11 Sep Travelling to Switzerland with children; the charming Jungfrau region
Travelling to Switzerland with children, and grandparents included, was the best decision we made for last summer. It has been a luxury spending our holidays in the village of Wengen, in the Alps. And I do not mean the materialistic meaning of the word but the experience itself has been a luxury.
There are many ways of spending your holidays in the mountains, it’s not only about running up and down the hill. Rent a cosy holiday home with Swiss charm and enjoy it, take walks that are not eternal, enjoy the Swiss gastronomy while being in a lovely wooden restaurant, enjoy the views, take a boat on its impressive lakes, visit the picturesque villages … An ideal plan, travelling to Switzerland with children (or without).
We decided to stay in the village of Wengen in a beautiful apartment on a super location, stunning views and a cozy decoration in style with its surroundings. I recommend staying 1 or 2 weeks, not only visiting it one day, there is too much to do. The most beautiful thing is to be living in the mountains, the Heidi experience, do not stay in the valley.
Travelling to Switzerland; destination Wengen
Wengen is a traditional Swiss village closed to cars. You can only access by cogwheel train (or walking or by bike ofcourse) in about 14 minutes from the village of Lauterbrunnen. It is part of the Canton of Bern located at 1,274 meters high. It is situated at the foot of the great rocky massif of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. In December 2001, the Jungrau region to which it belongs was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
With its elegant hotels of the Belle Epoque (many give the idea of having entered an Agatha Christie movie), its wooden chalets and the impressive location, we immediately realized that if you decide to travel to Switzerland, Wengen is an ideal destination. And the truth, I miss the place now being back in Madrid, something that almost never happens to me.
During the day there is a lot of movement in Wengen, especially in the area of the train station. But at night it is a quiet, charming town where children can go on their own to the center where they can play in the park, play mega chess , there is a soccer field …
The town was bigger than I thought with a long main street with shops, restaurants and supermarkets and its own tourist office that organizes all kinds of activities.
Hotels and charming holiday homes in Switzerland, Wengen
If you decide to travel to Switzerland, I recommend choosing an accommodation with the exterior and interior design in harmony with the area. After an extensive search for accommodation in Switzerland that started in Grindelwald, I found our rental house in Wengen. It always the same story; I start looking for more touristic places and I end up knowing other places that are much more attractive and authentic. As in our trip to Croatia, I started looking at the island of Kurcola and fortunatly we ended up on the Isle of Vis, now well known because of the movie Mama Mia.
Apartment Aquila 1, Wengen
Through Airbnb (www.airbnb.es/c/mechteldv29) I found the beautiful Aquila 1 apartment for 7 people. It had everything we wanted; a modern design but at the same time adapted to its environment, with walls and wooden floors. I prefer houses with an open space design, like this one, where everything flows and one has a feeling of spaciousness. By having the kitchen area, the living room and then the outdoor area integrated through large windows there is easy communication. There is a large living room with a cosy fireplace.
The hallway gives access to 3 large bedrooms of which two doublerooms and a third one for children (or adults) with a very cute wooden bunkbed for 3 people. Each bedroom opens onto a balcony that borders the house on one side with views of the village and the Männlichen peak. The cabinets are spacious, which is to be appreciated. One bedroom is en-suite and then there is another large bathroom with shower.
The apartment has all the appliances that one expects staying at a quality holiday home (except a microwave); dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, oven, toaster … .. And the devices to make fondue and raclette.
A very important and essential detail in my decisions to rent a holiday home in summer is the garden (just as important as a fireplace in winter). This house has a terrace that borders with a large green field which is ideal to sit in the summer and have a cup of tea reading a book or have a glass of wine at the end of the day enjoying the beautiful views of the snowy mountains (also in summer). It is also a perfect space for children to play.
Aquila 1 terrace
For tabletenis lovers (like my son) there is a table in the basement of the building and there is also a sauna.
The location of the apartment in Wengen:
The charming holiday home in Wengen is located 5 minutes from the train station and the Männlichen cable car. Ideal both in summer and winter. You can reach towncentre and two clay tennis courts at 5 minutes walking. It is also a 2 minutes walk from the public outdoor pool.
The rental of the apartment in Wengen:
The Aquila 1 apartment is rented by Jenny who is part of the family of the owners of the beautiful Hotel Falken. The hotel is next to the apartment and any doubt is easily solved through them. On arrival they pick you up from the station with a small van and when you leave they also take your luggage to the station. Its all very comfy!!!
Travelling to Switzerland in wintertime, skiing in Wengen
If you want to travel to Switzerland in winter to ski or simply enjoy the snow, Wengen is an interesting destination. In total there are 262km of tracks in the Jungfrau ski area . The Aquila 1 apartment In Wengen is a perfect accommodation to spend your winter holidays in Switzerland. It has a fireplace, a lot of space and in the basement it has a special ski storage and heating for your boots. In 5 minutes walking you arrive at the ski lifts to start your ski day.
Travelling to Switzerland; other options for your charming holiday home in the mountains
Wengen Select: although we booked the apartment in Wengen through AirBNB, it is also offered through other channels. One of them is the agency Wengen Select. They offer a selection of charming holiday homes with Swiss DNA; lots of wood, fireplaces and and a cozy atmosphere. All have large balconies or a garden. They serve you 24 hours a day and solve any problems. All are located near the ski lifts or are ski in ski out.
Hotel in Switzerland
Swiss Historic Hotels: as you know, I usually recommend charming holiday homes, but I want to make an exception. If you are traveling to Switzerland and prefer a hotel, check out the chain of Historic Hotels in Switzerland. They are jewels from other eras adapted to todays comforts without losing sight of their origin. For the area where we have been, you have the following hotels: link. The Hotel Falken is located Wengen, next to our apartment. It’s a lovely hotel from 1895.
On my next trip to Switzerland, I would love to stay in one of the Swiss Historic Hotels.
Travelling to Switzerland: what to do in the Jungfrau region
Obviously if you are travelling to Switzerland, the first thing that comes to mind are mountains and more mountains and therefore you can go hiking, skiing … But there are many different plans too. Here I give a summary of activities we have done:
Unfortunatly I’m not the risky kind of type so we didn’t do the basejumping as in this video but you can appreciate how stunning the mountains and the valley of the Jungfrau region are.
🏔️ Jungfraujoch: the Jungfraujoch, also called Top of Europe, is loaded with Japanese, Koreans, Americans and all with the same objective; visit the Jungfraujoch. It is a mountain pass at 3.454 meters between the Jungfrau and the Mönch with snow throughout the year and stunning views of the Aletsch glacier, mountains and valleys.
We went and it’s worth it. You have to take the Jungfrau train which is very expensive, but with the different Swiss transport passes that I explain below, it cost you about € 70 per person (the cheapest is taking the first two trains in the morning) and the children travelled for free.
If I had gone to the Jungfrau alone with my husband, we would have done the hiking to the Mönchsjochhütte which is about 45 minutes walking through the snow. But for my parents it was to tough and the children did not want either, so we took a short walk and enjoyed being in the snow in the middle of summer. Some special slopes are prepared to do some summer sledging and skiing (you can rent all the necesary material). There is also an ice museum and several restaurants. Lot’s of fun on the Jungfrau!!!!
🚠 Männlichen; with the Männlichen cable car that leaves from the center of Wengen, you can go up to 2,230 meters. If you pay like 5 francs extra, you can do the trip on the roof of the cable car. At arrival there is a restaurant and a large playground for children and many cows with their big bells. They look like they’re taken out of the Milka ad.
From there you can walk down to the village, but beware, it is not so easy and we almost had to take my 83 year old father out with a helicopter because it is a narrow, steep road with a difference of approximately 1,000 meters. Another interesting option is the panoramic tour from Mänllichen to Kleine Scheidegg; a simple route of a duration of 1h30 minutes with a vertical drop of 150 meters.
🐄 Mürren: Mürren is a traditional village that is 1,650 meters on the other side of the valley from Wengen. We went down by train to Lauterbrunnen and took the cable car to Grütschalp. From there you can take a train to Mürren which is already waiting when the cable car arrives (Swiss precision) but we prefered to take a walk. It is a very pleasant 1h30 minute route along a wide path without a lot of unevenness crossing forest and countryside. My parents of 76 and 83 also did it without problems. Just halfway there is a restaurant where you can have a drink.
Mürren, local festivity
We were lucky to arrive in Mürren just as a beautiful procession started to celebrate the local festivities. Better watch the video and enjoy the cows crowned with flowers. Real authentic!
We stayed there eating a fantastic fondue on the terrace of the Hotel Eiger. Everything was perfect; the weather, the company of my children and my parents (my husband and my brother were climbing), the spectacular views of the valley, the snow, the sun, the people doing parapenting … When I return to the Jungfrau region, I for sure will return to this terrace.
🚂 🚞 Kleine Scheidegg: From Wengen there is a mountain train directly to the Kleine Scheidegg. Only the train journey is already worth it for the views of the Jungfrau, Eiger, the nature, … The duration is about 25 minutes.
When arriving at the destination, it is amazing to see the traffic of trains in this picturesque station at 2,061 meters. Trains from Wengen, Grindelwald and the Jungfrau all come together at this small station. From here you can make the excursion to Männlichen, the Eiger trails, etc. We ate on the terrace of the beautiful historical hotel Bellevue des Alpes (more information in the section of the restaurants).
💧Lauterbrunnen Valley or Lauterbrunnental: Lauterbrunnen (means only sources) is the name of the town and the beautiful and green valley with no less than 72 waterfalls. We traveled throughout the valley by car and when you reach the end of the road you can make beautiful walks to enjoy a beautiful green scenery with more waterfalls.
Trümmelbach Waterfalls: halfway in the Lauterbrunnen Valley are the Trümmelbach waterfalls that can be visited. The tour is about 30 minutes and you see the cataract in full splendor from cavities at different levels within the mountain. The brutal force with which the water goes down is quite impresive.
I do not recommend the place for people with reduced mobility or with strollers. It is worth the trip and at the end of the visit you can have a drink in the lovely restaurant at the entrance.
🚲 Mountainbiking: both in Wengen as in Lauterbrunnen there is a shop to rent bikes, electric as well, but in the last one the offer is bigger. I did not participate but my husband and my brother rented mountainbikes in Lauterbrunnen and made the trip Lauterbrunnen – Grindelwald – Kleine Scheidegg – Lauterbrunnen of about 40 km. In the link
the route is detailed although they did it in the opposite direction to the one shown. The height difference is more than 1,500 meters.
They told me that it is beautiful route and lots of fun, although the climb from Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidegg is demanding. You can also make easier bike excursions such as going down the valley smoothly from Lauterbrunnen to Interlaken or making trips around the lakes. You can also decide to make electric bike routes. Bikes are allowed on trains so you can always go back by train
🧗🏻♂️🧗🏻♀️ Via ferreta Rotstock: A very attractive alternative is to climb the Via ferreta of the Rotstock. It is on the lower part of the legendary north face of the Eiger. There are interesting films about the climbing of this mountain like The Sanction with Clint Eastwood, Nordwand and The Beckoning Silence. It is a via ferrata rated with a medium difficulty with stunning views and walls that frighten from below, but once you start the climb you realize that it is very well prepared. And if you have the right equipment that can be rented at a store in Kleine Scheidegg, it’s not dangerous.
My husband and my brother (who is a real mountaineer and travels the world to climb all kinds of peaks) did the Via Ferreta, I did not because unfortunately I have vertigo. They coincided with a family with a 6 year old boy who went up without problems. At the top, they were the only non-Swiss and they all ate typical cheese and sausage that they carried in their backpacks while enjoying the excellent views of the glaciers.
🌳 Ballenberg Museum: at this open-air museum near Brienz you can make a stroll trhough the past with their Swiss wooden houses of more then 100 years from all the different Cantons. You can also enjoy demonstrations of ancient professions such as making cheeses, ceramics, cutting wood with the force from a watermill… Children can enjoy the many farm animals and different workshops; we made a pretty good wooden pig.
The museum has a beautiful setting full of paths surrounded by green meadows and forests. We were in high season and even though there were not too many people. For those who love architecture (like me) it is also an interesting plan. There are nice restaurants to have lunch. If you take it easy during your visit, you spend the whole day.
⛴️ Lakes: with the Jungfraujoch Pass you can take the boats of the Thun- and Brienzersee for free and with the Swiss Half Way Pass you pay half the price. We decided to go to the Brienzersee. The boat departs in front of the Interlaken Ost train station (easy to reach from Wengen by train).
The boat makes several stops and we got of the boat at Brienz where we enjoyed the beautiful walk along its promenade overlooking the lake. On the way back we took the steamboat which was like going back in time. It seemed ideal as a stage for a film of Hercul Poirot.
🏊🏻 Pool: the village of Wengen has a public swimming pool with a special charm. The time seems to have stopped in the 60s and that mixed with the beuatifull surroundings makes you relax.
🛷🎾 More things to do at the Jungfrau region; go skydiving, visit Interlaken, Grindelwald or Thun, go up to the the Schilthorn panoramic restaurant famous for filming scenes of the James Bond movie In Service of His Majesty, summer sledging, minigolf and a thousand other activities….
Travelling to Switzerland Suiza; the transport
By plane and by car (for hire):
We combined this trip with a visit to Lago di Garda in Italy, so we flew to Milan. But more logical options are for example flying to Bern, Zürich and Geneva. If you go with your own car, do not forget to buy the annual vignette for Switzerland of about 40 francs that is mandatory for the use of its highways. There are no vignettes for days or weeks, only the annual. You can buy it in advance but we bought it at customs.
Since Wengen is a town without cars, you have to leave the car in Lauterbrunnen. We reserved in advance a parkingplace for a week at the parking lot of the Lauterbrunnen´s train station. You can make the reservation at this page. With the reservation they give you a code. You enter the code when entering the parking lot for the first time. In return they give you a ticket with which you can enter and leave whenever you want during your stay. Very comfortable because you are 1 minute walk from the train.
Switzerland by train
Switzerland has an amazing public transport network. Everything is thought of in detail. If you are going to travel to Switzerland, you could decide not to rent a car because everything is very well connected with trains, buses and lifts. The solution would be to buy one of the passes and lower the cost of its use.
Swiss Travel Passes
In the following link you will find all the details about the different Swiss travel passes you can buy.
✅ Swiss Travel Pass: take note, the Swiss Travel Pass must be bought in advance from abroad. If you decide not to rent a car and want to travel across Switzerland by public transport, the Swiss Travel Pass is an interesting option. In addition, it includes tickets to more than 500 museums.
✅ Swiss Half Way Pass: as a family of 4 with two boys of 9 and 11 years old decided to buy the Swiss Half Way Pass. If you have children, it is very important to indicate during the purchase that you have children and that you want to include the family card (which is included for free in the Swiss Half Way). So all your children’s trips up to 15 years old are for free. All the trains, lifts and boats were at half price and children always for free. The train to the Jungfraujoch is about €200 per person, and comes at half price with the pass and the children for free. So if you go to the Jungfrau with children and make some other trips, you should really think about buying this pass
✅ Jungfraujoch Travel Pass: If you decide to take many lifts and trains during your stay in the Jungfrau area, another interesting option is to buy the Jungfraujoch Travel Pass. Children are not included but you only pay € 30 each, when adults buy the Pass. For my parents, who spend the week with us, it was a perfect solution. You can acces almost all trains, lifts and boats without buying a ticket. The only transports you have to pay separately, but at reduced prices, are the Jungfraujoch train and the lift to Schilthorn.
For example, when we went with the boat on the Brienzersee, my parents took 2 trains (very well connected) to Interlaken Ost and in front of the train station was the departure of the boat, and all for free with this pass.
Travelling to Switzerland; gastronomy and restaurants
Like the cheese lovers we are, travelling to Switzerland is ideal with its rich fondues and raclettes.Now being bakc in Madrid I’m afraid I have to do some diet😉.
Restaurants in Wengen and surroundings
Wengen no es un pueblo sofisticado como puede ser Zermatt y por lo tanto no hay que esperar encontrarte con restaurantes cool o de moda. Pero si hay muchos chalets suizos y hoteles con mucho encanto que ofrecen sus platos típicos. También es verdad que al alquilar una casa tan agradable como la nuestra, cenar en casa era un plan perfecto y uno no siente la necesidad de tener que cenar fuera cada noche. Hicimos más comidas en las montañas durante las excursiones y luego por la noche en general cenar algo sencillo.
Restaurant 1903: is located inside the Hotel Schönegg in Wengen. Perfect for a high quality dinner in a sophisticated and cozy atmosphere. It is expensive but in return we had a wonderful dinner.
Lauberhorn fondue: This is not a restaurant. It is a fondue made in Wengen with the local cheeses. They have three flavors: white wine, champagne and apple wine. They sell it at the Chäs Gruebi supermarket. We ordered the white wine fondue and they prepared the ingredients while we were waiting. They even sell a special fondue bread. Most rental holiday homes in Switzerland will have fondue sets. Buy also a bottle of white wine and you are ready to have a great dinner at home without any effort
Hotel Bellevue des Alpes, Kleine Scheidegg : If you decide to go to the Kleinne Scheidegg, eating in the restaurant of this 19th century Grand Hotel (part of the Swiss Historic Hotel chain) is an interesting choice. And even if you do not decide to eat there, take a peak inside the hotel and enjoy the Agatha Christie-style world. It has a lot of charm.
We had lunch at the terrace overlooking the Jungfraujoch. Order a typical Rösti with cheese.
Hotel Bellevue des Alpes
Hotel Eiger: this hotel is located in the village Mürren. It has a terrace with magnificent views of the mountains, the snow and the Jungfrau. Here we enjoyed a wonderful fondue with the family. Combine it with a white Fendant wine and you’ll be in heaven.
Traveling to Switzerland in summer is a wonderful idea! It is ideal as a couple, with children, family and grandparents. There are activities at the Jungfrau region for all ages. In addition, having the trains and lifts in operation throughout the year, without being in a good physical shape, one can reach peaks and mountain passes without making an effort.
There is nothing like walking through the snow in summer or its green meadows full of cows with big bells. Enjoy the spectacular views and smells of nature and purity. And what about the beautifull villages and their wooden chalets with huge pots full of colourful flowers. No more explanations needed……
Do you notice I miss Switzerland already?
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