In my other post, How to Reach Männlichen and Make the Most of Your Trip, I mentioned that Männlichen is the best place to be for the most panoramic views of the Jungfrau Region. It’s the peak where you can spot Lauterbrunnen Valley, Grindelwald, Jungfrau Massif, Interlaken, and Schynige Platte — all the beautiful places in the Jungfrau Region — all in one place.
If you ask me, “so, where’s the second best viewpoint of the Jungfrau Region?” For me, it is Harder Kulm — the viewpoint at the westernmost part of the mountain ridge north of Lake Brienz. It’s here that you can find a rewarding overlooking view of Interlaken and an awe-inspiring panorama of the Jungfrau Region.
Visiting during sunny weather, the scenery awaiting you in Harder Kulm is beyond words. And in this post, I’ll show you how beautiful the view from Harder Kulm is. After that, you’ll find how you can reach Harder Kulm and other tips to help you make the most of your visit.
Since I first set foot in the mountains, I’ve felt like I belong there.
The peacefulness of the mountains is what brings me peace of mind, and the adventures that come with visiting them have given me some of my most unforgettable memories. Plus, the fresh mountain air works wonders for my allergies!
But what I love most about the mountains are the breathtaking views. When I take in the beauty around me, all my worries disappear, and my mind feels refreshed. It’s an indescribable feeling of pure goodness.
In the Jungfrau Region, you have plenty of places to take in scenic mountain beauty.
Your options for epic scenery start even before you reach the Jungfrau Region in the city of Thun — the gateway to Bernese Oberland. The snowy peaks of the Jungfrau Region can be spotted as far as from the wooden bridges in Thun Old Town or Thun Castle overlooking the city and Lake Thun.
You can also try going to Mount Niesen or Niederhorn (one of the best places to visit in Lake Thun) for epic views of the Jungfrau Region. They are mountain peaks beside Lake Thun, which apparently has an overlooking view of Lake Thun, too.
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But if you are looking for the most unforgettable views of the Jungfrau Region, even without entering it, the best that I can recommend is Harder Kulm.
If you are traveling to the Jungfrau Region, you definitely need this: Jungfrau Region Itinerary: 4 Days in Interlaken on a Budget
Why Visit Harder Kulm (What To Expect)
Visiting Harder Kulm can be a special experience for travelers like me. Mainly, it’s because of the stunning scenery. However, there are a few more nice things you can expect!
Apart from the breathtaking views of the Jungfrau Region, what makes Harder Kulm a must-visit destination is its fantastic funicular, thrilling viewing deck, and beautiful restaurant. And, even though the highlight of visiting Harder Kulm is at the top, the unforgettable experience begins before you even reach it.
Let’s tackle these reasons why you must visit Harder Kulm one by one!
1. An Exceptional View of Jungfrau Region
There’s one sentence to simply describe the view that one can behold in Harder Kulm — a dreamy panorama of the gateway to the Jungfrau Region.
It’s a scenery that beats every other viewpoint nearby, which makes Harder Kulm ultimately worth visiting.
From Harder Kulm, one can enjoy a panoramic view that encompasses almost all the beautiful places one would want to see in the Jungfrau Region.
The bright turquoise Lake Brienz, the fairytale-like Lake Thun, and the superstars of the Jungfrau Region, Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, are all visible from this vantage point.
You can also see the entrance to the valleys where the Lütschine rivers flow from Harder Kulm too!
I dropped my jaw when I first saw the view from Harder Kulm. It is a must-see, especially when the sky is blue and there are no clouds.
If you can see Lauterbrunnen Valley (heaven on earth) from Harder Kulm, then Harder Kulm offers the best views of the Jungfrau Region. Männlichen would come only in second place. Just my opinion!
And if you are interested in Lake Brienz, Lake Thun, and Lauterbrunnen, you can check my other articles below.
2. Fantastic Funicular Ride
Another thing that makes Harder Kulm worth a try is that going up to this viewing point is very convenient and exciting!
The Harderbahn Funicular, which departs from Interlaken, can transport you to Harder Kulm (1322 meters) in 10 minutes.
It ascends an impressive 755 meters, and the steep tracks, with an average inclination of 64%, will surely provide a thrilling experience!
For an incredible view, stay at the back of the funicular as you ascend to Harder Kulm. The funicular features a window at the rear, allowing you to witness the scenery becoming increasingly stunning as you climb toward Harder Kulm.
The journey on the funicular takes you through forests and tunnels, but most of the time, you’ll have a breathtaking view of Interlaken and the Jungfrau Region.
Just five minutes after leaving Interlaken, the view is already spectacular, and you can easily spot Lake Brienz.
If you enjoy recording time-lapse videos, the Harderbahn Funicular offers an excellent opportunity to capture an awesome one. The tracks are straight, and the resulting time-lapse footage should appear as though you are rapidly flying away from Interlaken through the forest.
By the way, if you like funiculars, you should try Pilatus Railway. It is the world’s steepest cogwheel train located in Mount Pilatus near Lucerne. Learn more about Mount Pilatus and Lucerne from the links below.
- 5 Reasons To Visit Mount Pilatus (a beautiful day trip from Lucerne)
- Best Way To Spend 2 Days In Lucerne (with Mount Pilatus)
3. Thrilling Viewing Deck
Harder Kulm is a little more special compared to other viewpoints in the Jungfrau Region. It is because Harder Kulm has a viewing platform called “Two Lakes Bridge,” which gives an exceptional bird’s eye view of the Jungfrau Region or Bernese Oberland.
Two Lakes Bridge isn’t actually a bridge but a metal platform extending a few meters from the mountain.
I think they called it a “bridge” because it links our sight to see both Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. While at the Two Lakes Bridge, look left and right, and you can compare which looks more turquoise — Lake Brienz or Lake Thun.
Also, if you stand at the tip of Two Lake Bridge, you get this exceptional bird’s eye view of Interlaken with nothing but hollowness below you. It’s a thrilling experience to conquer your fear of heights.
The middle section of Two Lake Bridge’s floor is made of glass. It’s the perfect spot to see what’s below you if you don’t want to look down from the railings.
Harder Kulm’s Two Lake Bridge is one of the best viewing points in the Jungfrau Region. The metal platform extends from the mountain, providing a breathtaking view. If you’re interested in seeing more, you can visit Grindelwald or Mürren.
- First Cliff Walk in Grindelwald. Learn more: Free Things To Do In Grindelwald
- Birg Thrill Walk in Mürren. Check it out here: 10 Things To Do In Mürren
4. Beautiful Restaurant
Like any other mountaintop destination and hiking area in the Alps, Harder Kulm has a restaurant. However, this restaurant is like no other!
It’s a panoramic restaurant, which is definitely a reason to visit Harder Kulm, not only for travelers seeking an exceptional dining experience but also for people like me who are interested in architecture.
If you think that Harder Kulm’s restaurant boasts great food, stunning views, and a gorgeous appearance, you’re absolutely right! The restaurant resembles a Swiss mini fairytale castle, and it really leaves a good first impression of Harder Kulm.
Take a look for yourself.
Inside, the dining area exudes a pleasant ambiance, thanks to the enormous windows that offer diners a breathtaking view of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. For a more mountainous dining experience, you can opt to eat at the alfresco seating tables.
If you’re looking for an exceptional dining experience in the Jungfrau Region, you’ve got to check out Piz Gloria in Schilthorn. This mountain boasts a stunning rotating restaurant that will leave both your taste buds and your eyes completely satisfied.
5. Strategic and Accessible Location
One more reason to check out Harder Kulm is its convenient location, easily accessible from Interlaken, a town that’s a breeze to get to from other Swiss cities. With the breathtaking views from Harder Kulm and effortless accessibility, it’s a no-brainer to add it to your Switzerland travel plans.
That said, I think Harder Kulm is an awesome destination for travelers wanting to see impressive mountain views of the Swiss Alps while only planning a short Switzerland trip.
Getting To Harder Kulm
There are two ways to reach Harder Kulm: the first is by taking the Harderbahn Funicular (as previously mentioned), and the second is by hiking various trails in the area. In this section, we will discuss the specifics, tips, and information necessary for reaching Harder Kulm.
Harder Kulm Funicular
Without a doubt, the best and easiest way to reach Harder Kulm is by taking the Harderbahn Funicular. It allows visitors to get to Harder Kulm in about 10 minutes, which is so sweet!
Getting to Harderbahn’s valley station is easy. It’s just on the other side of the Aare River, a 5-minute walk from Interlaken OST station.
To get to Harderbahn, walk west along Untere Bönigstrasse from Interlaken OST. When you see the 6-story Haussman-style hotel (Lindner Grand Hotel Beau Rivage), turn right and cross the bridge over the Aare River. The first building you’ll come across after crossing the river is Harderbahn.
You can book your tickets to Harder Kulm in advance here (list of organized tours to Harder Kulm included). Usually, tickets can only be booked in advance during the visiting season (summer).
The funicular train operation schedule is available at Jungfrau Region’s official website, linked at the end of this post.
Hiking Harder Kulm
Another way to reach Harder Kulm is by hiking, but I don’t recommend it unless you have ample time during your trip and are up for a challenging hike.
As far as I know, there are two hiking trails to Harder Kulm. There is one that starts from Interlaken, and another start in Unterseen.
Both hiking trails require intermediate hiking skills, take approximately three hours to finish (ascent), are 3.5 kilometers long, and have an elevation gain between 670 meters to 700 meters.
The hiking trail to Harder Kulm from Interlaken starts beside Harderbahn valley station. From there, you can expect a steady inclined path to Harder Kulm, passing through the forest with a few vantage points.
The scenery along the hiking trail from Interlaken to Harder Kulm is similar to what you’ll see from the top of Harder Kulm. The only distinction is that the views are lower and more peaceful, as only a few people hike this route to reach Harder Kulm.
You’ll know you’re halfway through the Interlaken-Harder Kulm hiking trail when you cross over the Harderbahn funicular tracks. From there, you can observe the funicular cars entering and exiting the tunnel.
If you want to hike to Harder Kulm and enjoy a unique view, you can start your hike from Unterseen. The hiking trail from Unterseen to Harder Kulm provides a breathtaking view of Unterseen and Lake Thun.
The jump-off site of the Unterseen-Harder Kulm hiking trail is near Unterseen, Hohmüedig bus stop in Unterseen.
When you start hiking on the Unterseen-Harder Kulm trail, you’ll find that it’s relatively flat for the first 20 minutes or 700 meters. Then, there’s a short steep section before it flattens out again.
It’s during this flat part of the trail that you’ll come across the Unterseen viewpoint. After the flat part, the trail is demandingly inclined until you reach Harder Kulm.
When To Visit Harder Kulm
Getting to Harder Kulm is easy and convenient, thanks to Harderbahn. However, it is important to note that visiting Harder Kulm at any time may not be ideal. To make the most of your trip, it is important to know the best time to visit Harder Kulm.
The first thing to keep in mind is that Harderbahn is not open year-round. It only operates during the summer season, which is from April to November.
The ticket counters’ opening hours, first and last ascent schedules, and first and last descent times may vary by month. However, typically, Harderbahn runs from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, and the departure interval at both Harderbahn stations is 30 minutes.
If the weather is excellent, I suggest arriving early at Harder Kulm for the ultimate experience. Try to take the first ascent to have the place to yourself and fully appreciate the peacefulness of the mountains from the viewing point.
However, there may be times when low-lying clouds are present in Interlaken. It is essential to consider this before visiting Harder Kulm, as the clouds can obstruct the view of the mountains and make the trip not worthwhile.
On the day you plan to visit Harder Kulm, be sure to check the live view on the official website of the Jungfrau Region. This will help you decide whether or not to go. If the view is obstructed by clouds, skip it for now and try again later tomorrow or on your next visit.
Please check the official website of Jungfrau Region, linked in the resources section of this post, for exact schedules and a live view of Harder Kulm.
A weather-flexible itinerary is always necessary when traveling to outdoor destinations like the Jungfrau Region.
If low-lying clouds block the spectacular view of the surroundings in Harder Kulm or Jungfrau Region, you might like to check the nearby villages and towns instead:
- Bern — come here for impressive city architecture. Here’s how you can spend one day in Bern.
- Thun — visit this town for a mix of old world charm and scenic views. See this one day Thun itinerary.
- Iseltwald — check it out for the magical view of Lake Brienz. Here’s my reasons why Iseltwald is worth visiting.
- Gimmelwald — this is the smallest and most rustic village in the Jungfrau region! Discover the 5 things to do in Gimmelwald.
- Wengen — here lies the most stunning views of the Lauterbrunnen valley. See why you must visit Wengen.
Resources: Harder Kulm
So, that’s all you need to know about Harder Kulm. If you plan to visit, you can refer to the links below for help with planning your trip.
Do you need more ideas on what to do after Harder Kulm? You can check this complete list of things to do in Bernese Oberland.
If you don’t have a place to stay yet, here’s where you can find the best hotel deals in the Bernese Oberland or Jungfrau Region. This website has a map hotel browser which can help you find the hotels at the most convenient location for you.
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