What trip to Switzerland would be complete without embarking on a summit in the Bernese Alps?
Since we weren’t up for the 5+ hour hike, we did it the easy way–albeit, the much more expensive way. After paying a hefty $187 fee (which was at a huge student discount, thanks to the sympathetic sales clerk who offered it to our family!), we jumped on a cable car transit system that began in Stechelberg. The cable system consisted of 4 legs–first from Stechelberg to Gimmelwald, Gimmelwald to Mürren, Mürren to Birg, and then from Birg to the very top. Each stop required us to exit our cable car and load into a different one going up a different section of the mountainside. It took just over 30 minutes to reach the summit, but since we were getting on and off cars, we didn’t get a chance to relax that entire time. This cable airway is the longest and most technically challenging in the world! It was constructed in the 1960’s and its prize feature is a panoramic revolving restaurant on the summit. The restaurant was made famous when they filmed a portion of the 1969 James Bond movie, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” there. We did not go in the restaurant, but walked all around it on the viewing platforms. As a note—it takes 55 minutes for the restaurant to revolve 360 degrees, and has views of over 200 other summits (including Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau—an UNESCO World Heritage site).
Simply put, the 9,740 ft summit (2,970 meters)is absolutely worth the pricey fee of the cable cars. And since photos do better justice than words…I will leave it to the photos to convince you to add this on your itinerary:
We first drove into Stechelberg, which had a stunning waterfall gushing over the side of a cliff near town.
We kept driving into the valley to get to the start of the cable cars.
Apparently the wind is just right for paragliding!
At the ticket station there was a map of the climb. The first cable car station is the bottom left, then you jog up to the left, then to the middle-ish, then straight up at a huge incline to the 2nd ridge, and then to the top!
Would you dare to take this footbridge?
The kids were entranced, particularly 2 year old Ethan.
An altitude meter in each cable car helped us watch our climb.
I wish they had a photography window (that didn’t have glass reflections):
This is the very last climb from Birg to the Summit–we were well above the tree line!
Looking back down….can you see the village where we started below?
Hanging out at the top of the world:
Proof that not all Europeans despise children:
And just in case you wore your heels to the top of a mountain…you may not hike in this area:
What boggles my mind is that this sign was made for a reason. Was it really such an issue?!
The revolving restaurant is on the right:
Almost to the top!
After spending a little time on the top (it was chilly!) we began our descent.
We took a brief stop/walk in Mürren, a cute little mountainside village that is at 5400 ft elevation (1650 meters), and inaccessible by public road.
Low and behold, some Americans stopped and took our photo for us! They mentioned they had seen our family earlier, and had been admiring my headband. They asked where they could get one (Guatemala). Ha!
Despite the high cost, we’re very glad we did this short little jaunt up the mountains with our kids. It was totally worth it!