With a Local: Interlaken, Switzerland

Brigitte Gosteli is a tour guide from Beatenberg, a village near Interlaken in Switzerland.

We met while I was visiting the region and walked together in the Bernese Alps.

We chatted during a train journey up to the Schynige Platte Botanical Alpine Garden while enjoying the view down onto the small Swiss town that lies between Lake Brienz and Lake Thun.

Brigitte agreed to provide her insider’s perspective for readers of Go Eat Do.

Why do you think people should visit Interlaken?

I think Interlaken in a very good place to stay. From Interlaken you can do a lot of excursions with different trains — it’s very practical. It’s central. You can also take boats on both of the lakes.

Kleine Scheidegg has lots of opportunities for hiking around the pass and in winter you can go skiing. You can go from both sides — you can take a train from Lauterbrunnen or you can take a train from Grindelwald.

If people like hiking, I would say come in June, July or August. September is still okay. For skiing I would say come in January or February.

There are some festivals. The Greenfield Festival, a music festival, is in June. There are also some celebrations on the Swiss National Day, the first of August.

Alpine scenery. Ring any bells?
Alpine scenery. Ring any bells?

What’s your favourite place around the town?

My favourite place is the place where I live, Beatenberg. There are lots of opportunities for hiking or to go skiing or biking. If you like nature and like to be outside it’s a very good place.

They say it’s the longest village in Europe — around seven kilometres. We have only 1,300 inhabitants. We don’t have a centre, we live alongside the road.

If you were going to take a guest to lunch or dinner, where would you choose and why?

I would go to Panoramic Restaurant Top o’ Met in the tower of the Hotel Metropole (Höheweg 37, 3800 Interlaken; tel. +41 (0)33 828 6666).

You can go up to the 18th floor of the hotel and you have a wonderful view from there. You can see both lakes and the whole region. It’s a small restaurant and a very nice place.

You can have typical Swiss meals or international cuisine. In winter I would take a raclette, a typical Swiss dish from this region.

If there is a bar or cafe that you could take guests to, which would it be and why?

There are several lakeside cafés and restaurants that are very nice.

Hotel Restaurant Neuhaus zum See (Seestrasse 121, 3800 Unterseen; tel. +41 (0)33 822 8282) is directly on the lakeside. You can go directly by boat — steam boat or whatever — and walk slowly back to Interlaken. It takes around 50 minutes. It’s very easy to walk on the lakeside — a very nice walk.

Mineral rich meltwater flowing between Interlaken and Unterseen.
Mineral rich meltwater flowing between Interlaken and Unterseen.

If guests can stay in the region for an extra day, what do you recommend they do and see?

The Ballenberg (Museumsstrasse 131, 3858 Hofstetten bei Brienz; tel. +41 (0)33 952 1030), the Swiss open-air museum.

It’s an area where you can see how people lived in earlier times. You can see houses from the different regions, from across the Swiss cantons, so it’s very interesting.

You can boat by train to Brienz. From Brienz you can take a train up to the Brienzer Rothorn, that’s also a very nice place. High up, there’s a restaurant with a terrace and you have a wonderful view from there. They even have steam engines going up there — it’s quite an attraction.

Further information

See the Interlaken, Jungfrau and Switzerland websites for further information on the area.

Photos illustrating this post are by Stuart Forster.

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An Alpine vista at Schynige Platte Botanical Alpine Garden.
An Alpine vista at Schynige Platte Botanical Alpine Garden.

1 Comment

  • Chris Elvers

    March 24, 2017 at 00:35 Reply

    Ticino, Zurich or Interlaken are Swiss destinations that I want to visit over the summer. This is a lovely format and makes planning easier.

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