Sitting in the western part of central Switzerland, forming part of the canton of Bern, the Emmental is a stunning landscape of picturesque valleys, rolling hills, dotted with traditional local farmhouses. Beautifully green in summer, the region is mostly devoted to farming and the production of its famous cheese.
In the latest in our series on cycling in Switzerland we’re taking a look at this little slice of paradise which neighbours the medieval Swiss capital of Bern, the Alpine majesty of the Bernese Oberland and countless quiet lanes to ride and deep glacial lakes in which to cool off – there are few areas that can match its beauty.
No part of Switzerland could be described as flat, but the rolling pastures of the Emmental offer the visitor a plethora of choice. Its attraction lies in the variety of cycling terrain on offer, with a choice of everything from a gentle ride on an e-bike on the Heart Route or Kambly Tour through to the Tour d’Emmental, which challenges even experienced riders. It is a 100km tour in and around the undulating Emmental region.
The Swiss Bike Hotel, the Hotel Landgasthof Kemmeriboden-Bad, is surrounded by nature and is a great place to start an e-mountainbike tour. Right in the heart of the Emmental, close to the headwaters of the river Emme, and offering services such as guiding, bike storage and cleaning facilities, you’ll have the best of the Emmental right on your doorstep.
Photo by Christof Sonderegger
The hotel is famed throughout the region for its cuisine, and before heading out for the day you can be sure of a hearty breakfast made with fresh, locally-sourced produce. On your return after a day exploring the magnificence of the landscape, what better than to relax in the hot tub followed by a Kemmeriboden merängge, the delicious meringue for which the hotel is famous?
Confirmation, should it be needed, of the beauty of cycling in the Emmental comes in the choice of the area for the inaugural L’Etape Switzerland. Due to take place on Saturday 14 September, it’s the first Swiss cycling event to give amateur cyclists the chance to compete on largely traffic-free roads, and forms part of the international L’Étape series from the Tour de France.
The 110km route begins at the Stade de Suisse in Bern, a start and finish location for two stages of the 2016 Tour de France. From there, the route leads you through the UNESCO World Heritage site of the old city and over the Längenberg, complete with breathtaking views of the Bernese Oberland.
Continuing through the Alpine landscape, you can enjoy imposing views of the world-famous triple peaks of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau before completing the last of the 2,500 metres of ascent in the direction of Habkern. Your final hurtle downhill towards Interlaken with views of Thunersee ahead of you will have you grinning from ear to ear.
Keep your eyes peeled for the next stop on our journey around Switzerland, and don’t forget to take a look at our stories on other regions, like Gstaad, Ticino and the roof of Europe, Valais. In the meantime, it’s time to start planning your trip!