Take a train from Grindelwald
You might not think a train ride is an active pursuit in itself but it will certainly get your heart racing! You need a clear day to make the best of this, but it’s a must-do. The railway climbs up from Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidigg - and from there to Europe’s highest station at 3,454m– celebrated its centenary in 2012. Built for tourism right from the start, it’s an incredible feat of engineering.
The journey takes 50 minutes to climb from Kleine Scheidigg to Jungfraujoch, but the railway doesn’t just hug the mountains – it goes inside them, with two stops offering panoramic viewing galleries within the Eiger’s north face.
Some 700,000 visitors a year make this trip but go prepared – even in June, you could still find yourself needing full ski gear, including thermals, when you step outside onto the plateau. But when you do, the views along the Aletsch glacier are stupendous, as is the sight of the Sphinx, the gothic-looking domed weather station glinting on its rocky perch.
Outside, in the snow park, you can go tubing, tobogganing, take a hike onto the glacier and try a zipwire.
If you’re making a week of travelling the area, consider buying a Jungfraubahnen pass. At 250 CHF per adult (£165), which is not cheap, admittedly, it will give you unlimited travel for 6 days on Jungfrau’s network of buses, gondolas and railways, including steam boat rides on Lake Brienz.
Walk the Jungfrau
The Jungfrau region has more than 70 marked hikes and trails. Paths suitable for everyone, called Wanderwege, are marked with yellow signs. Bergwege, for experienced mountain walkers, are marked with white-red-white signs. Here are six of the best:
Eiger Walk (1hr)
A comfortable walk for all-comers from Eigergletscher to Kleine Scheidigg, that takes in the Kirchli, an old transformer station converted into a mini-Eiger museum, and the Fallboden lake, lined with memorial boulders engraved with the names of every climber to have died trying to conquer the Eiger’s north face. Poignant.
Mannlichen – Kleine Scheidigg (1hr 20)
An almost flat and superbly prepared trail, with permanent views of the impressive Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau peaks. Backdrops don’t get more impressive!
First – Bachalpsee – First (2hr)
A gently undulating path from First, above Grindelwald, to Lake Bachalpsee – a beautiful mountain lake, with stunning scenery and cool waters for a dip.
Panoramaweg Schynige Platte (2hr 30)
Attractive circular walk with lovely views over Lake Brienz. Expect carpets of beautiful alpine flowers and the odd colony of marmots.
Eiger Trail (2hr 50)
From Alpiglen to Eigergletscher, this spectacular but safe mountain trail for well-equipped and experienced hikers runs along the foot of the imposing Eiger north face.
Schynige Platte – Faulhorn – First (6hr 10)
A full day’s trek. From Schynige Platte, this classic high-alpine hike climbs gently to the Faulhorn, where you can stop at Europe’s oldest mountain hotel. A short downhill stretch brings you to Lake Bachalpsee and on to First.
Mountain Biking Nirvana
There are more than 160km of marked trails to make the Jungfrau region a top spot for mountain biking. With tours from easy to extreme, it’s a great way to keep the unparalleled mountain views constantly changing.
Guided tours ensure you get the best out of the area – and many bike packages include accommodation at certified bike hotels. Many of the cable routes are biker-friendly and the train is great for transport up the mountains.
A gentle bike option, which is great fun for families, is to hire a trottibike. These are like adult scooters: they have big wheels and brakes but no pedals. So the only way is down. Riding them is easy, and the trottibike is an effortless way to get out among the meadows and pastures and savour some mountain views.
For the competitive natured, August sees hundreds of riders take to the trails above Grindelwald in the Eiger Bike Challenge. eigerbike.ch
Via ferrata is an Italian term meaning iron way, and describes an activity that’s a blend of walking and climbing. Using harnesses you hook onto a pre-prepared course along a steep rock face and prepare for some great views.
Of the handful of via ferrata in the Jungfrau region the pick is the one that leads down (rather than up) from Mürren to Gimmelwald.
It starts high above the Lauterbrunnen Valley in the ridiculously cute village of Mürren (1,800m) and leads steeply downwards in the direction of Gimmelwald. The via ferrata usually takes about three hours and covers 2.2km, with a difference in altitude of 400m.