Interlaken Information

Jun 5th, 2007, 07:54 PM
  #1  
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Interlaken Information

Hello, my family of 4 including 11 year old and 18 year old will be in Switzerland from July 12 to July 15. I have gone through a lot of the posts. I would like some suggesions please. Sorry for the long post.

Arrive in Geneva - July 12 around 1:30 pm
Departs Geneva - July 16 morning

We are hoping to find some accommodations in Interlaken. It was last minute thing, so having some problems with accommodaitons.

So first thing I need to know is about transfer from Geneva to Interlaken. Should I rent car or take train? I checked Eurorail. It seems to be pretty expensive for us 4. Is Eurorail different than Swiss Rail? Swiss Rail www.sbb.ch/en/ does not seem to let me book for July 12. maybe too far? But seems to be reasonable. Any info on Swiss Pass or family pass?

If I want to take the Top of Europe tour - Jungfraujoch, is Interlaken the best place? Can I take trip to Jungfraujoch from Interlaken?

Hope someone can help me here. Thanks.
gurm is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 08:37 PM
  #2  
 
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The prices for 12/7 do not show yet. I put in one week before (5 July) and found the price: Geneva airport to Interlaken 65 CHF per person. Your 11 year old child is free on Swiss trains but you may need to buy a family card. If you are planning to do the Jungfraujoch trip, it will probably be cost effective to buy a train pass of some type, either the Half-Fare card for 99 CHF, or a 3-day FlexPass for $156 for each adult (counting the 18 year old). This one will give you 3 days of fully covered travel on regular train routes, and 50% off the Jungfrau trip. You could use the third fully covered day to enjoy an excursion on the lake or to Luzern.

Did you try Hotel Lotschberg in Interlaken? It is a budget hotel with family rooms and an apartment. Or consider staying in Grindelwald, which is closer to the Jungfraujoch, and offers beautiful scenery. Hotel Residence has a large apartment with balcony and nice view available for your three nights (12 July to 15 July).

http://www.residence-grindelwald.ch/

You should spend your fourth night (15 July) fairly close to the Geneva airport so you can easily reach it by train the next morning. There are some nice small towns along the lake just outside Geneva on the train line that goes directly to the airport.
enzian is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 09:49 PM
  #3  
 
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How many days were you planning to stay in Interlaken?

The Jungfrau excursion can be accessed easily from Interlaken.

If you plan on being in this area for several days, I am sure that you'll get many good ideas on things to do in this area.

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sunstar is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 02:57 AM
  #4  
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Thanks for good info. We have three days in Interlaken. I will probably buy 4 day passes for all of us. To buy directly from http://www.sbb.ch/, it costs about 600 CHF. As suggested by some other posts, it might be little cheaper buying from http://budgeteuropetravel.com/id3.html. One thing confusing when looking at prices is the difference between regular rail pass and Flexi Pass. It shows, regular pass US$165 for adult and $146 for youth. Yet Flexipass shows $156 for adult and "na" for youth for three days over one month. There is an 800 number that I will call. I will share here what I find. If anyone has suggestions about accommodations, please let me know. This is my last leg of trip. For other parts (Italy), Fodors members have helped me greatly. Thank you very much.
gurm is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 03:03 AM
  #5  
 
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>Eurorail different than Swiss Rail?

Yes. Swiss Rail (SBB) is the organisation that runs most rail lines in Switzerland. Eurail is just a marketing org.

>Swiss Rail www.sbb.ch/en/ does not seem to let me book for July 12.

There is no need to book anything - just buy your tickets as you go. The prices wil be the same as say, tomorrow.
altamiro is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 05:36 AM
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The Swiss "Flexi" passes (choose your days) do not come in a "youth" version. There is a good chart with the various passes and coverage on the Rick Steves website:

http://www.ricksteves.com/rail/ausswitz.htm
enzian is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 04:54 PM
  #7  
 
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First the rail question. The SBB or the Swiss National Rail system is the operator of most of the trains in Switzerland.

In the mountain areas there are quite a few private lines such as the Berner Oberlandbahn, or the BOB.

The BOB and subsidiaries operate the trains from Interlaken OST station to the Jungfraujoch, which is indeed a pricey trip.

From Geneva to Interlaken I doubt if there is any need to reserve as indicated above. I never have used seat reservations in Switzerland because trains are so frequent.

If it is mountains you want to see, I can suggest other options other than Interlaken. The mountain villages of Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, and Mürren exist because of tourism. Grindelwald is another place, but it has outgrown what I would call village size. It is about a 25 minute train ride from Interlaken Ost.

Some of the other villages on the lakes like Brienz, Thun, and Spiez have hotels and they are pleasant lakeside towns.

I have no definite hotel suggestions. If asked, I would suggest at this late date that you try two places in Lauterbrunnen: Hotel Staubbach and Hotel Crystal.

I know about Lauterbrunnen than the other places. It is a quiet place, virtually a one-street town. The Staubbach is an older hotel, but gets good reviews on Tripadvisor.

bob_brown is offline  
Jun 7th, 2007, 10:38 AM
  #8  
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Thanks. I am going to buy the Swill Rail pass (2 adults, 1 youth, and one chil will be free). (The car rental is our!). The pass will also give me some discount on the private train, especially the Jungfraujoch excursion. I was just worried that since I only have three days, I did not want to find that these trains are booked. But looks like since they have frequent service, reservations are not necessary.

We have tentatively booked HOTEL ROYAL ST. GEORGES in Interlaken. Though it is a little outside our budget.

I like Lauterbrunnen but I was not sure if the above excursion is possible from Lauterbrunnen. Given my interest in mountains and only three full days there, any suggestion would be really appreciated. Thanks again.
gurm is offline  
Jun 7th, 2007, 08:39 PM
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Do you mean the Jungfraujoch excusion fron Lauterbrunnen? If the answer is "Yes", mind if I ask where you think the train from Interlaken Ost goes on its way to the Jungfraujoch?

Most people go this route:
Interlaken Ost to Lauterbrunnen on the BOB, which now features blue cars rather than old brown and tan ugly ones.

Lauterbrunnen to Kleine Scheidegg on the yellow and green Wengeneralpbahn.

Kleine Scheidegg to the Jungfraujoch on the red Jungfraubahn train.

You return the same way unless you want to take the Kleine Scheidegg - Grindelwald and Grindelwald - Interlaken Ost route. That requires a separate ticket I might add.
bob_brown is offline  
Jun 10th, 2007, 05:16 PM
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Hello. I applogise. I just needed to read a bit more. Yes, I meant Jungfraujoch excusion. I realize now, the tour is actually closer to Lauterbrunnen and Wengen. So, I might rent a BB/Hote in either one of these places. However, i would like to ask someone about cost of food in Switzerland. Can some one give us idea on average cost of dinner? Would 25 chfs be considerred good? Thanks and sorry if I asked some stupid questions. Just too much on mind (information overload +- of Web!).
gurm is offline  
Jun 10th, 2007, 06:17 PM
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Having just returned from the Berner Oberland on my second visit to the area, I would also suggest staying in one of the mountain villages versus Interlaken. I like Lauterbrunnen the best and would recommend the Hotel Oberland. That is where I just stayed - there is a husband and wife that own the hotel, are very nice and speak English. Their restaurant is where you will find "regulars" in town - you'll see the same people there every night. I had dinner there every night for under 25 chf, with a small beer.
Martha
mjnbrown is offline  
Jun 10th, 2007, 06:56 PM
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The Hotel Oberland is run by Ursula and Mark Nolan-Von Allmen.
Ursula is the Von Allmen, which is native to the valley. Mark is a transplant from Australia. She is easier to understand than he is, unless you are tuned in to the Aussie accent.

The Silberhorn is another good hotel in Lauterbrunnen.

I have been in Lauterbrunnen for many nights, but only one of them was spent at a hotel because I rent an apartment.

Right now, you may need to take what is available. The Hotel Crystal is another option.

I stay in Lauterbrunnen because it is a transportation center. If I were going to be there for 3 nights only, I think I would opt for Wengen if one of my ideas was to visit the Jungfraujoch.

The train from Lauterbrunnen stops at Wengen and then continues on to Kleine Scheidegg where all passengers change for the Jungfraujoch train.

The changes are required because of the steepness of the terrain. There are actually 4 different configurations used by the BOB and its associates.
The BOB serves Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald with the same type of equipment. The Grindelwald - Kleine Scheidegg train is a little different from the Lauterbrunnen Kleine Scheidegg train because of the steepness of the grade coming out of Lauterbrunnen.

The Jungfraubahn is different still because of the immense need for pulling power, braking, and cold tolerance.
bob_brown is offline  
Jun 11th, 2007, 04:33 PM
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This has been very helpful. I was told by someone who has been to both Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn excursions. They say that Schilthorn is actually better because there is more to do there such as short trails where you can walk and take pictures. They say when you get to Jungfraujoch, you only see glacier which is still nice but you can freely walk around much and maybe cold also. Any opinions? I don't think I can do both.

Accommodations:

I like Alpenrose and Belvédère. Waiting to hear from Belvédère on rates and availability. Since one of my daughter (11 year old) is vegetarian, I would not take half board, just breakfast. Alpenrose is roughly 1300 euros with breakfast only. If somone has stayed at Alpenrose, I would appreciate to know what kind of view is from the southfacing four bedded room? Thank you kindly.
gurm is offline  
Jun 11th, 2007, 05:23 PM
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I think the Jungfraujoch is without parallel in the Berner Oberland.
The Schilthorn? Ok for one visit, but I have not been tempted to go back whereas the Jungfrajoch, despite the price, has lured me back.

One thing I like to do at the Jungfraujoch is to walk the snow track from the Sphinx observation building to the Mönchsjochhütte, which is about a mile away. Most of the time, you are protected by a wall of rock which shelters you from the wind. Once you emerge from the windshield, the breeze can be quite stiff!

I have walked that track with my feet in the snow and the rest of me in bright sunlight that made conditions very warm.
Some of the guys were hiking in shorts without their shirts. (I hope they had sunscreen on because the UVA and UVB factor is very high; the snow is reflecting the rays, so you are getting a double cose.)

The term Hütte should not cause you to think that your destination is a hovel on the rocks; the shelter is a 3 story building bolted to the mountain that offers sleeping facilities for 125 people plus the staff. The shelter is attended from late spring through early fall by a staff of several people. Food and drinks are readily available in the dining room.

The views from up there are staggering.

I know the Schilthorn has its adherents, but given a choice between the two, my choice is clear: The Jungfraujoch.

bob_brown is offline  
Jun 11th, 2007, 05:51 PM
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I too, would choose the Jungfrau over the Schilthorn, although both are spectacular in their own right. Having said that, I've been to the Schilthorn twice and would happily go again, whereas I viewed the Jungfrau as a one time deal - primarily due to the expense and the time needed to get there.

We often take the train as far as Kleine Schiedegg - great place for walks, an alfresco lunch, brilliant scenery, etc.

I don't recall any walk trails AT the Schilthorn, although it is possible to hike up and back. The Jungfrau offers more to do IMO - we took the walk Bob mentioned and absolutely loved it.

Most hotels with set menus offer vegetarian options - just let them know your requirements at the time of booking.
Melnq8 is offline  
Jun 12th, 2007, 02:20 PM
  #16  
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Thanks. I like Jungfrau also, especially since I had my mind set on it and have read and even seen some videos on net. Although my first part of Europe trip is Italy where it is going to be hot, for Jungfrau I would need a jacket!

About accommodation, I have pretty well decided to stay at Beausite Park Hotel. It blows my budget but then again living is better than saving for kids!! Any comments on this hotel? We are getting south facing room without balcony on 5th floor. Thanks again and I hope to put my comments/experience here.
gurm is offline  
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