Bernese Oberland, Switzerland
The Bernese Oberland is one of the most spectacularly beautiful 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 you will find your "Eldorado" in the Bernese Oberland. 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, Lake Thun and Lake Brienz and is at no distance from the triple peaks of the Jungfrau, Mönch and Eiger mountains.
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 you will find the skiing and hiking center of 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 3,454 metres above sea level! Only a short bus trip away is the Obergletscher (Upper Glacier) with the ice grottoes. Grindelwald has a network of cable-cars leading up to numerous short- and long-distance trails throughout the region and beyond. Skiing is excellent, but there are also plenty of hiking trails which stay as such all winter, making this a top choice for non-skiers on a winter holiday.
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 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. Murren 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 and skiing to be enjoyed in the Alps. Other places to visit include the picturesque towns of Bönigen and Iseltwald.
The western part of Bernese Oberland is best known for the glittering ski resort town of Gstaad, and the Simmental, Frutigenland and Hasliberg regions. Gstaad is a one-street village, a rather charming, attractively located place full of restored weathered-wood chalets. Its high-roller status makes it a village like no other. If you fancy being snubbed by the world’s richest people, come here for Christmas week, scene of a heady round of sparkling soirées and lavish banquet-style dinner parties all but barred to ordinary mortals.
Thun and the area around it enjoy a unique combination of lake and mountains. Blessed with a mild climate that lasts well into autumn, the region is often referred to as the "Riviera of the Bernese Oberland" and perfect for a relaxing time in a beautiful environment. Indeed, where else do guests have such a multitude of opportunities to travel through and explore such a well-defined region and enjoy all kinds of activities, with something to suit each and everyone? In and on the water, on land, along the lakeshores, in the villages and in town, on panoramic mountain tops and even in the air. Lake Thun offers excellent wind conditions for sailing and windsurfing. Divers appreciate the unique feeling that floating in crystal-clear water offers. And of course, there are many possibilities for mountain bikers, rock climbers, mountaineers and tennis players. For those who prefer a more tranquil pace, there are opportunities for swimming, golf, horseback riding and strolling or hiking along the lakeshore and in the nearby hills.