions about the area if I can.
I was there in late April last year for a few days. The weather was variable from hour to hour. Our hike from Gimmelwald to Murren began under a cloudless sky, then proceded under a thick blanket of fog and ended under a torrent of rain. By the time we returned to our B&B in Interlaken, the sun was out again. It was cloudier more often than it was sunny, but I couldn't say how typical our experience was.
I was there in 2003 and 2005 both times in the first week of June, so close. Both times, the weather was fine for us. I think there was one day of light rain first thing in the morning on one of the trips. We stayed in Lauterbrunnen and rode up to the Jungfraujoch and Shilthorn, took a trip to the open air museum and did some hiking. Loved walking around Lauterbrunnen. I do recall that some hiking trails were closed at that time, but most were open.
www.gimmelwald.ch gives a description of life and weather there month by month. Lots of beautiful photos, too.
We've been to the BO 3 or 4 times in late May and early June and everytime we've had fantastic weather. We find the airfare to be a little more affordable if we leave at the end of May. It's a wonderful time to go!
Dress warm and prepare for rain.
Well worth the visit irregardless of the weather.