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Switzerland TravelSwitzerland / Bernese Highlands

Bernese Highlands

The Bernese Alps are mountainous ares in the western Swiss Alps
The Bernese Alps are mountainous ares in the western Swiss Alps. Though some of this region is located in the Bernese Oberland region of Bern, the Bernese Alps also extend into the adjacent cantons of Vaud, Obwalden, Fribourg, Lucern, and Valais. The valley of the Rhone separates the Bernese Alps from the Chablais Alps and the Pennine Alps. The Bernese Alps are drained by four rivers, the Aar and the Saane to the north, the Reuss to the east, and the Rhone to the south.

In the Bernese Highlands consist of a 100 km chain that runs from east to west along the Bern and Valais cantonal border. The western Bernese Highlands feature a few large summits of over 3,000 meters that are covered by glaciers. To the east, the chain becomes wider and peaks reach even higher: over 4,000 meters. This is the eastern Bernese Highlands are the most glaciated part of the Alps, also known as Jungfrau-Aletsch-Bietschhorn. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001.

The Bernese Oberland part of the Bernese Highlands has its own flag: a black eagle on a field of gold over two blocks of colors, one red and one black. The dialect spoken here is a Swiss German dialect called Highest Alemannic German. This is different from the high Alemannic Bernese German that is spoken in Berne and parts north of it.

There are 9 great destinations for travelers to visit in the Bernese Highlands: Adelboden-Frutigen, Berner Oberland, Ferienregion Lotschberg, Grindelwald, Gstaad-Saanenland, Haslital, Interlaken, Lenk-Simmental, Thunersee, and Wengen-Murren-Lauterbrunnental.

Activities in these areas included walking, funicular rides, cable car rides and paragliding. In addition there are numerous scenic towns and villages, plus snow peaked mountains and sparkling lakes. Jungfraujoch rises to an elevation of 3,454 meters and is always capped with snow.

Gstaad is made up of ten villages of chalets. Located in a lovely and unspoiled landscape, Gstaad is one of the best holiday spots in the world. The village of Gstaad is traffic-free and very chic. At an altitude of 1,020 meters, the village of Saanen is on the border with French-speaking Switzerland. Schonreid is at an elevation of 1,230 and is a great place for sports. Saanenmoser, at 1,270 meters elevation is also a great spot for sports and outdoor activities.

Zweisimmen is at a location of 945 meters. It is the "gateway to Gstaad" in the largest skiing and hiking region in Gstaad. Lauenen is located at 1,241 meters and is a romantic Alpine village. Turbach is a scattered village located at 1,320 meters elevation. Feutersoey, at 1,185 meters, is the gateway to Lac D'Arnon. The historical hamlet of Gsteig is located at 1,200 meters, and Ablandschen is a beautiful village at 1,320 meters, set against the Gastlosen as its backdrop.

Adelboden-Frutigen is at the end of the Engstlige River. It is a mountain village that looks southward to the Engstligen waterfalls, which fall 600 meters. Up until the 19th century, the only way to get to Frutigen was via the south slope of the Engstligen valley, which was often impassable during the winter. A road was built toward the end of the 19th century, joining Adelboden to its surroundings. This led to an increase in tourism.

Adelboden was the home of one of the first packaged winter holidays, starting in 1903. Nearby, the Alpaufzug sees over 300 cows driven up a narrow seam through the cliff to their summer pasture on the Engstligenalp plateau, at an altitude of 2,000 meters. The FIS Alpine World cup takes place in Adelboden in January and February. In summer, the area is home to a chamber music festival in July.

Interlaken is one of the most popular tourist resorts in Switzerland, and is one of the oldest. The river Aare flows through Interlaken. The town is 570 meters above sea level. Year-round, backpackers frequent Interlaken because it has several hostels that are friendly to backpackers and companies to provide guided assistance for activities like paragliding, hang gliding, sky diving, and skiing. The main attraction is the Jungfrau, at 4,158 meters and the Jungfraujoch railway station at an elevation of 3,450 meters.

Even though Interlaken is a small town, with around 5,000 residents, it has two railway stations and two funiculars. There are narrow-gauge rail lines leading over the Brunig Pass to reach Luzern. In addition there are bus links to neighboring towns and boat service across Lake Brienz to the city of Brienz, and across Lake Thun to Thun and Spiez.

The Bernese Highlands are very popular vacation destinations because of their unique unspoiled beauty close to towns with excellent transportation options. Summer or winter, those who love the outdoors find the Bernese Highlands to be like heaven on earth.

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