Bike tours are a popular activity – be it for nature-loving, culture-savvy or super active families. We know different tours and destinations in the Bern region that will appeal to everyone in the family, no matter the age or skill level.
For Nature Nuts
Bike routes through natural landscapes have a positive side effect: there are barely any cars, which makes them especially family-friendly.
Easy-Peasy: Through the “Bremer” to the Glass Fountain
For your very first bike tour, the best idea is to opt for a route that’s free of road traffic. Riding through the Bremgarten forest is an ideal premiere: The tour starts and ends at the Bernmobil bus stop “Länggasse”, which is also where you’ll find one of the most beautiful playgrounds in the city of Bern: the Halenbrunnen playground with its bike parcours. After a warm-up lap on the little pump track, you can take the wide, flat gravel paths through the “Bremer” forest to the Glasbrunnen (glass fountain). It is said to be a mystical site with water that has healing powers – although that hasn’t been proven, it surely can't hurt to fill up your bottles here. Then head back through the forest and end your tour with another break at the Halenbrunnen fountain and maybe even a nice picnic by the fire pit.
Biking and BBQ: Through the Gäbelbach Valley
This route is perfect for bike tours with small children who are not yet completely confident on roads with traffic. If you’re taking the streetcar to the starting point, get out at “Holenacker”. By the way: Bernmobil only transports bicycles if the vehicles are not already full. From the streetcar stop, go down the steep road next to the highrises and then turn right onto the forest path. This is also a popular place for walks, so ride slowly and respectfully. The good thing about slowing down: you’ll have more time to explore the little coves of the Gäbelbach river – and to stop at the prettiest one for a barbecue! When you get to the end of the tour, make sure you try the most delicious French fries at the Eymatt campground restaurant. Then take the PostBus back to Bern (get on at “Eymatt b. Bern Camping”). You don’t need to make reservations for your bike – however, you might need to be a bit patient as wheelchairs and strollers have priority over bicycles.
Where Planes Take off and Beavers Live: From Monbijou to Belp
A pretty outdoor swimming pool, a wonderful garden bistro, and an exciting airport: The bike tour from Bern-Monbijou to Belp offers such an unexpected number of sights and attractions along the way that you might never actually get to the end of it. It starts in the Bernese Monbijou neighbourhood and is mostly uphill in the beginning, but experienced little bikers are sure to manage. From Wabern on, it is mostly flat or even slightly downhill. In Kehrsatz, the route joins with the Radwanderroute 888 – Grünes Band Bern (bike route)((verlinken mit Bern.com/888)) and there is car traffic. But the many different options for breaks along this route make it worth it – be it for a BBQ by the river, a quick dip in the cool Aare, or watching aeroplanes from the side of the tarmac. Make sure you bring a bit of cash – the farm shops along the way (and the Jägerheim restaurant) offer wonderful refreshments. And if you see sawdust on the ground, keep your eyes open for beavers!
For Culture Cracks
If you want to do something for body and mind alike on your bike ride, the urban routes are ideal for you. Bike rides in cities can almost always be combined with some sightseeing or a visit to the museum. And not to mention all the food options!
Family Tour through the Emmental valley: From Trubschachen to Burgdorf
On this 30 kilometre-tour, bicycling families will encounter nothing but idyllic Emmental views. Treat yourself to a Bretzeli, a biscuit speciality, at Kambly in Trubschachen, before you roll through typical Emmental farmland areas and past traditional farmhouses and impressive homesteads. Be sure to keep an eye out for curious town names along the way: there are lots of funny ones, from Katzengrat (“cat ridge”) to Hüpfenboden (“skipping ground”) to Grunzisegg (“grunt corner”)! From Zollbrück on, the route mostly takes you along the Emme river – very practical for cooling those feet that are surely hot from all the pedalling! Just a little bit further and you’ll see a majestic castle towering above the town of Burgdorf at the end of your tour – don’t leave without visiting the new castle museum, a highlight for visitors of all ages. And the castle's youth hostel is a great place to spend the night after a fun day of riding your bikes.
Through Meadows and Cities: From Spiez to Bern by Way of Thun
If you feel like you can take on a longer tour but don’t like riding uphill, the tour from Spiez to Bern is perfect for you. It is easy and flat, but it does cover a considerable 50 km, so it’s more suitable for experienced children with a bit more stamina. Before you get to Thun, the route takes you through the pretty Augand meadows, where lucky cyclists and explorers might even spot a European kingfisher by the Kander river. And the magical Glütschbachtal is a wonderful place for a picnic break. If you’re doing this tour on a hot summer’s day, cooling off at the historic Schwäbisbad outdoor pool in Thun is a good alternative. The route then takes you through beautiful forests along the Aare river, one of Switzerland's most valuable river landscapes, and through the vegetable fields around Belp, before it enters the city of Bern near the “Gaskessel”. A perfect route for a family tour with older children: long, but relaxed and varied.
For Active Adventurers
While some feel like there’s nothing better than a relaxed bike ride, others prefer to really work up a sweat. Bikers with an extra portion of stamina will love these tours:
Along the Pretty Sense River: From Thörishaus to Laupen
The second leg of the Gürbe-Sense-Route Nr. 74 is a real gem that the entire family will enjoy. Although it’s only 10 kilometres from Thörishaus to Laupen, make sure to schedule enough time – after all, who can resist the temptations of the beautiful Sense river? Swimming, barbecuing, playing with stones and pebbles... Boredom? Never heard of it. Take into account: in Neuenegg, the bike route shortly merges with the road to take you through the village. Alternatively, you can push your bikes along the river for about one kilometre. Don’t forget: save some energy for the end so, as you approach Laupen, you can properly enjoy the wonderful view of the majestic castle that sits above the town – and maybe stop for a quick visit of the medieval fortress.
Unobstructed View of the Central Plateau: From Herzogenbuchsee to Büren an der Aare
This leisurely, but at 40 kilometres quite long tour is wonderfully scenic – but not just that: beautiful inns and impressive attractions also await. Starting in "Buchsi" in the Oberaargau region, the route first takes you through the outskirts of the Wasseramt District. The Burgäschisee (Lake Burgäschi) is ideal for a swim even in the early summer, as the water isn’t as cold as in other, larger lakes. The ride through the rolling hills of the Bucheggberg mountain (or "Buechibärg", as the locals call it) is mostly pleasant, despite the "mountain" in the name. But there is a bit of a climb, and it does drag on a little. To compensate for the uphill pedalling, there are exciting stops along the way, such as the Pomaretum (an orchard where different apple varieties are cultivated) or a nut oil mill that is over 400 years old. The end of the tour takes you whizzing down to Büren an der Aare, where cyclists can catch the PostBus back home.
Over the Hill
Through the Gümligentäli to Ostermundigen
If you want to start your tour in Bern's city centre, ride in the direction of Wankdorf and from there past the Zentrum Paul Klee on route 64 and all the way to Gümligen. Make your first stop at the Melchenbühl schoolhouse to do a few laps on the large field or climb around on the school playground. It’s the perfect warm-up for what comes next: the ascent to Gümligenberg mountain requires a bit of power – or an e-bike motor. But soon after, the route takes you through the little-frequented Gümligen Valley on a speedy downhill ride to Deisswil. After a short section on the busy road, the route leads back onto a protected bike path into the suburbs. You’ve still got some energy left? Finish off the day with a few laps on the pump track by the Kleine Allmend field. This is a diverse route for ambitious bike kids!
For Excitement Enthusiasts
If a simple bike tour through pretty landscapes, towns and villages is not enough four you, you might find what you’re looking for on a pump track or at one of the numerous bike events in Bern.
Bike Parks in the City of Bern: Practise Makes Perfect!
In the past years, they have been appearing all over Bern: bike parks and pump tracks, where people of all ages and sizes can do countless laps or practise wild (or mild) stunts. It’s not just a nice activity offered by the city, it also has educational purposes: At the fun bike facilities, children and teenagers are able to practise riding their bikes in a playful way and, above all, away from road traffic. The idea is that the skills they acquire here will later help them ride better and feel more comfortable and secure in traffic. But the little bikers, skaters and scooter artists won’t even notice the educational agenda: they are allowed to just have fun. Be it on a hard-surface pump track (for example in the Lorraine neighbourhood or on the Kleine Allmend field), on a Naturparcours natural trail (in Halenbrunnen or the Viererfeld), or in the "Verkehrsgarten" (“traffic park”, in Weyermannshaus).
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Seventh Heaven for Bike Fans
The Swiss Bike Park in idyllic Oberried is a dream come true for all bike cracks! The dimensions of the park are rather un-Swiss: it covers some 2,000 square metres and includes everything from a beginners’ downhill trail to berms. The miniature pump track, the ramp with its safety air mattress for jumps and the trail won’t just appeal to the kids, so make sure to schedule enough time for your visit! What’s especially family-friendly: admission to the Bike Park is free, the only fee is for the parking spaces. But real bike cracks arrive by bike anyway!
Must-Do for Future Stunt People
slowUp: Like Christmas for the Non-motorized
At the annual slowUp Emmental Oberaargau, bike fans’ wildest dreams come true: the roads are c-l-o-s-e-d to motorized traffic! The road network, which covers a total of 30 kilometres, is reserved for environmentally friendly slow traffic only, and a variety of fun complementary activities await along the way. It’s no surprise that slowUp (which takes place in numerous regions, by the way) attracts loads of bicycle fans each year. The event had to be cancelled in 2020 due to COVID, but it’s sure to attract the masses again on September 12, 2021. Now let’s just hope Saint Peter plays along - and yes, Corona too.
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