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The Silk Route - World Travel: Eiger, Monch, Jungfrau, Bernese Oberland, Switzerland
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Switzerland: Wengen, Mürren & Schilthorn
Most recent: August 2016

The Lauterbrunnen Valley Wengen Mürren Schilthorn
Mürren

The car-free villages of Wengen and Mürren offer some of the most stunning scenery in the Bernese Oberland - the magnificent Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains can be seen from both villages.

Out of season,especially in early snowy winter, they are peaceful and beautiful. In season - high summer or full winter - full of hikers or skiers.

The Lauterbrunnen Valley

Lauterbrunnen Valley from the train September 1990
Lauterbrunnen Valley from the train up to Wengen, September 1990.
From the cable car to Mürren
Looking down into the valley on the cable car to Mürren in winter, 1991.

Lauterbrunnen Valley

 

 

Wengen and Mürren lie on opposite sides of the Lauterbrunnen Valley in the Bernese Oberland, one of the most beautiful valleys in all Switzerland.

It is a huge U-shaped valley, the shape caused by glaciation (river valleys are more V-shaped), and dominated by the three peaks of Eiger (3970m), Mönch (4109m) and Jungfrau (4158m).

Lauterbrunnen Valley
Lauterbrunnen Valley from the train, August 2016.

The Jungfrau was first climbed in 1811 and  the area became immensely popular with climbers. The first railway from Lauterbrunnen through Wengen and up to Kleine Scheidegg opened in 1892. Eventually trains were able to reach right up to the Jungfraujoch, at 3454m it is the highest station in Europe. More information on the building of the railway can be found at the Aletsch Glacier article - the Aletsch begins its journey at Jungfraujoch.

Lauterbrunnen Valley
August 2016 on the way up to walk the Eiger Trail.

Lauterbrunnen Valley

 

 

Tourism plays a large role in the area and cable cars allow access to the mountains above Wengen and as far as the top of Schilthorn and the famous rotating restaurant above Mürren.

Skiing and other snow sports in winter and hiking in summer make the area attractive to visit all year round. Both Wengen and Mürren are essentially car-free and very popular with the British contingent. The oldest ski race in the world, the Inferno, begun by an Englishman, Sir Arnold Lunn, begins just below Schilthorn and ends in Lauterbrunnen.

 

Trümmelbach Falls
Part of the extensive Trümmelbach Falls.

 

 

While in Lauterbrunnen a trip to the Trümmelbach Falls, on the east side of the valley south of Wengen, is well worthwhile. Tens of thousands of litres of water barrel down through the mountain every second at peak flow, draining 24 sq. km of Alpine landscape including the glaciers of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. You'll probably get wet so take waterproofs and a brolly!

 

 

Wengen

Tschuggen On the walk down to Kleine Scheidegg.
Tschuggen (2520m) seen from Männlichen (long lens) and, behind, the Jungfraujoch.
Tschuggen (2520m) seen from Männlichen (long lens) and, behind, the Jungfraujoch.

 

Rather larger than Mürren, Wengen is at the northern end on the east side of the Lauterbrunnen Valley at 1274m, reached by train from Lauterbrunnen.

Wengen
Wengen, August 2016.
Eiger
Eiger

In the shadow of the Jungfrau, Eiger and Mönch and high above the beautiful Lauterbrunnen valley the scenery is spectacular.

We visited Wengen in 1990 and 2009 to walk amongst this amazing mountain landscape and visit Jungfraujoch.


Walk down to Kleine Scheidegg



Wengen walk

In September 1990 we took the cable car up to Männlichen from where there are amazing views. It was an easy 90 minute walk down to Kleine Scheidegg for lunch then two hours walk back into Wengen - a bit steep in places and hard on the knees! The weather was cool and cloudy, at times quite dark and threatening, and the north face of the Eiger looked very forbidding.

Another day we took the train to Jungfraujoch from Wengen with more great views over the valley on the way. Jungfraujoch is a fabulous place,  a must-see in Switzerland - photos in the Aletsch Glacier article.

Eiger 3970m, Mönch 4107m.
Eiger 3970m, Mönch 4107m.
Eiger
Wengen
Just above the mountain village of Wengen.

 

Mürren

Jungfrau
Jungfrau

 

Mürren
The iconic Eiger from Mürren.

Eiger

On the western side of the southern Lauterbrunnen valley, at a height of 1650m, lies picturebook Mürren, one of the first villages to be settled in the thirteenth century. Reached by cable car from the valley, the views across to Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau are fantastic.

 

Eiger
Mürren
Mürren

Mürren
Mürren
Eiger and Mönch

On one visit in November 1990 there had been a fresh fall of about a foot of snow, no other visitors were there and the effect was magical.

Eiger and Mönch
Eiger and Mönch
Mürren

 

 

Even on such a beautiful day the menace of the north face of the Eiger is evident. Many lives have been lost on the North Face and it was only in 1938 that two German climbers, Anderl Heckmair and Ludwig Vorg, and two Austrians, Fritz Kasparek and Heinrich Harrer, succeeded in climbing it.

In 2008 a Swiss climber, Ueli Steck, knocked 58 minutes off his own record for speed climbing the North Face of the Eiger set the previous year: he got to the top in an unbelievable 2 hours and 47 minutes.

In 1991 we returned on a glorious July day when the flower meadows were in full bloom.

 

Mürren

 

Schilthorn

Schilthorn
Cable car to Schilthorn, July 1991.
Schilthorn
Schilthorn
March 1991

 

Made famous by the Bond movie "On Her Majesty's Secret Service", the location of the revolving restaurant at the top of this 2970m mountain provides a stunning 360° panorama encompassing over 200 peaks including, Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, on a clear day, right to the Mont Blanc range. It is reached by cable car, itself a wonderful experience as the views just keep getting better and  better.

Schilthorn
Piz Gloria, July 1991.

Schilthorn
Close-up of the Eiger, July 1991.

The Piz Gloria revolving restaurant was the first of its kind in the world, but you may have to wait for a table!

Schilthorn
March1991

In 1991 we made two visits to Schilthorn: one in snowy March, the second in sunny July. I love the mountains in winter when they are covered with a thick blanket of snow, but there's a lot to be said for a hot, sunny summer's day!

Schilthorn
Fabulous view of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.

We had another lovely day in April 2013 when we returned to have lunch at the revolving restaurant!


eiger
Eiger, April 2013.

schilthorn
View to Schilthorn from the cable car, April 2013.
Schilthorn
March 1991
eiger
North face of the Eiger, amazing to think people climb it, April 2013.
eiger
Schilthorn
March 1991




monch
monch
monch
Mönch, April 2013.
Jungfrau
Jungfrau, April 2013.
schilthorn
Schilthorn revolving restaurant, April 2013.
panorama schilthorn