We will be flying in and out of Zurich the last week of April and touring Switzerland for one week. Is including Lauterbrunnen a mistake during this shoulder season? We would like to do the Lauterbrunnen valley hike (as described in book), Schilthorn and possibly Trummelbach falls. Mannlichen-Kleine Scheidegg Hike probably is still closed-does anyone have another recommendation for a hike? We have a senior and an 8 & 10 year old in our group. Also, can anyone recommend a flat in Lauterbrunnen to accommodate 4 adults and 2 kids? Thanks for the advice!
"...I think the hike I want to do won't be open yet- Mannlichen-Kleine Scheidegg hike probably is still closed-does anyone have other recommendation for the area at this time..." Substitute a visit to the Jungfrau complex; there is a lot to do and see up there. You definitely don't need a car for the region. Public transport works just as well. Never mind about the model railway museum, apparently it went out of business last year:( Go for it!
There is a very real possibility that the villages above Lauterbrunnen will be still be snowed-in in April, which will limit you hiking activities. When I visited last May the Mannlichen-Kleine Scheidegg was closed due to snow. But there is still a lot to do: Schiltorn and the Jungfrau are first class attractions open year-round. Some good hiking possibilities include Murren down to Gimmelwald. There should be some goats and cows grazing; fun for the kids. You can hike from Trummelbach Falls to Lauterbrunnen. Be sure to check out the official Swiss Railway museum near the Interlaken West station. It's three floors of working model trains, the kid will love it!
April is the worst time of year. There's not enough snow to ski, but too much at higher elevations for good hiking. There's also quite a bit of run-off, so conditions can be very muddy. Also, the farmers use this time to fertilize the fields with liquified manure, so the smell is a bit...um, ripe... Finally, the weather is often overcast and raining, so you can't even see those great mountain view. Mannlichen-Kleine Scheidegg will likely either still have quite a bit of snow and/or a lot of mud. I don't know which Lauterbrunnen hike you're describing, but if it's mostly on the valley floor, it should be OK. Because of all the melting snow, Trummelbach falls should actually be quite impressive. Overall, though, I would either go somewhere else or set your expectations low.
In late April you may be pushing the weather a bit although, as we all know, the weather can turn on you any time. The biggest question is will you have a car? We have always traveled by car and liked the flexibility it gives you if the weather gets nasty. We have been to the Lauterbrunnen area a number of times ranging from the third week in May to the first of October and things have worked out well. The Schilthornbahn will be spectacular any time of the year as will the Jungfrau rail trip. Try checking the Hotel Oberland and the Hotel Staubach,they are both easy to find online. The Oberland has apartments as well as a good restaurant and, if I remember correctly, the Staubach also has family accommodations. Another site to check would be mylauterbrunnen.com. Since you are in the early shoulder season some businesses may be closed. I had not heard about the rail museum in Interlaken and I just looked it up ... it is open May thru October but I have it on my list for next time.
Thanks for the responses. We are doing all of our travel by public transport. This is the itinerary I was thinking. I hate to pass up Lauterbrunnen entirely. I was there several years ago the end of May. It was rainy and foggy at that time but I still enjoyed the area. Another option, if the weather is bad in Lauterbrunnen, we can leave on day 3 for Luzern and spend an extra day there or in Lugano. I have been to Luzern as well. I have not been to Lugano. Day 1 Zurich to Lauterbrunnen Day2 Lauterbrunnen valley hike including Schilthorn and possibly Trummelbach Falls Day 3 Easy hikes/sightseeing. I think the hike I want to do won't be open yet- Mannlichen-Kleine Scheidegg hike probably is still closed-does anyone have other recommendation for the area at this time? Day 4 Train to Luzern Day 5 William tell Express to Lugano Day6 Lugano Day 7
Head to Zurich for return
" Substitute a visit to the Jungfrau complex; there is a lot to do and see up there." ... Standing on the Sphinx observation deck and gazing out on the Aletsch Glacier eludes description . It is as Cole Porter once wrote in " Kiss Me Kate " . you will be " Gazing down on the Jungfrau ... " . Nothing like it !!
Actually, you are looking down at the Konkordiaplatz, and gazing UP at the Jungfrau. ;). You may even see climbers heading out to tackle the summit.
@ Lola , WOW I can't get one past you ! You know , I never did understand what Porter was getting at, unless Fred Graham was in such a heightened state of ecstacy that he actually could gaze Down on the Jungfrau . ;-) !
In books on musical theater, it's always written that "gazing down on the Jungfrau" was Porter's deliberate joke on inaccuracies in operettas (famed for their reckless disregard of history, geography, etc). I have no first hand sources handy to back this up, but it makes sense. In the context of Kiss Me, Kate, they say that this song ("Wunderbar") comes from a Viennese operetta, and it's implied that it's not very good. An even better geography mixup (and very much deliberate) is the song "Salzburg" from Bells Are Ringing. It starts, "In Salzburg, by the sea" and goes downhill from there! We now return to our regularly scheduled travel information.
@ Harold , Not so fast . Travel will wait a minute . After thirty years playing in Broadway theatre orchestras , You've cleared up a lifelong mystery for me . I figured it was one of Porter's inside jokes , but I didn't realize what it really was . Many Thanks !! Before we return to travel , however , go to YouTube and punch up Madeline Kahn ; Das Chicago Song . This a spoof on Weill's " Surabaya Johnny " . I only wish I were there to see the look on your face when you hear it , Steve . P.S...... NOW , back to travel !!