Jan 25th, 2009, 03:00 PM
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We are intending to base ourselves in Interlaken for about a week in July. Could anyone comment on Interlaken as a town/base for the area?
gertie3751 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2009, 06:32 PM
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Everybody's gonna tell you to stay higher up... Can you provide some info on where else you are day-tripping while basing in Interlaken? That would help clarify your needs.
Travelnut is offline  
Jan 25th, 2009, 07:10 PM
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Yes. We would like to do a couple of boat trips on the lake. And Luzern. Plus the little trains in the Berner Oberland. Finally intend to get the train via Brig down to Italy. Don't expect there's time for much else.
gertie3751 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2009, 07:15 PM
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My daughter and I had a couple of lovely days in Interlaken two summers ago. It was very easy to get up to the towns higher up in the mountains. When we were there the were very high winds up on the Jungfrau, so it was great to have somewhere lower down that was relatively warm and dry. Interlaken is a great place to just wander around.
cferrb is offline  
Jan 25th, 2009, 07:17 PM
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I'm one of those who are going to suggest you stay higher up. If your intention is to visit the alps, by all means, stay in the alps. If not, well, Interlaken might work well for you.

We made the mistake of staying in Interlaken one year - we spent all of our time higher up, so we wasted a lot of time coming and going.

Lauterbrunnen makes a great base if you want to visit places like Wengen, Murren, and Grindelwald. I've stayed in all three villages many times, and enjoyed all of them (although Grindelwald to a lesser extent), but this time we're going to give Lauterbrunnen a go. It's just so well situated for visiting many places in the BO.

If you'd rather sit still for a few days and soak up the gorgeous scenery, you absolutely cannot go wrong with Murren or Wengen. There are some wonderful hikes and the views are fabulous.

Like Travelnut says, it really depends on what you're interested in doing.
Melnq8 is online now  
Jan 25th, 2009, 07:19 PM
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Sorry, gertie, you posted while I was typing. Lauterbrunnen will still work for you based on your interests, but keep in mind it's a small village.
Melnq8 is online now  
Jan 25th, 2009, 07:27 PM
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Thanks Melnq8 We are not hikers. We prefer to look at the scenery rather than walk about in it. We also like boat trips and museums, art galleries, churches and concerts, things like that. Maybe a combination of the two places, though we had hoped to stay put for a while.
gertie3751 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2009, 08:18 PM
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Hi gertie3751,

I'm another one who will try to dissuade you from staying in Interlaken -- it's just a charmless town that's overrun (really, really overrun in July) with tourists and tourist busses and mobs of tourists milling around every store.

I can understand your wanting a convenient travel base, though -- so will recommend the town of Thun. Thun is a lot like Luzern, sitting on the lake, with a river running by it, yet it is almost ignored by travellers. Some call it the un-touristed Luzern. And it has a castle! Staying in Thun rather than Interlaken will add maybe 15-20 minutes to your trips up to the mountains, but it will be equally (or more) convenient for your museum-going and trips around Switzerland.

Again, though, staying in a car-free mountain village is a real treat -- it's too bad you won't be able to experience that this time; maybe next time. But you don't have to be walkers or hikers to enjoy that scenery; there are many cable cars to take you up to the heights, then you just find a mountain top restaurant and soak up the views. I bet you'll find yourself going UP most of your days!!

Anyway, you'll have fun!

swandav2000 is online now  
Jan 25th, 2009, 09:03 PM
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Another vote for Thun if you plan to stay in the lowlands. It's a very walkable town; the castle is interesting and the whole town is just a lot quieter than Interlaken. Thun has the train and lake boat connections, without the crowds.
imaginaryjazz is offline  
Jan 25th, 2009, 09:25 PM
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I wouldn't stay in Interlaken either; I found it charmless and lacking in scenery compared to other places. You can't go wrong with Lauterbrunnen (good base between Interlaken and higher up, like Wengen) or Wengen (lovely but takes a while to get down from there if you're going to be doing much down below; on the other hand, it's more scenic and you can get up to Kleine Scheidig from there - a *must* even if you're someone who'd rather look at scenery than walk around in it; the "looking" is fabulous up there and the walking is super-easy.

If you plan on going to some of the places above Interlaken, it will take a lot of time and money getting to them and back.
tara3056 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2009, 10:56 PM
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We've stayed in Grindelwald. It's easy too get to Interlaken from there + the other BO places mentioned. They're all nice. Thun is nice too if you don't want to stay in the mountains. Interlaken's not so nice IMO but the lakes are nice and both very different.
Suelynne is offline  
Jan 26th, 2009, 02:47 AM
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Well I would ( and did) stay in Interlaken. Yes everyone on this board says to stay somewhere else but we spent a week in Interlaken in July (05) and were very happy and here's why. We didn't go to Switzerland JUST for the mountains, Switzerland also has some lovely towns and cities, nice lakes, etc. From Interlaken it was extremely easy to do day trips - we did a boat trip on the lake, a train trip to Bern and Murten, and several day trips up into the mountains. If it's very cloudy or rainy the mountains are less impressive to say the least. So by staying in Interlaken you can choose which days to do the mountains, which days to do things that are less weather dependent. If all you want to do is hike then certainly stay up IN the mountains, but I loved the rest of Switzerland too and am very glad I saw it.

We stayed at Suzi's B&B which is part of Hotel Lotschburg
The owners are wonderful and very helpful. It's five minutes walk from the train station (so easy access for all those trips), and 10 minutes from the center of Interlaken. Interlaken itself is quite touristy but we didn't spend much time there. We didn't even eat there as the B&B was actually a kitchenette and we could make our own dinners (and picnics to take hiking the next day).

My photos of the trip are at:
isabel is offline  
Jan 26th, 2009, 03:58 AM
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Nice photos...
We're going in late Sept, so tourist crowds should be a little less thick (than July). I think we might stay at Hotel Splendid with its pub,walkable from West station, possibly walkable to Ost station.... if not, I think there is a bus along there. Love all the above tips, too, though.
Travelnut is offline  
Jan 26th, 2009, 05:12 AM
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Isabel your pictures are stunning. Problem is that now I have added Thun, Bern, Luzern and Zurich to my list. I think this will mean several other visits. Maybe Interlaken this year to suss it out, then other centres next time. Thanks for your input everyone.
gertie3751 is offline  
Jan 26th, 2009, 07:06 AM
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We didn't find Interlaken so bad either. We stayed at the Hotel du Lac, across the street from Interlaken Ost station, where all the trains leave to go up into the mountains. We took boat rides on both lakes, Thun and Brienz. And went to the Swiss open air museum in Brienz. The boat for Lake Brienz also leaves from Interlaken Ost; the boat for Lake Thun leaves from Interlaken West, a longish walk away.

We live in area with lots of snowy mountains so maybe had less need to stay up high in the mountains than others.
Mimar is offline  
Jan 26th, 2009, 11:30 AM
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I'll add in another recommendation: we stayed last summer in Bonigen, which is more or less a suburb of Interlaken, but really a separate village, on Lake Brienz. It's close enough to Interlaken proper to have all the advantages of location for trains etc, but away from all the hubbub It was lovely. We stayed at the Hotel Seiler au Lac.

I do think if one of your aims is a daytrip to Lucerne that staying in the mountains isn't the best idea, because it's two hours on the train from Interlaken, plus any extra time you need to get there.

Thun, which others have recommended, has an art gallery, which might be of interest to you.
Nonconformist is offline  
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