|Langnau and the southern Emmental|
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Some 17km southeast of Bern, the tranquil town of Konolfingen marks the start of a scenic road along the Kiese valley through Zäziwil to LANGNAU, the main town of the Emmental, but a singularly sleepy place nonetheless, with not much traffic and less than 10,000 people. A small tourist office in a travel agent off the main square (Dorfmühle 22; Mon–Fri 8am–noon & 1–6pm, Fri until 9pm, Sat 9am–4pm) has information on the region, including details of the dozens of local walking routes. Look out for the Friday morning market on Viehmarktplatz.
East of Langnau, the main road passes through the extremely picturesque village of Trubschachen, with big old wooden Emmentaler houses lining the street and a demonstration pottery turning out examples of the pretty local ornamental ware. To the north rises the Napf (1408m), the most famous of the Emmental’s hills and a mecca for hikers and Sunday hill walkers. East of Trubschachen, the road crosses briefly into Canton Luzern and an area known as the Entlebuch, with its small countryside resort of Marbach boasting a couple of ski lifts serving the Marbachegg (1483m) overlooking the town. Less than 5km southwest, and back in Canton Bern again, is Schangnau village, at the upper end of the Emme valley. A minor road southeast from here winds dramatically between the cliffs, which rise to 2000m on both sides, through tiny Bumbach (with lifts up to the giant wedge-shaped Hohgant, towering overhead at 2197m) and on to KEMMERIBODEN (976m). This end-of-the-road hamlet, sliced through by the rushing, tumbling Emme – a mountain torrent at this stage – is the place to get the single best meringue in Switzerland, and is also the trailhead for many wilderness hikes, principally the tough path through the mountains to the 2350m Brienzer Rothorn (7hr), from where a rack railway can take you down to Brienz.
From Schangnau, the main road crosses the Emme and heads north, through Eggiwil to Langnau crossing nine picturesque wooden covered bridges that are typical of the area. From Eggiwil, you can also reach Langnau by a parallel road further west over the crest of Chuderhüsi (1103m), which offers spectacular views over the Emmentaler hills and valleys backed by the snowy Alps.
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