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


  1. I’ve never head of Gelmersee but your pictures certainly make it attractive. That water is such a lovely shade of blue too! Thanks for the recommendation to ride the funicular although I would probably stay in the back!

  2. Looks dangerous! I’d be constantly worried about falling rocks. Not just stones either, but some of those were as big as a bus. You must be brave to walk along those paths! Otherwise, it looks great. Nice temperatures and you are right about the blue water lending a tropical feel!

  3. I didn’t even know what a funicular was before I came across your article. I actually went on one in Santiago de Chile back in 2015 but didn’t know what it was called. I’m not sure if you’re editing them but your images are breathtaking, everything from the colour of the water to the detailed formation of the rocks. Thumbs up for capturing this experience and sharing it.

  4. Abigail Sinsona Reply

    I’ve never been to Switzerland but I’ve always wanted to go! You have convinced me some more to add this to my bucket list. That is so interesting, the trivia you shared about Swiss dams! I didn’t know there were as many as it did!

  5. It would be fun just to ride the steepest funicular in Europe! The lake at the top is stunning, I’ve not seen any other dams in Switzerland but Gelmersee does look beautiful. The whole area looks picturesque and you’ve photographed it beautifully.

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