The Bättenalp offers space and tranquillity in abundance. The hike to reach this remote idyll high above Lake Brienz is relatively long and strenuous – but singularly delightful.
The altitude difference between the banks of Lake Brienz in Iseltwald and the peak of the Faulhorn is almost exactly 2,000 metres. Whether heading uphill or downhill, the way is steep. While this is not the ideal choice for an afternoon stroll, therefore, those who tackle the walk will be richly rewarded. The route traverses the Bättenalp at the base of the Faulhorn – a unique cultivated landscape that visitors are lucky to see even from a distance on the traditional Faulhorn tour (from Schynige Platte to First).
From the summit station of the Firstbahn, follow the well-maintained hiking trail to the Bachalpsee lake before joining the steep mountain path up the Faulhorn. You then descend into the expansive karst landscape of the Harzisboden via the Faulegg and Fangisalp; both areas belong to the Bättenalp. The views are wonderfully panoramic: across the Axalp, the Wildgärst and Schwarzhorn soar to the east; the chain of the Brienzer Rothorn extends to the north, while the distinctive pyramid of the Schwabhorn stands out to the west. Walking in a broad arc brings you to the Plangäu. As you continue down towards the Werzisboden, beautiful views of Lake Brienz and the Rothorn range open before you. Finally, an old cattle path paved with large pebbles winds down through the forest to Iseltwald.
The pastures are filled with aromatic herbs and grasses. When spring arrives in the mountains, a colourful and fragrant carpet of blooms unfolds. Even in the late summer and autumn, countless dashes of colour dot the meadows as many plants bloom for a second time. In 2007, the Bergschaft Bättenalp alpine corporation earned the Cultivated Landscape Prize for the East Oberland region in recognition of the significant aesthetic and ecological value of this diverse alpine landscape.
Every year, the «Kulturlandschaftspreis» (Cultivated Landscape Prize) is awarded to the most beautiful, and most valuable, areas of cultivated landscape in the East Oberland region. By supporting and promoting the area’s image through tourism, the award incentivises farmers to manage their land sustainably and help preserve our beautiful natural environment.
Looking for more hiking ideas in the Bernese Oberland?
Learn more about the hiking options around lakes Thun and Brienz.