Jungfrau region. 2. Grindelwald, First and train to Jungfrau

Last Updated on 19/07/2022

The trip to the top (“Top of Europe”) is, of course, number one for most tourists who come to Jungfrau region. In this part we take train to Jungfrau, look, how to get to Grindelwald, what you can do there and on First.

Jungfrau on the right, Mönch in the middle, the station between them

Attractions map of Jungfrau region
Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen
Interlaken, Schynige Platte
Meiringen, Brienz Lake, Ballenberg
Thun Lake
Orientation
Switzerland by car

Train to Jungfrau

We start now to the top, however, think about alternatives first. It is expensive to go up, it takes a long time and there is not too much entertainment. Alternatives would be: climbing only part of the route (for example, only to the final station of the tourist travel card), Schilthorn or Männlichen.

On the top there are: several restaurants with views, an elevator to the former Sphinx observatory, sledding and other activities on the snow in summer, an ice museum.

Jungfraubahn / Jungfrau railway
Map data ©OpenTopoMap, Map data ©OpenStreetMap

Mountain train to Jungfrau from Interlaken with two transfers via Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen will take you to Jungfraujoch station, to the pass between Jungfrau and Mönch.
This trip will take you most of the day – just one way from
Grindelwald – 1 h 35 min,
Lauterbrunnen – 1 h 40 min,
Interlaken – 2 h 20 min with any of the transfers,
Kleine Scheidegg (second transfer point) – plus 50 min.

Usually it is better to go in the morning. Clouds and haze are more likely in the afternoon. In any case, it is better to track the state of the weather on the screens at the stations. In case of low clouds, the summits and the last station can be opened.

Many people decide to go in a circle – go up through Lauterbrunnen, and go down through Grindelwald, or vice versa.

On the way up, the train stops at intermediate stations. Travel cards is valid to the Eigergletscher station (Eiger glacier), then you have to pay.

From Lauterbrunnen through Kleiner Scheidegg and Eigergletscher to Grindelwald

Let’s go up from Lauterbrunnen.

The intermediate stop above Lauterbrunnen is called Wengen. From here the cable car rises to Männlichen. A top of Jungfrau is visible on the left.

View down towards Interlaken and Wengen.

And here is the Jungfrau in full size.

Mönch, Jungfrau and the station in between.

The train descends from above.

Train to Jungfrau

Jungfrau station closer.

The Eigergletscher station is located at the foot of the Eiger Glacier. You can see how much the glacier is retreating every year – global warming is obvious.

Further, the train to Jungfrau passes inside the Eiger. At the Eigerwand station (Eiger’s wall), observation windows are pierced. The train stops here for several minutes. Through these observation windows, they rescued climbers who were trying to conquer the northern face of the Eiger.

Above

Let’s now go down

Winter lift from Grindelwald.

We go down to Grindelwald.

Grindelwald and First

Grindelwald
enlarge Map data ©OpenTopoMap, Map data ©OpenStreetMap

How to get to Grindelwald

Grindelwald has two railway stations and three cable cars. The change from the train from Interlaken to Jungfrau takes place at the main station. Then the mountain train to Jungfrau goes down to the Grund station, from where it rises to Kleiner Scheidegg. Not far from Grund station there is a gondola lift to Männlichen.

To the gondolas to First, you need to walk along the main street from the station for about 7-10 minutes. Cable car Pfingstegg for another 7 minutes in the same direction and down the signs.

The bus station, from where buses go to popular tourist points and remote villages (Glacier Gorge, Upper Glacier, Großer Scheidegg, Bussalp), is located next to the main station.

Grindelwald what to do

Grindelwald itself is a fairly ordinary alpine tourist village: expensive shops, mainly sports, small supermarkets Coop and Migros, open even on Sundays, a sports center with a swimming pool, hockey rink, climbing complex and tourist information center.

Money can be changed during business hours in four available banks and at any time at the machine at the bank opposite the bus station . The rate is slightly lower than at the bank, they charge a commission of 2 francs, however, the bank also takes a commission. There is also a bike rental from Intersport opposite the buses.

Grindelwald on the way down from Kleiner Scheidegg

An interesting offer was noticed for families with small children. A backpack for traveling with a child, where it is put, like in a chair, was found in one of the sports shops for rent for 15 francs / day.

You cannot see the Jungfrau from the village. Everything is covered by the bulk of the Eiger and its Walls

Excursions with a start in Grindelwald:
Jungfrau,
First and everything connected with it,
Männlichen (descent to the other side or panoramic trail),
Pfingstegg (hike to the glacier).

Read about these routes below.

For the bus route to Meiringen via Rosenlaui and the waterfall, see the Meiringen page.

First

The most popular (after the train to Jungfrau, of course) is the cable car to First. But, since there are gondolas, the queue is fast. On the way, the gondolas pass two intermediate stations, where you do not need to get off if you go to the very top, despite the kindly opening doors.

At the very top you will find:
the restaurant with a viewing terrace,
First Flieger,
hiking routes to Lake Bachalp, through the valley of the marmots to the Großer Scheidegg pass.

We go upstairs. Eiger, a slice of the view to the other side of the mountains and glaciers.

The next mountain from Eiger (the one on the photo on the right and looks lower) – here the Pfingstegg cable car rises (more details below). To the left of it is the Upper Glacier, to the right – the Lower Glacier. On the left side of the photo is the Großer Scheidegg pass.

Now let’s look in the other direction at the waterfall.

We went upstairs. The same waterfall from above.

The river flows into Grindelwald.

Großer Scheidegg pass closer in the photo below. The descent there is quite comfortable (6-7 km). From the pass you can return back to Grindelwald by bus.

The roads and landscapes above look like this.

Marmots, who should have lived in the valley of marmots, went on vacation, leaving their deputies.

In fact, in order to see marmots, you have to go deeper into the valley further along a special trail that will increase the descent by a kilometer. They are definitely there – you can hear their whistle. But this is an option only for those without a stroller.

First Flieger

First Flieger – excellent entertainment, which is somewhat harmed by an active advertising campaign. In Europe, it was the first specimen of the giant Tyrolienne (Flying Fox). Now quite a lot of them have been built. Anyone who has ever been interested in rock climbing knows this kind of entertainment – a rope stretches between two trees, a special wheel is installed on top, to which a person clings and whistles down.

You sit comfortably in the harness, you are strapped on from all sides and sent down with one or three more people. At the bottom, all this is inhibited by large springs.

Flieger’s employee assured the teenage girl, who did not dare to go at the last moment, that it was absolutely safe. Flieger is suitable for people weighing from 35 to 125 kg. It is not recommended for people with certain diseases (as for any extreme entertainment). At the site, you will be given to fill out a piece of paper where the restrictions are written and where you must confirm your weight against signature.

From personal impressions: at first it is very cold, nothing is visible, since the wind makes the eyes water a lot. But the second half, which is lower and slower, gives a lot of positive sensations. But, unfortunately, as soon as you come to your senses and start enjoying the flight, everything ends with a blow to the spring.

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Because of advertising, people accumulate more than necessary. And the throughput is not very high. Two workers have to seat, fasten and check. In addition, they have to wait until the released straps are lifted. From the beginning of the stairs in the photo to stand for more than an hour. Up to 10-11 hours there are much fewer people. But that’s if you’re lucky and there is no group. Many go to Bachalpsee first for a ride. So the queue only grows in the afternoon.

New similar entertainment on First: an eagle carrying four people under it in a recumbent position. First he drags them up, then goes down. Differences from Flieger: direction of movement (the route is driven in both directions, not one), lying down, not sitting.

Bachalpsee

The Bachalpsee is a very popular two-hour hike there and back. This lake with snow-capped peaks in the background was a trademark and a tourist attraction before First Flieger. You need to go up quite steeply (ascent about 250 m), there are a lot of people, which reduces the value of this walk.

As an option, you can then go down not to the cable car, but to Bussalp, from where the bus goes to Grindelwald (at least another hour and a half).

The popular First – Bachalpsee – Schynige Platte route takes about 6 hours. On this route, you can test mountain shoes from Lowa for free. Test centers are located both on First and on Schynige Platte.

Walk down

At the intermediate station Bort, besides another restaurant, there is a large playground.

From here on rented trottibikes you can go down the asphalt road. Trottibikes are offered at several locations in the region. This is a cross between a bicycle and a scooter. Moreover, they are allowed to ride alone with a child. There are brakes.

It looks unsafe and uncomfortable from the outside. An adult trottibiker should stand with bent knees all the way. And the legs should be sideways so as not to fly off. On some models, you can sit on the trunk, also in an uncomfortable position.

In addition to this path for bicycles, there is a downhill walking path under the cable car, also partly paved. Having been tempted by this asphalt, we went down along it. But we really regretted it. There are practically no views, and the road goes down very steeply. It is unpleasant to go down.

Männlichen

The lower station of the cable car to Männlichen is located at the Grund station. On the other side of the mountain, to Wengen, a cable car with one large carriage descends.

The main feature of the route is the panoramic trail Männlichen – Kleiner Scheidegg. This wide, compacted trail without any significant differences attracts a lot of tourists with its views. It is visible on the map as a dotted line. Down to Grindelwald there is a wheelchair road and a Felix trail for children. A good website of this cable car gives a description not only of its walking routes, but also of nearby ones, for example, from Kleiner Scheidegg.

Pfingstegg

Pfingstegg is an option for those who have already visited all the main places, but still have free time and don’t want to go far.

The cable car lifts only 400 meters. There is a summer toboggan upstairs.

New entertainment – “Fly Line” – an analogue of Tyrolienne, only not by cables, but by a pipe. Its speed is much lower than First Flieger (8-12 km / h).

It used to be possible to climb a ladder of 890 steps to the Upper Glacier (Oberer Grindelwaldgletscher, 890 steps). According to the latest information, the staircase was destroyed by the collapse of a part of the rock and cannot be restored. You can climb to the Upper Glacier from below, from the bus stop (see panoramic map). The Upper Glacier is the reason why tourism began to develop in Grindelwald. The glacier descended quite low and people came to see it. Even 20 years ago, a glacial tongue was visible at the entrance to the valley. Now he is hiding behind a rock wall.

Oberer Gletscher in 2010

Alternatively, they began to develop entertainment on the Lower Glacier. We look again at the map at the link. Lower glacier to the right of the mountain, Upper to the left. The lower glacier was used a couple of hundred years ago for the extraction and sale of ice. Now he, too, has strongly retreated. The lake formed from the melting began to threaten the existence of the village below. So a tunnel was urgently built to drain it.

The gorge is shown for a fee (19 fr). You can get to the entrance from Grindelwald (2 km). From the photos, it is less interesting than the gorges in Meiringen and Rosenlaui. However, photos are usually not good in the gorges.

In the photo there is a gorge between the mountains – the Upper Glacier. A green field on the right mountain – the place where the cable car rises.

One bus stop from the Upper Glacier towards Großer Scheidegg is a small zoo with alpine birds (admission is free).

Then we move to the other side – Lauterbrunnen. The map of the region’s attractions is here. There are also links to all other topics, which, in addition, you will find under the #interlaken and #jungfrau.

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