The Berner Oberland, with Interlaken
and the Jungfraujoch, as well as Europe’s
highest railway, is a main tourist area;
its spectacular scenery includes famous peaks,
alpine streams, mountain lakes and wild flowers. Adelboden,
Grindelwald and Lenk were already
well-known with the European nobility and artists in the 19th century.
Interlaken, located between the lakes of Brienz
and Thun, is a popular climatic health resort and
the gateway to the Berner Oberland. From here a network of roads
and mountain railways such as the narrow gauge Berner-Oberland-Bahn
(BOB) serve the resorts in the Jungfrau region. Jungfrau
(4158m), Mönch (4099m) and Eiger
(3970m), whose dangerous, nearly perpendicular northern ascent was
first climbed in 1938, are three of the most renowned mountains
in Switzerland. Their names mean the ‘maiden’,
the ‘monk’ and the ‘ogre’.
Together they are known as Finsteraarhorn Group.
Finsteraarhorn (4275m), the highest
peak of the Berner Alps, is dominated by glaciers which
stretches from the upper Aare and the Rhône valley to Lake
Geneva. Also in the region, excursions up the Schilthorn
mountain by funicular (made famous by James Bond movie Her Majesty’s
Secret Service); to the waterfalls at Giessbach
and Lauterbrunnen; to the Reichenbach Falls
(where Sherlock Holmes fell to his fictional death); and to the
Swiss Open-Air Museum at Ballenberg,
with its charmingly preserved houses from all regions of the country
displaying traditional crafts and trades, are all recommended.
The popular winter resorts of Lenk,
Adelboden and Zweisimmen are reached
from Spiez on Lake Thun. The castle at Thun, with
its historical museum located at the top of the
Altstadt (old town), must not be missed.
The popular year round resorts of Mürren,
Grindelwald and Wengen boom during
the winter ski and snowboard season (mid December to late-March).
Grindelwald is somewhat old-fashioned and quiet
in the evenings but with superb skiing,
ideal for intermediates and beginners, and off-piste activities
including tobogganing and winter walking trails. The ski network
links up with the scenic ski village of Wengen, popular with British
skiers, and with lots of long, gentle runs, which are ideal for
Close by tiny, traffic-free Mürren counts
among Switzerland’s more rural resorts, with
limited but challenging skiing including the famous
Schilthorn run where the British invented modern-day skiing.
The quiet resort of Kandersteg
is a fine base for cross-country skiing.