The Swiss Skyline (and why we didn’t see Jungfrau)
Our second day in Switzerland dawned clear and bright. Our hotel’s webcam showed the cloudless summit of Jungfrau surrounded by bright sunlight with almost no wind. It was a perfect morning to take the train to Jungfrau. We flew through breakfast and enthusiastically approached the ticket desk in Lauterbrunnen, EuRail passes in hand, and asked for 2 round-trip tickets to Jungfrau. The very pleasant ticket-master verified our passes and said that the price would be 284.50 CHF. We stopped breathing momentarily, and then told the gentleman that we would have to pass on those tickets. Needless to say, we didn’t make it to Jungfrau, and neither will you if you don’t budget properly for it. Keep in mind that was with the Eurail pass- without it, the tickets would’ve been 378 CHF for 2 adults. To buy tickets and see all the price options, use this link Jungfrau Tickets This is a prime example of why I believe it’s better to dedicate one single trip to just Switzerland. Save other countries for another trip, and use the Swiss Travel Passes to reduce cost. With the Swiss Half Fare card, the price (for 2) would’ve been just under 200 CHF.
Instead of Jungfrau, we spent the entire day on the Swiss Skyline Tour. We didn’t even realize that the Skyline Tour was an option until we ran into 2 American backpackers on a cable car down to Stechelberg who had run into the same difficulties we had in purchasing tickets. As we chatted about the difficulties of reaching Jungfrau, the consensus that Switzerland is death to a backpacker’s budget was quickly reached and they kindly suggested we take the cable car to Schilthorn to see the Skyline instead. Although expensive, the Skyline tour is still cheaper than a visit to Jungfrau and many people we talked to in the area said it’s just as beautiful. From Schilthorn, you can see the three major peaks of the Lauterbrunnen Region- Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau. If you want prices, check out Ticket Prices: Swiss Skyline. Here are some pictures of the view from Schilthorn.
Schilthorn is located approximately at 9,744 feet and its restaurant, the Piz Gloria, provides a 360 degree view of the Eiger (the Ogre), the Monch (the Monk), and Jungfrau (the Maiden). The restaurant slowly rotates, allowing you to take in the surrounding skyline without feeling dizzy, and the food is yummy. It’s a bit of a splurge to eat here, but I think it’s worth it. The James Bond movie, ‘In Her Majesty’s Service,’ was in part, filmed here, and if you’re going to invest in the trip I think it’s worth going all out. Watch/re-watch the movie before you go, order drinks and a light lunch, and watch the famous Skyline circle around you. This view was truly surreal and even though it seems like a lot of money, I’m really glad that we invested in it. It won’t be quickly forgotten. On our way down (after visiting the James Bond museum on site and posing for wayyyy too many pictures by the 007 sign) we stopped by Birg to do the Thrill Walk. I’m still not sure why I thought this would be a good idea considering I have a pathological fear of heights but regardless, I did. It was utterly terrifying. Jeff had absolutely no problem and loved the views – he got some awesome shots while I clung to the rock face wall shaking with my eyes closed. Maybe just stick to the epic views from the balcony at the Birg Cable Car Station if you have an aversion to heights. There’s also a cute little Bistro here if you prefer to save a little cash and don’t necessarily want the full sit-down meal experience offered at Piz Gloria. Here are pictures from Birg and the thrill walk (it’s included with the cost of the cable car).