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Last updated : Nov 2009
Berner Oberland
Berner Oberland -
Berner Oberland

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.

Ski resorts

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 intermediates.

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.
Useful travel Links
Berner Oberland information on Berner Oberland
Interlaken tourist information and travel guide