Remember the cheese with big holes? Well, it’s name is the Emmentaler and it’s home is Emmental, the valley of river Emme in the middle of Switzerland. The beautiful hilly landscape, where you can hear the cow bells and enjoy being alone with the nature. Sounds idyllic and boring at the same time. Once the one discovers it – preferably on the bicycle – Emmental is far from traditional farmers’ land. It is the land of innovations (Flyer), the land of good food (cheese), the home of multinational companies (3M) and home of some great athletes.
Let’s start with the flyer which has become a synonym for electric bicycle. The company resides in the town (might be a village) Huttwil. In the middle of nowhere. Well, about 30 min drive from Burgdorf and from Luzern on the other side. Probably the distance made the locals to invent a faster bicycle. Moreover, they made some maps with bike routes. A lot of them. This is why this idyllic landscape becomes interesting for us, the athletes. If you want to ride far away, or your are a little older, or unfit, you can take an eBike and you will come further (and faster) than usual. If you are a triathlete or a cyclist or you just love to ride a road bike, you can do it as well. When making a break, don’t forget to make a stop at the famous cheese farm in Affolten. You will see how the Emmentaler cheese is made an you can taste some typical dishes with this cheese in their restaurant. If you are a bigger group and you make a reservation in advance, you can even make your own cheese which you will receive about 2 months later when it is done. If you are more sweets-type of person, you can find very tasty and homemade doughnuts in the the house opposite. At the weekend there is also a market when the locals sell everything form vegetables to the local handmade products.
As the public traffic in Switzerland functions, you can choose to drive one way by train and than back by eBike or your bicycle. You can even rent a bike you for only one way.
It is not only cycling that you can perform in Emmental. You can go for a run along the Emme river (nice path) and you will find many wandering tours as well (visit the tourist office for the map). Swimming is possible in many indoor and ourdoor swimming pools, the most famous is in Burgdorf.
Burgdorf is the place to stay if you like to come back to the civilisation after the training session. The awarded bier (Burgdorfer Bier) found it’s home in famous local restaurant Schützenhaus or in a bar of Hotel Bertchold near the railway station. The short walk to the castle will give you a great view on the town.
Cheese. Don’t forget to taste the local cheese when visiting Emmental. I can recommend you ti visit the Chäs Hütte where you can find a great variety of Swiss cheese. Taste the cheese fondue, the raclette, or the Emmentaler – the local food won’t disappoint you!
Btw, I-don’t-know-how-many-times World Champion in orienteering comes from Burgdorf and you can find her orienteering track in the forest.
I visited Emmental in the summer and can highly recommend it.