Is Jungfraujoch really worth it? A trip to the top of Europe.
So, you’ve decided you want to see the “top of Europe”. Welcome to Jungfraujoch, affectionately known as the “top of Europe”, with the highest train station at 3454m. When I first decided to visit Switzerland, I asked everyone what I should/where to go. At the top of everyone’s’ bucket lists was Jungraujoch, and after 5 minutes of research I knew I had to go.
I began my journey from Interlaken OST station, where you can catch a train to Kleine Scheidegg via Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen. I chose to go via Lauterbrunenn, where you’ve got the option to get off and explore the town! The trains run every 30 minutes, so if it’s at the top of your list, you’ve got time to explore.
I opted to just jump off the train and take a quick few photos, before jumping on the next train to Kleine Schidegg. The views are absolutely magnificent on the train ride, and be sure to sit on the right side for the best views.
From Kleine Schidegg you swap to the train headed for Jungfraujoch, which has two scenic stops on the way. The first is Eigergletscher, where you can grab a snap from the comfort of your train window. The next is Eismeer, where the train stops for 5 minutes. 100% jump out and go to the special viewing platforms, the view is unbelievable.
Then, jump back onto the train and head for Jungfrau! The journey is mostly covered as it’s in a tunnel, and it can be quite steep, reaching 25 degrees sometimes. Once you’ve arrived at Jungfrau, there is SO much to see and do.
I followed the tour guide as suggested, but my favourite places were the Sphinx, Alpine Sensation and the Plateau. You begin your self-guided tour in the Jungfrau Panorama room, where a quick 4 minute video is shown on a 4D experience cinema. You stand up for it, and if you get motion sickness, you might want to skip this. It’s beautiful to watch, but I found myself feeling a little dizzy halfway through!
Next, walk up to the Sphinx. This is the highest accessible point open to the public at Jungfrau, and the views are like nothing you’ve ever seen before. As far as the eye can see, the snow-peaked alps glisten in the sun. Their magnificence is so overwhelming, so take your time to walk around outside and really take in the view in front of you.
Food is really expensive up the top (as it’s expensive to bring up and run the train!), so I brought my own packed lunch that I made at my hostel…. Cheese and cucumber sandwich anyone?! The inside part of the sphinx is the perfect place for a pit-stop, so fill up your water bottle, grab your lunch and sit with the world’s best lunch spot.
Afterwards, head downstairs to the Alpine Sensation. With individual images, light and music, the Alpine Sensation Round-Tour Subway shows the past and present of Jungfrau’s history.
It shares a tribute to Guyer Zeller’s pioneering spirit, as well as a monument to those who lost their lives helping to build Jungfrau. I always love learning more about the history of these magical places, and there is even more information in the Jungfrau ‘passport’ you’re given at the start of your journey. You can read more about these unusual facts and history HERE.
Next is the ice palace. That was built in 1934 by two mountain guides. Hailing from Grindelwald and Wengen, they began to hew out an enormous cavern in the ice. These days, the cavern covers over 1000 m2, with countless niches and passageways. Be careful when exploring, the floor is slippery and you’ll need to be wearing shoes with decent grip. The sculptures are gorgeous, and well worth a look.
My favourite part of the day was visiting the Glacier Plateau, where the Swiss flags stand tall, flapping in the wind. They were raised in 1912 at the opening of Jungfrau Railway, and are “the spot” to get a photo at. When I was there (late Feb), there was a short but civilised line, and everyone got their special snap! The weather was so perfect, that you could actually see into neighbouring countries; a very special moment indeed.
Last necessary stop, the Lindt chocolate store! I’ve grown up eating Lindt, so while nothing new, chocolate tastes so much better when you’re 3454m high. Switzerland is the home of Lindt, so it’d be rude not to pay a visit! HINT: the lovely lady in the shop gives out a free sample to everyone, just ask for one.
There are a couple of restaurants in the complex, but they’re very expensive and I’d suggest bringing your own food. A popular choice for most tourists was a cup of noodles, but coming in at £7, I couldn’t justify it.
When you’re in Switzerland, visiting Jungfraujoch really is a non-negotiable. Yes, it’s an expensive trip, but when you appreciate the workmanship that has gone into the railway, it’s more than justified. You stand on the Top Of Europe! What more could you want?!
HINT: If you’re in Switzerland for more than a couple of days, I’d definitely suggest buying the half-fare Swiss pass. It means you get a variety of travel for half-price, including the Jungfraujoch railway!