The Bernese Oberland in Switzerland
"Bernese Oberland" is the name given to one of the beautiful regions of Switzerland which has Interlaken at its centre. It is probably the grandest and most scenic regions in all Europe, words are barely adequate to describe its majestic splendour. The area combines stunning scenery, invigorating air with peace and tranquillity; a formula to relax and revitalize even the most jaded traveller. The landscape varies from lush green meadows with bright alpine flowers, sparkling lakes, cascading waterfalls, pine forests and quaint mountain villages with their flower-decked wooden chalets to the mighty snow-capped Jungfrau and Eiger mountains. From March to late October the countryside is a blaze of ever changing colour, ranging from the vivid carpets of spring flowers to autumn tints. It is not difficult to understand why so many poets and writers since Byron, Browning and Tennyson have been inspired to write about this region. The Jungfrau in now recognised by "UNESCO", as a World Natural Heritage site.
As its name implies is situated between two lakes and 570m above sea level, Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. Interlaken is 3km (one mile) from our site set in the heart of the Bernese Oberland region. Nearby we have three famous peaks Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. Interlaken today is a holiday and conference resort of international importance, and an ideal starting point for countless excursions in to the region's top destinations. Interlaken boasts a fantastic view of the Jungfrau Massif from "Höheweg" Interlaken's famous high street, at 700-metre-long boulevard in Interlaken's promenade with windows of exclusive boutiques, watch and jewellery shops and luxurious hotels. On the other end of the scale, also boasts museums, cheese making in the Chas Dorf (Little cheese village), Flower clock in the grounds of the Kursaal, Horse drawn carriages, Casino, making it a fashionable resort with a scenic village character. In the surrounding area Interlaken can offer numerous places to visit. Heimwehfluh with its model railway and Bob run SBB model trains. Interlaken has its own mountain the Harder Kulm where you can take a funicular train to the top. Here you can relax in the garden of the mountain restaurant and take in the magnificent view of Interlaken and the surrounding mountains. Two railway stations Ost (East) and West ,Ost being the central point for rail change over to all destinations from Lucerne, Bern, Zurich or further afield to Berlin, Paris, London, Milan, in fact most European cities. Alternately you could stay local and from Ost depart in to the mountains or catch a romantic lake steamer the choice is yours.
For Children Interlaken area "Heimwehfluh" with its restaurant, play grounds, bob run & model railway. "Chasli Dorf" in Interlaken and see cheese made traditionally. Experience the thrill of paddle steamers (both lakes) and steam trains. A short journey to "St Beatus caves" to explore the labyrinth of passages (guided). Spend the day at "Ballenberg" a working Swiss Open Air Museum with cheese making, meat smoking and traditional crafts. Visit the capital Bern enjoy a city with ease, Bern Zoo with many animals along the beautiful riverside walk; enjoy a drink at one of three restaurants. Let the children experience the art of wood carving at Jobin in Breinz. 70 mins away is Lucerne and the Transport museum with Trains, Planes, Boats to Telephones it's a learning wonderland for all and an adventure for the children.
Trains to the Jungfrau region in the direction of Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen with connections to the railways to Mürren and from there to the Schilthorn as well as via the Kleine Scheidegg to the Jungfraujoch depart from the Interlaken Ost railway station. A fleet of ships, including one historic paddle-steamer on each lake Loetschberg & Blumesalp, cruises on Lakes Thun and Brienz. Interlaken is located on the «Golden Pass» panorama route from Montreux on Lake Geneva past the luxury holiday resort of Gstaad to Interlaken and from there across the Brünig Pass to Lucerne.
A short distance from Interlaken, on a sunny south-facing slope, lays Beatenberg-Niederhorn, a paradise for paragliders. For hikers there is an extensive network of hiking routes. The Niederhorn also provides a habitat for ibexes, chamois and marmots. (Formally a health resort) On the lakes your activities can range from Sailing, Swimming, Sub Aqua, Water skiing, Boat hire or Fishing. Near Interlaken apart from walking and hiking there is forest cableway up to 70m high, wine tasting, wood carving, cheese making, river rafting, sky diving, pot holing, climbing, abseiling in fact probably one of the most active region around.
Winter visitors benefit from the central location of Interlaken and the associated opportunity to every day pick their favourite among the ski regions of the Jungfrau Top Ski Region (Mürren/Schilthorn, Kleine Scheidegg/Männlichen and First) or the family-oriented ski region of Beatenberg. Over 45 mountain railways, aerial cableways, chair and ski lifts take athletes to 200 kilometres of pistes. Cross-country skiers and toboggan riders also are well catered for in the vicinity. And there are over 220 kilometres of winter walking trails in Interlaken, Beatenberg, Habkern, Wilderswil and the Jungfrau region.
Harder Kulm:- Since 1908 you have been able to reach this mountain from the outskirts of Interlaklen.It takes just eight minutes to travel by funicular from Interlaken to the Harder Kulm, Interlaken's home mountain, where the restaurant, at 1322 metres above sea level, is reminiscent of a small castle. The Harder Kulm is the starting point for several mountain hikes. It also offers wonderful views of the Eiger, Mönch & Jungfrau as well as Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. It is a venue for regular folklore evenings. Children will love letting off steam in the playground.
Heimwehfluh - a nostalgia funicular provides transport to the vantage terrace with a restaurant, all-weather toboggan run, model railway display and large playground.
Jungfrau Tourism Museum in Unterseen - the regional tourism museum shows 200 years of tourism in the Jungfrau region.
THUN - SPEIZ
Castle and vineyards (run by the monastery). The castle and church date back to the middle ages. Spiez has a harbour inlet, which is ideal for an evening stroll. A Lake steamer ride on Lake Thun is very relaxing amid beautiful scenery. The round trip from Interlaken will take approximately 4 hours. You may join or leave the steamer at any of the numerous stops.
A fascinating medieval town dating back to Neolithic times now much improved with narrow cobbled streets in the old part of the town. The name THUN city derives from the Celtic term Dunum, meaning "fortified city". It fell to Rome in 58 BC, around 400 AD the Burgundians forced the Romans out and soon after became the frontier for Christian Burgundians and the Pagan. There is a four towered castle, which stands out above the town. Thun is excellent for shopping with a wide selection of shops to suit all tastes. The shops are closed until 1pm on Mondays in Thun (3-4 Hours). In 1264 Thun received state rights and in 1384 the town was bought by the canton of Bern. Thun was the capital of the Oberland canton of the Helvetic Republic. In 1819 a Military School was founded in the city, which became the main military school in Switzerland. Thun was finally connected to the railway network of Switzerland in 1859 and telephone arrived in 1888. Today you will find Thun modern and tastefully holding its heritage very well.
Located on the north side of Lake Thun. Well known for its lakeside castle (Origins start in the middle ages and constantly been updated) which has a very attractive roof and beautiful museum covering the armoury and arms used throughout the Swiss history. From the past Oberhofen was a agricultural community mainly in vines due to the south facing slopes. At its best seen from the lake on a lake steamer trip. In the grounds of the castle are some beautiful gardens named after Sir Winston Churchill (2-3 Hours). Oberhofen and the village church of Hilterfingen actually overlap
Is a small village situated on the northern side of Lake Thunnersee with a small funicular. The funicular train ride takes you to the mountain village of Beatenberg. From here you get some magnificent views of the Eiger, Junfrau, Monch mountains and Lake Thun. From BEATENBERG you can take a cable car to the Niederhorn with its panoramic view of the Bernese Oberland.
On the shore of Lake Thun (Thunnersee) is St Beatus caves (prehistoric cave dwelling) access to the caves can be by Boat, bus, Car or walk and a reasonable fitness is required to reach the entrance. There is a 10-minute walk from the car park to the cave entrance or 20 mins from the boat station (2-3 Hours required). A guided tour of the caves goes to an approximate depth of 1000m along a well-lit path. St. Beatus Caves themselves extend far into the interior of the mighty Niederhorn massif. In the 18th century the only access was via the picturesque pilgrims' path to St. Beatus Caves. Nowadays it's far easier to reach by boat, bus or car.
Is a very picturesque village situated on Lake Brienz (Brienzersee) Brienz was documented around 1146, in 1528 Brienz became part of the Canton of Berne. Thought its history is famous for its woodcarving industry. Most of the woodcarving is now done in the homes tucked in the surrounding villages. There is still a wood carving school in Brienz where you can see woodcarvers at work (5-6 Hours). Take a walk around the village and see the wood carvers signatures all collected on to one House. Locally the Brienz Rothorn (Steam Railway) Ascends to over 2,351 metres 7,713 ft offering a fantastic view of the surrounding region. Ballanberg Open air Museum offer a wonderful opportunity to visit many parts of Switzerland in A historic working Museum. From Brienz Station time your day right and the Loetschberg Paddle Steamer will Call to guide you around the lake just like the many other modern lake boats.
Is called the valley of the waterfalls. You will see why this is as you Travel up the valley. With numerous waterfalls on the left and right, the most spectacular being at Lauterbrunnen the "Staubbach" or sometimes called wedding veil. From Lauterbrunnen you can take a cable car and train to Grutschalp, where you can either walk to Murren or take the train.
LAUTERBRUNNEN /Isenfluh/ Sulwald
A paradise for flowers; venture out into the wilderness with such ease. At the top of the cable car you could follow the signs for Aussichtpunkt (wonderful viewpoint over looking Wilderswil. Directions:- On route to Lauterbrunnen you will pass Zweilutschinen railway Station, about 1 miles beyond, there is a road to the right that restricts certain traffic . Either follow the road by car or at Lauterbrunnen Station catch a mini bus up to Isenfluh, Walk on up to Sulwald or catch the cable car to Sulwald. To a Beautiful walking area.
A traffic free village 5,000 ft. above the valley. Wander along the many well-marked paths or take the cable car from Murren to the top of the Schilthorn Piz Gloria, of 007-bond fame. The Piz Gloria has a revolving restaurant and gives a superb panoramic view of the mountain range. Further up the Lauterbrunnental is a Heliport. Here a helicopter can take you for a flight amidst the mountains peaks where you will get an unforgettable bird's eye view of the mountains.
By train from Lauterbrunnen, Wengen is situated high above the valley on the opposite side of the valley to Muerren, and is also traffic free. Famed for its fast winter ski slopes.
From Brienz take a 1-hour train ride up the Rothorn, one of the last steam operated mountain railways in Switzerland. A steam or diesel train will take you to a height of some 7,700ft. On the journey you will pass through forests and pastures. The scenery all the way is breathtaking (4-5 Hours).
BALLENBERG (Cultural open air Museum)
Near Brienz, is an open-air museum of Swiss houses from each region of Switzerland and various other ancient buildings restored and rebuilt as they were many years ago. Spread out over 130 acres, it gives an insight into the way the Swiss used to live. If you visit Ballenberg on a Saturday or Sunday you will often be able to see a selection of crafts, Lace making, Spinning, Wood Carving, Basket Weaving, etc. To see all that Ballenberg has to offer you would need to allow at least 4 to 5 hours and be equipped with comfortable shoes.
This is a cascade of 10 glacier fed waterfalls inside the mountain. The Trummelbach falls drains the glacier of the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau mountains. In full flow the water gushes down at some 18,000 litres per second bringing with it over 20,000 tons of boulders and debris per year. Trummelbach falls is the only glacier fed waterfall in Europe inside a mountain and still accessible to the public. (3 Hours).
Situated at the end of the Lauterbrunnental. From here you can take the cable car to the Schilthorn, which takes approximately 30 minutes. There are also numerous well-marked walks into the mountains.
STECHELBERG / STEINBERG
This walk is all day From Stechelberg in the Lauterbrunnen valley to Steinberg (where you pass one hotel and if you are lucky, reach the second Hotel. Beautiful area with the best of nature locally. The local walking club does offer walks with them and you can enquire in Lauterbrunnen Tourist office for further information. Directions:- Park at the end of Lauterbrunnen valley and follow the valley on up into the mountains.
From Grindelwald your can enjoy one of Europe's longest gondolas to a spectacular panoramic view of the local region with Schilthorn & Junfrau easily viewed or Wengen catch the Cable car up to Mannlichen. For an easy walk you could follow the well-signed path to Kleine Scheidegg.
Area is a natural park and has some fantastic wild life marmot deer, flowers and reptiles with a beautiful lake at the top. Directions:- Interlaken - Brienz - Merringen - Innertkirchen then approximately two to three miles towards Susten pass turn left to Engstelen /Joch pass a further two to three miles you pay for toll road which takes you a further four to five miles to a large car park. 5 min. walk to lake.
SHILTHORN - PIZ GLORIA.
Of James Bond fame, this breathtaking Cableway is the longest in the Bernese Oberland. At the summit 10,000 ft the Piz Gloria revolving restaurant provides the perfect vantage point for magnificent views of over 200 mountain peaks. On a clear day you can see Mt Blanc and Pilatus and beyond (4-5 Hours).
World renowned as a first class location it walking and visits like Interlaken are numerous. First is a gondola to a beautiful vantage point for the valley and looking across to Mannlichen. Take a bus to Bussalp and walk to First.
A very pretty village overlooked by the Doldenhorn and Blumisalp mountains. From Kandersteg you can take the car by train through the Lotschberg-Simplon tunnel into Italy. Alternatively take the chairlift and a relaxing walk through flower decked pastures to Oeschinensee, a spectacular lake in the heart of the mountains, with a choice of well marked paths back to Kandersteg (5 Hours).
Pass Drive to Kandersteg, cable car to Stock. From here you can either walk right through to Leukerbad or Goppenstien and return by train to Kandersteg (you will need all day for this). (Take a good waking map) or you could return via the Stock Cable car.
KANDERSTEG / SELDEN
Valley that offers a different view of Switzerland as you pass between rocks to a new valley. Directions:- Interlaken - Spiez - Frutigen - Kandersteg
At Kandersteg go right through the town to the Stock cable car pay for ticket to Selden at restaurant at then continue on up the road bearing left .The road is about 8/9 mile long. The approach to this valley is a single-track road with specific times to go up and down. (30 min. duration).
KANDERSTEG / LOTSCHENTAL
Though a long day we feel it's well worth the effort as you enter a quite different Switzerland with an opportunity to walk to a glacier at the end of the valley. Directions:- Interlaken - Spiez - Frutigen - Kandersteg -train to Goppenstien. At Goppenstien Instead of travelling down to Sion valley (BRIG), turn left and follow the road to the end. We guess this takes approximately 30min. (with many interesting stops on route).
This is a short distance further up the road through Kandersteg. A cable car will take you to Sunnbuel in the heart of the mountains, a paradise for walkers.
The highest mountain village accessible by road with snow capped mountains, flower decked pastures. A wonderland of peace and tranquillity, with numerous chair lifts, cable cars & Walks as means of transport is by Bus or car (5 Hours).
A Natural park with its outstanding scenery and easy access. You'll wonder why you have not been there before. Directions:- Interlaken / Habkern Sign to Schwendi pass through this small village and keep going, you will come to a toll road machine then there's another 8/9 miles to the to enjoy. (Continue up this road for quite some distance into the natural park).
HABKERN/ GRUNBERG PASS
Interlaken / Habkern continue through to the end where there is a car park near the rifle range and walk on to the mountains. This walk is ideal for hot days as you spend quite some time in the woods and will eventually arrive at Eriz (see Eriz )
Good walking area Beautiful nature reserve area behind the Niederhorn. Directions:- Thun - Steffisberg road to Lucerne 8/9 mile keep your eyes out for the only sign its behind a house. To " ERIZ " about 5 miles down the road you arrive at Eriz continue and then continue Innereriz.
Museum Only by post bus but you taken up the Grimsel Pass to a Lake and under the lake to see the hydroelectric power station and it fascinating surrounds (4-5 Hours).
GUNTEN/ Sigriswill / Thun
The northern route to Thun you can turn right up into the hills at Guntun (you will find a good map useful) It takes you up to a spectacular view of lake Thun and if followed carefully return just outside Thun. Directions:- Take the road to Thun via St. Beatus Caves follow on to you see a sign to Aeschlen on you right. Now follow up the hill until you see a SMALL SIGN to Thun and follow though the woods passing a hospital at the back of Thun.
Taking the Loescherberg train to the Sion valley any travelling up to the Furka pass you pass through many beautiful villages of these: - Moral is the first village where you take the cable car to Riederalp with its beautiful panoramic views of the GOMS valley and on up to hohfluh the end of the Aletschgletscher (viewed from Jungfraujoch). Betten offers the cableway to Bettmeralp and Bettmerhorn for 360 deg views of wonderful valleys and Glacier Fiesch offers again a cableway to Fiescheralp & Eggishorn where you can look back up the Aletschgletscher to Junfraujoch and behind you views to Italy and Furka pass. All have fantastic walking and complete a beautiful round trip journey.( World Heritage area UNESCO, 7-8 Hours min)
LOETSCHBERG ramp walk Walking from Hotenn near Goppenstien to Lalden.
A mini wonder world of Butterflies and small animals with a noctorarma where the clocks are moved on 12 hour so you can see the many night animal that would otherwise be miss. To reach Papilorama follow through Bern to-wards Lausanne, You will find them just outside Kerzers.
Good walking area above LENK. Directions:- Interlaken - Spiez - Frutigen - Adelboden - pass though the town out the other side keep left and within a mile or so you will cross a bridge.
At Zweisimmen there is a most charming gondola to Rinderberg offering some spectacular views along with a very pleasant walk back to your transport.
Directions:- From Interlaken follow all signs to Spiez then bear left to Zweisimmen. Park close to the main railway Station
You are going to need a map for this one with its backdrops - forests and spectacular views. Open your map out and draw a line between Spiez and Fribourg its right in the middle and now plan your route best from Thun to Friboug (Switzerland) Its return via La Gruyeres (The castle and cheese village). Make it all day and enjoy it at a pace you can't forget.
A wide valley taking you to Gstaad, the Jaun Pass. Stop at Erlenbach and take a cable car to the STOCKHORN. The cable car glides gently over pastures and through forests. At the halfway stage you will see a beautiful lake and numerous paths for walking (5 Hours).
MEIRINGEN/ Aareschlucht Gorge. - A 1400m long 200m wide (at widest point) carved out in the glacier period where the Aare river now cut its way through towards lake Brienz. Tel =41 (0)33 971 40 48.
Beautiful walking area backing onto the Grindelwald valley. Visit the Rosenlaui falls. Direction:- Interlaken -Brienz -Meiringen. Shortly after passing through Meiringen on route to Innertkirchen you will pass a small turning to Schwarzwald alp & Rosenlaui take this road to follow to the end.
JUNGFRAUJOCH - TOP OF EUROPE ( World Heritage area UNESCO )
The highest railway station in Europe, 3454m/11333ft. Probably the most famous train journey in Switzerland. A thrilling tour to the Alpine wonderland of snow and ice, which should not be missed. The beautiful scenery of meadows and pastures changes as the train climbs inside the Eiger and emerges among snow capped mountains, Glaciers and snowfields. At the summit you'll find an Observatory, Research centre, exhibition, Ice Palace and Restaurant. Remember to take with you sun/snow glasses, adequate clothing and flat shoes. This trip is not suitable for anyone with asthma or heart condition. A trip of a lifetime! (6-7 Hours)
THREE PASS (Susten Grimsel & Furka)
Take the road from Interlaken to Meiringen, and then follow the signs to Innertkirchen. You will approach the Grimselpass and wind your way further up into the mountains. On reaching the top a height of some 7,000ft take the road marked to Andermatt, you are then on the Furkapass. Visit The Rhone Glacier, you can go inside and experience the Glacier from a different perspective. Look out for marmots playing on the mountainside, and the pink blooms of the mountain rose. Eventually you will take the road over the Susten Pass and back to Innertkirchen.
Experiance the Steam of the past with "Dampfbahn Furka-Bergstrecke" runing through some of the alps finest scenery by Steam locomotive. Check out the Comb price which includes either travel by bus or train and return from Mieringen . (www.Dfb.ch - www.oberwaldglesch.ch - www.postauto.ch) Seat reservation with DFB 0848 000 144 Email email@example.com
THREE PASSES (Col du pillon, Col du Mosses & Juan Pass).
Follow a circular route along the Simmental valley through the picturesque towns of Zweisimmen, Gstaad, Gsteig, Col du Pillon, Col des Moses, Chateau- d'oex and Gruyeres. Famous for its cheese and Castle perched high upon a hill, Gruyeres was once the former capital of a mediaeval earldom. You can still see signs of medieval times in the houses and castle. Leaving Gruyeres take the road to Broc (Nestle Chocolate Factory tour seasonal) and make you way back over the Jaun Pass via Charmey to complete the route back to the Simmental valley.