The train ride with the historic mountain railway from Wilderswil to Schynige Platte is a breathtaking experience. The trip combines railway romance and magnificent views of the majestic mountains.
The Schynige Platte is situated on 1’967 meters above sea level and is one of the classic mountain lookouts in Switzerland. The four-thousand-meter high mountain peaks Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau can be seen from Schynige Platte. Even Jungfraujoch, with the highest railway station in Europe, can be seen from here. During our last visit to Switzerland we have been up to Jungfraujoch in winter and enjoyed the views over the glaciers on a beautiful, sunny day. In our blog post about the trip to the Jungfraujoch you can read more about it.
The historic cog railway to the Schynige Platte
With this historic cog railway you can experience real, authentic Swiss railway history. All locomotives are from the Belle Epoque period and some coaches are even older. The venerable railway overcomes the distance between Wilderswil and the Schynige Platte at a very leisurely pace. The atmosphere on the Schynige Platte is very relaxed and it’s a bit quieter compared to other famous Swiss mountain destinations. The Schynige Platte is a place of wonder and enjoyment.
The operation of the mountain railway from Wilderswil to Schynige Platte was opened in 1893. In the first years, steam locomotives were used and in 1914, the track was electrified. Since this conversion to electric operation no significant changes have been carried out on the railway line and the rolling stock. The technology has proven to be extremely robust and resistant. So today we sit in a living witness of the pioneer days of the Swiss railway industry.
The Schynige Platte railway is operated without signals. Driving is exclusively on sight. The turnouts are set by hand and each year, the overhead contact lines are dismantled in autumn and refitted in spring to avoid damage caused by avalanches during the winter. We are lucky enough to be able to see the steam train in operation. The Schynige Platte railway still owns a steam train which is operated at selected summer days.
Short stop at Breitlauenen Alp
Breitlauenen Alp is the intermediate station and the train stops to allow passengers to board the train. There is a restaurant located in the historical station building and it seems to have not changed much over the last 100 years. The tables, chairs, buffet with dishes, everything seems to be when the train operation started. The Station Head bakes fresh cakes every day and it’s a delicious treat best to be enjoyed with the magnificent view of Lake Thun.
The lookout point near the station is dedicated to the painter Franz Hodler. The Swiss painter was a regular guest in the region and has painted several pictures of the beautiful mountain scenery.
Attractions on the Schynige Platte
The Schynige Platte Mountain Hotel offers a self-service restaurant and a full service restaurant. Both restaurants feature a lovely terrace with plenty of seating and a beautiful view. Prices are moderate, compared to other tourist places on Swiss mountains. You can also stay for the night in the historic mountain hotel. When the last guests take the train down to the valley in the evening, it’s really quiet and peaceful at the Schynige Platte.
Above the station you can find the start of the trail “Nature Cinema – Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau”. Along the trail through the cow pasture, there are many benches that invite you to linger and enjoy. Viewpoints offer fantastic views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, Lake Brienz, Lake Thun, Interlaken and other surrounding mountain peaks. There are also two giant picture frames for fantastic portraits with the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau as a background.
Of course more hiking opportunities of varying difficulty and lengths are available. We would love to do the hike to the Oberberghorn but this time we have too little time for it, so we only do the hike up to the view point at Daube.
Another attraction for nature lovers is the botanical alpine garden with 650 different alpine plants. Admission to the Alpine Garden is free and the trail is about 500 meters long.
Alphorn players offer typical Swiss musical entertainment between 11-14 pm.
The cows from Iselten Alp are grazing on the Schynige Platte and the sound of the cowbells completes the perfect Swiss cliché with the magnificent views of the mountains and the alphorn.
Travel information for visiting the Schynige Platte
The journey from Zurich to Wilderswil by train only takes two hours and the ride on the historic railway from Wilderswil to the Schynige Platte takes about an hour. The cog railway to the Schynige Platte operates during the period of 28 May to 23 October 2016 and trains are leaving Wilderswil every 40 minutes. A ticket from Wilderswil to Schynige Platte costs CHF 32, a return ticket costs CHF 64. If you own a half-fare travelcard you pay half of the fare. The most convenient way to travel on Swiss public transport is the Swiss Travel Pass. The train ride up to the Schynige Platte as well as the train ride up to Mt. Rigi is included in the Swiss Travel Pass.
Trip information for the Schynige Platte railway
The Schynige Platte Railway is operated by the Jungfrau Railway, the same company that operates the trains up to the Jungfraujoch.
- Distance: 26.7 kilometers from Wilderswil to the Schynige Platte
- Maximum speed: 10 km / h
- Highest point: Schynige Platte at 1,987 meters
- Lowest point: Wilderswil at 584 meters
- Difference in altitude: nearly 1,400 meters
- Max. Incline: 25 %
Have you ever heard or even been up on the Schynige Platte? Which vantage point in the Swiss mountains did you like the most? We look forward to your comment.
We traveled with the Swiss Travel Pass Flex. The ticket was sponsored by Swiss Travel System. Thanks a lot for supporting us.
We assure our readers that we write about our personal experience and opinion.