• BLOG
  • What To Hike in Switzerland – Try Via Alpina

    Via Alpina Engelberg Switzerland

    A small faded pink mountain hotel dating back to 1892 sits at 1835m in Engstlenalp in Berner Oberland, Switzerland. Surrounded by alpine meadows, small farms and ice cold Engstlensee. In the distance, the iconic Berner Alps and Mount Titlis at the other side give an excellent background for all kinds of alpine endeavours.

    It’s almost like a set for a Wes Anderson movie. Or Sound of Music. Except real.

    Engstlenalp is an excellent place for alpine climbing, a resting point for a road bike tour on one of the most scenic routes in central Switzerland (from Innertkirchen through cute village of Gental), or for an enduro mountain bike tour on Engelberg – Melchsee-Frutt – Meiringen area (there goes a nice flowtrail from Juchpass down to Engstlensee too).

    Or for a night or two on a classic Via Alpina hike.

    The Swiss section of international Via Alpina – 5000km long hiking / walking trail network through five Alpine countries – draws a cross-cutting line of excellent hiking trail through Switzerland. From Monteux in west to Vaduz in east, Via Alpina offers clearly marked trail with rich variety of alpine traditions, (amazing) views, outdoor challenges and flora and fauna.

    And  when in July couple of my friends came to Switzerland to hike a few stages of the official Via Alpina from Engelberg to Interlaken, I decided to join them and see what the Via Alpina was all about.

    And now I may say that it’s definitely worth a try. For one or two stages or for the whole 390km trail across Switzerland. Topped with the cute little mountain huts and alpine hotels found on the way as the already mentioned Hotel Engstlenalp (in the last pic).

    The trail is well marked with the official Via Alpina signs, and the different stages can be reached with public transport which also easily gets you back from the end point of your chosen completed stage. There are also plenty of mountain huts, hotels, guesthouses and restaurants right by the trail or a bit further, easily combined with a multi day tour along Via Alpina.

    And don’t forget to keep your eyes and ears open for all the magnificent views, alpine traditions and wildlife.

    Internet is full of stories and practical information for the whole Via Alpina and it’s stages, so I will not repeat it all here. But, I could advice you to check the freshly printed My Switzerland guide for Via Alpina, for which my friend who’s hiked all the stages made a great contribution to, for the most comprehensive starting point for your research.

    And if you happen to stop for a night in Engstlenalp, leave proper time for a traditional alpine breakfast in their breakfast room which sends you directly to the old times when gore-tex and gps watches where nowhere to be seen.

    You will also not find WiFi in here.

    Via Alpina Engstlenalp

    Engstlenalp Engelberg Via Alpina

    Engstlenalp Tiina Kivelä

    Where: Engstlenalp, Berner Oberland, Switzerland

  • Bern
  • The Way We Were

    Tiina Kivelä Creative Switzerland

    Anyone else has the same problem?

    At first everything is well organised and filed with logical coding and then…

    Come few more years, and you find Interlaken 2017 pics in the same file as skiing in Norway 2012 pics  (= while destroying some files to make more space to the new software update).

    Oh well, might be just me. Nevertheless, now it’s all organised again and good thing is I also found the gems I was initially looking for. Like this.

    It was a very good bike ride to the beach.


    Where: 2017 Lake Thun, Bernese Oberland, Switzerland

  • BLOG
  • What A Girl Can Do With Some Help

    Tiina Kivelä Creative Interlaken

    Balance for better.

    I have come to a conclusion. One of the most annoying things when working remotely/freelancing – as the one and only hustler of your business – is how you work alone most of the time. Which I have done a lot the past year. Worked and studied alone from my home office – or from a corner of a café – and talked more to my plants than any living person.  (Though the plants are living surprisingly well – I am impressed by my seemingly developed skills in this field.)

    And even as an introverted Finn who has no problems being a bit hermit sometimes, I have noted how much one can still miss the daily teamwork and slack. Because the plants are unfortunately very unresponsive, although pretty and living.

    And the same goes to mountains. They are nice to experience solo as well (just see the pic from summer of 2016 below, one happy kid biking solo around Grindelwald, or read this longer story about solo hiking) – and there are many unresponsive things to talk to there too.

    But the best is always when the solo endeavours and adventures with others go about 50/50. Enough me time, and enough doing together. Balance for better like the hashtag for the day goes.

    Soo in other words, you may invite me to work in your office any day. I would be more than happy to jump in. And for the mountain adventures and this international women’s day, I would like to especially give a shout out to all the amazing women who go solo or together, invite others along (in person or through writing, pics, videos, art etc), and simply do badass things.

    And to the people, men and women, who give women space. Space to be where we want to be, to do what we want to do, and to say what we want to say.

    It might not always be the most brilliant and pretty thing what comes out of that, but I do think world is way more exciting that way.

    Like on that hot summer day from which the selfie below is. When I decided to bike up to Grosse Scheideggen from Grindelwald, and all the way to First and Bachalpsee, and back down to Grindelwald. With my heavy not really made for this kind of things bike.

    And when the best was after it all, down in Grindelwald. Where I heard the question: “Did you really bike that sketchy path all the way down, we saw you from the lift and no way a girl was doing it?”

    Uhm well, hold my beer…

    Maybe not the wisest move, but a good test for my real capabilities. And an example of what a girl can do. With the help and pushing of other people, especially women. Because without one particular woman I would not have been in Switzerland in the first place that summer. And without the women biking before me I would not have ever gotten on bike and realised I can do things like this as well.

    Though this summer I hope I have enough money to buy a new bike. Enough of testing my capabilities exactly this way.

    Berner Oberland 2017

    Jungfrau Region Hiking Switzerland Tiina Kivelä

    Grosse Scheidegg Biking Tiina Kivelä


    Where: Jungfrau Region, Switzerland