Need help, 3-4 days Bernese Oberland and Chillon

Need help, 3-4 days Bernese Oberland and Chillon

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bcave
bcave
2 posts
new member
Jul 13, 2011 - 4:04 PM
My wife and I are taking a trip to Europe ~ 26 July - 9 Aug (yes, 2011...in 2 weeks!) 3 or 4 days will be in Switzerland and we would like to see the Bernese Oberland area and also get over to Chateau de Chillon near Montreaux.

- I have read that Gimmelwald is a very nice area, so it would be great to spend some time (overnight?) there.
- We would like to take the Junfraujoch train.
- Now I am also reading the Wengen area is nice, too ;-)

Does anyone have any recommendations as to itinerary and accommodations (where to make establish base or should we move around)?

I am wondering if it might benefit us to use a combination of Eurail and Swiss Passes since there are so many trains/transports needed in this area. Does this make sense? I could save money on the Eurail pass if I just get a 2 or 3 country pass (instead of 4) and also get a bigger discount on the Jungfraujoch is I use a Swiss Pass. This savings could offset the cost of the pass.

Any ideas would be wonderful!
kim11
kim11
320 posts
top member
Jul 14, 2011 - 12:02 PM
If you will only be in Switzerland for 3 or 4 days I recommend you pick only one base. You lose 1/2 to one full day every time you change bases.

I find the Bernese Oberland to be the "eye candy" of Switzerland, suggest you leave Montreux for your next visit.

The views from Gimmelwald are lovely but it is a VERY TINY village. Bascially one rather rustic inn, a few houses, and a primary school. It is also a bit remote; will take time to get in/out of there and see other parts of the region. I think Wengen would be a better choice for you. Wengen is also on the line on the way up to Jungfraujoch.

Tell us what you like to do and we can be more helpful with itinerary suggestions. If you're interested, I have a 30+ page document of tips around the Wengen area I can send to you via email. If you'd like a copy, send me a Private Message with your email address (don't post it up on the public forum).

A Eurail pass doesn't do you much good in the mountain areas of Switzerland, which is where you probably want to be since that's where the stunning views are. It only gives you a 25% discount beyond Interlaken (others, please correct this if I am wrong). A Swiss Half Fare Card is my favorite. It costs 110 CHF per adult then you get half off of every form of transport throughout the country, including the high mountain trips of Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn.
bcave
bcave
2 posts
new member
Jul 14, 2011 - 12:26 PM
Thanks for the advice, Kim.

Here is a bit about us:

As far as us and our style, we live in the Rockies/Foothills in Colorado, just west of Denver (moved a year ago from Houston). We have never been to Europe before, much less out of the country. We are okay with whirlwind travel for the first time to hit many spots. We like the outdoors, architecture, and history (and, of course, music). Museums are okay, but we won't cry if we miss them (although famous artists or historical 'must see' will be be nice to visit). We would rather take a ferry ride at sunset, tour an out of the way castle, take a short/medium hike to an incredible view, or tour a cavern. We like out of the way places, and often take "our own road" when traveling in the US frequenting side roads. We like boating, motorcycling, and camping. I am a software developer specializing in web/internet, and my wife operates a spa (skin care) in a small town. We are used to driving long distances (12+ hour trips are no big deal) but for this trip I want someone else to do most of the driving (train?). I am okay if we rent and drive a short (less than 4 hr) trip to save a train/pass day if it is worth it.

Thanks,

Brice
kim11
kim11
320 posts
top member
Jul 14, 2011 - 12:52 PM
Hi Brice,

Thanks for all the good info!

In my opinion, the problem with "whirlwind travel to hit many spots" is that by the end of it all you feel like you haven't been anywhere other than inside vehicles and watching a movie of the "high points". I've found that the more you move the less you see and experience. I know it is tempting to try to do it all on your first trip to Europe but this may not be the best plan. Just my opinion.

Traveling by rail while in Switzerland is the best way to go. Most of the places you want to see (in fact all three of the specific places you mention in the Bernese Oberland) are only accessible via rail/cable car. A car will be an expensive nuisance.

After learning more about you I do think Wengen is a great base for you. It is a car-free village perched up on a shelf above Lauterbrunnen Valley. It is a nice combination of small, traditional village along with good access to wonderful hikes, views, and excursions. I sent you my long document via email. There are descriptions of numerous hikes at all levels of difficulty, suggestions for excursions (such as lake cruises, waterfalls, etc), and even a museum suggestion.

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