A spikey building that looks like a pagoda on top of the mountain right next to Interlaken. You can see it from miles away when you approach Interlaken by car or train. What could that be?
Well that is the Harder Kulm aka Top of Interlaken.
Harder Kulm, Top of Interlaken
The Harder Kulm is known as Interlaken’s home/resident mountain and its peak of 1322m is aptly named the Top of Interlaken. The views from the restaurant and spectacular viewing platform are stunning.
For more than 100 years, the harder kulm has had funicular access with its cute mountain train, less intense than the Gelmerbahn Switzerland’s Alpine Rollercoaster, but definitely much cuter. It’s ascent of the 735 meters of altitude to the Harder Kulm is nothing short of spectacular and a must do on any Interlaken visit. The journey starts from across the bridge at the Interlaken Ost (East) train station. The journey up by train leads you through a charming forest and passes a small wildlife park where you can see Ibex and mountain goats up close.
Arriving at the Top of Interlaken you can reach the restaurant and viewing platform in a five-minute walk.
The spectacular viewing platform has a partly glass bottom for the dare devils and a cow statue for extra swissness in your pictures. The most impressive thing though are the views: in one shot you get to see the magnificent Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau as well as the Lakes of Brienz and Thun. It is truly postcard picture perfect!
Late afternoon Harder Kulm visit
The bright red Harderbahn runs till late in the evening (9:40pm is the last descend down in summer) and while it only takes 10 minutes to reach the top of Interlaken it makes for an ideal excursion if one arrives late afternoon in Interlaken and it's too late to explore the rest of the Jungfrau Region.
Hiking to the Top of Interlaken
For the more active oriented visitors there is the hike up to the Harder Kulm top of Interlaken. The hike will take approximately 1,5/2 hours and the views get better the higher you get. The hiking trail is well sign posted and starts right next to the Harder Kulm funiculaire.
Hiking on the Harder Kulm
On the Harder Kulm there is actually a network of hiking trails leading from and to Harder Kulm, most of them marked as mountain trails T2. It is the exercise mountain for locals who love a serious workout. The most common hike is a nice stroll along the "Elves Path" (Elfenweg). The romantic circle trail takes about an hour to complete and leads mostly through the woods, starting right at the Restaurant on the top of the Harder Kulm. It's an easy hike except for a short stretch up the Harder ridge.
Getting to the Harder Kulm
A short walk from Interlaken-Ost railway station to the Harder Kulm Railway valley station. Travel time from valley station to the top is only 10 minutes.
mid of April - 1st of November
The train runs every 30 minutes, though on busy days it will run non-stop.