Lauterbrunnen or Wengen?

Old Apr 26th, 2000, 08:53 PM
  #1  
ellen
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Lauterbrunnen or Wengen?

Hi, I'll be in Switzerland this June for 4 days. Intend to base myself in the Jungfrau region, with a day trip planned for Lucerne.

Should I stay in Lauterbrunnen or Wengen? Will the Swiss Card take me all the way to both places?

 
Old Apr 27th, 2000, 06:37 AM
  #2  
Bob Brown
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I have stayed in Lauterbrunnen twice in an apartment, but I visited Wengen for a brief look around. As you probably have read, Wengen is not accessible by automobile. The BOB runs frequent trains up the mountain from Lauterbrunnen. The train route originates at Interlaken Ost where the train proceeds to Wilderswil and then Zweilutschinen. At Zweilutschinen, the train divides with one half going east to Grindelwald and the other half to Lauterbrunnen. At Lauterbrunnen you change for a different type of train to Wengen. I know that the Swiss Pass will be valid as far as Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald. You may be required to buy a discounted ticket to get to Wengen.
I selected Lauterbrunnen initially because it was centrally located and the apartment terms seemed right. After the first visit, we decided to return last year and again this year. We can park at the gate to the yard and the markets are just up the hill along the main street.
A major factor in our decision to return is that we know the situation and the conditions meet our needs. The first year we did not have a car while we were in Lauterbrunnen; last year we did. As a result, we will have a car again this year. However, we will stay a week and last year we found that a car enabled us to come and go as we pleased independent of any train schedules.
In comparing the two villages, Wengen has a more commanding position over the valley and the Berner Oberland range of hills. If it is the scenery you wantfor your 4 days, I would say to select Wengen. The main appeal of Lauterbrunnen is that it is easy to get from there to another place, which we did frequently. If I was tied to Lauterbrunnen for the whole time and could not go elsewhere, I think it would be very restrictive.
From Wengen there are frequent trains down the mountain to Lauterbrunnen where you can easily change for Interlaken Ost. The Brunig Pass route to Luzern originates at Interlaken Ost and goes to Meiringen and then over the Brunig Pass to Sarnen and Luzern.
Also, Wengen is a good base for heading uphill via chair lift to Mannlichen or train to Kleine Scheidegg, where the "mob" changes to the Jungfraubahn for its run up to the Jungfraujoch and the observatory building. You can also continue by train from Kleine Scheidegg to Grindelwald for a very scenic ride along the face of the Eiger.

The day trip to Luzern will indeed take you all day. The train ride from Wengen is better than 3 hours, one way. When we did it, the problem was that we had to leave Luzern a little earlier than I wanted to in order to take the most convenient route back to Interlaken Ost. You can check the schedule yourself at
www.sbb.ch
The schedule is in English as well as French, German, and Italian. Look at the top of the first screen and click on the English language words that you see there. (And English is spoken by most of the BOB ticket agents. In fact, most of them were able to handle at least 3 languages; some could handle 5.)
You will not run out of things to do, that is for sure. I would save Luzern for the end, or the first rainy day!
So, to summarize, Lauterbrunnen is more of a transportation hub that blends scenery with convenience. Wengen is better situated for views of the mountains and, in season, is more alive than Lauterbrunnen. (By the way, there is a huge car park in Lauterbrunnen in case you want to drive that far. Then you must take the train to Wengen.)
 
Old Apr 27th, 2000, 07:27 AM
  #3  
Ed
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A clear choice for Wengen. Even better ... Muerren. You'll find much better views and less crowds in each place as cars are barred and your up on a 'shelf' well above the valley.

Information to help you decide at www.twenj.com/bovisit.htm

In any event, yes, the Swiss Card will take you to all those places free of further charge.

Rome.Switzerland.Bavaria
www.twenj.com
 
Old Apr 27th, 2000, 08:53 AM
  #4  
dan woodlief
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You can't go wrong with any of these. I think Muerren has a slightly better view than Wengen, but Wengen is a little closer to a lot of the places you are likely to visite during your stay. Lauterbrunnen doesn't have quite the same appeal if you want to be up in the mountains, but the valley is pretty spectacular in its own right. Lauterbrunnen is going to be the best for convenient train service, as Bob pointed out. My choices in order are: Wengen, Muerren (virtual tie with Muerren), Lauterbrunnen, but it depends on your priorities.
 
Old Apr 27th, 2000, 10:31 AM
  #5  
Judi
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We were in Wengen for three days at the beginning of this month. If you decide on Wengen (it has my vote!) I would like to recommend the Hotel Alpenrose. It is a friendly little family owned hotel about a five minute walk-downhill- from the station, away from the town. We had half board and the five course meals were very good. Switzerland is beautiful!
 
Old Apr 27th, 2000, 10:56 AM
  #6  
norena
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I was wondering if Bob or anyone who has been there can tell me how they handle the "splitting of the trains" at Zweilutschien when one half goes to Grindelwald and the other to Lauterbrunnen. Do they have signs on the train or other directions so tourists will know that they are in the correct section for their destination. If you are on the wrong half, do you have time to jump off at Zweilutschien and get on the right half?? Thanks!
 
Old Apr 27th, 2000, 11:28 AM
  #7  
Ed
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Plenty of time to change at Zweiluetschinen if you happen to be on the wrong train.

99% of the time the first half of the train at Interlaken Ost goes to Lauterbrunnen, the rear half to Grindelwald. Cars are usually marked. As well there's usually a trainman/conductor standing on the platform so you can ask if you're unsure. Ditto at Zweiluetschinen.

Rome.Switzerland.Bavaria
www.twenj.com
 
Old Apr 27th, 2000, 01:34 PM
  #8  
Bob Brown
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Hi Ellen. From Interlaken Ost to either Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald does involve picking out the correct train car. But the cars are clearly marked.
Get on the correct car and enjoy the ride.
As I recall, there are two electrical locomotives that power the train. At Zweilutschinen the train stops to let passengers on and off. Then the cars separate and go their separate ways.
Going to Interlaken Ost from either Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen, the process is reversed. One train stops at Zweilutschinen and waits for the other one to join it. Then the two proceed as one to Interlaken Ost. I never figured out why it was done that way because both the Grindelwald section and the Lauterbrunnen section seem capable of fully independent travel.
Zweilutschinen is the point at which the the two forks of the Lutschinen River meet. The station looks like it out in the middle of nowhere, but it is not.
There is a village there. Incidentally, if you are going to be traveling by train between Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald, check the times. Late in the afternoon, after the 6:20 train from Grindelwald to Interlaken, you have a long wait in Zweilutschinen if you want to get back to Lauterbrunnen.
(To travel between the two villages, you have to change at Zweilutschinen. -- Or at Kleine Scheidegg if you take the long, expensive way around!!)
Even though you will be there only 4 days, the Berner Regional Pass might pay for itself, particularly if you want to ride up to the Jungfraujoch. The leg of the trip from Kleine Scheidegg to the top is 97 chf alone, per person. Lauterbrunnen to Kleine Scheidegg is 44.20. The pass gives half off, so at 50% the fare is 70.6 chf. (Or you can take 3 days of totally free travel, except that the last leg of the Schilthorn run from Murren to the top is never free and the last leg of the Jungfrau trip is never free with the pass; the best you can do is 50% off on those sections.)
I don't know exactly how the regional pass works. I was told that the day you validate your pass, you must pick yor 3 free days then. That can be something of a bummer if it rains on a free day. I hope that is incorrect, but the communication I received indicated that you picked the free days when you validated. Even so if you take the 3 most expensive trips as your freebies, you can amortize the cost of the pass. Those would include the trip up to Schynige Platte, the trip up to First from Grindelwald, and the Grindelwald - Maennlichen gondola run, which is the longest in Europe. (I hear tell.) And possibly the circuit trip of Lauterbrunnen - Wengen - Kleine Scheidegg - Grindelwald - Zweilutschinen - Lauterbrunnen. (You get to jump on and off trains all day!) I think I will do that one, sounds neat.
You can also get the trip to Luzern at half price with the regional pass.
(Sure you don't want to stay longer.)
 

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