Hello everyone! Today I visited another mountain in the Jungfrau region – Schynige Platte. I love this region because there are so many mountains you can either hike or take a cog railway train or cable car to go the top, and view, in a sunny or mostly sunny day, is absolutely wonderful. I’ve been to Schilthorn (Pia Gloria, where the James Bond movie was shot) and Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe, but there are still so many mountains with great view or adventures waiting. This time, I chose to go to Schynige Platte because some friends posted pictures about it and I think they look wonderful.
- If you wanna know more about the hiking trails in the Jungfrau region please click here.
- If you wanna know more about the ticket prices in the Jungfrau region please click here. (You can click on your starting point on the left column and you will see the stops you can go to and then you can find your stop and check how much it costs to go there.)
- If you wanna know about the timetables please click here and type in your starting stop and destination.
- On the right up corner, you can see the discounts for your tickets.(for example, for kids, SBB GA holders, SBB Half-price card holders etc.) (Check the discounts section carefully to make sure your destination is included in GA or 1-day swiss travel pass, it’s quite complicated, but I’ll state clearly in my post which routes I’ve taken are included in GA and which you need to buy extra tickets.)
- If you know exactly where you are going to (the starting stop and destination) you can click here to check the ticket prices.
The Jungfrau region is mainly made up of the high mountains, Brienzersee and Thunersee and the city, Interlaken. (I’ll only talk about public transport here and if you drive you can use the GPS) Whichever mountain you’re going to, in general you need to take a train from your city to Interlaken (Ost or West, but mostly Ost). Then the most famous route is from Interlaken Ost to Lauterbrunnen, from where you can go to Jungfraujoch, Kleine Scheidegg, Männlichen, Schilthorn (Piz Gloria) etc. I went to Schynige Platte this time so I didn’t take the train to the terminal stop but got off at Wilderswil, from where you can take the old Schynige Platte cog railway and go up.
1. Going up and down
- You can use your GA or 1-day swiss pass to Wilderswil for free and buy ticket to board the Schynige Platte railway to go up to the top.
- The mountain rail way costs 64 CHF round-way and if you have GA, 1-day travel pass or half-price card you get 32 CHF for round-way.
- Considering this is one of the oldest cog railway trains, it takes around 50 mins to 1 hour to reach the top. It’s slow but enjoy the view. When you’re totally immersed in the wonderful scenery you won’t feel it’s that long at all.
2. On the way
The whole journey (one way) take around 50mins – 1h but the view is just great! I suggest you sit by the windows, either side is fine but if you wanna have a great view of the city, sit close to the windows by the door.
You must be wondering, “There are only two or four doors in one car of the train, how can I grab a sit by the door? What’s more, are there seats by the door?” For a normal train, no, there are no seats by the door, but for this old traditional train, yes. One train car is divided into several booths and each booth has a capacity of 8 people. Normally, you see a train and there are two door open for people to get on and off and when you go through the door you walk into the cabin with windows. For this particular train, there are as many doors as the booths in one cabin. When the cabin crew opens the door, you can walk in and sit but there’s no space for you to walk in the cabin. I guess this saves quite some space and you can’t get out unless the cabin crew opens the door. If I haven’t explained it clearly you can look at the pictures of the train I took and then you will understand.
In this case, 4 out of 8 people are not gonna get seats by the window and it’s not very likely to move in the booth so I suggest you go a little bit early before the train leaves and take a nice seat.
Whether you on your journey up or down, you will experience spring and winter through just one tunnel. 30s before you see far away, mountains with green trees, Brienzersee and Thunersee, the city Interlaken and close by, green or yellowish (because it’s already autumn) grass, but after one tunnel, you will see, in front of you are Christmas trees covered in snow and then more and more huge snowy mountains are appearing. In such a short time, the scenery changed dramatically.
3. On Schynige Platte
When you get off the train and are facing the station, on your right is the Alpine Botanical Garden and on your left side is a round tour to the summit.
3.1 Schynige Platte mountain hotel and the round hiking trail
If you turn left to take a round hiking trail you will see the mountain hotel with a restaurant and a shop. If you don’t wanna have food yet I suggest you take the round trip, during which you will see quite some vantage points of the lakes, mountains, cow bells ect. with signs. I don’t think it’s really demanding as many old people took the route as I did. What’s more, the round trip can be long or short depending on your health condition as there are signs on the way telling you that you can go further or go to the starting point. I think this round trail is actually connected with the Alpine Botanical Garden so you can walk around the whole Schynige Platte (It looks so from the map). I’m not sure about this assumption because I went back to the station and entered the garden from there. I guess you’ll have to find out whether the round tour starting point from the hotel is connected to the round tour of the garden or not by yourself.
If you take the round tour (I strongly recommend you do), there are several things you shouldn’t miss.
- Big photo frames
- Alphorn players (from 28th May to 23rd October in front of the hotel and in bad weather in the hotel) (I remember I read it from somewhere that it’s from 11:00 – 14:00, but i’m not sure.) When you walk up to the hotel, they will be welcoming you on the way.
- Cow bells
- Vantage points (the wooden columns)
The hotel is really considerate that it provides brush and water to clean your shoes after your hiking. To be honest, don’t struggle to take a wonderful picture of yourself if you don’t have a fancy camera, but you can always photoshop it later like the website did. When you see through the photo frame at the mountains, the sun should also be there so when you take a photo of a person, the face is very dark. Do not expect the sun to shine directly on your face and through the fame, the mountains, because when it does, it’s already below the horizon. Even the advertisement photo on the website and brochures are obviously photoshopped because the shadows of the people, Alphorns and the frame are indicating that the sun is at their back and yet their faces and everything else are so bright……Photoshopping is really a powerful too. Don’t misunderstand me here, I said don’t expect a perfect picture of yourself but the view through the frame is really wonderful. If you have a take a photo of yourself nicely, I suggest you stay still a bit late in the afternoon, stand in front of the frame, face the sunlight and take an artistic picture with one side of your face.
3.2 Alpine Botanical Garden
To be honest, in autumn, there is really not much to see in the botanical garden, even the edelweiss has already turned dry and brown……I believe this is a much better place to visit in late spring or summer. However, this is still a nice place for hiking.
I spent in total around 3.5 – 4 hours leaving from Wilderswil to Schynige Platte, on Schynige Platte and returning from Schynige Platte to Wilderswil. If you have more time, I suggest you spend more time there hiking or just relaxing. I was in a hurry because I wanted to go to another mountain in the same day. I think that it’s a good idea to just plan one mountain one day, so it’s less tiring and you can spend more time hiking, enjoying the view and relaxing.
Don’t forget to choose a sunny day to visit the mountains or at least most sunny with high and thin clouds. Sometimes the mountain is even more mysterious with some thin clouds surrounding the peak. Anyway, I wish you a pleasant and unforgettable journey to Schynige Platte.