July 14, 2011

Touring the Berner Oberland in Switzerland: A Family Favorite

For many of our travelers, a day in the Berner Oberland is a highlight of their Switzerland tour.

617-Berner Oberland_Cows and Wetterhorn.jpgThis beautiful region in central Switzerland is perfect for anyone wanting to see iconic Swiss landscapes such as snow-capped mountains, waterfalls streaming over cliffs hundreds of feet high, and chalets sitting on meadow-covered hillsides speckled with cows and sheep.

The Berner Oberland also offers abundant activities such as riding cogwheel trains and cable cars into the mountains, and hiking, biking and skiing in the beautiful landscapes.

618-Berner Oberland_Jungfraujoch_Sphinx Terrace.jpgInterlaken, the gateway town to the Berner Oberland, has one of our favorite resort hotels in Switzerland, the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa. It has the ideal combination of luxury and Old World charm, including elegant rooms with great views, a large spa complex and excellent restaurants.

One of our favorite experiences in the area, also known as the Bernese Oberland, is a privately guided train journey to Jungfraujoch.

619-Berner Oberland_Grindelwald and Wetterhorn.jpgCalled the Top of Europe, Jungfraujoch is the highest train station in Europe (elevation 11,332 ft/3,454 m). It sits on a saddle between the peaks of the Monch (Monk) and Jungfrau (Maiden) and overlooks the vast expanse of the Aletsch Glacier, part of the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Our expert private guides make the scenic train journey–a combination of several small,  cogwheel trains–a seamless and enjoyable experience. En route from Interlaken to Jungfraujoch and back, they explain key points of interest amid the breathtaking views of spiky peaks, verdant meadows and dense forests.

622-Berner Oberland_train and Lauterbrunnen.jpgFamilies with children enjoy seeing the valley that inspired the setting for Rivendell–an Edenic realm of the elves–in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Travelers interested in hiking and mountain climbing will be thrilled to see the imposing north face of the Eiger, one of the most iconic and difficult mountaineering challenges in Europe.

The last stretch of the train journey to Jungfraujoch passes through a tunnel wrought in the stone deep inside the Eiger (Ogre). The train stops along the way at windows carved through the rock, allowing views of glaciers and peaks.

621-Interlaken_VictoriaJungfrau.jpgOnce at Jungfraujoch, a highlight is to venture to the viewing platform known as the Sphinx Terrace for spectacular, panoramic views over the mountains and Aletsch Glacier. Another option is visiting the Ice Palace, a series of ice-blue tunnels and rooms burrowed into the glacier.

We offer many other popular touring options in the landscapes of the Berner Oberland, such as hiking one of the many outstanding trails in the region (customized to any ability level); visiting beautiful waterfalls that cascade over cliffs or tumble through water-carved chambers; venturing to the Schilthorn, a high peak with a revolving restaurant where the James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was filmed; or visiting picture-perfect villages such as Grindelwald, Wengen, Lauterbrunnen or Murren.

The Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa in Interlaken is the perfect complement to touring in these majestic landscapes. The luxurious rooms we use in our private tours of Switzerland have great views of the Berner Oberland.

Destinations:  Europe, Switzerland

Tags:  Berner Oberland, family travel, Interlaken, Victoria-Jungfrau