Interlaken

Interlaken is a town in the mountainous part of the Swiss canton of Bern. It is an important and well-known tourist destination in the Bernese Oberland region of the Swiss Alps, and the main transport gateway to the mountains and lakes of that region.

The town is located on the Bödeli plain between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, and straddles the river Aare. For the more pedantic visitor, only the centre of town is Interlaken. What outsiders see as Interlaken is, in fact, the combination of the parishes of Interlaken, Matten, Unterseen, Bönigen and Neuhaus.

Firsts of August

1st August is Switzerland’s Bundestag (or federal day), so Jo and I usually take advantage of the day off work to celebrate our adopted home. Here are some photographic mementoes of the day trips we’ve made. Interlaken, 2006 Brienzer Rothorn, 2007 Bachalp, Grindelwald, 2010 Mattehubel, Reutigen, 2012 Glacier 3000, 2013 Oberberghorn, 2014 Hardergrat, 2015…

Firsts of August

Schilthornhütte, Switzerland

A small mountain cabin overlooking the Bluemental valley serves as a restaurant for hikers in the summer and for skiiers in winter. Between seasons, when the restaurant is closed, the spot is a blissfully peaceful point on the mountain, to which only determined walkers come. The Birg mountain station overlooks the scene, and on a summit in the distance, the…

Schilthornhütte, Switzerland
Niederhorn, Switzerland

Heaven is this

Sitting, cross-legged, a couple of arms’ length from the edge of a two-and-a-half-thousand foot drop to the valley floor, watching clouds drift across the lake into the distance.

Heaven is this

Chüematte to Gemmenalphorn

Whilst many travel up to the top of the Niederhorn ridge by cable car – one of the most expensive ones by distance in the whole region – there’s a much better alternative for the fitter visitor. There’s a private, tolled road leading up from Waldegg, at Beatenberg, to farm buildings on the mountain, which drivers can use by purchasing a…

Chüematte to Gemmenalphorn

Waldeggallmi, Switzerland

Ever on the search for “perfect” viewpoints in the Bernese Oberland, I sometimes end up driving up tiny roads in the hope that they’ll lead me to a new photograph. A (luckily tarmaced) single-track road, for which you have to buy an inexpensive day permit at the shop in Waldegg from a machine by the roadside near the Hohwald ski…

Waldeggallmi, Switzerland

Brienzer Rothorn, Switzerland

The Brienzer Rothorn is the tallest mountain on the northern side of Lake Brienz. The peak is accessible – in summer and autumn only – by a cable car from Sörenberg and by an open-sided, oil-powered steam railway from Brienz. The view across to the larger peaks of the Jungfrau Region and down to the lake are quite spectacular,…

Brienzer Rothorn, Switzerland

Unterseen, Switzerland

I used to visit the Bödelibad leisure centre regularly. Before I had a car, I used to catch the train to Interlaken West station and walk from there. The route takes you along the river Aare, forming the border between Unterseen and Interlaken, leading to a footbridge with this view. In the foreground Unterseen, with its ancient church tower,…

Unterseen, Switzerland

Pfingstegg, Grindelwald, Switzerland

Pfingstegg, on an elevated ledge amongst the southern cliff faces in the Grindelwald valley, is the starting point for a great hike. The path is less well-trodden than the easier and more popular routes on Männlichen and First, but offers much more dramatic views than the gentler routes in the valley. Once away from the restaurant and summer toboggan run,…

Pfingstegg, Grindelwald, Switzerland

Jungfraujoch, Switzerland

The Jungfraujoch is the prime tourist destination in Switzerland’s Jungfrau region. High atop a mountain “saddle” between the Mönch and Jungfrau peaks, it’s accessible by taking a cog-wheel train which makes its way to the summit through a tunnel carved into the mountain. Temperatures in winter can plunge a low way below freezing, but we were lucky enough to…

Jungfraujoch, Switzerland

Bachalp, Switzerland

Bachalp is an area of the mountains which ring the northern side of the Grindelwald valley. It’s a popular tourist destination, as its fairly easy to reach on foot in around 45 minutes from the cable car station at First. Hardier walkers continue on from the much-photographed lake Bachalpsee onto a steeper path, which leads up to the Faulhorn mountain hostel.

Bachalp, Switzerland