If you are planning a visit to the stunning town of Interlaken or anywhere nearby a visit to Harder Kulm is certainly in order.
Harder Kulm is Interlaken’s local mountain and it offers some of the most wonderful views of the surrounding lakes, Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, and the Bernese Alps. But, there is a lot more to visiting the Harder Kulm mountain than the panoramic views.
Join me as I run through everything you need to know about Harder Kulm from how to get there, things to do, and lots more.
Table of Contents
How to Get to Harder Kulm
|Opening Times||Mid-April – End of November|
9:10 AM – 9:10 PM
Open until 9.40 PM during summer
|Ticket Prices||Adult: 34 CHF|
Children (6 -15): 17 CHF
GA, Half-tax, Swiss Pass: 17 CHF
Eurail/Interrail: 25.60 CHF
|Travel Time||10 minutes|
|Starting Point||Interlaken Ost|
Getting to Interlaken’s local mountain, Harder Kulm, couldn’t be easier. There is a Harder Kulm funicular railway that takes you up to the mountain station. It is one of Switzerland’s most scenic cable car rides and is just 10 minutes from Interlaken.
The Harder Kulm funicular operates between mid-April and November, and the funicular ride is stunning as you look over the lakes and into the Bernese Alps along the way.
A regular ticket for the funicular costs around 34 CHF and is half price for Swiss Pass holders and Swiss Half Fare Card holders.
Harder Kulm from Interlaken Ost
The Harder Kulm funicular is right over the river from the English Garden in Interlaken Ost. Just cross the Beaurivage-Brücke next to the Lindner Hotel and the train is just at the end of the road around the bend. You can’t miss it.
Hiking Up To Harder Kulm
You can also hike to the top of Harder Kulm by following the Harder Kulm hiking trail from Interlaken. It only takes 2 hours to get to the summit and you will have stunning views along the way.
The trail also starts at the Harder Kulm funicular. Just follow the path to the right, passing by the Alpine Wildlife Park and then continuing along and up. Just follow the yellow signs.
It is quite a steep hike but very easy to follow. If you are not used to hiking in Switzerland, I recommend you take your time and stop a lot along the way.
You can also take the funicular up the mountain and hike back down if you don’t want to do the steep ascent.
Things to Do at Harder Kulm
Once you’ve ridden the funicular up to around 1300 meters above sea level, you might think that there wouldn’t be much to do. But, you’d be wrong as there is actually quite a lot to do on top of the mountain.
The Two-Lakes Bridge – Enjoy the Views
Sitting right next to the restaurant, which we will discuss next, is the Two-Lakes Bridge viewing platform.
The Two Lakes Bridge viewing platform juts out over the edge and is a glass-floored viewing platform. The magnificent view is nothing short of incredible as you stand perched over the town of Interlaken looking down the valley.
You will be able to see the turquoise waters of Lake Brienz, the deep blue waters of Lake Thun, and the famous mountain peaks of the Eiger, Jungfrau, and Mönch.
You won’t find a better view of the mountain peaks in Interlaken than from Two Lakes Bridge, and it is a great place to set the sunset when the snowy peaks are colored in the warm alpenglow of evening light.
Harder Kulm Restaurant – Have Lunch & A Drink
The Harder Kulm Restaurant, also known as the Harder Kulm Panorama Restaurant, sits on the peak of the mountain. This panorama restaurant serves up delicious Swiss cuisine as well as great beer and Swiss wines.
The Panorama restaurant is the perfect place to have sunset drinks or lunch while enjoying Harder Kulm. If the weather is nice, be sure to try to get a table on the restaurant’s sun terrace as the amazing views over the lakes and mountains only make the beer and food taste better.
The panorama restaurant is also quite architecturally interesting looking a little bit like a chalet and a castle at the same time.
The restaurant also serves a traditional Swiss breakfast and has culinary-themed evenings if you would be interested in attending some of those.
Don’t worry about booking a table at the restaurant as it is not possible. The restaurant serves up to 500 people so there will always be a space for you.
Hiking Trails: From The Peak Of Harder Kulm
Hikers love the number of hikes they can access from the peak of Harder Kulm and it is well worth hiking one of the number of trails available from the top.
For anyone wanting to do some extreme hiking, the ridge trail from Harder Kulm to Augstmatthorn is quite intense. It follows the ridge with incredible views in every direction, and once you have completed it, there is a second leg to Lombachalp that is a requirement.
It takes more than 5 hours in total so you’ll need hiking shoes, food, and lots of water.
The most popular trail is the Elfenweg trail which is a circular route that goes around the mountain through the forest. The trail comes with a theme making it great for families and the impressive views make it very worthwhile. It takes just an hour so it won’t take up much of your day.
The final trail is from Harder Kulm to Ringgenberg. This is a gentle trail through the forest and takes around 2 hours offering a beautiful view of Lake Brienz.
The Swiss Folklore Show
From May to October every year, Harder Kulm plays host to a nightly Swiss Folklore performance.
It starts in the early evening and you will find performers in transitional Swiss clothing playing traditional music, doing traditional dances, and showcasing other traditional arts as well.
The concerts are completely free and you will experience both Yodellers and alphorn concerts too!
The Alpine Wildlife Park: See Some Local Swiss Animals
Located just up from the Funicular Station at Interlaken is the Alpine Wildlife Park. It is a wonderful place to see some endemic species of the region, especially if you have kids. It is not obvious from the funicular, but just take the small path on the right through the trees, you will reach the park in a couple of minutes.
Entrance to the park is free and inside you will find both marmots and mountain ibex, which belong to the goat family but look more like antelopes.
The marmots are on the far right in a sepearate encloser, and are very easy to see as I found them roaming about during the middle of the day. The Ibex enclosure was closed, but I asked the warden and he let me in and showed me all the Ibexes they have including the one with the largest horns you can see in the image above. Impressive!
Ibexes were almost extinct in Switzerland but thanks to wildlife parks like this one, they have come back strong in the Swiss Alps again.
A stroll around this park is a great way to start or end your trip up to Harder Kulm and if you are hiking up or down, you will stroll right past it, so why not drop in?
Best Time to Visit Harder Kulm
The best time to visit Harder Kulm is in the summer months between June and September. This will make the temperature at the top a balmy 20 degrees Celsius and clear days equal the awesome views you are looking to experience.
To avoid the crowds as much as possible, I would recommend heading up to Harder Kulm in the months of May, June, and September. Avoid July and August as these are the busiest times of Harder Kulm.
If you want to hike around Harder Kulm aim to get there in the morning so you have enough time to do everything. But, if you want to just see the view at Harder Kulm, head up just before sunset and watch the colors change from the viewing platform or restaurant terrace.
Tips for Visiting Harder Kulm
- Check the weather before planning your visit as you won’t get very good views unless it is a clear day
- Pre-buy your funicular tickets, especially during the summer, to avoid the queues that can come with it
- Don’t forget to bring a windproof jacket with you, even in summer, as there can be a cold wind at the top that will make you very chilly without it
- Dogs ride for free on the funicular so don’t feel like you have to leave them at home
Harder Kulm – Frequently Asked Questions
Is Harder Kulm worth visiting?
Yes, Harder Kulm is definitely worth visiting as it has everything you want on a Swiss adventure. You get to ride a quintessential Swiss funicular to the top of Harder Kulm and see never-ending views into the Alps with famous peaks and lakes in every direction.
While there you can also partake in some traditional Swiss food at the Harder Kulm Restaurant, hike along the trails, and even enjoy seeing some endemic wildlife of Harder Kulm too. Plus, if you are there at sunset, the view is unbeatable and you can enoy some traditional Swiss Folklore performances.
Where is Halder Kulm located?
Harder Kulm is just above the town of Interlaken in the Bernese Oberland. The closest station to the funicular is the Interlaken Ost Train Station, which you can get to from all major Swiss cities.
The closest parking is also found near the Interlaken Ost station, so if you are driving, park around there. It is then a few minute’s walk to the Harder Kulm Interlaken funicular.
Can you visit Harder Kulm in winter?
Harder Kulm is closed in winter because both the Harder Kulm-Interlaken funicular and the Harder Kulm restaurant are closed. However, there is no one stopping you from hiking up the Harder Kulm-Interlaken trail. You will need some serious gear to do this though and it is not advised if you’re not used to hiking in the snow.
Does Swiss Pass Work for Harder Kulm?
What Is The Meaning of Harder Kulm?
There are two parts to the meaning of Harder Kulm. The first is “Harder” which is a mountain ridge at the western end of Lake Brienz. The second part “Kulm” means summit, as it sits at the topmost part of the end of this ridge.