The Bernese Oberland is a popular and attractive region south of the Swiss capital of Bern. In a small area, you'll find a very diversified landscape with lakes, snow capped mountains, little mountain villages, cogwheel trains, hiking trails and much, much more.
WHAT TO DO
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What not to miss in the Bernese Oberland
Of course the answer depends on who you ask this. We feel that the Jungfraujoch is a true highlight. It's simply spectacular to visit the world of eternal snow. A boat trip on Lake Thun or Lake Brienz should be included too.
Also, exploring the area on foot is a must do. There are many trails, including very easy ones. Just browse our trail suggestions and you'll find one that suits you.
If you can, arrive in the Bernese Oberland via the Golden Pass line. It's much more attractive than the main rail line via Bern. Check the rail pass section for one that fits your travel plans.
Towns in the Bernese Oberland
Interlaken is the central town in the region, and the right choice if you prefer to explore the entire region. It’s not a pretty town though, so be sure to look at other options too. To name a few: Grindelwald, in the Jungfrau region, is a true paradise for hikers. Brienz is situated on Lake Brienz, and well known for the wood carving industry. Thun is a very charming town with a great central location on Lake Thun. In the west of the Bernese Oberland, there’s Gstaad, a classy resort with luxurious hotels.
The diversity of the Bernese Oberland
Interlaken offers easy access to all regions of the Bernese Oberland. The most popular one is the Jungfrau region, directly south of it. Lake Thun is west of the town, and Lake Brienz is east of it. Both are easy to explore by boat or train, or even on foot, from Interlaken.
A bit further on one finds less well known valleys like the green Kander valley, the gentle Simmen valley and the varied Hasli valley, where mountain passes give access to other parts of Switzerland. All these valleys are absolutely beautiful. There are plenty of hiking trails to explore them on foot.
The Oberland characteristics
The Bernese Oberland is located north of the highest peaks. That causes the climate to be cool and moist, at least when comparing it to the southern Alps. This results in a fresh green landscape. It's picture perfect in many places. The valley floors are mostly low (500 to 1,000 m), and peaks are high (up to 4,300 m). This great difference in altitude results in many climate zones and varying landscapes. In Spring it can feel like Summer in the valleys and like Winter up in the mountains.
Public transport takes visitors to almost every place in the Bernese Oberland. Many peaks can be visited easily. There are countless cable cars, funiculars, gondolas and cogwheel trains ready to take you up to high alpine scenery.
SUBREGIONS IN THIS REGION