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Is Interlaken good place to stay to visit the jungfrau?

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Jan 27th, 2013, 05:56 AM
  #1
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Is Interlaken good place to stay to visit the jungfrau?

Hi we are taking our three kids (10, 12, 14) to Europe first time and have planned a brief (4 night) visit to Switzerland essentially so we can take the cog railway up the jungfrau but also to see some of the alpine/valley countryside while we are there. Have planned to stay in Interlaken and catch train to Jungfraujoch via laterbrunnen BUT now wondering if we would be better off staying in Wengen or somewhere else closer to the start of the cog railway??

Want pretty town, Swiss experience, something else to do / explore as well as the Jungfrau.... Any comments gratefully appreciated!!

Thank you
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Jan 27th, 2013, 07:09 AM
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I love Interlaken but most would prefer to ensconce themselves in one of the smaller Alpine towns like Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald - or Wengen, a perennial favorite of many.

Interlaken to me is a great base city with lots of things for kids to do - like the summer luge run and boat rides on either lake bookending Interlaken - kids will love taking those steamers that run regular schedules.

You are in Switzerland for a 4-day period and IMO since your kids are all under 16 if you buy a 4-consecutive-day Swiss Pass you kids would all get a free Family Pass and then they would never ever pay a dime for any type of transport - trains, buses, boats even the Jungfraujoch train I believe - the pass would cover you from wherever you land to whatever base you would chose in the Interlaken area - including in full to Wengen, Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen and also 100% on boats and gives 50% off on aerial gondolas to mountain tops, etc. And on the not so uncommon rainy day with the pass you could do day trips to cities like Lucerne or Bern that are more fun in the rain than the Alps.

For lots of great stuff on Swiss trains and passes and other options like the Half-Fare Card check out these IMO superb sites - www.swisstravelsystem.com; http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/id3.html and www.ricksteves.com.
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Jan 27th, 2013, 07:27 AM
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Ceil...you'd be hard-pressed to find many Interlaken cheerleaders on this forum. Palenque (above) and I are in fact the only two I have ever come across...detractcrs are many. With children, as Pal says, it would be a better place to stay. I find that the freqently run trains from Interlaken Ost station take you to Wengen, Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald effortlessly and quickly. My guess is that the train rides will be a highlight for the youngsters. We stayed only a fifteen minute pleasant riverside walk from Ost station, at Hotel Goldy Swiss on the idyylic River Aare.

stu (Pal, gotta be careful lest folks begin to think that we are on the Interlaken City payroll.....hmmm, did you get your check this month?)
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Jan 27th, 2013, 07:58 AM
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Count me in the other camp--I'm not in favor of staying in Interlaken because I find it commercial and near the mountains rather than in the mountains. Lauterbrunnen, Murren and Wengen are much more of what we hoped for in our visits. There's more than enough to keep you busy and the breathtaking environment is a life-long memory. You can train back to Interlaken if necessary but your access to the Jungfrau is far closer and it is a good idea to be flexible about when you go up as weather is always a factor. There are loads of trails and lifts in the area that can be steps away and with train/lift passes, you can travel about easily. BTW-I'm assuming you are planning to be active and hike etc.
Best of luck and have a great time.
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Jan 27th, 2013, 07:59 AM
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Jungfraujoch can be socked in by clouds with nothing to see. Before you spend all that money to get up there, check conditions at the top on TV on the local cable channel.
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Jan 27th, 2013, 09:12 AM
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Personally, I'd pick Wengen, but you would know what your family would like more. Interlaken is more of a city, so there's lots of shopping, etc. interestingly, Interlaken seems to attract a large number of middle-eastern tourists, so there are a surprising number of shops catering to their tastes. You'll need to spend some time on the train to access the mountains.

Wengen, on the other hand is a very small town, but smack dab in the mountains. You feel like you can reach out and touch them. You'll still need to hop on a train to access the peaks or the valley floor, but the views out the window are great. Speaking of the valley floor, Lauterbrunnen might also be a good option for you. Sort of a central location between Interlaken and the mountain tops. Whatever you choose, you are going to love this part of Switzerland!
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Jan 27th, 2013, 09:32 AM
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We've stayed in Lauterbrunnen on both our trips to the BO, eight days the first time and three the second. I really like it's location, as you are just a quick train ride to Wengen and on up to KS and the Jungfrau, or you can go the other direction and train down to Grindelwald and/or Interlaken. You can also take the lift and train to Murren, which has stunning views over the valley.

Your priority each morning will be to check if the weather is good enough to go to the top. There is a lot to keep you busy in the BO. If you stayed in Interlaken, which looks like a nice town from our visit, you would have another twenty minute train ride every morning and evening to gain access to the day trips you want to take.

There are some wonderful walks/hikes in the BO. One of our favorite was the Mannlichen to KS walk. Very lovely and easy.

PalenQ knows all about the passes so listen to his advice...he knows what he is talking about.
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Jan 27th, 2013, 09:56 AM
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stu (Pal, gotta be careful lest folks begin to think that we are on the Interlaken City payroll.....hmmm, did you get your check this month?)>

naw I just got a coupon for a free coffee at the Migros - one of the things I love about Interlaken - it is a real city and has places like Migros, a superstore with a neat open-air roof top terrace with such appetizing views and also about the cheapest restaurant food in all of Switzerland. Interlaken also has a huge Coop store right by Interlaken-Ost train station and discount supermarkets like Dennerdiskount, etc.

Life in Interlaken can be much cheaper than up in the hills - not only on things like food but accommodations IME being much cheaper on the average.
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Jan 31st, 2013, 02:40 PM
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We are going to Switzerland at the end of the summer but have opted to stay in Interlaken rather than in Lauterbrunner or up in the village towns; we surely hope to get up there but only one or two days. If the weather is not good, we can much more easily access attractions and Bern from Interlaken. The Swiss Pass will only cover 50% of the
'super rides' up the Jungfrau -- a day trip costs $180 -- yes, you read that correctly. We will do that, if the weather cooperates but dont want to be up in the villages if it is not clear. We are buying an 8-day Swiss Pass which will give us 50% off on the 'super rides' of the gondola, cog, etc.
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Jan 31st, 2013, 04:11 PM
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15 years ago we stayed in Interlaken and had a great ski trip, we had no major issues with travel up to the other towns and skiing. We truly did enjoy Interlaken and the ease of the town and the ease of getting around. I remember thinking that it would have been really neat to stay in Wengen or up in one of the other towns, but weather would have been a bigger issue then. We decided each morning where we wanted to ski and visit based on weather. I will add that taking the skis and "stuff" around was absolutely no big deal. Have a great trip, it is a beautiful part of the world.
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Jan 31st, 2013, 04:26 PM
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I just stayed 3 nights in Wengen and am staying 3 nights in Luzern.

Had a great view of the peaks over Lauterbrunnen out of my hotel room. Certainly is charming not having cars around (partly because there are no roads up to Wengen).

I missed Jungfrau this time around. Weather wasn't clear except for one afternoon and the morning of the day I left. So when I went to the train station, they have webcams on a flatscreen and it showed just white/gray for Jungfrau.

I found an old post from Pal saying how great Grutschalp-Murren-Gimmewald-Stechelberg-Lauterbrunnen circuit was so I did that, walking from Grutschalp to Winteregg, having lunch there and then train and gondola for the rest.

The weather cleared up and there were spectacular views of the peaks from the other side of the valley from Wengen. It was perfect because the sun was behind me and I got a lot of great photos.

The next day, it was overcast so I did the Mannlichen to KS hike. Was very long and took me over 2.5 hours. In the winter, the path is up and down and winding across a number of ski runs, because of avalanche concerns, it's not as short as in the summer. Plus, it had to be groomed because if you got off the trail, your legs would sink into the snow, almost waist deep in some places.

Just went to Pilatus as a day trip. Wow, spectacular. You see the lake and then greenery and then snow-capped peaks.
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Jan 31st, 2013, 10:41 PM
  #12
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Oh wow, Thankyou so much everyone for all that great advice!

I wasn't expecting such a great response so quickly. Just logged in to check and there's a stack of info waiting for me! And very balanced, thanks.

Will digest it all and decide what to do. Must admit I had forgotten how much of an impact the weather will have. It's 20 yrs. since I was there and all i recall is perfect weather..! hmmm.

Thanks so much
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Feb 1st, 2013, 06:46 AM
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Here is another vote for Interlaken. Sure it is bigger than Wegen, etc but it is not a 'city'. And yes, it has a hooters and a few places like that so kind of commercial. But it does have a cute old town and the main thing I liked was it's location - between the two lakes. There are no weather guarantees in Switzerland and if you base yourself up in the mountains and get four days of clouds and drizzle there is not much to see or do. If you are based in Interlaken you can visit some towns with castles, take boat rides on the lake, go to Bern for the day. All better on a sunny day, but even on a rainy one they can still be enjoyable. And then on the sunny days (hopefully you'll get at least one or two) you can go up to the mountains. There is a webcam on the main street of Interlaken showing what you can see at that moment from up on top of Jungfrau.
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Feb 1st, 2013, 10:28 AM
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!'m another who likes Interlaken, or rather the Unterseen area of Interlaken, it has much to recommend it, including being so convenient for the stations
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Feb 1st, 2013, 12:20 PM
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Interlaken, sadly neglected by many tourists who fleetingly transit it to the higher Alps and only perhaps see yes the rather tacky main drag and never see things like the lovely old town - with a classic old town square - or the lovely Unterseen area or my favorite area - Matten where from my chalet B&B's balcony I can see the wondrous glacier-girdled Jungfrau Massif in all its glory.

So many times folks talk about the Hooter's on the main drag - which always has some Hell's Angels looking motor cycle types hanging out at it - and this is all they remember about Interlaken.

I love Interlaken!
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Feb 1st, 2013, 06:05 PM
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well, Pal, we certainly brought out some of the few interlaken fans! Suggested the Hotel Goldey Swiss on the south side of the pretty River Aare...pedestrian bridge connects to the town. Lovely promenade to take you to Interlaken Ost Station for frequent trains south into the mountains.
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Feb 1st, 2013, 06:23 PM
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Ceil: Wed site for the hotel Goldey Swiss...highly recommend. Get room with balcony facing south into the Alps...great at dusk.

http://www.goldey.ch/hotel_goldey/sites/e/index.php

stu (I have full set of Swiss pics including Lauterbrunned, Wengen and Gimmelwald if you wish).
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Feb 1st, 2013, 06:28 PM
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forgot to mention the very large swimming pool available next door..free for Goldey guests:

From the Brochure: The same applies for the public indoor and outdoor swimming pool, which hotel guests can use free of charge.
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Feb 3rd, 2013, 02:54 PM
  #19
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Hey thanks, that's all really great advice. I think given the weather situation n the fact that we only have a few days we probably are better off staying in Interlaken...
I like the sound of the goldey Swiss too will look into staying there. Thankyou so much.
Am guessing we can easily spend a day trip exploring wengen and gimmelwald anyway.

And STU if you're serious I would love to see some photos, Thankyou. Do yu need my email ??
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Feb 3rd, 2013, 03:01 PM
  #20
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Just checked. Tavel agent has booked us into the HOTEL KREBS, in bahnhofstrasse. Does anyone know that one?

THankyou!
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