When we were planning our trip to Switzerland, we really wanted to see the Bernese Oberland region. This region is located near the middle of Switzerland and we heard that it is one of the most beautiful regions in the country. As we did our research, we came across the Jungfraujoch or the Top of Europe as one of the must-see sights in this region. We immediately decided that taking a trip on the Jungfrau Train would be an excursion we would have to make!
The Jungfrau is one of the main summits of the Bernese Alps. It is high at 4,158 meters above sea-level and is considered an alpine attraction with a viewing point at an altitude of 3,454 meters.
How to get to Jungfrau Interlaken
Getting to Jungfrau is relatively easy. There are two options using the Bernese Oberland Railway system:
- taking the Jungfrau train from Interlaken Ost station to Lauterbrunnen or
- taking the Jungfrau train from Interlaken Ost station to Grindelwald
From both points, you need to change to the Wenger cable car or train to go to Kleine Scheidegg. From Kleine Scheidegg, you can take the Jungfrau cogwheel train to Jungfraujoch or the Top of Europe. This is the only way to get to the Top of Europe.
We were staying in Wengen, which was one of the little towns near Jungfrau. After taking the train from Wengen station, we arrived at Kleine Scheidegg about 30 minutes later. This was a train journey with spectacular views of the mountains.
From Kleine Scheidegg we boarded the Jungfrau train and reached the Jungfraujoch station about 35 minutes later. This journey was in a tunnel most of the way, but there were a few times the train was outside revealing beautiful mountain and cloud views. It was a misty day when we went up with the Jungfrau train which added a mysterious ambiance to our trip.
The Jungfrau train is very comfortable and seemed newer than some Swiss trains we had used. Look at the detail on the headrests… no wonder the tickets are so expensive!
We had read somewhere that the Jungfrau train station is the highest train station in the world! This was easy to believe! Our ears felt blocked a few times the higher we went up the mountain!
Activities once we disembarked at Jungfrau train station
Once we disembarked and entered the main building, there were several things to see and do. The first was a statue of Adolf Guyer-Zeller, the railway entrepreneur responsible for the establishment of the Jungfrau train.
The Sphinx Observatory
From here we took a lift up to the Sphinx Observatory, which means going up another 117 meters. On a clear day, you will have a 360° view from the Spinx Observatory. When we arrived, it was snowing outside and our views were limited. It was the first time both of us experienced falling snow and it was freezing and surprisingly dark! We could not see much at all!
The Alpine Sensation
The Alpine Sensation is a moving walkway with images, lights, and music. It connects the hall below the Sphinx observatory to the Ice Palace.
The Alpine Sensation was amazing. We loved the exhibits on display and the way the colors had been used.
There were images and photos depicting the story of the Jungfrau along the walls, highlighted by different color lights. It was a nice way to learn anything!
The Ice Palace
The Ice Palace was a hall with ice floors and many ice sculptures to admire. Take note and be careful! When you enter the Ice Palace, the floor is extremely slippery. My partner was too excited and slipped. He landed on his back, but fortunately had not sustained any injuries. There were security personnel around to assist if anyone injured themselves on the ice. Just walk slowly and carefully and you will be fine!
It was my first time in a place with ice sculptures, and I found them done really well. The level of detail of each ice sculpture was exceptional.
The Grosser Aletsch Glacier
From the Ice Palace, we went out into the snow and hoped to view the Grosser Aletsch glacier and the surrounding mountains. Unfortunately, it was snowing heavily here, and we struggled to see ahead of us. It gave us an idea of what winter in Switzerland will be like (although I am sure it is a hundred times more intense and cold than what we experienced).
What was interesting was how cold and full of snow the top of the mountain was, but just that morning we had been walking around without jackets and with short-sleeved t-shirts! It was a completely different season on the top of Jungfraujoch than in Wengen from where we had travelled that morning!
From here we took the Jungfrau train back to Kleine Scheidegg. The weather seemed to have taken a turn for the worse. So even though the visibility was quite bad for us, it was still better than for the people only going up the Jungfraujoch as we were descending.
Things we didn’t do at the Jungfraujoch
If we ever get the chance to go back to Jungfraujoch, we would love to try the following:
- In Summer, you can go sledding, skiing or snowboarding in the Snow Fun Park at an additional cost. We have never done any of these activities, so any or all would be fun!
- There is a Lindt Swiss Chocolate Heaven at Jungfraujoch, where you can learn about the history of chocolate as well as how it is made. Who does not love Lindt chocolate? We each received a free Lindt ball for just walking past!
- You can hike across the glacier to the Mönchsjoch hut in about an hour. This should be quite an adventure!
Tips for visiting Jungfraujoch
From our trip we learned a few lessons:
- Dress in layers – this will allow you to add or remove layers as the temperature changes. Inside the building, it was quite warm, but the Ice Palace was cold and when we went out to the see the Glacier, it was freezing!
- Check the weather before you go. This website gives live views of the weather at Jungfraujoch.
- We left a bit late as it was a rainy day and we were hoping for the weather to get better. It did not. In my opinion, take the earliest train you can. It should not be as busy as later when everyone has woken up and had breakfast.
- The Swiss rail passes do not cover the train journey from Wengen to Kleine Scheidegg. You have to purchase tickets for that route separately.
Our view on taking the trip with the Jungfrau train
We thoroughly enjoyed the train trip and the activities at the top of the mountain. We definitely recommend visiting the Jungfraujoch if you visit Switzerland. It is a pricey excursion, but there is something for everyone at the top of the mountain. At least, unlike the other mountains in Switzerland, there are other activities to do if the weather is bad and you don’t have spectacular views.
Have you been to Jungfraujoch? Did you enjoy the experience? Have you visited any of the other mountains in Switzerland, such as the one in Zermatt?