All the resorts of the Bernese Oberland have so much to offer. They provide a diverse landscape from the mountainous regions above the Lauterbrunnen Valley to the lakeside splendours and medieval towns on Lake Thun.
The North Face of the Eiger, first conquered in 1938, is one of the world’s most difficult mountain climbs. In an extraordinary feat of engineering, the Swiss have built a cog railway line with a seven metre tunnel through the Eiger, with viewing stations from where you can watch climbers making their assault on the North Face.
To get there take the Jungfrau Railway, which connects to many resorts including Interlaken, Wengen, Grindelwald and Mürren. This spectacular cog railway travels from Kleine Scheidegg to the Jungfraujoch, and is the highest railroad station in Europe at 3,454 metres above sea level. The views along the route to the Männlichen, the magnificent Eiger’s Sea of Ice, and the entire Bernese Oberland are breathtaking. Once there don’t miss the viewing platforms to see the dramatic Aletsch glacier, an ice palace filled with beautifully carved ice sculptures and the highest post office in Europe. Any Swiss train journey from the Glacier Express to routes bordering the lakes are a scenic delight and guarantee punctuality, smoothness and efficiency.
Festivals, activities from boat rides to paragliding, and historical tours all give the resorts from Hilterfingen and Merligen to Wilderswil and Kandersteg their unique character. But what all the Bernese Oberland resorts share is some of the most spectacular and dramatic scenery in the world. No wonder many of these destinations have provided the backdrop to the jaw dropping exploits of James Bond. In Mürren don’t miss the 007 Walk of Fame and James Bond 007 breakfast buffet in the 360 degree revolving restaurant at Piz Gloria at the top of the Schilthorn cable car. For walkers it is paradise personified with over 500 km of walking trails in the Jungfrau region alone.
There are many superb viewing platforms throughout the region including sights such as glaciers and lakes. A new platform at the top of the Harder Kulm looks out over Lake Thun, Brienz and Interlaken. The scenery is superlative. You just need to draw back the curtains or step outside to see many of the world’s most beautiful mountains.
Summers in the Bernese Oberland are consistently warm in mid-summer with mostly blue skies. The valleys are a vibrant green with colour everywhere. In the towns the balconies of hotels and chalets and every spare space is filled with geraniums and summer bedding plants. In the valley expect highs of 20-24°C in July and August. If you are planning to take a cable car up to higher altitudes, be prepared for cooler and changing temperatures. Nights are generally cooler.
Set at the foot of the impressive ‘North Face’ of the Eiger, with its dramatic glaciers in full view, Grindelwald is a friendly mountain village with chalet-style houses, cafés, restaurants and a good variety of shops.More information
Interlaken is set between the sparkling waters of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, and enjoys a magnificent setting on the banks of the River Aare with the snow-capped peaks of the Jungfrau, Mönch, and Eiger forming the perfect backdrop.More information
Kandersteg is an attractive alpine village enjoying a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, and surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery in all directions. The main street is lined with inviting cafés and restaurants, and small shops selling local produce and the walking possibilities are excellent with an abundance of trails around and above the village,More information
Mürren is one of the most enchanting mountain villages of Switzerland. Unspoilt by traffic, it sits on a sunny terrace high up above the Lauterbrunnen valley, and is reached only by cable-car.More information
Wengen lies on a sunny, sheltered terrace below the Jungfrau, Mönch and Eiger mountains and has spectacular views across the Lauterbrunnen valley. Everyone arrives in this charming village by mountain train as it is virtually traffic-free, and a variety of small shops, cafés and bars line the main street.More information
The spectacular views of many of the Alps most famous mountains and flower-strewn pastures, draws walkers of all standards to this region. The heart of the Jungfrau region has over 500 km of well-marked paths from easy flat walks along the lakes or alpine moorlands to panoramic mountain excursions. One of the more challenging but iconic hikes is the Eiger Trail from Kleine Scheidegg which runs along the foot of the Eiger’s North Wall from the Eigergletcher station down to Alpiglen. The Panorama Trail at Lake Thun towards Sigriswil has lovely mountain views and for more gentle excursions try the lakeside walk from Faulensee to Spiez. But many committed walkers find there is so much else to do, such as a visit to the stunning Trümmelbach Falls in the Launterbrunnen Valley.
Travelling by train to nearby destinations is a pleasure in itself. Why not take a scenic train journey to the Schynige Platte Botanical alpine garden? Here you’ll discover one of the world’s largest collection of alpine plants grown at 2000 metres. If you stay in Interlaken or Wilderswil you’ll receive a free tour.
Other activities available for the more adventurous include paragliding or parasailing, kayaking, canyoning and even skydiving. For cyclists there are extensive bike trails and routes. To cool down Wengen has a wonderful open air swimming pool with views of the Jungfrau. Or you could learn to play the Alphorn on our excursion from Interlaken, Lake Thun or Widerswil.
Other activities available for the more adventurous include paragliding or parasailing, kayaking, canyoning and even skydiving. For cyclists there are extensive bike trails and routes. To cool down Wengen has a wonderful open air swimming pool with views of the Jungfrau. Or you could learn to play the Alphorn on our excursion from Interlaken, Lake Thun or Wilderswil.
There are no shortage of luxury spas and wellness centres. Most are in hotels with indoor and outdoor swimming pools, large terrace areas, steam baths and a menu of treatments.
The cheese fondue may be alive and well, but there is far more than cheese and chocolate on the Swiss agenda.
Discovering local specialities in mountain huts along your walking routes and trying wines from the region could be a time consuming experience. Restaurants in the region vary from small cafes or pizzerias to full on gourmet dining. Chocolate lovers can visit the Chocolate Ammann factory in Thun or in Interlaken there is a Funnky Chocolate Club where you can make it yourself.
Throughout the region there are many food festivals with stalls. There are also markets selling fresh fruit and vegetables. Many of our hotels will also provide pack lunches.
This August Kandersteg has an “Alp-Cher” culinary walk from the top of the Allmenalp cable car to the Sunnbüel cable car. Along the way will be seven different tables featuring regional delicacies and musical entertainment.
Also in August is the Gorneren alpine cheese festival in Kandersteg where you can try all the different Bernese Alpine cheeses.
Some rather unusual festivals are all part of the annual calendar in the Bernese Oberland. Music features prominently in most resorts, but there are also some events that are unique to the region such a cheese-sharing festival and celebrations when the cows are returning to the summer pastures. They are decked out with floral headpieces, the bovine equivalent of a fascinator, and huge cowbells around their necks.
Then there is a wrestling competition that’s taken place for 100 years on the Brünig Pass near Merligen on the last Sunday in July. It’s an event that’s full of folklore, old traditions and multiple wrestling matches.
The yodelling festival above Grindelwald takes place at Bachlager Alp at 2000 metres at the beginning of July. It’s a folk festival full of colour and pageantry.
The Lake Thun Festival is in July/August and, every September, Thun celebrates the Fulehung Festival where the focus is on a court jester. The story of the Fulehung goes back to 1476 during the Burgundian Wars, when a court jester of Charles the Bold mocked the Bernese and soldiers of Thun. He was later caught and punished.
In Kandersteg events vary from a horse show jumping competition, cheese festival to an open air cinema on the Blue Lake and a popular jazz festival which all take place in July. There is also an annual mineral exchange where collectors from the region display and sell crystals.
To ensure you can explore as much of this wonderful region, children between the ages of 6 – 15 years travelling with their parents on an Inghams holiday will benefit from Free travel on most of Switzerland’s excellent public transport, including the mainline rail network, most mountain railways, postbuses and lake ferries and steamers. All children under 6 years of age travel Free of charge. ‘Family Cards’ are issued with your tickets and you can find out more on our ‘Family Summer Holidays’ page.
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