<<"While trying to book a hotel in Brienz, I stumbled upon the town ofBrunig. While being midway between Lucern and Interlaken with a trainstation in the town it seems like a good base to explore both the BOregion and Lucern region. Could you please tell us if we are right in basing ourselves between the 2 regions that we want to explore?">>
<<"The more we look at the various options, the more confused we seem to be getting. Any help would be great. Thank you. ">>
Brünig in itself is a small cluster of houses and a few hotels at the high point of the Brünig Pass. There is nothing to do there, and not much to see.
You are placing your self about an hour from Interlaken , almost an hour and one half from Lauterbrunnen and about an hour from Luzern.
Train to Luzern is once per hour. Train to Interlaken is once per hour, with some hours having a bus+train at the half hour mark. That is a major deficiency, shared with the train from Luzern to Interlaken (they are the same train.) Every time you go somewhere - every day - yu spend two hours on the same train route, back and forth. Nice ride to Luzern, but, it gets old after a while.
Trains from Brienz to Interlaken run twice per hour. 50 minutes +/- all the way to Lauterbrunnen.
Brienz has a few things to do, there and nearby.
<<"The more we look at the various options, the more confused we seem to be getting. Any help would be great. Thank you">>
That is not surprising, and not uncommon. Switzerland has so many options for places to stay and things to do or see that making choices, especially for th first time traveler, can be difficult.
Perhaps you do not, have a sense of priorities. Although it is still difficult for the first time traveler, you might consider the trade-offs used in the discipline of "project management." They are often stated in a short hand fashion as -
"Good, fast, or cheap. Pick any two."
It is not a simple or clear guideline when you put it in practice, but it helps you think about what choices to make.
If you want to save a much money as possible, you will have to take more time ( travel further from the major tourist destinations), and or sacrifice the quality and amount of what you see or do. Without experience there, and a clear sens of your priorities for cost vs. the other factors.
When I travel in Switzerland, I always keep in the back of my mind that I am there to be a tourist, that what I can see and do is unique, and that everyone else has already figured out the best places and they charge more money to see them and stay in them. Ski season distorts the costs , because the value is high for skiers to be close to the slopes. Obvious, but, once I accept that, then I tend to favor the choice of quality of experience, and minimal "wasted" time, even if it costs more. Up to some limit. And, i try to balance the extra cost of a better location with the perspective of what percent of my total cost s it is to pay more for a room or meal. And, i want to have access to walks, which is somewhat lower priority in winter, especially at higher altitudes. March is definitely Winter in the Alps.
It is almost impossible to make those choices for another person.
That said, I'd pick Luzern and Brienz or Interlaken if i were trying to control costs while maintaining access to the sights. Or, as you suggest, I'd pick Luzern and bite the bullet on travel time . I would never stay in Brünig, because it is short on things to do and too far away from what I want to see and do.
The forum has some suggestions on where to stay, and Arno and Annika can also help with good, current knowledge of relatively inexpensive accommodation in the main locations. Post a question in the accommodation section.
The descriptions of towns in "Where to go" offer hotel suggestions in all price ranges, for example:
I used to choose Brienz, to save some money, when the Weisses Kreuz was a superb hotel at moderate prices. Unfortunately, Frau Meyer went broke, and it has been through some changes in management. Last time I stayed there, a few years ago, it was on its way back up, since the management of the Brienzerbürli bought it,. and it offered generally comfortable stays, with an acceptable kitchen. The Brienzerbürli was a better hotel, but too far from the train station, and the Lindenhof had an excellent kitchen, comfortable rooms, and was impossible without a car. I'd stay at the Weisses Kreuz again if it were equal to or better than what it was 3 or 4 years ago. That management knows how to run a hotel, and clearly was getting it in shape, but the cash to fix it up comes in a bit more slowly when the Swiss frank is strong relative to the Euro, and travelers go elsewhere. Can't beat the location if you are going to stay in Brienz as a base for travel.
Nowadays, I simply bite the bullet, and pay a lot more to stay in Wengen, at a good hotel, for a shorter stay. I figure it is worth it to stay in a stunning location ( although Brienz is not bad at all) close to the scenic walks/hikes. (Not so much walking in ski season, though.) There are a variety of costs and options available in Wengen.
Search the forum using the search tool, for example, for "Hotels in Wengen" You'll get some useful threads.
A terribly long answer - and not a precise one. My advice, from my personal perspective,with my set of trade offs, is to base in Luzern and stay one (or maybe two) night(s) in Grindelwald, Wengen or Lauterbrunnen. I, personally, would accept the cost, especially if some of the less expensive hotels were available on a week day. I'd avoid weekends.