Getting Oriented in Central Switzerland

We had always planned on spending three nights in Switzerland as a part of our roadtrip, but we had trouble nailing down exactly where to stay or how to spend our time. We were SO excited to finally be going to Switzerland, a place that has been at the top of both of our lists for years. We didn’t want to mess it up!

In our next few posts, we will detail a few ways we recommend you spend your time here. For now, though, we wanted to do a little overview of the region and what to expect in Switzerland.

It’s too perfect of a place to not be completely prepared, and we certainly don’t want any of our readers getting carpal tunnel from having to scroll down a ridiculously long post.

Lake Lucerne Switzerland

Where to Stay in Switzerland?

We didn’t want to go too far south and mess up our road trip route, so decided we wanted to stay on the northern side of the Alps- specifically, in the Bernese Oberland.

The Bernese Oberland, located south of the Swiss capital Bern, features stunning alpine peaks, icy blue lakes, and rolling green hills. It’s on the northern side of the Swiss Alps and is home to several staggering peaks such as Jungfrau, Schilthorn, and Eiger, as well as the breathtaking Lauterbrunnen Valley.

Interlaken is the perfect base for exploring the Bernese Oberland, but we stayed a little bit outside of Interlaken in a village called Wilderswil. This was absolutely perfect because we were even closer to the Alps than we would have been if we stayed right in Interlaken.

Wilderswil is just a twenty-minute drive away from the Lauterbrunnen Valley. We highly recommend using the Interlaken area as your base, especially if you are relying on public transport. It is a great launching off point for day trips. But because Interlaken itself leaves a little something to be desired, we were so glad we didn’t stay right in the middle of it. We loved, loved, loved our perfect Swiss Chalet in Wilderswil. We felt like we really got the true Swiss mountain experience, and this place was located across the street from the train station.

We did spend one night in Lucerne before our time in Wilderswil, but we wouldn’t recommend this. Go straight for the mountains.

Interlaken Switzerland

How cold are we talking here?

We went to Switzerland at the exact worst time possible, but it was still by far one of the most beautiful places we’ve been. Ever.

In late November, there wasn’t enough snow to make any of the activities we had planned feasible. We needed to improvise. Most of the ski resorts were not open yet, and even Night Sledding with Fondue got canceled because it wasn’t “cold” enough yet. (Can some PLEASE sign up for this and tell us how it was??).

If you ask me, it felt like Antarctica, but apparently there wasn’t enough snow on the ground for the aforementioned activities. Instead of impersonating Lindsey Vonn and Shaun White as we had planned, we took an amateur mountaineer’s approach to the region and explored from dawn to dusk every day. Though our dreams of fresh powder (but really more of après–ski) were thwarted, we were able to still see a ton of the Bernese Oberland and Lucerne.

If mountain sports aren’t negotiable for you, we suggest going a bit later in the season once the resorts are officially open.

Interlaken Switzerland

Language Barrier?

Although Switzerland has four official languages, German is predominantly spoken in this region. We found the TripLingo app extremely helpful as we navigated through both Switzerland and Germany.

What about MONEY?

Two things. First, make sure to pull out some Swiss francs, as most establishments won’t accept euros. Second, just go right ahead and pull out your entire savings account in francs because Switzerland will take literally all of your money. We’d been warned, but we were still shocked by the prices of pretty much everything. So prepare, and budget accordingly.

Lauterbrunnen Valley, Switzerland

What to do?

We’ll talk about that next in our next posts. We LOVED exploring Lucerne, hiking in the Lauterbrunnen Valley, and journeying up to Grindelwald.




  1. Miriam

    May 9, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    love this post!!!

  2. TJ

    November 30, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Awesome post, thank you for the information.

    When you are referring to how expensive it is there, are you referring to getting around and the food prices? We rented a car for really cheap but I’m starting to think public transport is the way to go, because even with a car you still need to take trains and gondola’s just to get to some of the hikes we want to do. So I feel like the individual tickets we will be purchasing is going to make the car not even worth it. I hate being at the expense of public transportation though. The rail pass is really expensive, but if that includes from free cable cars we might be better off getting the rail pass for $240ish a person and save. Thoughts??

    Also, to save money on food, I figure we will grocery shop for breakfast and lunch and then eat out for dinner each night.

    1. Tyler

      December 11, 2017 at 6:02 pm

      I think it depends on where you are staying. Are you using one town as your base? I think if you used Interlaken as your base, you could definitely rely on public transport to get up to the hikes you want to do. That’s what we did, for the most part, when we were in Interlaken. You can get a train/bus/gondola to pretty much anywhere (and usually have to). We hopped around quite a bit on this trip, though, so it was nice to have a car to drive us between stops and go at our own pace.
      We grocery shopped to save money too! We did eggs and toast every morning and made dinner in a night or two.

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