The southern end of canton Berne includes some of the tallest and most famous peaks in Switzerland including the Jungfrau and the Eiger, know as the Berner Oberland.
- 1 Brienz — at the eastern tip of Lake Brienz.
- 2 Gstaad
- 3 Interlaken — a nice jumping off point for the higher ski villages. Trains for the summit of the Jungfrau (German: Jungfraujoch) leave from both Interlaken East (Ost) as well as Interlaken West.
- 4 Kandersteg
- 5 Meiringen — central town in the Hasli Valley; site of Sherlock Holmes' death; historically important transportation route
- 6 Spiez — a picture postcard town surrounded by stunning scenery
- 7 Thun — the biggest city in the region. A good choice if you want to stroll through a city and visit some cultural sights after spending time in the mountains
This is probably the finest area of the Swiss Alps. Most people will come into Interlaken, sitting between two lakes, the Thunersee and the Brienzersee. From Interlaken, twin valleys go to either the resort town of Grindelwald, or the Lauterbrunnen, which has cable car connections to several stunningly located and isolated towns. Several glaciers are in this area.
In addition to those observed in the whole of Switzerland St. Berchtold day on 2 January is observed in the canton of Berne.
While Switzerland has four main languages, this region speaks mostly Swiss-German, though the official language is German, and everyone can speak it. English is also spoken to a somewhat lesser extent.
Two main train lines run through this region. One comes from Basel, Berne via Thun and Spiez to Interlaken, whereas the other one comes from Zurich and Berne also via Thun and Spiez on the way to Valais. If you are coming from the airport in Zurich, you have to change in Berne to go to Interlaken. A couple international trains (ICE and EC from Germany and one TGV Lyria from Paris) also go to Interlaken.
See and doEdit
- 1 The Brienzer Rothornbahn. Train runs up the mountain overlooking Brienz, providing fabulous views of the Brienzersee. It is also the last mountain railway in Switzerland to exclusively use steam engines (although they also have one diesel unit).
- 2 Schilthorn (Take the cable car from Mürren). A cheaper alternative to the Jungfraujoch, offers the same view but from the other side of the valley & minus the glacier. On the mountain peak is a revolving restaurant called the Piz Gloria, where the 007 flick On Her Majesty's Secret Service was shot.
- 3 The Trümmelbach Waterfalls. Not very impressive as waterfalls, but beautifully located in the mountains near Lauterbrunnen. The Trümmelbach Fall itself is not to be missed. The sole outlet for glacial melt in the area, it cuts through the *inside* of the mountain and can be accessed on foot via a lift. It costs money to view, but is well worth it. The power of the moving water is intense in such close quarters. You can reach this by bus.
- 4 The Aare Gorge. A 1.4 km long, 180 m deep gorge of the river Aare, accessible by tunnels and paths. It's west entrance is next to the village Meiringen. The highlights of the path are closer to the west entrance, so you might want to enter at the east entrance and work your way down with the river.
- 5 The Reichenbach Falls. One of the highest cataracts in Switzerland, accessible from Meiringen station. Fans of the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes may come here to see the site of his epic confrontation with Professor James Moriarty.
- 6 The Oeschinen Lake. A beautiful mountain lake next to the village Kandersteg. Good for a boat ride or for the mechanical toboggan. If you like hiking, you can hike up the Blüemlisalp hut or the Hohtürli Pass.
- 7 The Jungfraujoch. At the endpoint of the highest railway in Europe, at a saddle between two peaks. It's definitely the most prominent sight of the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO site. There are viewing platforms and also the possibility to walk on the glacier.
- Lake Cruises The clarity of the blue water and stunning mountain scenery make cruising on either the Thunersee or Brienzersee a great option
- 8 Mountain roads. Whether you are a driver or a cyclist, the roads are world-class.
- Running The Jungfrau marathon every September starts in Interlaken and finishes at Kleine Scheidegg. Its a tough marathon climbing over 1800 metres during the race but fantastically picturesque.
- It's an easy train trip to the Swiss cities of Berne, Basel, or Zurich.
- Take the train from Brienz to Lucerne maybe stopping along the way in one of the scenic towns of Central Switzerland.
- Take the train south to Valais.