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View dares wings; Let the train take the strain on an action packed break in the Swiss mountains.

Byline: SAMANTHA GREEN

I'm hurtling down a Swiss hillside, face-down, strapped to a giant eagle with three of my travel buddies. Does it get any better than this?!

If you're a bit of an adrenaline fiend, chances are it doesn't.

First up was the adventure hub of the Jungfrau region - on a summit called, appropriately, First. Easily accessible by cable car from Grindelwald, taking you 2,168m above sea level, you can sweep down the mountainside on the First Glider (an 800m zipwire attached to an "eagle"), the First Flyer (another 800m zipwire), scooters or mountain carts. Or get the Adventure Card and try them all.

Another way to get your pulse racing is the Cliff Walk - following the west side of the First summit at dizzying heights, you walk out on to a 45m platform above the alpine meadows, lakes and landscape.

Up that high, windy doesn't even cover it, yet we all stayed out there long enough to take photos of the magnificent mountains. Very Instagram.

Another picture-perfect place to visit on the excellent Jungfrau railway network is the highest train station in Europe.

Built in 1912 at 3,454m above sea level, Jungfraujoch is an incredible feat of engineering which involved tunnelling for 7km up the inside of the Eiger and Monch mountains.

The Top of Europe station itself sits between the peaks and has loads of viewing platforms to get your fill, including the Sphinx terrace, which overlooks the Aletsch glacier, the longest in Europe at 23km and a Unesco world heritage site. Jungfraujoch also has the highest chocolate shop in Europe there's something special about buying Lindt on top of the world.

As well as stunning views outside, the interior at Jungfraujoch is also something special. You can explore inside the Aletsch, where an ice palace was hewn in the 1930s with picks and saws.

The passages, alleys and corners are filled with ice sculptures - like Scrat from Ice Age - which change every month.

With restaurants and incredible views from every angle, it's easy to spend all day at Jungfraujoch (it is very high and some may struggle a little with the thinner air).

On the way back down from Jungfraujoch, we got off at Eigergletscher station and hiked the Eiger Walk down to our morning's starting station, Kleine Scheidegg. It's only 45 minutes, but give yourself more time for photo stops. That evening we caught the train from Grindelwald to Interlaken to hop on the funicular up to Harder Kulm for dinner at the Panorama restaurant.

After watching an incredible sunset, we enjoyed a three-course dinner overlooking the mountains and lakes.

The funicular takes only 10 minutes from Interlaken, and is well worth visiting in the evening.

Above Interlaken and only 35 minutes by train, Grindelwald is a lovely village.

It has everything you might need for your Swiss adventure. We stayed in the five-star Romantik Hotel, which is only a short walk from the station.

The hotel was cosy after a chilly day exploring, with two restaurants and has a spa/pool looking out at the Eiger. Perfect for relaxing after a long day hiking.

Back on those ever-reliable |Swiss rails, we caught the historic train

from Wilderswil up to Schynige Platte and wandered around the alpine garden, then hiked to a ledge at the top where there are views of Interlaken and lakes Thun and Brienz.

It was great to have a guide to show us around, and Ryan impressed us with his local knowledge and tales of traditional cow wrestling (the winning cow wears the biggest bell until the next bout).

Thanks to the fabulous Swiss train network, the mountains of the Jungfrau region are incredibly accessible to non-climbers - but still as breathtaking.

TRAVEL FILE

TOP TIP The Jungfrau Travel Pass allows visitors to travel as often as they like for three to eight consecutive days on trains. From PS137pp. All pass holders get a 50 per cent discount to visit Jungfraujoch. The Jungfrau Adventure Card costs from PS91pp, available from May to October. jungfrau.ch

TRY IT Tuck in to the "threesome of noble game" - a trio of venison - at the Romantik Hotel.

BOOK IT Double rooms at the Romantik Hotel Schweizerhof in Grindelwald start at PS206 a night on half-board.hotel-schweizerhof.com

GET THERE London to Zurich flight with SWISS from PS66. swiss.com INFO myswitzerland.com

The Top of Europe station sits between the peaks, with Europe's highest chocolate shop

CAPTION(S):

SCENIC ROUTE Historic train up to Schynige Platte

ICE AGE Scrat

SWISS ALPER Samantha takes in stunning views

WHERE EAGLES DARE Thrill seekers

LET US PREY Flying on the First Glider
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 14, 2018
Words:775
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