South shore driving tour, Lake Thun
The road along the south side of Lake Thun offers two alternative routes between Thun and Interlaken. One way is to go south from the old town over the Aare and continue under the railroad and then southwest for 3km/2mi to join the highway from Berne (N 6), which runs at some distance from the lake to Spiez (10km/6mi). Alternatively, after passing under the railroad, turn left along Frutigenstrasse and continue past the swimming beach at the end of the town (on left: beautiful gardens, camping site). This road, at some distance from the lake, comes in 4.5km/3mi to Gwatt (564 m/1,850ft), beyond which a turn on the right leads to the Simmental.
6km/4mi southeast of Spiez is the village of Aeschi (860 m/2,822ft), a popular summer resort on the hill between Lake Thun and the Kander valley. The Protestant church, dating in part from the 12th to the 13th C., has frescoes in the choir (probably 14th C.) which were exposed in 1966.
From Spiez, take the Kandersteg road to Mülenen (8km/5mi), from which a funicular 3.5km/2mi), maximum gradient 68% (1 in 1.4), 30 minutes) serves the Niesenkulm Hotel (2,362 m/7,750ft), a few minutes below the summit of Niesen (2,362 m/7,750ft), with superb views of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, the Jungfrau massif and the Blümlisalp. Descent to Wimmis on foot, two hours.
To the Griesalp (22km/14mi): From Spiez take the Kandersteg road to Reichenbach (9km/6mi); then turn left into a narrow road which winds its way up to the village of Scharnachtal and continues through the narrow wooded Kiental (6km/4mi). Kiental (906 m/2,973ft), a village which attracts many summer visitors, with a beautiful view of the Blümlisalp. From here a chairlift (1,405 m/4,510ft: 18 minutes) ascends to a skiing area (1,500 m/4,922ft) on the east side of the Gerihorn (2,133 m/6,998ft).
From Kiental the road runs to the Tschingelalp (1,151 m-3,776ft), and beyond this a series of narrow turns up the wooded hillside (gradients of up to 20% (1 in 5)) and past the Pochten Falls (curious rock forms resulting from erosion) to the Pochtenalp (1,400 m/4,593ft).
Griesalp (1407 m/4,616ft) attracts summer visitors and skiers (interesting nature reserve). From here it is a three-hour climb to the Blümlisalp hut (2,837 m/9,308ft) to the south. The Interlaken road continues straight ahead through the upper part of Spiez, with parking places 1km/0.6mi and 1.5km/1mi from the town which afford beautiful views of the bay of Spiez and its picturesque castle. It then skirts a wooded promontory projecting into the lake and comes to Faulensee.
Faulensee (587 m/1,926ft; pop. 900) is attractively set in a bay (swimming beach). On the left, above the road, is the church of St Columban (1962). There follows a beautiful but winding stretch of road closely following the lake (parking places). 2km/1mi farther on an expressway from Spiez comes in on the right. Just before Leissigen an attractive road branches off on the right to Aeschi (6.5km/4mi).
6.5km/4mi from Spiez is Leissigen (573 m/1,880ft; pop. 800), among beautiful orchards, with an old church. The road now runs along above the lake, with a view of Beatenberg high up on the opposite side. The next place is Därligen (564 m/1,850ft; pop. 350) with a bypass to the south of the village.