Hello Ryan and welcome to the forum! I'm glad to hear that you've found useful information here. Let's see if we can help you out as well:
1) I'm not sure a Swiss Card would be cost effective. It allows a free trip from the border to your destination and back and a 50% discount on other trips during your stay. This is worth the money if your inbound and outbound trip are rather long and expensive. The Swiss part of your inbound trip that would be covered by a Swiss Card, and would therefore be for free, would cost about CHF 53.00 (in 2nd class and per person, from Domodossola at the border to Interlaken Ost). The trip from Interlaken to Zurich Airport costs about CHF 63.00. Both trips aren't expensive enough to really profit from the Swiss Card advantages. In all, this means that you're better off with a Swiss Half Fare Card
, allowing a 50% discount on all train, bus and boat trips (including your inbound and outbound journey). Buying a Regional-Pass Bernese Oberland on top of this would probably be too expensive, as you don't plan to travel that intensively. Another disadvantage of the Regional-Pass Bernese Oberland is that it doesn't provide discounts for your inbound and outbound trip.
2) It's very important go have proper gear when getting into the Swiss mountains. Weather circumstances can change rapidly, even on clear and sunny days. You have to be prepared for sudden changes at all times. And even in July, high trails can be covered with snow and sandals may not be good enough. I'd recommend to rent high quality hiking boots for this kind of trails. At Schynige Platte above Wilderswil (a beautiful viewing point which is worth a visit!) you'll find a test centre for Lowa hiking boots
; they can be tried for free during one day. Renting shoes is probably possible in outdoor shops in Interlaken as well. I suggest that you visit the tourist office to ask for more information. Please note that it can be a disadvantage to take long hikes with shoes that haven't adapted to your feet yet; this might cause pain and blisters.
3) I have no personal experience with Swiss campings. I have seen two from a distance that both look nice: camping Jungfrau in Unterseen near Interlaken and camping Jungfrau in Lauterbrunnen. Other campings are listed at this overview
. As far as I know, wild camping isn't allowed in large parts of the country. Rules may very per canton or area. I do know that it does happen now and then. It's best to ask for advice at a local tourist office. In any case, be sure to obey general rules such as cleaning up your garbage, don't make open fires (especially during dry and warm periodes), and so on.
4) The area around Mürren, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen and Grindelwald (also called the Jungfrau region) holds lots of the Bernese Oberland highlights. Beautiful viewing points can be visited here, including the world-famous Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn. Other tips are:
- Kleine Scheidegg, which is literally at the foot of the famous Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau trio;
- Männlichen, a viewing point which can be reached from both Wengen and Grindelwald;
- First, where you should definitely take a hike to the Bachalpsee, maybe continue your route to Schynige Platte, or hike to Grosse Scheidegg.
- Schynige Platte, which I mentioned before.
Please take a look at our overview of day trips
and hiking tips
in the Bernese Oberland for further orientation. In 11 days, the Jungfrau region will offer more than enough possibilities to enjoy lovely views and hikes each day. The areas around lake Thun and lake Brienz are wonderful as well. On days on which you want to take a break, strolling along the shores can be very relaxing, just as a boat ride on one of the lakes. A true gem is the Gastern valley near Kandersteg as well. As you like hiking and being in the outdoors, I think you'll appreciate this quiet valley!