4 Water Wonders
Jungfrau Region's Blogbuster Series / Nr. 11
Welcome to the very first chemistry lesson of the Jungfrau Region Tourism School! Today we'll deal with the basis of all life on our beautiful planet – WATER. A chemical compound between oxygen and hydrogen. We hope you brought some time, because the lesson will take about 10 hours.
Just kidding, we only wanna talk about water in our region a bit. Because we have it in all it forms here. Liquid or solid. At great heights or in dark depths. Everywhere. In abundance. Come on, we even have a place that's called the valley of 72 waterfalls (the village of Lauterbrunnen, for those who don't know).
In a nutshell: A lot of water. At first sight this doesn't seem to be anything special but it's a huge privilege for us and our guests to find enough fresh water everywhere around here. Fortunately in Switzerland in general. Awesome country we live in, right?
You will come across many beautiful streams, rivers, waterfalls and mountain lakes if you travel through the Jungfrau Region. Besides these admission-free beauties (for some you just have to pay with a tough hike), there are also some other special attractions around water. We'd like to show you 4 of those:
#1 Rosenlaui Glacier Gorge
Massive waterfalls, romantic grottos, bizarre rock formations: for thousands of years the glacier water has been forming fantastic rock art here.
The Rosenlaui Glacier Gorge was already mentioned in a travel guide from the 19th century. However, back then only a wooden staircase led into the depth and gave the daring traveller a glimpse of the interior of the gorge. Since then, the gorge has been in the possession of several generations and has been further developed for visitors. Through tunnels and a number of steps you climb 115 metres through the gorge. The descent leads through a mountain forest and the whole circuit takes about 45 minutes.
The gorge is surrounded by a great and idyllic hiking area and lies on the route of Meiringen - Grosse Scheidegg - Grindelwald. The Grosse Scheidegg is a mountain pass that connects the villages of Meiringen and Grindelwald. However, the inhabitants of the two villages don't really feel connected. You have to understand, neighbouring Swiss villages are a bit like siblings – something like a love-hate relationship. We like to make fun of each other. But that's a different story...
You can reach the gorge by bus from Meiringen or hike there. The mountain pass is also popular for cyclists in summer – if you wanna be more active.
Opening hours: Daily from 9am to 6 pm. In May and October only until 5pm.
Prices: Adults CHF 8, Kids (6-16 years) CHF 4
Guided tours through the gorge and theme hikes are available on request.
#2 Grindelwald Glacier Gorge
The 300m high rock walls of the Grindelwald Glacier Gorge testify to the incredible power of the lower Grindelwald Glacier. Sadly, the glacier no longer exists. But the gorge reminds us of it, is no less spectacular and offers a unique view into the past with its long footbridge that leads deep into the rocks.
The glacier gorge is divided into various themes such as geology, glaciers, water and myths – an exciting experience for all ages. One of the highlights is the SPIDERWEB. No worries, if you're afraid of spiders: It's a walkable net (made of ropes) stretched over the gorge, which offers a unique view and thrills at the same time.
If you're looking for even more thrills, you can jump 90 meters into the abyss and swing through the narrow gorge at up to 120 km/h. That crazy thing's called Canyon Swing. Booking in advance is mandatory, via Outdoor Interlaken, for CHF 149.
Extra tip: Fancy a BBQ? Next to the car park near the glacier gorge there's a big BBQ area which can be booked through Grindelwald Tourism.
The gorge can be reached on foot in 35 minutes from the village centre of Grindelwald or by local bus from Grindelwald railway station. The name of the bus stop is «Gletscherschlucht».
Opening hours: 9 May - 27 October, daily from 9.30am to 6pm / on Fridays even until 10pm, with special lighting
Prices: Adults CHF 19, with Grindelwald guest card CHF 17, Kids (6-16 years) CHF 10
With the Bernese Oberland Regional Pass, you can visit the gorge for the local price of CHF 14.
The «Reichenbachfall» has its source at the «Rosenlaui» glacier. The forcecul and vibrant waterfall is 120m high and can easily reached by the «Reichenbach» funicular. The nostalgic railway takes you up to the top in a short time. There are 3 viewing platforms, which offer a breathtaking view over the thundering waterfall as well as the Haslital valley.
If you visit this attraction, you'll also dive into the crime world. Don't worry, you won't get arrested. The waterfall's a must-see stop for Sherlock Holmes fans. At this site, the famous detective challenged his archenemy Moriarty to a final battle – the fierce fight ended with both opponents falling over the edge and into this very waterfall. Hm, we don't really get why they were fighting here. The beautfiul nature should've distracted them and provided some harmony – nevermind...
It's best to visit the waterfall from May to October – in winter there's little or no water flowing over the cliffs. If you walk from Meiringen village centre, you can reach the funicular station in about 20 minutes. There's also a bus going there, you'll have to get off at «Willigen, Klinik Reichenbach».
Located over the waterfall, there's the «Gasthaus Zwirgi», a small hotel with a great terrace. Enjoy a refreshment there and definitely try a «Meringue» – we won't tell you what it is, just trust us and order it. From the hotel, you can go on a rapid descent back to the valley with the «Monstertrottis». We also won't thell you what those are, just go and see for yourself.
Opening hours: 4 May - October 2019, daily from 9am to 5.30pm (last ascent at 5.15pm)
Prices: Adults return ticket CHF 12, Kids return ticket (6-16 years) CHF 8
Tickets can be booked online via «Grimselwelt». You can also buy them on spot but note that the driver can only take cash payment.
Good to know: There are combo tickets for the funicular ride plus entry to the Aare Gorge, the «Monstertrottis» or the Sherlock Holmes Museum.
German names can look quite funny, can't they? «Trümmelbach» can be translated as drum stream – because of the sound the water makes here. The band that makes the music in this location is a well-known trio of our region. Namely the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. The «Trümmelbach» alone drains the huge glacier walls of those three mountains with up to 20,000 litres of water per second from its catchment area of 24 square km, which is covered up to half with snow and ice. So with its ten glacier waterfalls inside the mountain, made accessible by a tunnel lift, the Trümmelbach Falls are unique in Europe.
The amount of water fluctuates enormously. Most water flows during the snow melt from April to June, then during the glacier melt from June to September and storms – then the «Trümmelbach» becomes a river and it gets quite loud as the water thunders through. Sounds like the perfect place if you don't wanna talk to your partner. Fun aside, you can close your eyes and listen to the water and imagine that everyday problems are simply washed away. Wow, that was a little deep.
You can reach the unique attraction by bus from Lauterbrunnen train station.
Opening hours: Start of April - start of November, daily from 9am to 5pm, during high season (July/August) from 8.30am to 6pm.
Prices: Adults CHF 11, Kids (6-15 years) CHF 4
Extra round for you: Mystical, dark, precious. We copied this from a dating page. Of course not! This is how you could describe the Aare Gorge in Meiringen. More about the history of the Aare Gorge.
You see, water experiences from the eternal ice of the glaciers to the deepest gorges in the valleys. We hope you'll be able to check out some of these cool spots – but don't get wet friends!
By the way, gorges are your best friend during the hot months if you wanna escape the heat. However, there's also an incomparable atmosphere if it's rainy. Just make sure you wear good shoes.