“I was more than surprised by the flair of the south, north of the Alps at the Beatus Wellness & Spa Hotel on Lake Thun.” Katja Wunderlich, TV and radio presenter, guest author of Bleisure Traveller
Switzerland has not necessarily been one of my bleisure goals so far. I have many mountains and lakes close to my home in Munich as well. All the more so that this trip to the land of the cantons, watches and chocolate has shown me again that Socrates with his wisdom: “Scio, ne scio.” (I know that I know nothing.) was absolutely right. Because mountains are not mountains, and a lake is not a lake. Especially not Lake Thun. But let’s start all over again.
From Zurich to the Beatus
I had already heard a lot about the magic of Zurich, but had never taken any time for the city. This time I enjoyed a few sunny hours in this sunny city after a business meeting. The history of Switzerland and the wealth of its inhabitants are equally in the air here. After a stroll through the old town, I strongly recommend a stop in front of the opera and then along the path along Lake Zurich – preferably with a legendary bratwurst in your hand, which is sold there. Counting calories or money is out of place in this luxury city anyway.
From Zurich I travel past Thun to Merligen and the unknown Lake Thun in the Canton of Bern. The Beatus Wellness- & Spa-Hotel is located directly on the water. According to legend, the Irish monk Beatus (Latin: Seliger or Glücklicher) Christianized the area. He is said to have lived in the Beatush cave, hence the name.
The location is really breathtaking – and I don’t always throw such attributes around. On the first day I just sucked in the energy of this place of power and gazed for hours at Lake Thun while I sat and worked on my laptop from time to time.
At some point the desire for movement sets in on its own. The hotel’s activity guide recommends a trekking and hiking trail along the panoramic routes. With the bike that the hotel lends me, I soon experience a tour that is more challenging than ever.
Back at the water, I am tempted by an excursion boat that stops several times a day directly in front of the hotel, but it is more important for me to jump IN the lake. 16 degrees water temperature in October seem insurmountable at first. But the energy that emanates from this crystal-clear water drives me to leave my comfort zone. The feeling afterwards is overwhelming. And the following Stand Up Paddling, for which the equipment is also provided by the Hotel Beatus, is great fun.
Through the cave to the summit
Full of energy, hiking starts on day 2 on the 2,051 metre high Sigriswiler Rothorn. For the first part of the tour I take the bike and fight my way up steeply for about an hour full of ambition into the Justistal in the canton of Bern. I park my bike at a bridge with two alpine horns and from there – no risk, no fun – it takes me an hour and a half, first over field and forest paths, but then steeply over meadow slopes to the so-called sheep hole.
The Schafloch is a natural ice cave that allows you to cross under the Sigriswiler Rothorn. The 600-metre-long passage was once used as a military connection and logistics tunnel. Today it offers the direct and fastest ascent route to the Rothorn within 20 minutes with a torch or headlamp. Not for the faint hearted, and a real adventure for me! But the subsequent view from the summit over Lake Thun and the Bernese Oberland is simply breathtaking.
After a hearty snack, I return via the descent path and am delighted to ride my bike, with which I can roll the last section back to the hotel in a relaxed manner. I immediately go into the sauna here and use the Asian “sweat offer” in Zen sauna & Co.
Hiking again on the third day – this time along the mountain path from the Niederhorn via the Burgfeldstand and the Gemmenalphorn (highest point: 2,036 metres). During the tour I am always surprised by the grandiose view of the Oberland lakes and the mountains with the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. We are lucky and see some ibexes, chamois, marmots and eagles. If you like, you can go by bike or car to the valley station of the Niederhornbahn and then comfortably walk the high trail.
If you are looking for or need a physical challenge, the path leads up to the Niederhorn via the Bärenpfad Klettersteig (difficulty level: T4). Rope protection, ladders and easy climbing passages – everything is included here.
Afterwards I descend again into the Justistal, grab my bike and roll back to the hotel, where the panorama hall invites me for afternoon tea and the salad and soup bar in the wellness area awaits me. But be careful: the gourmet menu in the evening with salmon from local farms or cheese from an award-winning, nearby family business needs to be enjoyed. For me, it’s easier than I thought after these active gourmet days.
Katja Wunderlich …
has become a fan of Lake Thun and recommends another lake as an excursion: Lake Oeschinensee above Kandersteg in the UNESCO World Heritage Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch.
Katja Wunderlich works as a presenter for Bayern3 or Sky Sport News HD and is often on the road as a coach and author. (www.katjawunderlich.de/Insta: katjawunderlichoffical)
At a glance
Arrival: Lake Thun and the Beatus Wellness & Spa Hotel can be reached by train or car in less than an hour from Bern and Interlaken and up to two hours from Basel, Lucerne and Zurich.
Hotel: The Beatus Wellness & Spa Hotel is located in Merligen directly on Lake Thun and is embedded in a 12,000 square metre hotel park. The restaurant offering includes Le BelAir with modern Mediterranean cuisine and the casual Orangerie Piano Bar. The wellness facilities include a spa of over 2,000 square metres, including an Asian-style sauna park, a large free-swimming pool and yoga retreats. At the same time, the hotel offers numerous water sports, hiking and biking activities directly on the lake and in the region.
The hotel’s services also include a charging station for electric vehicles.
Address: Beatus Wellness- & Spa-Hotel, Seestraße 300, CH-3658 Merligen-Thunersee, + 41 33 748 04 34, firstname.lastname@example.org
Fotos: Wunderlich, Beatus Wellness- & Spa-Hotel, © iStock.com/Markus Thoenen