Four days in Interlaken, Switzerland

Feb 27th, 2008, 04:22 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 17
Four days in Interlaken, Switzerland

Hi fellow traveler's,

As part of a two week trip to Switzerland and Northern Italy, we will be spending 4 days in Interlaken. We are planning to take one of the days for a side trip to Bern. I have two questions: Is having breakfast at Schilthorn worth it or should we just go for the view? Since time is limited, should we go to the Kleine Scheidegg area if we are going to Gimmelwald and Schilthorn?
Thanks for your reply's.
evanphyl is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 07:08 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Northern Italy Switzerland is a beautful area, why not just try to enjoy the beauty and worry less about where to eat breakfast. If it were me, I would eat breakfast while looking at the view, a wonderful memory.
suzanhh is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 07:22 PM
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You are posing questions the answers to which involve quite a bit of personal opinion and individual experiences.

After spending a week or more in Lauterbrunnen, 8 miles south of Interlaken, I have, of course, formed some definite opinions.

First is breakfast worth it at the Schilthorn? I don't know the answer to that because of several reasons. First, there are other places from which to view the Alps at a lower price. Second, riding up to the building at the top of the Schilthorn is rather expensive, but no cable car ride in the Alps is what I would call dirt cheap.
Third you can see the same peaks from the platform, but you have to walk around a little to do it. I you don't mind the price of the food, I suppose watching while the world turns to you is a good armchair way of seeing the sights.

You mention Gimmelwald. I must ask why? I have walked through Gimmelwald three times and have yet to see anything there I would regard as an attraction. It is station on the Schilthornbahn where the cable car (Luftseilbahn) lines meet and passengers change cars to continue their journey either up or down.

From Gimmelwald the next stop upwards is Mürren where Schilthorn bound passengers change again for the final and most expensive leg of the journey.

Should you go to Kleine Scheidegg if you are going to the Schilthorn? That is an imponderable. Believe it or not, I think it depends on what you want to do after you get there!

Kleine Scheidegg itself is a meeting ground for trails and railroad lines. The trains from Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen both arrive there where passengers bound for the Jungfraujoch change to the Jungfrau train itself.

I think that if you go on to the station known as Eigergletscher you can get views of the north face of the Eiger, the Mönch, the Jungfrau, and some other peaks that are not available from the Schilthorn. You also get a closer look at the glaciers coming off the three peaks.

As an alternative to the Schilthorn, I can suggest three places from which to view the high peaks of the Berner Oberland that to my thinking are at least equal to the Schilthorn, although I freely admit that is a judgment call.

One of my favorite excursions is to take the train from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen and ride the Luftseilbahn to the crest of the Männlichen which is the ridge that towers 4,000 feet and more above the valley. From there I take a long, beautiful walk down the mountainside to Kleine Scheidegg.

Another favorite of mine is the gondola ride up to a station named First. From there you can see the whole main section of the Berner Oberland with the Eiger dominating the first part of the trip upwards.
You can sit on the sun terrace and enjoy lunch and drink in the view which is extensive.

Another unique place from which to view the main range of the Berner Oberland is from Schynige Platte, which is reached via a mountain train from Wilderswil - the first stop on the rail line from Interlaken Ost to Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen.

All of these place provide panoramic views with each presenting the alpine scene with a slightly different view.

There are other destinations from which you can penetrate a little more deeply into the world of snow and ice and get more into the heart of the mountains. To get there, you must walk a little ways, but the reward is great on a sunny day.

As for Bern, I went there once and have little desire for a repeat visit. It might be good on a rainy day, but I found little there of interest. To be quite frank about it the bear pits were grubby, slovenly places in which to keep animals. Bern should be ashamed.

Well you have my thoughts. Others will differ of course, and they will have valid points to make.
bob_brown is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 07:39 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Whether I had one day or 10 in Interlaken I would make time for the Jungfraujoch train ride up to the top of the mountain... It was definitely one of the more memorable experiences in all of Europe... heck I don't even remember what we did or our other days in Interlaken but that was definitely unique.
TylerTraveler is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 08:46 PM
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Good points from bob_brown.

However, it appears from your other post that this visit will be in May. The Luftseilbahn up to Mannlichen from Wengen will be out of service from mid-April until 31 May---at least that is the present scheduled opening date. The train up to Schnyige Platte appears to be on the same schedule (2007 opening date was the same as Mannichen cablecar, May 26).

So the Schilthorn (along with the Jungfraubahn) is one of the few high mountain lifts that runs at this time. (The Schilthornbahn is only taken out of service for maintenance for a few days in April, and then again late November).

As for having breakfast up there. . . if my hotel included breakfast in the lodging price, I'd eat there and just enjoy the view and walk around outside at the Schilthorn.

You can also get up to Kleine Scheidegg on the train from Wengen, and take the walk along the top of the ridge, described by bob_brown. This is a wonderful vantage point from which to enjoy views of the peaks around the area, including the Eiger, Monch, and JUngfrau, as well as two more over by Grindelwald, the Finsteraarhorn (highest peak in the Berner Oberland) and Wetterhorn.
enzian is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 10:59 PM
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We had breakfast in the restaurant on the Schilthorn one visit as our hotel in Murren (Alpenruh) gave us the option of eating in their dining room or eating on the Schilthorn. They gave us a voucher, which we presented in the Schilthorn restaurant.

Can't remember a thing about the food, but the views were fabulous.

In fact, during one stay in Murren, we went up to the Schilthorn two days in a row. The first day was gorgeous, and the second was miserable, but we went back up specifically to see a Swiss Folk Pageant. We spent the better part of a day up there, drinking wine with the locals. It was a lot of fun.

Melnq8 is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 05:41 AM
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Gimmelwald's main attraction is that it has no attractions and thus, hardly any tourists. You get great scenery, tranquility, and a peak at what the Oberland was like before nearly every square inch was turned into a resort. Not everyone finds a resort town to be a desireable place to stay.
Edward2005 is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 06:02 AM
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To each his own, but with four days in Interlaken, I would be sure to spend at least one of them at the wonderful Ballenberg open air museum, easily reached via mass transit from Interlaken.

I would spend one day Bern, one day Ballenberg, one day in Gimmelwald, and one day leftover for unplanned last minute inspiration.
BTilke is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 10:55 AM
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L forgot about Ballenberg!!
It is a wonderful outdoor museum dedicated to Swiss rural life from 100 years ago, or more.

The working sawmill was one of the old kind and the craftsman working it knew what he was doing.

Others attractions of the exhibit are also in working order.

If you don't have a car, you can easily get to Ballenberg West by train from Interlaken Ost to Brienz. From Brienz the Post Bus is timed to the train and it takes you to the gate.

If you have a car, getting to the east gate is a little easier I think, but either way is fine.

Also Brienz is worth a visit for the wood carvers and their products.

Rather than visiting Bern, I suggest taking the boat on the Brienzer See to Brienz, and then take the train back to Interlaken Ost. The boat dock is close to the Interlaken Ost train station.

You could do Ballenberg, Brienz and the boat ride in one fairly long day.
bob_brown is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 01:24 PM
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Open air museums are under-rated treasures. Most guidebooks (including Fodors!!) usuall give them either no mention or just the briefest blurb. But we've found them to be among the most memorable sights in our trips through Europe.

Ballenberg rates up there with the Freilicht Museum in Detmold, Germany. (bonus for us, both allow dogs.)

To date, if we had to pick our one favorite sight in Germany, we'd pick Detmold's open air museum. If Fodorites are traveling to an area that has a good one, they are definitely worth a visit (if the weather cooperates).
BTilke is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 02:40 PM
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Hi fellow traveler's:
I would like to thank all of you who responded to my inquiry for Interlaken. All of the reply's were very well thought out and contained valuable information. I think we now have the information we need to get the most from this area of Switzerland.
evanphyl is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2008, 12:07 PM
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I will keep my vibrations positive to keep the clouds away. A trip to the Berner Oberland is very weather dependent.

Our first trip there was in 1998 and we fell in love with the area.

We have been back several times since then, and we have another visit scheduled for early July.

You can take any of the cable rides I described on a clear day and be assured of seeing something spectacular.

I don't think any of them is clearly THE best. I will say, however, that despite the cost, the trip to the Jungfraujoch can be the stuff of memories.

If you decide to go to the Jungfraujoch, make an effort to walk along the groomed track to the shelter known as the Mönchsjochhütte. The views you get along the way are fantastic.

The Mönch is the peak next to the Jungfrau, and the so-called hut is a 3-story building bolted to the rock. You can get lunch there because the building has a staff during the summer to prepare meals for the hikers and climbers. Sleeping capacity is 125 guests plus the staff members.

If you asked me to make a choice between the Jungfraujoch and the Schilthorn, I would vote heavily in favor of the Jungfraujoch.

Yes the Jungfrauhoch is a more expensive trip, but I think it is worth the extra cost.

bob_brown is offline  
Mar 21st, 2008, 06:07 AM
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Bookmarking - thanks so much!
pittpurple is offline  

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