We start getting to know the Jungfrau Region in the town of Interlaken. When driving towards the village of Grindelwald, we slowly start to realise how beautiful it actually is.
According to composer Felix Mendelssohn, nobody that has not seen the view in Jungfrau knows Switzerland. In author Mark Twain’s opinion, no drug can beat walks in the area.
The Alps stretch across eight different countries but one of them is above all others: Switzerland. Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps, belongs to France, but Switzerland boasts the biggest number of the highest peaks in the Alps. There are about 100 summits at nearly 4,000 metres or higher.
However, the number of mountains and the height of them is not what counts but what it feels like in the valleys and on the mountains.
If you’re only going to do one summer trip in the Alps in your lifetime, we recommend the Jungfrau Region in the Bernese Highlands. It’s a divinely beautiful area if you love green valleys, meadows full of flowers, and mountains with snowy peaks. For hikers, the Jungfrau Region is an unfailing source of experiences.
Obviously, a place like this is also a very popular destination. Too many tourist groups in buses and packed cable cars? The herds of tourists didn’t really bother us much. The crowd spreads itself out in the villages in the region and the large mountain area.
The Jungfrau Region includes the villages of Grindelwald, Mürren, Lauterbrunnen and Wengen, among others. Grindelwald is the centre of it and one of the oldest tourist destinations in Switzerland.
We haven’t stayed in Grindelwald but we’ve visited the B & B Silvi’s Dream Catcher. We can recommend it without any reservations. The B & B is located above the village and offers a very picturesque view. It’s a homely place with nice style. The B & B has always been fully-booked when we’ve tried to get accommodation. It’s still worth a try but you should book months before the trip.
Grindelwald (1034 m) is a good place to take in the view to the Jungfrau before heading out to the mountains. The scenery is dominated by three giants next to each other: Jungfrau (4158 m), Mönch (4107 m) , and Eiger (3970 m).
Around Grindelwald, you can enjoy the most famous and stunning hiking trails in the Alps and in the whole world: Faulhornweg, Eigertrail, Kleine Scheidegg, and Männlichen. Many trails start right from the hotel door.
We choose the Faulhornweg. It’s one of the most beautiful ones but also one of the toughest day hikes in the Alps.
We take the old rack railway from the village of Wilderswil to Schynige Platte (1987 m). Before the hike, you can admire the alpine garden with hundreds of alpine flowers and plants.
The Faulhornweg is everything a hike in the Alps is at its best. Views to snowy peaks, green valleys, glistening lakes, gentle slopes with alpine meadows full of flowers, steep rocky and snowy climbs, and exhaustion.
The trail climbs about 700 metres to the highest point, the peak of Faulhorn (2681 m). The last slope up is so steep that we have to crawl on all fours from time to time to not slide back down. The exhaustion is blown away when we reach the summit and the oldest mountain hotel in Europe, the atmospheric Berghotel Faulhorn from 1832.
The Faulhorn trail goes down to First (2167 m) where you can take a gondola to Grindelwald. Before First, a plunge in the cool Lake Bachsee will refresh your body.
If you prefer a short and easy hike, the trail from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg (2230 m–2061 m) is a gorgeous one. It takes about an hour and a half, and you don’t need to be very fit or have any special gear. But the view to the three mountains of Jungfrau, Mönch, and Eiger is one of the greatest ones in the whole region.
You can get on top of Männlichen by taking the longest cableway in Europe, and a train will take you down from Kleine Scheidegg. The same railway takes you higher than any train anywhere else in the world. The end station Jungfraujoch is at 3,454 metres.
The train ticket to the peak cost nearly 200 euros in July 2017. We haven’t visited Jungfraujoch but it’s advertised as a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There’s also a short and safe glacier hiking trail starting from the end station.
Translated into English by Katja Juutistenaho. Original Finnish text by Tuomas Hyytinen and Mila Hyytinen.