Étang de Gruère and the Wind turbines in Mont Soleil, Switzerland

Étang de Gruère near Biel is not like an ordinary Swiss mountain lake with turquoise crystal clear water and majestic mountains as backdrop. Étang de Gruère is a completely different kind of lake that reminds me so much of my child hood summer around Swedish lakes and forest. 

I have so many times talked with David about how much I miss Swedish lake and forest. He didn’t quite understand what are so different with the Swedish or the Scandinavian lakes to the Swiss one, apart the color of the water. I haven’t been able to fully explain it, but as soon as David sat his foot by the lake Gruère I didn’t have to explain any further. He knew right away what I have been trying to tell him all this time. 

While strolling along the shore of Étang de Gruère, I would forget that I was in the Jura, but somewhere in the Swedish wilderness, back to where I grew up!

You can read all about my longing for a Swedish summer I am dreaming of a Swedish summer

How to get there

Étang de Gruère lies about 1 hour drive/ 70 km away from Bern and only  30 minute/ 27 km away from Biel. To put on GPS, Parking South Pond of Gruère, Le Chaumont, 2350 Saignelégier.The parking is just across a “wood factory“.

Ever since they have build a new highway above Biel it is now easier to reach this side of the country because before one needed to drive through Biel and it was a real pain!

By looking at the public transportation schedule, the ride seems very long as it could take up to 1.5 hours from Biel to the trailhead of Etang de Gruère. You need to take a train to Tramelan and then hopp on the bus nr 32 and 8 bus stops later jump off at the Moulin de Gruère.

Across the parking lot at the begining of the trailhead to Etang de Gruère in Jura, Switzerland.

Whats good to know

Before heading to Étang de Gruère please keep in mind a few things.

  • As it is a nature reserve area it is forbidden to start any fire. We should have known! We brough some saugages to grill but of course as we didn’t have anything else we ate them cold. Luckily, we brought some Cervela which can be eaten “raw”.
  • This has been debatted whether visitor should swim in the lake or not, but you can..but on your own risk as it is written on the warning sign at the beginning of the trailhead to the pond Gruère. Warning! It seems as there are leeches in the lake?!? 
  • In winter it is very popular to ice-skate when the lake is frozen. Once again, on your own risk because there are nobody official to check the thickness of the ice.
  • If you are interested you can have a guided tour of the nature reserve pond, held by the Centre Nature Les Cerlatez. The duration of the guided tour is 1.5 hours.  You can get further information Here.
  • Bring a tupperware for the wild blueberries! Etang de Gruère is blueberry heaven!

Ice-skating on the frozen Etang de Gruère. Photo credit: Here

The trail

The walk around the Étang de Gruère takes about 1 hours/ 2km to complete and we were quite sad it was over so soon. It is very child friendly and we saw quite a lot of strollers, while many parts of the trail is doable with a stroller other parts you might need to to push extra hard. 

Picnic Spots

What I absolutely love about Etang de Gruère is that this small lake is an absolute picnickers and swimmers paradise (beside the leeches?!)! There are so many beautiful picnic and swimming spots all over the shore and in spite of being fairly crowded ( there are about 100’000 visitors every year) we never needed to share a spot with others. Although I have to be honest, I get a chill down my spine the thought of swimming in a water with almost no visibility (and with leeches?!). The water looks almost black! But that what makes Etang de Gruère also very beautiful!

The nature reserve lake

Etang de Gruère is a natural pond, together with the forested area around the pond itself, the nature reserve covers an area of 1km2. The lake is 600m long and is around 5m deep. The area around the pond is a peat bog formed 12,000 years ago. The pond dates back to the 17th century and when a dam was built to give power to a grain mill. It was later replaced by a sawmill, which also used pond water until the arrival of electricity in the 1950s.

When I think of a Swedish summer by the lake, this image above is what I have in mind!

Etang de Gruère is unique in the mainly water-permeable high lime plateau of the Franches Mountains and the lakeprovides habitats for numerous animal and plant species in a region otherwise low on water courses. Due to its location on a raised mire, the lake’s water is brown in colour. It offers a rare habitat to animal species which depend on open water, including, in particular, dragonflies and some butterfly and beetle species.

Source: Here

The brown water of Etang de Gruère, Switzerland.

Etang de Gruère has a lot of huge fish!

I really recommend this hidden gem in the canton of Jura not far from Biel. The lake seems to be very popular but it was just only recently that I found out about it. We will surely come back with our family and friends to this peaceful lake, that reminds me so much of Sweden and my childhood Swedish summer by the lake. 

Mont Soleil and the Wind Turbines

The same day we had a walk by the Etang de Gruère we weren’t ready to go home so we drove the 18km/20 minute to Mont Soleil where you can find Switzerland’s largest wind farm with a total of 16 wind turbines and Switzerland’s largest photovoltaic solar power plant

On our way, there were hills and hills covered with thousand and thousand of dandelions. While Mirabelle was sleeping tightly in the car with her dad, I was roaming around taking a moment to appreciate the beauty of spring knowing that just a few days all this will be gone. 

Mirabelle and her dad resting in our mini car on our way to Mont Soleil in Jura, Switzerland.

The walk

Our initial plan was to do a 1.5 hour/ 4 km hike from Mont Soleil to Mon Croisin where there is a restaurant ( have a look a the map below) but instead we walk only half way. The road is stroller friendly and we saw a lot of people biking, which we wished we also did! 

Good to know:

  • There is a guided tour where you can have a look inside a wind turbine. Further information Here.
  • You can rent a trotti-bike and have a ride down from Mont Soleil to St-Imier. For further information Here and Here. Only in French.

The trailhead start by the parking and along the way there are information boards about the energy they are producing here etc. I was quite bored LOL, but David who works with solar energy and is very dedicated to this enjoyed it a lot.

The solar power plant in Mont Soleil.

Halfway to St.Croisin lies this small playground with a “spinner” where you can spin and see how much energy you produce. It is here were we had our first BBQ of the year 2018, luckily we had sausages left. And it was from here also we to walked back. Please look at the map above.

Mirabelle at the age of 2.5 is becoming a grill master at Mont Soleil in Jura, Switzerland.

I totally recommend Mont Soleil and its wind turbines. However, I think it would have been awesome to do it on a bike! The trail seems long and most part of  is without shade, but I can imagine how beautiful it must be here on the early evening.

Look over here chocolate lover!

On our way back to Bern,  we passed by the Chez Camille Bloch, a new opening chocolate factory only 20 min/17 km from Mont Soleil!! Being already late, we didn’t have time to stop. Please have a look of how your day could look like when visiting Chez Camille, by AdinaJustina  A delicious experience: Chez Camille Bloch

Photo credit: Here

Photo credit: Here

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