We decided to head over to the Schilthorn today, a mountain peak in the Lauterbrunnen area. It was a long journey involving a gondola, four aerial trams, and two trains. Once we finally arrived, we enjoyed the view from Piz Gloria at the top. After spending some time there, we went down to the midpoint, Birg. We did the Thrill Walk and enjoyed the scenery before making the journey back down to Lauterbrunnen and returned to Grindelwald by train.
Grindelwald to Männlichen via Gondola
We once again started the morning with breakfast the Hotel Belvedere at 6:30am. After a good meal, we checked out and left our luggage. We originally booked a three night stay. We decided to add a day but by then, our room type was sold out. We ended up booking our fourth night in the only available room type, Standard Queen. The description was very similar to the room that we were already in. We’ll see what the difference is when we return in the evening!
While we left after sunrise, Grindelwald was still somewhat dark as the sun was still behind the mountains.
We walked over to the Grindelwald station to take the train down to Grindelwald Terminal. There were a number of potential options for the day but we ultimately decided on going to Schilthorn via Männlichen.
We took a few photos on the way.
We had to wait a bit as the gondola from Grindelwald Terminal to Männlichen doesn’t start until 8:45am. We explored the terminal building a bit and visited the gift shop as well as a outdoor clothing store in the basement. The windows in the terminal building had a nice view of Eiger and the Eiger Express.
At some point during the day, we picked up a Männlichen brochure. We didn’t really look at during the day though! It shows the route we will take from Grindelwald Terminal up to Männlichen and then down the other side to Wengen.
Soon, the entrance to the gondola opened up and we went in.
We were able to take some photos from the gondola as we ascended.
At the top, we immediately saw a big giant cow!
We walked around the area a bit, looking for a good viewpoint.
This was a good spot, just to the west of the gondola station. From here, we had a good view of Schilthorn and Piz Gloria atop it. It is the high mostly snow covered peak one third of the way from the right edge of the photo. The intermediate station, Birg, can also be seen to its left.
Looking to the north, we could see the upper terminal of the aerial tram that goes down to Wengen. Beyond, we could see the Royal Walk which leads up to the summit of Männlichen.
Looking to the east, we could see the gondola that we just took up from Grindelwald Terminal. Grindelwald is hidden from view by the mountain that we are on.
Looking to the northeast, we could see what is probably a chairlift in the winter. Faulhorn, with the Berghotel Faulhorn perched atop it, can be seen just to the left of the center of this photo. The Bachalpsee, which we visited on our second day here, is just to the right of the mountain but hidden from view.
We walked over to the aerial tram station. There was an issue with one of the entrance gates not accepting our QR codes but the adjacent one worked. We boarded the tram which was already at the station. While there, we noticed that there is an outdoor platform above the tram! We went up to take a look.
A very different perspective being outside and above the actual tram!
Soon, the tram departed! The tram operator told us that the outdoor area requires an extra fee, which we were able to pay in cash. Oops! We missed any signage that might have been present mentioning this.
Looking up and behind us, we could see the cables supporting and driving the tram as well as the upper terminal.
Looking to the left, we could see the valley that extends into the mountains.
Definitely a unique place to be!
This aerial tramway has only one supporting tower, the one above us.
We continued our steady descent.
We heard the sound of cowbells and cows below us. There is an annual event at the end of summer each year where the cows are brought down from the mountain and go through Wengen. There is a schedule online, though it isn’t clear if it has been updated for 2023. The cows we saw below us could be unrelated and simply cows being moved from one field to another.
We soon entered Wegnen.
Almost at the station!
After exiting the tram, we started to walk over to the nearby train station. We took a look back at the aerial tram route from the road.
As we got close to the train station, we saw that there was a train there! We rushed to get on it. We easily made it as the train didn’t leave for a few minutes. We rode it down to Lauterbrunnen, the final stop on the line.
From there, we took the aerial tram up to Grütschalp. It was extremely crowded and went up at maximum capacity. While the tram itself was very large, the tramway only had one tram cabin instead of the usual two which counterbalance each other.
There isn’t anything at Grütschalp other than a combination aerial tram and train station. We walked over to the single carriage train. It was also very crowded as most people who left the tram boarded the train. We weren’t able to find a seat so stood for the trip to Mürren.
There is also a hiking trail alternative, though it is easier in the opposite direction as it would be mostly downhill.
While we were in the shadow of Männlichen all the way down to Lauterbrunnen, we saw sunlight at Mürren. It is on the opposite side of the valley and was high enough in elevation to get sun at this relatively early hour. We started to walk to the south through town to Mürren’s aerial tram station.
Just a pretty Swiss scene…
We could see Birg above us. There is construction in the mountains due to a renovation program to update the Schilthorn transportation system.
The walk through town was easy though longer than expected. Although the aerial tram from Lauterbrunnen and subsequent train were extremely crowded, we didn’t see many people in town.
This funicular leads up to Allmendhubel. There is a restaurant, playground, and hiking trails up there.
Some of the buildings in town look like they were newly renovated, or possibly constructed.
This spot, near the aerial tram station, offered a nice overlook. Upon reach the station, we went inside and bought tickets for the trip up to Schilthorn. While our journey up until now was covered by the Jungfrau Travel Pass, the Schilthorn is not part of that system. There was a 50% discount for having a half fare card though.
Schilthorn Summer Guide
We picked up a brochure and the summer guide from the ticket office, though they are also available for download.
After buying tickets, we took the next aerial tram up to Birg. It was at capacity. At Birg, we transferred to the aerial tram to Schilthorn. It was also completely full. We weren’t able to get spots by the windows in either tram so we didn’t take any photos.
Upon reaching Piz Gloria, the station at Schilthorn, we walked to the 0th floor from the -2nd floor. We took a brief break on some seating by the stairs.
We walked outside for a better view. There is a short elevated path that leads to a roughly circular viewing platform. Looking to the northwest, we could see the Thunersee, and the city of Thun, out beyond the mountains. There was a short trail below us that led further out on the mountain to additional viewpoints.
A good spot for a panorama!
A non-panoramic view of the landscape below.
There were plenty of high mountain peaks to the southwest.
There is a very famous mountain to the southwest. It is Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in Western Europe and about 110 km away! The view was a bit hazy but we could see its snowy dome peeking out from behind another mountain. We only knew of its presence after reading a sign!
Eiger, the furthest away of the three famous mountains of the Jungfrau region.
We could see the Eigergletscher station down below.
Mönch, to the right of Eiger.
We could see the Sphinx Observatory above Jungfraujoch, as well as the former transmission station on the side of Jungfrau. Below the Sphinx, people can be seen at the Glacier Plateau. Unfortunately, we failed to take a telephoto photo of Jungfrau, oops!
Down below, we could see the buildings at Birg. There is quite a bit of construction activity with two large construction cranes! We could also see the Thrill Walk on the right side of the peak. It seems similar to the First Cliff Walk, which we visited two days ago.
There’s Männlichen, on the other side of the valley below. The big wooden cow can be seen in front of the rightmost building. The building on the left, with the large antenna above it, is the upper terminal of the aerial tram to Wengen.
To the left, we could see Männlichen’s peak.
We could see Faulhorn, though it was quite far away from here.
We were also able to find First! It is very tiny from here but it is possible to see both the First Cliff Walk and First View. The Schreckfeld intermediate gondola station can also be seen at the very right.
This seems like it might be the Bietenhorn. There are two people that look like they are about to summit.
We also made a panorama of the west side.
Seems like this would be quite a fantastic place to ski in the winter!
We went downstairs from the viewing platform and headed to the northwest along the short summit trail. Definitely don’t want to fall off here!
There is a James Bond related Walk of Fame here. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was filmed here in the late 60s, about 55 years ago. We hadn’t seen this particular movie and didn’t recognize any of the actors. The actor who played James Bond, George Lazenby, only did so for this one movie.
After returning home, we watched the movie on Amazon Prime Video. By modern standards, it is pretty terrible and painful to watch through. The plot also makes no sense, though we think its possible you need to have seen some of the previous Bond movies. The scenes at the mountain and in the area are interesting to watch though, as ridiculous as the action may be.
This would be a beautiful view of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, except for the big crane! There is also a temporary lift used to bring up construction materials on the left obstructing the view.
A downward view looks a bit better, at least the crane isn’t visible anymore!
We took another panorama from here, omitting the crane from view!
We continued walking on the short trail until we reached the end. This is actually the end of the trail that starts down at Birg. It gets the red and white trail marker, indicating that it is a hiking trail that may be more difficult but doesn’t require any technical ability or equipment, at least under normal good weather situations.
The view looking down from here.
Finally, a clear view of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau! Well, mostly clear as there are still the cables for the aerial tram and temporary lift.
We headed back to Piz Gloria, though we briefly stopped for the view.
There is a nice covered seating area here!
The end of the path on the summit.
After returning to Piz Gloria, we were a bit hungry as it was almost 1pm. We decided to get something quick from Skyline Take Away, the snack stand on the 0th floor. There is a rotating restaurant up on the 1st floor but we didn’t want to take the time to eat there. It seems that they do a James Bond themed brunch every day there, in addition to having a regular menu.
We got what is basically toasted bread with cheese and ham. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get a more substantial meal soon!
After our snack, we headed downstairs and walked through the Spy World. It is basically a little museum about the Bond movie that was filmed here. It is probably more interesting for people who have seen the movie and like it. There is also a Cinema. There wasn’t anyone there at the time and so we just walked through.
We headed down to the start of the Thrill Walk. Normally, these stairs down would not be covered. The wooden roof is there due to the construction to protect visitors from anything that might fall from above!
The Trill Walk is rather wide and much more roomy than the cramped First Cliff Walk.
Looking back at Schilthorn, we could see a small alpine lake nearby. There are a few people down there near it. It is probably the Grauseeli.
The three more famous mountains are visible on the left, though Eiger’s peak can just barely be seen. Down below, we can see Mürren on the left through the fence.
Around the corner, we see this! A tightrope walk! There is a metal safety net though. I did not give it a try. Luckily, there is a narrow path to the left by the cliff.
The Thrill Walk runs directly under the aerial tram.
A beautiful view of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau with Mürren down below. There is a whiteish building on the left at the top of a hill, it seems to be Allmendhubel, one of the three Schilthorn destinations besides Birg, where we are, and the actual Schilthorn, where we were.
Just up ahead, there is a glass walkway, also easily avoided if necessary!
It isn’t too high up, is it?
This is as far as we could go as the rest of the Thrill Walk was closed due to construction activities. There is a closed barrier right where we are standing. So what is ahead?
Luckily, Schilthorn’s Thrill Walk website provides the answer! There does appear to be a bypass, thankfully! It does look like it will be extremely beautiful in the winter.
We backtracked to return to the station area above. But first, we watched the aerial tram passed by.
Paragliding seems like quite a popular activity in this region! There is often one somewhere in view.
It is possible to see parts of the Thrill Walk from the large outdoor patio area above.
One section of the outdoor patio, on the east side facing the big three mountains, extends out above the Thrill Walk below. It is named the Skyline Walk, though it isn’t really a walkway. It has a metal grate floor, just like the Thrill Walk. In retrospect, I should have focused on the Thrill Walk in this photo. Too late to fix now!
Just in case you didn’t know which three mountains are the most famous! Adding to the list of things we should have done, we should have taken this photo with the mountains lined up with the blue outlines on the glass!
Here they are, Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, unobstructed! The view from here of these three is just as good as the view from Schilthorn!
We switched to the telephoto lens to take a look around. The Sphinx Observatory was easily spotted. It is a bit more clear compared to the photo we took earlier from Schilthorn, likely because we are closer. From this perspective, we are too low to see the Glacier Plateau area at Jungfraujoch. The former transmission station can still be seen on the side of Jungfrau, at the very upper right corner. Once again, we didn’t photograph Jungfrau’s peak.
Eiger and Mönch.
The Eigergletscher station at the base of Eiger. A few people can be seen hiking below the station.
A few glacial areas are visible.
This time, we were able to get a spot on the aerial tram on the east side by the window!
The journey back down in front of the big three. Overall, it was a great visit with excellent scenery despite the construction and crowded transport. The James Bond themed stuff didn’t do much for us, perhaps it would have been more compelling if it was based on the character in general rather than the one specific 50+ year old movie that was filmed here.
Once we arrived at Mürren, we started the walk through town to get to the train station. It was around 3pm and the sun was somewhere to the west now. We took a very similar photo earlier in the day when the sun was to the east. A much better view in the afternoon!
Some planned construction, now that we know what these poles are for!
Some pretty views on the way.
A hotel with new looking wood across from the train station.
There weren’t many people at the train station when we arrived. The train wasn’t yet on the platform but it soon pulled in. We got seats by the window on the right side, facing east. Once the train pulled out of the station, we got a fantastic view of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. Jungfraujoch and the Sphix are also visible from here, as well as the Eigergletscher station.
We briefly stopped at the modern looking station at Winteregg.
We continued on to the north.
Soon, we could see the upper aerial tram terminal at Grütschalp.
Wengen, on the opposite side of the valley below.
One final look at the big three!
We were able to sit by the window when we got on the tram at Grütschalp, though it did fill up before departure. Once we arrived back down in the valley at Lauterbrunnen, we took the train back to Grindelwald, changing trains at Zweilütschinen. Poor Zweilütschinen, the Jungfrau website states1:
However, nobody wants to stay in Zweilütschinen.
Upon returning to Grindelwald, sometime after 5pm, we went to get dinner. But first, we stopped at the Chocolate Chalet for some Swiss chocolates.
We got eight different ones, with a variety of flavors. Though they were good, they weren’t the best we’ve had.
We wanted to try C und M, the restaurant where the chef had an accident on our first day in town, but it is closed on Tuesdays. We ended up back at Adlerstube, the same restaurant we ate that evening.
We arrived a bit before the kitchen opened for dinner, but we sat down to take a look at the menu and to order.
Both the cordon bleu and risotto were very good, though the risotto was a bit hard for our preferences.
The fries were OK, though not up to the standard of the fries at Hot ‘n Juicy which somehow has the best fries ever!
After dinner, we returned to the Hotel Belvedere to check back in due to our room change.
This room was one floor higher in the middle section of the building. The layout was a bit different but the overall size and design was very similar. The bathroom was smaller though the tub had a more effective partial glass door for showering.
Some of the room descriptions for the Belvedere indicate a garden view. This is the small garden, down below. There is a little pond which actually does have fish. The outdoor hot tub is at the corner of the garden and has a nice enclosed entryway so that you don’t have to exit the water while outdoors. The indoor hot tub is right by the entrance. The water feels hotter, possibly because it actually is hotter, but also because it is not exposed to the outdoor weather.
The view from the balcony is quite nice, though not the Eiger view that you get from the other side of the building. The railway does run right behind the building but the trains are not too loud and don’t run during unreasonable hours.
This room has an obstructed view to the east.
The last rays of sunshine on the mountains as sunset approaches after 7pm.
- https://www.jungfrau.ch/en-gb/arrival-at-station-car-parks/zweiluetschinen-railway-station/ ↩︎