Where to stay in Jungfrau region in December

Where to stay in Jungfrau region in December

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VanessaL
VanessaL
14 posts
new member
Oct 4, 2016 - 5:27 PM

We are a family of 4 (myself, husband and daughters 15 and 10) travelling to Switzerland in December. I have to plan a perfect holiday since we will never have the opportunity to go on holiday together to Switzerland ever again

We have approximately 2 weeks in Switzerland. So far:

3 nights Zurich (arriving here late on night 1 and next day sleeping till we feel better after long flight) so basically 1 and a half day in Zurich.

After that: Probably Bern (3 nights) and maybe Montreaux (2 nights), but these places haven't been booked yet.

Then I am looking at 3 nights in the Jungfrau region - have read Wengen or Murren are great. Please advise me where I should try to find accommodation in this area - we want to stay as close to a train station as possible since we will have luggage and no car. Also we need to find selfcatering accommodation so that we can prepare meals and for that the village should have a supermarket. We can't ski so we aren't visiting to ski - just to experience the beauty of the area

Then I was thinking of 3 nights in Lucern before leaving for Innsbruck.

Other travel forums have been very vague and even confusing. Time is running out so please help!

1) Are Bern and Montreax advisiable to stay at, or is there an alterntive?

2) I haven't included Zermatt in my itinerary since I don't know how bad the weather will be in middel December.

3)The issue regarding the Jungfrau region - where to stay that is easy to get to by train.

I would appreciate any help so very much. Thank you.

Arno
Arno
7728 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 4, 2016 - 6:15 PM

Hi Vanessa, welcome to MySwissAlps!

Personally I wouldn't stay that long in Zurich but spend more time in Lucerne. Zurich is an interesting city and if you want to explore it you certainly should, but it's not in the Alps. Lucerne is a picturesque town close to the peaks and a wonderful lake. It's generally more attractive for tourists than Zurich.

1) From those two I'd probably prefer Bern in December. On the other hand, Bern can be visited as a day trip from Zurich, Lucerne or the Jungfrau region. Montreux is different area (French speaking, not German). The included links hopefully help you choose.

2) The weather can be anything from sunny and clear to rainy or snow storms. You can't plan for that, but you should know that Zermatt is relatively isolated, so not many bad weather options or day trips to be made to other regions. In good weather it is superb there.

3) There is a lot of information on our Jungfrau region page, which links to pages with even more details about Interlaken, Grindelwald, Wengen, Mürren and Lauterbrunnen. Tips about traveling, day trips and hotels are all there. I'd suggest to have a look there and let us know if any questions remain.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2659 posts
expert
Oct 4, 2016 - 11:34 PM in reply to VanessaL

Hi Vanessa.

I'd like to add a few comments to Arno's.

You are wise to allow for jet lag.. Teenagers in particular do not like the discipline needed to get on the clock, which is to stay up late the night you arrive and get very tired before you go to bed. You desperately want to sleep through the night. You won't arrive at a time which could suggest a SHORT nap after arrival before spending the day getting tired. ;-)

1.- It is important to know your dates, because the Jungfrau region "turns on" at about the 15th, and most of the hotels may well be booked already. If you ask, we can tell you more about "turns on."

When do you travel? What time do you arrive?

2.- I shall second Arno's comments about Luzern. You did not specify what "late a night" means. However, there is frequent train service to Luzern from Zürich Flughafen ( airport). Once an hour with no chnges, and in between, once an hour with a change of trains at Zürich main station. You can almost think of Zürich Flughafen as Luzern's airport. ;-)

Last good connection is at 2343 (ZFH to Luzern,) . Whether a hotel would be open at 0100 the next day, when you would arrive, is a question to be answered.

Zürich is a sophisticated town...good museums, restaurants, some nice old towns, but it does not have the range of scenic and travel options that Luzern offers. And, Luzern's old town is more picturesque.

Zürich is certainly nice at Christmas time...in particular, the Bahnhofstrasse has wonderful lighting. It gets dark early....maybe 1630, so you could see that and still stay at Luzern, for one possible option. Also, the Christmas market in the main station in Züri is pretty good. The one in Luzern main station is kind of small. (The best ones are in Basel and Montreux, but there are nice small ones all over Switzerland, and I have enjoyed the "multi-country" food booths near Schwanenplatz in the old town pf Luzern).

3.- You have planned to spread out your travels much more than I would recommend, unless you have family full of train fans. The trains are a really nice way to travel, really scenic no matter where you are, but they are no substitute for being on the ground.

I'd be sure to spend more than 3 days in the Jungfrau or Bernese Oberland region.

I'd not reject Montreux or Zermatt automatically, but I'd probably skip at least one of them.

4. Skip Bern as a place to stay. Visit it by day trip or trips.

The timetable will help you. Quite full of good stuff, in multiple menus and layers. Please make sure to read the instruction page.

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

The time table changes every year in mid- December, There are few changes on main line routes, so you can look at November, until December becomes available in the next week or two.

5.- All destinations in the Jungfrau region are close to train stations.

Most hotels will pick you up. Especially if they are uphill from the train stations. ;-( That said, some are nearer then others to the trains. Use the map linked next and zoom in to see the train lines. You can turn on the stations under "Traffic"

To see many of the accommodations...not all are listed...check out mapsearch.ch and use Points of Interest/Accommodation on the menus:

map.search.ch/?pos=636536,161792&z=64 &poi=hotel

For some reason, Hotels are listed under Gastronomy...

Also this My Swiss Alps web site has a lot of information on accommodations. Post in the accommodations part of the forum:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/accommodation

And look here:

www.myswissalps.com/ac commodation

and :

www.myswissalps.com/ju ngfrauregion/hotels

6.- <<"Then I am looking at 3 nights in the Jungfrau region - have read Wengen or Murren are great. [ Spelling is Mürren, not Murren] Please advise me where I should try to find accommodation in this area - we want to stay as close to a train station as possible since we will have luggage and no car. Also we need to find selfcatering accommodation so that we can prepare meals and for that the village should have a supermarket. { Or some kind of market that meets your needs - a supermarket is more than you shoud expect] We can't ski so we aren't visiting to ski - just to experience the beauty of the area">>

I like Wengen- here are all the answers:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/tips-about-wengen-and-the-jungfrau-region-by-kim

Also -

www.myswissalps.com/pl antrip/doityourself/sa vemoney

Slowpoke

VanessaL
VanessaL
14 posts
new member
Oct 5, 2016 - 11:53 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Thank you Arno and Slowpoke, I aprreciate your time to answer me. I must confess I have no read so much on different forums and websites and I just seem to get more confused. I for instance looked at self catering places on myswissalps last night and the info didt't want to change to English - it stayed German. So I couldn't book anything.

I am also put off by EVERYBODY writing how expensive it is t go up to the Jungfraujoch - I still dont' know which pass we will have, the Half Fare one seems the one that most seasoned travellers recommend, but I don't understand the Jungfraujoch website in trying to figure out what it will cost for 2 adults and kids aged 10 and 15.

The amount that I did work out, is probably wrong, because if converted to my currency - South African Rand - it is an astronomical amount!

I have to book accommodation for 31 nights in total - Switzerland, Austria, Munich and Prague. To make all the travel time worth while and to get a real feel of each city, the second half of our trip comes to a total of approximatelyl 17 nights and includes Innsbruck, Munich, Salzburg, Vienna and Prague.

The first half of our trip is Switzerland (approximately 14 nights) - in which I have already booked 3 nights in Zurich. I know some people say skip this city and carry on to Lucerne. But we will only be arriving at the airport at 10 pm and we will be too tired to carry on to Lucerne.

My question to you guys are: and I am REALLY confused on what to do since every person has different advice...... what to do the rest of the time. LUcern for 3 nights is a definate.

We are coming to Switerland in December, because it is our longest school holiday. The kids have never been there and we want to show them your beautiful country. We can't ski, and I've read that you have to book into ski school for a week. Maybe break something? So thought rather stay in Jungfrau or Interlaken area to experience nature. Thats why I thought maybe Wengen for say 3 nights. Is this a stupid idea for December? So much of the info that is available seem to refer to summer.

The kids want to obviously experience snow, but then so many people say the weather in December is terrible. It is not worth staying in Wengen if we can't see any views due to fog, cloud, rain etc and if we cant' afford to go up the Jungfraujoch.

What would you do if you were me?

I really need to make decisions quickly as I still need to book so many nights and there isn't much time left.

Sorry, but I want to make this work and it shouldn't be so difficult and confusing to travel.

Arno
Arno
7728 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 5, 2016 - 12:30 PM in reply to VanessaL

Hi Vanessa,

I understand, making decisions for a trip to unknown territory with so many options is not an easy task. You will indeed get different advise from everyone, because there are many towns and attractions which are all good in there own way, and all attract tourists. I strongly recommend to look into the provided links, as those provide some good insights in the various towns.

I don't you mentioned when in December you'll be there. Winter sports season doesn't start until mid December in most places, and only if the weather is suitable for it. This matters even if you don't plan to sport as you will be there for the snow too. This page might help: myswissalps.com/ besttimetovisit.

Jungfraujoch is expensive, but also very special. You'll found discounts and links to the standard prices here: myswissalps.com/ jungfraujoch/tickets. From Wengen, the price for an adult return ticket with a Swiss Half Fare Card is CHF 85. Since your children are under 16 they get to go for free as can order along the Swiss Family Card. Another option is the 15-day Swiss Travel Pass. The trip to Jungfraujoch would be CHF 127.50 in that case, but you'll get a lot of other trips for free instead of paying half the price. Please see:

What I would do if I didn't know Switzerland is probably this: a full week in the Jungfrau region (not Interlaken, but Wengen or one of the other smaller towns). Before that a few days (e.g. 4) in Lucerne and after that a few days (e.g. 3) in Montreux. You can travel along the scenic Golden Pass line. Someone else will come up with a different idea ;-)

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2659 posts
expert
Oct 5, 2016 - 12:41 PM in reply to VanessaL

Hi Vanessa-

You did not answer-

<<"1.- It is important to know your dates, because the Jungfrau region "turns on" at about the 15th, and most of the hotels may well be booked already. If you ask, we can tell you more about "turns on." When do you travel? ">>

With a 10 PM arrival, that is very good timing...No problem with staying in Zürich, and you can get a goo d nights sleep with surely little or no jet jag, since you will be coming form a similar time zone.

Luzern is only a short train ride away, and you can use Zürich as a base.

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2659 posts
expert
Oct 5, 2016 - 3:24 PM in reply to VanessaL

Hi Vanessa-

Picking up on Arno's post...

1 CHF is approximately 14 SA Rand.

So, an 85 CHF train ticket for the Jungfrau ( the cost with a half fare card) is approximately 1190 Rand.

Arno wrote -

<<"What I would do if I didn't know Switzerland is probably this: a full week in the Jungfrau region (not Interlaken, but Wengen or one of the other smaller towns). Before that a few days (e.g. 4) in Lucerne and after that a few days (e.g. 3) in Montreux. You can travel along the scenic Golden Pass line. Someone else will come up with a different idea ;-)">>

That is good advice, of course. The approximate split of time he advises makes excellent sense. You might start at Zürich for a day or so, then move to Luzern for a few days, spend a lot of time in the Jungfrau region, and finish with one other city, such as Montreux. Zürich and Montreux have nice Christmas markets, with the one in Montreux a particularly good one.

If you follow that route, you'll see some nice cities, and Zürich is nice for a day or two in December, as i noted above. You'll see the fabulous high Alps, and you'll fit in some nice train rides. Luzern has great variety of things to do and see, including nearby mountains and some famous tourist attractions.

That routing is logical from a geographic perspective, with a nice circular route, if go onward from Montreux back to Zürich or an easy run to Geneva if that is where you depart from Switzerland from Geneva.

You did not say what your departure city is?

You probably have looked at a map to figure out your travels, but this one is handy because you can see the train lines clearly if you zoom in:

map.search.ch/

I'd say Arno's advice might be refined slightly, depending on what part of December you will travel in. As I noted earlier, December has a dual personality as far as tourist resources in the High Alps, with the time before approximately December 15th less active. The last part of December is full bore Christmas season. Many hotels will have been booked for months, although plenty of facilities will be available, including self catering. So, you might adjust the time spent there a bit one way or another.

Any of the city locations have plenty to do in the cities per se or nearby, or on logical day trips. Yo can spend days at each one.

Once you have set your itinerary, we can offer more details. And, the country has such excellent train service that you can easily go from on region to another for a nice day trip, so exact locations are not critical.

Slowpoke

VanessaL
VanessaL
14 posts
new member
Oct 5, 2016 - 6:47 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi there, thank you, the two of you are awesome!

We arrive in Zurich on December 8 and leave the city on Sunday the 11th. There are then 11 nights in which to show our daughters Switzerland. We want to go to Lucerne for a few nights. We leave Switzerland on the 22nd of December to go to Innsbruck.

So this is the million dollar question - where to stay on those 11 nights (of which some MUST be Lucern).

Kind regards

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2659 posts
expert
Oct 5, 2016 - 6:50 PM in reply to VanessaL

<<"The kids want to obviously experience snow, but then so many people say the weather in December is terrible. It is not worth staying in Wengen if we can't see any views due to fog, cloud, rain etc and if we cant' afford to go up the Jungfraujoch.">>

All of that can be true, or completely false. As they say, it depends! The mountains strongly affect the wind and weather, and it can be very different at lower elevations. Better, or worse.

The weather in the High Alps changes frequently and quickly. In December, you may have clear sunny wonderful days, or cloudy ones. More likely snow than rain, but either one is possible. You cannot predict more than 24 or at most 48 hours in advance.

I have been there in thick clouds at Wengen, which suddenly parted for about 4 hours and let us see the view in the attached before the fog closed in again. (The picture was taken in June, to be clear.)

Webcams abound.

en.swisswebcams.ch/web cam/1010222761

Further, to better understand what you have been reading, the weather varies by altitude. It might be bright and sunny over a low cloud deck up to 1500 meters, and have wonderful sightseeing. or, the opposite. Fine down low, but scattered clouds at 3-4000 meters that obscure the view from the Jungraujoch.

Local sources keep close track of the weather; there are many places that can help you with up-to-the minute data.. The only way to deal with the variability issue is to be there for several days, so that you have better chance of clear ones. The region has plenty of contingencies available for the cloudy days.

Bern is an easy one.

Slowpoke

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Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2659 posts
expert
Oct 5, 2016 - 6:51 PM in reply to VanessaL

Vanessa -

Put the Jungfrau region at the end. Or, at least include several days from the 15th onward.

I'm considering stating in the region then, and the particular hotel that I want to stay at only opens for the season on the 16th. Other facilities will be open earlier, also.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Oct 5, 2016 - 7:09 PM by Slowpoke
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2659 posts
expert
Oct 5, 2016 - 7:06 PM in reply to VanessaL

There are a lot of cultural resources for day trips from Zürich.

How would your kids feel about walking around old towns.

Museums?

Think about a train trip to St. Gallen for this:

www.myswitzerland.com/ en-us/unesco-world-heritage-abbey-precints-of-stgallen.html

click where it says 12 images.

There is really neat old small restaurant nearby -Weinstube zum Baümli, one floor up from the ground.

www.weinstube-baeumli.ch/

Check all of the menu items for nice pictures.

the building is very old.

Slowpoke

VanessaL
VanessaL
14 posts
new member
Oct 7, 2016 - 11:37 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Once again THANK YOU for all your help!

OK things don't always go as planned and initially I was planning to do an anticlockwise trip from Zurich through Bern and then more south (Lausanne or Montreax), after which Interlaken area ending up in Lucern.... before leaving for Innsbruck.

Well things got out of hand when there wasn't fitting accommodation available in Lucern at the end of the Switzerland trip - so I found 4 nights just after Zurich in a very nice apartment close to the lion monument and I booked it.

Then I very quickly found 4 nights in Wengen as was suggested by you clever guys.We leave there December 19.

The initial plan was to go to Innsbruck after Lucern, followed by Munich, Salzburg, Vienna and Prague. Prague accommodation is booked already. Vienna waiting for confirmation. We arrive there on 30 December.

So this is my problem. We are spending so much time at Lucerne and Wengen, and we had 3 nights to spend elsewhere in Switzerland. But from that place we will have to travel all the way to Innsbruck - which seems very far!

So now I caused some problems by not doing the trip anticlockwise - then we are not seeing anything in the southern part of Switzerland...... we have 3 nights available after Wengen, but the next place is Innsbruck.

What do you think I should do?

Arno
Arno
7728 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 7, 2016 - 12:36 PM in reply to VanessaL

What about taking trains from Wengen to Brig and change for the Glacier Express? Get off in Chur, the capital of Graubünden, and spend the 3 nights there. You can do day trips to Arosa (very nice train ride, and the view from the Weisshorn is wonderful), Davos, St. Moritz, even the Bernina Express would be an option. Chur is just 3 hours from Innsbruck by train.

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