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.
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What is Jungfraujoch
Jungfraujoch is a col and a glacial pass between the Jungfrau mountain and the Mönch mountain. Jungfraujoch is also known as “Top of Europe”, because it’s the highest train station in Europe at 3,454 meters.
Best time to visit Jungfraujoch (weather)
You probably want to know how the weather is at the top, right? Will it be sunny? What should you bring? When is the best time to visit?
Well, I can give you a pretty good idea of when to visit. But unfortunately, no one can predict the weather – especially in the mountains. It can be clear skies and sunshine in the morning and shift to a raging snow storm in the afternoon. These are the cards we’re dealt, guys. We don’t have to like them, but we can plan around them.
As for the best time to visit Jungfraujoch… You’ve got the best chance for great weather if you visit Jungfraujoch from May to September. These are also the busiest months, so remember to book your ticket in advance. More on that below.
How to prepare
- Best time to visit:
May – September
Varies from 0-24 degrees C
- Check the weather forecast before booking your tickets. You can also follow the 360° Jungfraujoch webcam, which is live and broadcasts 24/7.
If there’s a snowstorm…
When I visited, it was not the best of weather. Ok, that’s an understatement. There was a snowstorm!
All white outside and the wind was howling like a wolf. 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.
Read next: Magical things to do in Lauterbrunnen
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. So, long story short: don’t worry if the weather is bad when you get there. There’s lots to see inside, and if you stay a few hours it might clear up!
What to pack for Jungfraujoch
Since the weather is unpredictable, you need to prepare for more or less anything. You can leave the shorts at home, but I would definitely wear a T-shirt underneath or just bring it in my bag. It can get quite warm at the top once the sun is out. Also, you should bring snacks and water. Although you can buy it at the restaurant, the prices are sky-high.
- Winter jacket
- Waterproof gloves
- Warm pants (like ski pants)
- Waterproof boots
- Extra pair of socks (especially if you’re hiking)
- Sunglasses (they’re a must to avoid snow blindness)
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 (T-shirt appropriate). So dress in light layers and check the weather forecast before you go.
How long to spend in Jungfraujoch
I get a lot of questions about how long to spend in Jungfraujoch, and my answer is – it depends. If it’s decent weather (anything but snowstorm), you’d probably want to spend some time outside. If it’s not good, you’ll spend less time up there obviously. I’d say 3-5 hours is a good bet.
What to do in Jungfraujoch (fun activitites)
No matter if you’re blessed with sunshine or a snow storm at the top, you’ll find a lot of activities. Besides the inside activities at the Top of Europe, you’ll also find restrooms and a restaurant.
- 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)
The Ice Palace
The Ice Palace was my favourite inside activity!
Everything is 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 are small halls and super narrow hallways with ice sculptures of penguins, animals, furniture and people. It’s super cool. The ice palace itself was the most fun experience I had at Jungfraujoch (aside from being outside).
Read next: Things to do in Grindelwald
The Alpine Sensation is an exhibition that includes a 250-metre-long hall and a 360-degree audiovisual panorama. Both are filled with Panasonic projectors. The 250 metre long corridor between the Sphinx Hall and Ice Palace is a memorial to the miners who opened up the Jungfraujoch to the railway. On the corridor walls, you can read about the sacrifices they made.
The panorama shows you a 360° view of the surrounding area. Here, you can see the beautiful mountain tops and the whole area even if you visit on a cloudy or snowy day.
The alpine sensation just opened in 2012 to mark the centenary of the Jungfrau Railway.
From Interlaken to Jungfraujoch
You can start your trip to Jungfraujoch from these stations: Grindelwald, Interlaken, Kleine Scheidegg, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Wilderswil, Zweilütschinen and Mürren. Whichever route you take, you will always go through either Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald and Kleine Scheidegg, which is the last stop before Jungfraujoch.
From Interlaken, you have two options:
- Via Lauterbrunnen and Kleine Scheidegg
- Via Grindelwald and Kleine Scheidegg
My advice? Take one route on your way up, and the other on the way down.
The train ride – step by step
Let’s say your trip begins in Interlaken. You’ll board the train to Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald where you’ll change to a cogwheel train that takes you the rest of the way. There’s a stop at Kleine Scheidegg where the Alpine views are amazing.
The Jungfrau train then enters a long tunnel through the mountains. It stops twice on the way up the tunnel – once at Eigerwand (2685 m) and then at Eismeer (3010m) where everyone gets out to take photos through picture windows. You can also use the restroom here (there’s no restroom in the train). The tunnel trip lasts about 45 minutes and the ascend is very steep. At some points, the train is at a 25 degree angle, which is a lot. You need to sit down for this – literally.
And then you’re done. You’ll arrive at Jungfraujoch (still inside the mountain), and you just walk over to the entrance. There’s a screen where you can see the departures. You can just catch the train down the mountain whenever you like.
Jungfraujoch tickets and price
Price: US $116-160 for a return ticket. You should book in advance!
I won’t sugarcoat it – visiting Jungfraujoch is expensive. But then again, it’s one of those experiences that are so unique, and most of the activities at the top are included in the price. I went on my own without a guide. Personally, I don’t think it’s necessary to book a guide, especially when tickets are already on the expensive side. There’s a lot of info in the Alpine Sensation, and as I said, it’s easy to get around on your own.
You have three ways of getting your tickets:
- You can book online through Jungfrau Railways
- Get it directly at the Jungfrau train station (I don’t recommend this – tickets might be sold out)
- Book through GetYourGuide (slightly cheaper)
Is Jungfraujoch worth the money?
I can only speak for myself, but YES. Yes, it’s definitely worth it. This is one of those once in a lifetime experiences, and it’s super fun – also for kids! If you can afford it, Jungfraujoch is absolutely worth the money.
Read next: Where to stay in Interlaken
Tips for the Jungfraujoch train ride
- Interlaken to Jungfraujoch travel time: 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.
- Seat reservation is recommended in the summer period (May to August).
- 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 in addition to the two train changes, there are two stops on the way up through the mountain (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 straightforward.
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?