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Visiting Jungfraujoch (The Top of Europe): Is It Worth It?

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Over a million tourists are drawn to the mountaintop of Jungfraujoch, Switzerland, each year. This scenic spot in the heart of the Swiss Alps is a UNESCO World Heritage Site beloved for its fantastic views of glaciers, the surrounding mountains, and even several other countries, along with a few fun things to do.

Jungfraujoch (sometimes called “the” Jungfraujoch) is a whopping 3,463 meters, or 11,361 feet, above sea level, making it truly the top of Europe.

While you could technically get higher than that by hiking to the summit of Mont Blanc, Jungfraujoch’s stunning views and snowy fun won’t require as much effort – this is the highest accessible spot in Europe by traditional means, as it’s connected to the rest of Switzerland by rail and cable cars.

For its spectacular scenery and unique activities, the Jungfrau region is a popular place for Switzerland visitors as a day trip from both large cities and tiny villages.

But planning a trip to the top of Europe can be overwhelming. There are questions of time of year and weather, the multiple connections required via train and cable car, and how to actually plan a visit, among other things to consider.

Here, we will discuss visiting Jungfraujoch in Switzerland and everything you need to know about it. We’ll discuss if the trip to the top is worth it (spoiler alert: it is worth it) and all the great things you can do there, as well as how to plan a trip up the mountain best.

What is Jungfraujoch?

Swiss Alps view from Sphinx Observatory, stunning glacial landscape
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Jungfraujoch, often called the Top of Europe, is the highest point accessible without hiking. The word means “maiden saddle” in German, which refers to the fact that the mountain top is actually a glacier saddle.

This saddle sits between Jungfrau and Mönch, two prominent peaks of the Bernese Alps on the border of the Bern and Valais cantons, which dominate the skyline from the nearby town of Interlaken, along with nearby Eiger.

The Aletsch Glacier forms on the east side of Jungfraujoch and flows for 14 miles, making it the longest glacier in the Alps. There’s another smaller one, the Eiger Glacier, on the other side of the mountain. Due to the extreme elevation of over 11,000 feet, Jungfraujoch has guaranteed snow year-round.

Jungfraujoch is a place of extremes, but it doesn’t stop there. This is also Europe’s highest train station, post office, and Lindt store. It’s a place with gorgeous views of snowy peaks nearby and across Europe, with Germany, Italy, and France visible in the distance.

Aletsch Glacier panorama in Swiss Alps, showcasing Europe's largest glacier and snowy peaks
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Along with panoramic spots, the fun at the top of Europe includes the seasonal Snow Fun Park and its snowy pistes, plus indoor attractions like the Ice Palace and Sphinx Observatory viewpoint. Many visitors also find that the journey up the mountain via cable car and train is half the fun.

The Short Version: Is Visiting Jungfraujoch, the Top of Europe, Worth It?

Cogwheel train from Jungfraujoch station moves to Kleine Scheidegg.
serjiob74 / Adobe Stock

Yes, a day trip to the Top of the World, Switzerland, is worth it! The Jungfrau region is one of Switzerland’s most picturesque places. No visitor should be disappointed with the vistas they’ll see and what they’ll experience up here.

Jungfraujoch is just a short distance from the popular lakeside towns of Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen, which many travelers put on their Swiss itinerary anyway. Even if you don’t plan to visit those places, they are only 90 minutes from Zurich or an hour from Lucerne, making guided tours of Jungfraujoch and day trips to the Top of Europe by train to the area quite easy.

There are a few cons to visiting Jungfraujoch – the cost is rather high, as you’ll find in Switzerland. Also, some visitors may not appreciate the experience as much if the mountains are covered with clouds, as it will impact the views the mountain top is so famous for.

However, high costs are synonymous with Switzerland, and you can’t control the weather anywhere. Therefore, we recommend adding Jungfraujoch to your Swiss adventure because there are few other places like it on Earth.

See Related: Best Hotels in Switzerland

Things to Do in Jungfraujoch

The Top of Europe in Switzerland is more than just a lookout with a sign on a mountain. There are a whole bunch of activities, indoor and outdoor, that make Jungfraujoch a fun destination. Here is what you can expect at the top.

Europe’s Highest Train Station

Sphinx Observation Deck view at Jungfraujoch, Swiss Alps overlooking Aletsch Glacier
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

First, your arrival via the Jungfrau Railway will bring you to the highest railway station in Europe at 11,332 feet above sea level. The train ride is the only way to get up the mountain, and when it was finished in 1912, it was a major engineering feat (and still is).

The journey on the Jungfrau Railway begins at Eigergletscher Station (or Eiger Glacier Station – we’ll discuss getting to Jungfraujoch in detail later). After leaving Eigergletscher, you’ll have two train stops before reaching Jungfraujoch, and the journey is largely inside a tunnel through the mountain and glacier to protect against harsh conditions.

You’ll appreciate just how much work it must have taken when they started this project in the 1800s, which you can learn in the Alpine Sensation – more on that in the Ice Palace section below.

You’ll ascend nearly 5,000 feet on this train alone and get off at the indoor terminus, proudly displaying its status as the highest train station in Europe and its altitude.

The train station functions as a sort of center of Jungfraujoch – below it, you’ll find shops and restaurants, while indoor tunnels lead to the other attractions. Don’t forget to watch the Jungfrau Panorama short film here to learn more about the railway and this special place before leaving.

Europe’s Highest Post Office

Old red japanese letter box at Jungfraujoch, Switzerland, top of Europe
Michael Derrer Fuchs / Adobe Stock

You’ll find the Jungfraujoch Post Office in the train station complex, at over 11,300 feet above sea level and Europe’s highest! This is an interesting spot to send a postcard from. Your recipient will probably be pleased to receive mail from somewhere so extreme.

You might notice that the bright red mailbox where you drop your postcard looks a bit out of place compared to other mailboxes around the country, though, and for an interesting reason.

The Japanese-style mailbox (inspired by red British “pillar boxes”), adorned with Japanese characters, enjoys a place at Jungfraujoch Post Office because there’s another extreme post office at the top of Mount Fuji in Japan.

In 1993, the two post offices were “twinned” and exchanged post boxes to promote tourism and relations between the countries. Postcards are for sale at the souvenir shops near the station. Or, bring your mail – this is a functioning mail point, so why not pay your bills from the top of a mountain?

See Related: Most Beautiful Cities in Europe

Sphinx Observatory Observation Deck

Sphinx Observatory at Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

At the top of a rocky peak a few hundred feet above the train station, you’ll notice a building with a silver dome reaching even higher into the sky. The Sphinx Observatory is a functioning international research station where scientists study the sky and the weather and perform experiments.

Tourists on Jungfraujoch Sphinx Observation deck enjoying Swiss Alps view
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

While the public can’t access the observatory, you can enjoy an amazing view from the Sphinx Terrace outside the building. This is one of the best places to see the surrounding mountains of Jungfrau, Mönch, Eiger, the Aletsch Glacier, and the Eiger Glacier for more than a few miles. On a clear day, you’ll see the Vosges of France, the Black Forest of Germany, and the Alps of northern Italy.

A quick elevator ride will take you from the highest railway station in Europe to the second-highest observation deck in Switzerland, and you need to follow the signs. The Jungfrau Panorama experience, a four-minute 360-degree film about Jungfraujoch, is shown near the elevator entrance.

See Related: Things to Do in the Black Forest, Germany

Glacier Plateau

Person at the Top of Jungfraujoch in Switzerland
ViaTravlers Editor Kyle Kroeger at the Top of Europe (Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers)

Just a ten-minute walk along a marked footpath from the station, you’ll find a spot outside for additional gorgeous views – the Glacier Plateau. A bit lower than Sphinx Terrace but more exposed to the natural surroundings, you can stand in the snow here and marvel at the alpine landscape.

There’s a Swiss flag flying here, and it’s a great photo opportunity (as you can tell from Kyle’s smiling face). If the clouds cooperate, you can get the Aletsch Glacier, Swiss Alps, French Vosges, and German Black Forest into one photo. And even if they don’t, you’ll have a pretty amazing perspective of Switzerland from above the clouds.

For visitors who aren’t great with heights, the Glacier Plateau might be more enjoyable than Sphinx Terrace, as you’ll be standing on true ground that’s relatively flat rather than on a deck over a dramatic drop. If you don’t mind heights, be sure to check out both.

See Related: Hiking Trails in the World You Must Visit

Snow Fun Park Jungfraujoch

Skiers at the Snow Fun Park at Jungfraujoch the Top of Europe
Markus Speth / Adobe Stock

If you’re at the top of Europe, Switzerland, between mid-May and mid-October, the Snow Fun Park is the place to be for outdoor winter fun… in the summer! It’s just a short walk from the station and the elevator to the observatory to the snowy winter wonderland outside.

The park offers snow tubing, skiing, snowballing, hiking, sledding, and much more. One of the most popular is the Flying Fox, a zipline adventure over the longest glacier in Europe. There’s also the great SnowBar, where you can enjoy refreshments while admiring the glacial landscape.

The activities at the Snow Fun Park require additional tickets, but you can buy them when you get there. It can close due to bad weather (you never know when a July blizzard might roll in), so check the forecast if this is an important activity for you, and dress warmly!

Ice Palace Jungfraujoch

Interior of Ice Palace at Jungfraujoch with Top of Europe sculpture
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

One of the few places in the world built into the ice of a glacier, the Ice Palace is a do-not-miss attraction on Jungfraujoch. You’ll access the palace from a long tunnel near the Sphinx Hall, an attraction itself.

The tunnel is called the Alpine Sensation, a multimedia exhibit about the building of the Jungfraujoch and its railway, including memorials to the miners who lost their lives while completing it. The corridor ends with a massive snow globe filled with little displays about life at the Top of Europe.

Arriving at the Ice Palace, you’ll enter tunnels and halls carved into the glacier’s ice – and since the glacier is constantly moving, it’s renovated every year. A talented artist creates ice sculptures of animals, igloos, and more, displaying them around the palace for visitors to admire. It’s one of the “coolest” parts of visiting Jungfraujoch.

See Related: Things to Do in Zermatt, Switzerland

Lindt Chocolate Heaven

The Lindt Swiss Chocolate Heaven at the top of Jungfraujoch
Jungfraujoch Top of Europe / jungfrau.ch

Finally, don’t forget to stop at the most tempting place on Jungfraujoch – the Lindt Swiss Chocolate Heaven shop! This is the world’s highest chocolate shop and where you can try and buy authentic Swiss chocolate, one of the country’s most famous products.

Chocolate Heaven is just below the station, making it an easy stop before boarding your train. Plan for more than just shopping, though, as you can also enjoy exhibits on the Lindt chocolate-making process from Maître-Chocolatiers from the company.

It’s a great place to buy gifts for anyone back home – who doesn’t love chocolate and wouldn’t want some from such a prestigious and extreme place?

How to Get to Jungfraujoch

Jungfraujoch Panorama - Alpine Mountaintops, Scenic Landscapes
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

You might get a headache when trying to comprehend the options for getting up Jungfraujoch and all the different types of tickets. However, it doesn’t have to be so complicated. Let’s start with getting there and then talk about tickets.

Jungfraujoch by Train Only

Train station in the Swiss Alps, Jungfraujoch
pulpitis17 / Adobe Stock

The original method was to take a series of trains to the top of the mountain like this:

  1. Arrive by car, train, or other means to Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald, two small villages below Jungfraujoch near Interlaken.
  2. Take a train from one of those villages to Kleine Scheidegg, a ski station further up the mountain accessible by train. The train ride takes about 50 minutes from Lauterbrunnen or about 30 minutes from Grindelwald.
  3. Connect to another train from Kleine Scheidegg to Eigergletscher, a transit point just 5 minutes away.
  4. Finally, connect to the Jungfrau Railway and ride to the top for less than 30 minutes!

You can purchase all the necessary tickets in advance and exchange your booking confirmation for a voucher at the Interlaken, Grindelwald, or Lauterbrunnen stations.

See Related: Eurostar Standard vs Premier: What’s Better?

Jungfraujoch by Train and Cable Car

Eiger Express gondola with Swiss flag arriving at station
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Since late 2020, there has been a new way to get to the Jungfrau Railway that saves a bit of time and has great views – the Eiger Express cable car. This replaces two trains, bringing you from Grindelwald to Eigergletscher, where you board the Jungfrau Railway. It goes like this:

  1. Arrive by car, train, or other means to Grindelwald, a small village below Jungfraujoch near Interlaken.
  2. Make your way to Grindelwald Terminal cable car station near the Grindelwald Grund train station. Board the Eiger Express cable car to Eigergletscher.
  3. Enjoy the ride – the gondolas are modern, have plenty of seating, and have panoramic views of the Swiss Alps on the way up the mountain!
  4. Finally, connect to the Jungfrau Railway and ride to the top for less than 30 minutes!

Depending on your particular schedule, you could save time getting up or down the mountain with this route. It can also be purchased in advance for a seamless day at Jungfraujoch.

Many visitors like to take the full train route up and the cable car route down, or vice versa, to experience both methods. Either way, the journey is part of the experience!

See Related: Things to Do in Lucerne, Switzerland

Jungfraujoch by Guided Tour

Amazing winter landscape Jungfraujoch, top of Eurpoe
behindlens / Adobe Stock

That is understandable if you don’t want to deal with tickets, station changes, and voucher exchanges. Luckily, there are a number of great tours to Jungfraujoch, leaving directly from some of the major towns and cities around Switzerland.

As a plus, you’ll get a knowledgeable tour guide for extra information along the way. Consider some of these tours depending on the place you’re staying:

You won’t have to be responsible for changing at the correct stations and at the right times with these tours, as your guide will make sure everyone gets to the top as they should. Many are available as private tours, too, if you want something more exclusive.

Discounted Jungfraujoch Tickets

Swiss flag on the top of Mannlichen (Jungfrau region, Bern, Switzerland)
swisshippo / Adobe Stock

If you’re wondering about Jungfrau tickets’ price with a Eurail Pass or another type of travel pass, these can be great ways to save money. Don’t book tickets until you’ve done the math to see how the discount cards may add up.

  • Eurail Pass – Holders of this pass made for international train travel in Europe will get a 25% discount on the Jungfrau Railway.
  • Swiss Travel Pass – Sometimes called the “Swiss Pass,” this discount card gets the holder unlimited travel on most forms of transportation in Switzerland for a certain time frame, but the Jungfraujoch journey is an add-on at a discount of around 25% depending on the route.
  • Swiss Half Fare Card – Similar to the Swiss Travel Pass, purchasing this card essentially allows the holder to pay half fare on their train travel around Switzerland for a month; travel to Jungfraujoch from Interlaken is true to its name at half price.
  • Jungfrau Travel Pass – This pass, specific to the Jungfrau region, allows the holder to travel free on most public transport for three to eight days and get cheaper tickets on the final leg to Jungfraujoch.
  • Top of Europe Pass (Winter) – A discount card for three to eight days of the winter months, allowing unlimited snow trail hiking and sledding in the region, which includes one free round-trip ticket to Jungfraujoch.

Note that these passes are quite expensive and usually only make sense if you have planned extensive travel around Switzerland or Europe, so consider the costs carefully. Some include a seat reservation on the Jungfrau Railway and Eiger Express, but some do not. In that case, reserve a seat in advance to guarantee a spot on the train or gondola you prefer.

See Related: European Palaces to Visit

When to Visit Jungfraujoch

Swiss Alps with Jungfraujoch under cloudy skies
Edler von Rabenstein / Adobe Stock

Jungfraujoch is open year-round, and you can visit in the middle of winter if you want. However, the peak season is in the summertime from mid-May to mid-October, when the Snow Fun Park is also open. In the summer, Jungfraujoch is less likely to have clouds or storms, an important consideration for a day trip here.

Whenever you choose to go, be sure to check the weather forecast first. The views at the top are best experienced on a sunny day, and without clouds and storms, you can see across the Alps to neighboring countries.

The Verdict: Is Jungfraujoch Worth It?

Jungfraujoch Panorama - Alpine Mountaintops, Scenic Landscapes
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

This beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site, with majestic glaciers and panoramic views, is worth a few hours on any trip to Switzerland. While it is expensive (like everything else in Switzerland) and at the mercy of mountain weather (like everything else in Switzerland), the Top of Europe is unlike most other places below it.

If you’ve been to Pilatus in Lucerne, you already know how breathtaking it is to ride up to the top of the Swiss Alps – Jungfraujoch takes you almost double the distance. If you haven’t been to Pilatus, add that to your trip, too! Our overall conclusion is that Jungfraujoch is definitely worth it for all kinds of travelers to Switzerland.

FAQ

Will I get altitude sickness when visiting Jungfraujoch?

Jungfraujoch is high enough to cause some visitors to experience altitude sickness, but this won’t happen to everyone. The best way to prevent symptoms is to remain well-hydrated and to descend if they begin. Luckily, the journey up and down the mountain doesn’t take a very long time – but that’s exactly what may cause problems in the first place!

Are there restaurants at the top of Jungfraujoch?

Yes, there are several restaurants at the Top of Europe! The Bollywood restaurant serves Indian cuisine buffet-style, the Aletsch Self-Service Restaurant with international and local dishes, and Crystal serving à-la-carte dishes, including fondue – a wonderful Swiss tradition.

Is there always snow at Jungfraujoch?

Yes! There are a number of days with snowfall even in June, July, and August, meaning there will be snow on the ground year-round at Jungfraujoch, so pack sufficiently warm clothes even in the summertime!

What is there to do on Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe?

There are plenty of great activities at the Jungfrau Railways terminus, including the Snow Fun Park in the summer months, the Ice Palace with its beautiful ice sculptures, and stunning views from various viewpoints. Don’t forget to stop at the highest chocolate shop in Europe!

What else is there to do around Jungfraujoch?

This part of Switzerland is full of excellent places to visit before or after you’ve visited Jungfraujoch. Interlaken is famous for its picturesque lakes between the mountains, as well as paragliding off of the cliffs above.

Lauterbrunnen is a tiny, picturesque village with a great waterfall. Grindelwald is a great place for hiking and climbing, with the First Cliff Walk taking you along the cliffsides and over their edges quite literally.

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