Please sign in to post.

Switzerland - Berner Oberland

My husband, adult son and I will be in Switzerland from 1/1/2014 - 1/8/2014. We'll be in Pontresina until 1/4 (check-out) for a ski event in St. Moritz. We'd like to spend a few days exploring the Berner Oberland area before returning to Zurich on 1/7 for our flight home on the 8th. We'll be traveling by train. I have Rick's Switzerland book but the the Berner Oberland seems overwhelming and I'm not sure where to start with the short time that we have. We would be interested in taking in the views and short hikes.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

Pat

Posted by
6898 posts

Pat, it's a 5.5hr-6.5hr journey with 3-5 transportation changes to get from Pontresina to Interlaken Ost. Another 30 minutes to get into Lauterbrunnen. The Alps are really in the way here. Most runs will route you via Zurich or Basel. In early January, much of the Berner Oberland is a ski area. I don't think that you will be doing too many short hikes unless you can hike in the snow.

Posted by
31303 posts

pat,

As the previous reply mentioned, that's ski season in the Berner Oberland so the hiking will be "limited". The hotels will likely be fairly well booked, but you may be able to find a vacancy somewhere.

If you just want a brief look at the area, your best bet would probably be to stay either in Lauterbrunnen, Mürren or Wengen, and then just have a look at each of the towns for a few days using the local trains or lifts. If you can't find a vacancy in that area, you could also stay in Interlaken as it's only about a 20 minute ride to Lauterbrunnen.

Happy travels!

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you both for the information. It's very helpful.

Pat

Posted by
31303 posts

pat,

One point to add. There are two rail stations in Interlaken. To access the Lauterbrunnen trains, you'll need to specify Interlaken Ost (east) when travelling from Pontresina.

Regarding where to stay, I find Lauterbrunnen to be very convenient as it's central to both sides of the valley so it's a good transportation hub. The usual "complaint" from some is that it gets less light than other areas such as Mürren or Wengen as it's on the valley floor. That's true to some extent, but I still prefer to stay there. Staying in other locations will add both time and money in getting around the area.

Cheers!

Posted by
12040 posts

The Berner Oberland does have quite an extensive outlay of winter walking trails, so it is possible to accomplish some hiking during this time. If you're looking for this activity, stay either in Grindelwald or Wengen, as the hiking options are much more restricted on the Mürren side and on the Lauterbrunnen valley floor. If you don't want to repeat skiing, you can also consider a sledge ride down the mountains.

Posted by
7205 posts

If you've never been to this area then I highly encourage you to go no matter time of the year you choose. There's no place anywhere that compares to it. I've been to Murren countless times and have never done any of the big hikes. I enjoy walking around the village and down to Gimmelwald, and I'm sure you will, too. Go for it!

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you everyone for all your advice. We're spending two nights in Murren at the Hotel Jungfrau and one night in either Interlaken or Lauterbrunnen depending on availability on our way to Murren from Pontresina. We're trying to decide whether it would be worth it to take the Glacier Express from Chur to Brig to avoid the 5-6 train changes to get to Lauterbrunnen. I realize it would take longer and be more expensive but could be more relaxing and scenic (weather depending). Does anyone have any experience with this?

Thanks,
Pat

Posted by
26046 posts

I really enjoyed our stay in Hotel Jungfrau. We had a balcony with a fabulous view of the mountains, especially fab as the halo forms at the edge of the mountains just at sunset.

Breakfast very nice. Bathroom just a tiny bit dated but the whole experience was fab.