Gelmer Funicular, the 2nd Steepest in Europe: Adventure Junkies Only

Calling all adrenaline junkies! The Gelmer Funicular located in the Haslital region of Switzerland is the 2nd steepest in Europe!

Gelmer Funicular is one of the highlights of the Haslital region in Switzerland.
Gelmer Funicular is one of the highlights of the Haslital region in Switzerland.

What It’s Really Like to Ride the Gelmer Funicular

It starts off gradual but within minutes you find yourself seated not just perpendicular to the earth below you, but actually overhanging it at 106°! Going down is even more exciting.

I’m not afraid of heights and even I screeched out  YIKES a couple of times!

The kids that were on it at the same time as I was also loved it.  I loved it!

You know that feeling when you’re at the top of a rollercoaster just before it goes down? It’s like that. But on steroids. The track rise 448 m(1470 ft) and is 1028 m (3373 ft) long. If you love that feeling, then you’ll love the Gelmer Funicular.

If you’re afraid of heights or hate that sinking feeling in your stomach that something BIG is about to happen, this is not the adventure for you.

Related Reading: Tour du Mont Blanc: How to Plan for this Epic Adventure.

Check out this video that shows you what it’s really like:

History of the Gelmer Funicular

It was built in 1926. Not as an attraction for adventure tourists but to aid in the construction of Gelmer Lake. It’s a reservoir built for hydroelectric power. It wasn’t even open to the public until 2001. Now Gelmer Lake is a popular hike (see below). Gelmer Funicular is owned and operated by Kraftwerke Oberhasli AG (KWO), the owners of the power station.

Gelmer Funicular, is the steepest in Europe! Great fun for families and anyone who enjoys glacier-covered mountain views without the effort!
Gelmer Funicular is the 2nd steepest in Europe! It’s great fun for families and anyone who enjoys glacier-covered mountain views without the effort!

Related Reading: The Best Things to Do in Geneva When You Only Have a Day.

Hiking Around Gelmer Lake

Once you’re at the top, you reach the beautiful Gelmer Lake.  We walked around the lake which takes less than  2 hours.  While it is relatively flat, there are a few sections in which you walk across a narrow cliff above the lake.

I love this kind of stuff, and it’s totally safe – there are cables, but you should be forewarned if that’s not your cup of tea.

Hiking Gelmer Lake Tip:  If you’re afraid of heights walk around the lake clockwise. You can get about half-way before reaching one of these spots. Then you can go back the same way.  

If you go counter-clock-wise you will encounter a tunnel and steep ledge within a few minutes (pictured below).

Related Reading: The Tour du Mont Blanc: How to Plan for this Epic Adventure.

Gelmer Lake is a glacier fed lake.
Gelmer Lake is a glacier-fed lake. The trail offers fantastic glacier views.

 

One of two places on the hiking trail where you walk along a narrow ledge. It's not that scary and there is a cable to hang on to, but you should be fore-warned.
One of two places on the hiking trail where you walk along a narrow ledge. It’s not that scary and there is a cable to hang on to, but you should be forewarned.
The Gelmer Lake hiking trail offers spectacular mountain and lake views the entire time! Pictured is J.P. (my husband).
The hiking trail offers spectacular mountain and lake views the entire time! 

 

Laurel Robbins at Gelmer Lake, in the Haslital Region of Switzerland.
Me taking a moment to stop and enjoy the glaciers!

 

Looking over the lake. The trail to Gelmer Hut starts at the far end of the lake.
Looking over the lake. The trail to Gelmer Hut starts at the far end of the lake.

The Hike to Gelmer Hut

If you’re searching for a longer hike, go to Gelmer Hut.  It’s a steep ascent that takes ~ 2 1/2 hours from the lake.  We just hiked around the lake since we were short on time. But I have no doubt the views from would be well worth it. You’d get an eagle-eye view of all the surrounding glaciers.

The Haslital Region is not as well-known in Switzerland as other regions like the Jungfrau. However, don’t let that stop you from thinking that it’s any less spectacular.  I truly enjoyed it.  My only mistake was only spending a day there!

Related Reading: The Best Things to Do in Geneva When You Only Have a Day.

Where is the Gelmer Funicular?

If you’re driving, put the following address in your navigation system: 3864 Guttannen, Switzerland.

While it’s more convenient to reach it by car, the Handegg bus stop is located at the entrance.

Know Before You Ride the Gelmer Funicular and Hike Lake Gelmer:

    • Return tickets for the Gelmer Funicular are CHF 32 for adults.
    • Tickets can be purchased on the spot or one day in advance at the Tourist Center Grimseltor in Innertkirchen.
    • The funicular runs from June  – October (check the site for exact dates).
    • The funicular may be closed due to poor weather.
    • While you’re there also walk over the Handeck Suspension Bridge for a beautiful view of a waterfall.
    • The Hotel and Natur Resort Handeck is just a few minutes walk from the entrance.

More Nearby Adventures in Switzerland

 

If you love adventure, you’ll love a ride on the Gelmer Funicular. Are you brave enough?

Note:  Thank you to the Haslital Region for making my visit possible.  As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

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About Author

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Laurel
Laurel Robbins is the founder of Monkeys and Mountains Adventure Travel. She's passionate about getting outdoors as often as possible and helping travellers do the same on their vacation in a sustainable way. She's Canadian and grew up in the Canadian Rockies but now lives in Munich, Germany. You can find her skiing or hiking in the mountains most weekends, hanging out with her cat or with her nose in a good book.

Comments

Lorna
July 13, 2014
Thank you so much for this piece on the Gelmer Funicular! I love your blog, because I'm a 24-hour "luxury seeker" (a/k/a couch potato), and getting your pictures and reports about your hair-raising adventures means I don't have to go to these fabulous places myself. No amount of money in the world would be enough to pay me to get on this funicular, for example, but I'm glad you did, because I would otherwise never have heard about this beautiful place. Keep traveling and reporting!
July 30, 2014
@Lorna - Thanks so much for your kind words and I love your definition of "luxury-seeker" :)
July 15, 2014
Switzerland gets better and better with every post we read about, went there twice but couldn't see enough. This place looks fab, goes on our list for next time
July 20, 2014
Wow, looks pretty high up in that first photo! All of it looks gorgeous! Thanks for sharing your trip!
July 22, 2014
Switzerland is one my favorite countries in the world. Love the post.
July 30, 2014
@Laura - Mine too, just wish it wasn't so expensive.
July 28, 2014
I'm not exactly an adrenalin junkie, but I love funiculars -- the steeper, the better. This ride would be so much fun and I'd love the hike, too. Beautiful scenery.
September 16, 2014
You pictured Switzerland very well here, and that funicular experience sounds terrific!

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