Bernese Oberland and Chamonix

Bernese Oberland and Chamonix

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Posts: 9. This thread is closed.
magentaspeaker
magentaspeaker
30 posts
active member
May 12, 2012 - 12:48 AM
I have 7 full days in Switzerland. I am trying to decide if I should spend all 7 in the Bernese Oblerland area to hike or go for 3 days to Chamonix. So I will spend one day out of then 7 as a travel day taking the the Mt Blanc Express to Chamonix. Is the MT Blanc Express worth giving up a day of hiking? I could conceivably have 1 or 2 bad days of weather in Chamonix and that would hurt my hiking opportunities there. But it could happen in the other areas too.
I will then leave from Geneva airport. My filght is at 9:20 am, so It might be difficult to get from Chamonox to the airport by about 7:30. Is there a reliable bus that leaves Chamonix at abut 6 am to get to the airport by 7:30?

Is it better to stay in Chamonix for a week or Bernese Oberland? I know this is a Swiss site, so people may be biased. But for those who have been to both which one would you recommend if you could only go to one?
kim11
kim11
320 posts
top member
May 12, 2012 - 10:32 AM
"I know this is a Swiss site, so people may be biased. But for those who have been to both which one would you recommend if you could only go to one?"

Perhaps guilty of bias, yes, but the BO is paradise, particularly for hikers. I would stay there all 7 days, in one of the car-free villages above Lauterbrunnen (Wengen or Mürren).

The views you will see from the glorious hikes and outings there are as good or better as anything you will see on a train. And you'll be out in it, not watching it pass by from a train window.

When are you going?
magentaspeaker
magentaspeaker
30 posts
active member
May 12, 2012 - 1:08 PM
Kim11, Thanks for the reply. I am going in mid August.I am tentatively staying in Lauterbrunnen. I was thinking of staying in Wengen or Murren, but I read it is easier to get to places from Lauterbrunnen since you don't have to come down from those villages. Maybe I am wrong.

Would you walk from Schynige Platte to First or the other way around? I read that is one of or the best walks in the area.
kim11
kim11
320 posts
top member
May 12, 2012 - 2:03 PM
the views from Wengen and Mürren are so compelling the small length of time it takes you to get to Lauterbrunnen is more than worth it. From Wengen it is only 15 minutes and is one of the most glorious train rides in the country. Takes longer to Mürren, I'd stay in Wengen.

Lauterbrunnen sits in the base of the valley under imposing cliffs. Some people like it, others not so much. Less light during the day and doesn't have the views. Lauterbrunnen is a bit cheaper, but August is high season so everything will be expensive.

Walk direction SP to First. The other way is more downhill and just tears up your knees. Views to your back that direction, too. It's a stout hike, you need to be in shape.

I have a 35+ page document of things to do and see in region written from a Wengen base. I've been there 15 times in past 16 years for stays of anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months at a time. Happy to send it to you, need your email address to do so as it needs to come as an attachment. If you would like a copy send me private message with your email address.
Wandermann
Wandermann
297 posts
top member
May 12, 2012 - 2:24 PM
You may be the judge of whether I'm biased:

I've been in Chamonix only once and I don't know anything about hiking possibilities there.
I've been in Graubünden several times and I love it there.
But the first time I visited the Bernese Oberland (a long time ago) I got hooked. I always want to go back there and especially to the Jungfrau region. Even when I plan a vacation in Graubünden I try to combine it with a one or two weeks stay in the Bernese Oberland.

And yes, the hike from Schynige Platte to First or from First to Schynige Platte is one of the most wonderful hikes I've ever taken.

I hope this helps you decide.

Have a nice stay, wherever that will be!
magentaspeaker
magentaspeaker
30 posts
active member
May 12, 2012 - 6:18 PM
Kim11, How do I send a private message. I would like your 35 page document.
kim11
kim11
320 posts
top member
May 12, 2012 - 10:16 PM
Click on my screen name. You will see "send private message" below the white profile box. Click on that and type away! Be sure to include your email address in the body of the message. I cannot see your email address, the feature is truly "private"
magentaspeaker
magentaspeaker
30 posts
active member
May 12, 2012 - 10:35 PM
Kim11, Where do you usually stay in Wengen?

I noticed you live in San Jose. Do you ever go to the Sierras to hike? Have you been to Yosemite and how does that valley compare to the Latuerbrunnen and the Bernese Alps? I was thinking about going to Yosemite and the Eastern Sierra sometime. I have been to Lake Tahoe, which is really nice.

Living so close to the Sierras but you still go to Switzerland every year. Switzerland must be incredible.
kim11
kim11
320 posts
top member
May 12, 2012 - 10:52 PM
"Switzerland must be incredible."

It is.

We own a summer home in the Sierra Nevadas, in the Lakes Basin area north of Tahoe/Truckee about an hour and a half. Hiking paradise in the US but doesn't hold a candle to Switzerland. Bernese Oberland in particular.

We've been hiking in Yosemite probably 50 times. Yosemite is gorgeous but different than the Bernese Oberland. Yet there are some similarities. Both Lauterbrunnen Valley and Yosemite Valley are glacier-formed therefore have steep walls. However, from bottom of valley to top of highest peak, Lauterbrunnen valley is TWICE as deep as Yosemite. Amazing. The BO has rolling green hills before jutting up to the high peaks with permanent glaciers atop, and there are two stunning alpine lakes sitting at the base (Thun and Brienz, on either side of Interlaken). Yosemite has stunning granite peaks. It is also wilder, full of bears and other critters. About the only wildlife in BO mountains are marmots, lynx, and gemse (like a cross between a deer and a mountain goat). The BO does a marvelous job of catering to tourists, the public transportation is about the best in the world and there is good food an drink pretty much everywhere you go. On the other hand, in Yosemite you have to deal with an outfit that has a monopoly on servicing that and other parks and it shows in the attitude, the quality of the food and lodging, and overall pain in the you-know-what for getting around.

Just a few comparisons.

Since we are normally in Wengen for an extended period we almost always rent an apartment in a chalet. When we stay in a hotel we choose Hotel Schönegg

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