The Mannlichen Royal Walk is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting the Interlaken area. I had the chance to experience this short hike on a recent trip, and it was truly breathtaking. The trail starts and ends at Mannlichen, a mountain peak high above Lauterbrunnen. It has the benefit of a great location that offers stunning views of the surrounding Bernese Oberland peaks – Jungfrau, Eiger, and Monch.
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What is the Mannlichen Royal Walk?
As I was planning my recent trip to the Jungfrau Region, I saw a lot of people talking about the Mannlichen Royal Walk. It is a short hike to a stunning viewpoint that is a platform in the shape of a crown – hence the name “royal” walk. So, when I was at the top of Männlichen, I knew I had to do it.
|Trail Length||Approximately 2 km return|
|Hiking Time||40 minutes return|
|Hiking Level||Easy / Family-friendly|
|Starting Point||Top of the Männlichen Gondola|
|Opening Times||May – October, 8:30 am – 5 pm|
This walk is actually achievable for just about anyone as it is only about a mile round trip (1.7 km) and takes approximately half an hour for most people. Of course, if you stop and take a lot of photos, you might need a bit more time.
The path is an easy gravel path and climbs around 120m up (around 400 ft) quite steeply. So, when we got to the top, there were a lot of people out of breath. But if you take it slowly, you will reach the top in no time. And boy is it worth it!
The view from the top of Mannlichen Royal Walk at 2342 meters gives you stunning 360-degree panoramic views of the Bernese Oberland Alps as well as back down to Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald. I would go as far as to say it is the best overview of the Jungfrau Region I have ever seen.
Specifically, you get to see the Eiger, Jungfrau and Monch – three of the most famous 4000m peaks in the region. And if you are heading up to the Jungfraujoch at some point, you will be able to see where the train dives into the Eiger from here too! Not only that, on the saddle between the Jungfrau and Monch you can see the Sphinx Observatory, which is at the top of the Jungfraujoch.
Royal Walk in Winter?
You might be wondering if you can do this walk all year round. No, officially the Männlichen Royal Walk is not open in Winter. However, if you have snowshoes or good walking boots the trail might be open from the gondola.
Safety Warning: You should check with the gondola staff before you head up to ensure it is possible and avalanche safe.
Also, be sure you have the right equipment for winter hiking and snowshoeing. It is not the same as in summer. The grip is considerably less if the snow is compacted. And if it has snowed, you might sink in up to your ankles or knees. So, it gets wet and cold quite quickly in my experience.
Ideal For Families
The Mannlichen Royal Walk is an easy hike suitable for families with children or anyone looking for a leisurely stroll in the Jungfrau region. The trail is a wide gravel path all the way to the top. Save for a few rocks as you near the end, you could actually do it in a stroller with large wheels if you are very fit. The steepness of the hike means it is not really possible to take a stroller, for most people anyway.
One of the unique features of the Mannlichen Royal Walk is the interactive stations along the trail that provide information about the local flora and fauna, the mountains, rocks, history and a whole lot more. These stations are designed to engage hikers of all ages, but I find are actually ideal for children. The boards are well spaced out all the way up which makes for a great pitstop as you go along. A place for everyone to catch their breath, take in the mind-blowing views and learn something about the area. With kids on board, it will be even more fun, and educational. Something that is far more challenging on most hikes.
Panoramic Views Of The Bernese Oberland
Yes, I have mentioned that you get amazing views of the whole Bernese Oberland and Jungfrau Region before. But the great thing about the crown at the top is that each section is labeled with all the mountains you see before you. So, as you walk around the royal crown you can stop and read which mountains you are actually looking at.
How to Get to Mannlichen Royal Walk
Getting to Mannlichen Royal Walk is relatively easy. Here are the steps I followed to get there:
- First, I took a train from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen. This is the first stop after Lauterbrunnen on the way up to Kleine Scheidegg.
- From there, you walk 5 minutes to the Männlichen gondola base station. Just look for the gondola in the distance and you can’t miss it.
- Take the Männlichen Gondola all the way to the top.
- You can also take the gondola up from Grindelwald to almost the same spot if you are coming from that side of the peak.
- The Mannlichen Royal Walk starts behind the top cable car station, so it’s easy to find. There are signs that point you in the right direction.
Overall, getting to Mannlichen Royal Walk is a straightforward process, and it’s well worth the effort. The views from the summit are breathtaking, and the walk itself is enjoyable and not too strenuous, as long as you take your time going up.
There are even some benches scattered all the way up the walk to help you relax, catch your breath and enjoy the views. So, make the most of them. We used the ones just below the summit to take a break for breakfast as we had gotten up so early to get the first gondola.
If you want to make your day even more fun, you have a couple of other options that you can combine with the Royal Walk.
The Royal Ride
If you are taking the gondola up from Wengen you can book a seat on the rooftop balcony of the gondola (yes, that is right!) instead of inside it.
It is called the “Royal Ride” and is only CHF 5 extra on top of the normal ticket price. You can book your tickets online beforehand and secure your spot on the royal balcony! Or, we noticed that the cable car attendant was promoting it when it was not full. You can pay on the spot as you enter – I believe he was only taking cash, but I would imagine credit cards are accepted at the entrance.
There is a cool staircase inside the cable car that the Royals get to ascend to the top viewing platform. It is quite the experience and worth spending the extra CHF 5 if you have it.
The Panorama Trail
One of the most popular hiking trails in the area is actually the Panorama Trail from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg. And you can easily combine this with the Royal Walk if you have time.
It is a stunning ridge-top walk all the way down to Kleine Scheidegg that only takes around an hour and a half. It’s easy to get back to either Grindelwald or Wegen by train from there as Kleine Scheidegg is a major stop on both lines.
Note: Header image courtesy of Richard Mortel on Flickr