Near Bern’s center is Gurten, a low mountain located around 860 meters above sea level. A short funicular ride gets you there from the tram or train. This is a great getaway from the city.
The car-free mountain of Gurten provides a great view of Bern, as well as the surrounding mountains. There’s nothing like seeing Bern’s old city, especially the Federal Palace and the Aare. As an outdoor leisure area, the summit was developed by Bern in 1999.
Is Gurten in Bern Worth Visiting?
Visiting Gurten while you’re in Bern is definitely something you should consider. Gurten is the locals’ mountain, something they’re very attached to. Although it might seem like a place for families with little kids, it’s fun for everyone.
You might be wondering if Gurten in Bern is worth visiting, so we rounded up the top 8 reasons below.
Here are some of the top 8 reasons to visit Gurten in Bern:
Reason #1: Gurten is Easy to Reach from Bern
You can take the red funicular up to the top and enjoy the view. When you get up to Gurten, you’ll see why it’s a must-see for anyone visiting Bern.
From the city center, it’s super easy to get there. All you have to do is take tram 9 until Wabern, Gurtenbahn. From the tram, it’s just 3 minutes to the funicular. Or you could take the train to Wabern bei Bern, which is almost right outside the funicular.
People in line can ride the funicular every 15 minutes, so it moves pretty fast. If you don’t want to take the funicular, you can walk up to Gurten instead. It’s an easy climb uphill from the valley station and will take you anywhere from 40 to 70 minutes.
Reason #2: Gurten is Excellent for Families
Gurten is a great place for families with young kids. But even older kids can have fun here.
Here is a list of some fun stuff for kids at Gurten:
- Kids’ Play Area: A playground with lots of space to run around including a Tree Walkway and a huge Ball Track that you can use for free
- Miniature Railway: A small train runs around a short track around the playground as long as the weather permits. Children can ride the train once for a small fee.
- Toboggan: For a small fee, you can ride the toboggan. Older kids (starting 8 years of age) can go alone, while younger kids need an adult 12 years or older.
- Splash Area: There’s a small splash area where younger kids can play with water, especially during summer.
- Car track: Kids can drive a little car around the track for a small fee as long as the weather permits. As of the time of publishing this article, a single ride costs CHF 1.
- Smartrail Digital Puzzle Path: The light-railway engine driver Mia has a Puzzle Path called Smartrail for families. From Kehrsatz to Gurten, the family travels 4.4 kilometers on this panoramic path. A gift awaits you at the end.
Reason #3: Gurten is Fantastic for Adults and Groups
Whether you’re a kid or an adult, Gurten is a great place to go. With well-kept lawns under trees and restaurants with amazing panoramic views, it’s a perfect place for adults to relax and have a good time. Also, there are activities available for those who want to do something.
Listed below are some things you might like about Gurten:
- Fantastic Views: Once you get off the funicular, you have amazing views of Bern. Especially in the fall, when the city is under a blanket of fog (called Nebelmeer in German), Gurten is nice and sunny. For those who are active on social media, you can use the tag #gurtenpark.
- Toboggan: Tobogganing isn’t just for kids. It’s also fun for adults.
- Disc Golf: Frisbee rentals are available for a small fee. A scorecard and course map are also included. You can do this with your friends or teammates.
- Observatory: Each evening, 16 guests will be allowed into the observatory. After 20 years on Monte Generoso, the observatory was dismantled and moved to Gurten as a gift from Ferrovia Monte Generoso SA. Pre-registration is required.
- Gurten Garden: Everyone’s welcome at the Gurten Garden. There’s staff every Wednesday afternoon and every Sunday afternoon from 1:30 to 4:30 from the end of March until the end of October.
Reason #4: The Gurten Observation Tower offers 360-degree views
The Observation Tower gives you a 360-degree view of the region, including the Bernese Alps like the Eiger, Mönch, Jungfrau, and Schreckhorn. On the other side are the Jura mountains, much softer than the giant Alps, but no less beautiful.
Here is a list of some of the mountains that I have seen from the Observation Tower (list is non-exhaustive):
- Pilatus – 2,128 meters
- Titlis – 3,238 meters
- Finsteraarhorn – 4,274 meters
- Eiger – 3,970 meters
- Mönch – 4,107 meters
- Jungfrau – 4,158 meters
- Gletscherhorn – 3,983 meters
- Schilthorn – 2,973 meters
- First – 2,440 meters
You will also see the city of Bern, as well as the village of Schliern in Köniz.
Reason #5: Well-marked Hiking and Biking Trails in and around Gurten
Well-marked hiking trails run through Gurten Park. You can opt to do one of the following trails:
- An easy, circular trail around Gurten – 3.2 kilometers
- A forest trail going down to Blinzern – 5.8 kilometers
- Gurten trail down to Wabern – 7.4 kilometers (longer), 3.8 kilometers (shorter)
- The panoramic trail to Kehrsatz with alpine views – 4.4 kilometers
Those who want to ride a mountain bike can also go there. There’s a fluid path that’s separate from the hiking trail. This 2-kilometer trail has an altitude difference of 270 meters. Free bike washing is available at the end of the trail.
Reason #6: Skiing and Sledging during Winter
Gurten may not be a huge ski resort, but it’s the perfect place for beginners to learn. As long as the snow conditions are right, they run the kids’ ski lift every day. You can check online at gurtenpark.ch or give them a call.
Additionally, wooden sleds can be rented and used on Gurten if the weather permits. Because it’s not lit, the sled run closes at 5:00.
Skis, poles, and boots are available for CHF 5 per day on site. You can also book ski lessons with the Swiss Snow Sports School Bern in advance.
Reason #7: The Summer Gurten Festival
The Gurten Pavilion is located at the old Belvedere. They also have a renovated Gurten restaurant.
Come July, Gurten opens the doors to one of the biggest music festivals in Bern – the Gurten festival. The Gurtenfestival is held every year in mid-July for several days. They build the venue a couple of weeks in advance and you will see it if you visit the mountain in summer.
Reason #8: Food Selection for Different Tastes
You will have a variety of options for all tastes and lifestyles on Gurten. The restaurants are located at Gurten Kulm. And the takeaway stand is located near the playground.
- Restaurant Gurtners: It’s Gurten’s à-la-carte restaurant. With a modern atmosphere, 110 seats inside, and 120 on the terrace, the restaurant is perfect for those who want good food coupled with excellent service. I recommend reserving a table.
- Tapis Rouge: A buffet restaurant with 220 seats inside and 260 seats outside. It is recommended for those who want something fast and simple.
- Fire Pits: Seven different fire pits with places to sit, free wood, and fixed picnic tables or tree trunks around.
- Bahnhöfli: A takeaway stand that sells beef burgers, vegan burgers, french fries, drinks, and ice cream. Only open when the weather is good.
How to Get to Gurten
Gurten is easy to reach from the city of Bern by tram, bus, train, or car. Holders of the GA Travel Card can ride without paying extra. Half Fare Travelcards are also valid.
Is it possible to drive to Gurten? No, Gurten is car-free. If you are coming by car, please leave your automobile in the parking lot near the funicular’s valley station.
|By Tram||Wabern, Gurtenbahn (Tram 9)|
|By Bus||Wabern, Gurtenbahn (Buses 22 & 29)|
|By Train||Wabern bei Bern|
|By Car||Parking Gurten|
Dorfstrasse 39, 3084 Köniz
Final Words: Gurten Mountain
Gurten is the local’s very own mountain, something very dear to the locals. There’s so much to see and do in Gurten, especially if you are already in Bern. All ages and lifestyles can enjoy Gurten – whether you’re looking for something relaxing or action-packed.
You cannot just pass up an opportunity to ride the red funicular and enjoy the city’s summit. Have fun!
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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.
Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.