Transportation in the Bernese Oberland
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Travelling in the Bernese Oberland
Generally spoken, the public transport companies in the Bernese Oberland co-operate very well. Because of that you will not even notice that you are dealing with a number of different companies. The most important transport companies in this area are the federal railways SBB (Schweizerische Bundesbahnen), the regional railway company BLS (Lötschbergbahn) and the smaller narrow gauge companies MOB (Montreux - Oberland Bahn), BOB (Berner Oberland Bahn) and WAB (Wengern Alp Bahn). The combination of BOB and WAB and a number of smaller companies in the region is also called the Jungfraubahnen. Below you will find a map showing the most important railway connections in the Bernese Oberland. There is a detailed map of the Jungfraubahnen and the Jungfrauregion as well.
The public transport is of such quality, that is is very well possible not to use your car during your holidays. In a number of cases public transport is the only way to reach your destination. Places such as Wengen, Mürren and Kleine Scheidegg cannot be reached by car. Furthermore, many hikes start at the mountain station of a gondola. In that case you can park your car at the valley station. If you are not making a perambulation, you will also have to use public transport to get back to your car. Transportation during your holidays will therefore often be a combination of your car and public transport.
Buying train tickets for every single trip may be rather expensive. Therefore we advise you to estimate the number of journeys and places you want to visit in advance. Often a season-ticket will limit the costs. For travelling in the Bernese Oberland the Regional-Pass Bernese Oberland may be a good choice. With a season-ticket like this you can cross the region for a day and visit a number of viewing points for a reasonable price. Because the Bernese Oberland is situated centrally, there are also possibilities to visit other parts of the country. For example, the canton of Wallis can be reached through Spiez. This route runs through the Lötschberg tunnel, which is for trains only. If you like, you can put your car on the train in Kandersteg to have yourself transported to Goppenstein. More information about this subject is provided by the BLS. The town of Luzern can be reached by a beautiful train journey over the Brünig pass.
Furthermore, there is a magnificent route through Spiez, Zweisimmen and Gstaad to Montreux, at the Lake of Geneva. The route from Luzern over the Brünig pass through the Bernese Oberland to Gstaad and Montreux is called the GoldenPass Line. For this kind of longer trips you will mostly need another ticket than the Regional-Pass. It is advisable to know the possibilities of your season-ticket well, so that you will know whether a gondola or bus route will offer you free travelling or a discount, and in the latter case: which percentage. There are so many different European, Swiss and regional tickets, that even the personnel of the transport companies does not always know all the details.
A tip as a final word: check the timetable of gondolas if you depend on them for reaching the valley again after a hike. Most gondolas shut down at the end of the afternoon, some of them continue until late at night. Many gondolas and funiculars do not run in spring and fall, because of maintenance and less passengers. There may be maintenance in summer as well for some gondolas, resulting in limited or no services on that particular day.
- Not all towns can be reached by car. Examples are Wengen, Mürren, Kleine Scheidegg and all mountain stations of gondolas. If you travel by car, you have to use public transportation in some cases.
- Buying a ticket for every journey will turn out rather expensive. Make sure you are informed about season-tickets.
- Gondolas mostly shut down at the end of the afternoon. Some of them continue until late at night. Many gondolas do not run in spring and fall and may temporarily be closed for maintenance in summer as well. Take this into account if you depend on a gondola to reach the valley on your way back after a hike.