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Question About Lauterbrunnen/Murren/Shilthorn Loop

Question About Lauterbrunnen/Murren/Shilthorn Loop

Old May 25th, 2009, 01:50 PM
  #1  
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Question About Lauterbrunnen/Murren/Shilthorn Loop

We would like to do the day trip described in the title on a weekday in early July and I am curious about the length of time this loop will take. We haven't decided whether to stay in Lauterbrunnen or Interlaken (or somewhere else) so that could be an extra short leg at both ends. If this is a very long day, is there a great place to stay to break up the trip that doesn't involve a cow barn? Some of the previous posts on this topic have not been too complimentary of the Gimmelwald hostel. Thanks in advance to any Swiss travelers for information.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 02:18 PM
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We stayed in Pension Sonneburg, just out of Murren - fantastic views of the Jungfrau and Eiger. It's 30 minute's steep walk up from Murren, or you can get a short cable car out of Murren and walk a track around the side of the hill, past the small dairy farm, for 10 minutes to the hotel. Possibly the owner will pick you up in Murren too, there is vehicle access.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 02:33 PM
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Thanks, cape, I will check that out.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 02:48 PM
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We stayed at Hotel Oberland
Lauterbrunnen, CH-3826
SWITZERLAND
Tel: 011 41 33 855 1241
Fax: 011 41 33 855 4241
E-mail: [email protected]
Web: www.hoteloberland.ch

It is right in Lauterbrunnen with fantastic views of Jungrau and Eiger. We took the train to Wengen, then a cable car for a hike. We were so fortunate to have a clear sunny day and were able to take the train to the summit of the Jungfrau (well almost the summit anyway).
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Old May 25th, 2009, 02:53 PM
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Are you talking about taking cable cars or hiking or some of both?

I stayed in Murren and took cable cars up to Piz Gloria, and down to Lauterbrunnen (after walking to Gimmelwald, about 20 minutes downhill or less, but I believe I could have taken a cable car there as well.) I did it on different days, but putting all the minutes together, I could have done a one-way trip from Lauterbrunnen to Piz Gloria, in 90 minutes or less, I'm pretty sure, if the cable car connections are short.

What I'm even more sure of is that somebody will come along with more precise information, but you should specify what kind of day, using what transport, you've been contemplating.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 02:58 PM
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We are thinking about doing cable cars/rail for the whole loop. The Alpenruh looks like good value in Murren. I will also check into the Oberland, thanks for that suggestion in Lauterbrunnen, timsmom.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 03:49 PM
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We stayed in Hotel Alpenruh for several nights and loved it...very charming & cozy, and great mountain views from your own balcony. Also so handy with the Schilthorn cable car right next door. Trust me, once you get in Murren you won't want to leave!!
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Old May 25th, 2009, 04:25 PM
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Hello kswl

It's easily doable in a day. However, be sure to check with the tourist office or on the TV (there's a channel that has good area webcams) before your journey. While you could enjoy the Lauterbrunnen Valley and the Trummelbach Falls on a cloudy day, it would truly be pointless to go up to the Schilthorn when they are socked in with clouds. Plus, you'd most likely miss the outstanding/breathtaking views from the cliffs of Murren.

Once in Lauterbrunnen, take the cable car right across the small street from the train station. You can't miss it. It's 10 or so minutes up, where you then hop on the waiting train, which takes you a bit further towards Murren. Then you can walk thru the village, enjoying the shops, maybe stop at one of the outdoor cafes for an ice cream while gazing at the views across the mountains and down into the valley. (If you've got lots of time, don't even take the train. Walk all the way into the village.)

The cable car up to the Schilthorn is at the end of the village; a couple stops along the way, changing to different cable cars, and you're at the Piz Gloria, with its revolving restaurant and 360 degree views like you've never seen! Again, the restaurant is a good place for cafe or ice cream (try the meringue!) or a Berner Oberland platter of thinly sliced meats and yummy alpkase!

Once you've decided to head back down, take the cable car all the way down to Stechelberg, where you then catch a waiting bus, perhaps to the Trummelbach Falls or, if you've had enough, all the way to the train station.

I think you'd really enjoy staying the night (or two) in Murren. We've stayed at the Edelweiss Hotel (great deck, superb views from the rooms), but the Alpenruh is good also. Wherever you stay, be sure to ask for a room on the cliff side. Totally worth the money. It will literally take your breath away.

(And now that I've re-read your post, you didn't even ask for this info. Oh well. I should delete, but what the heck....)
Happy travels!
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Old May 25th, 2009, 04:33 PM
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"The Loop" (Lauterbrunnen to Grutschalp by cablecar, train to Mürren, cablecar up the Schilthorn, back down past Gimmelwald to Stechelberg, and Postbus back to Lauterbrunnen) "could" be done in a couple of hours, but to enjoy the various points along the way you should allow 4-5 hours. Add to that if you want to see Trummelbach Falls as well.

I highly recommend you stay in Lauterbrunnen or Mürren over Interlaken. Both offer nice hotels that don't involve sleeping in straw. Two good ones have been mentioned above (Alpenruh and Oberland).
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Old May 25th, 2009, 04:56 PM
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There are nice places to stay in Gimmelwald--the sleeping in the straw wasn't even in operation in 2008. I loved staying in Gimmelwald and will again. It was my friends second time to stay there.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 06:05 PM
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Connie, just kidding about the hay

Enzian and Swisshiker, thanks for your replies!

We have four or five days in Switzerland, arriving 7 July. We should be in London by the 11th or 12th, and all transportation is much more expensive on the 12th (Sunday).

Here is the vaguest outline of our trip... please tell me what is wrong with it, as it is not even yet a plan:

7/7 Tues. Arrive Zurich
Train to Luzern, stay one night in Luzern (need hotel)
7/8 Wed. Boat cruise on lake, sightseeing, Depart after lunch to Interlaken or Lauterbrunnen (need hotel)
7/9 Thurs. Begin Loop from Lauterbrunnen/Murren, stay overnight in Murren (hotel)
7/10 Fri. Continue to Shilthorn, lunch (revolving restaurant), back to Lauterbrunnen
7/11 Sat. Train to Geneva, BritishAir to London

I'm thinking that staying overnight in Murren will give us a two-day window for Shilthorn.

The flight to London is less expensive than the cheapest rail tickets I can find between the sbb.ch site and raileurope, including every permutation of eurostar departure cities.

I am calling raileurope tomorrow to find out if the Swiss passes or point-to-point tickets for the above itinerary will be better. We're not really interested in Zurich, and the reason for leaving from Geneva is that we have friends there with the IRC and would like to meet them for lunch before we leave. However, if they aren't home there it would probably be quicker to go back to Zurich and fly to London from there.

Any more thoughts? Swisshiker, I appreciate that detailed information about the proposed loop trip. I will be traveling with my teenaged son and we are both looking forward to this trip.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 06:59 PM
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Why don't you head directly to Lucerne upon arrival in Zurich? It's a quick, easy trip by train.

A boat ride on Lake Lucerne is so lovely! First class tickets ride on the top deck (fewer people, more seats). Second class is on the main deck, still a great ride just more crowded. Depending on your train pass, it's good for the boat as well (and the class decks are the same as your train pass). A trip to Vitznau will be about 2 hours round-trip. Wherever you decide to get off, just check the posted schedule at the boat stop for the return trip.

I would not split up your hotel nights with Lauterbrunnen and Murren. You will not regret spending two nights in Murren. This way you can (hopefully) get a clear day for your Schilthorn journey. It will be a highlight of your trip! Once you're up there, take your time, breathe in the beauty, hike down (just a bit) - find the sign that indicates "no high heels". Everyone loves that sign up there. There is also a webcam on the deck. If you've got someone at home who can capture the photo, that would be cool. Or let us know what time you're going to be there, and we'll look for you!

I assume you know the Schilthorn connection to the James Bond film "On Her Majesty's Secret Service"? If not, have your son watch it before the trip

There's quite a few trails in the area, too. We especially like the fairly flat hike from Grutschalp, thru the trees with the jaw-dropping views on your way to Murren. There's a chalet along the way that sells cheese and milk from their cows! You'd be surprised how many people stop to drink a cup of milk, fresh from the cow. How cool is that!

Another pretty walk is down in the Lauterbrunnen Valley. Beginning at either end (the station or Stechelberg), it's a flat but very scenic trail. At one of the ticket offices, they should have a map of where all the 20+ waterfalls are along the trail. There's even one you can walk up to (5-minute walk). And of course, the Trummelbach Falls are in the valley.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 07:13 PM
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I agree that the walk across the Lauterbrunnen valley is spectacular. It was perhaps my favorite walk in that area -- the highlight of my trip, if not swisshikers -- and not because it was flat. It's just great to have the mountains towering above you.

I'm a naysayer on the Trummelbach Falls, although perhaps at some other time (I was there in September) they are more impressive, but going into them didn't prove all that rewarding, and I much preferred enjoying the outdoor vistas.

By the way, for what it's worth, I much preferred my nights staying in Spiez to my nights staying in Murren (and from what I saw of Interlaken). If you are traveling with children, Spiez might be attractive to them. If you stay in Murren, when I was there, it had a quite good Asian restaurant that was a welcome relief from all the cheese, sausage and potatoes.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 07:35 PM
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Thanks for this invaluable advice! Swisshiker, our plan is to leave the Zurich airport from the train station in the basement there and proceed directly to Luzern.... at the moment I am trying to find an affordable hotel that is not a dormitory and/or doesn't check you in from the bar

We definitely know about the James Bond connection as we claim that particular Bond as a relative We will plan on two nights in Murren, then, and just visit Lauterbrunnen on our way out. Or is that even necessary? Will it be just a repeat of the other lovely Swiss towns or is there some compelling reason or geographic feature to see there?

Have any of you used the luggage-forwarding service of the trains? I am thinking we might use that on our last day but one, if we end up going other places.

Zeppole, I am thinking the Trummelbach Falls might be good to see if the day is really hot!
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Old May 25th, 2009, 07:37 PM
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1. I would not stay in Interlaken for several reasons. First it is not in the mountains, although it has some nice views of them in the distance. Secondly, if you stay in Interlaken, you will be adding 20-40 minutes to your travel time each day just to get to the actual Jungfrau valley. Finally, I find it a rather charmless town (hard to that about Switzerland, for a long time it used to have the only Hooter’s Restaurant in Europe which may say it all, although there are now outlets in Austria, the UK etc and even others in Switzerland).

2. As for the Jungfrau valley itself, there may be a misunderstanding as to how close together the villages actually are. I don’t see a need to move hotels for 1 night between Lauterbrunnen and Murren, which, as the crow flies, are not much more than 2-3 miles or so apart (although the first mile is almost completely vertical). Lauterbrunnen is at the bottom of the valley, Murren sits above Lauterbrunen on a shelf in the valley (with Gimmelwald nearby), Wengen is above Lauterbrunnen on the other side of the valley. Grindelwald is in an adjoining valley. The physical distance between them is quite small, although there are some steep valleys which are easily overcome by trains and the cable cars (you can even walk down from Wengen to Lauterbrunnen in a few hours). You can travel among them quite easily and there is no reason to move bag and baggage (esp for one night) as you are not going any great distance. Moreover, in July it will be light quite late and you can even have dinner in one and get back to your home village while you still have twilight. I think moving hotels will waste time and will actually interfere with doing the loop in an enjoyable manner.

3. I find Murren a bit too small (few restaurant choices and no real town centre) and prefer Wengen, I also prefer the valley views from the Wengen side which include the Lauterbrunnen waterfall. However I can see the slight advantage if you only want to go to the Schiltorn, of staying in Murren. By do try to get up to Wengen to see that little town and take some of the shorter walks out to their view points.

4. Personally, I would skip Lucerne and head right to the mountains as you have such a short time. This would give you more time for walks and cable car rides and perhaps for the fantastic Maennlichen to Kleine Schiedig walk above Wengen. (You seem to have ruled out going to the top of the Jungfrau which can be an interesting trip too, but perhaps not necessary if you do the Schiltorn. But I think the walk is better then either really.) This will also give you a bit more flexibility if the weather does not cooperate with you, which can happen in Switzerland and more so in the mountains than anywhere else. If you want ferry rides, then spend an afternoon down on Lake Brienz of Lake Thun, taking a long ferry ride on one of those marvellous lakes with their stunning Alpine views and stop by a village or two. (Spiez, nentioned above, being one of them, althouhg Thun has a castle and a charming small old town and there are nice villages on Lake Brienz as well.)

5. It pains me to think that you are going to go to the Lake Geneva area and will miss the opportunity to experience the gorgeous vineyards, villages and spectcualr views of the Alps from the lake, esp in July (not to mention the Montreux Jazz Fesitval), but you really have such a short time that there is not much you can do. Perhaps next time. Get a window seat on the train and take a good look. You might want to consider something like the Goldenpass train to get you to Geneva, although the regular Swiss trains will offer a scenic view over the same route.
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Old May 26th, 2009, 04:46 AM
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It does seem a shame that you're all the way there, and yet you've not included time for the Maennlichen to Kleine Scheidegg walk (or even further, onto Wengen). IMO, kswl, this is the motherlode of alpine walks. It is often recommended on this board as a "do not miss" experience when in the BO region. The views are IN YOUR FACE literally, glacier after glacier, mountain peak after mountain peak. Depending on when you're going, the cows (with their bells) will be up there, chomping on the beautiful wildflowers you'll see along the route.

There's a wonderful loop you can take from Wengen (or from Murren/Lauterbrunnen if you're staying there). Would take the better part of a day, but soooo worth it!

You do have 3 nights set aside. Plop yourselves down in one spot, be it Wengen or Murren or Lauterbrunnen. Enjoy the vastness of the region and the beauty of the Alps.
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Old May 26th, 2009, 12:11 PM
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Flights have changed a bit, and I just got off the phone with RailEurope. Our itinerary is cheaper with point to point tickets, and this is the proposed trip:

Day 1 Arrive in Zurich am/ train to Luzern /hotel TBD
Day 2 Sightsee in Luzern am/ noon train to Murren via Interlaken/ Hotel TBD / suggested walks in afternoon
Day 3 Shilthorn loop / walks
Day 4 morning train to Thun OR Shilthorn loop (if previous day was foggy)/ Thun castle / train to Basel / 6:15pm flight to London City Airport via Britishairways

The flights were booking rapidly because of the jazz festival, I suppose, or because it's summer in Switzerland. Our Geneva friends will be on holiday while we are there, so I shortened the trip by a day, which also saved on the airfare to London.

We don't have much time for this leg but since we didn't really plan to go there anyway (seduced by irresistibly low tickets from the US to Zurich) I am considering it just a value added part of the summer trip.

Thanks for the suggestions and details about the walks! Son has never been to Switzerland so this will just be an "intro" trip for him.
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Old May 26th, 2009, 09:49 PM
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Hi kswl,

If you're going for point-point tickets, you may want to get a Half Fare Card. It costs 99 chf and gives you half off of every train, ferry, and cable car in the country; it usually pays for itself in two days --

You can buy it at the Zürich airport station.

Good luck!

s
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Old May 27th, 2009, 06:22 AM
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"Son has never been to Switzerland so this will just be an "intro" trip for him."

Once bitten, forever smitten!

Have a wonderful trip, kswl.
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