Best basecamp for wildflowers in late June?

Best basecamp for wildflowers in late June?

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overholser
overholser
16 posts
new member
Nov 15, 2017 - 9:21 PM

Hello!

I have just booked my trip to see Swiss Alpine wildflowers from June 20-25, 2018 (the first part of my trip is in Venice, and I will be training from there to Zurich and on to wherever I set up camp ...

My question is, which is the best town to stay in? I have heard Wengen from tours that take groups to see wildflowers ... but ... Wengen seems larger and more developed than say, Murren, which seems more charming. Also, It seems to me maybe the best bet of all would be to stay in Lauterbrunnen, since I can take the train or cable cars from there to either place and upward ... and also down to get the train to Shynige Platte.

If you had four days to find flowers in Switzerland ... where would you stay? Which trails would you hike? I have a few ideas from looking at wildflower tours, but I'm curious to hear what you who are experts think! Iam not an expert hiker so I am looking for fairly easy hikes!

Also, some tours go to Zermatt for flowers ... what do you think about Zermatt vs. The Bernese Oberland area?

Thanks so much for ALL advice and thoughts!

Gillian

maggiehorswell
maggiehorswell
552 posts
top member
Nov 16, 2017 - 1:37 AM in reply to overholser

Hello Gillian and welcome.

I don't claim to be an expert but I have a very large collection of photographs of wild flowers in Switzerland so am happy to tell you where I took them! I have not used a tour as I like to take my own time and not have to keep up with a group.

I would choose the Bernese Oberland as there are more places there as far as I am aware. The cable car from Wengen will take you to Männlichen from where you can follow a trail down to Kleine Scheidegg - we did that trip one year in June and saw lots of flowers. It is not a difficult hike and as well as the flowers the views are terrific.

I would also recommend you take the cogwheel train from Wilderswil to Schynige Platte to visit the Alpine Garden - the plants are well arranged and labelled. I bought an excellent book about Alpine flowers there so it might be a good place to go first then you can take the book with you to other places if you find one you would like to buy.

There is a flower trail at Allmendhubel reached by a funicular from Mürren - there are large illustrated plaques with information in German and English about the flowers - their origin and use. (not just Alpine but comparing with others around the world - we found it very interesting. By the way we can recommend the restaurant up there for lunch too!.

Hope these suggestions are helpful.

Best wishes

Maggie

overholser
overholser
16 posts
new member
Nov 16, 2017 - 2:47 AM in reply to maggiehorswell

Hi Maggie,

Wonderful advice!

I was definitely planning on the first two walks you mention -- which makes me think that Lauterburren is the best base, since I can get to both Wengen AND Murren easily from there? Also more convenient to get the the Platte from there as it is lower down ... the third walk i had not heard about .. sounds wonderful! Thank you!!!!!

Where did you stay for your trips there?

Gillian

Last modified on Nov 16, 2017 - 2:47 AM by overholser
Lucas
Lucas
5608 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 16, 2017 - 6:53 AM in reply to overholser

Hi Overholser and welcome to MySwissAlps!

I wouldn't consider Wengen a large or developed town - though it is larger than Murren (1300 vs 500 residents). Both are charming towns - I think you'll find on this website most people prefer Wengen as a base. Both towns are sitting above the Lauterbrunnen valley for great views, while Lauterbrunnen sits in the valley and gets a little less sun (though in June that is less of an issue).

None of the towns are too far apart from each other to make it a hassle going anywhere. You can use the Swiss railways timetable to check how far a trip it is between towns and mountain attractions like Schynige Platte.

Lauterbrunnen does have more rail connections though (some trips you will take will have you going through Lauterbrunnen to get elsewhere).

Last modified on Nov 16, 2017 - 6:54 AM by Lucas
overholser
overholser
16 posts
new member
Nov 16, 2017 - 2:13 PM in reply to Lucas

Hi Lucas,

Thank you!!! Yes it seems many people prefer Wengen for wildflower trips ... I think because the ride to Maanlichen goes from there? I did read that the town is a bit spoiled by overdevelopment in a few tour books ... but as you say 1300 isn't exactly a city! LOL! I have also heard the valley gets less sun ... but ... what about those 70 waterfalls? That seems so magical ... I am wondering if wildflower tours don't stay in the valley because there are not the same kinds of flowers there ... because it is lower down? The two hotels I have looked at are the Silberhorn in Lauterburren and the Eiger in Murren. Any hotel ideas for Wengen? I am hoping for the prettiest and least obstructed views ... and then, there is also the idea that we could rent an apartment of our own for those days ... any thoughts on those options? Thanks so much!

Gillian

maggiehorswell
maggiehorswell
552 posts
top member
Nov 16, 2017 - 3:51 PM in reply to overholser

Hello again Gillian

We always stay in Thun or nearby because we don't spend all our days in the Jungfrau region - we travel about all over the place and Thun gives us good connections to other areas to explore. So we haven't stayed in any of the places you are considering and have no advice there - whichever you choose would be fine! We have done flower trails in other places further away from your planned base but as you are limited time-wise I haven't suggested any of them. If you want to see meadow flowers rather than mountain ones, I recall taking a bus from Thun up to Heiligenschwendi then walking back down again, passing meadows and verges with different flower varieties. Or of course you can take a day off from flowers with a huge choice of other activities in your chosen area!

Enjoy!

Maggie

Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
2131 posts
top member
Nov 16, 2017 - 11:39 PM in reply to overholser

Hi Gillian,

>> Any hotel ideas for Wengen?

I like the Hotel Bellevue. If you are interested, I have written about it in my post of Feb 14, 2017 - 3:22 AM on the following page:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/accommodatio ns

The Beausite Park Hotel is a favourite of another member of this forum.

Alpenrose

Mark
Mark
166 posts
active member
Nov 16, 2017 - 11:55 PM

Hi Gillian,

I have stayed at the Beausite Park Hotel in Wengen several times and found it to be very nice with helpful staff and gorgeous views of the mountains. It’s rated #1 hotel in Wengen by TripAdvisor. In my opinion there is no significant difference between Wengen and Lauderbrunnen in access to the areas you are planning to see. The access from Murren is a little more difficult. The views from both Wengen and Murren are significantly better than Lauderbrunnen’s. But all 3 are lovely and you would likely be happy at any of them.

I think all the previous suggestions for wildflowers are good. I remember seeing lots of flowers on the section from Kleine Scheidegg to Wengenalp as well. And while I haven’t been there in June I would expect flowers around Grosse Scheidegg. Last Bachalpsee is very pretty but at higher altitude and June may be a little too early for wildflowers to be in bloom . Mark

overholser
overholser
16 posts
new member
Nov 17, 2017 - 3:10 PM in reply to Alpenrose666

Hi Alpenrose,

It is literally amazing you mention this hotel, since I was temped to just go ahead and book it about ten minutes before you wrote ... the reason being that reviewers said it is on the edge of town with unobstructed views ... as well as having excellent food and lovely service. What stopped me was that it is listed as only #14 of all hotels in Wengen ... I am curious if you have any theories as to why this is? I will now also go look at the other you mention! I feel good though that if I pick either place they will be good.

also I was looking at the Bachalpsee earlier ... it looks gorgeous ... I wonder ho long it is to get there from Wengen?

Thanks so much for writing!!!!!

overholser
overholser
16 posts
new member
Nov 17, 2017 - 3:13 PM in reply to Mark

Hi Marki!

I will DEFINITELY go look at that hotel ... and also the Bachalpsee to see ho long it takes to get there. I am leaning toward staying in Wengen since it has the lift to Maanlichen right there and that is where the prettiest walk seems to start!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Nov 17, 2017 - 4:13 PM in reply to overholser

Hi Gillian-

<<" I did read that the town is a bit spoiled by overdevelopment in a few tour books .">>

I don't share that opinion. Instead, I'd say that there are plenty of hotels and restaurants to choose from. After Interlaken, Grindelwald is the most commercialized.

Check this:

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

Hotel ratings -

<<"What stopped me was that it is listed as only #14 of all hotels in

Wengen ... I am curious if you have any theories as to why this is?">>

The Beausite Park is considerably more expensive than the Bellevue. Remember that there are some truly grand luxury hotels in Wengen, too.. One theory is that moreexpensive hotels can get higher ratings.... fancier, more amenities,etc. Seems likely to me.

Also, the Bellevue is further from the center of town.

I stayed at the Bellevue in September. I picked it for good rates, excellent kitchen, and excellent views, and considering Kim's recommendation in the link above. It is well managed hotel, with lots of personal attention from the owner/manager Frau Graf-Engi. Well managed for me means carefully managed to control costs without losing comfort or service. I liked that style. If you like grand and luxurious surroundings, the Bellevue is not the place.

The view from the Beausite will be excellent...although I have never been up there, I know the viewing angles. A friend had a chalet not far from there. If it matters, the climb from the station has about 30 meters elevation change.

However, for the best views along the full length of the valley, generally it is believed that you should go to the north end of the village...at the church, or where the Hotel Bellevue is. That has been m y experience, and is why I chose the Bellevue.

My images from September have not been processed, and I had a fair amount of cloudy weather. But , I did get some views similar to the one attached. It was taken from a point almost directly below the Bellevue, near the cograil tracks, and close to the point where the old roadbed diverges from the new roadbed.

The unusually clear weather, found after about 5 or 6 attempts on different visits to Wengen, allowed a view all the way to the end of the valley.

The early morning shot from the (then hotel, now apartment building) "Eiger" shows athe angle more closely resembling what you could get from the center of town, although the Beusite Park is situated higher up the hill.

The Eiger Apartments are right by the train station.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Nov 17, 2017 - 4:21 PM by Slowpoke
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Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Nov 17, 2017 - 9:08 PM in reply to overholser

Hi Gillian -

I forgot to note in my previous post, that the Hotel Beausite Park is visible in the picture named "Looking Down on Wengen."

It is the large building on the edge of the forest in the lower right part of the image.

Slowpoke

Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
2131 posts
top member
Nov 18, 2017 - 3:23 AM in reply to overholser

>> It is literally amazing you mention this hotel, since I was temped to just go ahead and book it about ten minutes before you wrote ... the reason being that reviewers said it is on the edge of town with unobstructed views ... as well as having excellent food and lovely service. What stopped me was that it is listed as only #14 of all hotels in Wengen ... I am curious if you have any theories as to why this is?

Most of the hotels with the highest rankings on TripAdvisor (for any location) are well outside my price range, so I don't take any notice of the rankings as such. I do, however, read the comments, and take a lot of notice of those.

I usually choose my hotels by price, walking distance to a railway station, and the facilities/amenities that are important to me personally. Having chosen a hotel, I then check TripAdvisor for comments about that hotel before booking it. Only one hotel can be ranked #1, but there can be very many wonderful hotels.

I initially chose Hotel Bellevue for the view. I have stayed there for a total of almost 2 weeks and liked everything about it. On future trips, I will be going back to the Bellevue without hesitation.

Choosing a hotel is a very personal thing, with various factors more or less important to different people.

Alpenrose

Mark
Mark
166 posts
active member
Nov 18, 2017 - 4:27 AM

Hi Gillian,

I suspect many of us have such great memories of our stay in Wengen that we become passionate about our hotels and itineraries. I've attached a couple of photos taken from the balconey of our room at the Beausite Park Hotel. It was very comfortable but not especially luxurious nor overly expensive. It was much much less than the Riffelalp Hotel we stayed at in Zermatt. It too was owned and managed by a local Swiss family. We chose the half board and found the breakfast and dinners to be surperb. You are given your own table for the duration of you stay and the views are beautiful. Of course the rates should be easy to check on their website. The hotel is in a quiet relatively isolated location about 2-3 minute walk to the cable car and cooperate store. Probably 10 minute walk to train station.There is a dedicated phone at the train station to call the hotel and they will send a car to pick you up for no charge if you wish.

You mentioned Bachalpsee so i included a photo from August 2015. Lots of meadows so may have wildflowers if timing is right.Its easy to get to by cable car only or train then cable car from Wengen to First. Then easy walk to Bachalpsee.

Also photo of wildflowers on Kleine Scheidegg to Wengenalp walk taken in August. I would expect June would be much better for flowers.

Last photo of Grosse Scheidegg walk taken this past September. Too late for flowers but I expect they would be plentiful in June. Mark

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overholser
overholser
16 posts
new member
Nov 20, 2017 - 2:20 PM

Hello all!

Well, after researching this for hours, I have a new plan and I am hoping you all will weigh in on tails like perhaps favorite restaurants in each place? I have rented a VERy fancy apartment outside of Brienz directly on the lake with all glass facing the water for only 250 euros per night for a total of 6 nights 6/20-6/26. We are flying in from Venice to Zurich early, and will rent a car.

So:

6/20 - fly into Zurich, see Rhein Falls, drive to Brienz

6/21 - Drive to Lauterbrunnen, train to Wengen, cable car to Maanlichen and hike the Kleine

6/22 - Drive to Wilderswil and train to Shynige Platte

6/23 - Drive to Interlaken, train to Murren, cable cars to Shilthorn

6/24 - Drive to Grindelwald, Cable car to First station, hike to Bachalpsee

6/25 - Free day - (potential weather issues means we will shift all of these as needed) - possibly Jungfraujoch trip

6/26 - Drive -- Visit Lucerne on the way to late flight home from Zurich

What do you all think? Restaurants in Wengen, Murren, Grindelwald, Interlaken, Brienz? I know there is a nice mountain restaurants in Maanlichen and on the Shilthorn ...

THANK YOU ALL!

Gillian

overholser
overholser
16 posts
new member
Nov 20, 2017 - 2:29 PM
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Nov 20, 2017 - 3:54 PM in reply to overholser

Hi Gillian-

<<"What do you think?">>

Seem like a good deal. Nice to get the space and a kitchen.

I like Brienz.

Stop at Jobin for music boxes and the small museum (small fee). The food at the Lindenhof was always quite good, although it was years ago. Nice to have a car if you go there.

www.hotel-lindenhof.ch/en/

We also enjoyed the Brienzerbürli. My old favorite, the Weisses Kreuz, is a shadow of its former self.

We stayed in Brienz because it was cheaper than the Jungfrau region, and to go up on the Brienzer Rothorn. After a while, we gave up and stayed in Wengen, to be closer to the good stuff. ;-)

All that said, I'd stay where I can see the Jungfrau without delay if there are a few hours of clear weather on a day that is forecast to be mediocre.

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Nov 20, 2017 - 3:59 PM in reply to overholser

Hi Gillian-

I like your itinerary especially because you have allowed time to "smell the roses," or look at "die Wildblumen."

You'll have enough time on those trips to look a round and walk a bit.

If weather is a problem, you could go to Luzern a day early.

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Nov 20, 2017 - 4:03 PM in reply to Mark

Hi Marki-

Nice pictures. Two great views of the Jungfrau.

I particularly like the sunset light, in part because the cliffs on the left are nicely illuminated.

I'm surprised that you cannot see the valley floor; I though the hotel might be high enough.

Perfect lighting on the Bachalpsee.

Slowpoke

Mark
Mark
166 posts
active member
Nov 20, 2017 - 5:31 PM

Hi slowpoke,

I'm glad you liked the photos. I understand real photographers say lighting is everything. At this point in my life i'm not so particular. If the lighting in good in my photos it is usually serendipity, not planning, except maybe sunsets. A couple years ago I took a private course for a day from a professional photographer in Jackson Hole. He picked me up at 4:30 AM to make sure we got the best light on the Tetons. I got some really good photos but I'm not sure it's worth it. The best photos I have ever taken were at sunrise in Torres de Paine from our Explora Lodge bedroom. My wife yelled at me to look out the window and I jumped out of bed, opened the window, and snapped a dozen pictures leaning out the window in my boxers! Serendipity, plus a light sleeping wife.

The lower floors of the Beausite Park don't have a view of the valley floor. As I remember, that photo was taken from the 1st floor. I would guess the view from a top floor room would see more of Lauderbrunnen valley. Still, its a great place to stay with a good view, in my opinion. Mark

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