We are traveling by car and plan to stay two nights in Gimmelwald (in early to mid-September), Switzerland (arriving in mid-afternoon), with the second day devoted to hiking (Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg to Wengen and Lauterbrunnen; and then leaving early the next morning for Chamonix. Should we park our vehicle in Interlaken and take the lift up to Gimmelwald or drive up to Gimmelwald (26 minutes from Interlaken) and park there? Sol
Sol, there is a parking garage near the train station in Lauterbrunnen and a large open parking lot at the Stechelberg gondola station. Both are paid lots. The Stechelberg gondola is the one you use to get to Gimmelwald. You will not be able to drive up to Gimmelwald. Cows and a few people only. You can't drive in Muerren, Wengen or Kleine Scheidegg either. No tourist cars permitted. You'll do just fine with the gondolas and trains.
Thanks a bunch Larry, I will do that. Sol
sol, It sounds like you'll be using the local lifts and trains a lot while there, so you might consider getting one of the Swiss half-fare cards or whatever. Have a look at this page for more information: www.ricksteves.com/rail/switzerland.cfm If you decide to park at Lauterbrunnen, you'll need to take the Post Bus (bright yellow, you can't miss it) for the short ride to the Cable Car station at Stechelberg. The views from the Cable Car are spectacular so have your Camera ready. Gimmelwald is the first stop. Have you booked a hotel yet? If you decide to park at Stechelberg, you'll have to use either the car or Post Bus to get back to Lauterbrunnen, where you'll connect with the cog-wheel train that goes up to Wengen, Kleine Scheidegg, etc. Happy travels!
It's pretty expensive to park a car in Lauterbrunnen. If it's not your own, private car but a rental car, why don't you just drop it off at Interlaken? Most large car rental agencies have got a station in Interlaken. From there you can take the train into the Berner Oberland.
Andreas is exactly correct. The "actual" best place to leave a rental car is at the rental station - in other words just bypass the rental car completely :-)
If you turn in the car and then get another one, you'll have two short-term rentals instead of one longer one which will really get into your wallet.