The most visited place of the Alps, Jungfrau holds the title for being the top of Europe at 4150 m , is a world heritage site from 2001. The idea to construct a cogwheel railway to the Jungfrau summit was from Swiss industrialist Adolf Guyer-Zeller and in 1912, Europe had the highest altitude railway station opened. From Lauterbrunnen railway station(796m) to Jungfrau, en-route there are a few stopovers at Kleine scheidegg(2061m), Eigerwand(2865m) and Eismeer(3160m) where the trains halt for the visitors to have a panoramic view of the Bernese Alps.On top Jungfrau, there is a tour through the Alpine sensation, Ice palace and Sphinx observatory. There is an outlet of Lindt Swiss chocolate and few restaurants with interesting menus. Not to miss the immense fun you can have in the snow with skiing.
We first experienced the cogwheel ride when we visited Mount Pilatus, one of the many nearby mountains from Lucerne. To reach Pilatus Kulm, we bought tickets for the whole ‘Golden Round Trip’ at one place that made the process of getting the tickets and traveling easier. The cruise from Lake Luzern took us to Alpnachstad; from there we boarded the cogwheel train to reach Mount Pilatus. We came down by cable car to Kreins and by bus we reached Lucerne. Speaking of cogwheel, it is a kind of mountain railway meant to climb steep slope. Pilatus Bahn takes you past lush forest greenery into snow-clad mountains as it makes an ascent during half an hour-long nearly perpendicular journey that was little short of an adventure sport for me. The Bahn claims to ride its passengers at an inclination of 48 percent, making it the steepest cogwheel in the world. This is the technology we’re talking about of the year 1889 when it first opened and was steam operated! In India, one could ride the cogwheel train in Tamil Nadu on Nilgiri Mountain Railway, between Mettupalayama and Coonoor. It’s qualifies to be the UNESCO world heritage site.
Despite the severely blinding snow, Schilthorn, situated 2970 meters above sea level attracts tourists from all over owing to the fact that one of the Bond films (On Her Majesty's Secret Service) was shot here. Another attraction is a revolving restaurant along with panoramic views of the Eiger, Monch, Jungfrau and even the Mont Blanc and Black Forest on clearer days. Remember to carry warm clothing, sunglasses and check the weather before visiting. All cable cars that take you to Schilthorn depart from the tiny town of Murren and trains connect Interlaken to the aforementioned village. Do check the SBB website (www.sbb.ch/en/timetable.html) for tickets and additional information. A Swiss Pass is recommended for unlimited rail travel and huge discounts. The official website of Schilthorn, www.schilthorn.ch/en/Welcome is also a storehouse of information.
Although I was very amused by the name for some inexplicable reason, Harder Kulm is a paradise for hikers and those looking to have a grand view of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau as well as the town of Interlaken flanked by the lakes Thun and Brienz. 1322 meters above sea level, a 10 minute long funicular on the Harder Railway from the Interlaken Ost station gets you to Harder Kulm. There is a playground in order to keep children and even adults occupied and a restaurant that serves delicious local fare. 30 CHF should be enough to get you to and back from Interlaken's home mountain.