Bern’s inhabitants love the Gurten, their very own “mountain”. Whether it’s pushing a baby stroller, walking the dog on a leash or enjoying quality-time hand in hand with their sweetheart. When the springtime sunshine draws people from their houses, this hill above the city becomes alive. The Gurten is a real paradise for children as well: About 22 attractions, of which 20 are free, invite all crowds to seek them out and let off some steam. One highlight is the legendary marble run, a type of large-scale, Tinguely machine almost 300-meter-long.
Attention, fans of the “Hausberg” (local mountain): The Gurten cable car will be renovated from Janu-ary to May 2024, and a bus will run up the Gurten as an alternative. For this reason, there will be no skiing, tobogganing or bike shuttle during this period. The toboggan run will even close a little earlier: on 31 October you can toboggan around the bend while enjoying a stunning view of Bern for the last time until the end of the renovation period.
Need to escape from the stresses of everyday life and the city? Then off you go to the “Zehendermätteli”! This idyllic natural oasis is located in one of the River Aare’s most attractive loops in Bern. You can walk across the peninsula in about 30 minutes. If you are looking for absolute peace and quiet, you will find it in the neighboring “Reichenbachwald” (Reichenbach Forest) or on the banks of the quietly flowing Aare. This oasis of calm reaches perfection when listening to the chirping birds while you enjoy a cup of coffee and a delicious cake under the shady trees of the Restaurant Zehendermätteli.
The sociability and relaxed attitude which typifies Bern can best be celebrated along the River Aare. Our tip: A walk of about five kilometers to “Elfenau”. We start from the Bern Animal Park, BearPark and stroll through the magnificent trees of the Englische Anlagen (English Park), past the thundering water of the “Schwellenmätteli” until we reach the Bern Animal Park, Dählhölzli. You now take the riverside path through a wonderful river wetland until you reach the scenic water-meadows and nature reserve of “Elfenau Park”. This is just the place to while away time on a bench between a series of small pools, expanses of reeds and ancient gnarled trees while you enjoy the view across the garden and the River Aare. To complete the perfect stroll, stop for a snack at the “Fähribeizli” restaurant.
Rose Garden for those feeling tired or hung over
Aching muscles? Or has last night’s party left you hung over? We recommend a mini-walk in the Rosengarten (Rose Garden) for anyone in need of some fresh spring air with the minimum of effort. The number 10 bus will take you there. A stroll through 223 species of roses, 200 iris species and 28 rhododendron species will lift even the most tired of spirits. If you are lucky you will witness the highlight event of the Bern spring – between the middle and end of March the Japanese cherry trees in the Rosengarten are in full bloom for just a few days. Our tip: Take your picnic blanket with you, buy a crispy “Loubebrot” (Bernese bread) at the Bread à porter bakery in Bern’s Old Town and enjoy a picnic in the open air.
More about the Rose garden
After a long night out, we recommend going for a relaxed weekend stroll in Bern’s beautiful Old City. You can also combine it with one of our attractive, surprising and always entertaining guided city tours (if you’re not trying to cure a hangover, that is).
Gantrischseeli (small mountain lake by the Gantrisch)
Not only strenuous hikes up steep mountains are rewarded with glorious views, as this nice walk proves. You start at the “Untere Gantrischhütte” and walk towards “Birehubel”. If the weather is nice, we highly recommend a pit stop at the “Birehütte” farm. The path then continues slightly downhill until you reach the “Gantrischseeli” with its beautiful backdrop of mountains “Gantrisch”, “Chummlispitz” and “Bürgle”. The last part takes you back to the “Gurnigel, Gantrischhütte” bus stop. If you still have some energy left, you can also decide to prolong the walk and end your excursion at the “Obere Gantrischhütte”.
To the panoramic views
We’ve discovered the ideal walk for a relaxed Sunday afternoon: the 40-minute stroll from “Guggisberg” to “Riffenmatt”. Take the bus to “Guggisberg, Post”, where the mainly flat path begins. You’ll have wonderful views of the “Pfyffe” and “Horbüel” and pass idyllic fields and meadows. The walk ends at the bus stop “Riffenmatt, Kreuzung”, but if you’re feeling active or need to break in your new hiking boots, you can walk back instead of taking the bus, by way of the “Schwendelberg” and the “Guggershorn”. If you do that, the entire walk will take about two hours.
To the idyll
The sunshine entices us out of our bed and invites us to drive to Lake “Burgäschi”, just 45 minutes outside of Bern. This moraine lake bordering the cantons of Bern and Solothurn was formed during the last ice age and, thanks to the “Burgäschi East” pile dwellings, was awarded with an UNESCO World Heritage status in 2011. It’s a wonderful place to walk hand in hand. A sea of crocuses sprouts from the ground to the right and left of the woodchip path around the lake and the Restaurant “Seeblick” tempts us with its culinary delights. Our tip for all amateur photographers – the reflections in the water are particularly picturesque in the hour before sundown.
For the lovers and photographers
Berke-Chehr (Berke Round)
The “Berke-Chehr”, an insider’s tip among the locals, is a varied and pleasant round trail for the entire family that will take you along the banks of the Aare river. It’s a short walk through an idyllic landscape with views of the “Vogelraupfi” nature reserve – you’ll probably come across some majestic swans along the way. If you get hungry, we recommend stopping by the “Löwen” in Berken, just a few metres from the river: the “huusgmachti Caramelchöpfli mit Berkener Nidle” (homemade crème caramel with Berken cream) will be more than enough motivation for the little ones to finish the “Chehr”.
To the family outing
From the Lueg to Affoltern i.E.
This walk starts off with a highlight: the glorious view from the ”Lueg” over the hilly landscape of the Emmental with the Bernese Alps in the background. From the “Lueg” monument, yellow signposts lead you through the forest, along meadows and over asphalt paths to “Junkholz” and “Affoltern”. There’s no need to worry about bringing a picnic: there are picturesque Emmental farmhouses along the way, many of which sell their products directly from the farm. If you don’t want to interrupt your walk, you have the chance to stop at the Emmental Show Dairy at the end, where you’ll find lots of background knowledge about the famous cheese and even more tasters.
View of the Alps
This walk starts at “Burgdorf” station and takes you down to the burbling Emme river, and then all you need to do is follow the yellow signposts. There are lots of things to see and discover, like the steep rock faces you’ll come across several times or the “Bartholomäuskapelle”. This small chapel is also known as the “Siechenkapelle”, the lepers’ chapel, as it used to serve as a place of worship for the lepers that were forced to live outside the city walls. Today, it is used for religious services, weddings, or even concerts. After a short walk through the forest, you’ll get to the “Wynigebrügg” bridge. Having reached the Emme, the round trail takes you back to “Burgdorf” station.
To the discovery tour