Easy half day walks in the Bernese Oberland

Easy half day walks in the Bernese Oberland

Share this page on Facebook Share this page on Google+ Share this page on Twitter Print this page
Create an account to receive an e-mail when someone replies to this thread
Posts: 9. This thread is closed.
KristaJ
KristaJ
8 posts
new member
May 12, 2010 - 11:40 PM
I'm staying in the Bernese Oberland for about 5 nights, and would like to do some hiking. However, I am a woman travelling alone, and I won't have hiking boots with me, only walking shoes. I'm also a relatively slow walker (short legs, and easily distracted by shiny things!), so I'm probably looking for something in the 3-4 hour range so I don't have to run for the last gondola. Good scenery a must, a place for lunch or a snack would also be nice, and maybe finishing somewhere that there is something else to visit. I'd love to get close to a glacier, but I realise that may be unsafe in mid June. And I heard something about cheese dairies...? I would like the route to be popular enough to not feel unsafe.

Also, where should I base myself? I'd like to be away from the crowds, but not too far from easy public transport.
Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
May 13, 2010 - 1:28 PM
Hi KristaJ! There are plenty of easy hikes with beautiful views in the Bernese Oberland. Some examples are:

All of these walks have good facilities with a restaurant on either the place of arrival or departure, and in many cases on both. The routes aren't too far remote from villages, restaurants, cable car stations and popular routes. In fact, most of them are popular routes - and rightly so, because they are all beautiful. You could also consider an easy stroll along the shores of either lake Brienz or lake Thun. For example, the trail from the Giessbach falls to Iselwald is quite easy, but very pretty nevertheless. The pathway between Faulensee and Spiez is very easy as well.

Getting close to a glacier is possible: you can visit the Oberer Grindelwald glacier by a wooden stairway consisting of 890 steps. A glacier gorge can be visited in Grindelwald as well. Please check the Grindelwald tourism website, under the header 'Excursions', for more information. Moreover, an impressive overview of the huge Aletsch glacier can be found at the Jungfraujoch.

As you'll be travelling in mid June, most tourist resorts won't be very crowded yet, as high season is in July and August. Some beautiful (yet crowded) resorts include Wengen, Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen. They all offer beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and are right in the heart of the Jungfrau region. I'm very fond of Wilderswil as well, as it's located centrally (close to Interlaken and with excellent public transportation connections) and at the same time isn't too crowded. In case you're looking for a resort that offers even more connections, you should consider Spiez along the shore of lake Thun. I know you'll be hiking in the Bernese Oberland, but if the weather there is bad you can easily catch a train in Spiez and cross the tunnel to the southern side of the alps; the ride to Brig in the canton of Wallis only takes about half an hour. You can find travelling times in the online timetable.
kim11
kim11
322 posts
top member
May 13, 2010 - 10:06 PM

Great info from Annika!

I cast my vote for basing yourself in Wengen. It is a positively charming and incredibly scenic carless village, the quintessential Swiss Alps experience. Go to www.pictures-switzerland.com for some great pictures. Wengen will not be busy in June. The village is large enough to have good choices of restaurants and there are many hikes you can do from there or with a short train ride. The people are friendly and you will feel safe and welcome as a single tourist.

Below are some ideas of easy but spectacular hikes in the area (some of which Annika has already suggested). There are many more shorter hikes that are simple round trips around the village; the tourist office can provide you good info on these. If you are interested in more info, including excursions, hotel/restaurant ideas, transport suggestions, etc, please send me a private email. I have a 20+ page document based on my many trips to the region. It is too long to post or attach so I would need your private email address to send it to you.

Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg. This walk is likely the most stunning of the easy hikes. It is about 3 miles long with a gentle downhill descent on a very wide path. The views of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau are breathtaking. To start the hike, take the gondola (“Luftseilbahn”) from the center of Wengen up to Männlichen. The gondola runs every 20 minutes and the trip to the top takes about 7 minutes. At the top, you are treated to more vistas on the Wengen side of the hill, and, to the east, the Grindelwald side. By the way, the funny looking steel structures you see near the top and on the peaks opposite are avalanche fences. The Männlichenbahn station in Wengen was wiped out by an avalanche five years ago so they have put lots of work into avoiding that again.

I should probably mention that you will see lots of cows grazing in many areas, but particularly around Männlichen. Although they are huge by US cow standards and tend to stand around on the trails, don’t be concerned. They are accustomed to humans and don’t cause problems. They like to be petted. Consider it a photo op.

At the top, Berghaus Männlichen (www.maennlichen.ch ) has a large self-service cafeteria with indoor and a large outdoor seating area. They have an extensive “bergrestaurant” menu: local cheese plates, dried beef, rosti, wurst, Swiss-style hamburgers (no bun), pomme frites (french fries), house made cakes and tarts. Although it’s mainly a self-service cafeteria there are printed menus on the tables with English descriptions and full color pictures. Sometimes they provide table service outside. Tables with tablecloths are service tables, those without are self-service. (BTW, this is the rule at all other restaurants as well.) They also have a full service restaurant inside the hotel. The food here is pretty good, but not as good as Kleine Scheidegg so suggest you simply have a look around before you take the easy trail down to Kleine Scheidegg. This is truly a “golf cart path”. It’s about three miles long with a gentle downhill slope. It may be a bit crowded (although probably not in June) as it’s the easiest hike with spectacular views. You will see stunning views of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau massifs.

Kleine Scheidegg is a magical place. It is the traditional base camp for Eiger ascents. This is also where all the trains going to the Jungfraujoch change so it is, at times, swarming with tourists changing trains and buying T-shirts. But don’t be put off by all the touristy-looking stuff – the food here is just fantastic and is your reward for a nice walk! You will also have a beautiful panoramic view, including glaciers. Sit at the long communal tables by the tracks at Restaurant Bahnhof (www.bahnhof-scheidegg.ch) and order either the wurst and rösti (a Swiss national dish that is basically the best hash browns you’ve ever eaten) that are being prepared outdoors or something off of the extensive menu They have some of the best salads in the country– huge bowls of fresh local vegetables in the green salads and an amazing array of fresh fruits, nuts, and vegetables in the “Half-Pipe Salate”. Other menu choices include hamburgers, the ubiquitous cheese and dried meat plates, schweinschnitzel (pork schnitzel), and so on. Everything is great except the sauerkraut. Do not leave here without having an Apfelkuchen mit Rahm (apple cake with whipped cream – don’t skip the cream!) and, if they have it, the Grande Nussini, which is a cookie that’s like a cross between shortbread and biscotti and loaded with hazelnuts, pistachios, and sometimes pecans (you usually have to go inside the restaurant to find one, and consider yourself lucky if they’ve made any that day).

A large herd of very tame goats has taken up residence at Kleine Scheidegg. They have no qualms about walking/standing on the tracks and it’s not unusual to see trains stop and the conductors come out to shoo them off. They are also quite the beggars.

You can then take the train back to Wengen from Kleine Scheidegg. Alternatively, if it’s a nice day you could take the train up to the Jungfraujoch from Kleine Scheidegg. This will take a little more than an hour and you’ll want an hour or so at the top. Then, you can take the train back down to Wengen (about 1.5 hours from Jungfraujoch).

Grütschalp to Mürren. A trip to the village of Mürren is highly recommended. Mürren is like a sister village to Wengen. It sits on a shelf opposite Wengen, about half way up from the valley floor. (You will be able to see Mürren from Wengen). Like Wengen, it is also car free and the walk there from the gondola station at Grütschalp is breathtaking. Approximately 3 miles on flat terrain, this walk provides a spectacular view of the Eiger massif, but from a different perspective than the Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg walk. To begin, take the train from Wengen down the hill to Lauterbrunnen (about 20 mins and gorgeous), then cross the street (or use the underground walk) to the gondola to Grütschalp/Mürren. The trail to Mürren begins at the Grütschalp station where you depart the gondola.

Walk through the town, which has some very old structures and is absolutely charming. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to get from one end to the other. There are two great spots for lunch. One is Restaurant La Grotte, about in the middle of town. They have a quite varied menu and the restaurant (and patio) are traditional and quaint, but there isn’t a view. However, the food is the best in town and the waiter, who has been there for 23 years, can be a hoot if he’s in the mood to entertain. Another option is the Alpenrüh, which is on the far end of town just before the gondola up to the Schilthorn. This is a newer hotel/restaurant done in traditional style, has a great view from the dining patio, and the food is quite good. They have the best fruit tarts in this part of the country but, interestingly, they never put them on the menu. You have to ask. All the “insiders” know about it. Strange marketing...

If you are still feeling adventuresome after lunch, catch the gondola up to the Schilthorn. The Schilthorn provides another bird’s eye view of the Alps, but from a different and wider vantage point than the one at the Jüngfraujoch and I find the views even more compelling. It’s also less expensive at about CHF 70 full fare round trip from Mürren to Schilthorn and discount cards apply. The ride takes about 20 minutes. The big attraction on top is a revolving restaurant (Piz Gloria) that provides 360 degree panoramas of this part of Switzerland. There are labeled etchings in the base of the windows so you can tell what you are seeing. The food here is lousy, so have lunch in Mürren before you go up. The drinks are fine, though, and you will need to order something to sit in the restaurant. Plan on spending one hour here, which is one entire revolution of the restaurant. This structure was the filming site for much of “Her Majesty’s Secret Service” starring James Bond, so you’ll see lots of movie trinkets in the gift shop. Simply retrace your steps to return to Wengen.

Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg. This is another must-do hike as it provides a glorious trip down the entire Lauterbrunnen Valley. The valley is full of waterfalls – the literature claims 72 but, depending on the time of year, you may see as few as 10. Take the train from Wengen down to Lauterbrunnen, exit left from the train station, walk through town, and directly onto the wide footpath that runs down the Valley. You will pass right by the famous Staubbach Falls. Then after about a total of about 30 to 45 minutes you will see a cut off (to the left) that leads across the Valley to Trümmelbach Falls (see some good pictures at http://graphics.stanfo rd.edu/~lucasp). This is well worth doing -- these are falls that run through the center of the mountain. Very secure footing and railings let you get an up-close look. After touring there, you can either walk on the road in front of the falls down to Stechelberg (continuing south) or, preferably, cut back across the meadow and rejoin the footpath. Stechelberg Inn lies at the end of the Valley and is a great lunch spot. It’s usually full of locals and they have a nice patio and an extensive menu. The entire distance, including the jog over to the Falls, is about 4 miles on flat terrain.

To return to Wengen, take the Post Bus that stops near Stechelberg Inn back to Lauterbrunnen train station then return to Wengen by train. This bus runs once every hour; check the schedule at the bus stop before lunch so you don’t miss one by 5 minutes! You can buy tickets when you enter the bus. Alternatively, if you haven't yet visited Mürren, you can walk back to the gondola station (you will have seen it in passing) and take the ride up.

Lauterbrunnen to Wilderswil, optional to Interlaken. This is a lovely walk that parallels the river from Lauterbrunnen to Wilderswil and also covers some beautiful forested areas. This path is in two stages, both approximately 3 miles in length and on flat terrain. The first stage, Lauterbrunnen to Zweilütschinen, starts right at the Lauterbrunnen train station. Follow the signs to the Parking Garage and WCs east of the station and you’ll come upon the trail signs direction Zweilütschinen and Wilderswil. At the very beginning, there is a very short descent over a path that can be a bit muddy and a wee bit steep but quickly puts you out onto a very wide, well-maintained Wanderweg. This stage of the trail follows directly along the river through a lovely forest; you will also see a fish ladder about half way on.

Once you reach Zweilütschinen you can catch the train back to Wengen or press on for the second stage: Zweilütschinen to Wilderswil. (Alternatively, of course, you can take the train from Lauterbrunnen to Zweilütschinen and pick up the trail here.) The local train companies have done visitors yet another favor by constructing a lovely “Nature und Bahn” (loosely translated: “Nature and Railway”) path on this stretch. Cross the train tracks at the north end of the Zweilütschinen station and look for the signs direction Wilderswil and Nature und Bahn trail. This stage is also about 3 miles (flat) and passes through more forested area and the charming village of Gsteigwiler. Admire the beautiful woodwork on the homes and the lovely gardens in town, then continue on the Nature und Bahn trail (Note: there are a number of other paths that also lead to Wilderswil, but the Nature und Bahn trail is the most easily navigated. It is well marked, just look for the special signs.). At the end of the walk, you will cross over the river via a covered bridge and enter the town of Wilderswil. There are many good restaurant choices in this area if you’re ready for lunch. You can catch the train at Wilderswil back to Wengen.

The Nature und Bahn trail ends in Wilderswil but, if you’re ready for more, pick up the trail to Interlaken across the street from the train station in Wilderswil. A short walk of 45 minutes will put you in town, where you can browse the shops, stop for lunch, and catch the train back to Wengen.

The Planetenweg. A gorgeous walk along Lake Brienz provides a different perspective than the mountain walks. Take the train from Wengen to Interlaken Ost. Walk west from the train station and cross the river over the first bridge you come to (just before the Hotel Beau Rivage). Pick up the Planetenweg trail here and follow it as long as you like. You will pass through a number of villages: Ringgenberg, Niederried, Oberried, and ultimately Brienz. Each village has good lunch stops and train, bus or – better yet – boat access back to Interlaken then back to Wengen.

Annika
Annika
4417 posts
expert &
moderator
May 14, 2010 - 1:49 AM
Thank you for your excellent insider's tips, Kim!
KristaJ
KristaJ
8 posts
new member
May 14, 2010 - 2:00 AM
Wow! That's awesome, thanks so much. I'm going to print it out and take it with me.
Vlasta
Vlasta
49 posts
active member
Jun 2, 2010 - 9:11 PM
That is a great reply from KimSanJose. I would very much be interested in reading your 20 page document. What is the proper procedure for getting it? I am fairly new to the forum and have not figured all this out.
Arno
Arno
7718 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 3, 2010 - 1:54 AM
Hi Vlasta. I'm not sure if KimSanJose will see your post, but you can send her a personal message. Please click on her user name on the left side of her post in order to do so.
kim11
kim11
322 posts
top member
Jun 3, 2010 - 2:09 PM
Hi Vlasta,

I just sent you a private email with the procedure for getting the document.

Arno is exactly right, clicking on poster's name to the left will get you to their profile and, from there, you can click on "send message"

KimSanJose
Vlasta
Vlasta
49 posts
active member
Jun 3, 2010 - 4:23 PM
Thanks to Kim11 and Arno for helping me figure things out. :-)

ALL SWISS RAIL PASSES

Find out how the several passes work, what they cost and where to buy.

More

HOW TO PICK THE BEST PASS

Having trouble finding the right rail pass? Learn how to pick the one that best fits your plans.

More

THINGS TO DO IN SWITZERLAND

Suggestions for day trips and hiking trails in the Swiss Alps.

More

THE HOTELS WE SUGGEST

Browse the hotels that we like. Budget hotels, hotels near the rail stations, mid class hotels, luxurious 5-star hotels, airport hotels and more.

More

More on MySwissAlps.com

Swiss tips in your mailbox

Sign up to receive our newsletter and the latest forum messages. The best way to prepare for your trip!

Sign up

Get a customized itinerary for your trip

Let Swiss travel consultants create a customized itinerary. They can arrange for your entire trip.

More
© MySwissAlps.com 2002-2016