Help with Bernese Oberland planning

Nov 14th, 2008, 06:47 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
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We ourselves stayed at Lauterbrunnen at Hotel Staubbach. The business about the church bell keeping you awake all night is a gross exaggeration. However, although we really liked our stay at Lauterbrunnen, I think Wengen is as wonderful a place to stay, and perhaps even prettier. Location-wise, I don't think there are considerable advantages of one location over the other. Lauterbrunnen is a little closer to Murren, but Wengen is closer to Mannlichen and Jungfrau. And both locations are about equally distant from Grindelwald and First.

And we did have dinner at Hotel Baren at Wengen, and it was excellent. So if you have set your heart on staying at Wengen, follow it and you wont go wrong. You wont make a mistake either if you change your mind and opt for Lauterbrunnen.

Have fun, and pray for good weather !
indiancouple is offline  
Nov 14th, 2008, 07:12 AM
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Hi PR,

>3 days Prague
2 days Budapest
4 days Vienna
3 days Salzburg
4 days Wengen
4 days Zurich

We are flying in and out of Munich from LAX,<

Where are you picking up the car?
Where are you dropping it?

There are usually ver steep fees for pickup/drop off in different countries.

Have you checked,,

Enjoy your adventure.

ira is offline  
Nov 14th, 2008, 10:38 AM
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Thanks Indiancouple, that's very reassureing, we are sticking with Wengen.

Hi Ira,

We are picking up a car in Munich and dropping off at the same location, renting from Thrifty. 3 weeks of medium size car is around $850. Auto Europe is quite a bit more.

We had a strange experience with Auto Europe about 4 years ago... Their Rome office had moved, but we didn't find out until we stood in front of the office and saw the notice on the door. Took some doing to find their new location as the notice on the door was in Italian. Then return the car in Venice is strange too. There was no parking... We had to find a parking on the street on our own. That was stressful as the streets were really crowded. Nobody from Auto Europe tried to help or came out to check the car, we just drop the key off after parking. No problem with the car or the process though. If their price in Munich is good, we would've rented from them.

Pat_Rick is offline  
Nov 14th, 2008, 11:26 AM
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Just 2 things -

Yes, Lindt no longer has factory tours in Kilchberg. I would drop that trip.

Wengen is so special. Not really a big trip from there to Lauterbrunnen to head toward Grindelwald - maybe a pretty 20 minutes by train. I would keep it in the itinerary.

The Maennlichen to KS walk is wonderful and only takes around 1-1.5 hours. I would also do that early before the Jungfrau Top of the World ride. Be sure to plan this for a decent day for the views.

There are train passes for the whole area - I don't know the prices but easy to find on internet.

gruezi is offline  
Nov 14th, 2008, 12:44 PM
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I also walked from Kl Scheidegg down to Wengen - a sweet gentle walk on a trail wide enough for mountain bikes to roll down - i took the train up to Jungfraujoch and but on the way back i got off at Kleine Scheidegg and strolled down to Wengen - a gorgeous walk overlooking the Lauterbrunnen Valley - cows along the way, etc. I'm an old fart so the walk must be easy for anyone. Cheers
PalenQ is offline  
Nov 14th, 2008, 01:03 PM
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Hi Pat---I didn't have time to read thoroughly through everything, but here are my thoughts. We've done 4 trips to this area, the last 2 with a teenage daughter---who absolutely loves Switzerland. She is hoping for another trip as a high school graduation present. I hope to grant her wish.

Congratulations on choosing the Bären. We discovered this gem on our last visit (the first time we included Wengen as an overnight stop). The rooms are simple and basic (just to our taste) and the food is terrific. Frau Brunner is a friendly and gracious hostess, and will look after you well. Herr Brunner seems to spend all his time in the kitchen---we never had a chance to meet him.

I don't know what you finally decided for your days, but this is what I came up with as I was reading through. As I understand it, you have 4 nights in Wengen, so that is 3 full days, plus the day you depart for Zürich. I would put Grindelwald (with visits to First, Pfingstegg, etc.) on that day, since you can drive to Grindelwald. That will make for a more leisurely "chocolate day", since you wouldn't have to drive to Zürich (which is in the opposite direction) the same day. And maybe there would be time that day for a visit to Montreux and Chateau de Chillon (a favorite with our daughter) or a loop route with a short stop to walk around Gstaad (unless it is during the Swiss Open, when Gstaad might be crowded).

so my thoughts look like this:

Day 1---travel to Wengen. Take a walk around the village, and enjoy your dinner at the Bären!

Day 2---Männlichen cable car; walk up to the top of the little "Gipfel" to a view down and over to Schynige Platte; then walk to Kleine Scheidegg (have lunch on the deck of one of the restaurants you pass before you arrive at the more crowded KS area). Train up to Jungfraujoch if the weather cooperates, then back to Wengen. (You could also go up the Jungfraujoch first thing, if you care to follow the convention that the weather is more likely to be clear then. that has actually not been our experience; you just take it when it comes. As for the direction of the wlak between Männlichen and KS, it's the same path, and most of the time the Jungfrau is off to the side. If you are walking away and it is behind you. . . just stop and turn around now and then).

Day 3---did you already drop the idea of Schynige Platte AND Schilthorn? I hope so---that is too much in one day. You can combine Schilthorn with the Lauterbrunnen valley walk and Trummelbach Falls, and even have time for a look around Gimmelwald and the walk from Grutschalp to Mürren. Again, check the weather before you pay for and ascend the last leg of the cablecar ride up the Schilhorn, and only go if it is (mostly) clear. The rest of the loop---Lauterbrunnen to Grutschalp to Mürren, then to Gimmelwald, down to Stechelberg and the walk back to Lauterbrunnen---is worth doing rain or shine. (In fact this is always our rainy day option).

Day 4---Chocolate Day! Sounds like fun.

Day 5---depart Wengen, pick up car and drive to Grindelwald. Park and do whatever of Bob_Brown's recommendations you choose (hopefull all?) If you ride the gondola up to First, it is well worth the easy walk out to the BAchalpsee for a classic view of the Wetterhorn and peaks across the valley. The Pfingstegg to Stieregg walk is also short and easy, and will give you a glimpse of the tunble-down face of a glacier.

Depart late afternoon for your drive back to Zürich.
enzian is offline  
Nov 14th, 2008, 06:06 PM
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This board is great, I have always come here to get ideas when I am planning a trip and it has never failed me. I have to print out all your inputs so I can digest it.

Oh, Enzian, the itinerary you designed for us was simply fabulous! Most likely we will follow it, weather permitting.

Yes, I have scratched the idea of going to the Schynige Platte all together, I will combine the Lauterbrennen Valley walk with the trip to Schilthorn as you suggested.

I was thinking of cutting a day in Zurich and staying a day in either Montreux or Vevey. Is three nights in Zurich good enough? While in Zurich, we want to go to Luzern for one day and to the St. Gallen/Appenzell area on the other.

Any suggestions on lodging in Montreux/Vevey? How about Les Négociants in Vevey?

Palan, Rick just had surgery on his left toe from which they cut out his joint and fused the bones together with screws. He still can't walk normally yet, and I doubt he will be doing much more than 2 hours a day. He also qualifies as an old fart.

Pat_Rick is offline  
Nov 14th, 2008, 06:16 PM
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Pat, forgot to mention. When you walk from Grutschalp to Murren, at about the halfway point you cross a small village called Winteregg. There is a lovely restaurant there (the only one, so you cant miss it), which has fresh farmer's food worth dying for. We had cheese rostis there for lunch, and no other Swiss meal even came close. If by chance you are doing this stretch on a Sunday, they have an Alpine Farmers Breakfast buffet, which attracts a huge crowd of over 300 people, and I am told is fabulous.

In Lauterbrunnen, the best meals are at Hotel Oberland. In Grindelwald, there are multiple options.

While returning from Murren to Lauterbrunnen, do take the route via Gimmelwald and Stechelberg. You can either walk downhill from Murren to Gimmelwald, to take the cable car, which stops at Gimmelwald. Roam around Gimmelwald for a while, and the short cable car ride from Gimmelwald to Stechelberg will cause your eyes to pop up. Truly memorable. From Stechelberg, a Post Bus will bring you back to Lauterbrunnen.

Enzian's suggestion of combining Lauterbrunnen valley and Trummelbach falls with Murren and Schilthorn are theoretically doable, but IMO very difficult to squeeze into one day. Trummelbachfalls close pretty early in the evening. Again, you will have to start the day very very early to fit it all in.
indiancouple is offline  
Nov 14th, 2008, 09:09 PM
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indiancouple--you are correct; it would be a long day and require an early start. I believe it took us 6 hours as a roundtrip loop from Mürren, including a walk from there to Gimmelwald (instead of riding the cablecar), and a leisurely lunch at Hotel Oberland in Lautrbrunnen. That was without the trip up the Schilthorn, but with a lot of time at Trummelbach Falls, which I found very intriguing. Still, I think it is all doable in a day.

Pat, I think the idea of trading 1 of 4 nights in Zürich for a night in Vevey is a good one. It would give you and our granddaughter a taste of the French-speaking part of Switzerland, as well as time to enjoy Chateau de Chillon, which is a delightful castle to visit.

I say Vevey rather than Montreux as a place to stay, as I always find the smaller villages nicer. Vevey is also right on the lake. You might check the dates of the Montreux jazz festival and consider the possible complications before you commit to the idea, but you probably will be fine staying in Vevey in any case.

This should be combined with/consecutive to your chocolate day (Broc), so it involves rearranging the schedule a bit. But not much. Make Day 4 your Grindelwald day (and include Trummelbach Falls if you ran out of time the previous day). Return to Wengen that night as planned, and on Day 5 depart, pick up the car, and head out for your chocolate day. Spend that night in Vevey, and the following day drive to Zürich.

This still gives you 3 nights/2 full days in Zürich. You will spend one full day in Luzern?

I'm not sure where the Marriot is in Zürich, but if it is convenient to go to the Altstadt for dinner, be sure and enjoy La Mere Catherine. They have a delightful patio and a fresh, modern menu. It is one of our daughter's favorite places anywhere. We just stumbled upon this place on our 2005 visit, but for 2007 I made reservations in advance---by post (they didn't have a website). When we arrived, we were famous (and were treated very well).

Hopefully Rick's foot will be fully healed so he can walk easily and without pain.
enzian is offline  
Nov 15th, 2008, 07:29 AM
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You will find information on the chocolate tour in Broc by going to

BarbAnn is offline  
Nov 15th, 2008, 07:52 AM
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>Grutschalp, walking to Murren, and then taking the cable car to Schilthorn.

Reverse the order. Schilthorn, then down to Mürren, walk to Grütschalp. On sunny summer days, the mornings are usually cloudless but from about noon there are often clouds around mountaintops. The earlier you are up there, the better vews you will get.
Anyway, decide on all mountain trips on the respective morning based on weather. It doesn't make sense to spend money and see nothing but thick grey fog.
altamiro is offline  
Nov 15th, 2008, 09:28 AM
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Montreux Jazz Festival is July 3 through July 18. If we add a day in Vevey it will be on July 16. Here is another problem... The more I looked into the Vevey area, the better it looked. If I drop one night in Salzburg (from 3nts to 2nts), we can have 2 nights in Vevey. Should I do that? How crowded will Vevey be during the festival?

The restaurant La Mere Catherine that you mentioned, is it in Zurich Altstadt Hotel? Do you have a phone number or address? When I do a Google search, the results were confusing.

We love good food (not expensive food), so keep the recommendations on restaurants coming. So far I have:
The restaurant at First
Hotel Oberland in Lauterbrunnen
Altstadt in Zurich

Pat_Rick is offline  
Nov 15th, 2008, 10:31 AM
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in Montreaux, Le Chalet, has a glorious, unimpeded view of Lake Leman. The menu is french/swiss, the price is reasonable at around 20-25 chf ave. entree, lunch menu without drinks. just a few hundred yards from the train station.
worldclass is offline  
Nov 15th, 2008, 12:38 PM
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Mere Catherine
Naegelihof 3 by the Grossmunster

044 250 59 40

You can reserve when you get to Zurich - should not be a problem. I'm not aware that it is in a hotel but it's in a close little tucked away square so perhaps there is a hotel above it I haven't noticed.

For a fun and popular vegetarian spot try:

Sihlstrasse 28
8001 Zurich
Phone 044 227 70 00
Fax 044 227 70 07
[email protected]

On Bellevue, near Globus is a wonderful bratwurst stand that is always crowded. Just in front of the COOP there is a great pretzel stand as well.

My teens love the Spaghetti Factory. Not really Swiss, but a good meal in a cozy spot for not too much money. It's in Altstadt.


gruezi is offline  
Nov 15th, 2008, 12:46 PM
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Ah gruezi, you beat me to it! I think I confused things with the "La". It's just Mere Catherine. It is not in a hotel, just in one of the narrow alleyways in the Altstadt.

Here's a review from the NY Times:

And another review with photos:

We have only dined outside on the patio. I don't know if I would like it as much inside. (My motto is "any meal outdoors is a good one"). It is not inexpensive, but the food is very good, especially if you like salads and fish dishes (made with local lake fish).

enzian is offline  
Nov 15th, 2008, 05:04 PM
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Found it, thanks guys. The restaurant is 1 1/2 mile from the Marriott. Sounds great, will give it a try.

Any thoughts on cancel one night in Salzburg? How about being in Vevey during the Jazz Festival?

Pat_Rick is offline  
Nov 15th, 2008, 05:23 PM
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Pat, I would suggest canceling one night from Vienna instead of Salzburg, but I am sure that others may disagree.

Ditto the recommendation about Hiltl restaurant at Zurich. It is awesome.

Please note that the terrace restaurants at First (and also at Mannlichen) are great places to sit around for views etc, but are not exactly gourmet food. Just normal cafe food, but great views.
indiancouple is offline  
Nov 15th, 2008, 07:24 PM
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We spent 6 nights in Wengen last summer – and it was not enough. I agree about reducing the time in Zurich and adding it to Wengen. We loved Wengen and are glad we stayed there and not in Lauterbrunnen. The views from Wengen are just fantastic. Murren, too – that would be another good choice, although more remote, so would require more time to travel to and from.

We did not have a car for the time we spent in Wengen, and it worked out great. Swiss trains are amazing! We used a 50% half card, and I think it was a good choice.
We did the trips to Jungfraujoch , Schilthorn, Lauterbrunnen Valley, Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg – they are all fantastic and would recommend them all. True, we were very lucky with 6 sunny days, so we had time to do all the things we wanted. Well, almost all…at least the ‘big’ ones.

Listen to bob-brown, take the gondola to First – it’s a full day, bit so worth it. You can see the paragliders taking off from there, quite a show. I don’t think you can combine it with Lauterbrunnen Valley in one day, but maybe if you get an early start… I don’t know. Try to make it to Trummelbach Falls, it’s spectacular.

I would skip the cheese, chocolate tours and spend all the time in the mountains. And I am big chocolate lover – and swiss chocolate…yum, let’s not go there. On the other hand, your granddaughter would probably like the chocolate day
I’m sure you’ll live your time in Wengen.

Ohh, one more thing – 4 days in Vienna and 3 in Salzburg sound good, don’t cut from Vienna – maybe from Salzburg, considering that you’ll have other mountains to see on this trip. Have fun.
xyz99 is offline  
Nov 16th, 2008, 08:09 AM
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Dear Pat,

This is just the opinion of someone with 2 teen-aged girls...FWIW...

Both of my girls LOVED Salzburg but were less keen on Vienna. They even really loved the SofM tour which they didn't even want to take. I just asked my daughter what she suggested and she said SALZBURG!

She also (at 17) enjoyed the Jazz festival for a day, it wasn't "crazy" she says, lots of food stands and typical Swiss festival things to do.

I LOVE Wengen. I am dreaming of it right now. My girls aren't hikers (at least not with us, but probably would be with their grandparents) so they haven't been there. But it is just so quintessentially Swiss in it's beauty. Don't miss it and the various spectacular excursions from there. If you click on my name or search here under Wengen, you will find a short trip report of mine from a long weekend I took there this fall.

We live in Zuerich, and although it sometimes gets a bad rap here on Fodor's, my teens really love it here. It's a beautiful spot on a pretty lake with a nice old town, shops, cafes, pretzels etc. In July, it is just lovely and your granddaughter will enjoy it. Bring your sunglasses and take a boat to Rapperswil so she can get some sun and you can enjoy the views. There is a cool boardwalk across the lake there and my girls always enjoy walking it even though they aren't big on walks or hiking. There are some lovely inns at the waterside there for a nice lunch or just a good ice cream dish. You can linger as long as you like.

In Zurich, there are plenty of outdoor spots on the lake for lunch or a soda and to watch the scene and wile away the afternoon.

BTW, Mere Catherine is very charming indoors as well. I've never been there in good weather so that's all I know of it. I would also bring your chocolate-loving granddaughter to Spruengli on Bahnhofstrasse. It is a Zuerich institution. You can have dessert there or lunch. Don't order bottled water though. It's 5chf a bottle. Ask for Hahnenwasser (water from the tap.)

In case there are no fondue spots open elsewhere on your trip, there is one that serves year-round in Zurich in the old town. The name is escaping me this minute, but I'll post back.

gruezi is offline  
Nov 16th, 2008, 02:39 PM
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gruezi---is it the "Swiss Chuchi" restaurant in Hotel Adler?

enzian is offline  

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