While planning a dream trip to Switzerland, we are sure you would have browsed through all the picture-perfect postcard pictures of the country. The scenic Swiss chalets, snow-laden villages, the mighty Alps, the lush green meadows, and more. If you are visiting Switzerland for a short duration, then the Jungfrau region (pronounced as yungfrau by the way :p) is the one that you should visit which will leave you awestruck with the stunning landscape that you wished to see.
Covid pandemic has hit the country like any other country and so there are exciting offers ongoing to promote tourism. We highly recommend taking the Jungfrau Top Of Europe Pass which is the best way to explore the region, any number of times you want !! Yes ! You can travel unlimitedly in the Jungfrau region with public transport, including cable cars for the days you selected. This is a no-brainer since even the trip to Jungfraujoch which itself is generally around 200 CHF is included in it.
Kindly check the website for updated offers and prices as this could be a temporary offer. If available, this would be the best option than road tripping in this region as you have to pay for every cable car and also for special mountains trains like the one to Jungfraujoch.
Here is how we did our four days trip to the region using the Top of Europe Pass.
Day 1: Interlaken and Schynige Platte
Interlaken is a small central town that offers easy access to the entire Jungfrau region. The town itself is so pretty surrounded by the Alps and two lakes: Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.
Take the train to Schynige Platte from Interlaken Ost through Wilderswil. It is quite a long train journey and probably most of the train journey might not excite you until you are about to reach Schynige Platte, The top of Swiss Tradition. You get to see the first glimpse of the three majestic Alpine peaks: Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. Make sure to sit on the right side of the train direction. Listen to the traditional Alphorn in front of the mountain hotel for free, which gives you a glimpse of one of the Swiss traditions.
The panoramic view towards Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald with the mighty Alpine peaks is something not to be missed. You have many picture-perfect photo spots in Schynige Platte.
Make sure to hike the panoramic trail as on the other side offers a stunning view of Lake Brienz and Lake Thun with Interlaken at the center.
There is a mountain hotel at the top for refreshments. Dedicate half a day for the whole Schynige Platte trip.
Take the train back to Interlaken, stroll through the city. For the Indians, Bollywood movie fans, check out the Yash Raj Chopra statue at the heart of Interlaken, inside the KURSAAL area, near the Congress Centre.
GPS Coordinate: 46.68773495307471, 7.858744639902272
A short walk from Interlaken-Ost railway station takes you to Harder Railway valley station where you can take the mountain rail to Harder Kulm, the Top of Interlaken, for sunset.
From the viewing platform, near the restaurant, the stunning panoramic view of the two lakes and the majestic peaks are breathtaking.
Day 2: Lauterbrunnen
Valley of 72 waterfalls!! One of our most favorite villages in Switzerland. With majestic peaks and the view of Staubbach falls right from the train station definitely gives you an impression of how scenic the Swiss villages are! Start your day early as you have so much to see on this day.
Walk towards the Staubbach waterfall from the Lauterbrunnen train station, and in summer you can hike to a point behind the waterfall for a different perspective. Stroll casually in this valley and every corner of this village offers stunning frames the most famous being near Chalet Pironnet. From the Lauterbrunnen main railway station, an easy walk of around 15 minutes towards the direction of Chalet Pironnet will take you to this amazing viewpoint.
GPS Coordinates: 46.594815, 7.908365
Take the bus to Trümmelbachfälls, the glacial waterfall through the mountains. The power and might of this waterfall that roars vivaciously through a rocky mountain is something to be experienced. Take the lift to the top from the entry point and take the steps down to enjoy the different perspectives. Make sure to pack a waterproof jacket.
Take the bus back to the Lauterbrunnen railway station or walk back and head to Wengen by taking a train. Another beautiful village. Head towards the church Evangelisch reformierte Kirche Wengen for a beautiful viewpoint towards the Lauterbrunnen valley.
On the way down from Wengen to Lauterbrunnen, there are constantly great views of the valley.
Take the train back to Lauterbrunnen and take the cable car to Mürren, the village on the other side of the valley.
The cable car takes you to Grütschalp, where there is a viewpoint directly at the station. From Grütschalp, take a mountain train to Mürren or depending on your time, hike to the middle train station Winteregg and then take the train from Winteregg as this easy hiking trail offers a stunning view of the peaks throughout.
Stroll through Mürren. It offers different viewpoints to the Lauterbrunnen valley and the mountains around it like this one.
From Mürren, if you still have time walk to Gimmelwald, a nearby mountain village. Check out the honesty shop and the Mountain hostel in this small village.
Best ways to connect to nature and see life in the mountain villages in Switzerland. A cable car takes you back to the far end of Lauterbrunnen valley and from there take a bus to Lauterbrunnen center. Check for the last cable car timings and plan accordingly.
- Gimmelwald / Brig station is a base station to reach the famous Schilthorn – Piz Gloria known for its 360° panorama and famous for the James Bond film "In Her Majesty's Secret Service". But this is not included in the Top of Europe pass.
Day 3: Grindelwald, Grindelwald First and Mannlichen
This is a famous mountain village at the foot of the majestic peak Eiger. It is truly a paradise. Get down at Grindelwald main station while traveling from Interlaken and explore the village. The chalets and the majestic peaks offer a unique landscape that you would have imagined about Switzerland.
Then take the cable car to Grindelwald First, the Top Of Adventure. The post bus starting from near the Grindelwald main railway station takes you to the cable car station or you can walk for 10 minutes to reach there. With the breathtaking view of the alps, glaciers, and waterfalls, this adventure paradise offers an otherworldly experience.
A few minutes walk to the right from the First station along the Intersport shop takes you to Grindelwald Cliff walk (marked with clear signboards). Do not miss this although it would be crowded most of the time. There is a restaurant nearby with restroom facilities.
Continue to Lake Bachalpsee, one of the easiest hikes in the Bernese Oberland Region. With an amazing view of the Wetterhorn, from the lake, this is one hike not to be missed when in the area.
There are many adventurous activities on top of Grindelwald First which you can try for an additional cost.
Once you are back in the Grindelwald valley, take the cable car up to Männlichen from the Grindelwald Terminal station. It rewards you with phenomenal views of the iconic Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau peak trio. Take any short hike there like the panoramic trail or the Royal walk depending on your time.
Day 4: Jungfraujoch, the Top of Europe
Saving the best for the last! Jungfraujoch (pronounced as yungfrauyoch) lies 3,463 meters above sea level, is the highest train station in Europe! The Jungfrau railway is an engineering marvel which takes you to the top of Europe’s highest altitude railways station, which itself is UNESCO listed. If you are coming from a tropical country, you would have definitely imagined or hoped for snow on your trip to Switzerland.
With snow all around the year, an Alpine wonder awaits you on top of the Jungfraujoch which has a breathtaking view of the Aletsch glacier and the majestic Alps.
Take a walk from the Jungfraujoch to Mönchsjoch Hut to have wonderful views and a great experience of snow hiking.
GPS coordinates: 46.549142, 7.990574
With the new Eiger express opened, either mix your mode of travel like a cable car and the Jungfraujoch train for different experiences or just by the train from the Grindelwald main station.
If you choose to travel by both, first take the Eiger express from the Grindelwald terminal station to the Eigergletscher stop and from there catch the Jungfraujoch train to the top.
If not, from the Grindelwald main station, take the train to the Jungfraujoch. You have to get down at Kleine Scheidegg and change to the Jungfraujoch train. Seat reservation in advance is highly recommended during peak seasons.
On the way back from Jungfraujoch, we highly recommend to stop at the Eigergletscher station. Grab a coffee to check the glacier view from the restaurant terrace located right at the railway station. Then hike down to Kleine Scheidegg, which is a downhill easy hike of around 30 minutes and not to be missed. Feel close to nature at the foothill of the majestic Alps and a stunning small crystal clear blue lake offers a breathtaking panorama.
Take the train back to Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald from Kleine Scheidegg.
Note: Make sure to travel to Jungfraujoch on any of the days when the weather is good. As it is at a high altitude, the weather changes quickly. If it rains or snow, there won't be any visibility and there is absolutely no point going to the top on such a day. Not only you will miss the incredible views, but also, it would be quite cold. So alter your itinerary accordingly and swap with other days.
Where to Stay?
Interlaken is a great place to stay considering the travel convenience to all other villages in the Jungfrau region as it is a central point and definitely if you are on a budget, this would the cheapest among the other villages most of the time. All the Swiss villages are well connected with public transports. But if you are specific for views during your stay, then consider Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald. Or stay in Interlaken one day, then Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald for different experiences and convenience. Like, if you plan to visit Grindelwald and Jungfraujoch on consecutive days, then consider staying in Grindelwald as the train/cable car to the Jungfraujoch starts from Grindelwald. That way, you can also enjoy the view of Grindelwald at night. At times, we have found some great deals in Lauterbrunnen way cheaper than Interlaken with great views.
Switzerland definitely is an expensive country. If you are on a budget trip, check for Youth Hostels which could save much of your budget, sometimes Airbnb and Booking.com offers great value prices depending on the season.
If in summer, you can try camping options, if interested, in Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen. Camping Jungfrau, Schützenbach Backpackers & Camping / Hostel, Camping Holdrio, Camping Eigernordwand Grindelwald are a few of the dedicated camping grounds in the region. But this highly depends on your convenience as you have to pack and carry all your camping gear during your trip.
Where to eat?
Traveling to an expensive country on a budget needs a little bit of planning. Food and accommodation will add up a major budget. Supermarkets are definitely cheaper than restaurants. Coop, Migros, Aldi, Lidl, Denner, Volg are a few of the supermarkets in the country. If while traveling on a budget, considering buying go-to sandwiches and fruits from the supermarkets to all mountain tops you go as the restaurants on top would be expensive. If your place of stay has a microwave or kitchen, you can heat up or even cook any of your meals which would save a lot. Also, definitely try authentic swiss dishes on your dream trip. As it is the land of cheese and chocolates, do not miss them !! Rösti, raclette, fondue, hot chocolate, and Swiss chocolates are not to be missed! Carry reusable water bottles with you to fill from the water fountains seen in most swiss villages and towns to save on bottled water. Swiss drinking water is one of the cleanest.
What to wear?
Coming from South India, the concept of dressing according to the season was relatively new for me. It is very important if you are traveling to any of the European countries. Even if it is summer, carry extra layers with you as the weather on mountain tops varies quickly. Carry a waterproof/windproof outer layer in any season. Especially if you are visiting the Jungfraujoch it can be quite cold at the top, so make sure to take a winter cap and gloves irrespective of the season.
Never forget your sunglasses, sunscreen, and summer hat. Even in winter, the reflection from the snow would be so intense and it will be difficult without them.
As there are lots of hiking involved, make sure to pack hiking shoes apart from your sneakers as some trails can be difficult without them and also for your safety.
Additional Travel Tips
- Sbb is the official website in Switzerland for all your public transport needs. Check the train connectivity on this website and plan your day accordingly.
- MeteoSwiss is a great app to check the weather in Switzerland.
- Do not forget to carry the international adapter with you, if you are an international traveler as the swiss pins might not be compatible with your electronic devices charger.
- Days get shorter in winter / autumn and it might be difficult to cover many destinations on a single day like suggested in the itinerary. So always plan ahead your day especially the public transport timings.
Happy holidays in Switzerland, for more details lets connect on Instagram, Wetravelmiles