What a delight for train lovers with all these alpine railways. During your journey you will enjoy the great landscape, you just need to choose your destination...
The Bernese Oberland Railway (BOB) linked Interlaken Ost railway station to Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen. A modern, straight-track shuttle service is operated with two train compositions usually coupled together to travel to Zweilütschinen where they are then split. One train travels to Grindelwald in 35 minutes, the other to Lauterbrunnen in 20 minutes.
The Wengernalp Railway is a cogwheel railway which links Lauterbrunnen, Wengen (a traffic-free village) to Kleine Scheidegg in 45 minutes and on the other side Kleine Scheidegg to Grindelwald in 30 minutes. Kleine Scheidegg railway station at 2,061m offer train services to JungfrauJoch, Grindelwald, Wengen/Lauterbrunnen and the local skiing area in Winter.
The Jungfrau Railway is the only Swiss private railway company which is profitable... you could easily understand this fact by the unique offer and price ;-) Since 1912, this first mountain railways operates all year-round from Kleine Scheidegg to the European highest railway station Jungfraujoch (3,454m). You will travel in the heart of the Eiger and Mönch through a 7km long tunnel, two intermediate stations, Eigerwand and Eismeer, will offer you panoramic views thanks to windows carved in the rocks. After a 50minutes train trip you will reach the top and enjoy a sunny and snowy experience ;-)
"Tyrolienne" is the name for the small lift on top of Jungfraujoch - you will find it about halfway between Moenchsjochhuette and the exit below the Sphinx-viewpoint.
This lift will take you across the glacier and you will be fixed by a belt around your hips and a wheel on top of that belt will run on top of a strong steel-rope.
That way you will hop across the glacier, glide over crevasses and see the landscape in a very special way.
Such a Tyrolienne-ride is 20 sfr / 12 Euros
available only between june and end of september !
The train to Schynige Platte starts in Wilderswil - close to Interlaken - BUT I will list it here anyway, because you might need it in order to prepare your hikes between Schynige Platte and First, which I considder beeing one of the most scenic hiking-paths in that area.
Schynige Platte is in a height of 1967 meters above sea-level and offers various attractions like
1)Teddyland - an attaraction for the whole family
2)the Alpengarten with 500 different alpine flowers
3)the Schynige Platte-restaurant and alpine-hotel:
Hotel Schynige Platte, CH-3800 Interlaken
Tel. +41 (0)33 822 34 31, Fax +41 (0)33 822 34 56
The train to Schynige Platte dates back to the year 1893 and was electrified in 1914.
The track of the cog-wheel-train is 7500 meters long and the difference in height is more than 1400 meters.
The train runs ONLY IN SUMMER:
between may 27th and October 15th in 2006
for other years please check at the link below !
The last train is leaving Schynige Platte at 06.00p.m. !
The ordinary return-ticket is 52 sfr from Wilderswil
It is included in the "Regionalpass Berner Oberland"
and in the Jungfraubahnen-Pass
The most easy way to get to Grindelwald is through Interlaken. The major rails of the country lead the principal cities (Berne, Geneva, Basel, Zurich, etc) to it.
If you are outside Switzerland, you can take the ICE, Eurocity, Intercity, CISALPINO or the TGV to reach Grindelwald. I was told that they departed everyday, not sure about it. If you are inside Switzerland, go to http://www.rail.ch/index_e.htm to check out the schedules.
There's also train stations in the three airports of Switzerland (Zurich, Basel and Geneva), so if you come from abroad by plane, you don't have excuses to miss this place!
BOB stands for Berner Oberland Bahnen, i.e. the regional railways, and people pronounce the acronym "beh-oh-beh", but I like to talk about "Bob" when referring to these trains. There is something friendly and confidential when one says 'Here comes Bob', or 'Bob is leaving in ten minutes'.
When I first visited Grindelwald in 2003 the trains were the old brown ones that could be seen in the James Bond movie of 1968, but more recently they have been substituted by more modern ones, blue and yellow. Some of the old cars are still in use, but have been repainted to match their younger sisters.
Trains depart at regular intervals from Interlaken Ostbanhof (East Station) and are composed of cars going to Lauterbrunnen and others going to Grindelwald. The separation takes place at Zweilütschinen.
It is a narrow-gauge train, which in some part of its journey uses also cogwheels to negotiate the steep climb.
Also the timetables of these regional lines can be found in the website of SBB, the Swiss railways.
There are two routes to reach Grindelwald by bus.
The one from Interlaken is also the route used by cars. The bus trip from Interlaken, about 20 km, takes about 45 minutes and buses depart from Interlaken Ost.
The other route, from Meiringen, approaches Grindelwald via Grosse Scheidegg and for a good part of the journey it crosses an area that belongs to a natural park, and cannot be travelled by private cars. The trip from Meiringen to Grindelwald takes about one hour and 45 minutes.
The bus station in Grindelwald is by the railway station, however the buses stop also at several other points in the village, stops are marked by yellow signs, as everywhere in Switzerland.
In the website of Postauto (lingk here below) you will find the timetables for all lines and destinations.
The only route to go to Grindelwald by car is via Interlaken. There is another road, from Meiringen via Grossescheidegg, but a good part of it is forbidden to cars, and used only by the Postauto.
Wherever you are coming from, if you reach Interlaken via the motorway (A8) you must leave the motorway at the exit 25 (Interlaken) and at the first roundabout follow the direction Matten/Wilderswil. Past Wilderswil the road enters the narrow valley of the Lütschine river. In Zweilütschinen you must turn left to enter the valley of the Schwarzelütschine to Grindelwald. The distance is about 20 km.
With regard to parking the car in Grindelwald, you will see signs directing to the parking lots, anyway there is one in Spillstattstrasse (in the western part of the village), one opposite to the Sportzentrum, one by the Congress Centre (the closest one to the First cableway station) and two near the station of the Pfingstegg cableway, a short way downhill from the main street.
The link here below is to a webpage with a map of Grindelwald where all the parking lots are marked.
If you are travelling by car from North to South Alps or vice versa, the Lötschberg tunnel could be an useful and quick shortcut from/to Kandersteg (Berner Alps) to/from Goppenstein (Walliser Alps) thanks to the railway Lötscherg tunnel, where your could load your car on the train, after 15min and for about CHF 20/25.- you will be on the other side of the Alps...
Where the trains cant go the cable cars take over and the views are stunning. We went up through the clouds to start some of our hikes across the mountains, a fantastic experience. If you are travelling by rail and you have a Swiss Pass you can also use it on the cable cars.
Jungfraujoch, the top of Europe, it's almost 4000m to the top so take the train. The weather was lousy for the first few days, we would rise early to see if we could see the Jungfrau, when it finally emerged from the clouds we were off, unfortunately so were all the other tourists, it was funny to watch the older tourists nodding off as we went higher and the air got thinner.
From Interlaken-Ost, this about one train an hour. It takes about 30 min to get there. Make sure you’re in the right car, since the train splits before it gets to Grindelwald. The back half goes to Grindelwald, the front half to Lauterbrunnen. It costs 9 CHF one-way (without discounts).
The "Regionalpass Berner Oberland" is the better deal in many cases in my opinion, BUT it is certainly the best to make a list of the trains you like to use and calculate then for yourself:
The Regional-Pass Berner Oberland is valid 7 (220,-sfr) or 15 days (265,-sfr) and during 3 or 5 days you may use this ticket for unlimited travels, (only for Schilthorn you pay 30 sfr extra and for Jungfraujoch you pay 50 sfr extra .
That ticket is for 7/15 consecutive days, BUT you may choose any 3 (or 5) days of them by yourself for unlimited travels - you simply stamp your ticket at any trainstation into a machine in the morning of these days.
During the other days you pay half of the ordinary prices.
This ticket includes also all trains and ships around Brienzersee and Thunersee, trains till Brig, Lenk i.S., Adelboden, Meiringen, Gstaad and halfprice all days to Zermatt, Luzern, Bern etc...
It includes also Brienzer Rothorn and Stockhorn.
I had this ticket with 7 days and could save a lot of money, although I had only 3 days with excellent weather.
It will depend on the duration of your vacation and of course also on a good weather-forecast and it might make sense to buy this special ticket :
Jungfraubahnen-pass is a special pre-paid train-ticket for 6 consecutive days and it is valid for the whole area between Interlaken Ost and Grosse Scheidegg, Kleine Scheidegg,Maennlichen, Wengen,Muerren,First,Gridelwald, Busalp, Harder Kulm and Schynigge Platte.
You may use all of these trains and buses for free for 6 days, only for the train between Kleine Scheidegg and Jungfraujoch you pay 50 sfr extra.
For the Schilthorn you have to pay the full price !! - In case that you intend to go to Schilthorn and/or Brienzer Rothorn as well , I may recommend to buy the "Regionalpass Berner Oberland" instead of Jungfraubahnen-Pass !!
Read more about it in my next transportation-tip !!
The Jungfraubahnen-pass is 190 sfr for the 6 consecutive days !
The trainline to Jungfraujoch will take you to the highest train-station in Europe. The tickets will never be included in any Eurail-, Euro-Rail-, Interrail-tickets etc. , there will be ALWAYS be a minimum extra-charge of about 50 sfr (return-ticket). Jungfraubahnen-Pass and Regional-Pass Berner Oberland will give you a reduction of 50%.
In 1894 Adolf Guyer-Zeller had the idea of building a tunnel through the mountains in order to get from Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfrau. In 1896 he started to build the Jungfraubahn and it took 16 years to build it. The final costs were 15.000.000sfr and Guyer-Zeller had the clever idea to include the 2 stations inside the mountain (Eigerwand & Eismeer) simply in order to be able to earn some money already, by taking tourists there, while the rest of the track was not finished yet. The Jungfraubahn was opened in 1912 and it is still the highest train-station in Europe.
The cog-wheel-train to Kleine Scheidegg existed already a long time before the first plans for the train to Jungfraujoch were made. Trains to Kl.Scheidegg will leave from Lauterbrunnen via Wengen and also from the other side from Grindelwald. You may easily distinguish all of the different trains in that area and the trains to Kleine Scheidegg will always be yellow on top and have green stripes at the bottom.
At Kleine Scheidegg you will have to change the train on a big platform. The changing-time is long enough in order to be able to buy the ticket to Jungfraujoch, BUT of course you may buy this ticket already at the station, where you start your journey.
I came with a "Regional Pass Berner Oberland" and had the tickets untill Kl.Scheidegg included and needed to buy a seperate ticket to Jungfrau.
All stations of the train to Kleine Scheidegg will provide automatic lockers for your luggage !