Bernese Oberland - Abbey Travel, Ireland

Bernese Oberland

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Welcome to Bernese Oberland

Bernese Oberland

The magnificent Bernese Oberland region, recognized for the impressive triple-peaks of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau (the ogre, monk and maiden), is a major tourist area with resorts boasting world-class winter and summer activities. It also features one of the most popular tourist excursions in Switzerland, the breathtaking cog railway to the Jungfrau Plateau. From here, the highest station in the world, staggering views and ice caverns within the glacier can be enjoyed.

Bernese Oberland is the most magnificent of the alpine regions, a concentration of the very best of Swiss scenery, with towering snow-capped mountains, glaciers, pristine lakes and waterfalls, meadows of edelweiss, pastures echoing with the tinkle of cowbells, and typical wooden chalets with geranium-filled window boxes.

Gateway to the Bernese Oberland is the popular resort of Interlaken and the main transport hub of the region. An extensive network of roads, mountain railways, funiculars, cable cars and hiking trails link it to the other popular resorts in the area, including the scenic ski village of Wengen, and Grindelwald, the most established skiing and hiking centre in the region. Oberland's most glamorous resort and the place for glittering socialites to be seen is the chic town of Gstaad, popular more for its high society than for its skiing.

Although intensely popular during the skiing and hiking seasons, the region is well equipped with a wide range of outdoor activities, from the slopes to scenic lake cruises, and accommodation ranging from fancy hotels to rustic lodges caters for all visitors. The transport network is efficient and extensive, integrating easy travel with many panoramic views of the stunning scenery that makes the Bernese Oberland such a celebrated sightseeing area. Travellers can take advantage of the Bernese Oberland Pass, which provides unlimited transport by by bus, boat, gondola, funicular and mountain train for a period of 7 to 15 days.

Information & Facts

The three official languages are Swiss German, French and Italian. A few people speak Romansch, but this is confined to the southeastern corner of the country. Most people know at least three languages, including English.

The official currency is the Swiss franc (CHF) divided into 100 rappen (German) or centimes (French). Although not part of the EU many prices are nonetheless indicated in Euros and some merchants may accept Euros. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are widely accepted and ATMs are widespread; many are equipped with the Cirrus or Maestro system. Banks offer the best exchange rates for travellers cheques and foreign currency, but it is also possible to exchange money at major hotels, main train stations and airports. Banks are open Monday to Friday.

Local time in Switzerland is GMT +1 (GMT +2 between March and October).

According to legend, Bern was named when its founder, Berchtold, was advised to go on a hunt and to name the town after the first beast caught. The bear has remained the symbol of the capital city ever since. One of the oldest and most charming cities in Europe, its old centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for the preservation of its cobbled medieval street plan, with many ornate fountains, towers, a massive astronomical clock, and buildings much the same as they have been for the last 500 years. With its relaxed atmosphere, farmers markets and friendly people, it is easy to forget that this is the Swiss capital, an important city of politicians and international meetings. And with its interesting museums, theatres, long-standing monuments and landmarks Bern is a popular base from which to explore the mountains and lakes of the nearby Bernese Oberland.

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