Our family (2 teens and 2 mid 40's) will be in the Berner Oberland area for a few days, and I'm wondering what people recommend doing while we are there (staying on a budget). Specifics would be helpful.
Unless you're an avid hiker, the Berner Oberland is not really a good budget area. We were recently there for 3 days. Everywhere you go, it's beautiful. The best sites are up on the sides of the valleys. One one side, you have Wengen, Grindelwald and the train up to the Jungfrau. All wonderful to visit and walkaround. Incidently, the train up to the Jungfrau takes 2 hours each way and costs almost the equivalent of $100 each. The train up to lower heights (Wengen, Grindelwald) are much less. On the other side of the valley is Gimmelwald, Murren and the Shilthorn. Again, the Shilthorn is about $80 each. Murren is everything you would want to see in a Swiss village. Murren is by train or gondola. Gimmelwald and the Shilthorn are by gondola. All are accessible from Lauterbrunnen in the valley. No big sites (except the views) in Lauterbrunnen. Great hikes up and down on both sides of the valleys. As we are seniors, we mostly train or gondola up and hike down.
Hiking is a good budget option. Although there are many outstanding trails in the area, one of the easier (but long) hikes is from Lauternbrunen to Gimmelwald. It won't cost you anything... but if you find yourself too tired to make the return hike, you will have to pay to ride the gondola back down.
Thank you for the input. It sounds beautiful, and we may make the splurge to go up to the top of one of the mountains. What about the open-air folk museum?
Oh, and has anyone been to the top of both mountains, and can you compare the experiences?
Diane we visited the tops of both the Jungfrau and the Shilthorn. For us, the Jungfrau was better. It takes 2 hours to get up and 2 hrs to get down. Those crazy Swiss bored a hole right up through the Eiger. At the top train station (11,200') there is a large building complex. 5 restaurants that seat 700 people. Shops and such. Then you can go up in the Sphinx elevator to 11,782'. They call it the Top of Europe. The largest glacier in the alps is right in just off to your left. The famous Ice Palace is here. Food is good up there. A couple of notes on this trip. First, a trip up to the top of the Jungfrau, without a Swiss Pass of some type, is $133 for each adult. Second, you change trains at Kleine Scheidegg. We were surprised to see all of the cars on the second leg reserved for tours. We did squeeze on where there were two open seats. The Shilthorn is also very scenic but not as much to do. $75 each. Gondola up and down. Murren and Gimmelwald on the way down. Great side trips.
I also preferred the Jungfrau over the Schiltorn. But, both are worth visiting. One important note, when visiting either peak you must do so early in the morning before the clouds roll in. If the visibility isn't 100% perfect it is a way waste of your time and money.
We, too, will be in this area in July. I've been wondering about the Trummelbach Falls tour -- whether it's worth it, how cold and wet it might be, etc. Any advice?
Trummelbach Falls is good to visit if it's a rainy day or you happen to be hiking right past it. It's a small attraction. It takes about 30 minutes to visit it.
If you get some sort of Swiss Pass then all of those high mountain excursions will be discounted 50%. With Swiss Passes you will also get a discount into the Ballenberg Open Air Museum.
A Swiss Pass will also cover 100% the lake steamers around Thun and Brienz...and all of the other steamers throughout Switzerland.
If you are staying on a budget then look to stay at the Chalet Fontana in Muerren: email@example.com
It's the best bargain in the Alps with wonderful views and wonderfully friendly people and good breakfasts.
Lastly, someone mentioned the Trummelbach Falls "Tour". I seriously hope that no one pays for a "Tour" to Trummelbach Falls. Just go to the ticket counter at the Falls and buy a ticket. No tour guide required.
The area in question is beautiful indeed. Murren has a cafe that one can sit and look down at the paragliders. We sat there and had a cold one and marveled at the beauty of the valley below. Also hiked out of Wengen and it too was beautiful. We were in Switzerland for 7 days and ONLY had one bad day. Went over to Chamonix to ride their gondolas but was denied due to mother nature. BUY a Swiss rail pass and save bucks.