The federal city of Bern has a historic centre with narrow streets and arcades which have earned it the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Emmental and the Lucerne hinterland are nestled beneath the Napf, a peak encircled by a 100- kilometre road. Entlebuch’s wetlands and limestone pavement form a stunningly beautiful landscape.

Our Grand Tour of Switzerland starts with the capital, Bern. The Federal Palace (Parliament), the historic alleys of the city which was home to the Dukes of Zähringen and the Bear Pit form our first remarkable site: the Old City of Bern, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once past the Young Boys Football Club’s new stadium you reach green countryside and a rolling landscape. Our first leg is fairly long but offers rich and very diverse landscapes and cultural sites.

The imposing Burgdorf Castle can soon be seen on the horizon, standing watch over the peaceful and well-preserved town which lies below. Cross over the Lueg, which affords stunning views of the Pre-Alps and the snow-capped peaks in the Bernese Alps, to visit the Affoltern cheese dairy. Incidentally, do you know why there are holes in Emmentaler PDO? It would take several days to explore everything the area has to offer: traditional farms, the Gotthelfhaus, the potteries in Langnau, Kambly’s Bretzeli and the Entlebuch Biosphere.

On arriving in the Lucerne hinterland we reach the vibrant market town of Willisau. The Grand Tour goes through its historic centre, which is well worth a visit. Twelve kilometres further on you get to the very ancient municipality of Sursee, near which stands the gigantic former radio transmission tower of Beromünster (216m). We soon reach the Seetal, with Lake Hallwil and Lake Baldegg. Don’t miss a visit to Hallwyl Castle before continuing onwards to Lucerne.

The route
Leave from Berne, drive through the Emmental, around the Napf via Entlebuch and the Lucerne hinterland, Lake Sempach and Lake Hallwil, the Seetal then on to Lucerne and Lake Lucerne.
Distance: 181 kilometres
Photo opportunity: A remarkable view of the Bernese Alps from the Lueg memorial. The magnificent farms in the Emmental with their colourful flower and vegetable gardens. The leg draws to a close
with the highly photogenic Hallwyl Castle.

Excerpt from "Grand Tour of Switzerland" / Leg Berne – Lucerne