a VirtualTourist member
I plan to be in Bern in the middle of March. How far a drive is it to Interlaken? Are most of the roads cleared of snow, and what are the general snow conditions during that time? Is it safe to drive deeper into the mountains.
I don't know anything about this area, so I appreciate any information. Thanks.
How far it is to drive is easily determined on one of the many online mapping sites. I use maps.google.ch
Roads are usually cleared quite quickly of snow, so unless there has been a heave snowfall recently you should not have any problem driving to Interlaken, or even Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen.
Generally in Switzerland the main roads are usually passable, even in winter. The exceptions are most mountain passes.
You can also use travelmath.com for working through any driving distance. I did this one for you and it is 36 miles or 51 km. We took this trip in 2008 but took the train between Bern and Interlaken. The train ride was about 1 hour with stops. You could also take trains for a different view. You might want to think about taking a train ride from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen. (that's about as far in that direction as you can get with a car anyway). That is about a 20 minute train ride. That way you can look at the scenery along the way without driving. Lauterbrunnen Valley is the one with 72 waterfalls.
I'd take the train (I do every couple of years in fact). Either Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen are easily accessible without using the mountain trains. If you fancy a mountain train, up as far as Wengen is reasonably priced. Beyond that is more expensive.
If you do drive, the roads should be fine, although they do seem to have had bucket loads of snow recently. The valley beyond Lauterbrunnen towards Stechelbirg can be seen on this camera: http://www.stechelberg.ch/cam/cam.htm
There are several cameras that cover Grindelwald. My favorite is this one http://kirchbuehl.roundshot.ch/
I love the 360 degree camera shot. Do you mind if I borrow it for my Switzerland page? That way I can refer to it periodically. I would love to get back to this area. We were there in October, 2008. My wife and I did some paragliding over Interlaken while we were there also. Take a look at my home page here on VT. I have a link of our paragliding trip that you might enjoy. I also have a link for the ride up to Schilthorn.
Driving from bern to Interlaken is easy and fast, the road is almost flat and no mountains to climb between these 2 cities. For the highway you have to pay a yearly sticker (=40 sfr) and as soon as you come to interlaken you need to find and need to pay for parking your car.
SO: the best option will be the train, taking you from city-centre to Interlaken !!!
the snow on the roads between Bern & Interlaken will certainly not effect you, as long as you have winter-tyres. this applies as well for the roads to Brienz and Meiringen.
driving on to Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald might be a problem sometimes, but for this I will highly recommend taking the train again.
Parking a car is expensive in Switzerland and they have the most perfect train-system in the wold !!!