Pre-book Bernese Oberland hotels early August?

Pre-book Bernese Oberland hotels early August?

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JelleF
JelleF
7 posts
new member
Jun 27, 2014 - 5:35 PM

Hi everybody,

I am plannig to visit the Bernese Oberland from July the 30th till August the 5th or 6th and stay in Mürren. Kleine Scheidegg and First. Apart from doing a lot of easier hikes I also want to ascent the Schilthorn and the Schwarzhorn, but I can only do so if weather permits. This means I need to be able to be flexible and sometimes wait for better weather. That is why I would prefer not to book my hotels before I can have a look at the weatherforecast. Is this possible or will every cheap hotel be fully booked during this period? If so, would middle/late August be better?

Thanks in advance for your reply.

Jelle

Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 27, 2014 - 6:11 PM

Hi Jelle, and welcome!

July and August are high season. If you're not too picky about the kind of hotel rooms that are still available, and in which town, this should work out. I would personally prefer the other way round: book my preferred room in advance, but make sure it can be cancelled for free. Many of the hotel booking sites allow that. But there are exceptions, so be sure to read what exactly is being offered. Recommended hotels, and booking links, can be found on the hotel page, the Interlaken page, the Grindelwald page, etc.

Our forum is available in Dutch too by the way (I noticed you're from the Netherlands).

JelleF
JelleF
7 posts
new member
Jul 1, 2014 - 10:10 AM in reply to Arno

Hi Arno,

Thanks for your reply. I will probably contact the hotels that I am interested in and ask them if I can reserve a bed plus having the option to cancel/confirm a couple days before, when the weather forecasts are available.

I know the forum is available in Dutch too, but I am always trying to improve my English. They probably don't speak/understand Dutch in Switzerland. :)

Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 1, 2014 - 11:35 AM

Hi Jelle,

You're welcome! My experience is that hotels do allow free cancellation if booked directly with them, but not when cancelled shortly before arrival. Many booking sites do allow free online cancellation until 24 hours before or even the same day. But again, be sure to check the details, both with direct bookings and via booking sites. Promotions may be excluded from cancellation, for example. Good luck!

taffy
taffy
6 posts
new member
Jul 2, 2014 - 1:34 AM in reply to JelleF

It's out of the way, but worth the effort: Hotel Walrand in Isenfluh. Looks 900 feet down into Lauterbrunnen - as quaint and quiet as it gets, and run by a delightful Swiss couple: he cooks/she entertains. They have 5 or 6 rooms and have never been too busy to work us in - we've stayed three years in a row and plan to visit (for the food, the view and the low-key hospitality) again in August. The only hitch: you have to ascend via a Postal Bus that leaves from the train station - goes back and forth once an hour all day, but I think the last bus up the mountain is around 5:30 or 6:30. If you miss it, it's a taxi ride. And once you're up for the night - it's nothing but stars, alpenglow, good food and cows till the morning. Also, it's as good of a value as you'll find in Europe, let alone Switzerland.

Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 2, 2014 - 5:51 AM

It's spelled like Hotel Waldrand, right? Thanks for sharing that suggestion!

taffy
taffy
6 posts
new member
Jul 3, 2014 - 1:21 AM in reply to JelleF

Hotel Waldrand - is the place is Isenfluh www.hotel-waldrand. ch is the web site. Good luck!

JelleF
JelleF
7 posts
new member
Jul 4, 2014 - 4:00 PM

Thanks for all the replies guys. I have just booked a couple of hotels via booking.com. I have also booked the Berggasthaus First, but I have just read that it was only reachable by cable car. I am finding it very strange if a hotel is not even reachable by foot, so I would be happy if someone could confirm or disprove this. If it is only reachable by cable car, are there any alternatives in the First region?

kim11
kim11
322 posts
top member
Jul 4, 2014 - 11:49 PM in reply to JelleF

Berghaus First is indeed only reachable by cable car (actually, a ski gondola) Or you can walk up from Grindelwald, about 5,000 feet of vertical ascent, or over from Grosse Scheidegg (only reachable via bus or walking) in about a 90 minute walk. There is not a town at First, it is a ski resort.

Most Berghauses in Switzerland are reachable only by foot, only a very few are accessible via public transportation. Kleine Scheidegg is reachable by train or by walking only. KS is also not a town/village, it is a handful of hotels (1 hotel and a couple of inns), restaurants, and a train stop. This is the launch point for the trains up to Jungfraujoch so is VERY busy. But well worth seeing

With such a short time in the region you should not be changing bases three times. All of the places you cite are quite close together and not worth the hassle of relocating just to see them. Suggest you base in Mürren (also only available via public transport) and take visits to KS and to First, well worth doing and a relatively short travel time.

JelleF
JelleF
7 posts
new member
Jul 7, 2014 - 9:38 AM in reply to kim11

Hi Kim,

Thanks for your reply. I am not sure if relocating 3 times will be a hassle because the journeys from one hotel to another hotel will be interesting day hikes as well. Let me show you my itinerary:

day 1: arriving in Mürren,

day 2: hiking to Stechelberg via Gimmelwald and back to Mürren

day 3: if weather permits it: hiking to Schilthorn, go back by gondola.

day 4: reserve day for the Schilthorn hike

day 5: hiking to Grütschalp. By train to Lauterbrunnen. By train to Wengen. By gondola to Männlichen. Hiking from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg (and staying in KS).

day 6: going by train to Jungfraujoch and back.

day 7: hiking to Alpiglen via Eigergletscher. By train to Grindelwald. Hiking to Berggasthaus First via Bort and Schreckfeld (and staying in Berggasthaus First).

day 8: hiking to Schynigge Platte via Bachalpsee. By train to Wilderswil. Leaving the Jungfrauregion.

Do you still think relocating 3 times is a bad idea or does this sounds like a good itenary? Maybe I am underestimating some hikes, but I am a fit person. Other tips are welcome as well of course.

Last modified on Jul 7, 2014 - 10:01 AM by JelleF
kim11
kim11
322 posts
top member
Jul 7, 2014 - 2:40 PM in reply to JelleF

Ah, didn't understand you were doing P2Ps. Therefore I'm assuming you are traveling just with what you carry on your back?

You have a mix of very easy "walks" (not hikes) and some rather aggressive real hikes in your plan. the only reason I point this out is that it is an unusual combination, but certainly nothing wrong with the plan. Just be aware that Mürren to Schilthorn is over 4,000 feet of vertical ascent over a short distance, therefore quite steep with an exposed knife edge short bit of trail at the very top. Another challenging day is Grindelwald to First, which is about 5000 feet of vertical ascent. Tough day, especially after coming down Eigergletscher trail (although the later is mostly downhill in this direction) Schynige Patte from First is another long one, about 6 hours if you move quickly. This direction is also more downhill than uphill which I personally find more challenging. You will for sure want walking sticks for these 3 days at least.

JelleF
JelleF
7 posts
new member
Jul 7, 2014 - 4:57 PM in reply to kim11

Hi Kim,

Thank you very much for your reply. They are very usefull, but I do have a couple of questions after reading your post. Firstly, can you tell me what P2Ps means?:)

Secondly, I didn't realise that the Grindelwald to First hike involved such a steep ascent and I agree with you that this hike could be very tough after the Eigerglescher trail. I know I can go to First by gondola on this route too, though I prefer not to use the gondola to much. Can you tell me which part of this hike is the toughest? Grindelwald - Bort, Bort - Schreckfeld or Schreckfeld - First? And am I right in assuming I can board the gondola in Grindelwald, Bort and Schreckfeld?

I must say, I am little bit concerned about the Mürren - Schilthorn hike too. Especially as I am coming from the Netherlands, which is as you probably know mostly below sea level. I do know that I have good body measurements for moving around mountains (1,80 m. and 70 kg.) and I have some experience in the mountains (Annapurna Basecamp Trek (Nepal), some uphill cycling on 4000 m.+ mountains in the Himalayas and a lot of volcano hikes in Indonesia), and I didn't have to much trouble with ascending them. I only had some trouble with the alttitude. So if the weather allows it, I will probably try to hike to Schilthorn on day 4. I agree with you that going downhill is tougher for the body than going uphill. I always use an umbrella as a walking stick, by the way. I find them very usefull in multiple ways. :)

Lastly, just to be totally sure. Can you confirm if it is possible to walk from Berggasthaus First to the Bachalpsee without using the gondola?

Thanks in advance for your reply.

kim11
kim11
322 posts
top member
Jul 8, 2014 - 4:45 AM in reply to JelleF

>Firstly, can you tell me what P2Ps means?:)<

P2P means point to point. Which means you are going from one place to another with your belongings on your back. Or, if you are on a longer trek, you are carrying your necessary items until your luggage can catch up with you using SBB. If you are staying in remote places this takes 3 days or so.

>Can you tell me which part of this hike is the toughest? Grindelwald - Bort, Bort - Schreckfeld or Schreckfeld - First? <

I'm sorry but I cannot answer this question as I have never done the trek from Grindelwald up to First because it is not a good idea. Here is a website that may give you some more info, but it is all about going down. For going up, triple the times.

http://www.jungfrau.ch/en/sommer/tourism/destinations/grindelwald-first/hiking-trails/

>I will probably try to hike to Schilthorn on day 4<

The longer you have to get acclimated to the altitude the better.

>Can you confirm if it is possible to walk from Berggasthaus First to the Bachalpsee without using the gondola?<

Yes, the Berghaus at First is right at the gondola stop. From there you can go to Bachalpsee and further if you wish. Bachalpsee is an easy 45 minute stroll. If you want to arrive in Schynige Platte you need to allow 6 hours. There is a train down from there to Wilderswil.

As you might have gathered from my responses I have been hiking all over this region, been there 15+ times. I have a lengthy document about my experiences which includes lots of hiking recommendations. I have not had success sending it via attachment on this site and there is no longer a capability to send private messages (therefore email addresses). If you would like the document go over to TripAdvisor and search for me under KimSanJose then send me a PM with your email address.

Forum moderaters, please let me know if there is a way I can send my document via your site rather than sending people over to TA.

Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 8, 2014 - 6:05 AM

Hi Kim,

Can you e-mail your document to our 'contact' address? I will try to attach it to a new thread for you to refer to.

Thanks!

Arno

Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 8, 2014 - 5:20 PM

Thanks Kim, I received the document and it can be downloaded here.

JelleF
JelleF
7 posts
new member
Jul 25, 2014 - 1:39 PM

Thanks Kim for your documents. They were very helpfull resulting in me having no questions regarding my holiday in Switzerland anymore :)

I do have a slightly off-topic question, though. After my days in Switzerland I will stay a couple of days in France and I wanted to use the train (preferably the TGV) from Geneva to Montelimar. I don't want to book the tickets online, because they can only be delivered by mail and there is to little time for that, since I am leaving next wednesday.

So, I was wondering if it is possible to buy these tickets at the Geneva train station.

Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 25, 2014 - 1:57 PM

Hi Jelle,

You can get tickets at any staffed station, including Geneva. The later you book, the bigger the chance that the preferred train or specific seats will be booked out. But there are trains that don't require seat reservations as well (see the timetable), so you'll get there in any case.

JelleF
JelleF
7 posts
new member
Jul 25, 2014 - 2:05 PM

Hi Arno,

Thanks for your quick reply. I will be in Geneva on July the 30th. So, I assume I will be in time to prevent a fully booked train, since I will use the TGV on August the 7th and August the 10th. Don't you agree?

Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 25, 2014 - 2:40 PM

Hi Jelle,

Well, August is a busy travel month in France, and trains can be be booked 2 to 3 months ahead of time. But I don't know for that route specifically. I don't expect any issues to get just one seat though, since there are multiple connections. It should be fine!

Last modified on Jul 25, 2014 - 2:41 PM by Arno

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