4 Early Season Excursions
Jungfrau Region's Blogbuster Series / Nr. 08
Many sports leagues around the globe are in a hot phase right now. Championships are at stake and the seasons of some teams and athletes already are or will soon be over. The heroes of the sports world then go on their well-deserved summer break. Our situation's a little different – we're in a transitional phase, so to speak. For example, the Schilthorn ends its winter operation this weekend. It's the most snow-sure ski area here and always closes last.
In general it's rather quiet in the villages of the Jungfrau Region at the moment. However, behind closed doors of railways, hotels + restaurants and other excursion destinations the preparations for a long summer season are in full swing. On many hiking trails the snow must first melt before workers can prepare them accordingly.
So not everything's quite ready yet for our guests and some facilites remain closed until end of May or start of June. We need a little more patience until everything’s open again and summer's really here. For those who are already in our region now: We're happy you're here. For others planing to come soon or the ones who’ve never been here: Just come when you can, it's really nice here – promise!
So apart from the trains, cable cars and other attractions, which are open all year or most of the time, here are 4 hikes and excursions to enjoy during these «slower days»:
#1 Alpine Bird Park Grindelwald
A place not known to many non-locals. Take the bus from the train station to Hotel Wetterhorn. It's bus line 121 and «Oberer Gletscher» is the last stop – that's the one you have to get off (bus is going back to the train station afterwards). The bus ride's included in the Grindelwald guest card and takes about 15 min. The Alpine Bird Park can then be reached on foot from Hotel Wetterhorn in 45 minutes via the mountain road (it's not permitted to go there by car). Mainly native bird species are kept in 9 aviaries. The animals are regularly fed and taken care of by trained helpers. The park's open 365 days a year and you don't have to pay any entry fee. The park operators will nevertheless be very happy about a small donation to one of the food boxes on spot.
Tip: If you're up for a bit of exercise, you can rent a bike at one of the sports shops in the village and ride up to the bird park.
#2 Hiking tour Mürren - Winteregg - Grütschalp
A classic hike in the region. We recommend taking the journey via Lauterbrunnen and Grütschalp – the railway line just happens to open again this weekend. From Lauterbrunnen station, an aerial cableway takes you up to Grütschalp (takes a bit more than 5 min). This is followed by a short (only 15 min) but rather beautiful train ride, from Grütschalp to Mürren. The idyllic mountain village of Mürren invites you for a short stroll or a snack before you return to Grütschalp on foot. The hike takes about an hour and leads through small woods and mountain meadows, always accompanied by the view of the iconic mountain trio Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. Oh, and if you fancy a nice Swiss meal on the way – mountain restaurant Winteregg has a great summer terrace and offers hearty food. They’ll start their season on 18 May.
#3 Leiterhorn Trail (Wengen - Hunnenfluh - Leiterhorn)
From the Leiterhorn, the Lauterbrunnen Valley presents itself in its entire length. The view up to the Jungfrau and the striking pyramid-shaped Silberhorn is also magnificent. A relatively flat path leads from the village centre of Wengen via Ledi to the Hunnenfluh. From the Hunnenfluh you can enjoy a fantastic view of the Lütschental and down to Interlaken. Through a small forest you then climb up to the Leiterhorn for 20 to 30 minutes. Once you reach the Leiterhorn, you can relax and just take in the great view. On the north side, there's an imposing, almost 700 metre vertical view down to Zweilütschinen. We bet you wonder what kind of thing «Zweilütschinen» is. Must be a weird looking word for English speakers. Well, it's actually just the name of a small village. «Zwei» means two and the «Lütschine» is a river. There are the black (Grindelwald) and the white (Lauterbrunnen) Lütschine and the two rivers meet in Zweilütschinen. That's it – you've even learnt something now, you can thank us later. Oh, and the other strange names in this text are also just for places and areas but we're not gonna go into that now. If you can read them on a sign while hiking, that's probably a good thing though. The subsequent way back to Wengen is via Ussri Allmi and Flielenboden, via a not too steep forest path. All in all, the tour takes about 1.5 hours.
#4 Through the Aare Gorge to Innertkirchen
A highlight in the Haslital, whatever the weather. Walk through the village of Meiringen, over the Alpbach bridge to the «Sandsteg», which leads across the Aare river. Continue to the entrance of the Aare Gorge and make your way through the mystical pathway to the exit on the east side. A forest path marked by hiking signs leads to the Aare river again, where a fireplace invites you for a picnic. Along the Aare, a field path leads to the village of Innertkirchen. Return with the Meiringen-Innertkirchen-Bahn (a cute local train) to the starting point in Meiringen. Listen, we don't mean to scare you but the creature, which lives in the Aare Gorge, is supposed to be a cousin of the monster from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – but we'll let you figure that out for yourself. Hiking time's approx. 2 hours by the way.
Of course there's more to do than just those 4 things. Get advice from our tourist offices in the villages, check the weather, find info on local tourist websites and most of all: take it easy and try to stay flexible. After all, it's the time of year where you put your winter jacket in the basement and you might have to get it out again next week. Because we must not forget that nature always remains more powerful than people and luckily we don't get to decide the weather forecast.