Legend has it that a giant dared to wash his feet in one of the Swiss lakes and its waters remained black, colour that gives the lake its name now. Whether this story is true or not, the truth is that the tonalities of Black Lake —or Schwarzsee— are a delight for anyone who looks at it, and make the kilometres you have to walk to get there worthwhile.
One year ago, we talked in Travel and Exchange about one of the lakes that adorn Switzerland, Lake Geneva. But as you can imagine, it is not the only one in a country in which nature is so predominant and can be seen everywhere. For this reason and so you can discover each corner of the Swiss nature step by step, we take you to the Black Lake now.
From Geneva to the Black Lake
There are multiple options to get to this alpine lake, depending on where you are staying in Switzerland and on how much you want to walk to get there.
One of the possible options, if you are in Geneva, is taking a train to Fribourg. They are very frequent and you will be there in less than an hour and a half. The price of the ticket is 42 Swiss Francs (CHF), about 37 euros, without discounts or promos. Without any doubt, another of the wonderful things that you will find in this country is its railway system. The trains are precise and efficient like a Swiss watch!
Once you are in Fribourg, your better option is to take bus number 123, which runs every hour. It will take you directly to Black Lake (the price of the ticket is 12.40 Swiss francs, about 11 euros) in another hour. If you are very brave, you can always the 30 kilometers between both places, which is more or less the same distance as one stage of the Camino de Santiago.
Before you return to Geneva, if you still have time, you can stop in Fribourg, a little medieval city. It is not very tourist but it has a historic centre and a cathedral (St Nicholas cathedral) really worth a visit. Moreover, if you take a short walk around the streets of this city you will discover its beautiful medieval fountains that dominate many of their squares.
From Bern to the Black Lake
Another possible option (the one I did when I was there) is going to the Black Lake from Bern, doing one part of the route by train and another part (23 km in total) by foot. If you choose the same option as I did it, I will tell you that I went to Schwarzenburg by train from Bern (it is a one-hour trip and the ticket is 11.6 Swiss francs, about 10 euros) and then I started the route there.
The walking route from Schwarzenburg to the Black Lake is suitable for those used to walking on routes with some slope and it can be adapted to each one’s rate (but it’s true that some ascents will leave you breathless and not only for the views). In my case, when I was there, I did a simplified version that avoids some forest areas but the views were still amazing.
Once you stop admiring the beautiful light reflected on this lake surrounded by rugged mountains, you can go back to your departure point. In this case, you can change your route and stop in Fribourg, following some of the steps I have told you on the previous section. You will have to take the same bus for Fribourg but, once you are there, you have to take the train for Bern instead of the one for Geneva —the trip takes 25 minutes and the ticket costs 14.20 Swiss francs, about 12.2 euros.
When to go to the Black Lake
The best time of the year to make this trip is during spring or summer, when temperatures are mild —they are usually between 18 and 28ºC— and the cold winter is left behind —the thermometer during this season can reach down to 2 and 7ºC in January and February. I went there in mid-March and I was very lucky because there was still some snow at the highest peaks, but the road to the lake did not have snow and it was quite sunny. However, it does not have to be that way.
If you still decide to travel there during the coldest months, you can do some sky if you like this sport —it’s common knowledge that it is a quite usual sport in this country— or you can simply admire the frozen and always beautiful waters of the enigmatic and captivating Black Lake.
Where can I change my money for the trip?
Whenever you travel to this country, you will need Swiss francs for your stay there. With Global Exchange, you will be able to exchange your money for Swiss francs before leaving or in Geneva because they have branches at the airport of this city.
© Imágenes: Miriam Gómez Blanes.