Feel like James Bond on Piz Gloria
Piz Gloria is a rotating panoramic restaurant at the top of the Schilthorn (2970m). The restaurant overlooks the Lauterbrunnen Valley and the peaks of the Mönch, Eiger and Jungfrau. The building makes a complete rotation in 55 minutes and is best known thanks to James Bond.
In the Bond movie "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" the building serves as a research institute in the Swiss Alps. Here, Bond meets 12 young women, the "Angels of Death", who are treated as allergy patients. However, at night, Bond discovers that they receive audio instructions during an induced sleep. Bad guy Blofeld wants to brainwash the women as sleeper agents to trigger a worldwide bacterial infestation.
Bond can escape and ski down from Piz Gloria while Blofeld and his men chase him. This famous black ski run starts at the summit and runs all the way to the valley, making it one of the longest slopes in the world. Many scenes were recorded by cameraman John Jordan, who filmed while hanging under a helicopter.
To the top of the Schilthorn
Our journey begins in Lauterbrunnen, famous for its many waterfalls. The cableway starts there from the valley to the connecting station Grütschalp at 1484m altitude. The cable car is realized as a single-track track (with only one cabin) with two carrying cables. The cabin can carry 100 people, along with 6 tons of goods in an open box, which hangs under the cabin. These goods are destined for the isolated mountain village of Mürren, which is completely car-free.
In Grütschalp we change directly to the narrow gauge railway that takes us to Mürren over a length of 4.27 kilometers. The track is a single track, except at the Winteregg station. This station is approximately in the middle of the route and has a passing track. Be sure to sit on the left side of the carriage to have the best view over the valley. After about a quarter of an hour we arrive in Mürren.
From the station of Mürren it is a short 15 minute walk to the next cable car that will bring us to Piz Gloria. It is pleasant to stay in this picturesque village that is completely car-free and has many splashing water fountains and typical wooden chalets overlooking the underlying valley from the mountain plateau. We get on the Schilthornbahn which will take us from the village at 1638m to the intermediate station Birg at 2677m. This cable car bridges 1000m difference in altitude in 6 minutes, accompanied by James Bond music at the start.
The Swiss have done their best not just to make Birg an intermediate station, but to offer a whole experience. You may want to skip it though in case you have fear of heights. First and foremost is the Thrill walk, a path of about 200m built up against the vertical rock walls. Through the walkways or glass floor you can see a few hundred meters straight down. In addition, there is also the Skyline walk, a viewing platform with great panoramic views that also dangles above the gaping depth of the valley.
Once we have overcome the fear of heights, we take the last cable car from Birg after Piz Gloria, the top of the Schilthorn.
The rotating restaurant at the top of the Schilthorn owes its name to the Bondfilm which was shot there in 1968/1969. As a return service for the use of the building, the film company financed the project and the helipad. Only when the recordings were over the restaurant was opened to the public. Because the building had not yet been given a name, they simply stayed with Piz Gloria, invented by James Bond author Ian Fleming.
The core of the circular building is designed as a kitchen for the restaurant. Around it there are two separately adjustable rotating rings with the tables for the guests. Both rings can rotate around the shaft in at least 48 minutes. The drive is powered by solar panels on the roof of the restaurant. The revolving restaurant offers a breathtaking view. From 2970 meters altitude you can admire the Titlis, Jungfrau, Mönch and Eiger mountains. The Jura mountains, the Vosges and the Black Forest can also be seen on a clear day.
After the film recordings in the late sixties, much has changed to Piz Gloria. For example, the helipad has been replaced by a panorama terrace. However, the site still embraces its Bond heritage. The entire ground floor is now a 007 experience with film posters, props from the film (the helicopter, De Bleuchamp family coat of arms and many others) and even Bond style restrooms. You can also replay the wild bobsleigh descent between Bond and Blofeld and have them put on film.
In the video below you get a good view of Piz Gloria, its panoramas and the activities on Birg.