Are you traveling to Switzerland and wondering if Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe is worth a visit? Or are you looking for a Jungfraujoch tour and wondering what to expect? Or maybe you are just researching the most beautiful places for a day trip in the Swiss Alps and are not sure where to go? In this article, we share our experience visiting Jungfraujoch Top of Europe, the best Jungfraujoch tours, and practical information you may want to know when planning a day trip to Jungfrau. Read on!
With so many well-known mountain destinations in Switzerland, it might be hard to know where to go in the Swiss Alps. If you have time and money, you shouldn’t limit yourself to just one place. However, if you visit just one or two places in the Swiss mountains, then I really think that Jungfraujoch Top of Europe should be one of them. It will be the highlight of your trip to Switzerland. Find out!
What is Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe
Jungfraujoch is a unique year-round mountain destination in Switzerland. It’s part of the UNESCO World Heritage site called Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch.
Jungfraujoch also referred to as Top of Europe, is a place where the highest railway station in Europe (3,545m) is located.
With an elevation of 3,466m, this is the lowest pass between two four-thousander mountains – Jungfrau and Mönch. It is therefore called the Jungfrau saddle (literal translation of the word Jungfraujoch).
Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe – some history
It’s hard to imagine that an idea to build a railway to a glacier at over 3,5km (over 11,600 ft) height dates from the 19th century. Even today, it would be a huge challenge!
A Swiss entrepreneur Adolf Guyer- Zeller came up with a crazy idea to build a tunnel and a railway line to the rocky summit of Sphinx (now an observation deck at Jungfraujoch). Construction started in 1896, took 16 years to complete, and due to various reasons stopped a bit lower. The man behind the project died before it was completed…
The Jungfrau railway line is a significant achievement and even now, more than 100 years later, it still holds the title of the highest railway station in Europe.
Where is Jungfraujoch and how to get there
It takes quite some time to reach Jungfraujoch. It’s a 2,5 hours train ride from Interlaken, 1,5 hours from Lauterbrunnen, or 1 hour from Wengen.
The only way to get to Jungfraujoch is by train. The last place where you can leave your car is Lauterbrunnen, from where you have to take a train to Kleine Scheidegg. You have to switch trains at Kleine Scheidegg, where you hop on the luxury Jungfraujoch Railway train for the last part of the journey.
You can visit Jungfraujoch on your own – just make sure to book a ticket in advance, especially if visiting in summer. Alternatively, you can join an organized excursion to Jungfrau from a variety of cities in Switzerland. Here are the most popular options for organized Jungfrau tours: Jungfraujoch day trip from Zurich, Jungfraujoch day trip from Lucerne, or Jungfraujoch visit from Interlaken.
For more tips for your visit to Jungfraujoch, please check our practical information section at the end of the article.
What to do at Jungfraujoch
Jungfraujoch is so much more than the highest train station in Europe! In fact, it’s more than any other mountain destination we have visited so far. There is so much to see and do at Jungfraujoch that you can easily make a day trip of it, one of the best day trips in the Swiss Alps!
There is a wide range of activities at Jungfraujoch. Some activities like hiking or skiing and sledding at the Snow Fun park are seasonal (summer only), most others are available the whole year round. Below is a short overview of everything that you can see and do at Jungfraujoch. Read on!
1. Sphinx Observation Deck & Aletsch Glacier
The Sphinx Observatory is an astronomical observatory at Jungfraujoch, an international research station. Sphinx is one of the highest observatories in the world. It’s not accessible to the public, but you can visit the open viewing deck, called Sphinx observation deck.
The view over the sea of snow of the Aletsch glacier from the Sphinx observatory is second to none. It is hard to imagine that this 22 km long glacier is almost a kilometer thick. Can you imagine that much ice?!
If you come here on a clear day (or if you find yourself above the clouds), seeing the Aletsch Glacier is one of the best experiences, a must do at Jungfraujoch.
To get to the Sphinx observation deck, you’ll need to take a really fast elevator. It ascends 108m in just 25 seconds.
You wouldn’t believe it, but even at this height, there are some birds living at Jungfraujoch. Yes, even in winter when temperatures of -20°C (-4F) aren’t uncommon, you are likely to run into some birds here. Unbelievable!
2. Ice Palace
If you want to get up close and personal with the glacier, then don’t miss the Ice Palace, probably the most impressive of all Jungfraujoch attractions.
Walking in an ice tunnel under the glacier is something that is always exciting. No matter how many times you’ve done it, it just takes your breath away.
There are all kinds of ice sculptures at the Ice Palace at Jungfraujoch. You never know what you’ll find, because they change exposition quite often. We saw eagles, bears, and the kids also found Scrat from Ice Age stuck inside the ice… They didn’t stop talking about it for days…
3. Alpine Sensation
Alpine Sensation is a 250m-long corridor that connects the Sphinx Hall with the Ice Palace. It’s a tribute to the miners who built the railway and the history of this unique place. It’s a beautifully done, multimedia-staged trip back in time and a truly touching experience.
Our kids were fascinated by a giant snowball with a miniature world inside of it. They could have watched it for hours…
4. Jungfrau Panorama
Jungfrau Panorama film is a fascinating experience that shows you a 360° panorama of the surrounding area. So even if you visit on a less beautiful day, when mountains are covered in the clouds, this unique virtual experience lets you admire the magnificent panorama.
5. Glacier Plateau
Glacier Plateau is an extremely popular photo stop at Jungfraujoch. Not only do you have guaranteed snow and ice 365 days a year, but it also offers an amazing view over the nearby Jungfrau and Silberhorn mountain peaks.
6. Snow Fun Park
Snow Fun Park at Jungfraujoch is only open outside the ski season (early May to Mid October). If you come to Jungrau in winter, there are plenty of ski slopes and sledding runs in the area. But if you visit this beautiful region in summer, you can experience the snow at the Snow Fun Park at Jungfraujoch.
Skiing, snowboarding, sledding and snow tubing are available. More adventurous can also try the Flying Fox. Ziplining above the glacier – how (literally) cool is that?!
Single tickets are quite expensive, so I recommend getting a day ticket that includes all activities and the hire of the necessary equipment (more info here). Make sure to come early and you can spend the whole fun day at Jungfraujoch!
If you visit Jungfraujoch in summer, in addition to all of the above, you can also hike to Switzerland’s highest serviced mountain hut, Mönchsjochhütte. It is accessible from the Jungfraujoch on a marked footpath through the glacier and takes about 45 minutes one way.
Make sure you wear good hiking boots if you plan to go hiking here. Oh, and make sure to always stay on the marked paths. Wandering onto a glacier without an experienced local guide is very dangerous!
8. Lindt Swiss chocolate experience
You can’t visit any place in Switzerland and not try some Swiss chocolate. Jungfraujoch is no exception.
Lindt Chocolate Heaven is much more than just a chocolate shop. Combining the old-fashioned chocolate making process with interactive displays, it’s a really fun place to see when visiting Top of Europe.
Don’t forget to treat yourself to some delicious Lindt chocolate – it melts in your mouth!
9. Restaurants and shops
Since you will probably spend the whole day at Jungfraujoch, you’ll be glad to know that there are plenty of nice restaurants and shops on top. You can find everything from Swiss chocolate to traditional souvenirs, Swiss knives, and even clothes at one of the Jungfraujoch shops.
There is a self-service restaurant and also an a-la-carte restaurant with amazing glacier views. We had lunch at the Crystal Restaurant and found that the food was actually very reasonably priced for Swiss standards (and the portions were huge). Dining high above the clouds and with a view like that is an unforgettable experience!
Is Jungfraujoch worth the money?
Just like many people, you are probably also wondering if it’s worth the money to visit Jungfraujoch? I was asking myself the same thing before we went.
Visiting Jungfraujoch is expensive, very expensive, but you probably already know that nothing is cheap in Switzerland. Also, all the activities I mentioned above (except for Snow Fun Park) are included in the ticket price. Just try to imagine how much it costs to build and run a place like this…
We have visited many places in Switzerland over the years and to us, Jungfraujoch is one of the most unique places and experiences in the Swiss Alps. So my answer is YES – if you can afford it, Jungfraujoch is absolutely worth the money.
TIP: It’s a bit cheaper to visit Jungfraujoch in winter, but the price difference is not the reason to change your travel plans. If you are staying in the area for a longer time and have bought the Jungfrau Region Winter Sportpass pass or Jungfrau Travel Pass for at least 3 days, you can get a ticket to Jungfraujoch at a reduced rate.
Good to know. Kids under 6 travel free of charge and children under 16 pay half the price.
Practical information and tips for visiting Jungfraujoch
- Jungfraujoch Top of Europe can be visited the whole year round. It’s open 365 days a year.
- Count one full day for your visit to Jungfraujoch. If you have some time left, you can hop off the train in Wengen and visit this picturesque mountain village. Also Kleine Scheidegg is a beautiful place for a short walk.
- Leave your car in Interlaken or Lauterbrunnen and take the train from there.
- Reserve your Jungfraujoch railway tickets in advance. It’s a must if traveling in summer, but also in other seasons, it will save you lots of hassle. You can buy Jungfraujoch tickets here.
- If you rather travel with a local guide (we had one and learned so much from her), here you can find and book guided day tours to Jungfraujoch.
- Even in summer, you need warm clothes when visiting Jungfraujoch. Expect to find snow at the top.
- Don’t stress about the weather – there’s plenty to see and do at Jungfraujoch in any type of weather. Sometimes it can be cloudy in the valley, but once you get there, you’ll find yourself above the clouds. And sometimes you just have to wait 10 minutes and the weather changes.
Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe, is such a special place that I really think it deserves to be included in any Swiss itinerary. It’s not just the highlight of the Jungfrau Region, but also one of the most unique places you can visit in Switzerland. As for us, we have been to the Jungfrau Region many times and have just booked another trip for the summer. It’s a place you’ll want to return to as well!
***Read also: visiting the Jungfrau Region in winter***
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