The natural amphitheatre with a diameter of one kilometre is the result of persistent erosion by water and ice - and a paradise for ibex, marmots, deer, birds of prey and nature lovers. The impressive landscape of the first Jura chain between Lake Neuchâtel and the Val de Travers is immediately recognisable on every map.
Exactly 730 meters of ascent are from below in the valley at Noiraigue, and you stand on the top tiers in the arena of superlatives. The path leads along the edge of this "stadium", on which one feels rather in the first row. And at the very bottom of the cauldron a spring, the "fontaine froide", bubbles up, the water of which is icy four degrees cold all year round. Beware when hiking along the partly exposed edge, and children as well as adults should better lie on their stomach when looking down for a longer time.
The circular hike begins at Noiraigue station, if you don't take a private car up one of the mountain roads to the ridge. Through the forest to the farm Les Oeillons, where you can stop for the first time. Around the Creux du Van there are over ten métairies and mountain restaurants, which can be found on the creuxduvan.com site. Via the "Sentier des 14 Contours", the 14 hairpin bends, you sweat to reach the edge of the abyss near Soliat. Find here a well known and good mountain restaurant. A path leads along the panoramic ridge before we descend into the "Krater" to Ferme Robert, another restaurant with Neuchâtel specialities.
Arrival from Neuchâtel:
From Neuchâtel by car or train to Noiraigue in Val de Travers. Ascent and descent through the woods.
Hike through the Areuse gorge.