The Longest Staircase in the World
There are some truly amazing travel landmarks scattered across the world that speak to the creativity and tenacity of the human mind. One such landmark is a staircase in Niesen, Switzerland which has the distinction of being the longest staircase in the world. It has 11,674 steps, a total distance of 3.4 km from start to finish and a vertical gain of a whopping 1669m! This staircase is a part of Mt. Niesen located in the Bernese Oberland region of the Swiss Alps.
Why You Should Go
But what is so interesting about the longest staircase in the world? It affords a panoramic view of Switzerland’s magnificent peaks and quaint historical towns such as Spiez, Interlaken and Kandersteg. This creates a sense of nostalgia for travellers who appreciate unique landmarks and people who are amazed by nature. Located at the top of the staircase is the Berghaus Niesen Lodge. This is a traditional lodge with a rustic, laid-back feel that is reminiscent of the way life was a hundred years ago. The lodge has a restaurant which redefines the concept of the “best seat in the house”, for you are literally dinning atop a mountain peak overlooking some of the most amazing vistas in the world. The staircase produces an amazing optical illusion: when you look at the staircase, the steps seem unending as far as the eye can see. It is therefore no surprise that it has been the subject of many paintings by artists who are intrigued by the staircase and the Mt. Niesen region.
The Niesen Treppenlauf Race
Probably the most interesting thing about the Niesen staircase is that it opens to the public only once annually. For most of the year, you can take a thirty-minute funicular ride to the top of Mt. Niesen which gives you a great view of the staircase. However, if you want to climb the staircase, you are required to sign up for the annual Niesen Treppenlauf race. This race, normally in june, accommodates approximately five hundred people and registration is required. Unfortunately, getting a place on the race is difficult due to the large number of people who want to participate. It’s normally required to sign up over a year in advance. The fact that the staircase is only accessable once per year increases its mystique and makes the experience so much more fulfilling.
Niesen, Switzerland is truly one of the most scenic regions in the world. Its tremendous mountainous landscape, trails and unique terrain make it perfect for travellers who want to sight see and exercise at the same time. It also provides an escape for couples seeking a romantic experience, a respite for those seeking a break from the hustle and bustle of city life and a haven for anyone wanting to reconnect with nature. The fact that Niesen is also home to the longest staircase in the world gives the region additional credibility as a unique destination.
Getting to the World’s Longest Staircase
Getting to the world’s longest staircase is relatively straight forward. The trail starts in Mülenen, which is about an hours drive south or Bern, or 2 and a half hours drive east of Geneva. Mülenen has a train station, so the area is still accessible even if you don’t have a car.
Even if you do not get the opportunity to climb the staircase, the funicular journey to the top is still impressive. The stunning sunrise and sunset, the amazing vistas from the peak of Mt. Niesen, the delectable cuisine at the Berghaus Niesen restaurant and the lovely trails in the area.