For 30 years, our editor Roland Hügi has been exploring Switzerland on two wheels. Note to keen cyclists and mountain bikers: he shares with us his favourite routes throughout the whole country. From the Jura to Engadin, he unveils places of particular beauty and gives tips for inspiration.
Diemtigtal Nature Park
Oey, which belongs to the political municipality of Diemtigen, is the starting point for our bike tour and the gateway to the Diemtigtal Nature Park. It advertises its natural beauty with the slogan: «Close, wild, precious». The wild side can be seen right after the village, where the road leads along the crystal clear Chirel stream, a body of water that caused massive flooding in 2005. The valley rises steadily, past Horboden, the home of wrestling king Kilian Wenger, and can be very narrow in places.
Cycling tour Diemtigtal
Route length: 20 kilometres
Ascent: 530 metres
Duration: 1.5 hours
Noteworthy: the tour is also suitable for e-bikes.
Entire route to download
The GPX file can easily be opened on Google Earth, using apps like SchweizMobil, Komoot, Outdooractive, the SAC tour website or on your smartwatch (e.g. Polar, Garmin, Suunto, etc).
The basis for planning the tour was the bike map (no. 16, Bernese Oberland / Simmental) at a scale of 1 : 60,000 from Kümmerly + Frey. In addition to all official SchweizMobil routes (nationwide cycling and biking routes), the map also contains numerous VCS (Swiss Association for Transport and Environment) route recommendations on mostly low-traffic roads.
An expansive mountain landscape
Soon a wide mountain landscape opens up, which visitors would never have imagined from the valley below. It’s not only the mountains – soaring here to heights of well over 2,000 metres – and the expansive views that are awe-inspiring. The farmhouse architecture, which seems to have remained unchanged for generations, also lures cyclists into stopping and taking a break. These Simmental farmhouses, some of which are centuries old, can be found all along the route. And even the newer buildings are almost entirely built in this traditional style: with lots of wood, wide flat-topped roofs, and often decorated with elaborate carvings and inspirational quotes. Given the sheer abundance of wooden houses, visitors almost get the impression that everyone in this valley – like wrestler king Kilian Wenger – is a carpenter by trade.
No chance of boredom
There’s certainly no chance of being bored in the Diemtigtal, no matter where your route goes. In our case, the tour ran from Zwischenflüh towards Enetchirel, Röschti and Underberg, before peaking at Rothbad at an altitude of around 1,000 metres. Then it was back down again to Oey via the hamlet of Bächlen. Short but beautiful – and an enticement to return to the Bernese Oberland.
Fit cyclists can also undertake a larger scale tour. This goes to the far end of the Diemtigtal and – on paved roads nearly all the way – over into the Simmental, and then back to Oey. The challenge: 50 kilometres and around 1,500 metres of altitude.