Switzerland base of operations

I am planning a 34th anniversary trip for my wife and I in Sept 2013. We would like to stay in one area, primarily the Bernese Oberland and make day trips. We will be there a total of 7 days. Where would you suggest for a home base and what are your favorite sights in that area. Thanks!

Posted by Jim
Dallas, Texas, USA
495 posts

Murren first choice. Luzern second choice. Get one of RS guidebooks, this will aid you in what to do. Ride up to jungfrau , in my opinion, is over rated, everything else is worth considering.

Posted by Jim
Dallas, Texas, USA
495 posts

Murren first choice. Luzern second choice. Get one of RS guidebooks, this will aid you in what to do. Ride up to jungfrau , in my opinion, is over rated, everything else is worth considering.

Posted by Kathryn
Tulsa, OK
241 posts

We spent a week in Lauterbrunnen in late August/early September 2008 and loved it. I know lots of people recommend Murren or Wengen, but the advantage of Lauterbrunnen is that it's so easy to catch the train to many areas of the BO. We rented an apartment that had a view of Staubach Falls and was right in the middle of town but enough back from the main street to be quiet. We could walk to the train station, to buy groceries or eat in restaurants in town. Staying in an apartment really helped save some money since I cooked a few dinners in the apartment.
We did day trips to Bern, Murren and Wengen, Jungfraujoch, Schilthorn, Grindelwald (and rode a gondola up the mountain). I thoroughly enjoyed the week and would love to return. I really enjoyed Jungfraujoch despite feeling pretty significant effects from the altitude. Be sure to watch the weather reports before going to Jungfrau or Schilthorn.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17789 posts

Bill, I just returned from that area, and most definitely agree with the previous suggestion from Kathryn to stay in Lauterbrunnen, given the fact that you're planning many day trips. Lauterbrunnen is a very convenient "hub" for getting to destinations on both sides of the valley, as well as Interlaken and also Lucerne (a city I would definitely recommend visiting). I was there for about five days in late September and visited Mürren, Gimmelwald, Schilthorn, Grindelwald, Wengen, Jungfraujoch and a few smaller places. Unfortunately the weather was a bit "mixed" but there were some good days. I was very fortunate to be there on the day when the local farmers brought the Cows down from the high meadows. They were paraded along the main street in Lauterbrunnen, complete with large Bells on their necks and elaborate floral head ornaments. It was wonderful to be there on that day! Regarding "favorite sights in that area", I'd suggest having a look at the Switzerland Guidebook, as my favourite sights may not appeal to you. The trip to the top of the Jungfrau is very expensive, but it's such a unique location, I'd recommend it if possible. It's the highest rail station in Europe, and an incredible engineering feat considering it was started about 1896. However, one caveat to mention - the top of the observation platform at The Sphinx is at ~11,700 feet, so if you have any issues with altitude, you'll have to keep that in mind. I found that I was moving considerably slower when I was there. One final suggestion - Switzerland is VERY expensive! Be sure to budget accordingly. Good luck with your planning!

Posted by Ken
Yakima, WA, 98908
73 posts

Bill, we just spent 7 days in the Berner Oberland in early September and stayed 3 nights in Wengen and four nights in Murren. My wife and I both like Murren better although Wengen is nice too. We like to hike and like the atmossphere of a traffic free village and both would rather stay in either place than Lauterbrunnen. (Just a personal preference). From Wengen we took the Manlichen lift to the Panoramaweg trail that goes from Manlichen to Kleine Scheidegg - very,very nice trail. We also went to the Jungfraujoch and yes it is expensive but worth it, although you are probably going to get stuck with a few tour groups going up. We really enjoyed the one hour hike across a glacier to a hut for lunch and a drink. Ohterwise, there are great views and some touristy attractions which we did not spend a lot of time at. On the Murren side we spent a day in Gimmewald which we really enjoyed and also a day at the Schilthorn which had absolutely great weather and fantastic views. We also did the Mountain View trail and the North Face trails from Allmenhubel - both were great. If you were going to stay in one place all seven days I would stay at the apartment above Denise's house (who owns and runs the Chalet Fontana). It has a kitchen and you can save a lot of money by cooking some of your meals in the apartment and as you will find out, eating out is very expensive. It was the roomiest of the seven places we stayed in Switzerland and also the least expensive (very reasonable). We had one bad weather morning and went to Trummelbach falls in the valley and we not really impressed by it. It was crowded with tour groups and you could never really see any larege part of the falls at one time, but it might be worth a rainy day visist, but I would not go there if the sun was out and it was a nice day. Again this is a personal opinion based on what we like to do.

Posted by Sam
Issaquah, WA, USA
6 posts

We spent 7 days there this past June. But, we rented an apartment in Interlaken. I had been to Lauterbrunnen previously and chose Interlaken because it made a great hub, with train, bus and boat connections, along with a good supermarket so we could cook our own meals. We did day trips to the Schilthorn, Murren, Wengen, Gimmelwald, and Grindlewald. The train from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen runs every hour or so and gets you to all of the other locations from there. Also, it was easy to get trains to other major Swiss cities from Interlaken, as well as the lake boats. It wouldn't be difficult to take a day trip to Bern, Zurich, Luzern by train - maybe a couple of hours. We did have a shared Swiss Pass, so all we ever had to do was just hop on and off the trains, busses and boats.