Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe was high on my Switzerland bucket list. Why? For starters, it’s the highest train station in Europe (3,454 meters). Second of all, the views on the way to Jungfraujoch and from the top are spectacular. And last but not least, you get to walk inside a glacier and visit an ice palace. I am sold!
The Jungfraujoch experience begins from the minute you step into the cogwheel train and begin the ascent of 3,000 meters. The views from the train are nothing short of breathtaking, and there are fun activities at the Top of Europe for both singles, families and kids.
FUN ACTIVITIES AT JUNGFRAUJOCH
- Snow tubing
- Sledging in the Snow Fun Park
- Skiing in the Snow Fun Park
- Snowboarding in the Snow Fun Park
- Hiking across the glacier to the Mönchsjoch hut (it takes 1 hour)
- Get a panoramic view from the Sphinx observatory
- Snowball fight (all year round)
- The Ice Palace
- Alpine Sensation (a moving walkway with photos and videos)
- Lindt Swiss Chocolate Heaven
- Restaurants (they have food and hot cocoa)
A RAGING SNOWSTORM AT THE TOP (IN MAY)
My trip began in Interlaken. I boarded the train to Lauterbrunnen where I changed to a cogwheel train that took me the rest of the way. There was a stop at Kleine Scheidegg (more on that below) where the Alpine views should be amazing, but unfortunately I couldn’t see anything. Thick white clouds shrouded the mountains and the warm sun.
The Jungfrau train then entered a long tunnel through the mountains. It stopped twice on the way up the tunnel – once at Eigerwand (2685 m) and then at Eismeer (3010m) where everyone got out to take photos through picture windows. The tunnel trip lasted about 45 minutes and the ascend was very steep. At some points, the train was at a 25 degree angle, which is a lot!
When I reached the top, it was all white outside and the wind was howling almost like a wolf. I couldn’t see anything, but my adventurous side still wanted to go outside for a look. As I reached for the door and slowly opened it, the storm ripped it open. I clinged to the handle and peeked outside while squinting my eyes. It was all white and the snow blindness hit me like a punch to the face.
I might get dramatic on you for a second here, but I was squealing like a scared little girl on the inside. Terrified that the wind would blow me off the mountain or that I couldn’t find my way back. I couldn’t see 2 meters ahead.
Even though it was a whiteout at the top of Jungfraujoch, I had a super fun time with the selfie-project, trying not to blow off the mountain. I asked the Jungfrau Railways if they had a photo from the top so I could show you how it looks on a clear day. They kindly gave me a bunch to choose between and I picked this one.
This is how Jungfraujoch looks on a good day.
THE ICE PALACE
I’d been on the first morning train to Jungfraujoch (06.35 am) so the place was still empty. However, I knew it was only a matter of time before the hordes would arrive with their selfie sticks and pushy group tours. I quickly headed to the ice palace and was led through the glacier down an ice tunnel.
Everything was made of ice, even the floor, which was a little slippery for my clumsy feet. It was cold, around 0° degrees so I was glad I’d brought my winter jacket. Inside the palace there were small halls and super narrow hallways with ice sculptures of penguins, animals, furniture and people. It was super cool. The ice palace itself was the most fun experience I had at Jungfraujoch (aside from being outside).
I then moved on to the alpine sensation, which is another inside activity. It just opened in 2012 to mark the centenary of the Jungfrau Railway.
BEAUTIFUL VIEWS AT KLEINE SCHEIDEGG
After exploring everything Jungfraujoch had to offer, I began my descend back to Interlaken. I had the choice to either go via Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald. Since I had already been to the latter the day before and I really wanted to see more of Lauterbrunnen, I took the train there.
After 45 minutes, I could finally see light at the end of the tunnel and it was like entering a different world. The sun was shining, the sky was clear and I could actually see how beautiful the mountains were. For a moment, I considered getting off and catching the next train down, but I was content with the 25 minutes I already had for changing trains in Kleine Scheidegg. I spent them wisely and wandered around the platforms while shooting lots of photos.
All in all, the trip to Jungfraujoch was totally worth it!
The view might not have been clear on the top, but the experience was still great and I got some killer views on the train ride down the mountain range. Plus, it’s not every day you’re at the top of a mountain, almost being blown off
TIPS FOR THE JUNGFRAUJOCH TRAIN RIDE
- Price: 204 CHF (US $212) for a return ticket. You can find all prices and discounts here.
- It takes 2 hours and 17 minutes to get from Interlaken Ost to Jungfraujoch. There are two train changes – one in Lauterbrunnen and one in Kleine Scheidegg. You’ll have 10 minutes at each stop and it’s more than enough time to change trains. There are lots of other people going the same way so just follow the crowd. Download the timetable.
- Seat reservation is recommended in the summer period (May to August). You can book online or at the Jungfrau train station.
- Go early in the morning to avoid the crowds. There’s a new train arriving every 30 minute so the crowds arrive fast.
- Sit on the right side of the train when you go up. You’ll get the best views from this side.
- Bathrooms are not available on the Jungfrau train, but there are two stops on the way up (for 5-7 minutes) where you can use the restroom.
- Train schedules are visible at Jungfraujoch, and the train departure is announced through speakers so it’s very easy.
HOW TO PLAN YOUR TRIP
- Check the weather forecast before booking your tickets. You can also follow the 360° Jungfraujoch webcam, which is live and broadcasts 24/7.
- Bring snacks and water. You can buy it at the top, but the prices are sky-high.
- Dress in layers. The temperature will change as you ascend the mountain. It will be warmer in the valleys, but it gradually gets colder the higher you go. Temperature will be around 0° degrees at the top, depending on which season you visit, but there is always snow at the top. I visited in May and it was -5° degrees and VERY cold, but it can also be warm and sunny at the top (shorts-and-t-shirt appropriate). So dress in light layers and check the weather forecast before you go.
- Packing list: Warm jacket, warm clothes, T-shirt, waterproof shoes, extra pair of socks (especially if you’re hiking) and sunglasses (they’re a must to avoid snow blindness)
- A guided tour is not necessary at the top. It’s easy to get around, and hiking trails are clearly marked.
A special thanks to Jungfrau Railways for hosting my trip to Jungfraujoch. Whenever I travel, there will always be full disclosure about whether my stay was sponsored. And even if I’m on a press trip, my view will never be swayed one way or the other.
So what do you think? Would you visit Jungfraujoch?
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