What I love the most about Switzerland is that you can find a hiking route anywhere – and Isenfluh was a nice surprise.
You can simply walk around in the middle of the city and you will find one of those yellow rhombus signs on a street light, on a tree or anywhere else which basically tells you that if you follow that direction, you will get to some kind of path/trail which can lead you to another city, mountains, woods. Yes, you will still have to walk out from the city, which can be a long way, but after all you will reach some a trail where you can enjoy nature, mountains or whatever is on the way 🙂 So these yellow signs can be found even in Zurich, Geneve or any other city.
So, one day I was just driving in Switzerland and decided that I want to have a hike in the mountains. Simply as that.
I knew that there some pretty cool mountains around Interlaken, so I drove little further from it, deeper into the valley, chose any turn to the right and got myself to a very nice and little town called Isenfluh which as I expected had a bunch of possibilities to hike around with very clear signs (most of those signs tell you the time you are going to spend walking to different destinations).
Isenfluh is around 13km away from Interlaken by car. I don’t know if there are any buses going to that direction, but I will try to find out 🙂
So I just parked my car in a parking space next to this small town (actually you have to drive through the town to reach it, but it’s like 500m). For 4 hours parking you have to pay 5CHF and enjoy your time in the mountains.
The town of Isenfluh is really pretty small and it is all situated on the slope of a mountain, so the locals have to walk on pretty steep paths to reach neighbours, school or any other building they want. The city itself is so peaceful, calm and has amazing views to the other side of the valley to other mountain faces.
I just simply walked through the town and like in 200 m I reached signs which show paths up the mountain with different destinations. By the way, on the way to those signs I found a local shop which is selling Alpskäse (Alps cheese) which is pretty common in all those small towns 🙂 So for a few swiss francs you can enjoy some local cheese if you please.
As well, in Isenfluh there’s a cable which takes you up to Sulwald (it would take around one hour to reach it on foot). It costs 12 CHF for one person. I used it couple of times, but I will tell about it later 🙂
I simply chose any of destinations (I haven’t actually studied any of it before) and just kept walking up, enjoying beautiful views, mountains, some sheep running around – usual stuff in Swiss alps :)) This is why I love it in Switzerland. And you can’t actually get lost, if you are tired, just turn around and follow the signs back to your starting point.
My first destination was Sulwald (another small village above Isenfluh) and continued further into the forest to the Saustal valley.
In an hour or so, I reached a beautiful, enormous valley with few huts. Total silent and peace. The hike to the valley was not so easy, it’s quite steep (1100m in elevation from Isenfluh), so you can get tired pretty fast, but the views pays it off 🙂
On the way to the valley you can find some waterfalls, some totally isolated houses, some huts, some small bridges, some benches to sit down and enjoy majestic Alps and much more nice stuff which makes the route entertaining (if you like such stuff, of course).
In a valley you can find as well new directions and few huts which at that time was completely empty (I was there on November). The huts are quite old, you can actually see through the gaps between wooden planks what is inside, so it would be quite unbearable to live there during winter. And for sure, in winter they are not reachable by any transport, maybe just by snowmobiles.
What is pretty cool, that all of those huts have solar panels, so I assume they use that power on summer then the owners come there to enjoy nice summer weather.
Actually, not very far from that valley, just maybe an hour hike away, there is a hut which provides beds all year long (this is what they say on their website). If you go straight from Isenfluh to it, you can reach it in 2-3 hours. So it’s not too long or difficult and the views are amazing. The link to the hut is here: Lobhorn Hut.
As the sun was starting to go down, actually it started to get darker very early, around 2pm (remember it is November), I packed my lunch box, water bottle and hit the road back to Isenfluh. It is strange how sometimes going down is harder than going up 🙂 On my way back I met a couple which were going up the mountain with the bags of paragliding gear and after some time I actually saw them going down from the mountain 🙂 By the way, paragliding is amazingly popular in Interlaken, it is really a place to enjoy it if you like such activities 🙂
As well, I have couple of recommendations regarding weather, where to eat and gondola to you; before you go to Isenfluh, you should consider it. It can make your time in Isenfluh much more fun.
The weather in Isenfluh can be very different throughout the year. In summer temperatures can get up to 30 degrees or even higher, but in winter time Isenfluh is full of snow and hiking is only possible with snowshoes. I have done a snowshoe hike there and it was lots of fun: Snowshoeing in Sulwald.
The best time to visit it and avoid snow is summer, especially from June to end of September. At other times you can still expect some snow, especially if you get higher and higher.
After your hike, or if you just simply want to enjoy the exceptional views to the Swiss Alps, I really recommend to have a dinner in Isenfluh OR in Sulwald.
Sulwald has a very small coffee place where you can get coffee or a local cake. The food options are quite limited, but the views from the terrace will blow your mind. I have visited once the restaurant in the end of September, the place was already full of snow, BUT the sun was so strong, that I could sit there with my t-shirt. The views – gorgeous, exceptional, amazing, wow, breathtaking.
In Isenfluh itself you will find couple of restaurants and even a small local shop where you can get the local produced food (mostly cheese).
If you want to relax and have a nice dinner, you can go to Waldrand – a restaurant/hotel which is in the beginning of the village. From the parking you will have to walk just couple of minutes to reach it.
Isenfluh bahn – gondola
Isenfluh has a small gondola service which can take you up to Sulwald in couple of minutes. The gondolas are quite small, up to 4 persons, but it does its job just fine. From the gondola you can make some pretty cool pictures of the Swiss Alps and surroundings.
The gondola starts at 7.00 and goes every 30 minutes, after 9 o’clock it goes up every 15 minutes till 18.15.
Price with return: 12 CHF.
The gondola will take you straight to before mentioned Sulwald coffee place. There you can get as well a trotti (a bike with big tires) and ride down back to Isenfluh. That is a lot of fun. The price for an adult: 19 CHF, for a kid: 15 CHF.
If you want to get the real good local Swiss Alps cheese, you can get right in Isenfluh.
As you walk in Isenfluh village, you will see a little advertisement (poster) on an old wooden house (Alpkäse). Do not be afraid to knock and the owner of the house will invite you into their cellar to taste the cheese they have at the moment.
As I visited this little shop, I got to taste that year cheese and one year old cheese. For me the better one was that old cheese. I have bought 1 kilogram of cheese only for 20 CHF. I think that is a great deal.
The owner assured me that all of their cows are at 2000 meters altitude all the time and what I get here is a real Swiss Alps cheese.
I have tried that cheese with pasta and many other things – it is perfect.
So my hike up the valley and back to Isenfluh took around 4 hours, I walked 16,74 km and made 1100 meters in elevation (up).
Isenfluh is definitely a place to visit, especially if you enjoy hiking in the mountains. I don’t know if it is full of people in summer or other times, but I met almost no people on may way up and down (except that couple), so it’s really the place to enjoy nature and mountains with no interference.
Isenfluh is a great weekend destination to hike, have fun with family and trottis, snowshoe (in winter time) and just simply to go up there and have a lunch with exceptional views. You are going to love this small hidden gem in the Swiss Alps.
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