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Bernese Oberland
Sparkly Lakes and Alpine Bliss

Lake Thun The Blüemlisalp steamer on Lake Thun

Lakes and mountains go together like strawberries and chocolate. And when it comes to both, the Bernese Oberland sparkles. Two of the most beautiful Alpine lakes are sitting smack dab in the middle of a wreath of mountains that soar up to over 4000 m (13.123 ft).

I never cease to be amazed by the stunning panorama that greets me when I drive from Bern to Thun. On a sunny day, the view to the famous trio of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau lets my jaw drop and my attention to traffic falls equally low. I have to force myself to keep my eyes on the road if I don't want to end up in the ditch or cause a tale behind me.

The Bernese Alps Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, the mighty trio in the Bernese Alps

The Lake Thun Region is an ideal starting point to explore the Bernese Oberland. It offers a combination of city charm and natural wonders. Chill out on the lakes, immerse yourself in the magical mountain peaks, take a train, a funicular or gondola to one of the summits to enjoy the stunningly beautiful views or hike the lovely hills that surround the lakes.

The bay of Spiez Spiez and its castle. A rare and special wine is produced in the small vineyard.

In the Bernese Highlands, you've got the mild and the wild side by side: the climate around the Lakes of Thun and Brienz belongs to the mildest in the Swiss Alps. Ideal for all kinds of water sports, leisurely walks along the shores or to enjoy the scenery from one of the many lakeside outdoor cafés.

Brienz, the wood carver village in the Bernese Oberland Brienz on its namesake Lake, renowned for its wood carving tradition.

Then you've got the craggy beauty of the Alps where nerve-racking climbing, hiking amidst breathtaking scenery, paragliding or thrilling white water rafting adventures serves your need for the wild.

The Bernese Alps from Schynige Platte The Bernese Alps and the Lauterbrunnen Valley.

When you hear Bernese Oberland, you most likely think Jungfraujoch, Wengen, Mürren, Lauterbrunnen and maybe Gstaad. As beautiful and indescribably stunning these places are, there are even more equally beautiful corners to brag about.

Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe The Spinx on Top of Europe, the Jungfraujoch.

All the side valleys leading away from Lake Thun are diverse and each has a little something different to offer:

  • The medieval castle town Thun at the west end of its namesake lake offers a multitude of activities;
  • The Emmental with its green hilly farmscape, its distinct traditions, and myths;
  • The Gantrisch Nature Park with its vast forests and deep ravines;
  • The Simmen- and Engstligental with its wonderful ski arena that connects both valleys - equally beautiful for summer and winter vacations;
  • The Kandertal (Kander Valley) with Kandersteg, its UNESCO protected Oeschinen Lake area, access by funicual to Mount Niesen and Blausee;
  • The Kiental with its wild and rugged beauty that leads up to the Blüemlisalp massif;
  • The Justistal, famous for its alpine tradition and hiking;
  • The alpine village of Beatenberg and Niederhorn mountain that offer stunning views to the most famous peaks in the Bernese Alps;
  • The laid back Lake Brienz area in a picture-perfect setting east of "Interlaken Ost";
  • Last but not least the Haslital with its dramatic alpine passes - Grimsel, Susten and Brünig.
Cows in the Kander valley In the Kander Valley

Where's the Bernese Oberland?

As you can see on the map below, the Bernese Oberland (or Highlands) are centrally located in the western part of Switzerland. The region is easy reachable by public transport or by car.

Berese Oberland within Switzerland

By Public Transport:

  • Thun is a 20 minute train ride away from Bern; Bern is reachable from Interlaken in an hour;
  • From Zürich: Thun approx. one hour and 30 minutes; to Interlaken: approx. two hours via Bern, and approx. three hours via Lucerne; to Mürren: just over three hours via Bern and Interlaken;
  • From Geneva: to Thun just over two hours; to Interlaken two hours and 45 minutes; to Lauterbrunnen just over three hours;
  • Basel is reached from Interlaken in about two hours by train.


  • Bern Belp: closest airport; 27 km (16.8 mi) from Thun or 52 km (32.3 mi) from Interlaken;
  • Zürich International Airport: 155 km (96.3 mi) from Thun and 181 km (112.4 mi) from Interlaken via Bern, or 134 km (83.3 mi) via Brünig, Lucerne
  • Geneva International Airport: 188 km (117 mi) from Thun or 213 km 132.3 mi) from Interlaken

Getting Around:

  • If you stick around for more than three days, and you don't already have one of the Swiss Travel Passes, check out the regional Bernese Oberland Pass - valid between May and October;
  • If you stay for more than one night in a hotel or participating holiday apartments, both Thun and Interlaken provide you with a guest card that offers free public transport and discounts on mountain transportation.

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Jungfrau Region Mount Schreckhorn in Grindelwald

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