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Hiking the stunning Hardergrat trail, Switzerland: A complete guide (2023)

Are you planning a hike on the Hardergrat in Switzerland? Here you will find a complete guide with all important information about hiking the Hardergrat trail!

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For most people hiking the Hardergrat is one of the best activity in Switzerland. If you want to know everything about this hike, you are at the right place.

In this article I explain the hike and its different parts as well as how to get to the start or how to return to Interlaken at the end of the day. You will also discover a suggestion of the best accommodations in the region a little bit further down !

n Switzerland: how to visit this beautiful place

Located in the Bernese Oberland in the Swiss Alps, I had heard about the Hardergrat trail for a long time, but I had never done it. Now that I have, I thought it would be nice to share with you this favorite.

You’ve probably seen beautiful pictures taken from the top of the Hardergrat, the part of the hike on the ridge, or the ones showing the turquoise color of the lake of Brienz. You might think it’s fake. But I assure you, the view and the colors are incredible from up there!

Anyway, you get the idea, I really loved this walk !

A little clarification before getting into the heart of the matter, since this is one of the most popular hikes in Switzerland, don’t expect to meet no one on the trail! But you will always find a quiet place, I assure you! Or if you really don’t want to meet anyone, go very early in the morning before the funicular opens!

Hiking the Hardergrat

The Hadergrat Hike

The first step is to go to the Harderklum summit by taking the funicular. Take a little break at the top to admire the view on the lakes of Thoune and Brienz. Back to the point, once you’ve reached the top, all you have to do is follow the yellow sign indicating Hardergrat / Augstmatthorn.

The first part of the hike is mostly in the forest and then through the fields. You will find neither big climbs nor major difficulties on this first part.

After about 2 hours of walking, you will approach the first climb and the beginning of my part. I reassure you, the climb is not insurmountable. Certainly it climbs, but the view will give you energy. Once the climb is done, you will finally be on the ridge and the beautiful landscapes are yours!

The view from the hardergrat hike

The last part, the descent, starts quickly at first, then the second part is more relaxed. You have to follow the signs Lombachalp / Habkern. At the end of the steep descent, the first one, you can end your hike more quickly, at Lombachalp by taking the AlpinBus. If not, there is still a good hour of descent to Habkern. The path weaves its way through the fields and the view is quite nice.

When you arrive in Habkern, you can go to the bus stop of the Post Office and then go to Interlaken. However, beware of the time of the last bus which is normally at about 7:36 pm (2022).

From the hardergrat hike on the way to Habkern

The Hardergrat in short :

  1. First, go to the top of the Harderklum
  2. Follow the sign Hadergrat / Augstmatthorn.
  3. Descend following Lombachalp / Habkern
  4. If you take the AlpinBus, your hike ends at Lombachalp, otherwise continue to Habkern.
  5. The last step, take the bus back to Interlaken from Habkern. Beware of the time of the last bus which is normally at about 19:36.

How long does it take to hike the Hardergrat

Starting the hike at the Harderklum summit and ending it at Habkern, the total duration of the tour is about 6 hours.

The tour can be shortened by one hour by taking the AlpinBus to Lombachalp. This bus runs between June and the end of October, with 4 rotations per day (9am – 11am – 4pm – 5pm) (2022).

I can only confirm that the 6 hours walk is worth it. The view from the ridge on the lake of Brienz is an experience in itself, to be lived at least once!

How to get to the Hardergrat?

By car

If you come to Interlaken by car, there are several parking possibilities. But many of them are limited to 6 hours. The parking lot I recommend is the one at the Gymnasium Interlaken where you can park for 12 hours without any problem at a fair price. From there, it’s about a 15 minute walk to the funicular departure.

By train:

You have to go to the Interlaken Ost station, the second station of the city. Once in Interlaken, it takes about 10 minutes to get to the Harderklum funicular.

How hard is the Hardergrat?

On many sites, I have seen the hike marked as having a degree of difficulty rated as “difficult”. But from my point of view, I would rate it more as medium difficulty. Sure the hike is long, about 6 hours, but the difficulty of the route is not huge. The only part that is a bit more technical is the one just before the summit. Otherwise the rest of the route is on well marked trails and not very steep.

hiking the hardergrat cows on the way down

Where to stay in the area?

If you don’t live in the region, the best place to put your things down is the town of Interlaken in the Bernese Oberland. It is the starting point for the Hadergrat hike.

In Interlaken, you will find accommodation for all budgets, from luxury hotels to camping. Prices vary from 35 to more than 250 CHF/USD per night depending on your wishes.

($) Funny Farm Backpackers
($$) Adventure Hostel Interlaken
($$$) Hotel Bernerhof
($$$$) Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa

How much does the Hardergrat hike hike cost?

Prices from 2022

Harderklum funicular I CHF 17.00 full fare, CHF 8.5.00 half fare or Swiss Travel Pass

Bus from Habkern to Interlaken I CHF 5.60 full fare, CHF 2.8 half fare

Optional AlpinBus I CHF 10 per person per trip

View from the Harder Klum departure point of the Hardergrat hike

I hope that my article has made you want to go hiking at the Hardergrat. Anyway, if you do, don’t hesitate to tell me !

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