Hiking in Bernese Oberland — where Goethe left his mark

Hiking Collection by
MySwitzerland

In this Collection, we take you on a hike through the Bernese Oberland, once a source of inspiration for Goethe. In 1779, he traveled with his hiking group through the Alps around the lakes Thun and Brienz as well as the famous mountains Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. Rushing waterfalls fall hundreds of feet into the depths, narrow paths meander through impressive glaciers and deep gorges, imposing peaks towering up into the sky form the backdrop of lush green mountain meadows: this is the Bernese Oberland – today as in the past.

Goethe once walked through the Reichenbach valley, crossing the Große Scheidegg and the Lauterbrunnen valley. On his way, he visited impressive glaciers and gorges with thundering rivers. In his book "Ferne Berge im Sonnenschein" (Distant Mountains in the Summer), author Jürgen Pachtenfels describes Goethe's journey through Switzerland and reconstructs the hike through Bernese Oberland that we show you here. You can experience the same journey up close and follow in the footsteps of the great poet, Goethe.

In addition to Goethe's hike, we have compiled six other walking experiences in the Bernese Oberland to help you discover the full diversity and beauty of the region. On the different day hikes, you will explore the Morgenberghorn, the Oeschinensee, and the Simmental medicinal herb garden. All hikes can be reached by public transport, so you can easily discover the Bernese Oberland for yourself just as Goethe did.

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    21:20
    40.3 mi
    1.9 mph
    9,025 ft
    6,775 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    On this nearly 65-kilometer hike, you can follow the footsteps of Goethe in the Bernese Oberland. From Guttannen you can hike up to the Berghotel Obersteinberg near Stechelberg - depending on your personal condition you can split the hike up to five to six days. As milestones Meiringen, the Schwarzwaldalp, Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen come into question.It starts in Gutannen, where you come by bus. From here you walk along the Aare towards Mehringen. On the way you pass the impressive Aareschlucht. Then you leave the river and climb past the imposing Reichenbach Falls up into the narrow Reichenbachtal. Above the waterfall, you can have a well-deserved break at Restaurant Zwirgi. At this point, Goethe once stayed with his hiking group and enjoyed the magnificent view of the valley.The Reichenbachtal continues uphill. In Rosenlaui you can explore the impressive glacier gorge. Afterwards you continue hiking to Schwarzwaldalp, where you can take a break or overnight. Goethe also rested on the Schwarzwaldalp. As a local guest he ate his own provisions and admired the cheese store on the alp. The building from 1637 is still standing today and was already 142 years old in Goethe's time.From the Schwarzwaldalp you continue uphill to the Große Scheidegg. An exhausting way, which also drove Goethe to sweat on the forehead. Then came the approaching winter, which made the crossing of the pass difficult. From the pass you hike down towards Grindelwald and enjoy the view of the surrounding mountains like Wetterhorn, Schreckhorn and Eiger.From Grindelwald, which already had good accommodation in Goethe's time, you walk along the Black River Lütschine until it meets White Lütschine. You then follow her to Lauterbrunnen. Through the picturesque Lauterbrunnen Valley and past the Trümmelbach Falls, you will hike up to the Berghotel Obersteinberg, the destination of the tour. The hotel is about two hours walk from Stechelberg, where there is a bus stop.

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  • Difficult
    05:38
    6.14 mi
    1.1 mph
    3,550 ft
    3,600 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Sure-footedness, sturdy footwear and alpine experience are essential on the nearly ten-kilometer hike. The beautiful route takes you past the impressive Pochten Falls and brings you to the Rengglipass and the Morgenberghorn.Let's start the circular hike in Suld, where you can catch the bus from July to October at weekends. Shortly after the start you will reach the imposing Pochtenfall. From here you continue on the Alps Schlieri and Mittelberg and finally to the Rengglipass. Take a breather and enjoy the magnificent view towards Lake Brienz. Continue on a challenging mountain trail, which is insured with chains, up to Morgenberghorn. Once at the top, you'll enjoy a breathtaking all-round view that rewards you for the strenuous climb.From the Morgenberghorn you descend via the managed Brunnialp, where you can also take a break. Back in Suld, the restaurant Pochtenfall invites you to a hearty refreshment to end the day comfortably.

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  • Intermediate
    01:59
    4.01 mi
    2.0 mph
    350 ft
    1,050 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This approximately six and a half kilometers long hike lives up to its name. From the path you can enjoy fascinating views of the striking Gstaad mountains with the Rüebli or the Gummfluh and on the massif of the Alpennordkette.From the starting point of the panoramic route, you can reach Zweisimmen. From here you take the gondola lift to the Rinderberg. The hike starts at the top station. Even at the beginning, the stunning panorama of the Simmental and the Saanenland impresses. Over the Gandlouenengrat you manage a short climb and then hike downhill to Alp Parwenge. Here you can take a leisurely break and buy homemade products, such as Alpine cheese or "Nideltäfeli" in the farm shop.Continue to Hornberg. On the way you can enjoy a magnificent view of the untouched Turbachtal. You walk past the Hornberg and take the signposted flower path, which leads you past the Hornfluh on the left. On the way to the Horneggli chair lift station, you can admire many flowers and read their names on the signs. Take the chairlift to Schönried, where you can take the train back to Zweisimmen.

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  • Intermediate
    04:03
    6.90 mi
    1.7 mph
    1,100 ft
    2,750 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    On this approximately eleven-kilometer route, you will hike through the beautiful Bernese mountains and the picturesque Oeschinensee. Along the way you will always have breathtaking views of the blue lake and the opportunity to have a cozy picnic on the shore.The wonderful hike starts at the top station Oeschinen. A chair lift takes you up from Kandersteg. From here you first wander comfortably on a flat panoramic path. Afterwards it goes uphill to the managed Oberbärgli, where you can relax and enjoy the view of the Oeschinensee. It lies below you at 1,578 meters altitude between steep cliffs and wooded lakeside.With new strength, you then make yourself on the descent to the lake. Here you pick up your picnic basket at Hotel Oeschinensee, which you can pre-order until 10.30 in the morning. Fresh sausages, delicious salad, crispy bread and other delicacies as well as an eco-grill bag and a cuddly blanket are in the basket. You can then take a well-deserved break at a picnic on a designated barbecue area on the lake shore. Then you walk directly back down to Kandersteg.

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  • Easy
    01:15
    3.09 mi
    2.5 mph
    0 ft
    25 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    It starts at the station Interlaken West. From here you hike along the Aare in the direction of Lake Thun. It goes past green meadows, wide fields and the wildly overgrown riverbank, sometimes through sparse woodland. On the horizon you always have the imposing mountain scenery of the Bernese Oberland in view.At the mouth of the Aare in Lake Thun you will find a medieval, listed castle ruins in the countryside. Then you will walk over a beautiful wooden pier on the shores of Lake Thun and then through the nature reserve Neuhaus-Weissenau. Here you can admire a magnificent variety of plants and watch with a bit of patience waterfowl.The route ends in the beautifully landscaped lake park. A beach invites you to linger and refresh in the lake. You can also enjoy the mountain panorama here in peace. From the bus stop Unterseen, Neuhaus the bus takes you back to the starting point.

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  • Easy
    01:36
    3.14 mi
    2.0 mph
    675 ft
    675 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    From the railway station Boltigen you wander through the cozy village until you reach the village brook at the edge of the village. He follows it along the shady edge of the forest to Tubetal. Here you turn right and follow the path that leads you past green meadows and fields to Adlemsried. In the small hamlet you will find the medicinal plant garden Simmental on a sunny plateau at an altitude of 1,050 meters.In the garden, the trained herbalist Susanna Krebs welcomes you and shows you the over 100 native and immigrant medicinal plants and explains the effect and the benefits. In addition to the herbs, there are also numerous fruit trees, vegetable beds, berry bushes, beautiful hedges, a pond with ducks and a fountain waiting for you. If you want, you can even make an ointment, oil or tincture with the medicinal plants yourself. Otherwise, it's worth taking a look at the shop of Susanne Krebs, where you can buy products from their own harvest and production.After enjoying the garden extensively, hike back the same way back to the starting point, the railway station in Boltigen.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    6
  • Distance
    63.5 mi
  • Duration
    35:51 h
  • Elevation
    14,725 ft

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