Bernese Oberland • What to do in April and May

What to do in Interlaken, Jungfrau Region and Bernese Oberland during spring including mountain tops, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, gorges, and valley walks.

If you are traveling to the Bernese Oberland region and Interlaken during spring break, you will need to choose your activities carefully. In April and May, the mountains will still be covered in snow and many services closed as they prepare for summer season.

However, there are still many fun things to do, including mountain viewpoints, waterfalls, gorges and low elevation hikes. Below are our top suggestions for the Bernese Oberland region in April.

See also our favorite summer hikes near Interlaken (for travel starting in June).

Waterfalls & Rivers

These waterfalls are all accessible in spring and it’s a good time to come when the snow is melting and water volume is high. Some also have short hikes.

1. Trümmelbach falls

Opens the beginning of April

Glacier water carves through the mountain to create these impressive waterfalls in the Lauterbrunnen valley. You pay an entrance fee, then ride an elevator up the cliffs. Then you wander inside the cavern on stone steps and walkways, admiring the rushing water from various viewpoints.

Plan about 1 hour for your visit. The falls are easily accessible by car or bus from Lauterbrunnen.

See details for Trümmelbach falls 

2. Giessbach Waterfalls

Open starting 9 April 2022

One of our favorite spring outings is the Giessbach falls near Interlaken. You start with a ferry ride to the base of the falls, then a vintage funicular ride up to the historic Giessbach hotel, which has a nice view of the falls and lake below. You can optionally hike up the falls to get a closer look.

In April, the ferry schedule is very infrequent, maybe just once a day each way. So plan your day carefully. Definitely make a reservation at the restaurant if you want to eat.

See details for Giessbach falls

3. Aare Gorge

Opens 2 April 2022

The Aareschlucht is a narrow river gorge that you can walk through on a raised walkway over the rushing river. It’s an easy 1.6 km walk through the gorge. You can walk back the way you came or take a train. The gorge is a short drive or train ride from Interlaken. 

See details for Aare Gorge.

4. Reichenbach falls

Open starting 30 April 2022

These beautiful waterfalls is where Sherlock Holmes met his demise in the famous books. A vintage funicular train takes you up to a viewing platform over the falls, then a short hike up to get a closer look. For a bit more fun, you can rent fat tire kick scooters and ride back down to the valley. You can buy a combo ticket with the Aare Gorge, which is very close-by.

See details for Reichenbach falls

5. Grindelwald gorge

Open 7 May 2022

This narrow gorge near Grindelwald was carved by a river flowing out of the glacier above it. After paying the entrance fee, you can walk on an elevated walkway about 870m into the gorge and return the same way. Inside the gorge, there is a huge 170m² “spiderweb” net stretched across the gorge where you can jump around. For an extra fee, you can do the crazy “canyon swing” where you freewall from 90m above the canyon and swing up to 120km/h through the canyon. 

See details for Grindelwald gorge

Grindelwald Gorge

Low elevation hikes

6. Lauterbrunnen valley walk

Open year round

The walk down the Lauterbrunnen valley is always open, with mountain views and dozens of waterfalls spilling over the cliff walls on either side. It’s an easy stroll on a private country road sometimes along the river. It’s about 4.3 km from Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg, where you can catch a bus back to your starting point. 

See details for Lauterbrunnen Valley Walk

7. Aeschi bei Spiez – Bench Trail

Best starting late April 

This trail wanders through tiny villages and grassy fields in the hills just west of Interlaken. It has beautiful views of Lake Thun and the surrounding mountains. No gondola required for this one, so you can hike anytime. This trail is also an official winter trail, groomed in winter.

See trail map and photo story of Bench trail (from Our Swiss Experience)

8. Heimwehflue

Open from 9 April 2022

You can walk or ride a funicular to the top of this hill overlooking Interlaken. At the top, there is a restaurant, playground, and lookout tower. For a bit of fun, you can ride the short alpine coaster. If you want to hike, there are trails crisscrossing this hill, so you can walk as short or long as you like.

See details for Heimwehfluh (from Hana at OurSwissExperience.com)

9. Ballenberg Open-air Museum

Open starting 14 April 2022

You’ll feel like you are hiking through the alps as you explore this large open-air “museum” that squeezes all of Switzerland into a 164 acre park. Ballenberg a variety of cultural and historical buildings to explore. Depending on the weather, it might still have snow patches here and there but you should still be able to enjoy it. Enough amusements for a full day.

See detailed post for Ballenberg Open-air Museum

10. Lungernsee

Open year round, but best starting late April

This beautiful lake can be reached directly by car or train, not relying on mountain transport. There is an easy 10km path around the lake, which is open any time of year if there is no snow. There are also two waterfalls along the path that should be flowing by April. The lake water level can be quite low in April so set your expectations.

See details for Lungernsee lake path

Longer low elevation hikes

If you want a longer, more difficult hike here are more lower elevation trails near Interlaken you might consider. These trails do not require mountain transport, so you don’t have to worry about those being open. But do check the bus schedules, which can be limited in spring. I haven’t done these trails myself, so I’ve linked to other sites for the details.

  • Panorama Rundweg Thunersee. This hike starts in Interlaken and traverses the mountain on the northeast side of Lake Thun. The highest elevation is about 800m, so likely to be free of snow by mid April unless we have a late snow storm. The full trail is 17 km with 460m up, 700m down. But it can be shortened by catching a bus in the middle of the trail. See trail details.

Mountain Hikes – weather dependent

The mountain railways for the following areas open in May, but that doesn’t mean the trails are open. So check the live status before putting on your hiking shoes.

  • Männlichen opens 26 May 2022. Panorama trail to Kleine Scheidegg. Playground with view at top.
  • Schynige Platte opens 26 May 2022. Mountain train to panorama views with variety of trails.
  • Oeschinensee opens 14 May 2022. Cable car to mountain area, easy walk to beautiful lake. Kids will love the alpine slide, but be aware that the slide will close during inclement weather. This is a 45 mins drive west of Interlaken.

Mountain Tops

The Bernese Oberland has a few mountain tops that are open either year round or early in spring. In April, these mountains will be covered in snow. But you can enjoy fantastic views from the mountain railways, observation decks and restaurant terraces. 

Tip: These mountain top outings are expensive and usually crowded with tourists. Make sure to check the webcams before buying your tickets. No point in going up if you can’t see anything.

1. Jungfraujoch glacier viewpoint & visitor center

Open year round

Perhaps the most popular destination in the Bernese Oberland is the Jungfraujoch. From Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen, it’s a long journey on cable cars and cogwheel railways to reach a tourist complex with a variety of amusements. The main attraction is a view of the Aletsch glacier, the longest in the alps at 22 km.

This is an expensive outing, over CHF 200/adult (discounts with travel cards), so it’s not my first choice for most travelers (see my video explaining why). The other activities below are much less expensive and still have amazing views.

See details for Jungfraujoch

If you want to hike, there is a path from the Jungfraujoch leading to the Mönchjochhütte mountain hut, which opens in mid-March. You exit the Jungfraujoch complex to the snow and join the groomed winter trail to the hut (about 45 mins each way). You can eat at the hut and even sleep overnight (reservation required). More info about the Mönchjochhütte.

2. Schilthorn observation deck

Open year round – maintenance break 25-29 April 2022

Another popular excursion in the Jungfrau Region is riding cable cars to the Schilthorn observation deck at 2970m. This outing is about half the price of the Jungfraujoch and we think the views are just as nice. At the top, you’ll find a few amusements including a cliff walk at the Birg middle station.

See details for Schilthorn

3. Mt Niesen

Open 23 April 2022 • check webcam

You ride two funicular trains to this viewpoint at 2363m over the Bernese Oberland region. At the top, there is a restaurant with a large panorama terrace. There is a short walk up to an observation deck, from which you can see Lake Thun and Interlaken as shown below. In summer, you can hike down the mountain, but not possible in April.

See details for Niesen

4. Niederhorn

Open starting 15 April 2022 • check webcam

A short drive or bus ride from Interlaken to Beatenbucht, where you ride a funicular then cable car up the mountain to Niederhorn at 1963m. At the top, there is a restaurant with outdoor seating and a small playground. Then a short walk to a protected viewing area over the cliffs, with a view towards Thun and Bern. Even more fun in summer when you hike along the ridge.

See details for Niederhorn

5. Harder Kulm

Open starting 15 April 2022

This funicular leaves directly from Interlaken, near the train station. It takes you to a viewpoint at 1322m over Interlaken, lakes and mountain range. At the top, there is a viewpoint platform and restaurant with an outdoor terrace. This is one of the least expensive mountains to visit in the region.

See more info about Harder Kulm

Lake cruise

There is a lake on either side of Interlaken, Lake Thun or Lake Brienz, and both offer lake cruises, which is a great way to see the mountain views during spring. See my post about cruising on Lake Thun.

Rainy day in the Bernese Oberland

Keep a few of these up your sleeve for when the weather turns. Some are a bit of a drive from Interlaken.

Mountain hikes on snow

During April, the mountains are covered in snow. But a few mountains in the Jungfrau Region near Interlaken may have their lifts running and winter trails open through mid April. If you visit during this time, you may be able to hike on winter trails with groomed snow. Before doing any of these winter activities, check the Jungfrau Region snow report to see what’s open. 

My first choice would be the winter trail from Grindelwald First to Bachalpsee lake. It’s about 1hr each way and relatively easy. The gondola that accesses this trail runs continuously through spring. But they may not be grooming this winter walk in April because it’s off season. I would check the website and call ahead to make sure. See my post about this hike in summer

Here are other winter walks in this area I would recommend, assuming they are open. See more winter hikes in the Jungfrau Region.

BLM BDe 4-4 Grütschalp - Winteregg
Pic by Kabelleger / David Gubler (http://www.bahnbilder.ch) [CC BY-SA]

Map of all Bernese Oberland spring activities

Trip map courtesy of Wanderlog, a trip planner app on iOS and Android

Read also

What to do in spring in Switzerland (March - June) for tourists and locals, including where to see flowers, which mountains are open, where to hike, and rainy day suggestions.
What to do in spring in Switzerland (March – June) for tourists and locals, including where to see flowers, which mountains are open, where to hike, and rainy day suggestions.

More ideas

Comments

We respect your privacy. Please review our privacy policy to understand how we process and store data submitted through the comment form below. If you submit this form, you explicitly agree to the terms described in our privacy policy.

2 Responses

  1. Hi Tanya my fiancé and I want to do a 4 day hike to hut trip in Switzerland in September or late August. We would like advice on the routes that have the best diverse scenery with mountains, green, animals and lakes. And also huts and restaurants along the way. We will pay extra to have our own room in a hut or inn. We’d prefer a safe route without big steep cliffs or ropes needed. A well marked route is best. Also which city to fly into to begin our trip.

    Thanks!!!
    Jen

    1. Hi Jen, Sounds like a great trip you have planned! I might suggest contacting Alpenwild, a company that develops custom itineraries like you describe. Quite a lot of time and research is involved in putting together this sort of itinerary, so I really recommend hiring someone to help with that planning process. https://www.alpenwild.com/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Welcome

Hi! I’m Tanya and our family has been living & hiking in Switzerland since 2005, collecting dozens of fun hikes and activities for all ages and abilities. More about us…

Browse Map

Free eBook

Recent Posts

Partners