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Jul 25th, 2012, 02:23 PM
  #1
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Where to stay in bernese oberland

Any suggestions of towns (even hotels) to stay in Bernese Oberland. Suggestions of itineraries for 3 days are greatly appreciated too.
Mostly interested in waterfalls, hikes, lakes, trees, water. Not too interested in going up mountains - unless the view includes lakes/water from top. Don't like rocks too much.

Prices seem outrageous for mid August. Is it better to take Half board?

1. Day1 in Interlaken (thinking of lake rides, open air museum and just strolling)
2. Day 2 in Lauterbrunnen (waterfalls, hikes and maybe
3. Day 3 - go up to Wengen or Murren?

Is it worth the effort to split the hotel stay between two places for 3 days - or just one home base enough?
We might be have a bit of luggage, is it too difficult to travel with these if we book a hotel in (say) Wengen?
calidream is offline  
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Jul 25th, 2012, 02:33 PM
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Wengen and Murren have electric carts to port folks and their baggage to hotels in this car-free town - take the train there from Lauterbrunnen.

I would definitely base in one town for the whole three days otherwise you waste so much time packing up, etc and it's nice to get to know one spot well IME

I always base in Interlaken because I like livelier cities than somnolent Wengen or Lauterbrunnen which however does not roll up its sidewalks at night like Wengen or Murren do.

Murren is a tad more isolated IMO than Wengen - Wengen is just a few minutes by train from Lauterbrunnen (itself about 20 mins by train from Interlaken) and if you do not have a Swiss pass or some other kind of pass getting to and from Murren can be expensive if going down and up several times.

But any of those towns are good bases for everything you have outlined.

as for Swiss Passes they are 100% valid on the lift to Grutschalp and tiny train from there to Murren and also on cableway from down via Gimmelwald to Stechlberg and on posta bus from Stechelberg to Lauterbrunnen and also to and from Wengen by train - they are also 100% valid on lake boats and if going to Ballenberg Open-Air museum covers the about $20 or so entry fee there as well (Swiss passes give free entry to over 400 Swiss museums) - great sites for learning about trains and conveyances in Switzerland and about passes and alternatives like the Jungfraubahn Pass, Berner Oberland Pass, half-Fare Cards, etc - www.swisstravelsystem.com; http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/id12.html and www.ricksteves.com.

BTW - Interlaken to me is much much maligned and should not be - mainly by folks who never venture off the yes souvenir shop tacky main drag - some areas of town like Unterseen and Matten are amongst the dreamiest places in Switzerland in their own way - so you will no doubt here lots of denigration of Interlaken by in my dozen or so sojourns there these impressions are usually from ephemeral encounters IMO!
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Jul 25th, 2012, 09:46 PM
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Hi calidream,

PalQ keeps forgetting to mention those of us who *have* been off the tacky main drag of Interlaken and still don't care for it. I mean, it's ok (once you get off the main drag), but there are other places that are much more charming and more scenic.

One thing to take into consideration in August are the lines and lines of tour busses that line the streets, and the off-loaded day-tripping passengers that clog up the sidewalks and gather at the entrance to all the stores. That really makes the town unpleasant imo.

If you want to maximize your time on a lake, I would suggest a stay in Spiez. Lauterbrunnen would be another option, but I personally dislike the cliffs that overhang the town (I couldn't stay there myself). If you were interested in the mountains, I would say to stay in Wengen, but you seem more geared to water -- so Spiez.

Have fun as you plan!

s
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Jul 25th, 2012, 10:09 PM
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Another vote for Spiez. I stayed in a hotel on the lake and took the ferry to other towns. It was charming. In the BO, I stayed in Murren and was very happy with my choice. Wengen is good too. Stay in one town in the mountains and one town on the lake. The system of lifts and trains is superb so you won't have any problem visiting other towns and then returning to your base for the evening.
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Jul 26th, 2012, 05:56 AM
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Take a look at the town of Brienz as well, lakeside with nice train, bus and boat connections!
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Jul 26th, 2012, 06:18 AM
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PalQ keeps forgetting to mention those of us who *have* been off the tacky main drag of Interlaken and still don't care for it>

'us' - I have only heard you say that - in the future when I say this I will say 'except Swandav' and I do think you are painting a picture of a drab dreary Interlaken that just is not true. Have you been to Unterseen or Matten? I seriously doubt it.

But please when I make that comment about not getting off the main drag I am talking about the people who do not get off and then denigrate Interlaken - not you, who I respect greatly in nearly all other takes on Switzerland. But I do think you are jaded in your dissing Interlaken as being awful - no it ain't up in the hills in places you prefer like Wengen and is thus very different - but some folks - more than a few in postings here have praised Interlaken and found it really nice.

My point is that Interlaken should not be dismissed out of hand - it has its utilitarian aspects transportation wise and is as charming as most Swiss towns once off the main beat.
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Jul 26th, 2012, 06:38 AM
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Interlaken is not a bad place, but during high tourist season it gets very crowded with what I call the "Contiki" tourists--young backpackers who like to party at Hooters and paraglide by tether from the park in front of the posh Hotel Victoria.

You also see buses full of Asian tourists who like to go to the casino and shop for Gucci, Ferragamo, and Chopard watches at the expensive shopping arcade on the main drag.

Murren and Wengen are much more sedate, being both car free.

I would only ever stay in Wengen, with Andi and Judi at the Hotel Bellevue, because of the staggering--and I mean staggering as in Grand Canyon staggering--view of the Lauterbrunnen Valley, Staubbach Falls, Jungfrau, and the Grutscalp Gondola.

From my terrace, I can see the train from Grutscalp going up to Murren.

Spiez and Thun are both nice towns. If you like cafe society you would love Thun as everyone goes and sits at the cafes near the river.

If you want isolation, you could stay at the "House of Dark Shadows" Hotel Geissbach on Lake Brienz. You would then have the Geissbach Falls right in your backyard.

What is your number #1 priority? I would pick my spot based on what I wanted to see and do first.

If your main priority is to see Lake Brienz or Lake Thun then you should stay on either lake or in Interlaken, since Interlaken is the place you would catch the boats for access to both lakes.

If you are a budget tourist, the BO is not the place for you. It is one of the most expensive places to visit on earth.

Tschuss

The Great and Powerful Thingorjus
Pepper_von_snoot is online now  
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Jul 26th, 2012, 06:48 AM
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One other thing, Calidream.

I have been posting here for 10+ years.

I would trust Swandav's advice over the advice of others.

There are people who post here who have an agenda.

Thin
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Jul 26th, 2012, 11:09 AM
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PalQ -- thank you for your kind words. But please note that I didn't paint Interlaken as "awful." In fact, I said it was ok; my point is there are better places available.

I also wonder if you've been in Interlaken anytime from July - Sep?? And if so, do you have the same opinion? It really does get even worse at that time due to the lines of tour busses and the off-loaded day-trippers. If you've been there then, I would really like to hear your take on it.

Thingorgeous -- you are so kind!! heheee, I suspect I've simply kept my agenda better disguised . . .!!

s
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Jul 26th, 2012, 11:18 AM
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Swandav - yes I have been in Interlaken in August and several times in early Sept and yes it is busy on the main drag but Unterseen and Matten - the Mattten beyond Balmers Auberge - where young folk gather is still very quiet.

Lauterbrunnen has a Contiki village I believe and Grindelwald is full of active young folks so like Interlaken are rather lively - if you want solace yes then head to Wengen and Murren with the mainly senior citizen crowd it seems when I have been in those towns - have not stayed but visited many times. Just do not excite me at all - but again it depends on what you seek - pepper has found what he/she/it wants and it suits her/him/it to a T - others may even enjoy popping into the casino in Interlaken at times - so they are very different type places.

anyway IMO you cannot go wrong anywhere in the Berner Oberland - and yes for great views of close up glacier-girdled Alps head to Grindelwald, lauterbrunnen (for those who like night life and a lively atmosphere) or to Wengen or Murren for those who want it churchmouse quiet at night. You cannot go wrong if you chose what type of place you want to stay in.
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Jul 26th, 2012, 01:27 PM
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As mentioned above, i would stay in one location and use that as your base. I prefer Mürren over Interlaken,Wengen or Lauterbunnen.

Interlaken is an awful town full of grockles and i just dont understand why grockles would travel so far to experience the alpine vibe to then stay in a town unless its a budget reason.
http://80.254.173.253:8080/axis-cgi/jpg/image.cgi

Lauterbrunnen is a good base compared to Interlaken but you are stuck in a valley looking up all the time at the view.
http://www.jungfraumarketing.ch/webc...m1/current.jpg

Wengen is sadly going to the darkside....soon it will be loosing its car-free status and becoming more and more commercialised year on year.
http://www.wengen.com/cam.html

Mürren 1650m is a village and superbly located and only 12 minutes away from Lauterbrunnen. It has amazing views with great easy/hard trails. The hotel are very good and friendly. (simply visit tripadvisor) Im under 40yr so hardly a senior citizen and i think the place rocks.Plus you can easily visit the Schilthorn !!
http://www.hoteleiger.com/webcam/cam8.jpg

At the end of the day it all depends on what YOU want from a holiday but please try and stay away from Interlaken and visit a true alpine village !!
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Jul 26th, 2012, 01:28 PM
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Yes, there is a camper village in Lauterbrunnen, but it is so quiet you would not know it was there.

I like to sit on the bench opposite Staubbach Falls, with the camper village behind me, and you could hear a pin drop it is so quiet.

But, yes, there is a big difference in Interlaken in July, August, when all the souvenir shops have their racks out on the sidewalks and September when things quiet down.

You also don't have the views in Interlaken as you do in Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, or Murren.

Thin--I am not an it.
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