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The Jungfrau region is one of Switzerland’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting huge numbers of tourists each year.
In this post, we’ll give a bit of an overview of the region, and then go over a couple of the top hikes to do in the Jungfrau region: The First – Schynige Platte Trail and the Eiger Trail.
Jungfrau Region: An Overview
The Jungfrau region is located in the Bernese Oberland of Switzerland. Set amongst the Swiss Alps, the region is home to some of the most stunning mountain scenery anywhere in the world.
JRR Tolkien reportedly took a hiking trip to the region in 1911, and was so overcome with its beauty that it later became his inspiration for Middle Earth, made famous by the incredible Lord Of The Rings trilogy.
There are six main towns that you can find in the region:
Here’s a handy map of the region so you can get your bearings. You can see the full size map here
Getting around the Jungfrau Region
The entire region is well serviced by train, and it’s by far the easiest way to get around. There are trains connecting all of the main towns, and the famous Jungfraujoch cogwheel train that takes you to Jungfraujoch, the highest train station in Europe.
Although it’s easy to get around, the trains are super expensive. We’ll try and give you some tips as we go on ways to save money getting around the Jungfrau Region. You can also check out our Switzerland Travel Guide, which has a few more details on getting around.
- Tip: It’s worth researching whether or not to get a Swiss Pass, which is a half price travel card. These cost CHF 120, but if you’re going to be exploring the region for a few days you’ll make your money back in no time. If you’re unsure, you can sit down with one of the SBB staff members at the train stations and they’ll usually happily go through it all with you. Read more about the Swiss Pass here
Top Day Hikes To Do In The Jungfrau Region
We love hiking. It’s the main reason we visited the region. Here’s what we think are the top two day hikes to do in the Jungfrau region.
Hike 1: First to Schynige Platte
Duration: 6 hours
Elevation: 2681m maximum, 2076m minimum
Ascent / Descent: 514m ascent 605m descent (Direction First – Schynige Platte)
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult. One steep ascent (around 45 mins). You’ll probably be a little sore the day after.
The hike from First to Schynige Platte is probably the most famous and popular of the hikes in the Jungfrau region. It’s a reasonably long and tough hike, so you’ll need to set out early to get it done, and be sure to take lunch, snacks and plenty of water.
The hike can be done in either direction, and throughout summer there will generally be people doing it in both. We started in First and ended in Schynige Platte, which seemed to be the more popular way to go.
To get to the start and end points
To get to First, you’ll need to make your way to Grindelwald. You then get a cable car up to First. It takes around 30 minutes, and you’ll get great views all the way up. If you finish the trek in First, you then get the cable car back down to Grindelwald. Search the timetable here to make sure you start and finish the hike on time.
To get to Schynige Platte, you’ll need to get a train from Winderswil. The train is quite slow and takes around an hour. Again there are great views the entire way. If you’re finishing at Schynige Platte, you’ll need to get the train back down to Winderswil. Search the timetable here to make sure you start and finish the hike on time.
As we mentioned, we did the trail in the direction of First – Schynige Platte. When you arrive in First, it’s worth wandering around a little bit and checking out the lookout. It’s not for the faint of heart, but you’ll get some pretty epic views.
From First, you’ll head along towards Bachalpsee lake. You can follow the signs to Schynige Platte, it’s really well marked the entire way. There are usually a few more people on this section of the hike as it’s quite easy.
Once you get to Bachalpsee lake, you head UP the mountain towards Faulhorn. This is the most difficult and steepest part of the trek, so take your time. You do get some nice views back over the lake, and hopefully you’ll run into a swiss mountain cow or two along the way.
Faulhorn is the highest point in the trek. At the top of the mountain you’ll approach a resort. You can go up and check it out, or veer left and keep going along the trail. Again, it’s all well signed, keep following the signs to Schnigye Platte.
The rest of the hike is either flat or downhill. Just keep following the track. There are heaps of places to stop off for photo opportunities, and even a little pub that you can stop off at for a beer.
The last few km’s of the trek are probably the most picturesque of the whole hike. If it’s true the Tolkien really did get his inspiration for Middle Earth while he was in the region, I’d imagine that this is where he got it from. As you approach Schynige Platte you get some great views over Interlaken as well.
Once you arrive at Schynige Platte, there’s a little bit to see, so you can have a wander around. Or if you’re like us, you can head to the train station where there’s a guy selling beers, and get yourself a few as a reward for a day’s hard hiking.
Tip for First – Schynige Platte
- Check the train and cable car timetables. The latest train departing Schynige Platte and Cable Car departing First is around 5pm, so you have to make sure you finish the hike before then so you can get back down!
Hike 2: The Eiger Trail
Distance: 6km (official trail) / 13.7km (extended trail)
Duration: 2.5 hours (official trail) / 5.5 hours (extended trail)
Ascent / Descent: 761m (official trail) / 1286m (extended trail)
Difficulty: Depends on direction. The official trail is quite gentle and easy, our extended trail is moderate difficulty.
The Eiger Trail is one of the most famous and spectacular hikes in the Jungfrau region. It takes you along the north face of the Eiger mountain, from Eigergletscher station (close to Kleine Scheidegg) to Alpiglen Station (Close to Grindelwald).
The official trail between these two points is 6km, and quite an easy walk (provided you do it in that direction, as it’s mostly downhill). However, you can also do an extended walk that goes from Kleine Scheidegg all the way to Grindelwald. This walk is around 13.7km. It’s still mostly downhill, but there’s a little uphill section at the start, and the extra distance makes it a little harder.
If you’re up for it, we’d recommend doing the extended trail that we did. That way, you save yourself money on the train ticket between Kleine Scheidegg and Eigergletscher, and again on the ticket between Alpiglen and Grindelwald. It’s also just a really nice day out.
Starting from Kleine Scheidegg station, look up towards the mountain and you’ll see another train station a couple of km’s up the hill. That’s Eigergletscher, and it’s your first landmark. As long as you keep walking up towards it, you can’t miss it. There are some great photo opportunities along the way as well. This is the only significant uphill section in the hike.
From Eigergletscher station lookout, there is a path that veers left and will take you along the north face of the Eiger. That’s the Eiger trail. It’s really well marked, so you can’t really get lost. It’s also quite exposed, so be a bit wary if the weather isn’t great.
You’ll spend the next 6km or so making your way along the face of the mountain. It’s about as up close and personal as you can get, and there are heaps of great spots for photos along the way.
After around 6km, you’ll have come to Apliglen station. If you’re tired, hungry, thirsty or just a little wrecked, you can catch a train to Grindelwald from here. If not though, keep going. Look down the hill and you’ll see Grindelwald below. It’s a bit over 5km from here, and again it’s all downhill so it’s quite a nice walk. It’s really well signed so you won’t get lost.
Either way, you’ll end up in Grindelwald, which is a great place to look around. Or you can do what we did and head straight for the closest bar and have a few pints to celebrate the day.
Tip for the Eiger Trail
- Figure out exactly where you’re walking to and from first, and only buy train tickets to get you to and from those sections. Eg If you’re doing the extended walk, only buy a train ticket TO Kleine Scheidegg (not a return) and then buy your return FROM Grindelwald to wherever you’re staying.
More hiking in the Jungfrau region
There are obviously a lot more hikes and walks that you can do in the Jungfrau region. If you’ve done these ones before, or are looking for something different, here are a couple of other popular ideas. We’d recommend asking around for more info.
- Walk from Wengen to Kleine Scheidegg via Männlichen. There’s a cable car between Wengen and Männlichen if you only want to go half way. More details here.
- Walk from Lauterbrunnen to Mürren (or the other way around). It’s up hill from Lauterbrunnen, so for a more relaxing walk get a cable car to Mürren and walk back down to Lauterbrunnen.
We’ve no doubt that you’ll find heaps of walking to do around the region. Leave us a comment below and let us know how you go!
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