Bern is much more than the Swiss capital – the picture-perfect landscape of snow-capped mountains, wildflower valleys and glassy lakes surrounding the medieval city is an adventure playground made for hiking.
These six trails are some of the best, and include breathtaking deep gorges, high Alpine vistas and even a special backpack filled with cheese! But Bern is not just about hiking - there are a myriad of activities to try in the region, including cycling and trail running in the summer and endless skiing and snowboarding in the winter.
Find a taste of what’s on offer at madeinbern.com
Best hike for views:
The panoramic Gantrisch trail
Length: 13 miles
Once you’ve explored Bern’s gorgeous medieval streets this trail from Plaffeien to Gurnigelbad makes a perfect escape into the countryside. Panoramic by name and nature, hike across lush meadows and to the south you’ll see the Ganstrich mountains and distant snow-capped Alps.
North, look out over the Berne midlands across to Lake Biel and even as far as the treetops of the Black Forest in Germany. The route is well signposted – perfect for a relaxed one or two-day hike with a picnic packed in your rucksack.
Best mountain hike:
Brienz to the Brienzer Rothorn
Length: 5.7 miles
It’s a sweaty five-hour hike from Brienz over mountain passes to the summit of the Rothorn at 2,350 metres, but it’s worth it for both the stunning scenery at the top and the gorgeous landscape you walk through, passing the roaring Milibach falls and crossing fairytale meadows before reaching the ridge.
This is a challenging hike for the keen walker, but one you’ll remember forever. The Brienz Rothorn railway runs down from the summit in the summer months, and before you catch a ride down you can reward yourself with a homemade treat in the mountain restaurant.
Best forest hike:
Length: Seven miles
Swap hot sunny hills for the deliciously shady forests of the unspoiled Gastern Valley, where a cloak of trees open up intermittently to reveal incredible views of far-off mountains coated with snow. It takes a bit of effort to get here, but the reward is a pristine landscape you’re likely to have all to yourself.
Hike up to the forest from the valley below or take the Sunnbüel cable car to gain a lofty view over the Kander waterfall. And when you’ve tired your legs out on the trails a raclette at Waldhaus restaurant will sort you right out.
Best hike for landscape:
Length: One mile
Okay, so a mile’s walk isn’t a challenging hike, but what the Aare Gorge lacks in length it makes up for with sheer cliffs up to 50 metres tall towering over the trail. Over the course of millennia the river Aare has cut a broad path through the Haslital, one of the largest valleys in the Alps, to form this jaw-dropping gorge.
This is the perfect walk for all abilities. There’s a well-developed system of tunnels and bridges above the flowing turquoise water, and half of the gorge is also accessible for pushchairs and wheelchairs.
Best leisurely hike:
Ridge trail to the Chasseral
Length: 7.8 miles
Nature lovers – this is the one for you. The route from the Hotel du Chasseral crosses a mountain ridge to Clédar de Pierrefeu and takes three hours to complete, with never-ending views over the Three Lakes Region. Spot the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains and even a glimpse of the Matterhorn.
The trail itself is made of wooden slats to protect the flora and fauna along the route. A lovely family-friendly option, and foodies will love stopping at Métairie du Bois Raiguel restaurant, where the owners make their own delicious cheese the traditional way.
Best foodie hike:
The fondue backpack
Length: It’s up to you!
You couldn’t make this one up – in special huts across ‘Fondueland’ – the area around Gstaad in the Bernese Oberland - you can pick up a special backpack for lunch. Inside is everything you need to make a traditional cheese or truffle fondue as well as crusty bread to dip in it, a warmer, plates and forks, all supplied by a local bakery.
Reach the huts on foot, by bike or even with snowshoes in the winter, then take your fondue off on a scenic hike of the surrounding mountains before picking the perfect spot for a fondue with a view.