Switzerland Part 2: Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe

Switzerland trip report so far: Back from Europe! First Impressions and Takeaways, How We Accidentally Saw the Tour de France Live, Switzerland Part 1: Murren, Schilthorn, Allmendhubel and Paragliding, Wengen, our car-free Swiss Alps home base

One of the main attractions in the Bernese Oberland area of Switzerland is Jungfraujoch, known as the Top of Europe. Jungfraujoch is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it has Europe’s longest glacier and Europe’s highest rail station.

Visiting Jungfraujoch isn’t cheap, though. Even with our 25% Swiss Travel Pass discount, we spent almost $700 for the six of us (and two of my kids were free!). However, after visiting, I’m glad we shelled out the money for the experience.

Getting There

We purchased our tickets at the Wengen train station the day before. The agent recommended we take the 8:14 a.m. train, as it wouldn’t be as crowded and we would not need to worry about spending an extra $10 to reserve seats. The journey to Jungfraujoch for us was Wengen to Kleine Scheidegg to Eigergletscher to Jungfraujoch. Anything higher than Wengen is not included in the Swiss Travel Pass.

The journey from Wenger to Kleine Scheidegg is gorgeous. As we ascended, we could see Wengen down below.

The train had large windows.

We saw lots of cows and waterfalls.

Everything was timed just perfectly. Once we got off at Kleine Scheidegg, we hopped on the red train to continue our journey.

We climbed a short distance to Eigergletscher, where the cable car from Grindelwald joins. Our final leg of the train was mostly in tunnels inside the mountains. The train made one 5-minute stop so that we could look at the glacier through some windows in the mountain.

Almost 90 minutes after we departed Wengen, we arrived at the highest train station in Europe, which was inside the mountain.

Jungfraujoch train station

Things to Do at Jungfraujoch

Jungfraujoch is organized very well. We received a booklet that explained all of the different areas. All we had to do was follow the numbers in order to see everything.

We started at the outside viewing platform to see the glacier. It was 38 degrees and sunny.

The sky was clear, and the glacier went on and on. We couldn’t see the end of it.

My kids loved picking up snow near the platform. There is snow up here year-round.

Our tour took us down to the base of the observatory via elevator. This is where we could really get out in the snow.

Looking back at where we started at the top.

Helicopters landed on the glacier. People with serious glacier-hiking equipment ventured out.

There were a few zip lines outside. We didn’t try those, but my kids wanted to go snow sledding. Since we live in Texas, they hardly ever see snow, so this was a treat. It was $15 per person to rent the sleds, and they had a total blast.

There were sled and tubes as well as conveyors to take riders back to the top of the hills.

After the kids were too wet and cold to continue in the snow, we headed back indoors to continue the tour. Inside, there were several interesting displays about the construction of the rail line.

I loved this tiny replica of a town that had moving trains and gondolas:

Eventually, we made it to the ice tunnels. I have no idea how I managed to get through those without falling.

Throughout the tunnels, we saw some amazing ice sculptures (like a grand piano) and some whimsical ones as well.

Near the end, there were shops (of course!) and restaurants. My favorite shop was the Lindt chocolate shop. It had every imaginable flavor of chocolate and cute tins. I was in heaven!

Before heading out, we took one last look outside on top of the mountain:

I didn’t time our visit, but we were at Jungfraujoch at least two hours.

Lunch at Kleine Scheidegg

Instead of eating inside Jungfraujoch, we decided to grab lunch at Kleine Scheidegg on the way back to Wengen. This tiny town is basically a train station with a few hotels and restaurants. But, it has the most gorgeous views!

Kleine Scheidegg

We had the best Swiss German food at one of the restaurants with a fantastic view.

If (or when) we go back, I’d love to explore Kleine Scheidegg more and try some of the hiking paths.

Overall Thoughts

Visiting Jungfraujoch is expensive. But, getting there is beautiful, and there are so many things to do and see once you’re at the top. I’m not sure it’s worth the money on an overcast day, however. I can’t imagine going there and not seeing the gigantic glacier. But on a sunny day, Jungfraujoch is gorgeous. Visiting Jungfraujoch was such a unique experience, and I’m so glad we went.

How does my family travel so much? We use miles and points from credit card bonuses. See my Travel Hacking 101 post as well as current credit card offers here.

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