Summer is the perfect time to jump on your bike! The scenery and fresh mountain air make riding the roads in the Bernese Oberland an exhilarating experience.
Even the Tour de France peleton has passed this way – in July 2016, with a 184km stage from Bern via Simmental, Saanenmöser, Col des Mosses and Col de la Forclaz – and between mid-April and October you too can explore the miles of stunning routes.
Enjoy unforgettable moments in the saddle as you combine uniquely varied touring and training options with Alpine adventure, physical and mental revitalisation, and endless fun.
You’ll find plenty of varied routes from easy to challenging, from the rolling countryside of the Emmental to the high mountain passes. The region of Gstaad Saanenland is the insider’s tip for keen road cyclists. Cycle racing has closely been associated with Gstaad ever since Swiss cyclist Hugo Kobelt won the stage from Lausanne to Gstaad in 1950. The range of routes here is immense – from wide mountain passes, to narrow side roads and stretches that take you over the cantonal border.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Bernese Oberland is brilliant for e-biking. Many of the hotels have charging points and these are also found at many stopping places along the actual routes. E-bikes make the mountains accessible, therefore, for riders of all ages and abilities.
Keen riders will love the choice of routes here. Try these for starters.
Gstaad. 4 Finger Loop
Ancient Swiss legends tell that God took a break from creating the world, and that his resting handprint created the Saanenland. The 4 valleys are the basis of all shorter rides in the area. There are a couple of sharp descents – down to Saanenmöser and to Saanen, while Lauenen’s inns are lovely.
Watch out for: The Mur de Lauenen, a short-but-steep climb into the village.
Length 59km Vertical 985m Time 2.5hrs Difficulty Moderate
Tour de Gstaad Classique
The classic ride from Gstaad can be summed up as two Alpine passes and endless views. From Gsteig, the Col du Pillon rises in several changing grades along the high peaks. After the descent to Les Diablerets, the climb to Les Voëttes follows. From here the Col des Mosses is almost done. The final descent to Château-d’Oex is fun.
Watch out for: The beautiful views and little restaurants along the loop.
Length 63km Vertical 1178m Time 3hrs Difficulty Easy
Strade Bianche de Simmental
This mid-length loop begins and ends in Schönried and takes in Zweisimmen, Oey, Zwischenflüh, Meienberg and Grubenwald. The route is partly on gravel roads, and has a 18km long climb which almost feels like tackling an Alpine pass and where a challenging gravel section – the Strade Bianche – awaits at the end.
Watch out for: The beautiful wooden Simmental houses.
Length 79.8km Vertical 1867m Time 3.5hrs Difficulty Moderate
Heart route: Stage 4, Thun-Langnau
The full 700km ‘Hertzroute’ leads right across Switzerland from Lausanne to Rorschach. Several stages skirt Bern, embrace Lake Thun and dive into the forests of the Eriz, a fairytale landscape which slowly becomes the Emmental. The joy of the ‘Heart Route’ is not its directness, but its meandering path through Switzerland as it once was.
Watch out for: The views from Heiligenschwendi above Lake Thun.
Length 72km Vertical 1400m Time 4hrs Difficulty Moderate/Tough
Interlaken/jungfrau. An iconic backdrop
TFrom Interlaken, the route follows the Jungfrau Railway line along the Lütschine river to Grindelwald, at the foot of the Eiger. After a sharp 10km climb up to Grosse Scheidegg at 1,962m, the road winds through Alpine pastures. From the top, it’s downhill through the lush Rosenlaui Valley and Meiringen. The mainly flat ride back to Interlaken hugs the shores of emerald Lake Brienz.
Watch out for: The iconic Eiger North Face. What a backdrop!
Length 77km Vertical 1490m Time 4-5hrs Difficulty Moderate/Tough
Magnificent, family-friendly route along the valley floor of the Aare. Lake Brienz, the ridge of the Ballenberg and the view into the Hasli valley are ever-present. Between Balmhof and Funtenen you’re flanked by steep valley sides. After the Funtenensee, the valley floor opens out again. From Meiringen try a side visit to the imposing Aare Canyon.
Watch out for: The bathing beach at Brienz. Perfect for the kids.
Length 13km Vertical 30m Time 1hrs Difficulty Easy