Is This the Most Scenic Cycling Route in the World?

On the outskirts of Bern, Switzerland’s historic capital, lies a captivating realm for cyclists to explore, where verdant hills meet fairy-tale forests on a 64km path that takes in charming farm shops, daisy-dappled picnic spots, rustic fire pits and traditional country inns – all rich in the myths and legends that have long drawn curious trekkers from far and wide.

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There are plenty of ways to take in Switzerland's glorious landscapes, but few modes as rewarding as doing so on two wheels. If you're dreaming of such a venture this summer - a wholesome, culture-steeped, fresh air-charged voyage, taken at your own pace - then let it be the nation's Gantrisch Legend Route - arguably the most scenic cycling loop on Earth. We've put together an insider's itinerary, pulling together the sights you can't miss with some of the region's lesser-known pit stops.

Joy ride: explore the Gantrisch Legend Route by bike


Your first stop, a 12-minute ride from the Gantrisch Legend Route's Burgistein welcome station, is the legendary site of Wattenwil, where you'll find a wooden post displaying a QR code. Scan it to hear the story, narrated by locals, of the distinctive Chatz u Muus (cat and mouse) rock formation that peers over from the Walalp ridge above. Take your time to explore the surrounding forest and stop for a picnic at the quiet clearing of Grundmoos, complete with a fire pit and fountain. Later, bed down at the cosy Erlebnis Hofmatt farmhouse, a family-run abode that dates back 250 years. Offering panoramic views over the Bernese Oberland, its dining room is the place to enjoy tasty traditional regional fare.


Pedal through the flower-strewn municipality of Riggisberg and you'll find a fine selection of farm shops and eateries to linger at. We recommend picking up a fresh morning croissant from the jovial Bäckerei-Konditorei Ernst café, before stocking up on the famed handmade Gantrisch-Züngli chocolates at the nearby Bäckerei Steiner bakery. Next, it's on to the medieval Riggisberg Castle, to lay down a rug and nibble on your goodies by the splendid garden pond. Also on the grounds is the Eggladen shop, where you can buy everything from colourful handblown glass to tea and spices, all made at the castle's on-site workshops. Then, spend the night like the lord and lady once did in one of just four guest rooms at the beautiful B&B at Riggisberg Castle (ask for the Himmelbettzimmer room).


Discover the curious tale of Chrigeli Christen, the region's first pedlar, at the historic site of Rüschegg, then make a pilgrimage to Restaurant Caroline, beloved by locals for its homemade pizza, and play a round of mini golf by the garden's babbling brook. In the mood for a picnic? Swing by the Mühlihofladen farm shop for some fresh bread and condiments (its speciality Züpfe braided loaf is sold here every Saturday), then cycle to the Rütiplötsch fire pit to devour your feast in this cool forest setting under the bridge.


Another mythical yarn awaits at Riffenmatt's Der Fadenknäuel ("the ball of thread") site, where you'll learn the fate of the two dwarves captured here in the dense forest many centuries ago, and the secrets they harboured. Pause to admire the Horbühl Pass, which drops into the Selital region. Then, end your day at Gasthof Löwen Riffenmatt - a sixth-generation, family-run country inn where hosts Regula and Roger Aebischer, members of the esteemed Guild of Established Gastronomes, dish up an ever-changing array of seasonal delicacies.


The pretty village of Schwarzenburg, found in the heart of the Gantrisch region, is peppered with lopsided alleyways that lead to quirky shops, handsome inns and idyllic outdoor picnic spots. King among these al fresco dining destinations is the Flüeli grill and BBQ area, on the banks of the Dorfbach stream - source your supplies from Schwarzenburg's well-stocked Birena organic shop. Prefer to eat inside? Park your bike and head to the rustic Gasthof Bühl country inn, for local meat served on a hot stone. For a unique night's rest, check into the nearby Breitenackern organic farm, where you can sleep in the romantic garden house, or even in its fairy light-decorated barn.


Steer your wheels to these 12th-century monastery ruins for a photo with the resident "headless monk", and learn the tale of how he came to be. Cheese lovers won't want to miss a visit to the village's Bergkäserei Oberbütschel REK AG dairy, where master cheesemakers process regional milk into the finest Gantrisch alpine varieties. For something sweet, dine on the terrace at the scenic Panorama Restaurant Viva, home to dessert world champion Rolf Mürner. Lay your head at the charming B&B Bären Rüeggisberg, which offers majestic views over the mountain ranges from the balconies of its tastefully decorated rooms.

The Lowdown

To discover more about Bern and the Gantrisch Legend Route, visit .

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