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4 Nights - Bern/Grindelwald / Interlaken / Lucerne

4 Nights - Bern/Grindelwald / Interlaken / Lucerne

Old Jan 5th, 2017, 07:40 PM
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4 Nights - Bern/Grindelwald / Interlaken / Lucerne

Hi All

My wife and i will be arriving via the Night train into Basel in Late May and we intend to spend 4 nights staying somewhere close to Bern / Grindelwald / Lucerne / Interlaken. We will then depart via. Arth Goldau to Milan via train.

I would appreciate some advice with my following questions:

1. Where should we ideally base ourselves?
2. Is it worth hiring a car for the 4 days so that we can freely move around the cities and explore or should we get the train pass for 4 days?
3. Besides the cities listed above, which other areas should we explore.

We are currently looking at Airbnb options for accommodation.

Any other tips, suggestions welcome.

Regards

Adrian
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Old Jan 5th, 2017, 10:13 PM
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Hi Wrexter,

Where you base will depend on what you'd like to do during your time there.

Base in Grindelwald if you want to spend time in the mountains (hiking, walking, or just taking cable cars up and sitting in a mountaintop restaurant), or if you want to visit the mountain villages like Wengen, Mürren, Gimmelwald, etc.

Base in Luzern if you want to explore the lakes and the villages dotting the lakes (Brunnen, Vitznau, Weggis, etc) or to visit Engelberg and the mountains of Rigi, Titlis, & Pilatus. You can also easily make a day-trip to Basel & Bern from Luzern.

Base in Bern if you want to visit cities like Basel, Luzern, Fribourg, Biel, Lausanne, etc.

For things to do, you would do best to take a loot at a guidebook or two at your library -- that way, you won't be limited by our personal preferences.

You won't need a car, and indeed will be hampered by having a car. Driving in the cities can be problematic, and parking is expensive. And you won't be able to drive to the mountaintops but park your car (for a fee) and take a train or cable car to the tops. Trains run frequently and go nearly everywhere in Switzerland.

For train schedules, see the Swiss rail site at

www.sbb.ch

Have fun as you plan!

s
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Old Jan 5th, 2017, 10:14 PM
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Allow me to BRIEFLY characterize these so that we may gain some clarity:
Bern is a city, of historic importance and of good looks, the capital city of the nation, with the Federal Parliament building located right in the historic center of town where all the important shops and most cultural institutions are located also.

Bern is not near the mountains - you can see them in the distance on a good day, but to get from Bern to, say, Grindelwald, which is in the mountains, it takes 1 ½ hours by train.

Interlaken is also not in the mountains, but very close - it is conveniently located on the flat between two lakes, and serves as a springboard for excursions into the mountains, for example to Grindelwald in 34 minutes by train.

Interlaken and Grindelwald are in the region known as Berner Oberland (the “upper land” of Bern, where Bern here means the Canton of Bern, a bit like a “state” in the U.S.)

The city of Lucerne is in a different part of Switzerland, the Innerschweiz (“inner Switzerland”), situated on a lake of indescribable shape, called Vierwaldstättersee (“lake of the four forested districts”), or - in English - Lake Lucerne.

It serves as a springboard for excursions to the elevated Engelberg region, to nearby mountain tops like Rigi and Pilatus, and invites boat rides on public boats.

Arth Goldau is a railway connection point in the Grater Lucerne region - if you are headed for Italy from Lucerne, that’s where you’ll make a connection, and you will travel through the St. Gotthard tunnel.

However, if you’re headed for Italy from Interlaken you’ll make a connection in nearby Spiez and you will travel first through the Lötschberg tunnel and then through the Simplon tunnel.

All that said, what are you plans? High-altitude hiking, low-altitude hiking, taking trains and gondolas and such contraptions to stunning lookout points like the Jungfraujoch, visiting Swiss cities with their history and museums and such, or what?

Where you best take lodgings will depend a bit on your plans. Interlaken for example is nicely situated, within easy reach of both Bern (52 minutes), Grindelwald (34 minutes), Wengen (46 minutes), and nearby you have great lookout points like Niesen www.niesen.ch/en/, Brienzer Rothorn (www.brienz-rothorn-bahn.ch/en/welcome.html), Beatenberg-Niederhorn (http://www.interlaken.ch/en/activiti...iederhorn.html), and more.

Interlaken, being conveniently on the train lines and on the flat, has a long history of hotels and restaurants serving visitors. That’s its raison d’être - you won’t be alone.

Forget the rental car-idea - trains and, in some cases, the buses will get your there and back (the postal service runs passenger buses to places where trains don’t go - see https://www.postauto.ch)
.
I hope this helps.
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Old Mar 15th, 2017, 08:31 AM
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Hi All

Thank for your replies and apologies for my late reply, i have had a hiatus on planning.

At this stage we arrive into Basel early morning on the 27th May. we have 4 nights in that region before we leave for Venice via train.

The main reason we wanted to come to this area was to enjoy the scenic sights, not too interested in museums. We are not experienced hikers so some low altitude hiking would be nice.

Would really appreciate your help in getting the most out of our trip, at this stage i am thinking of the following:

Day 1 - Early train from Basel to Berne, spend day in Bern & Stay Night in Berne

Day 2 - Morning train to Interlaken, see Interlaken , Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Mürren, Junfgfrau, stay in Interlaken till end

Day 3 - Day trip to Zermatt to see Matterhorn

Day 4 - see remainder of Interlaken , Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Mürren, Junfgfrau

Day 5 - Depart Interlaken to Venice (via Spiez/Brig/Milan)


A few questions.

1. Would i be best to get a swiss pass for my plans, would it be worthwhile.

2. Should i see Lucerne instead of Berne

3. Should i skip Bern altogether and spend the time seeing the Interlaken , Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Mürren, Junfgfrau areas.


Thank you so very much in advance.
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Old Mar 15th, 2017, 09:00 AM
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Skip Zermatt. There is plenty of alpine glory in the Lauterbrunnen/Grindlewald valleys where you are going. Zermatt is a 5-hours round-trip from there, and the Matterhorn may be socked in even on a nice day.

I'd also skip Bern on such a short trip and since your focus is on the mountains. Unless you get poor weather, then Bern is an interesting town to explore.
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Old Mar 15th, 2017, 02:23 PM
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Zermatt is not near the other locations.It doesn't work for your limited time.
The views from Grindelwald are absolutely breathtaking. We rented a chalet with a huge deck facing the Eiger. We took excursions to Murren, Wengen, the lakes below(on a cloudy day), went up to the Jungfrau..all so easy by train.
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Old Mar 15th, 2017, 03:06 PM
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should we get the train pass for 4 days?>

depends on how much you use it in Interlaken and Lucerne areas- like boat rides (fully covered) or mountain trains (50% off with pass usually and if you can get a discounted Lucerne or wherever to Venice ticket (try www.sbb.ch or www.trenitalia.com) - if not you may find the pass a better deal as it will get you to the border.

And especially if you do the day trip to Zermatt and back from Intelaken that would pay for much of a pass.

For lots on Swiss transports and passes and things like the Half-Fare Card, etc check www.ricksteves.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.seat61.com and especially www.swisstravelservice.com.
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Old Mar 15th, 2017, 05:13 PM
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I agree with the suggestion to skip Zermatt.

Stay in Lauterbrunnen or Wengen (or Murren or Grindelwald) and use your time to explore that area. There are many easy hikes to enjoy.
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Old Mar 16th, 2017, 05:18 AM
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Thank you for replies and perhaps Zermatt was a bit of a stretch.

Any suggestions itinerary for our 4 nights.

Should we try and see both Bern & Luzern?

Where should we base ourselves? any accommodation recommendations?
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Old Mar 16th, 2017, 08:14 AM
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cities or mountains -Swiss cities are nice but they are just cities- I'd base too in say Grindelwald or Wengen and maybe one day in Lucerne.
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Old Mar 16th, 2017, 11:01 AM
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Any suggestions itinerary for our 4 nights.>

Day 2 - Morning train to Interlaken, see Interlaken , Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Mürren, Junfgfrau, stay in Interlaken till end>

Make this into at least two full days -totally impossible to do in one day. Base in Grindelwald.

Day 1- Early train Basel to Interlaken. Cable from Grindelwald to The Mannlichen - a celebrated viewpoint and start of the easy few-mile Ridge Walk to Kleine Scheidegg - at Kl Scheidegg take the train to the Jungfraujoch and back to Kl Scheidegg and onto Grindelwald.

Day 2 - Grindelwald to Lauterbrunnen by train - take cable way up to Grutschalp then train to Murren - catch cable way Murren to The Schilthorn- another celebrated view post literally out in the middle of nowhere- surrounded just by icy peak.

Return to Murren by cable and then to Gimmelwald - famous farming hamlet worth a look over - rave views - take cable way down to Stechelberg on Lauterbrunnen valley floor and postal bus to Trummelbach Falls (water cascade inside a mountain) and walk into Lauterbrunnen to return to Grindelwald.

Day 3- Take scenic Golden Pass train via Brunig Pass to Lucerne. Explore Lucerne.

Day 4 - Take a boat ride on Lake Lucerne - say up to Fluelen and train back or to Mt Rigi - celebrated look out point or to Alpnachstad to take mountain train up Mt Pilatus.

Day 5 - depart via Arth-Goldau to Italy.

Buy Half-Fare Pass in Bern - buy Lucerne to Venice ticket at www.sbb.ch or www.trenitalia.com.
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Old Mar 16th, 2017, 11:56 AM
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Or spend all the time in Grindelwald - and do a boat trip on Lake Thun there in conjunction with a day trip to Thun and or Bern.

Then take train Interlaken-Spiez-Brig-Domodossola-Milan-Venice.
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Old Mar 16th, 2017, 12:06 PM
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Or of course just spend one day in Lucerne - leave from there the next morning - Lucerne is fairly small and compact (but to me a boat ride on the lovely lake is the best thing to do!)
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Old Mar 16th, 2017, 01:59 PM
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My wife and i will be arriving via the Night train into Basel in Late May>

Where are you coming from -if Germany or Amsterdam I believe there are night trains also to Zurich- you can get off in Olten I think and go directly to Lucerne or Interlaken area that first day.
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Old Mar 16th, 2017, 04:38 PM
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PalenQ has given you some great ideas, and of course there are others, too. If you haven't already done so, get a good guidebook or two (or consult some in your local library) -- the cost will be nugatory in comparison to the cost of your trip, and you can learn things you don't even know to ask. You can also check the many trip reports on Switzerland that Fodorites have filed. Here's mine:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...any-thanks.cfm

For the Bernese Oberland, I would stay in Wengen if I could afford a room that offers a wonderful view. I spent most of my time at the more affordable Staubbach Hotel in Lauterbrunnen, which suited my needs very well:
http://www.staubbach.com

While you might be able to go directly from Basel to Lucerne or Interlaken, I'd note that Bern is, IMO, a delightful city and well worth a day's stop if you are interested.
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Old Mar 17th, 2017, 07:59 AM
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I agree Bern is wondrous -I'd do it as a half-day stop going from Basel to Interlaken or Lucerne -put bags in station locker, right in heart of town.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2017, 08:40 AM
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Hi Thank you all for your kind and informative replies, apologies for my delay in response. i have a 20 page spreadsheet going trying to organise this big European adventure.

We decided to base ourselves in Lauterbrunnen for 3 nights after looking at the hotel suggestion by kja, thank you so much, Staubbach Hotel looked incredible and good price. Exactly what we were after.

We will spend 3 nights in Lauterbrunnen and the final night in Lucerne before we depart early morning to Verona via. Arth Goldau.

This is our current itinerary, comments & feedback most appreciated.


======Saturday 27 May=========
- Arrive morning Basel ~8am
- Train to Lauterbruunen
- Explore one of following enroute to Lauterbrunnen ( Bern/Thun/Spiez/Interlaken)
- Explore Lauterbrunnen
- Trummelbach falls
- Paragliding?



=========Sunday 28 May=========
- Train from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen (20 mins)
- Gondola from the center of Wengen up to Mannlichen (7 mins)
- Hike from Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg (easy 2.8 mile hike, very scenic)
- From Kleine Scheidegg, train to Jungfraujoch or walk to Eigergletscher station (Short but steep) and catch the Jungfraujoch train
- Jungfraujoch
- Return back to Klein Scheidegg
- Walk from Klein Scheidegg to Wengen (2 hr desent) or Traint
- Train (no cable car) from Wengen down to Lauterbrunnen.



=========Monday 29 May=========
- Cable car from Lauterbrunnen to Grutschalp
- Train to Murren
- Explore Murren
- Cable car to Mt. Schilthorn (celebrated viewpoints)
- Cable car back to Murren
- Cable to Gimmelwald & Explore
- Cable Car to Stechelberg & bus back to Lauterbrunnen


=========Tuesday 30 May=========
- Take scenic Golden Pass train via Brunig Pass to Lucerne.
- Possibly hop of @ Lungerne for Lunch & Enjoy views
- Explore (lunch/bridge/lion monument)
- Boat trip across the lake to Vitznau or Weggis
- Train ride to the top of Mt. Rigi.

=========Wednesday 31 May=========
- Depart Early to Verona via Arth Goldau


Couple of questions

1. When we arrive in Basel (early morning) and we make our way to Lauterbrunnen, should we stop at 1 or 2 of the following places for a look around? ( Bern/Thun/Spiez/Interlaken)

2. Where can we fit Grindelwald in our itinerary?


Thank you so very much again in advance.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2017, 09:01 AM
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There is nothing special in Grindelwald -just a nice base with fab views you will get from anywhere in the area.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2017, 09:08 AM
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Ok great, btw i just realised i forgot to personnaly thank you PalenQ for your informative posts, very helpful.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2017, 09:09 AM
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A very fine itinerary. One small note concerning the train via Brunig pass Interlaken to Luzern: I have not made the trip myself, but many posters to this site have observed there is no advantage to taking the named "Golden Pass" train as opposed to the hourly IR trains, the timetables for which can be found on SBB.ch. If you have a specific reason to want to experience that specific train, fine, then please disregard, but if the need is just to get from "A to B," just take the standard IR train.

The following is now off your itinerary, but still worth considering as you mentioned an interest in hiking that is not too technical: at the opposite end of Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstättersee) from the city of Lucerne is a very popular hiking trail, The Swiss William Tell Path - Rutli to Bauen - http://www.myswitzerland.com/en-us/t...tell-path.html
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