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HELP Please Wengen or Grindelwald hotels?

HELP Please Wengen or Grindelwald hotels?

Mar 7th, 2008, 07:52 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 3
HELP Please Wengen or Grindelwald hotels?

Good Morning,

Can someone please give me some good feedback. My family is planning a 1 week stay in Switzerland the last week of August. None of us have every been here. There will be 5 adults and 1 11/y/o. Currently, my son booked 2 places to stay, just to be on the safe side considering things book so quickly.

Currently booked are:
1.) A 4 1/2 room apartment at the Eiger Hotel in Grindelwald.

2.) Hotel Belvedere in Wengen.

I've been reading post after post and do understand that Grimelwald is more "touristy", but seems Wengen is a bit dead. Can someone please shed some light on which location would be best? We are all about the views. seems the apt. has a large, south facing balcony, as does the room in Wengen.

If you think there would actually be a better location or accomodations, please feel free to tell me. I'm so confused right now, it's making me sick! (I'm the Grandma of the bunch". Please, any feedback would be so greatly appreciated!


OklahomaDoll is offline  
Mar 7th, 2008, 08:21 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 4,167
Hi Donna,
I'd stay in Wengen. We stayed at the Hotel Eiger in Wengen and the views were magnificent! It's our favorite village in Switzerland.
You say "we are all about the views"... I can't think of a better place to be.

pja1 is online now  
Mar 7th, 2008, 08:40 AM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 317
My DH and I spent four days in Wengen last summer at the Caprice hotel, we loved it, the views, the rain, water running off the mountains and clouds engulfing you on the patio in the evenings was wonderful. The towns are so close and easily accessed by the train. We want to return someday, but we are going to pack coats, it was cold on top of Europe. Have a wonderful trip and do not hesitate to ask questions, these guys helped me plan so much, they are wondeful.
jelane is offline  
Mar 7th, 2008, 09:14 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 280
I would stay in Wengen, too. It is wonderful. I agree with the previous poster that it could be chilly. We were there on one trip in July and it was cold!
Ruff is offline  
Mar 7th, 2008, 10:21 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I gave been to both Wengen and Grindelwald several times and walked about looking at what is available.

To date, I have stayed in an apartment in Lauterbrunnen several times because we have found there what we need, but we always visit both Wengen and Grindelwald.

In terms of activity, the two locations are polar opposites.
Grindelwald is often crowded with tourists. There is much more activity going on in Grindelwald along the main street where the Hotel Eiger is located about half way between the train station and the godola that goes up to First.

Whether or not the high level of activity is a plus or a minus depends on what you want and what you like.

Wengen on the other hand is much smaller and located high on the side of the Lauterbrunnen Valley. Access by automobile is not allowed; you get there normally by foot or by train from Lauterbrunnen.

I think your assessment of touristy versus dead is fairly accurate. My concern is that an 11 year old would not find much to do in Wengen unless he likes hiking.

That is lone aspect of Wengen that is good. The mountain train from Lauterbrunnen continues on to a high pass known as Kleine Scheidegg. This is where passengers bound for the Jungfraujoch change trains for the final stage of the 3-part journey.

There is also a cable car lift to the crest of the Männlichen, which is the ridge that towers over the valley.

From the Männlichen there is also a gondola line that descends to Grindelwald Grund, which is down the hill from the main part of Grindelwald.

At both locations there are hiking opportunities. Beyond that, there are not that many activities other than the Jungfraujoch where one can pay even more to get pulled about in a dog sled or slide down a wire cable alpine mountaineering style.

In Interlaken there is a Mystery Theme Park which is an amusement park. I have never been there, so I don't know how great the language barrier might be or even what attractions are therein.

In terms of views, you will probably see more at closer range from Wengen, but from Grindelwald reaching locations where you can get outstanding views is relatively easy.

For example, the gondola to First takes you up to a high station that has a great restaurant with a terrace that overlooks the main range of the Berner Oberland.

From First you can take several walking excusions to several destinations both near and far.

Also from Grindelwald you can take the bus to Grosse Scheidegg for nice views as well.

One of my favorites, and one I hope to do again this summer, is to take the cable car up to Pfingstegg and walk the trail to Stieregg from where one can see deep into the heart of the mountain world of ice and snow.

Is there a better place to stay? Good question. As stated earlier I rent an apartment in Lauterbrunnen because we found a good place: Chalet Horner. Unfortunately, the Chalet is heavily booked already for the months of July and August.

Although Lauterbrunnen is about as dead as Wengen, if not deader, it is a central point with transportation to Interlaken, Wengen, and Mürren within short range. (The connection to Grindelwald is fine in the day, but after 6 pm the timings are not the best.)

I feel that I am limited in my ability to give firm advice because our family situations are vastly different. When I go, my wife is the only person with me where as you have a group of 6.

I might be able to respond to specific questions if you have any more.

bob_brown is offline  
Mar 7th, 2008, 11:09 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,673
Hi OklahomaDoll,

The problem with Grindelwald in August is that it allows traffic. That means that's where the tour busses go -- they clog up the main street, they pollute the air, and they unload their loads of passengers onto the streets of town. As a consequence, the streets of Grindelwald are wall-wall tourists.

Once when I was there in August, my mom and I went to Wengen for lunch. And what a difference! It was peaceful and lovely. I haven't ever stayed in Grindelwald since.

Your 11yo shouldn't feel too bored I would think. Just send him/her off to walk a trail! There is an inexpensive lodge in town, the Old Lodge, where there may be other a younger crowd.

Definitely go to Wengen!

swandav2000 is online now  
Mar 7th, 2008, 03:15 PM
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Oh my goodness, thank you ALL so much for taking the time out of your day to respond to my post. I feel worlds better after having read what everyone has said. Wengen it is!
OklahomaDoll is offline  
Mar 7th, 2008, 03:33 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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The tour bus aspect of Grindelwald is accurate. My wife just reminded me that there have been times in Grindelwald when the sidewalk was so crowded that we had to walk in the street itself.

Wengen is much more peaceful. If I recall correctly, gasoline powered vehicles are NOT allowed. There are electric cards to move freight around, but no cars or trucks or 60 passenger tour buses.

When you get there, you will understand why I found this story to be hilarious.

Last summer the owner of Chalet Horner where we resided for 8 days was still laughing over the stupid American tourist who actually tried to drive to Wengen.

He had one of these fancy dan GPS systems. So he plugged in Wengen as his destination. The directions were to turn off the Lauterbrunnen-Interlaken road and drive uphill. Well, he had a big Mercedes, something like the S 500, and got up on a farm road that was just wide enough for a tractor.

He ended up deadended at a farm building with no room to turn around. So he tried to back down the narrow road. After he put his expensive car in the ditch, he decided to go for help. First he tried the farmer, who spoke zero English, but had sense enough to know that a car in the ditch was bad news. Besides the vehicle was blocking his access to the outside world.

So the farmer called the local police, and an officer came up there to investigate.

Following the officer's direction, the farmer got his tractor and pulled the Mercedes out of the ditch.

Seems like if the farmer was acting under an official directive from a law officer he was absolved of any liability.

Well, when the farmer got the Mercedes out of the ditch they all realized that the front wheel assembly was bent badly out of shape and the car was not fully steerable.

With the tractor the farmer was able to get the car far enough down the road to a wider section where a regular tow truck from Interlaken could get to it.

Then the officer gave the driver a fine for blocking a public road.
That resulted in an loud argument that was resolved when the officer got out the handcuffs.

The moral of the story is three fold:
YOu cannot drive to Wengen, you cannot always trust GPS systems, and don't argue with the Swiss police in a threatening manner.
bob_brown is offline  
Mar 7th, 2008, 03:59 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,673
. . . and here's something really remarkable.

Last summer, I was reading one of the travel magazines (can't remember which, unfortunately) and one of the staff writers decided to drive to Wengen on his honeymoon.

Yep, a travel writer decided to *drive* to Wengen.

Unbelievable. He got turned around by the locals (don't think it was the hapless driver in bob brown's story!) and parked down in Lauterbrunnen. But talk about incompentence in one's field!

swandav2000 is online now  
Mar 7th, 2008, 07:35 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,019
I got my version of the story about the car that ran off the road from my landlady, so it is admittedly hearsay. However, some other English speakers in Lauterbrunnen had corroborating accounts that differed only in detail.

I think we can conclude that:
* an American in a big car had a GPS that gave false driving directions to Wengen.

* The car ran off a very narrow farm road.

* the driver got into a debate with the local policeman who responded to the emergency.

It makes a good story. Just how much of the juicy detail is true might be a matter of opinion. I doubt if the accurate story will ever be known.

The driver did, however, fuel the local gossip mill.

If it is the road I walked up as part of a tour of a cheese-making dairy farm that lies about halfway up the mountain side to Wengen, I can see how a full-sized sedan would have zero tolerance for driver error.

bob_brown is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 12:53 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 395
Grindlewald rocks in my opinion. I know we have those who have different ideas about such things, but as far as I'm concerned, Grindlewald is the place to hunker down. Bob Brown mentioned that access to some great hikes are easy from Grindlewald. Swandav likes the quite of Wengen. Hey, I can dig that, but give me GRindlewald for that precious night activity, good restaurant options and quick access to heaven on the trails. At the same time, I highly approve of Wengen and Lauterbrunnen. It just comes down to personal preferences.

On past trips, I have run into many different types of American travelers in the Grindlewald area. Everyone from Embassy workers in Zurich to college backpackers to just people who worked their tails off every year to retired people to go on a nice trip. Some do those apartment type deals, some do the B and B deal. I like the hotels.

Interlaken might be a better choice for your party if you would like to do other activities besides mountain hikes. Trips to Thun or Spietz or Bern or even Lucern would be best connected to from Interlaken, plus getting to the mountains is a snap. Not as easy as being in Lauterbrunnen,Wengen or Grindlewald.

Look, there are plenty of hotels, B and B and apartments away from the busy main street if that is what concerns you at this time.

I like the view of the Eiger from Grindlewald. You can see it.

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sunstar is offline  

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