ABOVE: Three cows and a kid, Ringgenberg.
Ringgenberg is a village that doesn't show up in many guidebooks, and few English-speaking tourists are even aware of it. For one thing, the town doesn't have any obvious tourist attractions, except for a handsome little stone church that was built on the ruins of a castle in the 1600s and a nearby mini-lake that's warm enough for swimming from late May or early June through September.
So why visit Ringgenberg? Easy: It's less crowded than its popular neighbor, Interlaken. It's also prettier. And you'll probably save money on accommodations, too, thanks to several reasonably priced hotels and a large number of private rooms that you can rent with help from the local Verkehrsbüro (tourist office). Chalet apartment rentals are another option if you're staying more than a few days. (See page 2 for listings with Web links.)
Ringgenberg is practically a suburb of Interlaken. The village center is just 3 km (1.8 miles) from Interlaken, and the walk takes you through pleasant scenery along the shores of Lake Brienz.
Carrying luggage? From the Interlaken Ost railroad station, you can take a regional train in the direction of Brienz and Lucerne, getting off at the Ringgenberg stop (a 3-minute trip). You can catch the local bus (a 6- to 8-minute trip). You can drive on the road toward Brienz. Or, if you've got 15 minutes to spare, you can board a lake steamer at Interlaken Ost and get off at the scenic boat landing below Ringgenberg's church. Then follow the path uphill to the main street of the village. For transportation information, see the SBB CFF FSS Timetable or consult the printed Swiss Official Timetable when you're in Switzerland.
Bottom line: Ringgenberg may not be the liveliest resort in Switzerland, but it's an attractive village of chalets and is a handy touring base for Interlaken and the Lake Brienz region.
For links to Ringgenberg Web sites (including hotels and apartment rentals), see pages 2 and 3.
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