Europe

Gelmersee and Europe’s steepest funicular, Switzerland

I love Swiss mountain lakes, lakes and dams. Just a few days ago my favorite Swiss dam were Mauvoisin and Cadagno but since yesterday I belive I have to add Gelmersee on the top of my list.

There are about 190 dams in Switzerland and so far I have visited around 15 of them. It is still undecided if Gelmersee is the most beautiful one but at least I am sure that the lake is gorgeous! And getting up to the lake is an adventure itself!

Unless you want to walk up, there is the steepest funicular in Europe with a gradient of maximum 106%. It’s highly recommended to reserve in advance and for more practical information click Here. We booked our train up for 9:24am and for 2:48pm down. Which was enough for a walk around the lake and a swim in the lake.

Gelmer funicular

Steepest funicular in Europe Switzerland

Gelmerbahn Gelmersee Switzerland Steepest Funicular

Another tip is to try to be the first one on the line to get the best place to sit, at the bottom of the funicular! But if you are scared of hight you can sit on the end of the funicular.

Once you are up, there is a walk around the lake which is 4km long and should take around 2.5h to complete. We saw a lot of kids from between 6-10 years old doing the hike. Some part might be dangerous but it’s up to you to decide if your child is capable of it. I myself belive that some as young as 6 years old can manage the trail if she/he has already some hiking experiences.

The scariest part of the trail is the left side of the lake, when enter the lake from funicular. 

Here are some examples of condition of the trail.

When I say left side of the lake I mean the left when you walk from the funicular.

Starting from the left side, the trail is rocky and you will be walking on the edge.

Gelmersee Hiking Switzerland

Hiking Gelmersee SwitzerlandThe trail of left side of the lake.

Hiking Gelmersee SwitzerlandThe trail of the left side.

Hiking Gelmersee Switzerland

Gelmersee Hike Switzerland

The trail at the end of the lake, A trail with big boulders and rocks.

Hiking Gelmersee Switzerland

Hiking Gelmersee Switzerland

Here is perhaps the scariest part? 

Gelmersee Hike Switzerland

Hiking Gelmersee switzerlandIt does look scarier than it is! 

The trail of the right side of the lake, a lot of vegetation and far away from the edge of the cliff.

Hiking gelmersee SwitzerlandThe right side

There are beautiful places to have a picnic and a swim all around the lake. Our favorite place was by the boulders and the beautiful rock wall on the left side of the lake. It takes about 10 minutes walk from the funicular to this particular picnic spot. Along the way, don’t forget to pick some delicious blueberries if you are on the right season!

Gelmersee Bern Hike Switzerland

Gelmersee Switzerland
Gelmersee Swisslake Thaimum Hike Switzerland

Yes the water was cold, but I belive that if you jump into it you will walk out looking at least 2 years younger! 

Gelmersee Hike Swisslake Switzerland

Gelmersee Hike Switzerland Parenthood

What is so special with this lake are the boulders. We find that Gelmersee is a mix of Hampi ( you can read about it Here) our favorite place in India and Yosemite NP. What makes this place so beautiful is aswell what make this place dangerous. In 2016, the trail was close due to the falling rocks.

There is a trail going up beyond the waterfall to Gelmerhutte. Perhaps another time!

The water is so blue that one can think they have put some coloring in the water! Sometime it even looks like a tropical sea.

Gelmersee Hike Swisslake Switzerland

So what are you favorite Swiss dam? Or any dam in the world?


I almost forgot, if you have time the Grimselsee is just another 12km away. About 20 minutes by car. You can even see it from Gelmersee.

Family Earth Trek

83 Comments

  1. Wow Dada, your photos are incredible! And yes, I believe you when you say it’s the steepest funicular! I’m not the best at heights, but I’d still like to try. You’re very brave for going in the cold water!!

  2. WOW. You always hear how beautiful Switzerland is, but Gelmersee really drives it home. The lake, the mountains, the trail–those are some incredible views. I am definitely scared of heights, so riding the steepest funicular in Europe would be a challenge for me, but I’d have to force myself onto it for those views!

  3. Everytime I see your Switzerland pictures, I fall more in love with the place and I’m quite sad I haven’t been there yet. Gelmersee is gorgeous, I mean look at that blue water! Gelmersee looks a bit like Banff, Alberta, but more rugged I would say. I really wish to come here, hopefully soon!

  4. Oh Switzerland is one of my dream destinations. I’ve been to Hampi and really liked that as well. That ledge on what I assume is the dam does indeed look terrifying. But the view more than makes up for it!

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