Harder Kulm: The Top of Interlaken!

Harder Kulm is a mountain of 4,337 ft which overlooks the amazing Swiss town of Interlaken. Despite being dwarfed by the several 10,000ft peaks which surround the town it still offers be best views of Interlaken (unless of course you go Paragliding!) and is also one of very few cheap excursions in what is a quite expensive country! What did we do as soon as we got to Interlaken…headed up here of course to survey the scene!


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The Summit of harder Klum at a lofty 4,337 ft (1,322 m) is roughly the same height as the UK’s tallest mountain, Ben Nevis (4,409 ft/ 1,344m) and yet in Switzerland it is merely a pimple compaired to the nearby towering Eiger, Monch, Jungfrau and Schilthorn (All around the 10,000ft mark).

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But wait, Harder Kulm despite being the baby brother of the monsters which surrounds it still has a draw all of it’s own…No where else has such an impressive view of Interlaken!

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Now, whenever we head somewhere new one of the things we love to do is get up to the highest things around and get an overall picture of where we are. Going up one of the tallest buildings for example the Empire State Building in NYC or the Sky Tree in Tokyo really allows you to get some perspective of your location.

 


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Harder Kulm sits right above Interlaken and is the perfect spot to scope everything out, we could even see our hostel from up there!

Amazing views from the top of Interlaken!

After an early morning flight and a long drive over from Geneva to Interlaken we decided to get our bearings by having a wander around the town and also taking the funicular up to the top of Harder Kulm for a relaxing evening adventure.

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One of the first things you will probably notice when you come into Interlaken is the strange red looking building high up on the mountain top which looms over the town. On the drive in we pondered what it could be, it almost seemed like it could the house of an eccentric recluse! But, as we found out later that day, it is in fact the restaurant at the top of Harder Kulm!

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The ride up to the summit via the steep funicular is pleasant and actually quite thrilling given the almost vertical angle you take! The glass celling allows those first glimpses of that amazing view as you sit back and enjoy the slow and steady ride.

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Once at the summit a short walk through the trees opens up to an amazing visa, the view from up here is just amazing! This stunning birds eye view of Interlaken allows you to see in much more detail just where everything is! The bright blue river which craves though the town and separates Interlaken from Unterseen is just that much more magical from up here.

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The stunning lakes of Breinz and Thun between which Interlaken sits and from where it gains it’s name are both visible from up here. It really makes you realise just how big they are and also just how surrounded by natural beauty Interlaken is as their deep blue waters shimmer in the evening sun.

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From the waters of the lakes to the peaks and valleys which surround it, Interlaken sometimes can feel like an island floating through this almost unreal landscape. Almost disconnected from the rest of the world and civilisation. Standing up here the misty atmosphere just adds to the magical and mystical feel of this wonderful place.

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This was our first day here, but already I knew this was love at first sight! After dreaming of a true alpine adventure for years standing up here I could only have imagined the further dreams this place would allow me to experience during our time here.

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From waking up in our own bed in the morning to being perched on top of the walkway that juts out and hangs over the town all sense of time had escaped us. We sat up here for a couple of hours just sitting back in the warm sunshine and taking it all in.

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Being surrounded my the beauty and power of the Bernese Alps, with views of the Eiger, Monch and of course Jungfrau we suddenly realised just how much this place would take hold of our hearts. Even before the craziness to come we knew we would have to return, and dare I say it, even settle down here one day in the distant future!

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So, How to get up there:

There are actually a few ways to get up to Harder Kulm, there’s the easy and the strenuous way! Your choice is between taking the funicular or hiking!

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We decided to take the train as we had just arrived after travelling over and just wanted a relaxing trip before beginning our pretty crazy trip! (Check out the links at the bottom of the post to all our adventures.)

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The ride takes 10-15 mins.
The station is a short walk across the river from the centre of Interlaken and is clearly marked on the free maps you can pick up around town. The red train is also often visible going up and down the mountain.

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The train also runs until quite late in the evening which makes it a great trip to make after a busy day or to catch the sunset!

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Cost:

A Single is 15CHF
A return is 30CHF

However if you are staying in Interlaken you will get a FREE travel card for local buses, this entities you to 50% off the price of the funicular. You can also get 50% off if you have a Swiss pass.

The Funicular is open from April to October and is closed in Winter.
More info: www.jungfrau.ch/

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Hike

The hike up Harder Kulm takes around 5hr 30mins and is 8.8km. It is recommend that experienced and fit hikers take on this trail as it can be steep and exposed in sections. Although most who have tackled the mountains of the UK should be fine. If we didn’t have so many other activities planned or arrived in Interlaken earlier in the day we would have hiked rather than take the train!

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There are also several other trails up here to take once you reach the summit, they vary from between 1-5 hours hike.

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More information and details about the several trails can be found here:


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Have you ever been to Interlaken or has the sheer beauty and atmosphere of a place ever stolen your heart at first glance?

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More adventures in Switzerland:

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Nicola Hilditch-Short

Nic is one half of the Roaming Renegades, a passionate traveller, climber, adventurer, photographer and artist who has a B.A in Fine Art and M.A in Design & Art Direction.