How to plan the ultimate mountain break in Switzerland's Jungfrau region
The peaks of Switzerland’s Jungfrau region are a quintessential Alpine scene. Ride heritage railways to dizzying panorama points, hike glacier trails and picnic in wildflower meadows.
How to plan the ultimate mountain break in Switzerland's Jungfrau regionThe peaks of Switzerland’s Jungfrau region are a quintessential Alpine scene. Ride heritage railways to dizzying panorama points, hike glacier trails and picnic in wildflower meadows.
The jewel in the sparkling Swiss Alpine crown, the Jungfrau region is home some of the best-recognised peaks in the Alps. It’s here, among high-tech cable-cars and heritage cogwheel trains, that you’ll find a summer playground of meadows, lakes and car-free trails laid out around Switzerland’s towering triptych of postcard perfect mountains: Jungfrau itself (13,642ft), Mönch (13,465ft) and Eiger (13,025ft), the notorious ‘Ogre’ whose wall-like slopes have thwarted even the most accomplished winter adventurers. In summer, once the snows recede, these mighty mountains become a more bucolic arena for easy-going outdoors pursuits with trains, cable-cars and funiculars funnelling hikers, bikers and panorama-seekers to glacier-topped peaks and lush green valleys.
And there’s never been a better time to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Jungfrau-Aletsch. This part of the Bernese Alps is easier than ever to access as the Jungfrau region — a rough triangle formed by the towns of Grindlewald, Lauterbrunnen and Interlaken — is now served by the Jungfrau Express from Zurich Airport, which cuts an hour off previous journey times. And there’s plenty to pack in once there. In a single day, you could lunch in an isolated mountain hut at 12,000ft, hike on a 14-mile-long long glacier then scale over 6,000ft in a dizzying 15 minutes aboard the high-speed Eiger Express cable-car.
See & do
Visit the Top of Europe
Take the Eiger Express cable-car from Grindelwald, then at the Eiger Glacier station, jump on the Jungfrau Railway to Europe’s highest train station to visit the ice tunnel, Bollywood Restaurant and Sphinx Observation Terrace.
Descend via Kleine Scheidegg
Ride one of the yellow and red trains that navigate the Wengen side of the mountain.
Have a panoramic sundowner
A 100-year-old funicular hauls you up an unfeasibly steep track from Interlaken Ost to Harder Kulm summit. Here, sundowner in hand (from Panorama Restaurant), it feels like you’re standing on the prow of an ocean liner, Interlaken, Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau spread before you.
Get out there
Walk to lunch
Looking down from the Eiger’s Sphinx Observatory, the slowest moving ants you’ve ever seen forge a distant, snowy path. The ants, it turns out, are walkers navigating the glacier to the Mönchsjoch mountain hut for lunch.
Take a hike
Instead of taking the cable-car back, walk the two-hour Eiger north face path through steep pastures, spotting birds of prey on your way down to Alpiglen train station, to hop on a train back to Grindelwald.
At the top of the cable-car, there’s a cliff walk, restaurant and two zip-wire rides; further down, you can pick up mountain carts and, at the bottom, trottibikes (aka scooters) for riding back down to town.
Mountain guide Yann Roulet. has run this isolated hut for three years and it’s a very special place. His eclectic clientele includes day-tripping tourists in search of a hearty lunch and ski-obsessives who are staying overnight to catch sunrise over the glacier following day.
Dine in style as a stream of paragliders swirl around above you high in the sky at this mountain-top restaurant that boasts panoramic terrace views. It’s a great place to try cheesy spaetzle pasta served with a side pot of stewed apple.
For Swiss specials with an Indian twist, try this trusted Grindelwald bar restaurant and lounge that serves a mix of burgers and traditional alpine classics like cheese fondue, but most recommended is the Swiss-Indian fusion dish, rösti with lamb curry.
Like a local
Dine with the Grindelwaldians
C und M, in the centre of Grindelwald, is run by Christine and Mändel, who have a long history in satisfying the appetites of mountain dwellers. They ran the Mönchsjochhutte for nine years before descending to the valley in 2003.
Conquer the Eiger north face
If you’re brave enough, take a train ride to Stollenloch, a tunnel opening used during the construction of the Jungfrau railway. Kit-clad, tethered and helmeted, you’ll make your way through the tunnel and out on to the north face of the Eiger and maybe even try a bit of climbing if conditions allow.
Hire a professional guide
Make the most of your time on the glacier by exploring areas that are forbidden to solo hikers. Eight hours costs £350, per person, or per group (up to 15 people). For bookings, contact: email@example.com
Eiger Selfness Hotel
A comfortable hotel in the centre of Grindelwald. A three-night B&B stay includes a full body treatment in the onsite spa as well as dinner at adjacent Barry’s restaurant. Doubles from £276.
Berghotel Schynige Platte
It’s not only the mountain-top location and view of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau that make this hotel special, each room has a night sky painted on the ceiling and telescopes to see the real thing. One night’s stay including cogwheel railway ticket, evening meal and breakfast costs £126.
Interlaken Youth Hostel
Located by the train station at Interlaken Ost, this modern hostel is perfectly placed for exploring Jungfrau’s peaks. Prices range from £51-191 in high season, depending on whether you share a dorm, a room for four to six or take a double with en suite and balcony.
Bachalpsee Lake, set above Grindelwald in the Bernese Oberland, Switzerland.
Photograph by Jungfraubahnen 2019
A Swiss-Indian love affair
There’s a reason why there are such close links between the two countries and why Indian food is so revered in Switzerland. Around 200 Indian films have been shot in Switzerland since Raj Kapoor’s Sangam back in 1964, creating an enduring romance between Bollywood film fans and the Swiss mountains.
Getting there & around
Swiss flies non-stop from London, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Manchester to Zurich or Geneva as do British Airways and EasyJet.
Average flight time: 2h.
Take the train from London to Geneva or Zurich, changing in Paris.
Average journey time: 7-8h.
The Jungfrau Express is a new rail link connecting Zurich Airport and Interlaken in around two hours.
The Jungfrau Travel Pass allows unlimited travel within the region for three-eight days, with an extra charge for Top of Europe at the Jungfraujoch. From £160.
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