Bern’s closest mountain sits some 856 m (2,804 ft) above the city’s southern suburbs and enjoys 360° views across the Bernese Alps and the Jura, across to the Jungfrau and Eiger on clear days. Accessed by the Gurtenbahn funicular railway – first opened in 1899 – the slopes of the mountain became parkland in 1999, and on summer weekends the residents of Bern decamp there en masse for family-friendly days out in the sharp, fresh Swiss air. Gurten’s amenities include playing fields, an observation tower, a miniature railway and play areas for kids as well as picnic spots, BBQ grills, an hotel and two panoramic restaurants; the mountain is also a springboard for signposted walks and cycle rides in the Alpine foothills.
The four-day Gurten Music Festival takes place annually in mid July and when there is a covering of snow in the winter, a toboggan run opens down to the funicular’s Grünenboden middle station, a bunny tow operates for children and cross-country
trails open for Nordic skiers.
Park im Grünen, Wabern. Park open 24/7, free to access. The
funicular is open Mon-Sat 7am–11.30pm, Sun 7am–8pm, and fares are free with the Bern Card (given out in hotels). Otherwise adult fares CHF 10.50 (single CHF 6); children CHF 5.50 (single CHF 3). Take Tram 9 to Gurtenbahn and change on to the funicular railway.