Day Trip to Jungfraujoch, Switzerland: Top of Europe

VISITING THE JUNGFRAUJOCH IN WINTER AND SUMMER + TRAVEL TIPS

Do you want to know what it feels like to be at the Top of Europe? Then you should visit Jungfraujoch in Switzerland. The Jungfraujoch, also known as the Top of Europe, is one of the top places to visit in Switzerland.

Why is Jungfraujoch called Top of Europe? Because it has the highest train station in Europe – at about 3,500 meters above sea level!

And in this post you will find out all the info you will need for a day trip to Jungfraujoch – whether you visit in summer or winter. Here is what to do and see at Jungfraujoch + important travel tips for your trip to the highest train station in Europe.

top of europe Jungfraujoch - things to know.
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WHAT IS THE JUNGFRAUJOCH

  • Jungfraujoch is a pass in the Bernese Alps, connecting the two peaks of Jungfrau Mountain and Mönch Mountain, 3,466 meters above sea level.
  • The highest train station in Europe is located at Jungfraujoch which lies in the heart of the Jungfrau-Aletsch-Bietschhorn – a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Snow on the Alps is guaranteed throughout the year.
  • Visiting the Jungfraujoch is one of the most popular activities in the area and here are more tips on things to do in Interlaken/Jungfrau.

IS THE JUNGFRAUJOCH WORTH VISITING?

In short: Yes, the Jungfraujoch is worth visiting because of the fantastic panorama you have from there as well as the different activities you can enjoy. Jungfraujoch is also a good place to visit because it is great for people of all ages. Little kids will love it as much as teenagers, young adults, or seniors. The price for visiting the Jungfraujoch is high though – it is a unique experience after all.

SUMMER OR WINTER – WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT JUNGFRAUJOCH?

I have visited the Jungfraujoch three times – once in summer (June) and twice in the winter (February and late March). So, what is the best time to visit the Jungfraujoch? That is not so easy to answer but if I had to choose I would say, winter is the best time for a Jungfraujoch day trip. The mountains are covered (more) in snow, it looks even more spectacular because everything is basically white.

I do not do any winter sports, but those interested in skiing, snowboarding, or sledding will have many more opportunities to do so (skiing down to Kleine Scheidegg from Eigergletscher). 

You can go on hikes in summer and winter, though summer normally offers more hiking routes. 

So, both seasons have their charm and if you visit in the summer, I would still add a Jungfraujoch to your Switzerland itinerary.

JUNGFRAUJOCH – FUN FACTS

Here are some facts about the Jungfraujoch. 

  • The Jungfraubahn (Jungfrau Railway) has its own fire bridge on the Top of Europe
  • The name Jungfrau comes from the former convent in Interlaken and its alp beneath the Jungfrau Mountain
  • The Jungfraujoch has the highest altitude post box in Switzerland
  • The Jungfraubahn has its own hydroelectric power station
  • The Jungfrau Railway has generated electricity with trains traveling downhill since 1912
  • The average temperature at Jungfraujoch is minus -7,9° (about 17° F)
  • The Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe is open every day
  • The 9,2 km long track between the Jungfraujoch und Kleine Scheidegg is checked by a railway employee every week
  • Every year over 71 nationalities visit the Jungfraujoch
  • A tennis, a football, a cricket, a boxing, and a basketball match (and more) have been held at the Jungfraujoch

Arzo Travels at Jungfraujoch
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WHERE TO STAY AT THE JUNGFRAUJOCH

Though Jungfraujoch is a popular place to visit for the day, you cannot stay overnight at Jungfraujoch. A few decades ago there was a hotel on the top but it burned down in 1972 and has never been rebuilt.

The best is to book accommodation close by – Grindelwald is a popular place to stay. Interlaken is another good option to stay when visiting Jungfraujoch – check out places to stay in Interlaken.

HOW TO GET TO THE JUNGFRAUJOCH

Getting up Jungfraujoch by hiking and climbing is more or less impossible  (at least not for ordinary mortals like you and me). However, you can hike some parts but for most of the parts, you have to use the Jungfraubahn (Jungfrau Railway).

Or, you can – since 2021 – also use a combination of a gondola and trains. Here are the different options you have.

START IN GRINDELWALD VIA EIGER EXPRESS

The fastest way to get up Jungfraujoch is via the gondola and then switching to trains. 

Eiger Express at Grindelwald Terminal
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  1. Get to Grindelwald Terminal Station. It is just 2 minutes by train from Grindelwald station. If you come from Interlaken, you can just disembark at Terminal (no need to go to Grindelwald).
  2. Take the Eiger Express Gondola. The gondolas are very big (one fits 26 people) and they run every 50 seconds.  The big windows will allow you to enjoy some incredible views. 
  3. In just 15 minutes, you will get to Eigergletscher station at 2320 meters above sea level.
  4. From Eigergletscher, you can then take the train up – you can get out of the Eigergletscher station to soak in the views first. I recommend a stop here, if you are not used to high altitudes – with a break at Eigergletscher Station, your body can adjust better to the heights. A 15-30-minute stop should be enough.
  5. At Eigergletscher station, take the Jungfraubahn up to Jungfraujoch. The train runs 1 or 2 times an hour. The train just runs through a tunnel, so it is not about great window views anymore – with one exception.
  6. While the Jungfraubahn takes you directly to Jungfraujoch, you can get off at Eismeer station which lies at an altitude of 3,159 meters above sea level. The train will have a 5-minute stop here – I highly encourage you to get off here and walk 10 meters to the big windows – the fantastic panorama will leave you speechless. They left me speechless. But be quick with taking pictures – the train will continue its journey very quickly. 
  7. Then hop on the train again and do the last 5 minutes of the train ride up to 3454 meters above sea level – to the famous Jungfraujoch.
  8. The train ride from Eigergletscher to Eismeer, including the break at Eismeer, takes less than 30 minutes.
  9. The ride up there is stunning: passing beautiful places and gorgeous sceneries are part of this train trip.

Eismeer view in the winter months
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Jungfraubahn at Jungfraujoch station
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START IN GRINDELWALD VIA JUNGFRAUJOCH

Alternatively, you can skip the gondola and get up via train only. It takes longer but is actually more scenic (in my opinion!):

  1. Start from Grindelwald Station and take the train towards Kleine Scheidegg which is a mountain pass at an elevation of 2,061 meters above sea level. This part of the train ride takes about 32 minutes.
  2. Then you need to change trains and get onto another train that gets you to Eigergletscher station at 2320 meters above sea level. This train ride is just about 5 minutes.
  3. From here, it is basically the same as described above, but I have copied and pasted it for you.
  4. From Eigergletscher, you can then take the train up or you can get out of the Eigergletscher station to soak in the views. I recommend a stop here, if you are not used to high altitudes – with a break at Eigergletscher Station, your body can adjust better to the heights. 15-30 minutes should be enough.
  5. At Eigergletscher station, take the Jungfraubahn up to Jungfraujoch. The train runs 1 or 2 times an hour. The train just runs through a tunnel, so it is not about great window views anymore – with one exception.
  6. While the Jungfraubahn takes you directly to Jungfraujoch, you can get off at Eismeer station which lies at an altitude of 3,159 meters above sea level. The train will have a 5-minute stop here – I highly encourage you to get off here and walk 10 meters to the big windows – the fantastic panorama will leave you speechless. They left me speechless. But be quick with taking pictures – the train will continue its journey very quickly. 
  7. Then hop on the train again and do the last 5 minutes of the train ride up to 3454 meters above sea level – to the famous Jungfraujoch.
  8. The train ride from Eigergletscher to Eismeer, including the break at Eismeer, takes less than 30 minutes.
  9. The ride up there is stunning: passing beautiful places and gorgeous sceneries are part of this train trip.

If you enjoy doing some hiking you could hike to Kleine Scheidegg and take the train from there. More on that later.

Jungfraubahn from Eigergletscher to Kleine Scheidegg
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Train ride from Kleine Scheidegg to Grindewald
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Train ride from Kleine Scheidegg to Grindewald

HISTORY OF JUNGFRAUBAHN AND JUNGFRAUJOCH

Here is quick background info on how the project “Jungfraujoch” became real.

  • In 1893 Adolf Guyer-Zeller did the first pencil sketch of the Jungfraujoch and after its concession was granted, the construction began in 1896 with about 100 Italian laborers.
  • In 1898, the Kleine Scheidegg – Eigerstation section opened.
  • Guyer-Zeller died in 1899 – so he did not get to see how the Jungfraujoch was eventually finished.
  • In 1905, the Eismeer Station opened. It is located inside Eiger Mountain in a tunnel  – until this day, you can get off of the train and walk to the window to enjoy some incredible views.
  • It then took another 7 years to open the highest railway station in Europe. In 1912, after 16 years of construction, the Jungfraujoch was opened.
  • The construction costs were about 16 million CHF – twice as much as expected.

Restaurants at Jungfraujoch

Of course, there are several dining opportunities: So there is basically something for every choice and every budget (but keep in mind it is still Switzerland and nothing is really budget-friendly).

Lunch at Jungfraujoch
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Crystal Restaurant – vegan option

If you visit Jungfraujoch you´ll probably spend a full day getting there so be prepared to get hungry.

Here are the restaurants at Jungfraujoch – please keep in mind, that not all restaurants are open all the time. Some might be closed depending on the season and day.

  • Self-service restaurant Aletsch
  • Self-service restaurant Bollywood
  • A à la carte restaurant Crystal
  • Coffee Bar
  • Sphinx Bar

READ MORE: The best tours to take in Switzerland

WHAT TO DO AT JUNGFRAUJOCH – ACTIVITIES

Here are the best places to visit at Jungfraujoch and the best things to do. If you visit Jungfraujoch in winter, it will be a bit different compared to visiting Jungfraujoch in the summer, but more on that later.

  • Alpine Sensation 
  • Ice Palace 
  • Several international restaurants 
  • Cinema that shows a short documentary about “Jungfrau-Panorama”
  • Lindt Swiss Chocolate Heaven
  • the Sphinx Platform for the best views
  • and the Plateau!
  • In the summer months, you also have Snow Fun (snow tubing, hiking, skiing, snowboarding)

What to do in Jungfraujoch
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So, of course, you can adjust your trip as you wish, but I suggest this itinerary for Jungfraujoch. 

Jungfrau Panorama / Cinema

Once you get out of the train station, you will see signs that you can follow. Head to the Jungfrau Panorama first, where you will have a short (4 minute) Cinema experience.

Then head on to the Sphinx Platform.

Sphinx Platform

The Sphinx Platform (3571 meters) offers some of the best views of the region – and on clear days not only you can view the region but then you can also see the Voges in France and the Black Forest in Germany.

Switzerland´s fastest lift takes you to the Spinx Observatory and platform in only 27 seconds. 

Aletsch Glacier in summer
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Aletsch Glacier in summer
Sphinx platform, Aletsch Glacier in winter
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Sphinx platform: Aletsch Glacier in winter

The vantage terrace is perfect for some pretty, pretty views.  The Aletsch Glacier is directly at the foot of this observation platform. Did you know that this side, including the Aletsch Glacier, belongs to the canton of Verbier? Turn to the other side to be in the “Bernese Oberland” again.

  • The Sphinx Observatory is an astronomical observatory – the research station was opened in 1931 and the observatory was fitted with a dome for astronomical studies in 1950.
  • It is located at 3,571 m above mean sea level, and it is one of the highest observatories in the world
  • The platform, where we can enjoy the panorama, opened in 1996.
  • The building is located on the Valais side of the border, only a few meters from the canton of Bern.

Alpine Sensation

From there, take the lift down and head to the Alpine Sensation. This little exhibition is stuffed with a lot of interesting information about the history and present of the region.

Entrance Alpine Sensation at Jungfraujoch
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There is a big snow globe with the Jungfraujoch station and many other interesting things. You might be wondering about the flowers everywhere?! That is the Edelweiß plant which is home in Switzerland and grows in the mountains at 1,800 meters above sea level.

Alpine Sensation snow globe
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It also gives you information on how it was even possible to make the Jungfraujoch accessible to visitors, this include some sections about the history of the Jungfraubahn but also infos on tourism in the early days at Jungfraujoch.

First people getting up Jungfraujoch
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You will also find a kast cavern and more information on Adolf Guyer-Zeller, the man who had the idea of the Jungfraujoch.

  • This stop might take about 15-20 minutes.

Then you will get to the next stop at the Jungfraujoch: the Ice Palace.

Ice Palace

The Ice Palace is an interesting place just made of ice – aisle of ice, sculptures of ice – this is definitely a fun way to discover the Jungfraujoch and I am sure not only the kids will love it.

It was created in 1934 by two local guides who hew out an enormous cavern in the ice. The cavern covers an area of over 1000m2 – some parts of the Ice Palace move up to 15 centimeters per year.

Ice tunnel at Jungfraujoch
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Another photo stop at Ice Palace at Jungfraujoch
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The Ice Palace has to be cooled to – 3°C because the many visitors generate some warmth. So, make sure to bring some warm clothes even in the summer months. You then might want to have lunch – I will talk about the dining options below but here is another stop to not miss.

Glacier Plateau

Head to the Glacier Plateau for some more fantastic views. This vantage platform offers great views of the Sphinx observatory, the Aletsch Glacier and the scenery.

View of observatory from Jungfraujoch plateau with Swiss flag
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And it is a great photo option with the Swiss flag in it which was hoisted on the plateau at the opening of the Jungfrau Railway in 1912.  Here you will also walk in the snow. On the Spinx vantage point, you stand on a platform where you can play, walk and touch snow at any time of the year.

Lindt Chocolate Heaven

Top of Europe Store  – you can even buy chocolate produced by the Jungfraubahn.

Lindt museum at Jungfraujoch
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Here is also Lindt Chocolate Heaven – where a lot of information on chocolate production is offered. Unfortunately, I am addicted to chocolate and Lindt is one of my favorite chocolate brands (no, I do not get compensated in any way to say it, even the very basic milk chocolate is more than delicious).

Snow Fun at Jungfraujoch in Summer

Why not do some winter sports throughout the year? At Jungfraujoch, it is possible – even in summer. At Snow Fun you can enjoy some winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, or tubing on a prepared mini-piste on the Aletsch Glacier. Also, you will find a 250-meter-long zip line at 3454 meters above sea level.

Snow Fun in Summer at Jungfraujoch
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My dog and I preferred to play in the snow instead and feel like kids but this is especially great for those who normally do not get to see so much snow (not even in the winter).

  • Open from mid-May until mid-May
  • Prices for a day pass (all activities) are around 45 CHF, less if you choose only 1 or 2 activities.

PRICES / TICKETS FOR JUNGFRAUJOCH

I admit that I was a bit shocked when I saw the prices for the first time. After spending a lot of time in Switzerland I have understood that Switzerland is just expensive for tourists (and probably for Swiss people as well). After seeing how many other tickets for mountain peaks cost, the price of about 200€ seems reasonable (depending on where your journey starts).

TIPS FOR VISITING JUNGFRAUJOCH IN THE WINTER

  • Reserving a seat is recommended (at least in high-peak seasons)
  • Wear layers: getting up Jungfraujoch means it gets colder, so be prepared for some temperature changes.
  • Drink a lot of water – to avoid dizziness and altitude sickness, drinking water is essential. Also, snacks can help.
  • It can be quite windy up there – even on sunny and “warm” winter days, the wind can be strong, so bring a hat and gloves with you.
  • Budget tips: If you are on a budget bring your own drinks and some snacks. There is a lot to buy, but as always, they might be a bit more expensive, and being on a train for so long makes me hungry and thirsty.
  • In the cold, and at high altitudes, it seems that my iPhone battery dies faster than normal. I highly recommend fully charging your phone or bringing a power charger, so you can take pictures until the end.

CONCLUSION: HOW TO PLAN A TRIP TO JUNGFRAUJOCH FOR A DAY

There is a reason why a visit to the Top of Europe is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Switzerland. Though getting up there by train is not very cheap (if you stay in the region of Jungfrau you should check out the travel passes which give you a discount on this trip) it has been definitely a great experience and I would love to visit this gorgeous place again. And if you are not on a budget, I highly recommend a day trip to Jungfraujoch.

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