Interlaken or Bern?

Jul 11th, 2019, 03:48 PM
  #1  
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Interlaken or Bern?

Hello everyone,

I'll be staying in Grindelwald for 3 days in the beginning of August and I have 3 more days to spend elsewhere before leaving from Geneva Airport.

I'm not sure if it is better to do Grindelwald-Interlaken (so I can cover s specific area this trip) or Grindelwald-Bern (so I can see different places).

Is Interlaken similar to Grindelwald? In that case, Should I skip it and go straight to Bern? If you have better options let me know.

Also suggest things to do and day trips from these cities.

Thanks!

Last edited by Rana25; Jul 11th, 2019 at 03:50 PM.
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Jul 11th, 2019, 05:21 PM
  #2  
kja
 
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IMO, Interlaken is NOT similar to Grindelwald -- Grindelwald is in the mountains, Interlaken is on the lakes below those mountains. And FWIW, I'm not a fan of either! If going into the mountains, I'd go for Wengen or even Lauterbrunnen before Grindelwald, which can be overrun with tourbuses.

IMO, Bern is delightful, but I'm not sure I'd spend 3 days there if I was also spending 3 days in the Bernese Oberland. But since you tell us nothing of your interests, I can't imagine providing advice about how to divide your time.

A good guidebook, perhaps the Michelin Green, would probably be well worth the investment. And you might find some useful information in my trip report:
My delightful sampling of Switzerland’s gems, with many thanks
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Jul 12th, 2019, 01:11 AM
  #3  
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I'm mainly there for nature walks, lake cruises, cable car rides, etc. Not sure if I'm missing anything though?

In my last trip I went to Zurich, Lucerne, and Mt Pilatus before and loved it so this time I want to try something different.

I also read that Wengen was car-free and since we'll be driving there, it's not a good option.

Since I leave from Geneva Airport, I was looking for another place for the last 3 days that would be on my way there so I don't waste a lot of time commuting.

Thanks for linking your report, I'll also check it out.
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Jul 12th, 2019, 03:46 AM
  #4  
 
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I'd suggest you look through some of the trip reports posted, including this very recent one. If you are flying out of Geneva, why not consider Montreaux; check google maps for your easy train options from Montreaux to the Geneva airport. Trip report is here:
Our month in Switzerland
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Jul 12th, 2019, 06:06 AM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by GinnyJo View Post
I'd suggest you look through some of the trip reports posted, including this very recent one. If you are flying out of Geneva, why not consider Montreaux; check google maps for your easy train options from Montreaux to the Geneva airport. Trip report is here:
Our month in Switzerland
Montreux is actually on the top of my list but itís very expensive now. If you have suggestions for a hotel there (budget 100 eur/night) that would be great.
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Jul 12th, 2019, 04:37 PM
  #6  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by Rana25 View Post
we'll be driving there
I trust you realize that public transportation in Switzerland is extremely convenient and comfortable? You couldn't get me to drive there if you paid me -- I'd want to be able to enjoy every single bit of the stunning scenery.
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Jul 12th, 2019, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Rana25 View Post


Montreux is actually on the top of my list but itís very expensive now. If you have suggestions for a hotel there (budget 100 eur/night) that would be great.
I have not been to Montreaux, but I use Fodors and other resources for research, including booking.com. I suggest you visit that site, enter your search variables, and then view your options.
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Jul 13th, 2019, 02:56 AM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by kja View Post
I trust you realize that public transportation in Switzerland is extremely convenient and comfortable? You couldn't get me to drive there if you paid me -- I'd want to be able to enjoy every single bit of the stunning scenery.
I agree with you. Iíve travelled before via train and it was very convenient. But this time my friend suggested to drive so Iím ok with that.
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Jul 13th, 2019, 02:57 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by GinnyJo View Post
I have not been to Montreaux, but I use Fodors and other resources for research, including booking.com. I suggest you visit that site, enter your search variables, and then view your options.
Yes, Iíve done that but itís pretty much 90% booked for my times so I was hoping I could find suggestions for options or boutique hotels. Thanks
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Jul 13th, 2019, 07:56 AM
  #10  
 
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Don't assume that any particular hotel is sold out just because there is no availability on booking.com. In nearly every case, Booking only has access to a portion of a property's rooms. If you see some hotels that work for you, contact them directly. It's even possible you may be offered a slightly better rate than Booking.com.
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Jul 15th, 2019, 04:25 AM
  #11  
 
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First - do not use "engines" like Booking.com to search hotels in Switzerland there is a far easier and generally cheaper way. Go onto the LOCAL tourist office website. These have search engines for accommodation. Enter dates of stay and ALL available hotels come up. Plus these also include the possibility of choosing self catering accommodation as well as hostels. www.montreuxriviera.com is what you should be using for the Montreux/Vevey area. There are youth hostels - one in Montreux very close to the lake. These have rooms with private bathrooms and are generally very good here in Switzerland. You can also look on www.youthhostels.ch or on www.hostelworld.com You can book a hotel via the local tourist office site but I find that I get the best available rate simply by emailing the hotel in question. Normally a hotel will beat any other rate INCLUDING things like Hotels.com and Booking.com because then they do not have to pay a commission to those sites.

Second - Interlaken is a dreadful place. It used to be elegant but that was 40 years ago or so. Now, thanks to a policy from its tourist office to attract a certain type of tourist it is a mess. Litter in the streets, fast food outlets, unkempt gardens etc. It is a great place to change trains in but that is that. Bern is a lovely small city with a beautiful historic centre. The medieval streets are arcaded so if it is raining you stay dry while sightseeing. But you only need a few hours in Bern and you could visit Bern when driving from the Oberland to Montreux if you wished.

Wengen vs Grindelwald -- there is a LARGE parking garage at Lauterbrunnen. You get the train there for Wengen. so really driving is not an issue. You will have to park the car somewhere in Grindelwald too if you go there. Wengen is a lot smaller and a lot quieter. Has fewer cafťs and restaurants than Grindelwald. Actually I prefer Grindelwald to Wengen mostly for that reason AND for the views which are stunning from Grindelwald. I even spent two weeks there once and had a wonderful time. But different people like different things.
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Jul 15th, 2019, 11:37 PM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Hambagahle View Post
First - do not use "engines" like Booking.com to search hotels in Switzerland there is a far easier and generally cheaper way. Go onto the LOCAL tourist office website. These have search engines for accommodation. Enter dates of stay and ALL available hotels come up. Plus these also include the possibility of choosing self catering accommodation as well as hostels. www.montreuxriviera.com is what you should be using for the Montreux/Vevey area. There are youth hostels - one in Montreux very close to the lake. These have rooms with private bathrooms and are generally very good here in Switzerland. You can also look on www.youthhostels.ch or on www.hostelworld.com You can book a hotel via the local tourist office site but I find that I get the best available rate simply by emailing the hotel in question. Normally a hotel will beat any other rate INCLUDING things like Hotels.com and Booking.com because then they do not have to pay a commission to those sites.

Second - Interlaken is a dreadful place. It used to be elegant but that was 40 years ago or so. Now, thanks to a policy from its tourist office to attract a certain type of tourist it is a mess. Litter in the streets, fast food outlets, unkempt gardens etc. It is a great place to change trains in but that is that. Bern is a lovely small city with a beautiful historic centre. The medieval streets are arcaded so if it is raining you stay dry while sightseeing. But you only need a few hours in Bern and you could visit Bern when driving from the Oberland to Montreux if you wished.

Wengen vs Grindelwald -- there is a LARGE parking garage at Lauterbrunnen. You get the train there for Wengen. so really driving is not an issue. You will have to park the car somewhere in Grindelwald too if you go there. Wengen is a lot smaller and a lot quieter. Has fewer cafťs and restaurants than Grindelwald. Actually I prefer Grindelwald to Wengen mostly for that reason AND for the views which are stunning from Grindelwald. I even spent two weeks there once and had a wonderful time. But different people like different things.
Thank you for all the feedback! Now Iím thinking of changing my plans.
Currently, my friend and I will be in Grindelwald for 2 nights and Interlaken for 1 night then she leaves so Iíll be using the train from this point. I was going to stay in Interlaken one more night then head to Montreux for teo nights before leaving from Geneva.

But after your comments Iím thinking of staying in Interlaken for only 1 night and then maybe head to Montreux for 2 nights then Geneva the last night. What do you think? Or I can do Bern and then Montreux? Iím trying not to rush any city though and if I canít see it fully then postpone it for a further trip.

Last edited by Rana25; Jul 15th, 2019 at 11:41 PM.
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Jul 16th, 2019, 07:10 PM
  #13  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by Rana25 View Post
Currently, my friend and I will be in Grindelwald for 2 nights and Interlaken for 1 night then she leaves... I was going to stay in Interlaken one more night then head to Montreux for teo nights before leaving from Geneva.

But after your comments Iím thinking of staying in Interlaken for only 1 night and then maybe head to Montreux for 2 nights then Geneva the last night.

Or I can do Bern and then Montreux? Iím trying not to rush any city though and if I canít see it fully then postpone it for a further trip.
I'm confused!
  • With only 2 nights in Grindelwald, you have essentially no latitude for bad weather. Consider staying there at least 3 nights, or even better, 4. if the weather is bad, you can visit Bern from there. Or maybe I don't understand what you want from your time in Grindelwald?
  • Skip Interlaken!
  • Whether you can see what you want to see in Bern depends on what you want to see and do. 1 wanted 2 days there, and they were on-the-move-every-minute days. Same with Montreux. Same with Geneva.
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Jul 16th, 2019, 11:42 PM
  #14  
 
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I would absolutely NOT move from Grindelwald to a hotel in Interlaken. The two places are 35mns apart. If you want to see Interlaken (not much to see there aside from litter and fast food outlets) then spend an hour or so when you are connecting on the trains but don't waste time checking out of one hotel and checking into an other not to mention packing etc and unpacking.
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Jul 18th, 2019, 07:33 AM
  #15  
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Guys, thank you very much for your suggestions. Some hotels were non-refundable unfortunately (Interlaken) so now the trip is: 2 days in Grindelwald, 2 in Interlaken, 2 in Montreux and then I fly out of Geneva.

Is the Golden pass from Interlaken to Montreux (Interlaken - Zweisimmen - Montreux) worth it? It seems that is an hour more than the regular service train (Interlaken - Spiez - Visp - Montreux) so I'm thinking of going via the regular train to save this time.
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Jul 18th, 2019, 05:44 PM
  #16  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by Rana25 View Post
Some hotels were non-refundable unfortunately (Interlaken)
Look up "sunk cost."
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