Hi Monica -
<<"Is Wengen the best place for us to stay? How long does it generally take
to go to the sights in the area. One post suggested Lauterbrunnen as a
base to see the area. Since i have never been I don't have a concept of
the ease or difficulty of getting around.">>
Bernese Oberland -
To understand the lay of the land, use this map:
map.search.ch/?pos=638864,162512&z=16 &poi=bergbahn,halteste lle,parking,zug
In the menu, under "points of Interest" I have turned on some options under traffic. It shows the transport stations/stops.
Zoom in further, and you can see the transport ( cableways and trains), like so:
map.search.ch/?pos=638660,161452&z=64 &poi=bergbahn,halteste lle,parking,zug
Lauterbrunnen is a compromise. Better access to transport outside the valley, and in between the Mürren-Schilthorn locations and Wengen/Kleine Scheideg/Jungfraujoch locations. It is on the floor of the valley. So, the views are not a scenic as from the higher villages. My own belief is that Wengen is the best option, because you are only a short train ride from Lauterbrunnen ( about 20 minutes)and have have better views. Good access to the famous Männlichen to Kleien Scheidegg walk, as well, because the cable way ( die Luftseilbahn, abbreviated LSB in the timetables) up to Männlichen leaves from the center of the village.. A few pictures are attached. That particular one goes up to the station "Männlichen LWM." That is the Lauterbrunnen-Wengen-Männlichen route).
Grindelwald has it own set of places that are closer, such as First and the Bachalpsee, and has views up to the Jungfrau massif. Train access to the Jungfrau is similar to that from Wengen. It is the most commercial of the 4 main choices.
Here is a bit of light reading about the area, focused on Wengen:
The timetable will help you understand the times involved in travel in the area:
Follow the links under the Bernese Oberland page to the Jungfrau region and find some good hikes.
Also, hiking in general:
My experience is that kids get bored looking at scenery from trains, but like to hike in the mountains or other places with good views as an accessory to the hike.Don't know how serious you are as hikers? Good topo maps are readily available at different scales. Switzerland has a lot of ups and downs, and if you like good maps, this one (which shows altltudes) is the best one online:
map.geo.admin.ch/?topic=ech&lang=en&bgLa yer=ch.swisstopo.pixel karte-farbe&layers=ch.bav.ha ltestellen-oev,ch.swisstopo.swiss tlm3d-wanderwege&layers_visi bility=false,true&E=26 37110.51&N=1162886.15& zoom=5
In the menu, I have turned on "Hiking Trails." You could also turn on transport stops.
Here is a hike that I like. Follow the link in this thread to the "Swiss Path" (der Weg der Schweiz):
There is a lot to see and do around the lake. That region is the heart of the original Swiss Federation, and that history is accessible. My then eight-year old granddaughter was fascinated by how different people lived,so a visit too Bethlehem House in Schwyz was a high point of our trip a few years ago.
<<"Do you have any suggestions on how many days we should stay in Lucerne
and Wengen? We arrive on a Thursday and leave the following Friday. With
3 children do you suggest other cities / must see areas or should i
keep it simple? Should i include Zermatt?">>
Off hand, I'd say you could spend a couple of weeks in each area - Luzern or the Jungfrau region. ;-). Especially true since you enjoy hiking.
Zermatt is certainly a possibility. I'd be inclined to only have two bases, but you have time for 3, if you don't mind moving your base.
A day trip to Zermatt from the BO is reasonable. It is easiest from Interlaken, and goes through Visp ( see above in this thread for description of the route options) and the further into the valley and villages you start from, the more time it takes, especially since the mountain trains are slow. Faster from Interlaken. Interlaken is a good transport hub, but that is the only thing that recommends it to me. Larger, more commercial, of course.