What is the best way to spend 3 days in Interlaken area? Be there from 9/28 - 10/1. thanks
Skip Interlaken and don't waste any time there. Head straight towards the Lauterbrunnen Valley and either up to Muerren on one side of the valley or Wengen on the other. Actually you'll probably want to see both towns on both sides. You'll not have ANY problems spending 3 days in this beautiful area of the Swiss Alps.
I agree with Tim. Go see Wengen and Murren (I preferred Murren) and if the conditions allow for it, strike out on some hikes. There is not a thing that compares to that feeling of "OMG, I am hiking in the Alps right now!"
I am in the small camp around here that found Gimmelwald underwhelming. Perhaps because I didn't immerse myself there, but I just didn't think it was THE place to go. I thought Murren and Wengen were also very pretty little villages, and Lauterbrunnen Valley was also quite lovely.
Depending on your fitness, spend at least one day hiking. I agree with the others about getting out of Interlaken. Gimmelwald is great, but if you need a little more action/refinement I'd recommend Murren. Just take the time to enjoy everything around you!!
I agree with the above comments--we loved Wengen and hiked each day of our visit. Interlaken would be a disappointing place to base yourself--useful for train connections but it is a bit tacky really--casinos,adult shops, etc. Murren or Lauterbrunnen would be fine choices also. Hope you will enjoy Switzerland as much as we did!
I agree with Tim. We spent 6 days in Lauterbrunnen and enjoy every monent.
As stated above, Interlaken is a picturesque place to make train connections. You can get off at the East train station and walk through town to the West one, where the private railroads are, and see all you need. Murren is quite a nice place to stay, with spectacular views and good restaurants.
Hiking for 2 days, maybe one started at the top of the Schilthorn in the James Bond film restaurant and a day journey up the Jungfraujoch and back will easily fill 3 days.There are easy and scenic walks right from town. I was there at the same time of year, and the weather was perfect--cool and clear.
1) Pick one place and stay there. Good connections by rail, telepherique, and funicular make shifting where you sleep not worth the time and trouble.
2) Stay in the mountains, e.g. Murren, Wengen, or Gimmelwald. True, the valley is more central, but morning and evening in the mountains are spectacular. And you really don't save any trips up and down in the final analysis--you're going up and down anyway.
3) Plan your days in advance. E.g., breakfast at the top of the Schlithorn and hike down with lunch in Murren is half of one day. Up the Jungfrau is another. Have an inclement-weather plan. Then when you arrive you know what's possible and can do whatever your mood suggests and weather allows.
Have a blast!
There is a cafeteria style restaurant up at the Jungfrau (Bollywood??? if I am not mistaken) that is great for coffee and snacks. The Sacher Torte was excellent--better than the one we had at Demel or Sacher in Vienna.
Interlaken seems to get little respect on this website, but I found it a very charming town in a stunning setting. The views from the lakeshores are truly amazing. Yes, I would rather spend more time in the valley and the mountain villages, but if the weather is foggy and rainy in the mountains (which happens often), Interlaken offers better indoor options. Few experiences are more depressing than spending an expensive day indoors in Murren during a heavy rain storm and not being able to see more than 20 feet ahead of you (that describes my first visit there)!
If you have a Swiss Pass all of the trains, cogwheels and gondolas up as high as Muerren and Wengen are 100% free. Above those villages you will get a substantial discount between 25% - 50%.
The Swiss Pass will also cover the boats on Lakes Thun and Brienz as they are part of the integrated Swiss Transport System.
I totally agree with skipping Interlaken- very touristy- but do get up to Murren. Consider a day
in Thun- a beautiful small very walkable town with
old castle. Just ride the train anywhere- beautiful!
If you are looking for a cheap unusual place to stay
look up the girl scout center- everyone is welcome
- very nice old chalet hostel place in pretty spot- google My Chalet world center and you will find it-
Close to Bern and Thun- They have private and bunk
rooms- you can walk down a hill and pick up a gondola
to a ski area- a bit out of the way but Switzerland is so small it does not matter - Have Fun.
I enjoyed Interlaken. I met a lot of other travelers who gave me great advice about where to go and where to avoid around the area. Staying at Balmers was fun, too. I had a great room with comfy bunkbeds and a gorgeous view from the bedroom window. It was so pretty that I framed a photo of the view and put it in my office. I also went canyoning which was one of the best experiences (although somewhat dangerous) of my travels.
I'm gonna defend Interlaken as well. I've been to this region four times and three of the four trips I've happily stayed in Interlaken. This mostly has to do with the fact that I've always gone in the shoulder season when a lot of the hotels in the mountain villages shut down. Everything has it's trade offs, the mountain villages are more scenic and tranquil, but I personally like returning to Interlaken in the evening after a day of hiking, and enjoy it's nightlife. As Tom mentioned, in the event of poor weather, it's easier to take trains from Interlaken to places like Bern, Zurich, Lusanne, Zurich, and Basel for rainy day sightseeing. Also the term "touristy" seems to get used quite a bit to describe Interlaken. Yeah, it's touristy but so are most of the other mountain villages: Murren, Wengen, Lauterbrunnen, and Grindlewald. These places exist exclusively to serve travelers. They've all got most of the same services, and shopping Interlaken has (minus the Casino and Hooters), only the scenery is better.
Bottom line: no matter where you sleep in this region...you'll have a wonderful time.
Despite what he writes, from conversations I've had with merchants and hotel employees/owners in Interlaken, Ricks seems to spend a lot of time in Interlaken. There's even photographic proof;)
we stayed in Lauterbrunnen in June. It was ok but next time will definitely stay higher. Dare I say it? We really liked Grindelwald . I would not spend more than 10 minutes in Interlaken
When I saw a photo of this view I knew I had to stay in Wengen:
(Photo credit: www.onthesnow.com)
"Despite what he writes, from conversations I've had with merchants and hotel employees/owners in Interlaken, Ricks seems to spend a lot of time in Interlaken. There's even photographic proof;)"
That wouldn't surprise me, given that most of the visitors to Gimmelwald seem to flash the dreaded Blue Book Sign, also seen prominently on Rue Cler and in the Cinque Terre. I'm sure he must get tired of people telling him what big fans they are all day, and in Gimmelwald, it would be very difficult to remain inconspicuous.