Interlaken, Thun, Bern, Annecy, Les Contamines, Le Grand Massif...

Unintentionally, I’m stuck with Slow philosophy. I was invited in Interlaken and guess what? This city is part of a “slow mobility” program called “Alpine Pearls”. So, I also took the opportunity to visit the surroundings.

You have 1 week of vacation and you decided to go to the Alps? Very good choice! During 1 week in May, I went to Swiss and French Alps. Here are 22 experiences you must do!

Interlaken

First step and trigger of my stay: Interlaken. This town is part of the “Alpine Pearls” program that campaigns for a sustainable tourism in the Alps.

Interlaken
Interlaken
  • 1- Harder Kulm, an amazing view of Interlaken and the Jungfrau
Harder Kulm

The most touristic attraction of Interlaken you must test for its panoramic view of the city, the 2 lakes and the Jungfrau (pronounced “young frao”). Jungfrau is a top that reaches 4158m and that Swiss people call “Top of Europe” (even if it isn’t true. For example, the Mont Blanc peaks 4809m).

  • 2- Hike under the Waterfall of Giessbach
Waterfall Cascade Giessbach

This was one of the wildest moments of the stay: hike and pass under a waterfall! I loved it!! 🙂

I really advice you to go there! This is a quiet hike with few people.

Waterfall Cascade Giessbach
  • 3- Eat a local meal at the heart of the mountain

After walking under this waterfall, go to the restaurant “Les Cascades” (“waterfall” in French) of the GrandHotel of Giessbach at the heart of the mountain.

Älper Magronen

You will find on the menu a local meal called “Älper Magronen”: potatoes, macaroni, crème, mountain cheese, onions and… applesauce! I can tell you one thing: that’s DE-LI-CIOUS!

  • 4- Play speleologist in the St-Beatus caves
St Saint Beatus Caves Grottes

In 20min from Interlaken by bus, we are heading for the St-Beatus caves. The legend says that – in the 6th century – the monk Béat was chasing and beaten the dragon of these caves. Since, we can visit this geological site. At the end of the visit, you will locate at 827m deeper and 87m under the mountain.

Before arrive to the St-Beatus caves, you will walk during 15min until the entrance in a beautiful setting!

St Saint Beatus Caves Grottes
  • 5- Be equidistant from 3 cities

By walking through Interlaken, we found – by chance – a point that locates us equidistant from 3 cities: Interlaken, Matten and Unterseen.

For curious people, you’ll find it here:

  • 6- Taste Swiss chocolates and confectionery
Rieder Interlaken

I advice you 2 places I tested: the chocolate factory “Schuch” (for chocolate fondue) and the tearoom Rieder (for their ice-cream)

  • 7- Walking in Interlaken and discover Street Arts

Here are different pictures of places, arts, buildings you will be able to discover in Interlaken. And I’m pretty sure that there are many other things to find! 😉

Thun

2nd step city: Thun. 1h drive from Interlaken, I advise you to visit the beautiful city of Thun, which gave its name to one of the Swiss lakes.

Thun Thoune Suisse Switzerland
  • 8- Thun castle
chateau thoune thun castle

This is one of the best places to admire the view of the town. It’s what motives us to enter in the castle. For 10 CHF, the visit is very light… During our stay, the castle was under renovation so, we paid 5 CHF but we couldn’t go on the roof. However, the view was already really nice 🙂

  • 9- Walk around near the lake of Thun

AGo to the BONSTETTEN PARK and enjoy the view of the lake and mountains. Pictures are talking for themselves. (I took risks for you! When I was taking the 2nd picture, I was under a tree where a beehive buzzed !!! ^^)

  • 10- Stroll in Thun and find the Street Arts

As in every city, by walking, you will find unusual elements, the old pedestrian street… Everything you can discover by chance.

  • 11- Eat a local meal in an atypical restaurant

This address given by an inhabitant of Thun was really good! That’s why I’m going to give it to you. If you’re going through Thun, I advise you this restaurant!!

Zunfthaus Zu Metzgern. You will eat in a building that looks like to an old European inn. For my part, I chose the speciality created by the Zunfthaus Zu Metzgern’s cooker: Lisi’s Fleischchueche (what I recommend to you!). Minced beef in puff pastry with tomatoes and ham, mixed salad (vegetables and fruit) and crème fraîche compose this meal. A delight!

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Bern

Being in Bern for a couple of hours just to take a train to come back in France, the visit was quick but the walk in town was very cool (except the rain ^^)

  • 12- Bear pit

This is one of the attractions in the city. Bears “live” in Bern since the foundation of the city in 1191. I’ve been searching information, here is what I found: “There is a legend that the city named after and carries the emblem of the first animal to be hunted in the surrounding woods by the city founder Duke of Zähringen. The first animal he caught was a bear, marking the beginning of the tradition of keeping bears in the city”.

  • 13- Pass in front of one of Einstein’s houses

Einstein Haus is located in the center of Bern. That’s possible to visit this apartment that Einstein rented from 1903 to 1905. By informing us, someone explained us what we can see: some Einstein’s objects and a movie about his life. So, we didn’t do it. If you want to, provide 6 CHF per person.

Einstein Haus Bern
  • 14- Discover the charm of the old Bern

We mainly walked (under the rain) during our stop in Bern. Here are some pictures of what you will be able to see by walking.

Bern
Bern

Annecy

After several days in Switzerland, back in France with the visit of the legendary city in Haute-Savoie: Annecy. Ok, I admit, about this step, we were “classical” tourists. 😉

  • 15- Lake Annecy
Annecy Lac Lake
Annecy Lac Lake

This is one of the Annecy’s showcases: its lake. With almost 40 km all around the lake, you will be able to enjoy by foot or by bike 🙂

  • 16- The old prison and its canals

2nd showcase of Annecy: its old prison and its canals. It would be a shame to miss this pearl of Haute-Savoie. Enjoy eating in one of the many restaurants all along these canals.

Annecy Prison
  • 17- The old Annecy

If you’re here, keep going and stroll in the old Annecy to enjoy the charm of this city.

Annecy Canals Canaux

Le Grand Massif

Le Grand Massif brings together several stations: Samoëns, Morillon, Flaine, Sixt-Fer-A-Cheval, Les Carroz. Here are some ideas to enjoy your stay in Le Grand Massif.

  • 18- La Jaÿsinia botanic garden in Samoëns
Jaysinia samoens jardin
  • 19- - Get some rest at the lake of Morillon or Samoëns
Lake Lac Samoens

Do you want to get some rest? Please, have a sit at the lake of Samoëns or Morrilon… This is the absolute best!!

Lake Morillon Bleu Blue Lac
  • 20- Admire the Cascade du Rouget in Sixt

Also known as “The Queen of the Alps”, you will be able to have a sit near the Cascade du Rouget. For hike fans, this place is the beginning of different hike paths.

Waterfall Cascade Rouget
  • 21- - Exchange books in Morillon’s participatory libraries
Troc Livre Morillon Book

There are 2 participatory libraries in Morillon: Troc Livres (in front of the tobacco store) and La Ruche à Livres (in front of the Tourism Office).

Les Contamines

  • 22- Les Contamines Park

Last step of our stay: Les Contamines and its Park “Parc de Loisirs du Pontet (now named: Parc de Loisir Patrice Dominguez). We only enjoyed this day to rest after a busy week 🙂

Practical information

  • Switzerland isn’t in € zone:

The currency is CHF

  • Fast convert CHF to €:

Divide by 1,20

  • Alpines Pearls website:
  • Personal thought:

I’ve been disappointed about Interlaken. Being part of “Alpine Pearls”, I was expecting a quiet and not a mass tourism place. There are too much Tour-Operators buses in the main street. Because of that, some of tourist attractions are fully booked (like the Harder Kulm). I advise you to have a stay in Thun, which is more peaceful than Interlaken. Moreover, thanks to the bus-lines, you will also experience the unmissable visits near Interlaken like St-Beatus.

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All these pictures are mine in this article.

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