A 5-Day Adventure in Switzerland’s Jungfrau Region

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A 5-Day Adventure in Switzerland’s Jungfrau Mountains

This past May, I went to Switzerland’s Jungfrau region on a mother-daughter trip. It was incredible being able to experience the beauty of the region with my Mom – snow-capped mountains that look straight out of a fairytale, charming villages overflowing with Swiss charm, and enough adventure activities to keep your adrenaline pumping. There isn’t much information about the Jungfrau Region readily available online, so here’s the full itinerary from my trip, including transportation tips and tricks.

Planning Your Jungfrau Adventure: When to Go & Budgeting Tips

The Jungfrau Region is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit depends on your preferences. Winter offers a wonderland of snow-covered peaks and world-class skiing, while summer boasts glorious weather and the chance to explore the mountains on foot or bike. Spring and fall offer shoulder-season options with pleasant temperatures and fewer crowds, but is still too early/late in the season for the snow to clear on hiking trails. Summer is the best time for hiking, but also comes with higher prices and larger crowds. 

As for budgeting, Switzerland is a notoriously expensive country in every aspect. However, there are ways to save. Consider purchasing a Swiss Half Fare Card for discounted travel on trains, buses, and boats. Opting for an Airbnb where you can cook your own meals can also help keep costs down.

Day 0.5: Arriving in Switzerland

My journey began in Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city. Getting into the city from Zurich is easy, as trains run every few minutes. For accommodation, we stayed at the 25hours Hotel Langstrasse, which is located a short walk from Zurich’s central train station. We spent the day exploring the city on foot – venturing into the Old Town, crossing the picturesque bridges, and browsing local shops and boutiques.

view from bridge in zurich

Pro tip: stores here close on the early side, so keep that in mind when planning your day.

Day 1: Traveling to the Mountains

After a day spent exploring Zurich’s cobbled streets and waterfront, it was time to head to the mountains. We decided to take our first day easy and use it as a travel day, as we were still tired and jetlagged from our travels to Switzerland. We stayed in Wengen, a fairytale village that served as our home base for the next four days. The train ride there was smooth and scenic, but required a few transfers in Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen. 

Once there, we wandered through the village (which really is just one main street), and took in the breathtaking views. We stayed at Hotel Restaurant Bären, a charming spot a short walk from the train station. Upgrading to a balcony room was a good call – the mountain views were incredible and looked like a real-life painting. For dinner, we ate at the hotel restaurant. The restaurant features a rotating menu, as they use all locally grown, seasonal ingredients. The food was delicious and tasted fresh and nutritious.

view from our balcony in wengen

View from our balcony in Wengen

Day 2: Exploring Wengen & Reaching the Top of Europe

We started our first official day in the Jungfrau Region bright and early. After an excellent breakfast at the hotel, we hopped on the train to Jungfraujoch, also known as the “Top of Europe.”

The train journey itself is an adventure, climbing through tunnels and offering glimpses of the ever-ascending peaks. At Jungfraujoch, there are glaciers, snowfields, and panoramic vistas as far as the eye can see. There are also indoor activities, including an ice palace, the highest Lindt chocolate store in the world, shops, and restaurants.

Ice palace at Jungfraujoch

Ice palace at Jungfraujoch

When we first arrived at the top of Jungfraujoch, we could barely see one foot in front of us. The weather in this region is extremely unpredictable, so we held out hope that conditions would clear up while we were at the top. After a few hours, we finally caught our lucky break – the sun came out, and we could finally see the views around us. It was one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen, and was well worth the wait. 

Top of Jungfraujoch views

Views at Jungfraujoch

When we visited, the trails were still closed, but in summer months there are many great hiking options in this area. One hike that I had looked into is the Eiger Trail to Alpiglen, which provides stunning views of the Eiger North Face. It starts at the Eigergletscher station, and takes about 2-3 hours to hike. The hike is mostly downhill, so should be a reasonable option for most people (especially considering what other Swiss hikes are like!).

Directions

Take the train from Wengen to Kleine Scheidegg. Transfer there to Eigergletscher, and continue on to Jungfraujoch.

Day 3: Murren & Schilthorn: A James Bond Adventure

Day two was dedicated to exploring Murren and Schilthorn. Schilthorn is where Bond movie “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” was filmed; in fact, the Bond movie led to the completion of Piz Gloria, the building at the top of the mountain, after work was stalled due to budget constraints. 

helicopter simulation in Piz Gloria

Helicopter simulator at Piz Gloria

There are a series of cable cars that you have to take to get to the top of the mountain. We skipped the stop at Birg, because the weather conditions were not ideal and the activities there were all closed. At Piz Gloria, there is a museum dedicated to James Bond, and it contains a number of fun, interactive activities like ‘flying’ a Bond helicopter. There’s also a 360-degree revolving panoramic restaurant where we had lunch and afternoon tea. Similar to the previous day, we were hoping to wait out the foggy weather and see the views from the top; however, after a few hours of waiting and no sign of any weather improvements, we decided to head back.

Foggy view from Schilthorn

Foggy view from Schilthorn

On our way down from the mountain, we made a stop in the car-free town of Murren. Murren was a charming town, but with the weather conditions, we couldn’t see any of the views the town is known for and most of the shops were closed. There are also many trails that you can hike from Murren, like the Northface Trail, which is a loop that starts and ends in Murren. This loop is just under 5 miles, and is slightly more strenuous but still do-able for most people. The route features dramatic cliffside drops (don’t worry, there are secure railings!), waterfalls, rolling hills, and of course, mountain views. 

the town of Murren

Murren on a rainy day

Directions

Take the train from Wengen to Lauterbrunnen. Transfer there to Stechelberg, and begin your journey up to Schilthorn.

Pro tip: If you want to visit Piz Gloria, you need to buy your train tickets to Schilthorn, not Birg. Birg is another mountain that’s slightly lower in elevation than Schilthorn – however, there is a cliff walk at Birg that you can experience in summer months.

Day 4: Shopping in Grindelwald & Relaxing at the Spa

We had originally planned on going up Grindelwald First (another mountain peak) on day three, but decided against it as we had already gone up two peaks, and going up mountains in Switzerland is not cheap. Instead, we made our way over to Grindelwald Village, and found that it was significantly bigger than the other villages we’d frequented. We browsed some shops (I discovered a Japanese brand called Mont Bell there) and had lunch, before making our way back to Wengen.

Typical Swiss dish in Grindelwald

Traditional Swiss meal in Grindelwald

On our way back, we stopped at Lauterbrunnen to visit one of the well-known waterfalls in the area, Trümmelbach. While there are many waterfalls in the Jungfrau region, I’d highly recommend making a stop at Trümmelbach. Unlike the other waterfalls in Lauterbrunnen, Trümmelbach is a massive series of ten waterfalls inside of a mountain. We took a lift up the mountain and made our way through a series of cave tunnels, marveling at the power of the fast-flowing waterfalls.

trummelbach falls

My mom “shocked” at Trümmelbach Falls

In the afternoon, we headed to the spa at Hotel Silberhorn. They offer day passes for external guests for 50 CHF, which includes a number of saunas, pools, steam rooms, and lounging areas. We were the only people there for the majority of time we were there, and it was the perfect option after our last few days of action and adventure.

Directions

Take the train from Wengen to Lauterbrunnen. Transfer at Zweilutschinen, and continue to Grindelwald.

Day 5: Farewell to the Jungfrau Region & Pit Stop in Interlaken

On day four, we headed back to Zurich. First, we made a stop in Interlaken, a charming resort town nestled between Lake Brienz and Lake Thun. Because we had all of our luggage with us, we headed straight to the boat terminal on Lake Thun instead of exploring Interlaken by foot. Both lakes are excellent choices for sightseeing, but we chose Lake Thun as it featured more castles and mountain views and got us closer to the train we needed to take to Zurich. 

boat ride on Lake Thun

Boat ride on Lake Thun

Directions

Take the train from Wengen to Lauterbrunnen. Transfer there to Interlaken West station for Lake Thun, or Interlaken East station for Lake Brienz. Take the boat to Spiez. Walk to the train station in Spiez, and head towards Bern. Transfer at Bern for Zurich.

Navigating the Train System in Switzerland

Switzerland has one of the most efficient train networks in the world, making it incredibly easy to get around. Trains are clean, comfortable, and run on time. For day trips within the Jungfrau Region, purchasing a regional travel pass can save you money. After calculating the costs for all of our train travels, we decided to purchase the Swiss Half Fare card, as it saved us more money over the Jungfrau Travel Pass or Swiss Travel Pass when factoring in cable cars. 

Pro tip: Download the SBB Mobile app – it’s a lifesaver for planning your train journeys, buying tickets, and checking real-time schedules.

views from Lauterbrunnen

The Jungfrau Region is a place that will leave you breathless, both literally and figuratively. From the awe-inspiring mountain vistas to the charming villages and thrilling activities, this region has something for everyone. Do you have other things you like to do/see in the Jungfrau region? Let us know in the comments below!


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