In the heart of Switzerland, only 30 minutes away from its capital, Bern, is a mountain lover’s paradise, the Jungfrau Region. The region is famous for the Jungfrau (one of the highest mountains in Europe) and the Jungfraujoch (the highest railway station in Europe). The Jungfrau Region is also home to the valley that inspired the creation of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and James Bond, and home to the village of Interlaken, known as the adventure capital of Europe.
This sustainable guide gives you the best things to do in the Jungfrau Region of Switzerland, and prepares you to navigate the Jungfraujoch, explore the Bernese Oberland, and show you what it means to be on top of Europe!
When you’re looking for places to visit in Switzerland, the Swiss Alps are probably on your radar. The Jungfrau Region is a great place to start. Whether you are visiting during the summer or winter months, this guide illustrates the endless opportunities for an action-packed sustainable holiday.
The Jungfrau Region
There are many beautiful places to visit during a Swiss holiday. Offering plenty of options for families, couples, groups or solo travelers, the Jungfrau Region is one of our favorite areas.
Situated right at the foot of the Bernese Alps, the Jungfrau Region is the main focus of any visit to the Bernese Oberland area. From the village of Interlaken, the adventure capital of Europe, to the Lauterbrunnen Valley, with its stunning mountain backdrops, there are no shortage of villages to stay in and explore.
The good news is, there is no single best time to visit the Jungfrau Region because it is a year-round destination, with a lot of activities in summer and winter.
Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau
The three big mountains that form the Bernese Alps skyline, and can be seen from all villages in the region, are Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, appearing in that order across the landscape. Increasing in size left to right, Eiger stands at 3970m, Mönch stands at 4099m and Jungfrau at 4158m. According to legend, the monk (Mönch) protects the virgin (Jungfrau) by standing in between her and the ogre (Eiger).
Where to Stay in the Jungfrau Region
Interlaken is the village at the lowest elevation of the Jungfrau Region. Interlaken gets its name from being placed between two lakes (Thun and Brienz). Interlaken comes to life in summer because it is within easy reach of all the trains and mountain activities, but still close enough to the lakes, restaurants, and accommodation. So if you are visiting during the summer months Interlaken is the best place to choose as a base.
Lauterbrunnen is a special place to stay during any visit to the Jungfrau Region. The two high cliffs framing the valley offer some of the most impressive and imposing views in the area. If you are a fan of the Lord of the Rings series, you might recognize the valley as “the secret valley of Rivendell”. The movie was actually shot in New Zealand but Lauterbrunnen was the original valley that inspired the trilogy.
Movies, books, and stories about mountain climbing attract avid climbers to the village of Grindelwald in search of the iconic Eiger North Face. Options range from easier and scenic hikes like the popular Eiger Trail, to challenging and technical climbs to the mountain summit. In winter the new Eigergletscher cableway makes Grindelwald a favorite for easy access to both First and Kleine Scheidegg ski areas (see paragraphs on local transit below). As the sun sets, the Avocado Bar is the best place for a hot drink in winter or a refreshing local beer in the summer months.
Wengen is a charming, car-free mountain village situated right at the finish line of the popular Lauberhorn race. With the Mannlichen cable car situated right in the middle of the village, Wengen is the perfect base for any summer hikes or winter ski runs. Everything in the village is no longer than a 15-minute walk, making it perfect for a relaxing and convenient holiday in Jungfrau.
On the other side of Lauterbrunnen Valley from Wengen, in the village of Murren. With some of the most impressive views overlooking the valley, this car-free, relaxed village is the perfect place for travelers looking for seclusion and nature. In winter it is also possible to ski from Murren on the Schilthorn side or join the other areas after a few (but easy) train rides (see paragraphs on local transit below).
Waste Management in Jungfrau, Switzerland
A real inspiration and sustainable feature in Switzerland is the way the Swiss manage their waste. Zero percent of the waste ends up in landfills, with half being recycled and the other half being converted to energy. Be sure to ask the host at your accommodation about the different waste disposal days and collection points.
Specific waste bags are sold in the supermarket and you need to separate compostable waste from the recycling. There are collection points for glass and plastic bottles and different days to bring out the cardboard for the collection truck.
How to Get to the Jungfrau Region
Switzerland is made for sustainable travel. Getting to the Jungfrau Region regardless of which village you decide to stay at, is incredibly easy. With one of the most reliable public transport systems in the world, everything is connected by trains, gondolas, and cable cars. There is absolutely no need to rent a car as all activities and locations are easily accessible.
Jump on a Train From any Airport
From any of the main airports in Switzerland (Zurich, Basel, or Geneva) you can jump on a train that will take you almost directly to Interlaken, from where you can easily get to your desired destination. Google maps are quite efficient at showing the train connections and which platform you need to be on, but for more accuracy, you can also download the SBB app on your phone. SBB stands for Schweizerische Bundesbahnen, which is the national railway service of Switzerland. Alternatively, Omio is a great source for train travel in Switzerland.
Save Money on Swiss Trains to the Jungfrau Region
There are different options for discounted passes for traveling to the Jungfrau Region in Switzerland, depending on your travel frequency and style.
If you are staying in Switzerland for a while, but haven’t made a plan yet, getting a half-fare card can save you 50% off the ticket price on trains, boats, buses, and cable cars.
If you are planning on doing a lot of travel in Switzerland, there is also an option to get the Swiss Travel Pass, which gives you unlimited travel for the number of days purchased.
Make sure to check the SBB website for current prices and offers.
Jungfrau Adventure Activities
Hiking in the Jungfrau Region of Switzerland is by far the most popular and most sustainable activity in the area. Good for both your health and the environment, there is a trail out there for everyone. Depending on your fitness or adventure level it is possible to hike almost anywhere, from easy hikes between Murren and Gimmelwald to more challenging or longer ones like the traverse from Schynige Platte to First. If you want to explore more challenging terrain, there are local mountain guides that take clients on assisted hikes like the Hardergrat trail (20km hike over several peaks).
Murren Via Ferrata
For those who are feeling brave, doing a Via Ferrata or “Klettersteig” (as it is called in German) will definitely get your heart pumping. A Via Ferrata is a type of climbing route that resembles a high-ropes course but is normally positioned at a higher altitude and attached to the mountain wall. The whole experience is protected and you are attached to a metal cable that guides you along the mountain through a variety of challenges, from ladders to pins and sometimes zip lines or suspended bridges.
On the Murren Via Ferrata, metal pins attached to the cliff-wall mark the way from Murren to Gimmelwald. A Via Ferrata harness, gloves, and a helmet are recommended (all gear is available for rent in Murren) as well as some climbing experience, as parts of this climb are highly exposed and not so easy for first-timers.
Whitewater Rafting and Canyoning
Down in Interlaken, you can find two of the best things to do in Jungfrau, Switzerland in summer. With different intensity levels adapted for families or thrill-seekers, whitewater rafting or canyoning will definitely add some adventure to your trip to the Jungfrau Region. Rafting down the crystal clear Lutschine river, with pure drinkable water coming straight from the glacier is an experience not to be missed. There are different options for canyoning in the Jungfrau Region.
Our favorite one starts with a 30m rappel that lowers you by rope down into the Grimsel pass. You then walk between rapids and rocks, jumping and sliding between the different rock pools.
Bungee Jump and Canyon Swing
Not for the faint of heart! If you are feeling up to experience a free fall, then the 134m Bungee jump at the Stockhorn gondola or the 100m Cliff Swing, reaching speeds of 120km/h above the canyon in Grindelwald is a hit.
Skiing or Snowboarding in the Jungfrau Region
The Jungfrau Region is home to the longest downhill skicourse in the world, where the Lauberhorn World Cup takes place. Skiing the Lauberhorn race tracks above Wengen is a dream that will make any skier want to visit the Jungfrau ski region. Around mid-January each year, the track hosts professional ski teams from various countries, turning the village of Wengen into a big party.
Apart from the Lauberhorn Cup, the Jungfrau ski region is also great for skiers or snowboarders of any skill level. With the Jungfrau ski pass you can explore all the regions and ski over 200 km of pistes (ski runs). Unlike other ski areas in the world, the runs here are mostly very long and wide, especially the ones from Männlichen and Eigergletscher down to Grindelwald.
The area is very well connected by a range of trains, chair lifts, and cable cars, with the highest point being the Jungfraujoch railway station. Although the ski pass allows access to all trains and gondolas, the Jungfraujoch (Top of Europe – highest railway station in the world) is an exception, and an additional fee is needed to get up there.
Sledging can be especially fun in the Jungfrau Region of Switzerland. There are different sledge runs in all the different mountains (Murren, Grindelwald and Kleine Scheidegg). Grindelwald hosts the longest sled run in the world, starting from the Faulhorn mountain and going back down to Grindelwald. Keep in mind there is a hike of about 1 hour from the First station to the top of the sledge run.
For those who don’t feel like hiking, there are also really fun options for coming down the mountain via the Kleine Scheidegg sled run or the easier one in Murren. Different tour operators offer guided night sledding trips with an option of a fondue dinner at the end. As an alternative, you can also rent sleds from your hotel or from any of the local ski shops. A helmet and proper snow boots are strongly recommended.
Sledging might look easy but it is actually one of the sports that causes the highest amount of injuries as people tend to lower their guard, go way too fast and not pay so much attention. Be safe out there and enjoy the snow and the mountains.
Paragliding is hands down one of the best and most sustainable things to do in the Jungfrau Region of Switzerland. You will be suspended in the air by your harness, some lines, and a fabric wing. It is 100% eco-friendly. Interlaken and the Jungfrau Region are a mecca for experienced and beginner paragliders from all over the world. The Swiss standards of safety ensure you will always be in the hands of qualified and capable pilots. The experience of flying close to the mountains and over the Lauterbrunnen Valley is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Unlike the common misconception of an adrenaline-filled, super-fast sport, paragliding can be quite relaxing. After only running about three to five steps at take-off, you will be gently lifted in the air and will comfortably sit in your harness, enjoying the flight and the stunning views while the pilot does all the work.
Visit the Top of Europe, Jungfraujoch
Jungfraujoch is the name of the saddle (lower part of the ridge) that connects the Jungfrau mountain to the Mönch mountain. It has been given the name ‘Top of Europe’ as it is the highest railway station in Europe. Many people get confused by its status, but the Jungfraujoch is not actually the highest point you can get to. There are higher peaks that are climbable or that you can hike to.
When researching what to see and do in the Jungfrau Region of Switzerland, you might have noticed that one of the top attractions is a visit to the Jungfraujoch. It is famous for being the highest train station in Europe, which also makes it a very touristy place.
If you decide to visit regardless of its touristy side, a visit to the Jungfraujoch will give you an opportunity to see the beautiful Aletsch Glacier, walk outside in the snow year-round, and see the ice palace. The journey from your village of choice to the Jungfraujoch can take between 1h 30 min to 2h depending on your chosen route. It is important to plan how to get to the Jungfraujoch, as well as planning to get there early in order to avoid long queues and crowds.
During winter your ski pass includes the trip up to Eigergletscher train station (one-stop below the Jungfraujoch) and then there is a difference payable to go all the way up to Jungfraujoch. There is also an option to buy the Top of Europe Pass. It allows you to visit all the mountains inside its areas of validity for the number of days chosen.
If on the other hand your trip is limited and you have to choose between experiences and activities, you shouldn’t worry about missing the Jungfraujoch. Apart from being the highest train station in Europe, there is not much that sets it apart. Spectacular views can be enjoyed at no additional cost from any area around the mountain, in a way that is more convenient, cheaper, and less crowded. Our recommendation as an alternative would be the revolving restaurant at Schilthorn, which you can read about in the next section.
Visit Piz Gloria 360° Restaurant – Schilthorn
If you are a fan of James Bond or alpine views in general, the famous 360° Restaurant Piz Gloria on top of the Schilthorn mountain is one of the best attractions in the Jungfrau Region. Standing at 2970m it offers visitors beautiful panoramic views of the three famous mountains: Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau.
You may recognize the restaurant from the James Bond film “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”. The menu features a special 007 burger, as well as an all you can eat brunch menu, with unlimited prosecco. If you go during the winter months, there is also a black ski piste leaving from the door of the restaurant, so make sure to bring your skis and snowboard and go for a ride afterward.
First Mountain – Cliff Walk
In Grindelwald, a great half-day activity is to go on the cliff walk on top of First Mountain. To get to the First Cliff Walk you will take the gondola in the middle of Grindelwald village. Sit back and enjoy the views as you are taken on a 25 min journey to the top.
Once you reach the top, the elevated metal walkway will guide you along the cliffside on an easy 20 min walk. The path hugging the mountain offers impressive panoramic views of the valley. The First Cliff Walk is one of the main attractions of the Jungfrau Region and together with the viewing platform and the suspended bridge, it’s an experience not to be missed.
Harder Kulm – Top of Interlaken
One of the coolest viewpoints in the area, the Harder Kulm platform is definitely worth a visit. Standing at 1.322 meters, the views from the top encompass all the area from lake Thun to Lake Brienz and all the neighborhoods in between. It is also a perfect spot to watch paragliders flying and taking off from the different mountain tops around the area.
To get to the top of Harder Kulm you can take the quick funicular up, or be active and join the 2h hike to the top. It is not a long hike but it is quite steep and tiring so make sure to bring lots of water and be prepared for the challenge. Once at the top, you can enjoy a well-deserved coffee or meal at the Harder Kulm restaurant and either continue the hike on a challenging traverse, catch the funicular down or hike down.
Snowshoe Tour – Winter Only
If you are not into adventure sports and there is too much snow for hiking, snowshoeing can be a beautiful and relaxing outdoor option. You can rent a pair of snowshoes from any of the ski rental shops in the area or join a guided snowshoe tour.
Go on a self-made itinerary or hire a concierge service to plan your trip for you
Now that you’ve seen all the different options you can pick your favorite ones and plan the perfect Jungfrau Region adventure. If you prefer the convenience of letting local experts organize everything, from train tickets to activities, pick-up locations, and accommodation, make sure to contact the team from Lauterbrunnen Adventure for a custom-made travel itinerary. They are a local specialist Concierge Service that will fit all your chosen activities in the number of days you have available. Another option is one of our favorite companies, ToursbyLocals, with pre-made travel itineraries and packages.