We’ve been in Switzerland for over 5 years now: so, I hope you will trust me when I say this – we have a fair idea of what to expect as well as what NOT to expect while visiting Bernese Oberland! But this time was a time of a ton of FIRSTs and as I go along this post, I will keep mentioning those.
As a first, first: this was the first time we took a vacation intra-country for a period of 12 days, while this is ordinary for Europeans, it is extraordinary behavior for an Indian tourist. (The initial plan was 15 days, but the guilt trip had started from day 10! 😉)
Note to Self: It’s totally worth it! Take a long(er, ish) than usual break during the summer – cuz this helps you reconnect with your family (despite the COVID closeness that no one wanted 😉), refreshes and rejuvenates your soul, and does some amazing things for your overall energy!
Part 1: Beatenberg
Beatenberg is a municipality in the Interlaken district situated in the canton of Bern in Switzerland and to be honest one can actually spend a whole 5 days (or more) in the area – there is enough and more to do!
Here are some of my top recommendation’s basis our recent holiday:
#1 One must Hike.
You cannot NOT visit the Niederhorn while you are in Beatenberg(Bernese Oberland). The cable car ride upwards with a stop at Vorsass offers magnificent views. One can take innumerable different paths based on your skill and interest – but the walk from the Niederhorn back to Beatenberg is a classic and should not be missed especially if this is your first time. We walked as well as tried the Trotti bike on the well-paved path!
We experienced everything on this day – thunderstorms, rain, a little bit of sun and some winds. In general, the hike is rated as EASY and does not list any special requirements. However, when in Switzerland and hiking, I always say – be prepared! (with the right gear, shoes, rain jackets, sunscreen, etc.)
Click Here for a list of trails in the Niederhorn/Beatenberg region.
#2 St. Beatus Caves
Find out more about the holy beatus and the legend of the Dragon of Beatenberg while paying a visit to the caves. The caves are part of the “Grand Tour of Switzerland” and one of the authors of our book had detailed his experience inside and outside the caves. (Click here to download Part 1 of “21 Hidden Gems of Switzerland”)
Personally, I loved the exteriors a little bit more than the caves themselves. The stops and descriptions are very well marked, but the fact that we were a little underprepared for the temperatures inside the cave (given that it was a hot summer day) as well as the viewing not being circular made me quite uncomfortable! My family absolutely loved the experience, so I can definitely say that this is worth a one-time visit!
#3 Visit this place called the “High Tide”
Located in Bönigen, the high tide is a kayak school – however, it is that and much more! The last time we were in the area, we stayed in Bönigen – and this is another great/noncommercial spot for staying. At high tide, one can indulge in experiences (kayaking, SUP, and others), actually, even take up courses for various water sports, or just enjoy the beach and the beach café.
We also had friends join us on this day, and it was a day well spent! Swim, chill, eat and repeat! Check out their website for more information – I can promise that there is something for everyone! Before I forget, this place offers the best views of Lake Brienz!
#4 Interlaken and Unterseen
As a desi tourist, I think we’ve explored Interlaken a little more than I’d like to! Interlaken, for the ones who haven’t visited yet (though I can’t really believe that) – is the most touristic/commercial spot in the region. But it does have some great things – if you are craving Indian food during the trip – you’ll find it here if you like riding the ferris wheel – it offers you great views and last but definitely not the least – if you’d like to try paragliding most of the great operators are here! My husband chose “Paragliding Interlaken” for the experience and loved every bit of it! (I hope to do it next time around.)
So, the resort town does have its own unmissable charm and with the sales still going on, we also managed to do a little bit of shopping! 😉 (For me, a trip is incomplete if there’s been 0 shopping in it!!)
While Unterseen seems to be a part of Interlaken, it is its own municipality and has breathtaking landscapes!
We did a cycle tour with “Flying Wheels” of the historic town and for me, this remains to be the highlight of our vacation! I can highly recommend George (our tour guide) and Miriam (who we coordinated with) for a fantastic experience. I rode the e-bike for the first time, and buoy is that a game-changer! 😉
#5 Harder Kulm
This is another mountain in Switzerland and offers spectacular views of the lakes and the two towns of Interlaken and Unterseen. It’s regarded as the top of Interlaken – offers views of Brienzer and Thunersee and has the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau right opposite it making it a very special location. You need to ride the Harderbahn which is the funicular to reach the top, and then enjoy your time at the top of Interlaken as they say. Have a hearty meal at the panorama restaurant, find a hike suitable to your needs or if you’re a photo enthusiast then go on clicking one picture after the next!
We explored the region more as we were there for almost a week, but the above were my top 5 recommendations.
Now moving on to some of the other basics:
You can find a ton of information on accommodation in general over here; we stayed in Hotel Dorint and I really enjoyed our stay! It’s a 4-star hotel and is well suited for families and couples – the Beatenberg station and other attractions are easily accessible. The best part: while we took our car, it is easily accessible via public transport. Bus #101 (which you can take from Interlaken) stops right in front of the hotel which makes your stay absolutely convenient!
We had booked a duplex apartment since we were staying for a longer duration and that worked perfectly for us! The small kitchen in our room and the magnificent views made a world of a difference, the pool and spa areas were great, and the in-house restaurants don’t just offer great food but also great service! (This was another first 😉 – the service in every restaurant, hotel, and attraction during this trip was on point! I had to pinch myself multiple times for this very welcome change! This might be the COVID effect, but I don’t want to jinx this!)
It took us around 3 and half hours to get to our hotel, but we did a few pits stops and the longest one was for lunch at Thun. Apart from this, by public transport, Interlaken is very well connected to most of the cantons and finally, bus 101 and 21 take you up into Beatenberg as well as other areas in the region.
Here are some of my top recommendations, Luegibruggli is a must-visit – offers the best views and food in the area and is a MUST do. Please note that you need reservations, sometimes even for coffee 😉 the others that we tried and liked were – Riedboden Gasthaus, Hotel Dorint, & Spice India in Interlaken.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my recommendations and tips! If you’re planning to visit the region – bookmark this post and also make sure you check out my recent post, the “CLOY experience” which gives other highlights inside the same region.
Stay tuned for part 2 – where we explore the Italian part of Switzerland.
Have you downloaded our free ebook – 21 Hidden Gems of Switzerland? If you haven’t read it yet, be sure to download it while planning your Swiss Summer Getaway.
To read posts from July, click here