Thanks to Arno and Slowpoke and Kim Hawley for all the tips/advise/thoughts shared with me on this forum. All helped to make our trip memorable and full of fun! I will share our daily itinerary in case it will help anyone. We had 8 adults, 3 kids (7, 6, 20 months) with us. One adult was pregnant and one recovering from a back injury 1 1/2 yrs ago so our hiking days were not strenuous!
I must say right off the bat, it was a little hard to prepare for the day as we never knew really how long a trail would take us. Distances are not marked but the time it takes to get from place to place. It seems most of the places we were going the signs would say 1 1/2 - 2 hrs and it always took us way longer then that! Good thing the kids were great walkers! There are usually places at the top of lifts where you could eat if the timing coincided with a hungry time for you! We usually needed a few stops……we used the Swiss Transfer Ticket Combi which paid all our trains from Zurich to Murren and then from Wengen to Zurich on the first and last days and then came with the 1/2 fare card for any other trains. We had to ask for the Free Family Card for the kids to go free. Take this each time on the train as 9/10 of the time they asked to see both your cards and sometimes the free family card also! I did the math and we basically were just under our daily average to make it worth this way. We had 4 expensive days spread out so I think we did fine with the 1/2 fare. It would have been ridiculous to do those four days in a row to save a little money! Not sure we would have taken any other more expensive trips if we had gotten the OB Pass as too many train days with the kids then. You have to order before you get to Switzerland in order to get it and it took less then a week to receive it. www.sbb.ch/en/leisure-holidays/holidays--short-breaks-in-switzerland/swisstrave lsystem.html
Day 1 Hanging at the airport til all arrived! Took the train from Zurich to Bern to Interlaken Ost to Lauterbrunnen to Gerschalp to Murren. We did have a glitch in that my youngest daughter's luggage for her and her husband and baby did not arrive at the airport and came 3 days later! This was the airlines fault and no delivery service used. On the way back we sent some of the luggage ahead a day early so we didn't have to navigate with it. I would recommend not packing much heavier then 35 lbs as you not only have to go up a couple stairs on the train but sometimes you have to carry it up and down 10-12 stairs in between train stations. Not bad if traveling by yourself but we had two kids and a baby with us! The Swiss trains are impeccably on time. One could set their watch by their schedule! We got asked for our tickets about 95% of the time. We found we could get on in obscure stops and pay for our ticket on the train! That saved us a lot of legwork not having to get to the main station. We arrived in Murren and oh what a view! Stayed at Candamo Chalet www.chaletcandamo.com and very convenient to the Co-op grocery and the Allmenhuebel Lift. We loved eating at the Bellevue Hotel as they did a gluten free weiner schnitzel with an egg/cheese batter! If you are gluten free there are plenty of options in Wengen and Murren. Lots of fruits and veggies for self catering as we did 50% of the time for dinner. The co-op even had a great GF bread that was on the bottom shelf near the other breads and marked gluten free. Hotel Alpenruh also had good food by the Murren Schilthorn lift www.bellevuemuerren.ch /english/restaurant/
Day 2 Trip to the top of the Jungfrau. We woke up to excellent skies and decided to go to the Top of the Jungfrau at 10,000ft. www.jungfrau.ch/en/qui ck-navigation/contact/rai lway-stations/ Took the train from Murren to Lauterbrunnen to Kleine Scheidegg then switched to Jungfrau train. 1/2 fare card/Swiss Transfer Tkt worked here and didn't have to pay for the kids with the Family Free Pass. Gorgeous views on the way up. Sit on the right hand side if you can. It was quite crowded so we sat where we could together. The view points at the top gave great views. High altitude so a bit of heavy breathing with movement! No problems though other then that. We stayed about an hour then as we were going to go "touch" the snow since the grandkids had not done that recently they shut the outside due to lightning. (did not realize that saved us about 50chf each to play in the snow!!) The restaurant was not impressive and even charged us for tap water and for splitting cheese/meat platters as we waited for the weather to change. It never did and we left. The Ice Palace tunnels were fun to see and not too slippery if you are careful and we were not charged to see these. We stopped for ciders and yummy rosti at Kleine Scheidegg station on the way home!
Day 3 Our weather is still hot 80-85 at its peak and maybe 60 at night! Today we go to do the "easy" walk! This is where you find out whether the time listed on the signs is your pace and some super human walker! We did have 2 kids, baby on the back, pregnant woman with us so that being said, we knew we would be slower but we ended up being at least twice as slow and a bit more! We did take rests, lots of pictures and play time…..this did make it a little difficult to plan lunch and snacks! We carried food with us at all times for the before mentioned who eat religiously every 2 hours! We took Allmenhuebel Lift just behind our chalet to the top where there was a wonderful playground in the most beautiful setting ever! This is just one of many playgrounds that would pop up off a lift or trail! We played at the park for a bit then started on the NorthFace Trail which was probably 5-6 miles. This was a gloriously beautiful trail with the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau and several others all staring at you every step of the way. We went through cow and sheep pastures, up some small hills through BIG cows on the trail with cow bells ringing. We stopped and played in the creek for a bit. Would have stopped for lunch at a nice little restaurant by the creek but the baby was asleep so we kept on. They also have Honesty Stores with no cashier and you just leave your money on the counter if you choose to buy something in the store. The trail was a bit steep coming back downhill but we decided this was preferable to going in the other direction which many people were doing! One of my favorite trails. My daughter did the Adventure Trail with the kids and they loved it on one of our "down" days. Big kids playground as it was really a bit advanced for our 6 year old who fell off the zip! Take care but he did love it! This trail was more forested and not so long. schilthorn.ch/en/Angeb ot/Schilthorn/Summer/H ikingtrails
Day 4 We took the train today from Murren to Lauterbrunnen to Grindlewald then walked through the town about 10 mins then caught the First cable car up to start of the walk to Bachalpsee, a beautiful alpine lake. We walked close to 8 miles on this walk I believe! It was a mostly flat walk except for the first maybe 500ft ascent straight off the First chairlift. It was a long walk but easy and beautiful! We were looking at the other side of the Eiger all day. We brought a picnic lunch this day luckily since it was so long. The lake was gorgeous if when you got there you go down to the right and look back at the Eiger…..we got our family photo with the eleven of us in it for our Xmas card here! What a thrill to be all together in God's beautiful country! A couple of the grown kids wanted to zipline down and they were willing to wait the hour long line! We said we would meet you at the bottom at a given restaurant (that turned out to be closed on Mondays!) They had the 7 yr old grand daughter with them and luckily, someone saw her in line and said she would not be able to go as she was not 35 kg but 35 lbs!! So they came down and we just happened to run into them while we were searching another restaurant! Grindlewald also has a playground at the beginning of the town up from the train station and another playground half way up the chair lift where you can get off. I must say we were too tired to stop at the halfway spot as they were hungry and then it was pouring rain after the meal and we did not stop at the in town area. There is also a miniature golf course in Grindlewald. www.jungfrau.ch/en/tou rism/destinations/grin delwald-first/hiking-trails/walking/Report/ showWalkingDetail/firs t-bachalpsee-first/
Day 5 This was our quiet day! I broke my back 1 1/2 years ago and need to rest more often then I use to and my pregnant daughter was more then happy to rest with me. So, for our quiet day we decided to take the easy stroller trail to Gimmelwald. It was easy but steep and winding. Maybe about 3-4 miles. You can take a stroller but just don't let go!! We had lunch at the BierGarden at the bottom then took the Schilthorn gondola back up. Again, beautiful views. This is the day my other daughter did the Adventure Trail off Allmenhuebel Lift. schilthorn.ch/en/Angeb ot/Schilthorn/Summer/H ikingtrails
Day 6 Today we took the train down to Lauterbrunnen and walked through town after stopping for lunch first. We walked along the river to Trummelbach Falls. What we didn't know was that they would not allow the baby (20 months) to go in. Too loud. So, we broke into two groups. We were not ready for the 2 other kids to be scared of the loudness and the darkness inside! They stopped halfway through when you could exit. The rest of us enjoyed the rushing of 2,000 litres of water/second from the glaciers carving the inner rock of the cave. It was an amazing sight! This was probably 5-6 miles round trip of totally flat trail and quiet road with gorgeous views of the Lauterbrunnen Valley and many waterfalls and parasailers. www.myswitzerland.com/ en-gb/truemmelbach-falls-water-in-a-corset-of-stone.html
Day 7 Another quiet day as the big kids wanted to parasail from the Murren steep hills! Again, myself and my pregnant daughter were happy to lay low, let the baby nap and Stacy ate regularly! It was terrifying and fun at the same time to watch them parasail! They enjoyed it immensely and Murren is the place to do it for thrills as you head for the rock mountain then have to turn to come down the valley! Looked way more fun then what we saw in Interlaken! With your lodging tax you pay you can get a pass to the Sport Center and use the pool for free. We did that on this day also. A nice baby pool set off on its own but just a tad cool but the baby didn't seem to mind. We also decided to go up the Schilthorn to Piz Gloria and see the view. What an incredibly different view then from the Jungfrauloch! A totally beautiful panoramic 360 view of the entire area! You could see all the way to Mt Blanc! I felt the altitude a little on this day and left early where Stacy and I ate lunch at Hotel Alpenruh right by the station. schilthorn.ch/en/Welco me
Day 8 My son in law was leaving to head back to Zurich today so some of the group headed to Interlaken with him early in the morning for an easy bike ride with the kids. They biked around Lake Thun for a couple hours before they had lunch and he headed off to the airport. While they were doing that, me and 3 of my daughters decided to do the Mountain View Walk off the Allmenhuebel Lift in Murren. We had no baby and no kids with us and we still managed to be slowed down by wild flower picture taking and scenic gasps!! What beauty! It was a surprise for the Big 3 to stay with us so much of the way and we did have to turn around every so often to catch the view from behind. We saw rare orchids, two kinds I believe! What a treat! It was a steep decline down to Gerschalp station to catch the train back to Wengen. I would say this was about 5 miles and a great walk too! schilthorn.ch/en/Angeb ot/Schilthorn/Summer/H ikingtrails
Day 9 We gather our luggage and this time we pay to send half of it on up to Wengen as we want to see if we can "trust" them since the 3 day bag delay from the airport courier! It was perfect! No problems with the luggage. http://www.sbb .ch/en/station-services/services/bagg age/fast-baggage.html Wengen is a bit of a bigger carless village. Some of us like it better and some like Murren better but we decide we love them both! Our chalet here is Chalet Marmota www.homeaway.co.uk/p12 42362 and a bit further away then the other one. The rep says a fairly flat walk then it gets steep at the very end……ok….Swiss do NOT know American flat!! There was NO flat in this walk and it went down and down and more steeply down! Took us 15 minutes to walk up the hill every morning. Unless, you are me and my daughter who discovered we could walk down from the chalet and walk less then 10 minutes and be at the Wengwald station and take it the 5 minutes to town. Sorry, but with my back this worked well for me on days when we were walking 6 miles walks!! We have a panoramic view up the Lauterbrunnen Valley all the way to the big waterfall at the end of the valley my daughter wanted to walk to. She got talked out of it saying it was really an overnight trail! I would love to do that with her as soon as I am totally healed.
Day 10 The boys take the kids for the day to treat them to the park, ice cream and fun while we celebrate my 60th and my daughter's 35th birthdays at the Hotel Victoria Spa. A fun, luxurious day with salt water pool, sauna and massage and lunch. A nice treat! I ran into my favorite actor Mandy Prantikin (Saul in Homeland and played in Criminal Minds and Chicago Hope) www.hotel-victoria-lauberhorn.ch/index.ph p?id=74&L=2
Day 11 This was probably my most favorite walk of our trip! We took the train from Wengen to Eigergleischer and start our walk here. We are at the foot of the Jungfrau and will be walking back to Wengernalp Station staying on the trail that keeps to the steep ridge walk. What magnificent views! as we carefully walk the ridge trail headed down the valley. Probably 6 miles of downhill! The first mile or two was the steepest having to tell the kids to go slowly and no running! We have done much hiking on mountain trails and boots were nice to have. There were some "tourists" who did a portion of it in tennis shoes and they were sliding a bit. There was a wonderful oasis restaurant at the end where we had a cider before getting on the train back down. www.flickr.com/photos/ phigphotos/5171088432/ in/photostream/
Day 12 We were told about a new children's trail from Mannlichen to Grindlewald but we could get on the gondola Hollenstein 3/4 of the way down…..my least favorite hike even though it was nice but very long. OR much longer then what we expected as we were told it was 2 hrs max with kids playing along the way! NOT….it took us over 4 hrs with play times so much longer then anticipated! I would say at least 7 miles! The trail followed the chair lift line (which I am never a fan of!) and had about 12 stations where the kids could get a stamp and collect them til the end. There were a few of the stations that offered fun things for them to do which the kids loved. It was long for those of us that didn't "play"!! The only day I would not do again if coming back! The view was not as dramatic although at the top of Mannlichen it was gorgeous! We overlooked Grindlewald most of the day. www.maennlichen.ch/en/ details-164/items/104.html, www.maennlichen.ch/en/ details-164/items/121.html
Day 13 We stayed in Wengen and I took the grandkids up to the outdoor pool near to Beausite Park Hotel on the hill! The mountains were magnificent in the background and the day was hot enough 85 degrees to make the cool water very refreshing! Got ice cream at the Gruebe Cheese Shop on the way back. We met everyone at the Fondu Restaurant across from the little park in town. It was SLOW and very expensive for the fondus other then cheese and bread. NOt our best dinner!
Day 14 Our last day to hike! The first day we took our rain coats along as rain was forecasted. Thought we wouldn't do the Eiger Trail we were going to do as it was quite exposed I believe and longer. So we decided to go back to start at Wengernalp Station and hike down to Wengen staying again on the edge of the cliffs trail. We are so glad we finished with this trail. Not the dramatic views of the Eiger as in the upper part of the trail but nonetheless some great Lauterbrunnen Valley views and the lower end of Trail #42 we could see across to Wengen and over to Murren, the Staubbach Falls and up to the Piz Gloria! The little village of Innerwengen was charming but nothing open during the summer! The walk from here to the chalet was a sweet country trail going by some chalets and winter chair lifts. Still longer then we thought at close to 7 miles so glad we didn't choose the Eiger Trail to Alpengli which was probably longer. www.maennlichen.ch/en/ details-164/items/125.html
Day 15 Two of us were able to actually check in and send our luggage as we flew Luthansa and that made our journey by train very easy! We sent back a few other pieces but they couldn't check in. They were able to retrieve their luggage easily later that evening after arriving to Zurich with no problems. On the way, we visited a chocolate making class at Funky Chocolate Club in Interlaken. The kids liked it! I thought it was a bit expensive……spent the evening at Zurich Marriott then walked down to the Old Town and had our last bratwurst and rosti and cider. www.sbb.c h/en/station-services/services/bagg age/check-in-at-the-railstation.html