Berner Alpen Off The Beaten Path

  • Off The Beaten Path
    by german_eagle
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by german_eagle
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by german_eagle

Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Berner Alpen

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    Merligen

    by german_eagle Updated May 1, 2013

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    This cute little village enjoys a sunny setting on the northeastern shore of Lake Thun, protected from cold winds by the mountains. The village has many beautiful, typical wooden houses, in summer and fall with flower boxes. Mass tourism has not yet discovered Merligen (and probably never will), so it is a pleasure to stroll along the small alleys, up and down, from the lakeshore to the hills, the parish church which was built 1936/37. There are some beautiful modern frescos inside and, as usual in Switzerland, the colourful stained-glass windows are worth seeing (by Fred Stauffer, 1968).

    The village has a few hotels, the leading one is the fancy Hotel Beatus - see my restaurant tip. Otherwise you're restricted to a few rental apartments in one of the beautiful wooden houses if you want to stay there. Hiking trails start right in the village. Merligen has sufficient bus connections to Thun and Interlaken and a boat stop as well - so it makes a good base for the tourist who looks for a place off the beaten path.

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    Interlaken - catholic church

    by german_eagle Written May 1, 2013

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    The catholic church Interlaken is right next to the former Augustine monastery. It was built 1906-08 after plans of the German architect Wilhelm Hector in neo-Gothic style. The originally pretty ornate interior of the church was removed during renovation works 1965-68 - it is now quite spartan, a simple wooden ceiling instead of vaults, the massive central pillar was removed etc. What I found most fascinating were the - typical for Switzerland - beautiful, colourful stained-glass windows.

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    Iseltwald - mostly overseen by tourists

    by globetrott Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Iseltwald - mostly overseen by tourists
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    Iseltwald is a small village at the southern bank of Brienzer See and it is mostly overseen by most of the tourists coming to visit Berner Alpen. Untill only 15 years ago Iseltwald was a quite remote and almost totally unknown village, because the only road leading there was a "cul de sac" from Interlaken and most of the tourists came by boat.Another quite important obstacle for mass-tourism was the fact, that Iselwald is the only village at the south-coast of Brienzersee and the open sun will never shine on the village before 10.00a.m., because of the high mountains next to the village.
    Today there is the highway also at the south bank of Brienzersee and it became rather easy to get there from Interlaken. Still the village is a lot less touristy than Interlaken or Brienz and during a really hot summer-month it might be a good place to stay for a vacation.

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    Iseltwald has a seperate exit on the highway between Brienz and Interlaken. You may also take a small road with a dead end from Boenigen, in case that you do not have a "highway-vignette"

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    Oberhofen - a great watercastle in Berner Alpen

    by globetrott Updated Jan 26, 2007

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    Oberhofen - a great watercastle in Berner Alpen
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    Schloss Oberhofen is a must, while staying in Berner Alpen. Most people will go on a cruise on Thunersee anyway, while staying for some time in the area around Interlaken, and Schloss Oberhofen is certainly one of the highlights of every cruise on Thunersee.
    During the cruise you will pass by in a short distance from the lovely castle and its great surrounding park. When-ever you have enough time, just leave the ship and walk around at least the lovely garden around the Schloss Oberhofen, or visit the museum of great furniture inside the palace.
    Oberhofen is at the north bank of Thunersee, about 4km east of Thun. Go there by bus from Interlaken or Thun or - much more romantic - take the ship.

    The museum in Schloss Oberhofen is open daily
    between mid of May and mid of October
    Monday : 02.00p.m.-05.00p.m.
    Tuesday-Sunday: 11.00a.m.-05.00p.m.
    Photography is NO problem !!!

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    The alpine Museum of Soerenbergbahn

    by globetrott Written Jul 13, 2006

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    The alpine Museum of Soerenbergbahn
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    There is a cablecar going from Soerenberg in the north orf Brienz to the top of Brienz Rothorn and inside the Rothorn-station of that cable-car you may see a small exhibition of alpine plants and of wildlife living in the Swiss alps. It might most probably be your only chance to see some of these rare and shy animals from a short distance and that exhibition is free of charge and open as long as the cable-car is in operation. That museum is in the same building as the cashier for the cable-car and the restaurant/cafe "Gipfelrestaurant Rothorn". There is also a small room at this place, where you find a beamer and a few chairs like they would offer to show slide-shows about the wildlife there as well.
    The mountain-station of Soerenberg-cable-car is also very close to the Rothorn Kulm restaurant.

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    Dirrengrind - a wild rock high above Brienz

    by globetrott Updated Jul 13, 2006

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    Dirrengrind - a wild rock high above Brienz
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    Dirrengrind is the massiv, black mountain on the left in my main picture and you will pass by it on the way to Rothorn, when you take the Brienz Rothornbahn to Rothorn Kulm . The Brienzer Rothornbahn has a passing-place there, so you might even leave the train there in order to go hiking in that area, BUT you better inform the conductor in advance, that you plan to do so. The first train that arrives in Dirrengrind will stay there waiting for the oncoming train, but the other train will just go through without stopping.
    Around Dirrengrind you will find a few alps and alpine farms and some of them will also provide some food or drinks for you, when you ask for it. They will have mainly self-made cheese, milk, bread and butter, all of it produced by themselves and sold at prices that are higher than in the supermarket of course, but still less expensive than in an ordinary restaurant.

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    Planalp - high above Brienz

    by globetrott Written Jul 13, 2006

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    maintainace-works at Planalp
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    Planalp is a Must for all fans of old steam-trains and even on a cloudy day, when taking the expensive ride to Rothorn would not make a lot of sense, you should at least take the steam-train to Planalp, high above Brienz. Planalp is the first station of the Brienzer Rothornbahn, in a height of 1341 meters above sea-level. Some people take a hike up there, but most people just pass by it, when they take the ride with Brienz Rothornbahn.
    In Planalp you will have the first possibility to take photographs of the interesting lubrications- and maintainance-works that has to be done during each and every train-ride of the oldfashioned cog-wheel-trains on their way to Rothorn Kulm. In Planalp the trains of both directions may pass by each other, and water will be refilled as well. You may get out for about 5-8 minutes and watch everything and the conductor will blow his whistle, when you have to return to the train !
    You may walk down from Planalp to Brienz within 1 hour and 50 minutes
    The one-way-ticket to Planalp is 29 sfr / 20 Euros

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    A chapel of 1486 in Meiringen

    by globetrott Written Jul 13, 2006

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    in the chapel of 1486 in Meiringen
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    You would not expect such an old church in a small village like Meiringen, at the east-end of Berner Alpen. But the small chapel next to the campanile in Meiringen dates back to the year 1486 - it was first used as a bone-house and includes a small chapel on 1st floor.
    take a look inside, it looks really nice and is open for visitors without restrictions during the day. Something special there is the old harmonium and the great frescos around the windows - see my pictures !
    You may enter the chapel freely and without restrictions during the day.

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    Aareschlucht - a great place for a rainy day

    by globetrott Written Jul 13, 2006

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    Aareschlucht - a great place for a rainy day
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    Aareschlucht in Meiringen, at the east-end of Berner Alpen, might be a good place to explore on a rainy day, simply because the sun will never get into that small valley anyway.
    Aareschlucht is a gorge, where the river Aare flows through a rather narrow valley - at first the rocks on both sides of the gorge are in a distance of 200 meters and at the end you may touch the rocks on both sides at the same time. 1400 meters of artificial paths, tunnels and bridges are leading you through the gorge. In my personal opinion Aareschlucht is somehow over-rated and only recommendable, when you have not seen similar places like Truemmelbach in Lauterbrunnen first.
    From Meiringen you may take the train to Aareschlucht West and walk down the gorge, or you may park your car at the Aareschlucht-Westeingang, walk up the valley - and start with the most spectacular part and end finally at the east-entrance, where you may just walk back again.

    Aareschlucht is open April-November 1st
    In July&August there will be light-effects each Wed&Fri 09.00-11.00p.m.!
    2/3 of the path, beginning at the West-gate - are adapted for wheelchairs
    Parking for guests is free of charge at the West-gate
    There is a restaurant, a self-service and a kiosk there !

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    Sherlock Holmes died at Reichenbachfall

    by globetrott Written Jul 13, 2006

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    Reichenbachfall seen from Meiringen
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    Of course everybody knows that the person of Sherlock Holmes is pure fiction. So everybody knows, that he was never living outside of his books. The small city of Meiringen, at the east-end of Berner Alpen still makes a lot of money, showing you the place where Sherlock Holmes died :
    Reichenbachfall is the big waterfall opposite of Meiringen, about 2 km to the south from the Sherlok-Holmes-museum. Conan Doyle - the author of Sherlok Holmes - was a regular guest in Meiringen and he was so very much impressed of the scenery of Reichenbachfall, that he thought, this would be the perfect place to die for his famous dedective. When you get out of the funicular you may see a yellow star at the other side of the waterfall and this indicates the place, where Sherlok Holmes had a fight with his arch-enemy Prof. Moriarty and both of them finally fell down and died.
    Reichenbachfall is a perfect place to start hikes to Rosenlaui, Grosse Scheidegg and other scenic places.
    Reichenbachfall is in the south of Meiringen,on your way to Aaraeschlucht.

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    Saegistalsee - not far from Faulhorn

    by globetrott Written Jul 12, 2006

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    its the tiny lake in the fore-ground !
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    Saegistalsee is a small mountain-lake in the hight of 1937 meters above sea-level and you will pass by it when you hike from Schynigge Platte to Faulhorn - at about half of the way between Weberhuette (read more about it in my restaurant-tip!) and the Faulhorn.
    I could not find an official walking-path to this lake, but you may see it even from a long distance when walking to Faulhorn.
    Saegistalsee is high above Iseltwald, BUT the steep rocks around the lake will not allow you to walk down directely from Seagistalsee to Iseltwald.

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    Schloss Huenegg in Huenibach / Thunersee

    by globetrott Written Jul 12, 2006

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    Schloss Huenegg in Huenibach / Thunersee

    Schloss Huenegg is another quite interesting palace close to the Berner Alpen, at the northern bank of Thunersee. Huenibach is a small village , just a few kilometres from Oberhofen and it has another small palace close to Thunersee : Schloss Huenegg was built in french renaissance-style between 1861 and 1863 and in summer 2005 it was unfortunately under reconstruction, as you may see on my photograph.
    Already in the year 1900 it was redecorated and furnished with a lovely Art-Nouveau-interior.

    Schloss Huenegg is open for visitors
    daily between May 15th and October 15th
    daily between 02.00p.m. and 05.00p.m.
    sundays also between 10.00a.m. and 12.00 noon.

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    Schloss Schadau & the gastronomy-museum

    by globetrott Written Jul 12, 2006

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    Schloss Schadau & the gastronomy-museum
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    Schloss Schadau is another nice palace of Berner Alpen, that is mostly overseen by the tourists, although it is just about 2 km east of the city of Thun. Schloss Schadau is dating back to the middle of the 19th century and it was built for a rich banker from Neuchatel. Nowadays you may see inside that palace the "Museum of Gastronomy" with various fancy cork-screws, precious china, cooking-books and menus and in another part of the palace you may see the largest painting in Switzerland : It was made by Marquard Wocher in 1814 and shows the city of Thun in a size of 39x7,5 meters !!
    Inside that palace you will also be able to dine in a speciality-restaurant named "Arts Restaurant"

    The gastronomy-museum is open Tue-Thu 02.00-05.00p.m.
    The "Arts restaurant" is open daily except mondays
    for reservations call: 03 32 22 25 00

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    St. Beatushoehle

    by globetrott Written Jul 12, 2006

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    St. Beatushoehle

    Beatushoehle is an interesting cave at the northern bank of Thunersee, about 10km west of Interlaken. You may get there by car or by a cruise on Thunersee. St. Beatushoehle is where Holy Beatus spent several years of his life in a hermitage. Next to the cave with stalagtites there is also a waterfall, a museum and a souvenirshop. When driving along the panorama-road along the noth bank of Thunersee, you have to leave that road close to Sundlauenen. When arriving by ship you just have to follow the path through the woods in order to get to Beatushoehle.

    The caves and the museum are open
    between Palm Sunday and October daily between 10.30a.m. and 05.00p.m.
    the museum closes 30 minutes later !

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    Axalp - my very first visit in Berner Alpen

    by globetrott Written Jul 12, 2006

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    Rothorn seen from Axalp
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    Brienz/Axalp was the very first place that I started to explore, while I was working there as a young student many years ago.
    For the ordinary tourist Axalp might make a perfect daytrip from Brienz, Interlaken, or any other place in Berner Alpen when you stay for a longer time and want to explore the scenery far away from the main-stream-tourism ! Axalp - in the south of Brienz, and high above Giessbach-falls - is one of the few areas, where skiing is possible for at least 4 months a year. There are larger 2 hotels up on the mountain and many "chalets" - wooden houses that could also be rented by tourists.
    On my picture you may see the former " Hotel Kurhaus Axalp " / , today it is called Alpengasthof Axalp, and this building was constructed completely of wood. It is a really cosy feeling in such an old building, when it is cold and stormy outside.
    In summer you may take various of hikes from Axalp:
    Walk down to Giessbach and Brienz
    Walk to Hinterburgseeli, to Zuun and finally Meiringen - a fullday-tour.
    Hike to Hinterburgseeli ( a small and cristall-clear lake) - about 2 hours
    To Faulhorn and First (see my Grindelwald-page !) - a scenic fullday-trip
    The hotel on my picture has a special meaning to me, because it was there, where I started my carreer in the hotelbusiness and it is a lot of fun for me today to think back of my first severe struggles with the terrible Swiss-german-dialect and hundreds of young skiers, driving me crazy with their orders....

    Take the train from Interlaken and a bus from Brienz station to Axalp.
    drivingtime from Interlaken, mostly on a narrow road, is about 60 minutes !
    driving to Axalp by your own car is possible , but NOT advisable !
    The road is really narrow and has only a very few passing-places.
    before driving that road, you better check the timetable of the buses !!

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    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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