From Basel in the north to The Matterhorn in the south, the Region known as the the Bernese Oberland, Mittelland and Valais is the Iconic region of Switzerland
In this post, I will cover the top 6 areas of this region to be explored, but this is only a starting point. You can easily spend six months in this region alone, and still not see everything that you would want to see.
Literally translated as “Land between the Lakes”, Interlaken is located between the Thunersee and the Brienzersee.
Interlaken is a perfect location for skiers, hikers and mountaineers. Nearby to Interlaken are the Jungfrau and Eiger mountains. From the town, visitors can take a Funicular, which is a type of cable railcar, to the top of the Heimweh, to a restaurant and provides a panoramic view of the area. In the summertime, for an exciting trip back down the mountain, you can take the Rodelbahn, which is a type of sled on a pre-made course.
Thun and Thunersee
West of Interlaken is the Thunersee and the town of Thun. Visitors here can go sailing or diving in the lake, or visit the Schloss Thun. There are also caves located here called the St. Beatus Höhlen.
Brienz and Brienzersee
East of Interlaken is the Bienzersee and the town of Brienz. This area is a bit quieter, but also offers hiking, fishing and other watersports.
Brienz is famous for woodcarving. Not only is there a woodcarving and wood working school here, but also a school for violin making and a workshop for making the trademark instrument of Switzerland, the Alpenhorn.
From Brienz, visitors can take the Rothorn Bahn (train) to the top of the Rothorn and enjoy panoramic views of the region while eating outside at the Gipfel restaurant.
Zermatt and the Matterhorn
At the southern end of the region is the town of Zermatt, at the base of the famous Matterhorn.
This is a sports paradise, with ski resorts, mountain climbing, hiking and snowboarding.
This is also the place to take the Glacier Express, one of five panoramic trains in Switzerland, and runs between Zermatt and St. Moritz. The trip is a full day (7.5 hours), and boasts some of the most beautiful views of the Swiss Alps.
The Aletsch Glacier is the longest glacier in the Alps at approximately 9 miles in length. It runs from the Jungfrau to the Massa Gorge.
Visitors can access the glacier with a variety of hikes ranging from a few hours to 2 days.
Since 1870, this glacier has receded by 2 miles, but over half of that has occurred since 1980, due to climate change. By the year 2100, it is estimated that 90 percent of the glacier will be gone.
Located halfway between Zermatt and Interlaken is the Oeschinensee. This is a glacial lake, located over 5,000 feet above sea level, and surrounded by steep mountains. It is located west of the Jungfrau.
Despite it’s terrain, the lake is easily accessible from the town of Kanderstag by cable car.
Where to Stay
Given the high level of tourism in this region, there are a multitude of options to choose from. A few suggestions are the following:
- The Alpenhof. The family Hotel Alpenhof lies in the centre of Zermatt in a sunny and quiet location. The cable car Sunnegga, which access the ski slopes and hiking area, is directly across from the hotel and the train station and Gornergrat railway are just 5 minutes’ walk away.
- The Hotel Alex. This unique 4 star superior Resort Hotel Alex is located in the centre of Zermatt in a quiet position. It is a short walk away from the Gornergrat- and the train station
Ready to Go?
Options to visit this region are available. You can see it by escorted tour, or on your own. Why not combine a visit with a river cruise beginning or ending in Basel? Contact me when you are ready to start.