This driving experience will take you to bucolic behind-the-scenes Bernese Switzerland. Here lush pastures, famous cheese, flower-filled country homes and the great outdoors pass pleasurably by and the simple things remain a constant joy. Considering staying overnight at Trub, Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen.
From Bern’s center to Burgdorf (the main town in the region) is an easy 30-minute drive (23km; 14.3mi) via back-road Krauchtalstrasse. From Burgdorf to Affoltern im Emmental is just over 15 minutes drive, with a choice of different routes, all attractive. From Affoltern im Emmental to Langnau im Emmental is a charming 21km (13mi), 25-minute trip, mostly along Route 23. Whichever road you take to Trubschachen, it’s a simple 5km-or-so (3mi) business, and even less to Trub.
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Then it’s through the glorious Unesco Biosphere Entlebuch, arrived at from Trubschachen by turning sharply left once you leave town and then navigating hairpin turns and crossing into Canton Lucerne. Once you reach the town of Escholzmatt, take Route 10 to Schüpfheim, where you’ll find the information center for the area at Chlosterbüel 28 (23.3km, 14.5mi; 40 minutes).
After exploring the region, head south onto Flühlistrasse and enter Obwalden Canton. Follow the aptly named winding Panoramastrasse (Route 4) down to Giswil. Once there, keep following Route 4 south, past the Lungernersee, through to Brünig and then cross back into Canton Bern. Take Route 4 (then Route 6) to Brienz (on Lake Brienz), from where you can travel up to Brienzer Rothorn by steam train. The drive from Schüpfheim to Brienz is 61km — 40mi and takes about 90 minutes.
An architecture-themed diversion awaits at Ballenburg (less than a 10-minute drive), with the Swiss Open Air Museum. While hugely popular on sunny weekends and holidays, it nevertheless allows you to stretch your legs over its ample grounds.
If you fancy peace and quiet (not to mention your own company), you may wish to give the adrenaline-fueled activities centered in Interlaken (where we suggest you overnight) a pass and instead complete a gentle lap of Lake Thun early the next day, visiting its photogenic castles.
From Lake Thun, steer toward Lauterbrunnen and her 72 waterfalls. From here you can either take the train to the Jungfraujoch early one morning or simply explore Jungfrau Region villages (such as Wengen) on foot.
When you’re ready to bid farewell to the Jungfrau, head southwest to toney-meets-traditional Gstaad for a dash of Alpine glitz. Or perhaps add a day or two extra and do some hiking and/or skiing on nearby and fabulous Glacier 3000.
To book a suitable hotel or other accommodation in or around Inerlaken, you can use the map below, which shows current prices for hotels and apartments. If you wish to book further afield, then just enlarge the map (+/-) to see more properties or, if you have somewhere particular in mind, enter your preferred resort/town/village in the ‘Where are you going?’ box.