"Welcome to the Bernese Oberland" Interlaken by Ann75
Interlaken Travel Guide: 506 reviews and 1,355 photos
In 2008 we traveled to Europe, the main reason was to visit my mom, but of course we also want to travel around a little. We wanted to do a bunch of day trips in the area, but we also want to take a short holiday in 1 place and take my mom along so she could have a little holiday as well. In our search for a beautiful place none of us had been yet (in the summer time anyway) we thought of Switzerland. I have been to Switzerland once, but that was a ski trip when I was 17 years old. We were going to stay in a lovely chalet in the Interlaken area for about 12 days and visit the surrounding area of the Bernese Oberland. We were hoping to visit the Jungfraujoch, Lauterbrunnen Valley, Grindelwald with a trip to First from where we walk to the Bachalpsee, The Niederhorn, The Shilthorn, Kandersteg and the beautiful area around Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. That was our plan anyway, once we got there we were able to visit most of the places I mentioned a little earlier.
So, this travel page will encompass tips from all the places we have visited in the Bernese Oberland and not only from Interlaken. I will give a short day by day description below here of all the things we visited:
Day 1: Traveling by car from Belgium to Interlaken. We stayed at the top floor of a house in Ruchenbuhl, only a few km/miles from Interlaken. We had a beautiful view of Lake Thun from our balcony to enjoy!
Day 2: It was a rainy day so we decided to visit Interlaken and do a little shopping. After that we went to Lauterbrunnen where we saw the beautiful falls coming down from the big cliffs. We enjoyed a coffee and a snack here.
Day 3: Another wet day which was kind of getting 2 us as this was day number 3 with rain! We decided to drive to Lucerne which was about 45 minutes driving from the place we stayed and it had stopped raining just a little while after we got there. We walked around by the river, along the shops, had a lovely lunch and on the way back we stopped at Lungern Lake...so beautiful!
Day 4: Finally a sunny day! We got up early as we wanted to go to the Jungfraujoch today. It would be a day trip as traveling there and back alone would take about 3 to 4 hours. After dinner we drove up to Beatenberg as we were hoping to take the gondola up to the Niederhorn, but it was near closing time and we wouldn't have much time up there. We had some amazing views from the roadside in Baetenberg though, so the drive(15 min) was not all for nothing.
Day 5: Another beautiful day and we were thinking of going to the Schilthorn (Piz Gloria), but we heard that it’s another very busy tourist attraction and that Schynige Platte is also very beautiful but less busy. So, Schynige Platte it was! In the late afternoon we went to the Niederhorn again, we took the wrong cable car and went down instead of up. So after getting onto the right cable car, we got off too quickly and were only half way to the Niederhorn...we would try to visit another day if we would have the time!
Day 6 & 7: Another rainy day today so we went to Interlaken for some shopping on day 6 and we went to Bern for a few hours to shop a bit. On day 7 it was fairly nice so we drove to the town of Thun and walk around over there for a while. We stopped at a few viewpoints along the road to and from Thun. In the evening we just stayed in our apartement and enjoyed the beautiful views from our deck.
Day 8: It was another fairly nice day with sun and clouds. We decided to visit The Blausee which is in the area of Kandersteg which was about 45 minutes driving from our apartment. The Blausee was a nice little blue lake with picnic areas and walking trails. We stayed here until mid afternoon and the we made our way back to our apartment. When we got there the lady that owned the place was outside and we chatted with her for awhile and she mentioned taht a little hiking trail starts right behind the house that lead to a suspension bridge and a small waterfall. After walking uphill for about 15 minutes we could see the suspension bridge and the beautiful waterfall from the creek. If you continued on you could walk all the way to Beatenberg, but that was a little far and we were getting hot as it was quite warm outside. Once we got back to our apartment we enjoyed a swim in the backyard pool with a view of the Jungfrau...what a great way to end the day!
Day 9: It was a cloudy day today so we decided to have a little drive along the Brienzersee (Lake Brienz) to the town of Brienz. We stopped at a few nice places to enjoy the views along the way. We had a good view of the little castle in Iseltwald and the Castle/Hotel of Giessbach with the waterfalls. We could see it from across the lake. In Brienz we walked around a little and decided to go for coffee and have a snack. After that we went for a walk along the water and we could see that it was getting darker and that it was raining in the distance. We decided to go back to our apartment and spent a relaxing evening together.
Day 10: Today was our last day to use that regional pass and we had a last free day. The weather wasn’t that great but we were going anyway. Maybe the weather would get better as the day went on. We wanted to go to Grindelwald and take the gondola to “First” which is the name of a mountain, you pronounce it “Feerst”. We decided to hike to the Bachalpsee which was about 7km return. We got back to our apartment around dinner time and since we still had a free ticket day we decided to go to the Niederhorn and this time on time. And we got on the right gondola and didn’t get off too early...woohoo! The views were great and we also noticed some “Ibex” (some sort of mountain goat). So, it was a good choice to come up here again as we were blessed with some great views, beautiful sunray display and wildlife. That was a great ending to a perfect day!
Day 11: Today was our last day in Switzerland and we didn’t want to do too much. We had wanted to take a trip on one of those steamboats on Lake Thun or Lake Brienz. Before we left we saw the lady and man that owned the house we stayed at and they wanted us to come over in the evening for a drink to say goodbye. We agreed and would see Erica & Kurt later on in the evening. We did a a boat trip to Iseltwald which was a very quiet town with not too much happening. We walked to the little castle we saw there and enjoyed some nice views over Lake Brienz. When we came back we had dinner and relaxed for awhile. Around 8.00pm Kurt knocked on the door to invite us to come over for a while. We drank some wine that he made himself with some homemade bread and sausage...mmm, that was great. Kurt and Erica are such wonderful people and I really enjoyed meeting them. They live in an RV in their backyard for 3 months in the summer so they can rent out their house which has 3 apartments. The top floor where they actually live the rest of the year (and where we stayed), the bottom floor is divided into 2 apartments (a fair size apartment and a small studio). We enjoyed our stay very much and we were to go back to that area we would stay there again!
Day 12: Today we got up early as it was time to go home again. We had a full day of traveling ahead of us for the drive from Switzerland to Belgium
The Bernese Oberland is one of the most spectacular regions of Switzerland. It is well worth a visit, especially during the summer months. The combination of snow-capped mountain peaks, fresh air, summer heat, jagged rocks and lush rolling green hills will quickly fascinate you. If you like hiking then the Bernese Oberland is the place to be. You will be rewarded with 100% pure nature. From the romantic shores of Lake of Thun until the endless forests until the freezing cold in glaciers, one highlight follows the other.
Interlaken is a good place from which to explore the central region of the Bernese Oberland. This small town lays between two lakes, the Thunersee (Lake Thun) and the Brienzersee (Lake Brienz) and is located near the famous mountain trio: the Eiger (3,970m/13,025ft), Monch (4,099m/13,448ft) and the Jungfrau (4,158m/13,642 ft). Take a train or cable car to one of the many vantage points from which to view the incredible surroundings. A 40-minute train trip east of Interlaken will take you to Grindelwald. This typical swiss village is situated at the northern face of the Eiger. Unlike Wengen or Muerren over the ridge, Grindelwald is accessible by car and bus, and gets much more tourist traffic than the Lauterbrunnen resorts.
From Grindelwald you can take the Jungfrau Railway up to Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in Europe at 3,454m/11,333ft above sea level! Grindelwald has a network of cable-cars leading up to numerous short- and long-distance trails throughout the region and beyond.
It’s difficult to overstate how stunning the Lauterbrunnen Valley is – even seasoned Alpinists shrug their shoulders and call it the most beautiful valley in Europe! An immense U-shaped valley (the world’s deepest) with bluffs on either side rising 1000m/3000ft sheer, doused by some 72 waterfalls, it is utterly spectacular. However long you stay, two hours or two weeks, you won’t want to leave. Lauterbrunnen village itself lies on the valley floor, while the slopes above host two of Switzerland’s most appealing resorts.
Muerren to the west is the transfer point for a dramatic ride up the longest cable railway in the Alps to the Piz Gloria on the Schilthorn peak, while Wengen to the east is a stop on the train line up to Kleine Scheidegg and the Jungfraujoch. Both are car-free, perched on narrow shelves of pasture way above the world below, and both offer some of the best hiking to be enjoyed in the Alps. Other places to visit include the picturesque towns of Bönigen and Iseltwald as well as the western part of the Bernese Oberland with areas such as Gstaad, Simmental, Frutigenland and Hasliberg.
- Pros:Beautiful scenery that's easy accesible, different travel passes to suit your needs
- Cons:Quite expensive, some places can be very busy on sunny days
- In a nutshell:If you love mountains this is the place to be!
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