Sustainable, sunny, safe – not too hot, and with views to sigh for. All this comes free of charge in the idyllic car-free village of Mürren in Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland.
Don’t imagine it’s just a pretty view: there’s masses for all generations to enjoy on a family holiday, as relaxed or as strenuous as you like.
From the heart of the village it’s a 4-minute funicular ride to the Allmendhubel (1912m) where the Flower Park adventure playground’s swings, slides, tunnels, huge flowers and giant insects will keep little ones amused for hours. Adults can relax on the café terrace with one eye on the playground, the other on the view.
The cable car excursion to the Schilthorn (2970m) and its revolving Piz Gloria Restaurant is a must for the panorama, which stretches from the Eiger to Mont Blanc on one side, and over Lake Thun to the Jura on the other. The moving tables take 45 minutes to complete a full revolution – two may be required to do justice to the meal and the views, and catch up with any items you put down on the window ledge. Piz Gloria starred as the evil Blofeld’s mountaintop ‘research station’ in the 1969 Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and the location is Bond-themed throughout, from the restaurant décor and excellent James Bond Brunch to 007-related surprises in the loo. Beneath the restaurant, Spy World is a fascinating interactive tribute exhibition with a simulated helicopter flight and bobsleigh ride, interviews with the stars and secrets explained on the filming of the most exciting ski chase in cinema history. Outside, pose and post your photos on the Skyline View Platform and follow the circular Walk of Fame.
On the way down, pause at the cable car mid-station Birg (2677m) to sample the airy excitement of the Thrill Walk, a steel and glass walkway that clings to the cliff face with a see-through floor. For those not tempted, there’s another super-scenic café terrace to enjoy.
Teens and Adults
Unusually, Mürren’s via ferrata/Klettersteig (minimum weight of 50kg and a good head for heights required) travels downwards, from the edge of the village to the pretty hamlet of Gimmelwald (1367m), via giddy overhanging rock holds and a stomach-churning 100-metre Nepal bridge strung across a ravine above 1500 feet of fresh air. After the 3-hour journey, well-deserved drinks and snacks await on the other side, before the cable car ride back up to Mürren.
Mürren’s peerless location on a mountain ledge– is a Swiss Alpine classic. The village has been a British favourite since the Victorian era and maintains a proud tradition of welcome to its restaurants and family-run hotels. The village is a starting point for an inexhaustible network of spectacular hiking and biking trails, accompanied by the music of cowbells in the high pastures, wild mushrooms and rushing waterfalls in the forest. If you don’t like the uphill part of the adventure, there’s always the cable car or funicular option to take the sweat out of it.
The village’s Sports Centre is an invaluable resource offering a wide range of facilites including an Olympic-size pool, large sports hall, Alpine spa, outdoor Jacuzzi and Hugs ‘n Cups organic cafe. The Tourist Office is able to advise on a activities in and around the area for all weathers. Book accommodation via: www.muerren.swiss / for details about activities around the Schilthorn, visit: www.schilthorn.ch