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Europe > Central Europe > Switzerland > Bernese Highlands
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The southern end of canton Berne includes some of the tallest and most famous peaks in Switzerland including the Jungfrau and the Eiger (right).

Cities

  • Gimmelwald — traditional Swiss mountain village on a stunning cliffside location
  • Grindelwald — resort town in a valley
  • Gstaad
  • Interlaken — a nice jumping off point for the higher ski villages
  • Kandersteg
  • Lauterbrunnen — town in the valley that leads to Murren and Gimmelwald
  • Murren — resort town in Lauterbrunnen valley
  • Niederried
  • Spiez — a picture postcard town surrounded by stunning scenery
  • Thun
  • Wengen
  • Brienz
  • Meiringen — central town in the Hasli Valley; site of Sherlock Holmes' death; historically important transportation route
  • Hasliberg — second-tier but outstanding ski and hiking center; home to the Ecole d'Humanité

Other Destinations

  • Kleine Scheidegg -hotel and train station for highest railway in Europe.
  • The Jungfraujoch is the endpoint of the highest railway in Europe, at the peak of the Jungfrau mountain. From her you can go sledding on the glacier, walk through an ice palace, or shop & dine in the train station complex built right into the side of the mountain. Along the way there, the train stops at viewstations inside the mountain and you can look out onto the glaciers.
  • Schilthorn is the 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.
  • The Truemmelbach Waterfalls are not very impressive as waterfalls, but beautifully located in the mountains. The Truemmelbach 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.
  • The Aare Gorge is a 1.4km long, 180m 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.
  • The Oeschinen Lake is a beautiful mountain lake next to the village Kandersteg. It is included in the UNESCO world heritage list. You can reach it by foot from Kanderstag in about an hour. Alternatively, there exists a cable car that takes you up. Next to the lake is a toboggan run and two restaurants. You can also do some boating on the lake or have a picnic on the shore. If you like hiking, you can continue up the Bluemlisalp-mountain.
  • The Reichenbach Falls are 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.

Understand

This is probably the finest area of the Swiss Alps. Most people will come into Interlaken, sitting between two lakes, the Thunersee & 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.

Talk

While Switzerland has four main languages, this region speaks mostly Swiss-German (Alemannic), though the official language is German, and most people can speak it. English is also spoken to a somewhat lesser extent.

Get in

Most people get in to Interlaken. Trains run from most major Swiss cities, and a twice weekly TGV service runs from Paris. Roads run into Interlaken and up the valleys, but only so far.

Get around

See

  • 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).
  • Lake Cruises The clarity of the blue water and stunning mountain scenery make cruising on either the Thunersee or Brienzersee a great option
  • Cable cars Another great thing to do is ride the many cable cars that criss-cross the valleys, providing awesome vantage points
  • Biking Rent a bike in Murren, ride down the valley, and ride the cable car back up
  • Hiking There are countless great options, one of the best being hiking a mountain ridge parallel to the Brienzersee

Do

The jungfrau marathon every September starts in Interlaken Switzerland and finishes at Kleine Scheidigg. Its a tough marathon climbing over 1800 Metres during the race but fantastically picturesce

Eat

Drink

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