Combine scenic train tour & stay at Jungfrau?

Combine scenic train tour & stay at Jungfrau?

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marimorimo
marimorimo
6 posts
new member
Aug 2, 2015 - 3:29 PM

I'm travelling with my husband to Europe for the first time and we'd like to take a scenic train tour and stay at a hotel in the alps with scenic views. From what I gathered from this site, we should be staying at the Jungfrau region. However I'm confused as to where we should start and end our journey or even how to get there. We will only be staying for about 3 days so we value being able to transfer to the next country with relative ease.

We will likely be coming from France (either by rail or plane, whichever is more convenient/cheaper). Could anyone please recommend a suitable itinerary to give us some idea?

Details of our trip and some questions:

- We'll be going in late September, probably from Sept. 30-Oct. 2 or 3.

- We'll be travelling from France. On Oct. 2 or 3, we would like to fly to Barcelona. What is the most efficient route for us to take a scenic train tour and stay in the alps as well? For the scenic train trip, we prefer a short one, 4 hours tops.

Thanks so much for this useful site!

vikicork
vikicork
44 posts
active member
Aug 2, 2015 - 11:27 PM in reply to marimorimo

You can stay either in the Jungfrau area or Zermatt .

both of which ,Im guessing you will have to travel to /fro from Zurich or Geneva .train journeys should be scenic either way .

I think Zermatt is the quintessential Swiss village .the village is itself so beautiful as well as the mountain excursions with Matterhorn ,Gornegat and Sunnega and great hikes too .

Ive stayed extensively in the Jungfrau area and Wengen would be my choice as the place to live in to best enjoy the Alps .the village of Wengen itself is not as impressive as Zermatt but the views are probably more scenic from the town itself .

If youre travelling to Wengen from Zurich recommend travelling via Lucerne rather than Berne as it will be more scenic and thats what you seem to be looking for and then go back via Berne .

so recommend choosing either Wengen (in the Jungfrau area ) or Zermatt .

The moderators of this site might have some advice for you regarding the time of the year you are going in

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2659 posts
expert
Aug 3, 2015 - 12:25 AM in reply to marimorimo

<<"I'm travelling with my husband to Europe for the first time and we'd like to take a scenic train tour and stay at a hotel in the alps with scenic views. From what I gathered from this site, we should be staying at the Jungfrau region. However I'm confused as to where we should startand end our journey or even how to get there. We will only be staying for about 3 days so we value being able to transfer to the next country with relative ease.">>

Hi, Marimorimo -

Lots of choices.

Can you be more specific on the exact days of the week and time of year? Climate in the Alps can change quickly. Train schedules vary from weekdays to weekends. And limits of your stay -- how many days?

Hard to believe that you would shortchange the beauties of Alpine Switzerland just to see some other country. ;-)

Where will you be coming in from, and where will you be departing toward? France is pretty big. Will you go to Lyon or Paris or Nancy? Mulhouse?

Just trying to convert generalities to specifics.... ;-)

Slowpoke

marimorimo
marimorimo
6 posts
new member
Aug 3, 2015 - 1:08 AM

vikicork and Slowpoke, thank you very much for your advice!

1) We will be going to Switzerland from Paris. The specifics dates of our schedule: Sept. 29 -Oct. 1, 2015 (Tue-Thu. We might be extending to Oct. 2, Friday depending on schedule and availability). After visiting the Alps we will move on to Barcelona.

Last modified on Aug 3, 2015 - 1:46 AM by marimorimo
vikicork
vikicork
44 posts
active member
Aug 3, 2015 - 12:27 PM in reply to marimorimo

Let me try and make a schedule for you .I think you will need to leave for Barcelona October 2nd

September 29th ,fly to Zurich from Paris ,buy 4 day Berner Oberland pass ,you can buy this online using link from this website www.myswissalps.com/re gionalpassberneseoberl and/price and then pick it up at airport take train to Wengen via Lucerne .It will be Zurich Flughafen,Zurich Banhof,Lucerne,Interlaken,Lauterbrunnen,Wengen .for schedule check the swiss rail website sbb.ch

by the time you get to Wengen ,it will be about 4-5 hours since you left Paris so just chill in hotel room ,walk in Wengen itself to the view points .for further info about view points contact Wengen Tourismus .they are open till 5 pm ..

September 30th , I am assuming you are in decent shape to hike ,The hikes are very easy btw .Take Gondola from Wengen to Mannlichen .walk to Kleine Scheidegg ,then take your scenic mountain train to Jungfrau .there it will be very cold so take along warm clothing and there is snow throughout year .you will spend at least few hours there .take train from Jungfrau all the way down to Wengen via Kleine Scheidegg .

October 1st take train down to Lauterbrunnen ,take funicular to Grutschalp ,take train to Murren .,get down in Murren ,take funicular to Alhmendubel and back .take train down to Stechelberg via Gimmelwald .Rick Steves loves Gimmelwald so get down in Gimmelwald too if you want .go down to Stechelberg .take post bus to Trummelbach falls and see Trummelbach falls .walk to Staubbach falls and then on to Lauterbrunnen station or if you are tired take post bus back to Lauterbrunnen station and hen back to hotel in Wengen .you can hike from Grutschalp to Winteregg and then take train from Winteregg to Murren .or hike from Winteregg to Murren ,all depends on how much you want to walk .

October 2nd take Gondola to Mannlichen and then down to Grindelwald ,take bus to the First cable car .go upto First .walk to Bachalpsee Lake and then back .retrace steps to Grindelwald station .take train back to Wengen check out with bags and go to Zurich airport and then on to Barcelona .

you can also do whats recommended on October 2nd on the day you arrive instead September 30th if you leave early from Paris .Im a tourist like you and I love hiking so this is what I would do .please tailor schedule to your own interests .The Berner Oberland pass will save you a lot of money and time if you do this schedule especially .you will have to pay though from travel from Zurich to Lucerne which if i rememebr was 28 swiss francs .the rest of it is covered with the BO pass ,Jungfrau will be 50 percent and you will also have to pay to enter Trummelbach falls .get a bus pass from your hotel in Wengen .

have fun .It is a strenous schedule and does involve a lot of hiking .

vikicork
vikicork
44 posts
active member
Aug 3, 2015 - 12:41 PM in reply to vikicork

One more thing

you should go to Jungfrau preferably on a clear day so you can interchange the days if needed .

on October 2 nd take bags with you to Grindelwald in the gondola and leave them at the station (u will have to pay ) .that way once you finish your hike to Bachalpsee ,you can collect your bags and go straight to Zurich airport from Grindelwald (about 3 hours ) without having to go back to your hotel .

do tailor schedule to suit your interests .I tried to give you a schedule to cover all the best areas .

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2659 posts
expert
Aug 3, 2015 - 1:20 PM in reply to marimorimo

There are TGV trains with no change of train from Paris (Gare de Lyon) to Basel SBB which take 3 hrs and 3 minutes at 0723, 1023, 1223, 1423, 1623 as well as intermediate times with changes of trains.

At Basel SBB you change trains if you are not going to Zürich.

The TGV contnues to Zürich. At 1823, one also continues to Basel, one to Zürich.

From Basel there are frequent good connections to Luzern, Bern, Zürich, Interlaken Ost and other cities.

Most people find the train to be much more convenient than the plane, and, you depart and arrive from/to downtown.

You will consume a substantial portion of your day traveling on the 29th.

Perhaps you should simply continue to your single destination and stay two nights (or even 3) before you leave. There are plenty of good choices; Vicki Cork has mentioned some.

Zürich airport is typically about 2 hours 20 minutes from Interlaken Ost, and a bit more to one of the scenic villages such as Mürren, Grindelwald or Wengen. Each of those three has many fans. I happen tp like Wengen. here is why -

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/tips-about-wengen-and-the-jungfrau-region-by-kim

When is your flight to Barcelona?

The number of scenic railroad and cable car rides in this region near the famous Jungfrau is incredible.

That said, don't be surprised if some are closed. You are at the tail end of high season, and, in a few more weeks you could begun to worry about trails closing because of snow.

The gondola car up to Männlichen - from the center of Wengen - is a wonderfully scenic short trip, and takes you to one of the best short easy trails in the Alps. It is the scenic panorama walk from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg.

www.myswissalps.com/hi king/maennlichen-kleinescheidegg

Last modified on Aug 3, 2015 - 5:41 PM by Slowpoke
marimorimo
marimorimo
6 posts
new member
Aug 3, 2015 - 1:20 PM

vikicork, thanks so much for the detailed itinerary suggestion! We don't mind hiking as long as it's not overly long. Your suggested itinerary gave me a lot ideas. We do prefer relaxing and just enjoying the fresh air and scenery vs. running around as many places as possible so I doubt we'll be able to see all places you suggested, but I'll make sure to make time to see at least half of them!

Slowpoke, thanks also for your suggestion! I am quite torn whether to travel from Paris via train or plane. Plane tickets are surprisingly cheaper, although airports are a hassle. Right now, our flight to Barcelona is on Oct. 2nd although we haven't finalized our schedule yet. I'll be sure to check out that gondola trip!

Last modified on Aug 3, 2015 - 1:24 PM by marimorimo
vikicork
vikicork
44 posts
active member
Aug 3, 2015 - 2:58 PM in reply to marimorimo

Bachalpsee or Bachalp lake was I think my favorite spot in the entire region .Not just the lake but the hike there was truly spectacular and I liked it even more than some other "Alpine " lakes like Lake Moraine and Peyto lake in the Canadian rockies and many other lakes I have seen .

Trummelbach falls in the Lauterbrunnen valley was also for me a great place to visit .

the best hike is from Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg but also hiking upwards from Mannlichen station itself about 20 minutes is an option to the summit there and from there you can see everywhere in the area .

If its too foggy consider doing Schilthorn from Murren (especially if a James Bond fan ) rather than Jungfrau .

I think after this hot summer ,the passes are likely to be open when you go and actually I think you are going at a great time of the year .

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2659 posts
expert
Aug 3, 2015 - 4:20 PM in reply to marimorimo

<<"Slowpoke, thanks also for your suggestion! I am quite torn whether to travel from Paris via train or plane. Plane tickets aresurprisingly cheaper, although airports are a hassle.">>

I always look at total time consumed when I am traveling in Switzerland. I'd rather be on the ground and see the scenery.

If i have 2 hour plane trip, I count on 2 hours early arrival at the airport (hopefully less, but do you know your way around the French airport?), and time after to get checked luggage. 30 minutes? Plus, time to travel to/from airports.

Since you jump right into the train network in Switzerland if you fly into Zürich (not so for Basel Europort) that is about even.

Still, add up the total time. Could be faster by train.

I do not worry about a moderate difference in costs - I always try to minimize wasted time, because I have paid my money to get me there so i can look around.

Here are some pictures taken at Männlichen ( the lift station) and Männlichen Gipfel ( Gipfel is "summit" or "peak.") The last one looks up at Männlichen Gipfel, as described by Vickicork, to the left as you come out of the lift station.

In the one taken from most of the way up to the Gipfel, you can see the lift station and the restaurant.

The trail from Männlichen lift station to Kleine Scheidegg is sometimes jokingly called the "Grannies' Walk" it is so easy. If you do it, make sure you walk toward the Eiger (toward Kleine Scheidegg). The sight of the Eiger looming over you , bigger and bigger, as you approach KS, is compelling. (I might add that not all others agree with my assessment, but that is my opinion. Maybe it is conditioned by my photographers eye.

Last modified on Aug 3, 2015 - 5:43 PM by Slowpoke
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marimorimo
marimorimo
6 posts
new member
Aug 5, 2015 - 7:50 AM

vikicork, I do hope that our timing would be perfect (and that the weather cooperates) as it's not so easy for us to visit Europe. I'm looking forward to seeing the lakes and falls of Switzerland :)

Slowpoke, thanks for sharing your stunning photos! I am planning to buy a proper camera just for this trip. My iPhone and point-and-shoot just aren't cutting it anymore. I hope I can take beautiful photos such as yours.

I'm also looking into transit via trains now. Thanks to your and vikicork's encouragement, we have added an extra day to the Swiss leg of our trip. That's Sep 29-Oct. 3, although 2 of those days are mostly just transfers.

My husband insists on seeing the Landwasser Viaduct while I'd rather stay at Wengen. We need a compromise, so I was wondering if the following itinerary would be possible?

Sep. 29 (T): Board Train from PARIS to DAVOS-PLATZ, stay 1 night at Davos.

Sep. 30 (W): Take the Glacier Express from DAVOS-BRIG. We should arrive at Brig around 3 pm. From there, we transfer from BRIG-WENGEN, and stay there until Oct. 3.

We will thus stay for 1 night in Davos and 3 nights in Wengen. What do you think of this itinerary? Are there any other more practical routes?

vikicork
vikicork
44 posts
active member
Aug 5, 2015 - 6:08 PM in reply to marimorimo

I think then the better option would be to go to Zermatt and stay there instead of Wengen .

Zermatt is the prettiest Swiss village in my opinion and there are plenty of mountain excursions there as well right from village of Zermatt and its very close to Brig .

and as you just want to relax ,i think Zermatt would be perfect but if you still want to go to Wengen that would be cool too .either way it will be great .

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2659 posts
expert
Aug 5, 2015 - 10:41 PM in reply to marimorimo

<<"We will thus stay for 1 night in Davos and 3 nights in Wengen. What do you think of this itinerary?">>

I think it stinks.

The reason is a bit of prior knowlege. In 1997 we decided to spend some time in that region of Switzerland. There is a lot of history dating back to the middle ages, and there were trade routes from Rome up to the northern European countries/baronies/bishoprics/etc.

So, we assembled a list of objectives:

The 7th century church of St. Martin in Zillis;

The Preda to Bergun rail-trail;

Exploration around Tiefencastel;

The Landwasser viaduct;

The Via Mala,

and some other odds and ends.

Of all of them, the most disappointing was the Landwasser viaduct.

I will attach a picture in this post or an edit showing why.

You cannot get close to the tracks. You can look up. When you look up you can see the bottom of what you are looking at.

There are a lot of trees obscuring the sightlines.

Spend some time with on-line images of the viaduct. All the good ones are taken from a viewpoint at or above the level of the tracks. How do you get there? We could not find trails easily; possibly , permissions are needed. The only way you can do it is with a helicopter or with a drone. Or access through the properties above the tunnel. Maybe a very long lens.

Look carefully at all of the images and dimensions of the Landwasser viaduct on the internet. It is a small structure. Compare with the more approachable and larger Luogelkin Viaduct (or, the Bietschtal Brücke) on the BLS Südrampe trail between Hohtenn and Ausserberg.

So, your itinerary - basically, you have added a day of travel to visit a sight that you cannot easily see, even after you walk in from the road for about 3/4 km (you'll need a car) or from any place that you can reach.

The region around the Jungfrau is full of magnificent scenery in every direction. Spend your time there....you could spend weeks. Take a break - stay in the same hotel three nights in a row.

If you want to see rail engineering, start on the BLS Südrampe Trail.

Moredetails to be added in edit in a few minutes

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2659 posts
expert
Aug 6, 2015 - 12:30 AM in reply to vikicork

<<",then take your scenic mountain train to Jungfrau .there it will be verycold so take along warm clothing and there is snow throughout year .youwill spend at least few hours there .">>

You make it sound as though it is compulsory. I think it is optional.

I have been visiting Switzerand since 2001 and have never found the value proposition for the train up to Jungfraujoch to be compelling. Of course, we do have snow where I live in the USA when I am not in Switzerland. ;-)

Slowpoke

vikicork
vikicork
44 posts
active member
Aug 6, 2015 - 1:49 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Slowpoke

I am advising other people ,not you and its based on my own experiences .If you havent ever gone to Jungfrau then you dont know what its like ,do you and if I thought it was compulsory I would have gone there this year which I did not but I do think its worth doing at least once .also if you read my post I did mention considering Schithorn instead of Jungfrau if its not a clear day .

its not just the snow and the view ,its everything else up there too not to mention the whole experience with the train ,ice sculptures etc .

i only advise on this site cause I myself was helped by Arno and Annika and so I want to give back to this site .

and btw i live in USA too and have lived in New York as well for a while where they was plenty of snow

everyone has their own preferences and there is a reason Jungfrau might be the most visited spot in Switzerland along with Titlis .if everyone liked the same thing ,the world would be very boring and crowded place :-)

marimorimo
marimorimo
6 posts
new member
Aug 6, 2015 - 2:28 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Thanks for your replies. Actually I wasn't planning to see the Landwasser Viaduct on foot, but rather from the Glacier Express, boarding from Davos to Brig. So we will get to see other scenery from the train as well. We will have to stay overnight in DAVOS because the train from Paris will arrive in the evening of the previous day. From Brig I was thinking of changing trains to Wengen, where we will stay for 3 nights.

Zermatt looks lovely, but I think I prefer Wengen as there seems to be more to do in the surrounding areas.

Last modified on Aug 6, 2015 - 2:33 AM by marimorimo
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2659 posts
expert
Aug 6, 2015 - 2:31 AM in reply to marimorimo

<<" Actually I wasn't planning to see the Landwasser Viaduct on foot,">

Then, you will only see it for a few seconds. Sure it is worth it hit?

Slowpoke.

marimorimo
marimorimo
6 posts
new member
Aug 6, 2015 - 2:35 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Haha, that's exactly what I told my husband: 40 seconds at most! We'll be wrapping up our travel plans this weekend, and I think he would have to choose one or the other. Myself, I'd rather go straight to Zermatt from Paris, spend a night there, then proceed to Wengen the next day. If I'm not mistaken, we'll have time to at least ride the gondola at Zermatt in the morning.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2659 posts
expert
Aug 6, 2015 - 2:36 AM in reply to marimorimo

<<"Thanks for your replies. Actually I wasn't planning to see the Landwasser Viaduct on foot, but rather from the Glacier Express, boarding from Davos to Brig.">>

Keep your stopwatch handy.

Slowpoke.

Arno
Arno
7728 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 6, 2015 - 6:44 AM

Thanks for all your insights! This forum is to share your experiences. There are no "must sees" or "must avoids" as everyone has their own preferences. Just sharing what you know and experienced should be sufficient for anyone asking questions to make up their own plans.

So here's my view on the Landwasser viaduct: I think it's an impressive viaduct, although the thrill of riding it only lasts half a minute. But if you like scenic trains the ride as a whole is worth it. Note that there's no direct train from Davos to Brig. First you take a train to Filisur, which crosses another wonderful viaduct immediately after Wiesen. Then you'll change to the actual Glacier Express, which crosses the Landwasser viaduct after a minute or two. For a real good view of it you can follow an easy trail from the rail station of Filisur to a viewing point (it's only easy in Summer, not in Winter). I think it takes about 40 minutes to get there (detailed map here). A longer hike can be found on www.wanderrouten.ch/la ndwasserviadukt.htm, passing both viaducts.

Last modified on Aug 6, 2015 - 6:51 AM by Arno

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