Sneeze - [the pyramid](
Sneeze - [the pyramid](

Niesen - with the Niesenbahn in thirty minutes to the Kulm above Lake Thun

Travel Guide

Sneeze - [the pyramid](


More webcams

The Niesen is the local mountain of Thun. It is sometimes also called Wimmiser, derived from the municipality of Wimmis. From April to November, the 2,362-meter-high mountain becomes a hiker's paradise. With its viewing platform, the Kulm allows a view in all directions. It can be reached in just thirty minutes from Mülenen with the Niesenbahn.

  • Europe's longest funicular railroad travels upwards for almost 3,500 meters and climbs 1,643 meters in altitude.
  • The 11,674 steps of the Niesenbahn are conquered every year in June by 220 runners of the Niesen Stair Run. It is the longest staircase in the world.
  • Cultural evenings on the Niesen are very popular and open-air concerts are also held here regularly.

Niesen: Location and approach

The Niesen belongs to the Bernese Oberland. It is located south of Lake Thun and is reached via a funicular railroad from Mülenen.

Approach by public transport

The journey to Mülenen station is by public transport from Bern by IC or EC train to Spiez. From there, the journey continues by regional train in a total of just under 50 minutes. The RE 4159 (BLS Lötschberger) travels the route from Bern without stopping in 38 minutes, but only stops in Mülenen on request. The station is about 200 meters from the valley station. The journey from Thun takes about 16 minutes. From Bern it takes about 37 minutes.

Arrival by car

By car, Mülenen is reached via Spiez in the direction of Frutigen. From Spiez it is about a five-minute drive, the mountain railroad is on the right. Via the Lötschberg tunnel, Mülenen is reached just after Reichenbach and the mountain railroad station is then on the left side of the road. From Thun it takes about 20 minutes by car, from Bern 40 minutes.

Parking spaces

A total of three parking lots north of the valley station offer space for 140 cars. The parking spaces are subject to a fee. Parking can be reserved in advance via the ParkApp.

  • Minimum rate for 5 hours: CHF 5.-, full day: CHF 8
  • Season parking card for CHF 60.- per vehicle

Ride up the Niesen with the funicular railway

The Niesen is a mountain that is very popular between mid-April and mid-November. **Outside this time the funicular and restaurant are closed

The longest funicular in the world goes up the Niesen in two stages. The first section starts in Mülenen and ends in the Schwandegg middle station. In the second section, the railroad travels to the Niesen Kulm mountain station.

The bottom station in Mülenen is located in the immediate vicinity of the station of the BLS regional trains. The parking lots of the Niesenbahnen are located on the other side north of the valley station

From Mülenen to Schwandegg, the funicular climbs 976 meters in altitude over a length of 2,111 meters. On the stretch from Schwandegg to Niesen Kulm, the funicular has to climb 667 meters in altitude over a distance of 1,388 meters.

The maximum gradient that the railroad has to overcome is 68% on the higher stage. The funicular was inaugurated in 1906.

Departure times on the Niesen (CHF) from April 17 to November 14, 2021

mountain tripsfirst tripturnaroundlast trip normal triplast trip evening trip
Mülenen ab08:00 h30 min17:00 h19:30 h
Schwandegg from08:15 h30 min17:15 h19:45 h
Niesen on08:30 h30 min17:30 h20:00 h

Departure times from Niesen (CHF) from 17 April to 14 November 2021

mountain journeysfirst journeyturnaroundlast journey normal journeylast journey evening journey (according to irregular rotation)
Niesen depart08:15 h30 min17:45 h22:55 h
Schwandegg from08:30 h30 min18:00 h23:10 h
Mülenen on08:45 h30 min18:15 h23:25 h

Sights on the Niesen

The most important sight on the Niesen is the viewing platform on the Kulm. From here you can enjoy the view 360 degrees because of the pyramid shape. A special experience is a ride on the train, where stories are told

The Niesen is also considered a "weather indicator" in the region, readable by the type of clouds:

  • If the Niesen wears a hat, the weather will be good
  • If the Niesen wears a collar, the weather brings discomfort

Viewing platform and information trail at Niesen Kulm

The viewing platform is reached in about five minutes on an easily passable path on the Kulm. Along the way, twelve information boards show and explain interesting details about the Niesen, the Berghaus and the funicular railroad.

These twelve information boards can be seen:

The 360-degree panorama at Niesen Kulm shows Lake Thun with Interlaken in the valley and behind it Lake Brienz in the northeast, Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau and behind them the Bernina group in the east and southeast. There are also many mountain peaks of the Bernese Alps visible. To the south you can see the Weisshorn group and a bit more to the west the view goes even to Mont Blanc.

Adventure trips to the Niesen: Storytelling rides on the Niesen

The Niesen Railway offers storytelling tours especially for families. The meeting point is already down at the valley station. After the stories, children can use the Niesendörfli playground at the summit or play together at the Schwandegg. A cozy get-together with a snack, coffee or dinner rounds off these experiences.

Niesenfuchs and Mühlstein

For the little ones between the ages of five and eight, stories are told about the Niesen Fox or the Millstone. The stories are told by Sandra Eng, Pamela Kaltenmark and Barbara Rubin at the middle station. Each child receives a Niesen cap and after playing together, a snack is served. Including the train ride, everything takes 2.5 hours. The Niesenbahn publishes the dates on the page Mühlstein and Niesenfuchs. There you will also find information about the time schedule, dates, costs and booking options. The stories are available for purchase as children's books. The ISDN numbers, prices and further information can be found on the pages Children's book Mühlstein and Children's book Niesenfuchs.

Gamekeeper stories

For the older ones there are exciting stories about animals, told by a former hunting inspector of the canton of Bern. During the "Gschichtefahrt" Peter Juesy tells exciting stories about bear bones in the Spiggengrund, a lost chamois buck at the Blüemlisalp or hunting crimes in the region. The first short story is already available at the meeting point at the valley station. Train ride, coffee & croissants in the Berghaus are included in the price.

Dates, time schedule and booking possibilities are published on the page Gamekeeper Stories. Since these trips start very early (duration 2.5 hours including rides), the return trip can also be extended individually. Also the combination with a brunch in the mountain restaurant is possible.

Niesen Thriller

The Niesen crime novel is written by Esther Pauchard, a Thun crime novel author. The thriller is available at the Berghaus in two sections before and after dinner. Pamela Kaltenmark alias Kassandra Bergen tells what she "experienced" together with Kerstin Lindner during a trip to the Niesen. Including the ascent, the Niesen Krimi lasts 3 hours and 15 minutes, the descent can be delayed individually. Dates, exact schedule and prices as well as booking options can be found on the page Niesen Krimi.

Prices at the Niesen

The Niesenbahn does not run in winter. Outside the railroad season, the Berghaus Niesen Kulm is also closed.

Prices of the Niesenbahn (CHF) from 17 April to 14 November 2021

|Adults one-way trip|Adults one-way trip with discount| Adults return|Adults return with discount| |-------------------------|--------|----------|---------|-----------| |Mülenen - Niesen Kulm | 38,00 | 19,00 | 59,00 | 29,50 | |Mülenen - Schwandegg | 24,00 | 12,00 | 38,00 | 19,00 | |Schwandegg - Niesen Kulm | 22.00 | 11.00 | 35.00 | 17.50 |

Discounts include 1/2 Abonnement, GA, Swiss Travel Pass and children 6 - 16 years From 15:30 onwards, the round trip costs only CHF 29.50 for adults and CHF 14.75 for children (6-16 years), even without reductions.

The hiking ticket costs 48 CHF, with discount 24 CHF. Thereby 3 routes are taken by train, the fourth (freely selectable) route is hiked.

Detailed information on passes and prices in Switzerland can be found on the pages Public transport in Switzerland - an overview of all travel and tourist passes and Public transport in Switzerland - an overview of all tickets.

Prices Yoga on the Niesen (CHF) on 02.September 2021

|per person| |-------------------------|--------| |Yoga with overnight stay in a double room with WC/shower on the floor | 226,00 | |Yoga with overnight stay in a double room with WC/shower in the room | 246,00 | |Surcharge for single occupancy of a double room | 40,00 |

Activities at the Niesen

As an excursion destination, the Niesen is very popular and has a wide range of activities, especially hiking.

Among the most popular activities are:

  • Hiking
  • Paragliding
  • Yoga on the Niesen
  • Visiting Niesendörfli (children's playground)


The Niesen provides a view of a beautiful panorama almost everywhere. The choice of the actual route depends on the condition of the hiker. The overview page shows some hiking routes and possible combinations. The following hikes are particularly popular.

Panoramic hike to the Niesen

A panoramic hike from Mülenen to the Kulm of the Niesen is a difficult hike of about four to five hours, depending on your condition. 1.650 meters in altitude have to be mastered.

If that seems too difficult, you can shorten the route wonderfully and take the mountain railroad to the middle station in Schwandegg or board the train there. The upper part of the climb is the more beautiful of the two partial stages. Here, too, there is a choice between a steeper and shorter variant or a longer but moderate path, which means an additional hour of hiking time. The best time for hiking is between June and October.

Roundtrip Schwandegg - Niesen Kulm - Schwandegg

The trail leads from the middle station of the Niesenbahn to the Niesen Kulm and back on the other side. It is initially marked as hiking trail no. 5. The mixture of alpine meadows, stony and also steep sections is varied. The trail has almost constant panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and lakes.

It zigzags up through the eastern flank of the Niesen. The descent then goes over the north side on gently sloping paths and past the paraglider launch site towards the Niesen ridge. From a sharp hairpin bend, take hiking trail no. 6 via Cheesbödi and the Oberniese Alp back to Schwandegg.

  • 8 kilometers length
  • just under 4 hours hike
  • 770 vertical meters ascent and descent

The trails can also be walked in the opposite direction. The Niesenbahn also offers hiking tickets with three of four train rides, so that even just one station can be completed on foot. The entire route can be seen in 3D here.

Hike from the mountain station via Oberniese to Schwandegg

A hike from Kulm to the middle station via Oberniese and Unterniese has a distance of plenty of five kilometers. It can be done in less than two hours, as it is almost exclusively downhill. And if you like, you can use the barbecue area "Tristhubel" above Schwandegg.

In addition to table and benches, the barbecue site is equipped with a grill, firewood and waste garbage cans. Cold water and toilets can be reached in three minutes at the middle station.

Alternative hikes to and from Niesen

Hikes to the northwest of the mountain Niesen like to Diemtigtal or from the north from Wimmis are alternative hiking trails where you don't have to do without the beautiful panorama.

Hike to Diemtigtal

The hike starts with the drive up to the Kulm. From there, the mountain trail leads over the Obere Stalde in a northwesterly direction to the village of Oey. You pass alpine pastures, through stone dumps and forests you reach the nature park Diemtigtal. The hiking trail is signposted.

Hike from Wimmis ("Enjoying the Niesen")

The starting point Wimmis is a village with beautiful wooden houses from the seventeenth and eighteenth century. From Spiez you can get to Wimmis by regional train Zweisimmen in 6-7 minutes. From the Wimmis train station, the path leads in the direction of Oberdorf and below the castle hill to the clearing Gatafel. The partly narrow path winds its way to Stueffistein with a beautiful view. The ascent to Schafboden is particularly steep. Overall, the mountain hike is very demanding with 1,700 meters of ascent and requires a good physical condition.

Paragliding on the Niesen

The jumping-off point for paragliders on the Niesen is located on the north side in the direction of the Niesen ridge.

A flight to Spiez is considered particularly popular, with more than 1700 meters of altitude and the panorama is unique. It lasts between twenty and thirty minutes. The best season is from May to the end of October. The starting conditions are better on the Niesen in the morning. Therefore, Niesen pilots have to get up a little earlier. When the wind blows from the north, paragliding flights are not possible.

The approach is by Niesenbahn, the paragliders are transported together with the pilot in a limited number per trip. Everyone is responsible for reloading their own paraglider at the middle station. Further information can be found on the paragliding info page of the Niesen Bahn.

Paragliding flights from the Niesen are also offered as tandem flights by surrounding paragliding schools.

Yoga on the Niesen

Fabienne Egli from Wild Moon Yoga will conduct "Vinyasa Yoga - dynamic & powerful" on the Niesen at the beginning of September. The yoga classes will be held on Thursday evening: 18.00h - 19.30h and on Friday morning: 6.30h - 8.00h. Participants have the possibility to book one of the 11 double or twin rooms in the Berghaus for an overnight stay.

The price for yoga on the Niesen includes:

  • three hours of yoga
  • Niesenbahn ascent and descent
  • Dinner (3-course menu or buffet)
  • overnight stay in a double room
  • Niesen brunch

Visit the Niesendörfli

The Niesendörfli is an adventure playground for the whole family. It is located at the summit of the Niesen. The playground also offers a beautiful view of the surrounding area. In the Dörfli, children have the opportunity to live out their imagination while playing. The playground equipment is largely designed from wood

Events on the Niesen

In addition to the famous stair run, various cultural events are offered. In addition, there are culinary or culinary-accompanied events in the Berghaus Niesen Kulm. On the store page of the Niesenbahn these events can be booked.

Annual stair run on the Niesen

The stair run is a special attraction on the Niesen. The run takes place every year in June. Only athletically trained people without health problems are allowed to participate. The number of participants is limited to 220 people every year. You can register on the page of the Niesen Stair Run. As soon as more than 220 participants register, the decision will be made by lot. The stairs run directly next to the rails of the Niesenbahn.

Facts about the stair run:

  • 11,674 steps
  • 693 meters above sea level Start in Mülenen
  • 2.336 meters above sea level Finish mountain station Niesen Kulm
  • 66% maximum gradient in part 1
  • 68% maximum gradient in part 2
  • The best times of the stair climbers on the Niesen are about one hour.

Since 2019, the Niesen Stair Run is part of the Oberland Cup. This Cup includes the following runs, which are held consecutively:

  • Blüemlisalp run
  • Niesen Stair Run
  • Evening run Wengen
  • Vogellisi mountain run

For all non-participants and outside the competition it is forbidden to enter the stairs of the Niesenbahn.

up to culture - culture on the Niesen

On the Niesen, cultural events are offered again and again throughout the season

Some examples:

  • Arlette Wismer: She and her ensemble play Swiss folk music under the motto of the Four Seasons. Their repertoire includes not only traditional but also modern tunes. The musical instruments are violin, accordion and double bass.
  • 1st August celebration on the Niesen for the national holiday with summit bonfire from 9 p.m. onwards
  • Novel readings, for example with Arno Camenisch on "Der Schatten im Dorf".
  • Concerts with James Gruntz, who reinterprets songs together with a DUO partner
  • Songwriter summit meeting with Lorenz Sommer (formerly known as Tschou Zäme) and Stefan Heimoz
  • "DARUM" with the comedian Claudio Zuccolini
  • Open-air concerts by changing artists under the motto Seaside Sessions on the terrace of the Berghaus Niesen Kulm, they take place from 6 to 11 pm.
  • Niesen-Jasset 2021 in November: Culinary ride with the mountain railroad

Events at the Berghaus Niesen Kulm

Events are planned in the Berghaus or on its terrace from June to November, most of which are accompanied by culinary delights. These include the cultural events (up to culture) and the culinary endings of the "Gschichtefahrte uf e Niese". Direct culinary events take place regularly at the Berghaus Niesen Kulm.

Mountain house Niesen Kulm

The Berghaus was already built in 1856 on the Niesen Kulm. At that time there was no railroad to take the guests up. In 2002 the restaurant pavilion was added and the Berghaus was rebuilt.

Today the restaurant has 200 seats inside and 180 seats on the outdoor terrace. In the Berghaus there are eleven rustic double rooms (without TV and possibly with shared bathroom) for overnight stays at Kulm. Some rooms of the restaurant are separable for celebrations and events.

During the season, the restaurant is open daily until 4:30 p.m. and offers various specials that are coordinated with the travel times of the Niesenbahn:

  • Niesen Brunch from the beginning of June until the end of November daily from 8:30-11:00 a.m
  • Lunch daily from 12:00 p.m., food and beverage menus can be viewed online
  • Culinary evening trips to the Niesen
  • Niesen Buffet à discrétion: Wednesdays (from July until the beginning of November)
  • Ächt Schwyzerisch à discrétion: Fridays (from April until mid-November) with monthly changing themes
  • Fondue Rustique (meat fondue) à discrétion: Saturdays (end of April to mid-November)
  • Full moon dinner: with 5-course surprise menu, candlelight
  • Sunrise arrangement: overnight stay with dinner and brunch
  • Group offers for celebrations, meetings or simply being together

Rail travel (except for lunch) is already included in the prices.

Kiosks with snacks and gift articles are available at the valley station Mülenen and at the Berghaus Niesen Kulm.