VISITING SCHILTHORN, SWITZERLAND + TRAVEL TIPS
Here I am, talking again about my favorite region in the world – the Bernese Oberland in Switzerland. I have seen quite a lot in Switzerland, but visiting Schilthorn Mountain has been one of the most special experiences.
If you plan to visit Schilthorn then this post is for you. Here, I will share tips on how to get up Schilthorn, what to do and see, how and where to buy tickets, and more. I have visited Schilthorn twice. Once on a foggy day in summer and once on a beautiful, clear sunny day in winter. What is the best time to visit Schilthorn? Well, that is also what you will find out in this post.
WHAT IS SCHILTHORN?
Schilthorn is the highest mountain in the range lying north of the Sefinenfurgge Pass. It is 2,970 meters above sea level and lies above the village of Mürren, from where a cable car leads to its summit.
Besides an amazing, amazing view you will also find several attractions up Schilthorn. You might already know that Schilthorn was the filming location of the 007 movie “On Her Majesty’s Secret Services“ in 1969. So, James Bond fans will also appreciate this fantastic mountain excursion. It is a lot about James Bond, great views and beautiful scenery (just saying the Swiss Skyline) and also a bit of adventure. I am not a James Bond fan at all but I am still happy I enjoyed two gorgeous days at Schilthorn.
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HOW TO GET TO SCHILTHORN?
Schilthorn is accessible from Lauterbrunnen which is near Interlaken.
GET TO LAUTERBRUNNEN BY CAR OR TRAIN
Lauterbrunnen is a small village, at almost 800 meters above sea level, and close to the famous resort town of Interlaken. It takes about 20 minutes by train or car from Interlaken.
Once in Lauterbrunnen, you have several options to get up Schilthorn.
If you get to Schilthorn by car, you can park your vehicle just in a big car park (paid) and walk to the cable car station just next to it. It just takes two minutes to walk there. If you get to Lauterbrunnen by train, you can just walk 3 minutes to the cable car station.
CABLE CAR FROM LAUTERBRUNNEN TO GRÜTSCHALP
The cable car/gondola station will take you to Grütschalp, which is a railway station at almost 1500 meters above sea level. The gondola ride takes less than 10 minutes and you have some nice views from the cable car of Lauterbrunnen valley. Cable cars run several times a day.
The view from Grütschalp is just splendid but you will have more chances to enjoy that panorama. The Swiss Skyline, which describes the view of the three mountains, Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau is just phenomenal on a clear day.
If you are in a rush, just take the train to Mürren. The train will just wait for you once you get out of the cable car. If you have time, get out of the cable car and enjoy the views from the platform behind the train station before embarking on the next train to Murren.
FROM GRÜTSCHALP TO MURREN
The next step is to get to the mountain village of Murren (Mürren) and there are two options. You need to get there and then take another gondola to Birg first and then another one to Schilthorn.
VIA TRAIN TO MURREN
In Grütschalp hop on the train towards Murren. Try to sneak a seat on the left side (in direction of travel) as you have the best views of the Swiss Skyline from there. You can also open the windows so ideally you have clear views.
The train ride is scenic! In winter, you can expect some beautiful winter wonderland and in summer you will see 50 shades of green.
HIKE FROM GRÜTSCHALP TO MÜRREN
Alternatively, you can start a beautiful hike from Grütschalp to Mürren. It takes about an hour/an hour and a half and though there is a slight uphill, it is a doable hike for almost all people of all ages. The path is wide, the incline not a lot, and the view: priceless.
TIP: You can do this hike at any time of the year – also in winter. BUT the path might be closed if the snow gets icy and thus it is too slippery and dangerous.
Mürren, 1638 meters above sea level, is one of the prettiest Swiss mountain villages. This car-free village sits above Lauterbrunnen and is a tourist magnet all over the year. This is probably how you imagine a cute, traditional Swiss village in the Alps. Whether you get here by train or hike up here – to get to the cable car station, you have to walk through the little village which will take about 10-15 minutes.
If you have time, I suggest walking slowly. There is not that much to do and see in Mürren but the scenery, the cute houses, and everything is just very pretty so I would enjoy my time up here if I were you.
After walking through Mürren (about 10-15 minutes), you will have to get another gondola which will bring you to Birg. The gondola station in Mürren is quite big and well signed, so this will be your next stop.
Before arriving at Schilthorn summit, you can (and should) stop at Birg which is a summit at almost 2,700 meters. You will find a couple of attractions here. So, when you get out of the gondola do not head straight to Schilthorn but get out here first.
You have the Skyline Walk which is a great platform offering panoramic views.
I also did Thrill Walk which just opened in July 2016. It is more than 1,000 meters above Mürren and a cliffed path leads to vertical drops of the rock massif – do not skip this one when visiting Schilthorn (there is no extra fee/entrance for all activities).
You will also find a restaurant here but there is also one at Schilthorn (a very famous one actually). I would plan in about an hour or so, before getting up Schilthorn at last.
After Birg, you will get to Piz Gloria/Schilthorn by hopping on another gondola. The ride just takes a few minutes but you will be spoiled with some more fantastic views during the ride.
As mentioned, Schilthorn is the highest mountain in the range lying north of the Sefinenfurgge Pass at 2,970 meters above sea level.
At Schilthorn, you will also find the famous Piz Gloria which is the revolving restaurant many people know from the James Bond 007 movie “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”.
Piz Gloria is all about James Bond, even the burgers (in my case I opted of course for the vegetarian option) have the 007 logo! Good news. the food did not only look interesting, but it was also tasty.
It is Switzerland and you cannot expect bargains at the restaurant. However, I would not say it was overpriced. As a ballpark: I paid around 30 CHF for my vegan burger + fries and a soft drink.
In case you want to have lunch here, I recommend not being there between 1 and 2 pm as it was quite busy at the time I arrived. The staff was overwhelmed and I had to wait a while until I got seated. So, better come here around 12 pm or after 2 pm.
Basically, 90% of my knowledge about James Bond 007 now comes from my visit to the interactive James Bond exhibition here. Flying a helicopter, taking a call on the red phone with instructions for the next case, hunting the bad guy with a sled (well, at least I assumed I was doing it) – I had the chance to re-live all that thanks to the exhibition (oh well, I also kissed James Bond but this picture is not meant for the public).
Well, if you are there you must check out the restrooms as well! Even that is fun. Not to miss is the 007 Fame of Walk which is situated outside and gave more information about James Bond, the crew, and the movie itself.
GETTING FROM SCHILTHORN TO LAUTERBRUNNEN
Now, it is time to get back to Lauterbrunnen and there are several ways.
VIA MÜRREN – GRÜTSCHALP – LAUTERBRUNNEN
First, you need to get back to Birg and then Mürren. There you can walk to the train station, take the train to Grütschalp and then take the gondola to Lauterbrunnen.
VIA MÜRREN – STECHELBERG – LAUTERBRUNNEN
Another option is to get to Mürren and then take the gondola (which is just next to the gondola from Birg/Schilthorn) to Stechelberg.
Stechelberg is a tiny village close to Lauterbrunnen. If you get out of the gondola, you can then either do a nice, scenic walk to Lauterbrunnen (about 90 minutes) or take a bus that brings you back to Lauterbrunnen. It is also about a 40-minute walk to the famous Trümmelbach Waterfalls, which is located between Lauterbrunnen and Stechelberg.
I recommend this route – the gondola ride is amazing and you have a different perspective of the Lauterbrunnen valley.
P.S. This could also be a way to get up to Mürren and then to Schilthorn.
VIA MÜRREN – GIMMELWALD – STECHELBERG – LAUTERBRUNNEN
If you want to be more active and include (some more) hiking, you can also get to Murren (1,650 meters above sea level) by gondola. Then you can start a beautiful and quite easy hike to the small mountain village of Gimmelwald (1367 meters above sea level). From there, you can then hike down to Stechelberg (796 meters above sea level). It is a downhill hike but especially the hike towards Gimmelwald is very scenic – especially on a clear, sunny day.
In Stechelberg you can then either walk to Lauterbrunnen (about 90 minutes) or just take a bus.
BUYING TICKETS / PRICES FOR SCHILTHORN
Okay, getting up Schilthorn is a great idea. Unfortunately, getting up via cable car/train is not the cheapest activity. However, if you have a Swiss Travel Pass or are a hiker, you can save quite some money. If you have to pay the full price, it is still worth it.
Swiss Travel Pass
Before talking about how to buy tickets for Schulthorn, I like to introduce you to the Swiss Travel Pass because it might help you save money.
If you use public transportation, I recommend getting a Swiss Travel Pass. Swiss Travel Passes are available for non-Swiss residents and are absolutely amazing. I visit Switzerland often, and most of the time I get one – even if it’s a road trip.
- It allows you to use trains and buses without any extra costs – so basically, you can use almost all trains and buses for free.
- You can also do boat cruises without additional costs.
- It also gives you a 50% discount on most mountain rides (you can get up via cable car/funicular for half of the price, and if you follow my tips, you will need it twice), some mountain excursions – like Mount Rigi near Lucerne – are even included.
- A Swiss Travel Pass is also useful for a day trip to Schilthorn because some rides are free and some are discounted – I will talk about those rides later.
The initial prices for a Swiss Travel Pass are quite high – but it pays for itself if you get around via public transportation and are active in Switzerland for more than three or four days. So, check out prices for boats and trains and then calculate if it is a good option for you. For me, it usually makes sense as I am very active and use public transportation/mountain rides often (even if I road trip Switzerland). I also love boat rides – which means many, many boat cruises for me whenever I have a Swiss Travel Pass. Check out prices for a Swiss Travel Pass here.
SCHILTHORN PRICES WITH A SWISS TRAVEL PASS
If you are a holder of a Swiss Travel Pass, you will save a lot of money. A Swiss Travel Pass is available for people who do not reside in Switzerland or Liechtenstein. It allows you to use trains, buses, and boats in Switzerland without any extra charge (very few exceptions).
You can also use the cable car to Grütschalp and the train to Mürren for free. For the gondola ride to Birg and then Schilthorn you will get a 50% discount.
With a Swiss Travel Pass, a return ticket to Schilthorn will then cost you around 41 CHF.
- You can buy tickets here. (I normally use GetYourGuide whenever I buy tickets/tours because of the generous cancellation policy and they are my first choice).
There are no other costs for the James Bond museum or the Thrill Walk.
SCHILTHORN PRICES WITHOUT A DISCOUNT
If you do not have a Swiss Travel Pass or any other discount card, you have to pay for tickets from Lauterbrunnen to Grütschalp, then to Mürren, Birg, and Schilthorn + return. A return ticket is about 105 CHF (you can also use the route via Stechelberg).
In this case, I would buy the ticket just at the ticket station.
- At the cable car stations, you will find toilets, and also restaurants.
- You also have free wifi.
CONCLUSION: A DAY TRIP TO SCHILTHORN MOUNTAIN
Visiting Schilthorn is an activity that takes a full day (minimum of 5-6 hours from Lauterbrunnen) if you want to explore a bit more and don´t want to rush.
If you want to do some hiking, whether from Grütschalp to Mürren or from Mürren back to Lauterbrunnen, you will need more time.
I enjoyed my ride up with a cable car to Schilthorn – it is actually one of my favorite mountain excursions in Switzerland. I had a great time there and if you are interested in the beautiful scenery and want to find out more about James Bond in Schilthorn, this is definitely a great activity.
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