Bern and Hiking near Bern

Bern, which boasts one of Europe's best-preserved Old Towns, is an excellent base for exploring the lush surrounding countryside, including the famous Emmental Valley. Visit Bern and go hiking near Bern for a heady mix of pastoral delights.

About this Switzerland walking region
Bern and its environs are located on the Swiss Plateau. The hills which surround the city and its steep river banks are attractively covered with woodland, making this area an immediate magnet for hikers. There are many easy walks which allow you to enjoy the most incredible views of the Old Town’s medieval roofs and the peaks of the Alps in the distance. The Swiss Plateau, which comprises the regions between the Jura and the Alps, lies at an average elevation of between 400m (1,312ft) and 700m (2,297ft). The scenery here is typical for the Swiss Bernese Mittelland; a landscape of farming villages, wooden chalets, green, rolling hills and sparkling lakes. Perhaps the best known area in this region is the Emmental Valley – the original home of the classic Swiss cheese of the same name. The valley is a beautiful, undulating stretch of lush forests and meadows and hills which afford some wonderful views across the Swiss Alps near Bern, ranging from 1,000m to 2,000m (3,300 to 6,600ft) in elevation. You don’t have to travel far from Bern to enjoy some hidden gems. The Gantrisch Nature Reserve is a definite highlight, with its expansive woodland and deep canyons. The reserve is home to some rare plants and wildlife and hikers will delight in exploring the 2,175m (7,136ft) high Mt. Gantrisch. Also off the beaten track and worth exploration are the Oberaargau area with more pretty villages, forests and meadows and the quaint town of Laupen which has lots to offer anyone who enjoys outdoor pursuits.

 Walking in Bern and around Bern…
Bern is best explored on foot, as its city centre is quite compact and holds plenty of interest for visitors. In fact, walking is really the only way to get a good feel for its olde-worlde charm. For hiking near Bern, the mountains offer plenty of excellent routes, including the wonderful 9-mile (15km) long ‘Emmentaler ridge walk’, which starts at Lüderalp and takes you through fields and forests to reach the Napf – the highest point in the region at 1,408m (4,619ft). From here you can take in breathtaking views across the Alps, the Bernese Mittelland, and the Jura.

City of Bern

The Swiss capital will enchant you with its charm and diverse attractions ● The best way to experience Bern’s Old Town is on foot ● Guided and (iPod Audio) self-guided options for Bern walking tours ● We recommend the Rose Garden – a beautiful place for flower lovers ● A visit to the Bern Bear Park is a special experience for everyone.

Emmental Region

Probably the most popular walking area in the Bern region ● Famous for its beautiful scenery - and its cheese (the classic Swiss cheese with holes!) ● Vibrant green hills, extensive forests, fields and meadows in the foothills of the Bernese Alps ● The countryside has an altitude in the 1,000m to 2,000m (3,300ft to 6,600ft) range.

Gantrisch Nature Reserve

Lovely pre-alpine countryside with woodlands, quaint villages and deep canyons ● 30 minutes from Bern ● Besides the rare flora and fauna, you’ll find the Rüeggisberg Priory Ruins (11th century), Gantrisch Panorama Trail (4 ½ hours), little Lake Schwarzsee at 1,578m/5,177ft – and of course Mt. Gantrisch at 2,175m (7,136ft).


If you like to travel off the tourist trail, go to Laupen ● Discover a charming little town surrounded by prosperous farming villages ● 30 minutes west of Bern – easily reached by car or public transport ● Gentle walking to your heart’s content ● Extensive network of undemanding walking trails ● Don’t miss Castle Laupen!

Oberaargau (Upper Aargau)

Easy walking off the beaten path ● The Oberaargau is a delightful alternative to the classic tourist spots ● Located on the Swiss Plateau, in the northeast corner of canton Bern ● The highest point in the Oberaargau is Mt. Höllchöpfli (1,231m/4,039ft) ● Enjoy comfortable strolls on secluded trails and past cosy inns.


Travel Information

Best time for a walking holiday...
April/May to October

Fly to...
Bern-Belp Airport (CH), Zurich (Zürich) Airport (CH), Geneva Airport (CH)

Switzerland Walking Regions