The Interlaken region of Switzerland is beautiful not only for its turquoise lakes, but also its impressive mountain ranges. Treks here are easily accessible by train, so everyone from avid trekkers to families can enjoy the views that the Swiss Alps has to offer.
My favorite experience in this region was hiking Schynige Platte to First, with stops at Faulhorn peak, Bachalpsee lake, and ending in Grindelwald. Also in this region is the famous Eiger trail, running between Grindelwald and Kleine Scheidegg, that you can pair with this Schynige Platte to First hike.
- Interlaken/Wilderswil to Schynige Platte: train 30 mins, 32 CHF
- Schynige Platte to First hike: 5-6 hours
- First to Grindelwald: 1-2 hours trekking, or gondola down for 30 CHF
What to Wear (in the summer):
- Sneakers are ok
- Shorts or long pants
- Light jacket or long-sleeve to layer
- Walking sticks (not needed but not a bad idea)
- At least 1 liter of water
- Cash (see budget below)
- The bus from Interlaken to Wilderswil is free, tourists staying in Interlaken all receive a free bus ticket for use from their accommodation.
- The train from Wilderwil to Schynige Platte costs 32 CHF, OR the train from Interlaken to Schynige Platte (via Wilderswil) is 35.60 CHF
- Snacks/Meal costs at Faulhorn or First: ~20 CHF (Optional)
- Activities at First, such as the Flying Glider or go-karts: 29 CHF (Optional)
- Gondola from First to Grindelwald: 30 CHF (Optional)
Getting to Schynige Platte from Interlaken
The first train for Schynige Platte leaves at 7:25am from Wilderswil Station. Taking the first train is ideal to get the clearest views of the Alps. However, trains leave about every 45 minutes from Wilderswil to Schynige Platte.
To get to Wilderswil with enough time to buy your train ticket to Schynige Platte, board a bus or train from Interlaken around, or just before, 7:00am. If you stay at Balmer’s Tent Village, the bus departs from the stop directly in front of it at 7:04am.
Once you arrive at Wilderswil station, you can buy a ticket to Schynige Platte (32 CHF one way).
Tip: Sit on the left side of the small train up to Schynige Platte from Wilderswil for the best views over Interlaken below!
At Schynige Platte
For those that want to enjoy the view without the trekking, there are many things to do around Schynige Platte. There is a panoramic restaurant and hotel complete with free WiFi, a beautiful outdoor patio, and clean restrooms.
There are also little trails around the station where you can enjoy a botanical garden, and walk to a viewpoint over Interlaken and its two lakes.
The Schynige Platte to First hike is marked clearly with bright yellow signs. Before reaching First, you’ll pass Faulhorn so you can follow the signs from Schynige Platte to Faulhorn.
The average trekking time is always listed on these signs, but for me they were a bit of an overestimate. “Std” stands for “Stunde” (pronounced “schtunde”), or “hours” in German.
It is estimated to take 6 hours for the Schynige Platte to First hike, and 4 hours, 10 minutes to reach Faulhorn.
Schynige Platte to Faulhorn
The hike starts through a beautiful grassy valley, with views of the incredible Swiss Alps to the right and behind you. You’re bound to meet cows with large bells around their necks, casually wandering and grazing.
No section is too steep up or down, but because of the slight increase in altitude you might feel a shortness of breath.
When I trekked in July, the rocky section just before Berghütte Männdlenen had some snow that I walked over. The rest of the trail was gravel and clear of obstacles.
The steepest portion of the hike was getting up to Faulhorn, which you see from far away on the trail as a big mountain hut built into the summit.
To get to Faulhorn LOOKS harder than it actually is, so don’t skip it for the flat trail that takes you around the summit!
Faulhorn Summit and Viewpoint
There is a wide platform at the top of Faulhorn, where many people can sit and have a rest and some lunch.
Here, there are also restaurants and a hotel if you want to extend your stay on this trek.
Faulhorn to Bachalpsee
This section is BRUTAL on the knees as a long downhill. This was the only time that I wished I had trekking poles or knee braces to soften the impact of the descent.
The section of the trail here also is much more crowded compared to Schynige Platte to Faulhorn, because it’s easily accessible from First gondola station.
Bachalpsee to First
First Gondola Station and Viewpoint
First is a gondola station that’s used during the winter to transport skiiers. You can get to First by taking the cliff walk, a free walkway where you can look down at the valley waaaaay below you! The cliff walk will lead you to a large patio facing the mountains. Here, there is also a long platform that juts out for a great photo opp.
At First, there is a restaurant as well as a hotel, free bathrooms, and a gift shop. The restaurant has a massive patio where hikers were able to eat their own lunch, or grab what they want from the self-serve restaurant.
First to Grindelwald
The easiest way to go down from First gondola station to Grindelwald below is taking the gondola itself. A one-way ticket costs 30 CHF, round-trip is 60 CHF.
The cheap option is to walk down for free, which took me about 1.5 hours.
Grindelwald is a small, scenic village surrounded by mountains, the end of the Schynige Platte to First hike. It’s a great place to stay the night to enjoy the fresh air. I stayed at Hotel Alpenblick, one of the cheaper options with a buffet breakfast included.
There are plenty of facilities here including a Coop supermarket, a tourist information office, and many shops in the village center. It’s also a wonderful place to just walk around and enjoy the scenery.
The next morning if you want to continue trekking, head to Alpiglen station for the start of the Eiger trail.