Twenty Days in Europe, Part 3: Base Camp--Wilderswil, Switzerland
*Author's Note: I was not compensated for my review of the Hotel Baeren.
By Bridget Barnes
On day three of our twenty day adventure, we left St. Witz, France, and drove to Wilderswil, Switzerland, which is approximately two miles from Interlaken. As much as I’m a Francophile, I’m equally smitten with all things Swiss! Back in 1991, I visited Interlaken with my mother, and I was blown away by the immense beauty of the Alps and the turquoise water of Lake Brienz. You just don’t see that kind of geography where I’m from! When the opportunity arose to visit the area with my husband and my daughter, well, I just couldn’t pass it up! I won’t lie. The fact that I could share the experience with my daughter like I did with my mother made the idea even more special.
Honestly, the three days we spent in and around Wilderswil were my favorite days of our whole trip. There is so much to see and do in this part of the world. Some of my best memories were forged here, and I think that my family shares the same sentiment. My daughter didn’t want to leave, and she still longs to visit again. If you are traveling with children, you won’t regret taking them to this part of Switzerland.
Why We Chose Wilderswil As a Base Camp
I love Interlaken like you wouldn’t believe, but I’m going to be honest with you. It is expensive. Switzerland in general is expensive, but Interlaken is crazy expensive if you are trying to maintain a workable budget. So, we chose Wilderswil. Honestly, if I could move to this tiny town, I would. The people are nice, the food is ridiculously good, the scenery is maddeningly beautiful, it’s clean, there are flowers and gardens everywhere…good grief. I adore Wilderswil. Oh, and the hotels are less expensive than the ones you find in tourist-laden Interlaken.
Suggested Daytrips and Activities
*My next post will go into more detail about the daytrips and activities.
Interlaken (approximately two miles from Wilderswil)
Cruise around Lake Brienz
Grindelwald (approximately ten miles from Wilderswil)
Hopping in your car and getting lost
Where To Stay: We stayed at Hotel Baeren—The Bear Inn. Oh, how I love this little inn! The staff is beyond friendly. From the moment we checked in to the day we checked out, our experience was honestly one of the best I’ve ever had at a hotel.
We stayed in a standard double room with a balcony, and every morning, we woke up to this:
Our room was spacious. Actually, it was larger than the usual rooms offered in Europe. While the beds were harder than I typically like, the down blankets and pillows made my slumber oh-so-restful. As there is no air conditioning, we felt completely safe with opening the windows to let in cool alpine air at night.
The daily breakfast was truly outstanding. Each morning, we were greeted with an enormous buffet of meats, cheeses, croissants, cereal, nuts, and fresh fruits and vegetables. The fact that I could have unlimited cappuccinos helped this American caffeine addict. Seriously, this is the best breakfast offering I’ve ever had at a hotel.
In addition to breakfast being included with our room (check your reservation agreement), the hotel offered some extra bonuses: free parking and a two-day bus pass. The pass allowed unlimited trips into and out of Interlaken. The bus stop is less than five minutes by foot from the hotel. This was definitely a plus as we didn’t want to pay high parking fees in Interlaken.
There are a few grocery stores in and around Wilderswil. Stock up on snacks and drinks before hitting the road.
Wilderswil is pedestrian friendly. The town is perfect for taking a walk, and getting lost is difficult. I recommend exploring the town itself. The architecture and gardens are beautiful!
Restaurants are expensive in Switzerland. Make sure you budget a bit more money for meals. However, you can always pack a picnic if funds are tight!
Try the local beer! You will be pleased!