This is part of our 2017 TalesOnRail Artist in Residence series, where we took two writers — one American and one Australian — through Germany and Switzerland by train. Follow along with our web series on Facebook or YouTube — new episodes air every week.
It’s hard to choose from so many epic mountains in Switzerland. Last year during our TalesOnRail trip, we got to experience the majestic Mount Rigi and the beautiful Mount Pilatus. This year, we took the train to Interlaken, which is the ideal starting point for several stunning mountain peak excursions. Here’s a recap of our favorites!
Schynige Platte by Cogwheel Train
Our first trip was up the side of Schynige Platte by cogwheel train! This one-of-a-kind, 120-year-old train with vintage wooden seats ascends 4.3 miles in 52 minutes to Schynige Platte. You’ll start in Wilderswil, just a four-minute train ride from Interlaken Ost train station, where you board this unique cogwheel train. Once in Schynige Platte, you’ll enjoy views of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, Lake Thun, Niesen, Stockhorn and Jura. While we were at the top, we visited the Botanical Alpine Garden (the only one in Switzerland!), home to around 600 species of Alpine plants.
Tip: With a Swiss Travel Pass, your travel on this vintage railway is free!
Harder Kulm by Funicular Railway
After Schynige Platte (literally about 2 hours after), we took the funicular railway about 4300 feet up to witness the incredible panoramas from Harder Kulm. Our favorite part was the “Two Lakes Bridge” viewing platform showcasing Lake Thun and Lake Brienz (fun fact: ‘Interlaken’ translates to ‘between lakes,’ and these are the two lakes it sits between). There’s a lovely restaurant up top where we enjoyed dinner at sunset, followed by some schnapps of course!
Tip: If you’re traveling with a Swiss Travel Pass, you’ll get a 50% discount on the funicular railway.
Jungfrau: The Highest Train Station in Europe
If you read our previous post, you’ll know that we made it to the top of Jungfrau. It was truly a high-Alpine wonderland of ice, snow and rock, and of course there is something called The Ice Palace up top — you’ll have to visit to find out what that is! Nature lovers and railway and aerial cableway fans are guaranteed to be in their element in the Jungfrau Region. The Jungfrau Railway ranks as one of the most impressive achievements in international mountain railway construction and is today still regarded as a masterpiece of railway technology. It runs from Kleine Scheidegg up through the rock of the Eiger and Mönch to Europe’s highest-altitude railway station at 3,454 meters (about 2 miles) above sea level.
Check out Episode 5 of our TalesOnRail Artist in Residence web series to get a glimpse of these stunning mountain peaks!