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Is Wengen/Jungfraujoch overrun with tourists?

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Chagrin Falls, Ohio
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Is Wengen/Jungfraujoch overrun with tourists?

We will be in central Switzerland for 3-4 days in late June (2 adults, 3 children ages 7, 8, and 11). We are a pretty active family and love being outdoors, so are looking for the perfect place to experience the scenic beauty of the Alps, hike, etc. From everything that we have read, Wengen/Murren sounds perfect (love the car-free aspect, scenic, easy access to trains, hikes--not interested in night-life, etc.). My only concern is that a native Swiss friend mentioned that it is very touristy--and I guess that it probably is true to some extent since all the guide books say that it is a "must-do"---I am just wondering if it is that much more crowded than say Luzern/Pilatus, Engelberg/Titlus? For us, hiking the beautiful trails would really be ruined if we were walking along in a herd of people! Our friend suggested Engelberg as less touristy, but it looks like a much bigger town than either Wengen or Murren ...... we like small, quiet and off-the-beaten path.... Any thoughts would be appreciated! Are we worrying for nothing (sounds like everyone LOVES the Jungfrau region) or should we be looking in less commonly-traveled areas (such as Graudunden). I am sure there are plenty of spectacular mountains around---maybe we don't have to go to THE tallest peaks....? THANK YOU in advance for any advice you might have. It would be a lot easier if we had more time and could go to multiple places.

Zurich, Switzerland
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1. Re: Is Wengen/Jungfraujoch overrun with tourists?

It is quite touristy, but most of them are doing a daily excursion by bus and are wearing flip flops...

So you will find them in trains and buses but not hiking (or at least not for long...).

But the view is breathtaking.

Engelberg/Titlis is very nice region as well, you can see the lakes around, but of course is not as big.

Actually for hiking, one of my favourite is Arosa which is very well organised for hiking with many mountain restaurants and paths. The reason why I really like it is the "open view". The village itself is at 1800 meters already.

Arosa is part of Graubünden, but I wouldn't say its less commonly travelled, you just don't have the huge buses of tourists visiting.

If you want additional details just let me know.

San Jose, CA
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for Wengen, Jungfrau Region
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2. Re: Is Wengen/Jungfraujoch overrun with tourists?

As Susy-1974 said, in Wengen you will see some tourists but not for long and mostly only around the train station. The folks that stay in the village typically fall into one of three camps

1) they are hard core hikers therefore up and out early and gone all day (not so many of these)

2) they are with tour groups there mostly to take the train ride up to Jungfraujoch or down to the lakes. You only see them when the group is coming and going at the train station, other than that they are out at destinations or sequestered in their hotel (where they also take their morning and evening meals). This bunch is usually only in town for a day or two.

3) they are couples/families that do easy walks and other excursions during the day, then head back to their hotels/apartments to read, admire the views, what have you.

The easy walks in the area -- namely Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg and Grütschalp to Mürren can be very busy since they are easy to get to and pretty much anyone can do them. But they are both worth it for the views! Beyond that, you won't see many folks on hiking trails. June is not yet high season so it should be relatively quiet.

Now, Jungfraujoch, that's another story. Usually it's a mob scene: trains full to the brim, at least half are large tour groups (most coming up from Interlaken), lots of people up top which, your friend is right, is very touristy and commercial. Unless you go up Jungfraujoch you won't run into those crowds anywhere, they don't get off the train when it passes through Wengen. If you want to head up one of the peaks I highly recommend Schilthorn instead. Not nearly as many people, far superior views, easier and cheaper to get to. What's not to like?

We've hiked all over the country (including one year all the way across on the Alpine Pass Route) and keep coming back to Wengen as our favorite. I have a lengthy (40 pages) document describing hikes, things to do, transport tips, etc written from a Wengen base (been there 16 times). If you'd like a copy send me a private message with your email address.

Auckland Region...
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3. Re: Is Wengen/Jungfraujoch overrun with tourists?

Hi ...I would dearly love to read your report on Wengen please..We are travelling from new zealand on the 1st of april with our 12 year old ...wanting to experience the beauty of mountains , villages and maybe even get a day of skiing in (although I don't want to necessarily base of accommodation around that solely ...so wengen seems the way to go ??)..or saas fee? ...or sils?.Some easy walking would be a bonus .we have an 8 day swiss pass too and want to take in the glacier express and bernina railway .Any suggestions you have would be welcome . Thanks so much ...margarete

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4. Re: Is Wengen/Jungfraujoch overrun with tourists?

Hi- My wife and I are headed to Wengen for the last week of May. I would very much appreciate your travel tips. Thanks, markkirshner1@yahoo.com

Martigny...
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5. Re: Is Wengen/Jungfraujoch overrun with tourists?

I have to say I get a little bit "peeved" when tourists coming here ask if a certain place they want to visit might be "over run with tourists". The reason tourists go there in the first place is that it is a site of natural beauty, or is particularly interesting, or they have heard it is a "must see". And, let's face it, when I go to another country I assume that if I am visiting such a place I should expect to find other tourists (like me in that case) visiting there...

All that said: Most people when they go to the Oberland go to Interlaken (ugh!) and the Jungfraujoch (wow!). If you go to Wengen, Mürren etc and stay there, and then walk, you are not going to be flooded with tourists who normally don't seem to walk very much anyway. (By our standards, that is!)

Most of our cities - Luzern for example - live on tourism. So does the Grisons. (Graubunden). But this does not mean that you cannot enjoy what you see and what you do. Neither does it mean that I (Swiss) cannot enjoy what I see and what I do in this wonderful country... I would simply put this feeling of "is it or isn't it "touristy" aside and go to a place because it has what I want to see or to do...

Knoxville, TN
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for Interlaken
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6. Re: Is Wengen/Jungfraujoch overrun with tourists?

Agree - don't know why people are so worried about tourists. Every time I'm in Switzerland I'm a tourist, and I know it.

Mürren is much quieter with less people than Wengen. Mürren is my favorite of these Alpine Villages, and even though it takes a bit longer to get the Jungfrau from Mürren than from Wengen it's worth it to me to stay in Mürren.

Yes, tourists also don't walk very much as compared to the Swiss. I no longer believe when a local tells me something is just 15 minute walk. That really means a 30 minute workout!

Garmisch-Partenkirch...
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7. Re: Is Wengen/Jungfraujoch overrun with tourists?

hi Margarete303,

Just like to add a note about the Graubünden. It does have quite a few tourists, as Susy-1974 notes, but you probably don't "see" them as tourists because they're speaking German and are wearing hiking clothes! Yup, many folks travel from Germany and other places in Switzerland to hike there, so I think there is more of a chance of populated hiking trails there than in the Jungfrau area.

I love kimsanjose's depiction of the ranges of visitors to Wengen; I think it's exactly right!

s

Martigny...
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8. Re: Is Wengen/Jungfraujoch overrun with tourists?

I always feel that I am a tourist when I go to Bern, the Grisons or anywhere out of my own canton. And I can also feel like a tourist when I am in the Haut Valais... wherever things are different from my home environment in fact. And there is nothing wrong with this. Why should there be... what does irk me is seeing bus loads of people - as Kimsanjose said I think - wearing flip flops and strolling about in the mountains. It looks ridiculous and besides it is very dangerous!! But even if you took all the tour buses that go to Interlaken in one day and put all those people on the mountain between Wengen and Kleine Scheidegg there would be so much room left ! The mountain could never be "crawling with tourists"... (makes them sound like bedbugs!!)

Guildford, United...
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9. Re: Is Wengen/Jungfraujoch overrun with tourists?

I have walked from Murren to the Schilthorn in August something like a dozen times, taking around two hours, and usually seen perhaps 10 people along the way. I too find it a little odd that tourists going to the world's most popular tourist destinations are keen to avoid tourists.

Usk, United Kingdom
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10. Re: Is Wengen/Jungfraujoch overrun with tourists?

LondonBob,

Are you saying it only took you 2 hours to climb from Murren to the top of the Schilthorn? Isn't that about 6000 feet of height gain?