The Schilthorn, a 2,970 meter high summit in the Bernese Oberland, is famous for two reasons; its incredible views and location of James Bond movie. The site was made famous when many scenes were filmed at Piz Gloria for the 1969 James Bond 007 film “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”. Piz Gloria was the hideout of the villain Blofeld, which was destroyed at the end of the movie. The place was called Piz Gloria for that occasion and until today this name being used for the Schilthorn.
lf you are not a skier or a James bond movies fan, Schilthorn still has a lot to offer. Schilthorn provides stunning panoramic views over the most recognised mountain skylines in Switzerland: Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. The view extends from the Titlis, the Bernese Alps to Mont Blanc along with over 200 other mountain peaks.
From January 2018 onwards the cable car/train ride from Lauterbrunnen up to Schilthorn is covered with Swiss Pass.
How to get to Schilthorn
Wherever you start your journey, first you have to come to Lauterbrunnen for going to Schilthorn. From Lauterbrunnen there is a cable car going to Grutschalp. You won’t miss this cable car station it is just opposite side of the railway station (right side if you are coming from Interlaken). There is a pedestrian crossing on the road next to the station which is directly going to the cable car building. The cable station entrance is properly sign posted as Bergbhan Lauterbrunnen – Murren. From Lauterbrunnen it takes approximately five minutes to reach to Grutschalp. At Grutschalp the cable car and the train station are in the same building. From here you have to catch a train to Murren which will take around 15 minutes. This is the only train from here and only direction is Murren.
Once in Murren, when you exit the train station stay on the same little street all the way to then end of the village. There are lots of signs pointing the way to the Schilthorn cable car station, follow the signs to Schilthornbahn. If still in doubt ask for assistance or Just go with the flow.
From Murren (Schilthornbahn) cable car station, take your next cable car to Birg where you have to change your cable car for the final destination Schilthorn. You have to change the cable car inside the same building. The next cable car from Birg will take you directly to the Schilthorn.
I suggest you to spend some more time here instead of taking the very next cable car. Go out to the balcony of the cafe where there are yet more marvelous views. There was intermittent rain when we went there and waterfalls, small and big, visible everywhere.
While returning from Schilthorn you have two options, either follow the same route in reverse order, or go to Lauterbrunnen via Gimmelwald & Stechelberg.
For the second route do you have to come to the Murren village same cable car station and take the another cable car to Gimmelwald (change in same building). From Gimmelwald take another Cable car to Stechelberg.
When you get to the bottom of the cable car station at Stechelberg the bus stop is just in front of the cable car station and bus timetable is posted there. You can either go to Lauterbrunnen directly by bus or you can also walk this beautiful stretch. If you want to visit Trummelbach falls, which I recommend, it is on the way and you can use the same bus.
All the cable car and train stations connections are in the same buildings except the Murren village where you have to walk a certain distance.
Piz Gloria Revolving Restaurant
After leaving the cable car take an escalator and go to the upper floor. At this level, you will find the gift shop and a cafe. If you climb one more set of stairs up, you will find the revolving restaurant Piz Gloria. The Piz Gloria revolving restaurant offers 360-degree panoramic views of the surrounding snow capped mountains. One complete rotation takes around 45 minutes, so to get the full experience eat slowly till one rotation is complete. Food is expensive here but there are offers and packages for breakfast/lunch which include cable car ticket, breakfast/ lunch with drinks and a souvenir. Book your table in advance during busy periods. Your table is at your disposal for 90 minutes or two complete rotation.
Enjoy the panoramic view from observation decks
Head outside on the viewing platform for a panoramic view views over the surrounding mountains. On the observation deck there are panels around the entire exterior deck, engraved with the name of the mountain directly in front of your location. This helps to recognize which peaks in your line of sight. There is another observation deck on the opposite side on lower floor. When we were there some of our views were obstructed by clouds, but still we managed to get a good view of Jungfrau till the hail storm started.
James Bond Museum
There is a museum on the bottom floor dedicated to the James Bond movie that was filmed here. Entry to the James Bond museum is free of charge. You can watch video clips from the movie, posters from all the James Bond movies ever made and some interesting facts about the movie made at this location.
Check the James Bond theme washrooms
Here the washrooms are also designed in James bond theme. The washroom on top is marked for “007” Bonds for men and “Bond Girls” washroom for females. There are bond girl’s images inside the wash room and the 007 theme song starts after every toilet flush. At some point you will start feeling that bond theme is overdone and their dependency on it. Even every cable car trip plays the 007 music.
Go for a Thrill walk
The Thrill Walk is 20O-metre-long steel and glass bridge that clings to the side of the rock at Schilthorn before swinging under the observation deck and ending below the cable car station. the walkway is both narrow and high, but you are rewarded with uninterrupted views of the valley of Lauterbrunnen.
There is a similar thrill walk at the Birg. These Thrill walks are not dangerous but these are not for the faint hearted.
Schilthorn is well worth a visit. Not only is it a major James Bond location, but also visit for the world’s first revolving mountain top restaurant and the longest aerial cableway in the Alps leading to the summit.
lf you have a Swiss pass, you can consider this trip as an alternative to going to Jungfraujoch. You will get stunning views during the entire lift on the cable cars instead of travelling inside a mountain for an hour when going to Jungfraujoch.
- At each of the stops there will be a short wait for the next gondola. Use this time to view the scenery around you and take a few photos.
- Just above the lift doors in Piz Gloria there is a countdown timer clock for the arrival of the next cable car. Cable cars operate once in every 30 mins. keep an eye on timer and plan your visit accordingly.
- During summer Interlaken or other places in the plain areas are hot but on the top it’s very cold. Dress in layers and take warm clothes, caps, sunglasses.
- During peak summer season getting a table at Piz Gloria resturant is difficult. Book a table in advance which will be at your disposal for 90 minutes.
- If possible, try to make a round trip from Lauterbrunnen by Including both the routes. All the views are incredible including the train ride so don’t miss the train ride from Grutschalp to Murren.