Interlaken or Wengen?

Aug 23rd, 2007, 06:24 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2007
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Interlaken or Wengen?


Iím looking into a possible trip to the Bernese Oberland for a week, mid September (13th-19th approx). I would be flying from the UK, arriving into Basel around 4pm. Would I be best staying the night here, then catching a train to Interlaken in the morning?

Iíve read a lot of posts discussing the best places in the area to stay, and Interlaken doesnít seem to get many votes! Iíve never been to the area at all, so have no idea, but it seems to be in a good location as a base for day trips to the surrounding area. Presumably if you stay in Wengen/Grindelwald etc you would have to spend time travelling back down to the lakes and out somewhere else? Is Interlaken really as charmless as people seem to say?! What about Lauterbranenn, would it be better travelling from Basel to there and making a base there instead?

Thanks for your comments
jazzy_22 is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 06:38 AM
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Unless you would like to visit Basel, there is no reason to stay there for the night. A us will bring you to the station where you can catch a train for Interlaken.
You should certainly not stay in Interlaken. Part of the notority of Interlaken comes from the fact that it was an important train station for tourist trafic in the early 20th century. In modern terms, it is a kind of an arrival hub... from where people leave for the surrounding mountain villages. Lauterbrunnen could be a fair choice for your stay.
baldrick is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 06:39 AM
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a Bus will bring you to the station, that is...
baldrick is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 08:06 AM
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A month ago I was in the area. Have stayed for few nights with the family in Wengen at the Hotel Alpenrose. South facing the mountains are the best rooms to my knowledge. We went for a day to Interlaken did not like it much and it was hot comparing to Wengen. You will probably can take the train from Basel train station to Wengen changing at interlaken east/oast. Though, you may like to spend a night by looking arround Basel bridges and river which i think it will worth it to spent few hours if you have not been to Basel. Last summer we have spent few days at Basel. At Alpenrose if you decided it will be with dinner which was very good. There was many English in Wengen and at the Alpenrose. We met some people from Holland who have been coming every year to this hotel for the last 20 years. They even own an appartment in Switzerland. If you like walking and mountains, i do not think you can find a better place. Trains are plenty and easy to interlanken and surrounding area. The Alpenrose hotel which is privately owned, their owner do speak very good english and so you can call them for further information...etc,.
Ahmed is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 08:39 AM
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Depends on your goal for a place to stay. Do you want a charming town, to feel like you are in a Swiss Village? Do you plan to stay in the mountains for the whole week? Then Wengen would be best. On the other hand, what you said is definitly correct, it will take more time and money to get anywhere other than the mountains. Do you want to visit the lakes, towns around the lakes like Thun, etc? Do you want to visit Bern and or Lucerne? Then Interlaken would be better. Yeah, it's pretty charmless, lots of big hotels and tourist shops on the main street. But it's not ugly or anything, there's a small "old town" and it's main attraction is the train connections.

We stayed in Interlaken for 5 nights two years ago and I'm glad we did. We did two day trips into the mountains (including visiting Wengen), one day on the lake - took a train to Thun and a boat back to Interlaken stopping in a few lakeside villages, and one day did a day trip to Bern and Murten. Then we moved to Lucern for two more days. I felt it was a nice mix and would do it again. You could check out my photos of that trip at
isabel is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 08:51 AM
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Go straight to interlaken when you get in if you can...a night in Bassel would be a waste of time, I think. Interlaken is a good place to stay for a night or so before you continue to more quintessential alpine villages. It is more of a city than Wengen and Grindelwald is in between. I would vote Wengen or Lauterbrunnen. Wengen is very charming and beautiful and I loved spending time there. I am planning a trip around the same and I looked at Lauterbrunnen. I am going to stay there for a few days because it is a pretty substantially sized town with natural beauty like the waterfalls and such, and then I am continuing on from their taking a short bus to Stechelburg and a gondola from their to Gimmelwald (the only way to get their is by gondola or hiking!) Gimmelwald is a tiny tiny village with only a few places to stay and a few restaurants but it is a picture perfect little place with good hiking and amazing views. This is travel guide Rick Steve's choice for a place to visit in the Bernese Oberlander. You can visit his website for more info on Gimmelwald. Have an amazing time in Switzerland wherever you plan to go!
rainsoup is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 02:02 PM
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Thanks for the replies everyone. I think really the aim is to see a mixture of mountains/alpine villages, and the lakes and towns on the lakes like Thun etc, so it seems like it may mak more sense to stay in Interlaken/Lauterbrannen. Sounds like Lauterbrannen is a nicer place to stay, and still has the close links to Interlaken? But I'm still not discounting Interlaken because it sounds like the transport links are better there, for day trips out everywhere?

What are the "must-see" things around the area??

jazzy_22 is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 02:26 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 50
Consider city of Spiez. 15 minutes away from Interlaken on Lake Thun. Much more quiet and scenic than interlaken. Very convenient for rail travel to mountains or cities. I do not like Interlaken at all. To me a town of tourist/watch stores with shopkeepers and restaurants that seemed to have attitudes.
esg is offline  

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