Jungfrau Region travel guide

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Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland © Shutterstock

Lying south of the gateway resort of Interlaken, the Jungfrau region of Switzerland offers some of the most dramatic and memorable mountain scenery in the whole country. Plan your trip to the Jungfrau region with our guide to the Jungfrau region, based on The Rough Guide to Switzerland

, your travel guide for Switzerland.

What to expect when travelling to the Jungfrau region — your Jungfrau region travel guide

The Jungfrau region lies at the heart of Switzerland's Bernese Oberland

, and is named after the highest peak.

Sightlines are dominated by the mighty triple crest of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau (Ogre, Monk and Virgin) – three peaks rising side by side to 4000m.

The Jungfrau is the focus, partly because it’s the highest (at 4158m), and partly because the network of mountain trains from Interlaken Ost culminates at the Jungfraujoch, a saddle below the peak that hosts the highest train station in Europe.

Interlaken

Don’t be ashamed of being a tourist in Interlaken — that’s what the place exists for. Interlaken is all many visitors ever see of Switzerland during their travels, never mind during a Jungfrau region vacation

The town is perfectly positioned as the gateway into the Oberland, linked into main train routes to and from Bern

and Lucerne , with branch lines feeding out into the High Alps.

It’s a pleasant enough place, if commercial, and useful for its proximity to the mountains.

Where to stay in and around Interlaken

  • Best for couples: Hotel Restaurant Hirschen. An atmospheric old inn south of the centre that’s been in the same family for some 300 years.
  • Best for luxury: Victoria Jungfrau. One of the grandest hotels in the country, dating from 1864, with sensational views of the Jungfrau and a state-of-the-art spa.
  • Best for affordable comfort: Weisses Kreuz. This centrally-located affordable hotel offers cosy no-frills rooms.

Discover more places to stay in Interlaken.

Interlaken, Switzerland, is a feature of any Jungfrau region travel guide © 4kclips/Shutterstock

Lauterbrunnen and around

It’s hard to overstate how stunning the Lauterbrunnen Valley is — an immense U-shaped cleft (the world’s deepest), with bluffs on either side rising sheer to a hight of 1000m.

Doused by some 72 waterfalls, it's utterly spectacular, and demonstrates why you voted Switzerland one of the most beautiful countries in the world

. Visiting the falls is sure to be a highlight of your Jungfrau region vacation.

At the point where the valley opens up, road and railway enter the busy little village of Lauterbrunnen (796m). The train station here is the junction point for journeys up to Wengen and on up to the Jungfraujoch.

Where to stay in and around Lauterbrunnen

  • Best for central convenience: Hotel Steinbock. Located right beside the station, this hotel has cosy, uncomplicated rooms and cooking to match.
  • Best for lively atmosphere: Hotel Horner Pub. Situated just beyond the tourist office, this lively pub offers basic rooms, some with views of the Staubbach falls.
  • Best for budget travellers: Valley Hostel. Close to the train station, most rooms have balconies, and there's a women-only dorm.
  • Best for families: Camping Jungfrau. This large family-oriented campsite is open all year, with six-person bungalows and dorms in addition to tent space.

Discover more places to stay in Lauterbrunnen.

Wengen and Grindelwald

A gorgeous, car-free haven perched on a shelf of tranquil southwest-facing meadow, Wengen is one of Switzerland’s best-known ski resorts, famous for hosting World Cup downhill and slalom races on the Lauberhorn every January.

Once the snows have receded, Wengen sits amid ideal hiking country, overlooked by the Jungfrau and the distinctive cone of the Silberhorn.

To view the majesty of the Lauterbrunnen valley from Wengen, book a trip on a new cable car to Männlichen.

Meanwhile, tiered above the valley floor on a series of long terraces, Grindelwald is another hugely popular and pretty resort.

Unlike Wengen, Grindelwald is accessible by car and bus, and thus sees a great deal more tourist traffic than the Lauterbrunnen resorts.

More cable cars run from Grindelwald than from anywhere else in the Jungfrau region, giving access to lofty viewpoints and numerous short- and long-distance trails.

Where to stay in Wengen and Grindelwald

  • Best for cosy comfort: Hotel Bären, Wengen. A chalet hotel with a range of rooms (some with balconies) and terrace overlooking the valley.
  • Best for Art Nouveau elegance: Belvédère, Wengen. Housed in a beautiful 1912 Jugendstil mansion in a quiet location above the village, this retains its original character.
  • Best for adventurers: Berghotel Faulhorn, summit of Faulhorn, Grindelwald. This spectacularly situated mountain hut is only accessible to walkers. Reservation is mandatory.
  • Best for rustic charm: Hotel Gletschergarten, Grindelwald. A wonderful old window-box-laden pension. All rooms have balconies and there’s an open fireplace in the cosy lounge.

Discover more places to stay in Wengen and Grindelwald.

View of Lauterbrunnen from Wengen © A.Siripatana/Shutterstock

Mürren

Some 5km south from Lauterbrunnen, just before the peaceful hamlet of Stechelberg, you'll find the huge base station for the cable-car ride up to Gimmelwald, Mürren and the Schilthorn.

To reach car-free Mürren, you have to switch cable cars at Gimmelwald. It's an awe-inspiring village set on an elevated shelf of pasture.

Though it has an illustrious history of winter sports, the village has retained a rustic, peaceful atmosphere.

Where to stay in Mürren

  • Best for families: Hotel Alpenruh. One of the most appealing little hotels in the whole region — cosy and friendly, with dreamy views.
  • Best for cetnral buzziness: Eiger Guesthouse. Modern, well-equipped guesthouse in a convenient location. Rooms are cosy and clean, though some have shared bathrooms.
  • Best for romantics: Hotel Regina. This Art Deco hotel on Mürren’s main street has magnificent dining room and a grandstand view of the Jungfrau peaks from the terrace.

Discover more places to stay in Mürren.

Top attractions in the Jungfrau region

The Höhematte and the Schlosskirche, Interlaken

The large grassy Höhematte was where the monks of Interlaken’s ancient Augustinian monastery pastured their cattle.

On the east side of the park some of the old monastic buildings have been incorporated into the eighteenth-century Schloss.

Unterseen, Interlaken

The atmospheric Unterseen district is Interlaken’s Old Town: the square fringed by Untere Gasse and Obere Gasse is particularly picturesque.

Here, at Obere Gasse 28, the Tourismuseum traces the history of tourism in Interlaken.

Harder Kulm Funicular

The Harder Kulm (1310m) offers vistas over the town of Interlaken and a panorama of snowy peaks close enough to touch.

Saturday afternoons sees folk music and dancing at the summit restaurant.

Jungfraujoch

Switzerland’s most popular (and pricey) mountain railway excursion is touted under the shoutline “Top of Europe”. And this really does justify the hype.

From Kleine Scheidegg trains tunnel clean through the Eiger to emerge at the Jungfraujoch, an icy, windswept col at 3454m, just below the Jungfrau summit. This is the highest train station in Europe, and offers an unforgettable experience of the mountains.

Beat the crowds by booking your train trip to Jungfraujoch in advance. And, if you're into stunning train journeys, read up on the best scenic train rides in Europe

. Unsurprisingly, Switzerland gets a few mentions.

The Jungfrau Region is blessed with an abundance of lake and mountain views © Shutterstock

Schynige Platte

Zipping up to the awe-inspiring 2000m Schynige Platte on a rack-and-pinion railway is the best short trip from Interlaken, and one of the finest mountain excursions in the country.

On arrival, you're greeted by perfect views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. Meanwhile, the Botanischer Alpengarten close to the summit is one of the few places you're sure to see a genuine living edelweiss.

To beat the crowds, pre-book a trip to the Schynige Platte.

Staubbach falls, Lauterbrunnen

At nearly 300m, the Staubbach falls are the highest in Switzerland, and gush over a sheer cliff like a lacy decoration on the rugged precipice.

To get an up-close view, head south from the station to reach a walkway that leads to a narrow ledge right behind the curtain of water.

Great day tours and excursions in the Jungfrau region

Touring the Alpine passes

The configuration of roads over the High Alps means it’s straightforward to put together a looping, day-long driving tour of the highest roads in Europe, bringing spectacular scenery from every angle.

From Interlaken, lakeside roads run to Brienz and on to Meiringen, just beyond which you'll find a split of mountain routes. To the east lies the Susten Pass, while south is the stunning climb to the Grimsel Pass.

You could also head down the valley of the young Rhône and branch off near Oberwald to the Nufenen Pass. Continue with a scenic drive to Airolo, up over the Gotthard Pass to the Alpine hub town of Andermatt.

Alternatively, from Gletsch another hairpin route leads steeply up on a breathtaking drive over the Furka Pass and on down to Andermatt. From Andermatt, continue north through the Reuss gorges to Wassen, where a road climbs west up over the Susten Pass and back to Meiringen.

It makes sense to do these journeys by buying a pass from the tourist office at Interlaken – round trips that cover either three Alpine passes or four (Grimsel, Nufenen, Gotthard and Susten).

This is not a tour as such – you’re on regular public transport all the way – but purchasing a pass means you don’t have the hassle of buying separate tickets for each part of the journey.

Grütschalp and the Mürren railway

At the entrance to Lauterbrunnen village, a gondola run by BLM (“Mürrenbahn”) crests the west wall of the valley to Grütschalp.

From here a train trundles its way along the cliff edge, in full view of the snowy giants across the way, to Mürren. This really is one of the most scenic rides in Switzerland.

Active types might want to consider walking the steep path up to Grütschalp (2hr walking time) to take advantage of the panoramic stroll alongside the tracks to Mürren.

A magnificent view over Mürren, Switzerland © 4kclips/Shutterstock

Sports and activities in the Jungfrau region

Winter sports in the Jungfrau region

In winter, resorts like Wengen, Mürren and Grindelwald offer some of the finest skiing and snowboarding in the Alps.

Beginners are best served at Wengen and Grindelwald, both of which have nursery slopes and plenty of blue runs close to the village centres.

The best location for snowboarding is the Snowpark at Bärgelegg (2501m), where there’s an array of rails, bank jumps, waves and kickers.

Adventure sports and hiking around Interlaken

Loads of companies in and around Interlaken run all kinds of adventure sports, many of them year-round. A popular choice is tandem paragliding, with tandem hang-gliding not far behind.

Bungee jumping is also hugely popular, and plenty of operators offer canyoning, too. There’s also rafting on the Lütschine, the Simme, the Saane and elsewhere, rock-climbing and horse-trekking.

Gunten on the Thunersee is a centre for windsurfing, waterskiing and wakeboarding, and there are lots of options for mountain biking solo.

For something gentler, Spiez-based Alpavia offer a number of long-distance hikes and bike trails through the region.

Walks and activities around Mürren

Some of the best trails around Mürren can be accessed via the Allmendhubel funicular, which runs from a base station midway between the Schilthorn cable-car station and the Mürrenbahn BLM train station.

From Mürren itself, it takes 75min to walk down to Lauterbrunnen along a relatively easy path that initially runs alongside the rail tracks.

For something a bit more daring, try the Klettersteig Via Ferrata — a 2.2km trail across steep limestone cliffs navigated by use of ladders and zipwires.

If you're into adventure, read up on the best outdoor activities in Switzerland

. Female travellers might also want to discover a host of exhilarating women-only outdoor activities to enjoy in Switzerland.

Switzerland is a paradise for active adventurers © Swiss Tourism

How to get around the Jungfrau region

Jungfrau Travel Pass

A network of rail and bus routes threads through the Jungfrau region. Buy a Jungfrau Travel Pass to access a host of train lines, cable cars, buses and funiculars in the region.

The Pass is valid for free travel on 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 consecutive days. It also includes a boat trip on lakes Thun and Brienz.

Swiss Travel Pass holders get free travel on all transport as far up as Mürren, Wengen and Grindelwald, and a 25 percent discount on journeys higher than this.

For ease, buy your Swiss Travel Pass in advance.

If you feel inspired by this Jungfrau region travel guide, The Rough Guide to Switzerland

 and our run-down of things not to miss in Switzerland  will help you plan.

Or, if you're not a fan of planning, you could book a hassle-free tailor-made trip to Switzerland, with customisable itineraries curated by local experts covering everything from unforgettable highlights of Switzerland

, to touring the Grand Circle .

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updated 7/14/2022
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