Bringing to life the best of Swiss Railways
06/07/2020 · By Katie Shaw
If you're looking for the perfect destination for a scenic rail escape, few places tick the box quite as well as Switzerland.Read more
Accessed from the Swiss village of Wilderwil in the Bernese Oberland region of central Switzerland, Schynige Platte is a mountainous area that is notable for its dramatic beauty, Alpine meadows and the unforgettable views it affords of iconic neighbouring mountains including the Eiger, Silberhorn, Mönch and Jungfrau.
The journey to Schynige Platte is an unforgettable experience in itself. The Schynige Platte Railway, inaugurated in May 1893, gently climbs to an altitude of almost two thousand metres over its seven-mile route. On the way, this historic cog railway ascends forested hillsides, before reaching open pastures strewn with summer wildflowers and a point from which passengers gain views over Interlaken and its accompanying lakes Thun and Brienz. As the train attains the summit and nears the Schynige Platte station, the true splendour of the mountainous landscape is finally revealed.
Beyond the station and its adjacent hotel and restaurant, Schynige Platte is tranquil and beautiful, with only the occasional distant sound of a traditional cowbell to disturb the silence. The plateau, with its meadows and rock formations is a haven for walkers and nature enthusiasts, and numerous trails allow visitors to admire this breathtaking destination and be invigorated and uplifted by pure, clear mountain air and the unmistakeable and unique Alpine atmosphere.
Close to the railway station, the Schynige Platte Botanical Alpine Garden is an unmissable attraction for visitors. Begun in 1928 and opened a year later, the garden features more than six hundred species and subspecies of native Alpine flora, including rare and endangered plants, displaying them at their best and in their natural environment. The garden exists not only as a facility for the research and protection of these native plants and flowers but also to allow visitors to enjoy their beauty and diversity whilst learning about their conservation.
The Botanical Alpine Garden follows a circular route which showcases various types of Alpine environment and the plants and flowers that flourish in them. Depending upon the time available to visitors, an exploration of the garden can take anything from thirty minutes to four hours as the main route and offshoot paths lead through areas which include, among others, calcareous rock and scree; a mat-grass meadow; and Alpine bog; a collection of medicinal plants and a typical Alpine pasture.