Camping Jungfrau, Lauterbrunnen
It has been 18 years since my last visit to Lauterbrunnen and its campground Camping Jungfrau. While my first visit was as a 19-year-old rappen pinching Au Pair, this trip, I returned as a Mother and Wife. Instead of lugging my one backpack on a bus and numerous trains, this time I arrived comfortably in my air-conditioned carefully packed minivan, husband and three kids in tow.
We had initially planned to stay at one of the adorable wooden chalets bookable through the campground itself, but booking late meant searching for an alternative. Our saviour was Eurocamp. With a little bit of flexibility with dates on our part, we were able to book a two-bedroom mobile home.
ABOUT OUR ACCOMMODATION
On arrival was made easy by the kind Eurocamp staff in a pre-welcome text message. Check-in was at the Eurocamp base and we were shown straight away to our home for the next seven days by the friendly staff. She had kindly aired out the already warm cabin, and the pre-ordered linen sat waiting for us to make our beds. The bedrooms and bathroom (with a toilet) were cosy and clean, with just enough storage for all the things a family of 5 bring along for a 7-day stay. Having a kitchen filled with everything we would need to cook is a luxury on a campground, no having to lug dishes to the washing up station with the rest of the campers. With the car unpacked, beds made and the kids happy at the playground, it was time to explore - oh and line up with those backpackers for the WIFI code at the main reception.
EXPLORING CAMPING JUNGFRAU
The main reception, shop and restaurant are located at the entrance end of the campground, close to those wooden chalets we had initially wanted to rent. Here we booked our tickets for the local gondolas, asked for hiking advice, and picked up most of our daily provisions. The reception staff were incredibly knowledgeable and helpful, their attention to detail though often resulted in a long line of information seeking tourists. This end of the campground also was home to a small tent field, plots for vans as well as the backpackers' wooden huts. At the edge of the property a beautiful wooden bridge will take you over the rushing river to a path leading to the nearby sports complex as well as a larger chalet housing the majority of the backpackers. If your timing is right, the stage underneath the large sunshade hosts a monthly folk concert (we missed it by a day!)
The main section of the campground begins underneath the tipi-like wooden arch with plots for vans and buses, some Eurocamp tents and another field for tents. It is here you will find the washing up areas, kids game room, recycling station and the Eurocamp check-in located just below an adventure playground. Past the amenities building is a little more secluded and quieter with permanent mobile homes, larger plots for vans and buses as well as our Eurocamp mobile home.
WHAT TO DO WHILE STAYING AT CAMPING JUNGFRAU
With so much to do in this beautiful part of Switzerland, narrowing down what we wanted to do each day was tough, but we quickly fell into a routine. Breakfast in the sunshine on our small gravelled courtyard followed by a hike. On our return to the campground of an evening, the kids headed straight to the games room for a movie while we enjoyed a quiet drink before dinner. After returning from dinner returning, we would sit outside until the sunset battling it out over a game of Mahjong.
The kids' highlights included the playground at Almendhubel, the First Flyer above Grindelwald, the Detective Trail from Gütschalp to Mürren and cooling down in the Lauterbrunnen pool. Us parents loved the panoramic mountain trail hike, with the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau peaks accompanying us as we hiked. Surprisingly for peak season, while we were often packed in like sardines on the train and gondolas, we were regularly hiking on our own. (More details on what to do in Lauterbrunnen coming up on the blog soon).
WHAT TO EAT WHILE STAYING AT CAMPING JUNGFRAU
We enjoyed picnics in Instagram-worthy settings, with staples picked up from the campground shop, the butcher in town with its excellent high-quality local salamis, as well as the local supermarket Coop. Dinners were either cooked back at our accommodation, but just as often we ate at the busy onsite restaurant, Weidstübli. The restaurant was not only reasonable priced (especially for Switzerland), but the portions generous. On our final night, we booked a table on the terrace of the local hotel Silberhorn. Here I enjoyed an Aperol Spritz while watching the sunset behind the mountains.. Our delicious meals were made even better but their super friendly and welcoming staff — worth a visit.
ANYTHING TO WATCH OUT FOR?
Now back to those backpackers. You must be wondering how a campground can be family-friendly while also accommodating backpackers. While 19-year-old backpackers from all over the world still visit today, what I failed to notice back on my visit in 2001 is that Camping Jungfrau is family-friendly. The unique combination of about 20% backpackers with 80% campers just works and both groups tend to keep to themselves. Yes while on average a busload of backpackers arrives onto the campground each day, I was never disturbed by them. Rather it was amusing to watch them rush for a wifi code and hear their complaints about the price of Swiss Beer. The campground enforces a curfew of 10 pm till 7 am, which meant no disturbances by their mild partying. Plus the soothing sound of the nearby White Lütschine river helped soothe me each night into a blissful nights sleep. However, if you want to be safe distance away from their potential noise, ask for a pitch or mobile home furthest from reception.
Just like most campgrounds in Europe, the pitches here are a little tight. But if you are looking for something a little roomer there are a small amount of larger pitches available. Don't come here expecting organised activities for the kids, because apart from the 5.30pm movie they will need to entertain themselves. I found without the temptations of a kids disco each evening we spent more quality time together. My only real complaint was the shower pressure in our mobile home. But we solved that by merely popping over to the clean amenities blocks when I needed to wash my hair.
WE CAN’T WAIT TO COME BACK
Our 7-day stay sadly zoomed by, and we tried desperately to see if we could extend our stay by a day or two. But alas, unless we were willing to become backpackers, high-season had us out of luck. On the seventh morning, we packed back up our minivan, stopped in town for a leisurely breakfast before making our way back home. Knowing we will be back very soon to explore a little more - next time hopefully with our own VW pop-top van!
TIPS FOR YOUR STAY AT CAMPING JUNGFRAU
If you plan to visit in high season book ahead for all accommodation and pitches. If booked out, check to see if anything is available through Eurocamp.
Visit reception allowing enough time to wait in line, but perhaps shorter than the wait for tickets at the Gondola station.
Book your dinners at the onsite restaurant in advanced. It was always packed.
Camping Jungfrau is an excellent base for visiting the Jungfrau mountain, make sure you take advantage of the early-bird train ticket pricing.
The walk to Camping Jungfrau is about 15 minutes from the Lauterbrunnen train station. If you have luggage call the campground for a pick-up.
The kids will be happy you bought either a bike or scooter for them to get around the campground.
There are two or three grilling areas around the campground where you can make or fire, or pack up your supplies and walk down the road 5 minutes for a great fireplace to grill your sausages.