Switzerland is full of scenic attractions that you can’t experience anywhere else in the world. With tall, peaky mountains and turquoise blue lakes, the Bernese Oberland region especially stands out from all other areas in this beautiful country.
The Jungfrau region is known for stunning hikes, surreal train and gondola rides, jaw-dropping viewpoints, and many other hidden gems that you can discover on a trip to Switzerland!
In this guide, we have put together all the best things to do in the Bernese Oberland area in Switzerland. Read on for some epic travel inspiration!
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Before we dive into the details of what attractions to visit, here are some frequently asked questions about Bernese Oberland to help you with trip planning!
Where Are The Bernese Alps Located?
Bernese Oberland stretches across the alpine region in Central Switzerland between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. This area covers several mountain villages such as Interlaken, Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, Mürren, and Meiringen to name a few.
Bernese Oberland is located south of Switzerland’s capital Bern. If you have extra time, we highly recommend spending a day in Bern as well as it’s easy to access from Bernese Oberland and has a beautiful Old Town overlooking the turquoise Aare River.
Best Time To Visit Bernese Oberland?
In our experience, the best time to visit the Bernese Oberland is late summer to early fall. By fall the summer crowds are starting to thin out, yet the weather is still warm and sunny. In the ‘shoulder season’ such as spring and fall the hotels are much cheaper than during the peak summer months so you can often find better deals on lodging.
By late fall, some of the attractions start closing down in prep for the winter season and the weather starts turning rainy and cold.
Where To Stay In Bernese Oberland, Switzerland
During our visit, we stayed in Interlaken and ventured out on day trips to various towns and attractions. All the top landmarks are within a 30-minute to an-hour drive from Interlaken so it’s very easy to get around.
If you’re trying to decide where to stay for a trip to the Jungfrau region, be sure to check out our detailed hotel guides below:
How Long To Stay In Bernese Oberland?
If you plan to do a lot of sightseeing and activities, we recommend setting aside 3-4 days just for the Bernese Oberland area. There is just so much to do in this part of Switzerland that you could spend a week and not see it all!
TIP: For traveling in Switzerland we highly recommend purchasing the Swiss Travel Pass which offers unlimited travel by train, bus & boat in more than 41 cities along with a 50% discount at many of the top mountain destinations. This pass will end up saving you a lot of money on your trip. Get the Swiss pass here!
What To Pack For a Trip To Bernese Oberland, Switzerland?
We visited Switzerland in September so we packed for both cold and warm weather. The trip started sunny and warm and ended with rainy and overcast days, so you never know what kind of weather you will get on your visit!
Here are a few of my favorite outdoor gear items that I recommend to bring for adventures in the Swiss Alps:
- Warm Puff Jacket. Weather in the Swiss mountains can change drastically without much notice. I always bring a warm jacket in case it starts raining or the temperatures start dropping. With a windproof and moisture-repelling shell, this puff jacket will keep you warm by trapping your body heat and blocking the wind.
- Danner Trail 2650 Hiking Shoes. A good pair of hiking shoes can make all the difference in outdoor adventures! I recommend getting a pair that are tough and have lots of traction so you don’t fall, especially if you plan to do a lot of hiking. The Danner 2650 shoes are lightweight, durable, and made with Vibram 460 outsoles for an extra strong grip.
- REI Co-op Nalgene Water Bottle. Bring plenty of water since there are limited amenities at mountain destinations. I love my reusable REI Co-op Nalgene bottle which is leakproof, easy to clean, and great for the planet by eliminating one-time plastic bottle use!
- Anker Portable phone charger. I always bring a battery pack when going on international trips. A portable phone charger can come in handy in case your phone runs out of battery and you need to use it to look up directions, trail routes, reservation information, and places to eat.
- Small Day Pack. I have a small lightweight day pack that fits all my essentials, water, and camera gear. The Gregory Nano pack comes with a padded mesh back, several adjustable straps, and plenty of pockets where you can put small things like hand sanitizer, sunscreen, a headlamp, and an emergency medical kit.
Best Things To Do In Bernese Oberland:
1. First Cliff Walk
The jaw-dropping First Cliff Walk is one of the most popular things to do in all of Switzerland! This unique walkway is located in a mountain setting high above Grindelwald town and is best visited on clear days.
To reach First Cliff Walk you will need to take a 25-minute gondola ride up to the summit which is an incredible experience on its own! Once you exit the cable car, you can head on a metal pathway built into the side of a cliff with dizzying heights below.
Walking across First Cliff Walk is so thrilling and exciting! The walkway is held up by bolts and has see-through metal flooring so you can see the sheer drop-offs below you!
At the end of the walkway, you can wait in a short line and take a picture on a glass floor with panoramic views of the Grindelwald Valley behind you – quite the sight!
Visitor Tip: First Cliff Walk is only 15 minutes long, but can be difficult to do for people with a fear of heights. We saw many people reach the entrance and turn around.
If you’re not a fan of heights, there are plenty of other activities here that offer excellent views. A few other fun things include hiking trails, mountain cart rentals, zip lining, Trottibike rentals, or having lunch at the Berggasthaus First Hotel terrace at the summit.
Cost: It costs 32 CHF per person for a one-way ticket or 64 CHF for a round-trip ticket to take the gondola to the summit and back.
Hours: The opening hours depend on the season. In the summer First Cliff Walk is open from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.
2. Bachalpsee Lake
If you have a few hours to spare after the First Cliff Walk, we recommend going on a day hike to Bachalpsee Lake which starts at the same location. Bachalpsee is one of the most stunning alpine lakes in the Bernese Oberland region and a must-see if you enjoy outdoor activities like hiking!
The trail from First Cliff Walk to Bachalpsee Lake is 3.8 miles long round trip and gains around 730 feet of elevation. It takes about an hour to hike to Bachalpsee Lake from the First gondola, and an hour back. Plus, give yourself some time to take a break, enjoy the views of the lakefront, and eat a snack before heading back.
For directions, you can follow the First – Bachalpsee route on AllTrails which is very straightforward. If you’re not sure which way to go, just follow the crowds!
Once you reach Bachalpsee Lake, you can walk around the shore for different vantage points of the lake. This is a great spot to go stretch your legs and take in beautiful views of the Swiss Alps!
3. Grindelwald Village
Located in a remote alpine setting, Grindelwald is a small mountain town with grand views. Grindelwald is one of the best places to visit for views of Eiger Mountain and heart-pumping outdoor activities like this 90-meter freefall canyon swing!
Grindelwald is located at the base of First Cliff Walk. After visiting this iconic walkway, you can take the cable car back down and roam around the town where you can enjoy a bit of souvenir shopping and marvel at the beautiful natural scenery.
With endless green hills, jagged mountain peaks, cows lazily lounging around in the grass, and rustic wooden houses scattered throughout, Grindelwald truly feels like a fairytale come true!
Visitor Tip: Grindelwald also offers easy access to the Grindelwald Terminal transit station for visiting the famous Jungfraujoch mountain peak in the Bernese Alps!
4. Lauterbrunnen Village
Lauterbrunnen Valley is a small mountain village in Switzerland that is home to over 70 waterfalls. This is one of the main stops on a Bernese Oberland road trip and for a good reason!
In Lauterbrunnen, you can visit different waterfalls, marvel at the towering granite cliffs that surround this valley floor, or roam around the village and explore historic buildings.
The turquoise Lütschine river flows through the town adding a beautiful element to the scenery. The Lütschine river is fed by glacier water from the mountains giving it that stunning blue color tone that it’s popular for!
Lauterbrunnen is also a wonderful place to stay if you enjoy a bit of peace and solitude away from the crowds. This town is one of the most picturesque villages in Switzerland and offers many photo opportunities – perfect for outdoor photographers and nature lovers!
Up for something a bit more active? Be sure to check out the 4-mile-long Lauterbrunnen – Mürren Trail for fantastic views of the Bernese Alps!
5. Staubbach Falls
Staubbach Falls is one of the most recognizable landmarks that you can visit in Lauterbrunnen Village. Just about anyone who travels to Lauterbrunnen tries to snap a few photos of this iconic waterfall for memories!
The best location for photographing Staubbach Falls is located at the Staubbachfall Viewpoint. This viewpoint overlooks Lauterbrunnen town with the waterfall as its backdrop.
If you come during the day, there might be a short line of people waiting to take photos in front of this viewpoint. You can wait around for your turn or head down towards the village along the paved pathway for different angles of the waterfall – there are plenty of photo opportunities around every corner!
Pssst! I use the Sony a7c camera for my travel photos. This is the smallest and lightest full-frame camera available on the market – perfect for traveling, hiking, and outdoor trips – while still maintaining the same incredible image quality as Sony’s full-frame cameras!
6. Trümmelbach Falls
Trümmelbachfälle is located within Lauterbrunnen village and is one of the most unique places that you can visit in Switzerland! At this attraction, you can take a short tunnel lift to the top and explore ten different glacier waterfalls inside a granite mountain.
The glacier water for these waterfalls flows down from the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountain peaks. Trümmelbach Falls are the only European glacier waterfalls inside a mountain that are accessible to the public so it’s a must-see!
We visited Trümmelbachfälle in September when it was flowing full of water from rain and ice melt. It was quite a sight watching the water flow down the rocky cliffs with a thunderous sound!
Visitor Tip: Due to slippery ground and dangerous, fast-flowing currents, kids under 4 are not allowed at this landmark. This attraction can also be difficult for those who don’t enjoy tight, dark spaces, tunnels, or steep drop-offs.
Hours: Trümmelbach waterfalls are open from:
- April to November between 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
- July to August between 8:30 am to 6:00 pm
Cost: 14 CHF (Swiss Francs) per person
7. Interlaken Town
Interlaken is a charming town situated on a stretch of the valley between Lake Brienz and Lake Thun. Interlaken is the largest city in the Bernese Oberland region that has a lot of hotels and food choices from Indian to Mexican, Thai, and a variety of European restaurants.
In Interlaken, you can roam around downtown, do a bit of window shopping, grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants, and stay a few nights at one of the top-rated hotels in town.
At the center of the downtown, you can walk around the grassy Höhematte park. Interlaken is also a popular spot for tandem paragliding tours and at any point, you can spot 10-20 paragliders in the air.
As the biggest city in the region, Interlaken makes a great home base from which you can easily explore the entire Bernese Oberland area. We spent several nights at a hotel in Interlaken and were able to get to most attractions with a 30-60 minute drive along paved, wide roads.
8. Harder Kulm
Harder Kulm is a viewpoint that sits at 1322 meters (4337 feet) in elevation and offers spectacular panoramic views of the Bernese Oberland region including the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountain peaks.
To reach the viewing platform you will need to take a funicular to the summit. If you don’t want to take the cable car, you can also hike up along the Harder Kulm Loop Trail, but the trek takes a few hours to complete and is very difficult.
From the Two-Lake Bridge at the summit, you can see magnificent views of the valley and its impressive sights overlooking the town of Interlaken, Lake Brienz, and Lake Thun. As the highest point in Interlaken, visiting Harder Kulm is a must!
At the top you can stop by the Harder Kulm Restaurant to enjoy a meal with a view. Harder Klum is also the starting point for several alpine hiking trails.
Visitor Tip: As one of the most popular attractions in the area, this location can get very busy after 10 am. Try to go early in the morning to avoid crowds, especially if you want to get a few photos from the platform without any people in them!
Hours: This attraction is open from April 7th to November 26th. It is closed in the winter season.
Cost: The ticket prices start at 34 CHF for a round-trip cable car ride.
9. Aare Gorge
Aare Gorge (Aareschlucht) is located a bit out of the way in Meiringen town but is so worth the drive! At this hidden gem, you can walk through a long, narrow gorge and feel the sheer force of the Aare River rushing below you.
We visited Aare Gorge on a rainy afternoon while looking for unique things to do in the Bernese Oberland region. And we were truly amazed at how beautiful and underrated this natural wonder was!
It takes about an hour to walk the entire Aare gorge going at a leisurely pace. The location consists of sheer cliff walls and a milky blue glacier river that has carved its way through the limestone canyon.
It was such an unexpected location and one of my favorite places that we visited on our 7-day Switzerland trip!
Visitor Tip: Due to the lack of sunlight from the cliffs, it can be quite chilly within the gorge. Be sure to bring a warm puff jacket to stay cozy as you explore the pathways and tunnels.
Hours: The Aare Gorge is open from spring to fall and is closed in the winter months. There are two entrances at this location:
- The West Entrance (Aareschlucht West) is open from April 2 – Nov 1
- The East Entrance (Aareschlucht Ost) is open from May 14 – Nov 1
Cost: 10 CHF per person for adults, 6.50 CHF for kids ages 6-15
One of the best parts about visiting Switzerland is all the fun outdoor activities that you can do. If you are a bit of an adrenaline junkie, be sure to add paragliding to the top of your list!
Jungfrau Region is known for having lots of paragliding opportunities. In just about any town if you look up at the sky, you’ll see a paraglider (or ten) floating through the sky enjoying views from above.
Interlaken is especially a hot spot for paragliding and offers many paragliding tours all day long. During this tandem paragliding experience you can see views of the surrounding mountains and lakes from a bird’s point of view – something that you’ll remember long after your trip!
Jungfraujoch is one of the most marvelous attractions that you can experience in the Swiss Alps! This landmark sits at an altitude of 3,454 meters (11,333 feet) above sea level earning it the name ‘Top Of Europe’.
It takes about 45 minutes to reach Jungfraujoch from Grindelwald Terminal. You will first need to hop on the Eiger Express gondola, then take the cogwheel train up through a tunnel carved into the mountain to Europe’s highest train station.
The tickets to visit Jungfraujoch are very expensive and it’s one of the priciest attractions in all of Switzerland. But if you don’t mind the cost, you can enjoy views of the surrounding mountain peaks and snowy alpine terrain as far as you can see. It is truly a breathtaking view that is worth the splurge!
At the ‘Top of Europe’ you can visit the Ice Palace, a museum, shops, a bar, and restaurants where you can try classic Swiss dishes like cheese fondue. From the summit, you can also see views of the Aletsch Glacier. At 22 km in length, this is the longest glacier in the Alps.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site receives over one million visitors a year. It is such a unique experience and a must-see on a Switzerland trip!
Visitor Tip: It’s best to visit Jungfraujoch on clear, sunny days. We recommend checking out the Jungfraujoch webcam before making a trip out there!
12. Oeschinen Lake
Oeschinen Lake (Oeschinensee) is located a bit out of the way from most major cities but is well worth the day trip out there. This beautiful lake features serene hiking trails, tall mountain peaks, glaciers, waterfalls and so much more!
Oeschinensee is especially gorgeous on sunny days when the lake water looks especially blue. But we came here on a rainy, overcast day and still enjoyed walking around the lake and hiking to various viewpoints of it.
This alpine lake is situated high up in the mountains, but you can reach it by taking a 15-minute gondola to the summit. Once you exit the gondola, it’s about a 30-minute walk to the lakefront.
When you arrive at Oeschinen Lake, you can stop for food & drinks at the Berghotel Oeschinensee, rent a boat to row around the lake, or hike the Lake Oeschinen Circular Trail to see the lake from up top.
The Lake Oeschinen Circular Trail is 5.4 miles long and takes a few hours to complete, but is one of the most beautiful hikes that we did in all of Switzerland. There are plenty of places along the way to stop, pause and take in the spectacular views.
Visitor Tip: It’s best to visit this lake on a clear day. Before you head out there be sure to check out the Lake Oeschinen webcam for current weather conditions.
Hours: The gondola is open from May to October from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.
Cost: The gondola cable car costs:
- Adults – 22 CHF one way
- Adults – 30 CHF for a round-trip ticket
- Kids ages 6 to 16 – 11 CHF one way
- Kids ages 6 to 16 – 15 CHF for a round-trip ticket
The Bernese Oberland region in Switzerland is one of the most magical places that I have ever visited! And after spending a few days traveling around and exploring various natural wonders, I can say that everything about it truly lived up to our expectations.
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