Mürren, Wengen, Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald: These places speak volumes why the Jungfrau region is a touristic hot spot.
In the compact Bernese Oberland, you can find everything that is gorgeous (and typical) about Switzerland. The wonderful backdrop of the Swiss Alps helps, too.
If you want to get the most out of your time in this region, here is the perfect "see-it-all" itinerary for you. In the name of journalism, I have tested it with my family and it was a day full of fun, adventures, and things to do.
Swiss trains for the win.
Our perfect day trip starts in Brienz. We leave our car in the parking garage near the Brienzer Rothorn Bahn and hop on a train. The best part of being a tourist in Switzerland is to have the most efficient, clean and comfortable public transportation at your disposal.
Swiss trains are always on time, and the timetables are perfectly tuned among different modes of transportation. Switch between trains, buses and boats without waiting for a connection. Yes, you could say that the Swiss public transport system works like a Swiss clock...
We stock up on some bread, chocolate and coffee at the station's kiosk and enjoy the ride to Interlaken where we connect to Grindelwald. On the left side of the train, the turquoise waters of Lake Brienz pass by, with the majestic Bernese Alps in the background.
Of course, traveling by train is a big winner when your companions are kids. The scenery is always breathtaking and there is plenty to see for the little ones. The ascent from Interlaken to Grindelwald passes through woods, along rivers, through small villages, and by those gorgeous, wild mountains.
A quick stroll around Grindelwald.
Once in Grindelwald, we take a walk around town in order to reach the next section of our journey: The cable car to First (2168 m above sea). The ride is long, but does not feel like it: You will be spending most of the time with your face stuck to the glass, trying to take in all of the beauty of the scenery.
The cable cars rise quickly above the village of Grindelwald, giving us a wonderful view of the whole valley and the Jungfrau glacier - a majestic sight!
The middle stop in Bort has the most wonderful sun deck. Before the thrills at First, we stop here to take a typical Swiss lunch break: Rösti, bratwurst and soup. Meanwhile, the children are busy roaming around on the large alpine playground.
Despite the name, First is the last stop of the cable car - the ideal vantage point for some serious exploring. There are cows and meadows where you can relax. And of course, plenty of hiking trails for all kinds of tastes.
The view from up here is simply breathtaking, with mountains and glaciers all around. If you feel adventurous, you can have a go at the First Flyer to enjoy the experience of zip-lining first hand. (Our Dimitri and Mamiko have done it, and they had a blast!)
But the thing that really gets our knees shaking is the Tissot Cliff Walk.
A suspension bridge that actually stretches along the rock face of this alpine peak, above a huge gap with pastures way below... This is the kind of ride that truly tests our fear of heights!
Of course, the cliff walk is perfectly safe for families and children (the rail is high and the gaps are small), and yet you feel like you are walking on air. We actually spotted a few tourists panicking from the heights while doing the walk. All of them eventually made it across, enjoying the thrill...
The best part is the viewing platform that takes you directly above the valley. It is worth doing the walk for this very moment.
Floating our way back to Brienz
Once we get back to Grindelwald, then Interlaken, the best way to travel back to Brienz is by ferry. Nothing relaxes more than a big, comfortable ferry... And if you are lucky enough, you will get to ride the steam paddle boat - a truly vintage experience.
Lake Brienz is magical. The waters are incredibly blue, a deep turquoise, and not even pictures can do it justice. If you have seen pictures online, I can assure you that they are not photoshopped. It is the actual color of the lake.
There are seagulls and fresh air, and lots of things to see and point at: Chalets, trains, people waving at you. Kids will have the time of their lives.
The waterfall at the Giessbach Grand Hotel stop is worthwhile, too. The historic hotel is a beautiful sight, perched on top of a hill with its own funicular that connects to the pier. (This place reminds me of the Grand Budapest Hotel). If you spare a few thousands francs, I am sure that you could have a luxurious weekend in this place!
And there you are, back in Brienz after a day full of adventures! This was truly one of the best family day trips we have ever done. Here is inspiration for an epic 10-day itinerary of Switzerland.
5 tips for visiting the Jungfrau
- Check your timetable: The best way to ensure a smooth ride is to plan ahead. Check the timetable for trains, boats and cable cars. This way, you will avoid the rush.
- Dress appropriately: Bring a fleece jacket and a rain and wind-proof jacket. A hat too, in case of strong winds. Be advised that weather at the top of the mountain can be quite cold every day, and that the Tissot Cliff Walk is exposed to wind.
- Always wear hiking shoes: Good walking shoes that hug your ankles are required when traveling to the mountains, even if no hiking is planned. It is better to be equipped than to take a risk.
- Wear sunscreen: The sun is very strong at such heights and even the most trained skin can burn quickly.
- Check for regional passes: Families and tourists can benefit from all-access tickets for traveling in the region, which also provide big discounts for popular attractions. We traveled with the Regional Pass for the Berner Oberland which covered all travel expenses.
And finally, a little know fact about Jungfrau.
Did you know that there are lots of Indian restaurants and Indian tourists in the Jungfrau region? That's because dozens of Bollywood films have been filmed there! Switzerland has become a favorite place for film fans from all over India. So, don't be surprised if you share your journey through snow-capped mountains with a friendly woman wearing a sari and sandals. She knows what she is doing.
(Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. I am simply a huge fan of the Bernese Oberland...)