Hi All, My partner & i have booked 4 nights in Murren in August this year as part of a 3 month trip through Europe & Africa. I am really excited about our stay in Switzerland & that i will see snow for the first time! I'm hoping for some advice as even our travel agent is not too familiar with the area! Firstly, we will be travelling by train from Paris. I'm thinking the best route would be Paris - Interlaken by TGV, then a change in Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen, then the cable car to Murren. Can anyone confirm this is the way to go or recommend a better route? Also, do i book each train upfront or do we just turn up? We will be using a multi country Railpass but i havent reasearched which will be the best type for us yet. While we are staying in Murren we want to catch the Jungfrau railway to Top of Europe. Can we book this ahead of time? Is it far from Murren? How long would we need to spend there? Any info on this would be hugely appreciated! Weather wise, we will have mainly summer clothes ie tshirts & shorts, with 1 pair of jeans & light weight jumpers - no jackets. I read that the temperature can be -7 even in summer! Is there somewhere to hire ski jackets? Or what would you recommend for us to do for the 4 nights? We will not need warm clothes like this anywhere else on our trip. Any other info on Murren & surrounds would be very much appreciated! Finally, my greatest confusion! We leave from Murren and travel to Manarola, Italy. How is the best way to travel there? We were planning to take the train but it is very confusing as there doesn't seem to be a direct way to go or a fast train for any of the journey. Can someone please suggest the best way? Thank you so much! Skye
Hello Skye, What a great trip you have planned. To answer a few questions: the TGV will take you from Paris to Basel in Switzerland. You need reservations for that train. Once in Switzerland, you can just "show up" if you have a ticket or pass for the route. From Basel, you will go BernInterlaken Öst - Lauterbrunnen, and then the cable car and train up to Mürren. You can buy the whole ticket at Basel. But is you are planning to go up the Jungfraujoch for the snow, you would benefit from a Half Fare card, and should buy this at your first stop in Switzerland to reduce the cost of all travel. From Mürren to Jungfraujoch, you will take the train and cable car to the valley floor at Lauterbrunnen, and then go up the other side via Wengen by train to Kleine Scheidegg, where you catch the train to Jungfraujoch. You do not need to book this in advance, at least we never have. Certain trains can be crowded but others are not. It an be cold up there even in midsummer, but minus 7 sounds extreme. There is a huge building where you arrive and if the weather is bad you can stay inside. You do not need special winter clothes even to go outside; jeans and a warm jumper or fleece jacket, plus a wind cheater or rain jacket ( which you will need for the Alps in any case ) should be enough, unless you plan on spending hours outside. There is not a single train to Manarola, but there is a logical route to follow, with a number of train changes that all work well. You can use the Swiss rail sire SBB.ch or rail.ch to see the route. It may have 5 changes or more from Mürren, but it flows easily, Mürrwn to Lauterbrunnen to Interlaken OÖt to Spiez, then south to Brig and Milan. From Milan you can get a train all the way to Momterosso with no changes, but in between you will have a change at Genoa. From Monterosso you take a Regional train to Manarola .
Skye, Lola has provided lots of good advice, but for the Jungfrau trip it would be prudent to "hope for the best and plan for the worst" with clothing. I was at the Jungfrau in September, and that particular day was very deceptive. It was beautiful and warm in Lauterbrunnen, sunny but a bit chilly at Kleine Scheidegg but the top of the Jungfrau was brutal. The top was socked in by clouds with gale force winds. I was wearing a 3-season jacket with hood, and could NOT go OUTSIDE for more than a few minutes. Given my home location, I'm used to colder temperatures but conditions were not pleasant that day. Also, for touring the Ice Palace and other displays, it might be a good idea to have enough clothing for "layering". The day following my trip to the Jungfrau, train service from Wengen to Kleine Scheidegg was suspended due to strong winds. When the wind is strong enough to stop a train, that's significant! One other thing to note is that the Sphinx Observatory (the highest point of the Jungfrau) is at about 11,790 feet, so if you have any issues with altitude, keep that in mind. I found that I was moving considerably more slowly when there. Getting from Mürren to Manarola is actually quite straightforward, but it will take some time. Given the travel time, it would be a good idea to leave fairly early. This is the method I'd use...... > Take the small BLM mountain railway from Mürren to Grütschalp and then the Cable Car to Lauterbrunnen. > Take the local Berner Oberland train from Lauterbrunnen to Interlaken Ost (that's the reverse of the route you will use to get to Mürren). Continued.....
Skye - Part 2..... For the trip from Mürren to Lauterbrunnen, you may find it helpful to have a look at THIS VIDEO and THIS VIDEO. The rail station is right across the street from the Cable Car Terminal, so an easy walk. > I'd use a train departing Interlaken Ost at 08:00, arriving Manarola at 15:35 (time 7H:35M, 4 changes at Spiez, Brig, Milano Centrale and Monterosso, reservations compulsory for some legs). You can view the specific details using the bahn.de website. One important point to note - as you're using a multi-country Railpass, you should be able to use that for the rail journey to Manarola (provided the Pass includes Switzerland and Italy). However, you WILL need to buy reservations for the sections where these are compulsory. DO NOT be caught without valid reservations for trains in Italy, as you'll likely be fined on the spot and it's not cheap! Fines start at €50 per person plus the cost of the reservation. If you decide to buy P-P tickets for short trips in Italy (ie: the local trains in the Cinque Terre), you MUST validate your tickets in the yellow machine or again, you could be fined. One point to mention regarding the Berner Oberland - I'm not sure you'll see much (if any) snow there in August. Happy travels!