The Bernese Alps rise in the southwest of Switzerland, looming over the turquoise waters of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. Boats chug back and forth across the lakes, carrying visitors to towns and villages full of pretty traditional buildings and quaint shops and cafes. Hiking trails lead out into the foothills, and from the main gateway of Interlaken ski lifts whisk you into the mountains themselves, with the promise of jaw-dropping views and world-class winter sports.
In the winter-sports season, skiing and snowboarding are the main draw of the Bernese Alps, with the main Jungfrau resorts of Wengen, Grindelwald and Mürren providing many miles of excellent slopes. Traffic-free Mürren is the place for family-friendly skiing – this traditional village, only reachable by train and cable car, is the highest in the region and has spectacular views of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau mountains.
Further west, the glamorous resort of Gstaad has a good range of slopes and is close to the spectacular Glacier 3000, a popular ice-climbing destination. For a quieter atmosphere with more adventurous slopes, consider the resorts of Lenk or Adelboden.
Summer brings a different character to the region. As the snow retreats to the highest peaks, the Bernese Alps become a hiking haven, with hundreds of miles of routes to explore. For a full range of outdoor activities base yourself in the Interlaken area, which offers everything from paragliding and sky-diving to canyoning and rafting. In the dramatic Lauterbrunnen valley, discover more than 70 waterfalls, and take the spectacular Jungfrau railway from Lauterbrunnen and Kleine Scheidegg to the 3,454-metre Jungfrau peak, nicknamed the 'Top of Europe'.
For a final look at those stunning Bernese Alps views, round off your trip with a meal in the mountains – try the revolving restaurant at the top of the 2,970-metre Schilthorn, which treats you to a 360-degree panorama over the course of an hour. It’s the perfect way to end a stay in this charming and spectacular corner of the Alps.