If you are planning a trip to Switzerland and did a little research of things to do here, then you’ve probably heard of Jungfraujoch already. If you don’t know what Jungfraujoch is, give me high-five. I’ve never heard about it until my first trip to Switzerland. Because when you are in Switzerland as a tourist, it is impossible not to hear about the Jungfraujoch. The advertisement of the Top of Europe experience is everywhere. But what exactly is a Jungfraujoch?
Jungfraujoch is the highest railway station in Europe at 3454 m above sea level. It is also one of the most popular and expensive tourist attractions in Switzerland. Because of the price, I didn’t want to go there for a long time but finally gave it a try this August. Was it worth the money? You can read my Jungfraujoch experience review at the end of the post. But first I want to share some tips on how to prepare for the trip and the best things you can do in Jungfraujoch.
Before you go to Jungfraujoch
Given the price of this trip, it is good to prepare to be sure you are not wasting your money. There are a few things that you can do to ensure that you get the most out of your trip to Jungfraujoch.
Check the weather:
Before buying tickets to the Jungfraujoch (and any other mountain in Switzerland) always check the live webcams and the weather forecast. It is the best to go to mountains on the clear sunny day when you can see the view. If you are staying in the Jungfrau area for a few days and the weather is changeable, wait for a clear day and just get your tickets in the morning. If the weather is bad all the time, you might consider going somewhere else or skipping this trip. I honestly think that going all the way up on a cloudy day and not being able to see more than 2 meters in front of you doesn’t make sense when you pay so much for the ticket.
Going up to the snow peaks is one of the coolest things you can do in Switzerland in summer. The change of scenery and weather conditions from the starting point to the mountaintop is fascinating. Plan ahead which clothes to bring to the Jungfraujoch. You should remember that even if it +30 in the valley, the snow doesn’t melt on top. When we went to the Jungfrau at the end of August, the temperature on top was around +10 C which is not bad. But even if the air temperature is warm, you will need good shoes to walk in the snow (better waterproof, especially if you plan to go to the Snow Fun Park), some jacket to put on and maybe also a scarf, gloves, and hat in cold season. Sunglasses and sunscreen are also recommended on a sunny day. The sun is stronger on the top and you might not even notice as you get sunburnt.
Plan your time:
The earlier you arrive, the better because it gets crowded later in the day. The journey from Interlaken-Ost train station to the Jungfraujoch takes around 2-2,5 hours. Jungfraujoch is a perfect day trip from Interlaken or any closer town like Wengen, Lauterbrunnen, or Grindelwald. If you want to make a day trip to Jungfraujoch from Zurich, Bern, Lucerne or Geneva, you will need to leave very early in the morning. Check the SBB website to see how much time you need to reach Jungfraujoch by train from the place where you are staying. The last train from Jungfraujoch leaves at 16.30-17.30 pm depending on the season. From my experience, you need at least 2-3 hours on top and more if you want to do activities in snow park or walk to the Mönchsjochhütte.
On the way to Jungfraujoch
How to get to the Jungfraujoch:
There are 2 routes to get to Jungfraujoch from Interlaken: via Grindelwald and via Lauterbrunnen. They take approximately the same time but offer different views. The train departing from Interlaken is later split in Zweisimmen station so you need to be careful in which part of the train you want to sit: going vie Grindelwald or vie Lauterbrunnen. We went up via Grindelwald and came back via Lauterbrunnen. I liked the scenery in both ways so if you have a chance, try taking different routes on the way to and from Jungfraujoch.
Both trains then meet in Kleine Scheidegg where you take the last train to the Top of Europe. If you are lucky to find a seat on the right side of the train, you will enjoy great views all the way until the station Eigergletscher. If not, don’t worry because later the train enters the tunnel and there is nothing interesting to look at anyway. This is a difference between going to Jungfrau or any other mountains in Switzerland. In other places, you take a cable car to the top. This makes Jungfraujoch a unique place where the railway tunnel is built inside the mountains.
Inside the tunnel, the train stops at the station “Eismeer” for 5 minutes. Even though they made an announcement, many people didn’t hear it and remained seated. Be smart and go out. This is the first point where you can take a look at a glacier and snap the picture. The rest of the journey from Eismeer station to Jungfraujoch is about 5 minutes so don’t worry if you lose your seat.
Things to do in Jungfraujoch
One of the reasons why I was not sure about doing this trip was because I didn’t know if there was something to do in Jungfraujoch apart from taking photos and enjoying the scenery. I checked the official website for things to do in Jungfraujoch but it didn’t look promising to me. Luckily it turned out that there were enough fun activities to do in Jungfraujoch. We spend 4 hours there and this without doing any activities in Snow Fun Park. Here is a quick overview of some fun things to do in Jungfraujoch:
In Ice Palace, everything is made from ice as you probably guessed from the name. There are aisles, halls and ice sculptures to take photos of. It is pretty cold in there so the recommended time to spend inside is around 15-20 minutes.
Snow Fun Park
The Snow Fun Park is open only in the summer season. You can do many fun activities there, for example, zip line, snow tubing, ski, and snowboard. All the other attractions in the Jungfraujoch are free, only in Snow Fun Park, you need to pay extra. You can even get a day pass to try out all activities.
If you want photos in snow but don’t want to walk all the way to Snow Fun Park, head to the plateau. It is a big open platform with the views on both sides of Jungfrau and a very photogenic Swiss flag.
Sphinx observation deck
Sphinx observatory is the building that you see on all advertisements for Jungfraujoch. It made me think that this is the station where the train arrives. But this is actually a separate building at height of 3,572 meters where you get an even a better view of the area around Jungfrau.
In the corridor between the Ice Palace and Sphinx Hall where you can learn the history of the Jungfrau railway.
From the Jungfraujoch, you can walk to the Mönchsjochhütte – the highest occupied hut in Switzerland. The walk takes around 45 minutes and you can check the website to see if the hut is open.
It is just a short 360-degree panorama movie that you can watch on the way to or from Sphinx observatory.
Lindt Swiss Chocolate Heaven and Top of Europe shops
We didn’t go to Lindt or any other shops, so I can’t say anything. But I guess they are not different from any other souvenir shops apart from the fact that they are located on the Top of Europe 🙂
Where to eat in Jungfraujoch
There are some restaurants on the Jungfraujoch station. One of them was reserved for groups, a quick look at other one confirmed what I expected: sky high prices. To save on food, you can take some snacks with you and order coffee or tea in picknick area. Even if you come with your own food, you won’t miss the views!
So was the trip Jungfraujoch worth the money?
Even though I was a bit skeptical about this trip at first, I am happy we did it. I would love to do it again sometime in the future. Traveling to the Jungfraujoch is a really unique experience. When I first heard that this is the highest railway station in Europe, I immediately thought that this was a recent project. Imagine my surprise when I found out that the station was open in 1912. It took 16 years to complete the tunnel through Mönch and Eiger and was a great engineer achievement at that time. The cost of maintaining the Jungfraujoch station and the railway line is definitely high so I can understand the high price of tickets now.
If you find tickets a bit too expensive but still can afford it, I highly recommend taking this trip. You will probably forget about money soon after you board the train and spend the wonderful day on Top of Europe. If the tickets are really out of your budget, don’t worry! Switzerland is full of other incredibly beautiful places that you can visit for less money. Even if you can’t go up to the top of Jungfrau, you can see this mountain from everywhere in Jungfrau region.
Would you go to Jungfraujoch? Let me know in the comments!