My husband and I are planning an Italian Vacation, but have a couple extra days (2 nights)and I would like to go to Gimmelwald. We would be arriving mid-day on Fri. April 18 and leaving Sunday, April 20. Is that feasible. If so, where should we stay and what are the "must see and do's"
PS - We will be driving.
It's feasible. You may have trouble finding hotels that are open that time of year; you may have to stay Interlaken. Must see's include the Jungfrau and Schiltorn and a bit of hiking on any of the many trails in the area.
A car won't do you much good in this area. You will have to leave your car in Interlaken or Lauterbrunen and pay for parking. You will have to rely mostly on cable cars and mountain trains to get from place to place. If this is at the tail end of your trip get rid of the car and take the train from Italy to Interlaken.
Getting rid of the car is great advice. Switzerland is well served by a fantastic public transportation system.
Thanks guys. This will be in the middle of our trip. We will be coming from Cinque Terr and going on to Venice. Would I just find a hotel in Interlaken or Lauterbrunen (which is preferred?) then use the trains from their? Is that what I am understanding?
Gimmelwald, Muerren and Schilthorn are must do's for us . We hated Jungfraujoch and it was very expensive and took a very long time just to get there and back.
Nothing is open in Gimmelwald in April, and not much more (if anything) is open in Murren either. You can still visit, just don't plan on much more than a nice walk through two nearly-empty villages. You can also hike along certain trails at this time of year, but the mud from the snow melt-off and the fertilizer sprayed in the pastures effectively close off some of the routes -I found certain trails all but impassable. I would agree with most of the posters on this site that staying in Murren or Gimmelwald is preferable to staying in Lauterbrunnen or Interlaken, having actually visited during your proposed window of time, I can tell you that Interlaken is the best bet. Because you can't really stay in the mountains in April, a rental car is a reasonable option.
The only mountain villages that allow cars are Grindlewald and Lauterbrunen (technically its on the valley floor). In order to get anywhere higher you must use the trains or cable cars. Given the choice between Interlaken and Lauterbrunen, stay in Lauterbrunen. Interlaken isn't the end of the world its an easy 25 minute train journey to Lauterbrunen.
I would suggest staying in either Lauterbunnen or Murren.
Oddly, you have listed three places where tourist cars are not permitted. Cinque Terre, Venice and Gimmelwald. With rare exceptions, tourist cars are not permitted in the CT. There are two parking lots above Monterosso and Riomaggiore that fill up in the high season. You should be able to get lucky in April. If the lots are full, you'll need to park in Levanto or La Spezia and take the train in.
There are no cars in Venice but you can park them in the Piazza Roma which is very near the vaporetto stops.
No tourist cars are permitted in Gimmelwald or Muerren (or Wengen). As mentioned above, you can park in Lauterbrunnen or Interlaken. Also mentioned above, April is "shoulder season" and most places in Gimmelwald and Muerren are closed for the transition to summer from winter. You can still visit. You might want to stay in a place like the Hotel Silberhorn in Lauterbrunnen. They have their own parking lot. You can easily get to Muerren and Gimmelwald from there.
Knew about no parking in CT and Venice and made arrangements for that, but didn't realize that was the case in Switzerland. If those were the only places we were going I would just take the trains, but I am most excited about just driving through the countryside and exploring the small hill towns and such. I thought that would be the case in Switzerland. But sounds like I need to do a lot more research. Thanks everyone.
Even though the Switzerland has probably the best train and bus system in the world, driving around can be very scenic. You can drive into the Lauterbrunnen Valley and you can proceed about 4 miles beyond Lauterbrunnen to the Stechelberg gondola station. They have a large auto parking lot (also an occasional landing spot for the sky divers). Stechelberg is the starting point to get to Gimmelwald. You transfer at Gimmelwald and gondola to Muerren. You can transfer at Muerren to gondola to the top of the Shilthorn. It's really easy.
Another thought is to take the road alongside the Glacier Express. I believe that you could drive from Brig to Chur. Andermatt is a beautiful small town and the villages get smaller as you continue the drive. Interestingly, RS does not have great things to say about either Brig or Chur. However, you are close to Zermatt at one end and St. Mortiz at the other. Just a thought.
For driving- the view coming into Interlaken, from either lakeshore, is spectacular. On the south shores, you sometimes lose the view to tunnels, but you can avoid this by taking the slower north shore route..
We stayed at the Swiss Inn (2 bedroom apt.) in Interlaken this week. It was wonderful. Interlaken was a great central location to leave a car (free parking at hotel) and take the bus (included within Interlaken in your hotel stay) or train to Gimmelwald, Murren, etc. Victoria and JP helped us plan hikes and sledging excursions.
I inquired at Hotel Lötschberg for our trip to Interlaken in March and just received an email back saying that due to renovations
(new kitchenettes and a new heating system) their hotel and their guesthouse (Susi's B&B) are
closed until mid April. They may be reopened for your trip. Best of luck!