Jungfrau Region (Switzerland) – A Hiker’s Paradise (Part 1)

Let me start by apologising for my prolonged absence from my beloved WP community. Sure, I have replied to comments and even stalked my favourite sites from time to time, but for the most part, it might have appeared that I’d slipped into premature hibernation.

Alas, I have just been travelling! Unlike my previous travels, this trip was a keenly anticipated affair involving some of the most secluded destinations and maiden experiences in Finland, Iceland, Denmark (yes, again!) and Switzerland. Travelling never ceases to have the power to amaze or bedazzle, and over the coming months, I hope to share my journeys and disseminate the travel bug near and afar.

On my final leg, I spent 9 days in Switzerland soaking up the glorious Swiss Alps and its labyrinth of lakes and villages. Switzerland’s crippling cost of living may have deterred the budget conscious (myself included, although hiking on a restricted diet is a sure-fire way to lose those stubborn kilos), the country has decidedly won me over with its jaw-dropping landscapes and vibrant urban culture.

Located in the Swiss Jungfrau region and sandwiched between Lake Brienz to the east and Lake Thun to the west, Interlaken – literally meaning between lakes – is geographically blessed and easily topped my list of “must-see” Swiss destinations. Many will also attest to Interlaken’s strategic connectivity to some of the most iconic Swiss hiking trails and undulating alpine villages. Most of the sites are accessible by car, but the Swiss trains, funiculars and mountain railway networks are meticulously planned and offer an unbeatable travel experience.

Whilst a separate blog post will be dedicated to Interlaken shortly, here are my Top 5 recommendations within a stone’s throw of the town.

Lauterbrunnen

Switzerland 3
Classic Lauterbrunnen, featuring Lauterbrunnen village church and Staubbach Falls

Lauterbrunnen, the valley of “Many Fountains”, is arguably the most picturesque in the Jungfrau region. A breezy 20-minute train ride from Interlaken, its very name alludes to the proliferation of thundering waterfalls (all 72 of them). The Staubbach Falls is perhaps the most Instagrammed, creating a dramatic backdrop to showcase Lauterbrunnen’s gigantic rock faces and traditional wooden alpine houses.

Switzerland 7
Moody Lauterbrunnen

Switzerland 6

Gimmelwald

Switzerland 8
Lauterbrunnen valley, base of the Gimmelwald gondola

From Lauterbrunnen station, I decided to hike the (relatively) flat terrain in the Lauterbrunnen valley along the Stechelberg bus route. My lazy tendencies set in after a while and I hopped on the next yellow Stechelberg bus that rolled along. The legitimate reason, of course, is that the supposed 1.5 hour hike would have taken until midnight with a camera clicking in overdrive. The bus leads to the Gimmelwald gondola (terminal stop), where, after 5 spellbinding minutes, the village of Gimmelwald awaits.

Switzerland 1
View of Lauterbrunnen valley, from the gondola to Gimmelwald

Compared to its better known cousin, Grindelwald, Gimmelwald is an unpolished gem hidden in the Swiss Alps. With an elevation of ~1,367m, the traffic-free village is perched casually on the edge of a cliff. At first blush, the village seems to be overrun by mountain goats and alpine horses and cows…

Switzerland 2
Rocking the granny grey mane…
Switzerland 11
Ms Sultry

But with vistas like these you soon learn why they are in no hurry to give up the place they call home.

Switzerland 10
Gimmelwald village

Switzerland 9

Switzerland 5
Traditional Swiss alpine shed
Switzerland 4
Sentimental favourite

(Taken at different locations, these two combined to create an uncanny photo jigsaw!)

27 Comments Add yours

  1. Loving your posts! I am visiting Switzerland for a four day layover and trying to figure out what is best to see! Thank you for the information 😊

    1. Jolene says:

      Thanks Alex, you’ll love it for sure! Depending on where you are stopping, you may wish to see a few cities as well, like Zurich or Geneva. 😊

  2. seraphsun says:

    The Staubbach Falls as a backdrop against the wooden cabins is indeed captivating. I wish I was there!

    1. Jolene says:

      Hi Seraph, thanks for dropping by and leaving such a kind comment. It was an amazing sight, hope you make it there one day! 😊

  3. Lynn Blair says:

    Looks like you had a good time. I’m ready to get out and about for a bit myself. Hopefully soon.

    1. Jolene says:

      Thanks Lynn, yes an awesome time indeed. It’s always good to escape!

  4. Choi says:

    Like like like! Looks so calm and serene!

    1. Jolene says:

      Thanks! Calm and serene… you wouldn’t know it given the day was full of rolling clouds and occasional thunderstorm… Glad the photos came out OK. The place is very peaceful though, good place to retire to…

      1. Choi says:

        Is it a good place to retire? I guess its nice and quiet. But thought it would be quite expensive too.

      2. Jolene says:

        Oh let me clarify, apart from being hideously expensive (unless you like your diet to comprise nothing more than instant noodles), it’s a great place to retire to!

      3. Choi says:

        Haha! Diet full of instant noodles…guess i dant retire here…

  5. Such a beautiful place! Look forward to your next travel post 🙂

    1. Jolene says:

      Thanks for your kind words! 😊

  6. Rachel McKee says:

    These pictures are stunning! Thank you for letting me visit vicariously through you.❤️

    1. Jolene says:

      Thank you Rachel, always a pleasure to share. 😊

  7. Selina says:

    Your photos have taken me back to a trip made in early July 2015. We stayed in Wengen and loved every minute of our travels.

    1. Jolene says:

      Thank you Selina, that’s so kind of you! That’s the amazing part about WP, certainly a lot of the stories I have come across also remind me of my own past footprints. They are very relatable and bring back those wonderful memories. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed Swiss Alps, Wengen was lovely too! 😊

  8. Len Kagami says:

    Wow! Your photos do make my jaw drop! Although the sky is not clear, the landscape is still impressive. I guess it was cold when you were there, right? There is some snow on the ground 🙂

    1. Jolene says:

      Thanks Len! The landscape is truly amazing, did you go last time? I had terrible weather, cold and raining with a bit of a storm. I thought photos would be terrible, but they turned out quite moody and different. The ski fields were still operating in April.

  9. Oh my. This is decidedly different than what we’ve got here. I miss mountains of my homeland, I see. What a spectacular time you must have had! Looking forward to more.

    1. Jolene says:

      The Italian Alps are also a spectacular sight, no? I remembered Tuscany as a picture of crisp green rolling hills as far as the eye can see… I’ve never been to Slovenia, it must be pretty as a picture too. 😊 Thanks for your encouragement and your company Manja!

      1. Yes, in the winter and spring up to June it’s all green and lovely (we had one morning of snow too this winter). Then the brown period begins and lasts until November when the greening starts all over again. The Italian Alps are far, Slovenian Alps farther, but it’s good to remember all the hopping around there from my youth. My family were quite mountaineering. And then we got lazy. 😀 Slovenia also has the sea, the subterranean caves and Karst, the Tuscany-style hills, beautiful lakes and rivers, the Pannonian plain with healing water spas etc. etc. Never a dull moment. 🙂 And never too late for you to visit!

      2. Jolene says:

        Haha, I like you sales pitch – never too late to explore! 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s