Bern is a beautiful and historic city. It is full of architectural, historical and natural points of interest and has plenty to do for everyone. One of my favourite spots in Bern is the Gurten. It is the local mountain and host to the famous annual music festival – The Gurten Festival. However, it is not the festival that draws me here (although it is very fun. For those interested, click HERE for more information), but the beautiful and peaceful scenery.
It overlooks the city and the river Aare. In the distance you can also see alps, such as the Eiger, the Mönch and the Jungfrau. You can see far over beautiful fields, forests and valleys and can go for an easy hike, suitable for every age. Below is the location:
To get to the Gurten you can take the tram to Wabern and then walk up to the cable car that will take you to the top, or drive to the covered parking just below the cable car station. If you need to buy tram tickets, click HERE. The cable car tickets can be bought on site and a return ticket costs 10.50 CHF.
In addition to the view and the hiking, you also have a selection of fun activities, for adults and children. Not to forget the top-notch selection of restaurants with stunning views of the city. All of the information can be found here: https://www.gurtenpark.ch. And now for the review!
The gurten: a bird's-eye view of bern
As you can see, for such a “small” mountain, there is lots to do! The toboggan is a decent size, with a 500m long ride and a cable system to get you back to the top (no walking required!). The children’s play areas are full of different and exciting activities such as the little SBB train that they can ride, the bumper cars, a small paddling pool and a little gardening area where they can learn about plants. But, do not worry, the adults have not been forgotten. The mountain boasts of some great downhill trails, outdoor grilling areas, hiking routes and a series of family-friendly and sophisticated restaurants.
My only critique is that if you do not want to (or can’t) hike up, the cable car is the only mode of transportation to get to the top. Cars are not allowed unless you have special permission or are staying at the hotel. On the plus side, the cable car ride up is fun, especially for children.
Top TIP: sit at the end of the cable car to get the full view.
If you are looking for an easy and short hike, below you can find the route.
There are also many other different options to chose from and not just the one highlighted above. Click HERE to see the full hiking trails map.
From the top of the cable car you will see the toboggan to your left and right in front of you the hotel and restaurants. If you walk towards the hotel you will pass the mini train tracks to your left and to your right there is the path leading to the hotel. Behind this hotel is a tower you can walk up to get a better view of the panorama. I definitely recommend walking up there and taking in the views.
If you continue walking straight ahead you will also pass the little paddling pool and water fountain for the children to your left. You will see signs for the different routes. Follow the sign for the”Grosser Rundweg” which will take you under a wooden playground, through the woods and down past fields of corn. This route then doubles back towards the Gurten and ends where we started. As it passed the Toboggan, I strongly suggest to leave this activity as a fun way to finish the day (make sure to check the closing times before you begin).
There is not much more to describe as this really is a very easy and straight-forward route, but still a worthwhile day trip. The Gurten is also pram-friendly, as the paths are generally wide and well-kept (this is referring to the Kulm area with the restaurants and activities) and dogs are allowed, as long as the are on a leash.
All restaurants serve great food, but some are more children-friendly than others. The Tapis Rouge is one of the family-friendly options as it is a self-service restaurant. If you are looking for something a bit more high-end and traditional I suggest the Gurtners restaurant, located downstairs from the Tapis Rouge.
Top TIP: HEAD UP TO THE GURTEN FOR AN AMAZING BRUNCH WITH STUNNING CITY VIEWS!
Lastly, I just quickly wanted to mention the mountain biking options. Along with the hiking trails, you also have a selection of downhill trails and easy biking routes. The downhill trail is well-kept and a fun alternative to walking, but I do have to advise that this particular trail is not for beginners. If you would like to see what the trail looks like, click HERE for the youtube video.
A great resource for bikers is THIS website, where you can search for different biking trails and read up on their difficulty levels, features and rules.
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