Appenzell vs. Berner Oberland

May 4th, 2006, 05:04 PM
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Appenzell vs. Berner Oberland

My original plan was to visit Appenzell for two nights including in those two days Mainfeld (Heidil tour, etc). Let me preface this by giving you our itinerary below:

Arrive Frankfurt
Cochem (2 nights)
Rothenburg (2 nights)
Munich (2 nights)
Fuessen (2 nights)
Meersburg (1 night)
Appenzell (2 nights)
Luzern (3 nights)
Freiburg, Germany (1 night)
Strasbourg (1 night)
St. Remy, Provence (4 nights)
Paris (2 nights)
Cologne, Germany (1 night)
Fly out of Frankfurt

Our travels may seem crazy for most ... but we are young 30's and like to go go go. Oh, and the France part of the trip is with my sister (my husband is flying back after Freiburg).

Obviously, I will be experiencing many different areas of France if even only for a short time. My goal in planning this was to get a nice mix of country, city, alps and quaint villages, which I think my list above possesses. With that being said I am considering going to the Berner Oberland or another part of Switzerland rather than Appenzell.

With knowing where my travels above are taking me can anyone recommend Appenzell over the BO or vice versa? If so, why? I don't want to rearrange my whole trip as hotels and transportation are set but I am willing to 'work' on the Switzerland part. I'm looking for a nice balance.

Thank you in advance.

katzen is offline  
May 4th, 2006, 05:12 PM
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Appenzell vs. Berner Oberland - the question is what you want to see. Glacier-covered high mountains of BO or rolling hills with cow pastures and mountains in the background in Appenzell area?
altamiro is offline  
May 4th, 2006, 05:52 PM
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In my book this is a "no brainer". Appenzell is pleasant enough. Berner Oberland is a definite WOW!
May 4th, 2006, 06:24 PM
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My suggestion, 2 nights in Luzern and 3 nights in Berner Oberland! The Berner Oberland is truly spectacular.

pja1 is offline  
May 5th, 2006, 01:01 AM
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In my opinion, Appenzell is much quainter than Berner Oberland. However, it doesn't have the mountains that B.O. has to offer.

So, if the weather is iffy, go to Appenzell. If the weather is fantastic, go to B.O.
kleeblatt is offline  
May 5th, 2006, 01:23 AM
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I do not know anything about Appenzell, but we just got back from B.O. Wow! It is truly the most beautiful place I have ever seen. I say go there and stay in Wengen for a spectacular view. We really enjoyed the Hotel Alpenruhe and the wonderful traditional Swiss meal the owner prepared for us.

If you are feeling really adventurous, try tandem skydiving over the Alps with Scenic Air (out of Interlaken). We did on Sunday and I still have a permanent grin on my face.

Cochem is really cute. We really like the Hotel Germania and felt like it was a really good value.

Happy travels!
LGBooker is offline  
May 5th, 2006, 04:59 AM
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Thank you for the feedback.
Is 2 nights in Luzern enough time to do Pilatus, stroll the city and possibly visit a lakeside village? Can anyone recommend whether it's worth taking the time to visit one of the lakeside villages or not? As I said above I'm trying to get a nice blend of places. Thank you!!
katzen is offline  
May 5th, 2006, 05:43 AM
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Are you driving or on the train? This makes a big difference on what I would suggest!

I think one day in Luzern is enough.
BO is breathtaking and there are so many activities, you could stay for a month! (Hiking, parasail, skydive, balloon). One thing is imperative... You do not stay in the town of Interlaken, you will not get the full experience there.
Appenzell is beautiful but so is the rest of Switzerland.

If you have a car, you have to take the trip (one night min) from Luzern to Ticino. Ticino is really another world!
swissmissy is offline  
May 5th, 2006, 06:02 AM
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Thank you Swissmissy .. we will have a car. Switzerland is becoming hard to plan here with all these suggestions! I am truly torn between what to do other than Luzern. Who thought it would be this tough??

I originally picked Appenzell because I thought (by reading other posts) that it was quaint and was near "heidiland." Plus I was going to be staying in Luzern for 3 nights so didn't think I had time to visit the OB. Now, since we probably only really need 2 nights in Luzern I'm thinking we can spend our other 3 nights somewhere else.

We aren't really into museums ... more into scenic beauty, taking great photos, biking, hiking, fun outdoor stuff (not sure of the parasailing .. at least for me anyways) and shopping.

Since I have never been to Appenzell I wasn't sure if it would be the same green meadows as in and around Fuessen and Schwangau .. and again I didn't want to have 'to much of the same thing.' If that makes any sense.
katzen is offline  
May 5th, 2006, 06:12 AM
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For BO - (in order of pref)
Things to do:
Schynige Platte - Hiking
Schilthorn - Hiking/View (don't go to Jungfrau)
Ochinensee/Blausee - take cable car up, walk to lake then walk back down. Bring picknick.

Places to stay:


***Best advice - Take tunnel from Luzern and visit Ticino! Follow steep alp valleys and see the original settlements, houses made entirely of slate, perched precariously on the hillside. If you're looking for something differen, there's nothing else like it in the world.
swissmissy is offline  
May 5th, 2006, 08:03 AM
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Just my opinion (again), you'll se plenty of "Appenzell" type scenery in Bavaria and your drive through Switzerland. The lake villages aroud Luzern won't be much different than the ones you pass through. Berner Oberland (we stayed in Wengen, Hotel Eiger is probably the most spectacular Alpine scenery we've ever seen.

pja1 is offline  
May 5th, 2006, 08:56 AM
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pja1, that is exactly how I was feeling .. that the scenery in Bavaria would be somewhat similar to the scenery in Appenzell. I am a true lover of the outdoors with the quaint chalets and alps. I am leaning towards staying on the 'outskirts' of Grindelwald as the core is extremely touristy (so i've read on here).

I've been reading a bit on the different scenic hikes and one that keeps popping up is Grutschalp to Mürren although Grutschalp must now be reached via Stechelberg due to the cable line between Lauterbrunnen and Mürren being disrupted. I've sent away for brochures and information from the invidiual sites so hopefully they will help out some .. as this area seems to be a bit overwhelming to me.

The only downside I can see is that we will have to drive from Meersburg, Germany to the OB. Well, this actually may not be that bad of a downer. I'm sure the scenery will be spectacular.

For a 1st timer to the OB is the 'outskirt' of Grindelwald a good place to make a base for a few nights? We will have a car. I was also considering Wengen, Murren (which are probably out since we do have a car). So for a 1st timer what do all you OB experts suggest? Thanks!

katzen is offline  
May 5th, 2006, 09:03 AM
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Via Michelin shows the drive as 3.3 hours driving past Zurich, Luzern and Bern ... I'll look at a map but there may be another way driving more south and then west.

I'm anxiosly awaiting responses for 1st timers (and yes, I am reading all the other gazillion posts on this area).

katzen is offline  
May 5th, 2006, 09:19 AM
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Hi Katzen,

I'll try to help you here. It sounds like you are thinking of changing from the Appenzell region to the Berner Oberland? There is a good list of hikes on the Mürren side of the Lauterbrunnen Valley, with enticing photos, here:
Select "English" (if you want) and then "Activities".

As to places to stay outside of Grindelwald, Wengen is usually high on the list. You can also stay at Kleine Scheidegg, Alpiglen, and even the Hotel Faulhorn:
the "highest mountain hotel in Switzerland". All of these are inaccessible by car, however. You can get to all but the Faulhorn by train; to the Faulhorn you have to hike. But it would be a very different experience from the rest of your trip.

If you want to be able to drive right to your hotel, there are also places on the edges of Grindelwald.
enzian is offline  
May 5th, 2006, 09:34 AM
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Thank you enzian!! I recognize your screen name from many of the other posts I've been reading on the OB.

We do have a car so I'm afraid some of the towns may not work for us as far as lodging goes (Murren or Wengen). I think our best bet will be on the outskits of Grindelwald. As a first timer I think Grindelwald will be a great place to base for a few nights.

And thank you for the website. I will have plenty of reading and research to do this weekend! Are there any good summer Tobaggan runs in the area? Oh and I should add we will be there in August .. probably not the best time for the area.
katzen is offline  
May 5th, 2006, 09:47 AM
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Sorry, another question I have .... knowing that our last night before hitting Switzerland is in Meersburg ... and after the OB and Luzern, we are meeting my sister in zurich (she is flying in) and then we are all 3 off to Freiburg, Germany .. where the next day my husband will fly out of Frankfurt ... should we keep our rental car for Switzerland or ditch it and use the train systems I've been reading about. I do like having a car ... but from what I've been reading I don't think I'll need one in Luzern or the OB. My only concern is finding train travel for:

1. Meersburg to the OB
2. OB to Luzern
3. Luzern to Zurich
4. Zurich to Freiburg, Germany
5. Freiburg to Frankfurt-for my husband (there is a train for this route)

katzen is offline  
May 5th, 2006, 09:56 AM
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I haven't been to Switzerland for a while now (10 years or so), but I would vote for having a car, because it gives you more convenience in terms of scheduling. As I recall, there's a mandatory autobahn pass that you must have to drive on the autobahn in Switzerland, so you should check on that.

Yes, Grindelwald is touristy, but kind of in a good way (lots of tourist shops, but it's still ringed by gorgeous scenary!). It's still a pretty small town, and if you like walking around the town in the evening, then find a hotel that's close enough to be able to do so (I think most of them are).
Lexma90 is offline  
May 5th, 2006, 10:29 AM
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I was going to suggest you ditch the car for the Switzerland part of your journey. YOu don't need it at all for the places you plan to go. From Meersburg, assuming that is the Meersburg on the Bodensee, the first part of your journey (30 minutes) would be by ship---to Konstanz, and then by train from there to Luzern, Grindelwald, or wherever you wish to go. You can view the routes and schedules on the Swiss rail site:

We actually like Grindelwald; some of my favorite hikes start there and we generally include a 3-night stay. We have stayed at the Alte Post Hotel, right next to the First gondola; the hotel itself is back off the main streeet and the rooms are large and feel like new. Another on is Hotel Residence, not on the main street; a bit plainer but the balconies have lovely views into the mountains and glaciers. If you would like to be out of town, Hotel Bodmie is situated in the meadows above town; we had dinner there but I haven't stayed in the hotel.

You should also consider Lauterbrunnen, in the next valley over. Or, if you would like a smaller village, consider Stechelberg at the end of the Lauterbrunnen Valley:
enzian is offline  
May 5th, 2006, 11:17 AM
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enzian, if we were to stay in Grindelwald, what would the nearest train station be? I'm going to look-up Koblenz (Bodensee) to that train station. Luzern would be our next stop after the OB.

katzen is offline  
May 5th, 2006, 11:38 AM
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The train station is right in Grindelwald. It is a 5 to 10 minute walk from there to most hotels.

If you put in Koblenz in the "from" section and Grindelwald in the "to", it will show you a couple of alternate routes, but the simplest one is Koblenz to Baden, Baden to Bern, Bern to Interlaken Ost, and from there to Grindelwald. The website gives you the track number and everything, so all you need to do is step off one train and look for the next track. MOst of your connection times are 15 minutes or so instead of 3 or 4 minutes, so the next train most likely won't be waiting; it will arrive a few minutes before the scheduled departure time. And when it does, don't dawdle in getting on---they only stop for a couple of minutes.

We tavel these routes in second class with no reservations.
enzian is offline  

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