The Jungfrau Region of Switzerland is a popular destination for tourists in both summer and winter. A century or two ago, this Alps region was only visited by hard-core adventurers who wanted to ski, climb, or hike through the mountains. Now, thanks to an extensive network of railways and well-maintained foot and bike paths, the area is accessible to many people.
The Jungfrau Region consists of four towns: Grindelwald, Murren, Lauterbrunnen, and Wengen. While the surrounding mountains hold fascination for all visitors, each town provides a slightly different ambience so that there’s something for everyone.
Known as the ski entry to Eiger Mountain runs, Grindelwald appeals to people looking for outdoor adventure and activity. As the largest city in the area, there’s more diversity including walking, biking, Nordic walking, cable car rides, climbing, tennis, and golf. There’s a railway station for excursions to the Jungfraujoch, Europe’s highest railway station. View the nearby Pfingstegg glacier on an accessible hike. The town is lively and sporty and just right for a sociable crowd.
You’ll see plenty of spectacular waterfalls gushing into the Lauterbrunnen valley. The most spectacular include Staubbachfalls in the town and Trummelbachfalls just a few miles toward Stechelberg. Lauterbrunnen is a popular departure point for many outdoor adventures in the region. Large camp sites close to town provide a gathering place for backpackers. City folks staying in Interlaken are only 15 minutes away by train or car. Traditional lace making is still practiced by local women.
Murren is a quiet little town to relax and enjoy nature, an historic town on a mountain shelf that attracted aristocrats during the cool summer months. The traditional alpine village is entirely car-free. Park at the train station in Lauterbrunnen and take a short ride to the town at the foot of Schilthorn. Hotel Alpenruch in Murren has the same owners as Schlithorn, an amazing peak with a revolving restaurant and noted for being in a James Bond film, so you can get a package that includes hotel and excursion. Hiking and para-gliding are other popular ways to explore the area.
Another car-free village accessed only by train, Wengen is located at the foot of the Jungfrau. Originally a resort for healing, today it’s famous for winter sports and competitions, especially the Jungfrau Marathon that climbs from Interlaken via Lauterbrunnen and Wengen to the Kleine Scheidegg, where the rail trip to Jungfraujoch begins. A 15-minute train ride from Lauterbrunnen, Wengen is in the midst of a rejuvenation that is creating a more upscale and modern resort town appealing to visitors who want to relax, breathe fresh air, and recharge on their holiday.
Other idyllic mountain villages with fabulous views you’ll want to check out include Isenfluh, Gimmelwald,and Stechelberg. Almost two million visitors stay overnight in the Jungfrau region each year. Get help planning your vacation or find out more at www.myjunfrau.ch
Photos by Larry Burmeier