The Niesen is a pyramid shaped mountain with a hotel, restaurant and 360°-view over Lake Thun and the Bernese Alps.
How to reach the top of the Niesen.
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What to expect when visiting the Niesen
The visit starts at the valley floor in the tiny village of Mülenen. This is where the funicular departs for a spectacular ride up the steep slope to the top, at an altitude of 2362 m. At the top, there's a hotel, a restaurant, a playground and most importantly: a magnificent 360°-view over Lake Thun, the Kander valley, the towns of Spiez, Thun and Interlaken, and the rest of the Bernese Alps. Even the Jura mountain range in the far north-west can be seen if the sky is clear. The Niesen is not as famous as many other mountains in Switzerland, but it actually is one of the best viewing points in the Bernese Oberland. It's easy to reach and relatively affordable.
It's an easy 5-minute walk from the funicular station to the viewing platform. Panels along the way provide information about nature, history and legends around the Niesen. There are several hiking trails from the valley to the top. Note that the Niesen is shaped like a pyramid. The slopes are steep and so are the trails. These are no beginners' walks. There is a funicular station called Schwandegg half-way up the mountain, so you can walk part of the way up or down if you want.
The funicular normally operates until late afternoon. On particular dates you can visit the Niesen at night as well, when the restaurant serves typically Swiss dishes during special culinary nights. Check the Niesen website for details.
Check the weather forecast as it's a waste of time to go up when the top of the mountain is in the clouds. Even when it's mostly sunny in the valleys, there can be clouds covering the top of the Niesen, so be sure to check that just before going up. The Niesen is not exceptionally high for Swiss standards. There will normally be no snow on the top in late spring, summer and early fall. Still it can be chilly as the top is fully exposed to the wind. Dress in multiple thinner layers so that you can adapt to whatever circumstances you will encounter. Take along sun glasses.
Allow at least an hour on the top to fully enjoy the views. This does not include the time to get there. You can easily combine a visit to the Niesen with a boat trip on Lake Thun.