Bern or Lucerne?

May 28th, 2006, 07:43 AM
  #1  
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Bern or Lucerne?

I'm spending 4 nights in Lauterbrunnen and am thinking of making a day trip to either Bern or Lucerne. Which of those cities would you choose to visit for the day? The second question is whether there's so much to see in the Berner Oberland area (including trip to Jungfrau), should I not even consider a day trip and spend all my time in Berner Oberland area?

Thanks for your help.
garyincary is offline  
May 28th, 2006, 08:22 AM
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Depends on the weather. Do Luzern if its cloudy and rainy. By train from Lauterbrunnen it is a slow trip, something like 2 hours 43 minutes with a 7:20 departure is your earliest convenient time.

Coming back, 17:55 or 18:55. The later departure requires a change in Meiringen, but that is a minor event.

There is always a change at Interlaken Ost to reach any Berner Oberland destination.

If you have a car, the trip can be made in about 40 minutes less time. The road, once you wiggle up the Brünig Pass, has been improved in the last two years relative to what it was in 1999.

Unless you are just bound and determined to see Luzern because it is a larger dot on the map, Brienz, Meiringen, and the Museum of Swiss Life near Brienz at a site called Ballenberg are also rewarding without traveling as far.

That said, the Transportation Museum in Luzern is just about worth a special trip. It is quite good and has a display on mountain cable systems that I have not seen elsewhere.

One rainy day we drove from Lauterbrunnen to Bern. By the time I paid for parking, the train would not have been much more expensive!! I found little to see in Bern, other than the arcade type structure of the main street. Because it was raining, having a cover to walk under and window shop was nice.

The bear pit was ugly. Bern should clean up that dismal display.
bob_brown is offline  
May 28th, 2006, 03:25 PM
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It depends what you want to see. If you are a train/plane/auto person, the Transportation Museum in Luzern is probably the most interesting museum in Switzerland--I agree with Bob. Both cities are compact and easily walkable in a day (the museum above is a quick bus or boat ride or a reasonable walk from the train station). The train from Interlaken will take you right to the parts of each city worth seeing--Bern is closer, but the ride to Luzern is more scenic. If the weather is bad in the BO area, both cities make a worthwhile alternative. I'd vote for Luzern over Bern by a nose.
taxatty is offline  
May 28th, 2006, 03:48 PM
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gary
Another vote for Lucern.

Blackduff
blackduff is offline  
May 28th, 2006, 05:28 PM
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Lucerne - about 10 times as interesting as Berne. Agree about the bear pit.
nytraveler is offline  
May 28th, 2006, 09:40 PM
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Bern and Luzern are distinctly different. Since Luzern has received many votes, let me add a bit about Bern.

The historic center of Bern is compact and easy to see on foot. Someone mentioned the covered arcades; in fact, Bern's main arcade street has been named a World Heritage Monument in hopes of preventing development and alteration. When the town was rebuilt after a disastrous fire, only red tile roofs were allowed, so it has a unique view from above. There are great views from the top of the church spire, the Rose Garden on the hill above the town, and from the ancient Clock Tower which is definitely worth the short tour and explanation of the clock's many details.

Scattered throughout the historical center are fountains based on themes, many featuring the town's symbol, the bear. There are several museums, including Albert Einstein's House, the Alpine Museum (mountaineering and tourism), Swiss history, and a new museum housing the world's largest collection of Paul Klee.

It's possible (with a reservation) to tour the Swiss Parliament which is based primarily on the structure of the U.S. Congress. Representatives in one house are determined by canton populations; cantons represented equally in the other house. The guide gives a nice tutorial on the history of the Swiss Federation and Parliament. Very interesting; beautiful architecture.
Jean is offline  
May 29th, 2006, 04:08 AM
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That's the easiest question ever posted. Lucerne by a mile. Bern is nice quiet, quiet little city and the capital city but so boring. When I was there it was so boring that even the famous Bern Bears had left town. Lucerne is one of the prettiest cities in Europe.

Have a great trip.

Larry J
LarryJ is offline  
May 29th, 2006, 08:51 AM
  #8  
JN
 
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Luzern by even more than a mile. Much more picturesque setting. Altstadt is very beautiful, with covered bridges, river, lake and mountain views, good shopping (e.g., Manor Dept. Store), eating and things to see (e.g., Lion Monument; Bourbaki Panorama, medieval ramparts walk).
JN is offline  
May 29th, 2006, 08:54 AM
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Second hand opinion, but my friends living in Switzerland are not much impressed with Bern, can't understand the tourist interest.
suze is offline  

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