I was lucky enough to spend some of my Christmas break in the Bern area of Switzerland with some friends. We had two days to make the most of, and luckily very good weather, if very snowy hiking paths. Here’s the best way to make the most of 48 hours in Switzerland, ideally with your base in-between Bern and Interlaken.
We started by taking the cable car in Grindelwald to the top of the mountain. We left at 8am to get there for 9, but the queue was still heaving with skiers and the designated parking space was full, leaving us with a 20 min walk to the ticket office, so I’d recommend getting there as early as possible.
We paid 60 CHF, (around £47) to take the cable car both ways, although it is possible to do a couple of hours walk to a higher stop and get a cheaper ticket. I felt a bit rubbish about spending the majority of my budget on the first day, but it was definitely worth it for the stunning view. The cable car took about 20 minutes but there was amazing views of the ski slopes, valley and surrounding villages.
At the top of the mountain, five minutes away from the cable car stop, is the First Cliff Walk, a metal walkway that juts straight out over the valley. The view was absolutely spectacular and we spent about 20 minutes here taking photos, staring through the binoculars and throwing snow over the edge.
After stopping to eat our pre-packed lunches, we made our way to the start of the Bachalpsee walk which starts with about 20 minutes of solid climbing up hill. We had read the walk was only about an hour and a half return, but it was clear that the heavy snow from the night before was holding us up majorly. Lots of people had hired toboggans to slide down the downhill slopes and drag their things, and we immediately regretted not doing the same- although we did attempt sliding down on our bums instead! The walk took us about an hour and half there with beautifully dramatic scenery the entire time. We did get to the lake only to find it had frozen over and was covered in snow, but the walk was definitely worth it, and the walk back was much shorter.
We stopped for some hot chocolate and took the last cable car back, before driving to Interlaken, about half an hour away. There we walked around, exploring the chocolate shops, cobbled side streets and the park by the beautiful Victoria Jungfrau hotel until it got dark. As our major way of saving money was to shop at Aldi and make all of our own meals, we bought and prepared cheap cheese fondue, in an attempt to eat at least a little local.
We drove to Lauterbrunnen to do a waterfall walk, which was much easier than the hike we had done the day before. The scenery was still beautiful but not quite as breath-taking as we were walking in the valley rather than on top. Unfortunately, since it hadn’t rained very much in the last few days, we didn’t see too many waterfalls, but we did see some cheese vending machines, which are just as cool.
After about an hour we turned back and then drove the hour and a bit to Bern, getting there just in time for late lunch, which consisted of eating sandwiches in a car park. We then explored the old town, which had picturesque rows of tall houses and narrow streets, as well as views of the wide rushing river.
We searched out the old clock tower, which was very impressive in person, and visited the Cathedral which had wonderful ceilings. Finally, we left towards the car again, passing the Bear Pit which didn’t have any bears in, although I feel a bit uneasy about the whole concept. We left Bern in the dusk to drive to our next destination.
This part of Switzerland was a beautiful place to be in the winter, with a nice mix of secluded nature walks and biggish cities to look around. I was apprehensive about visiting, having heard how expensive Switzerland can be, but as long as you’re careful then it makes the perfect weekend getaway!