Alternatively, there is the world’s longest staircase, which leads all the way to the mountain peak. The 11,674 steps, however, are only open once a year for the Niesen Stairway Run event. Luckily, this does not apply to the Berghaus restaurant with its sun terrace and the spectacular views from the glass pavilion onto the High Alps and Lake Thun. Numerous hiking trails keep visitors active for up to ten hours and introduce them to everything else the Niesen has to offer. This includes a visit to the 360° viewing platform.
The Niesen’s history began around 70 million years ago when layers of slate were deposited on the bed of the ancient Mediterranean Sea. Its original name was “Yesen”, which is a reference to the yellow gentian which flowers to this day on the Niesen. Over time “An Yesen” was eventually shortened to Niesen. The first guesthouse opened its doors in 1856, many years before the first funicular. All food and beverages had to be carried up the mountain.
The Niesen boasts of a busy cultural calendar. The “Niesendörfli” is a miniature village family attraction and the infopath provides interesting information about the mountain. As for the musical entertainment, the Niesen is host to a wide selection of concerts. It is not only in recent years that the Niesen has been acclaimed for its cultural events; in the past, artists such as Ferdinand Hodler, Paul Klee and Cuno Amiet were inspired by the mountain.