After 2 weeks of traveling through Switzerland by train, we had saved the best for last. On the day before our departure home, we visited the Jungfraujoch Top of Europe. The highest railway station in Europe and the famous Jungfraujoch mountain range.
We were excited and a bit anxious (would it live up to the dream?). I found a ton of information online but maybe I was overwhelmed by all the marketing. In fact, I had no idea what to expect, and here are some things you should know before you visit the Jungfraujoch yourself!
All my opinions are my own and I paid for everything in full myself. This post does contain affiliate links. If you decide to book or purchase something via one of my links, I’ll earn a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you.
The price to visit Jungfraujoch
At the train station, I asked for 2 return tickets to the Jungfraujoch. I told the kind lady who sold the tickets we had an Interrail pass that would give us a 25% discount. She nodded, printed the tickets and said: that will be 330 Swiss Francs,
I gasped for air. I think I stopped breathing for a moment. Almost 300 Euros (310 US Dollars) for 2 return tickets
I knew a visit to the Jungfraujoch can be expensive. I knew roughly how much it would cost. But that it would be that expensive, I never imagined.
Tip: Do your homework before you go and see how much it will cost you to visit the Jungfraujoch. Research discount options or package deals. There is no ultimate budget tip to visit the Jungfraujoch. It will cost you money. A lot!
How long the train journey to the Top of Europe Jungfraujoch station takes
I looked up the timetable before we went and figured we’d stay overnight. That way, we would have one chance in the afternoon of our arrival and one chance early the next morning.
In case the weather would be bad either day. I figured we’d have plenty of time. But I didn’t calculate the time traveling from Interlaken East train station, all the way up the Jungfraujoch and back again.
When you add up all those times, a trip from Interlaken Ost to the Jungfraujoch takes 2 hours. When you go down the mountain, it is also 2 hours.
Call me crazy but 2 hours doesn’t sound that much. But when I tell you, you’ll be on the train for 4 hours total, just going up and down the mountain, that sounds a lot longer to me.
Tip: Don’t make it a rush job as traveling up and down the Jungfraujoch takes 4 hours total. Add up the time you want to spend at the Top of Europe station, and you’ll need all day. The best option is to stay overnight in Wengen or Grindelwald for 2 chances to get up the mountain and explore the region.
How long you can spend at Jungfraujoch
Speaking of time, I was surprised at how long we stayed up at the Jungfraujoch Top of Europe station. We just couldn’t get enough of it!
I was a bit sad we already had to go back (because of the long journey ahead of us). And I wished I had known how much there is to do at Top of Europe and how much time we could spend there before we went up.
Turns out: more than I calculated.
Taking in the views, warming up, going outside, underground, outside again, warming up again is just the best thing you can do!
We were at the Top of Europe Jungfraujoch from 9.30 am until around 1 pm but I think we could have easily stayed all day.
Tip: Don’t rush things. If you wonder how long to spend at Jungfraujoch? Then my answer would be: As long as you can! As the visit to the Jungfraujoch is so expensive, you’ll probably only do it once in your life. Enjoy it. Savor your time and make the most of your trip by staying as long as possible.
When you stay overnight, you can take the last train down and stay in Wengen or Grindelwald.
Can’t get enough? Consider a more extended stay in the Jungfrau area and take advantage of some of the 3 to 6 days Jungfrau region packages. For more information, click here.
Grindelwald or Wengen to go to Jungfraujoch?
Good question! I had a hard time deciding this. I looked at the map and tried to figure out the best route. Although I checked images and stories online, I just couldn’t decide. Some things that set them apart and things they have in common:
- Journey to Jungfraujoch via Grindelwald or Wengen both take 2 hours
- The price for a train ticket to Top of Europe station is the same
- The trains run just as often and connections are similar
- The final stretch of the train journey from Kleine Scheidegg is the same
Differences between Grindelwald and Wengen
- Wengen is a car-free Alpine village
- For Wengen, you need to change in Lauterbrunnen and Kleine Scheidegg
- For Grindelwald, you need to change in Kleine Scheidegg
Since our visit pre-corona times, there has come a 3rd option to travel to the Jungfraujoch. Once in Grindelwald, you can also take a cable car, and fly through the sky up to the Eigergletcher. From there, you’ll join the cogwheel train up to the Jungfraujoch station.
How can you ever decide?
In the end, I looked at accommodations to stay overnight and finally settled on staying in Wengen. As we’d go up the mountain and leave our bags at the hotel in Wengen, this meant we had to go back via the same route as well.
Otherwise, I could have told you about both routes.
Tip: Check if you wish to travel via Grindelwald or via Lauterbrunnen and Wengen to Jungfraujoch. In the end, I don’t think it matters that much as both are equally interesting and will bring you to the Jungfraujoch, but you have to decide before you buy your train tickets.
See prices and options for your day trip to Jungfraujoch from Interlaken here.
Stay overnight in the Jungfraujoch region
This might have been the best decision I made during our visit to the Jungfraujoch. After some research, I settled on a 1-night stay at the Arenas Resort Victoria-Lauberhorn. Although the hotel room was a bit basic, it was an excellent choice. Here is why:
- Staying overnight gave us the opportunity to check the weather forecast and decide on the best chance for clear skies and good weather.
- We had a balcony with a
mountainview. This meant we could actually see the Jungfraujoch from our room! What a sight. This also proved useful for actual weather checking instead of looking at an app.
- The hotel has a SPA! Yes! After all, traveling can be exhausting. After all that walking and climbing, it was a real treat to chill at the indoor pool and take a hot steam room. It is free for hotel guests so make sure to make the most of it. From the pool, you can see the trains arrive at the station and see a glimpse of the mountains too.
- The hotel has a nice restaurant, called Pasta & More, next door. Although the service during our visit was non-existing, their spicy cheese fondue was the best we had in Switzerland and it makes me drool again, just thinking about it.
- The hotel serves breakfast from 7 am. So you can get your breakfast and catch the first train up the Jungfraujoch.
- The hotel has an accurate weather forecast for the region and the hotel staff are good at predicting (or explaining) the weather. If you stay in Interlaken, you’ll be 2 hours away so the weather is a bit of a gamble. Read things to do in Interlaken here.
Tip: Stay overnight in Wengen or Grindelwald. I can recommend the Arenas Resort Victoria-Lauberhorn as I stayed there myself and loved the view, the breakfast, the spa,
Check for availability and prices here.
How important it is to check the weather forecast for the Jungfraujoch
We arrived in Wengen at our hotel in the afternoon and checked to see if there was still time to visit the Jungfraujoch. The lady at the reception showed us the weather forecast from the weather station on the Top of Europe Jungfraujoch and it showed that clouds would be rolling in later in the afternoon.
We decided to check out their Spa and see the town first. We’d plan to take one of the first trains from Wengen to Jungfraujoch the next morning.
And so we did. We set the alarm at 6.45am and as I got out of bed to get dressed, I peeked outside. The day before, we could see the whole Jungfraujoch mountain from our balcony, but not this morning.
The whole village and the Jungfrau valley were invisible. Covered by thick clouds I was utterly disappointed. For two whole weeks during our travels in Switzerland, we had nothing but beautiful sunny weather.
And now, on our last day, when it mattered the most, we had our heads in the clouds.
Morning fog at the Jungfraujoch
I might have cried a little. We decided to first have breakfast and check at the reception. We enjoyed a luxurious breakfast but kept looking outside. A thick soup of clouds surrounded the hotel. At the reception, they gave us the weather forecast that clouds would clear in about 2 to 3 hours.
We went back to our room and lay on the bed. Staring at the ceiling I slowly realized we might not get up the Jungfraujoch at all! Then I had a bit of brainwave and went online to check out the live webcam of the Jungfraujoch.
Heads above the clouds
It took a while before I was connected but when the view from the Top of Europe Jungfraujoch station hit me, I couldn’t believe it.
Bright blue skies, snowy peaks, and amazing views!
Yes, below the top of the mountain there were clouds. It was impossible to see the villages of Wengen or Grindelwald, but the weather was clear at the top!
We figured it would take almost an hour before we got up there anyway, we quickly checked out, stormed to the foggy train station of Wengen and set out.
The train ride through the early morning Jungfrau region was eery. Grey, damp and nothing but fog surrounded us as we climbed the mountain.
A distant cowbell was all we experienced of the Swiss Alpine life. But as soon as we reached Kleine Scheidegg, we saw the mountains again. I was so excited. And relieved!
Had I not checked the live webcam, we might have never gotten up the mountain, or at least much later and missed out on even more. At the top, we had amazing views of Switzerland with a thick blanket of clouds below our feet.
Tip: Once you get up to the region, check the live webcam what the view is like at the Observation deck of the Jungfraujoch. This can help you decide if you should go up or wait a little bit or postpone to tomorrow if possible. Remember, it takes 1-2 hours,
Mönch, Eiger and Jungfrau Switzerland
Visiting the Jungfrau, Switzerland is not only about one mountain. Actually the Mönch (Monk) at 4.107m (13.474 ft), Eiger at 3.967m (13.015ft) and the Jungfrau (Virgin or Maiden) at 4.158m (13.642ft) form a massive wall of stone and ice.
It pays off to study a map so you can recognize the shape of the mountains and their orientation. When we checked into the hotel in Wengen, we checked out the view from our balcony.
It took us a little while to realize we could not see all three of them. Had we known their shape and location, we would have recognized them earlier on.
Tip: Get a map. Just so you recognize the shape of the mountains and it’s fun to see what a long way you need to climb to get there.
Jungfraujoch is not the same as the Jungfrau
What is in a name? Turns out, that when you visit the Jungfraujoch, you’re not actually conquering the mountain called Jungfrau. Jungfrau (Virgin or Maiden or 少女峰 in Japanese) is something else than Jungfraujoch (Jungfrau saddle).
When you look at the mountain range, you’ll see the Eiger peak and the Jungfrau. In between is a rim or ridge, that is the actual Jungfraujoch and that is the place you’ll visit.
Top of Europe Jungfraujoch station is not actually at the top of the Jungfrau mountain
The PR machine of the region calls the train station: Top of Europe Jungfraujoch. So, in my naive mind, I figured the station would be at the actual top of the Jungfrau mountain.
You can probably tell I’m not that used to mountains and mountaineering. Turns out the Top of Europe Jungfraujoch station is not actually at the top of the Jungfrau.
As you can read above, I never knew the Jungfraujoch and Jungfrau are different things.
The peak of the Jungfrau is located at 4.158m (13.642ft). The Jungfraujoch Top of Europe station is located at 3.454m (11.332ft). Considerably lower, but still at an impressive altitude!
Jungfraujoch is the highest Railway station in Europe
This is probably something you knew as this name is all over the internet and the PR department of the Jungfrau-region makes sure it is plastered around everywhere.
But it is true, the Jungfraujoch station at 3.454m, is the highest train station in Europe. Closely followed by the Gornergrat railway station with views of the Matterhorn in Zermatt Switzerland and the Zugspitze in Germany.
But the Jungfraujoch train station is just 8th on the list of highest railway stations in the world. Not even close to the 5.068m (16.627ft) of Tanggula on the Tibetan Railway, which I actually also visited!
Railway Journey through the Eiger Wall
Did you know a large part of the final journey from Kleine Scheidegg to the Jungfraujoch station goes through the Eiger mountain?
You’ll travel for almost 30 minutes on the 7 km (4.4 miles) long stretch through the famous North Face of the Eiger. I know how traveling by train through tunnels can be a bit boring, but I never realized that the final leg of the journey up the Jungfraujoch was through a tunnel.
Although the rest of the journey has breathtaking views, the last part is actually not that interesting for views.
Tip: Traveling can be tiring and getting up early to see the Jungfraujoch might have taken some precious hours of sleep. Catch up on your missed sleep with a short 20-minute power nap. You’ll feel revived when you finally reach the Top of Europe train station. Don’t feel like napping? The train has TV’s that show interesting events that took place at the Jungfrau.
How much you can do at Jungfraujoch Top of Europe Station
I had no idea!
I figured we would go up the mountain, look at the view, get a cup of tea or hot cocoa and go down again. But I had absolutely no idea how much entertainment there is at the Jungfraujoch and the things you can do. An example of what we did:
- We walked to the observation deck and took panoramic pictures of the whole mountain range
- We watched the video showing at the Jungfraujoch Panorama where a movie about the mountain is projected on the walls around you inside a huge cave.
- Then we walked through the Alpine Sensation and Ice Palace with ice sculptures and frozen vistas
- We went outside on the glacier to throw snowballs at each other
- We took a steaming hot cocoa
- And…We actually went shopping! They have a Lindt Chocolate shop and you can buy souvenirs
What we didn’t do, because I had no idea and we ran out of time.
- Snow Fun Park, is perfect for kids or people who like to play in the snow in summer. Zip Line, Snow Tubing and skiing and snowboarding can be done for an extra fee (this is not included in your ticket).
- Walk to the Mönchsjochhütte. Leave the Top of Europe station and walk in the Jungfrau mountains on marked paths.
- Glacier Walk. I am terrible at walking on ice or slippery surfaces so we didn’t do this, but it looks amazing for people who are skilled hikers.
- See the Eiger Glacier and hike back to Kleine Scheidegg. This was only an hour and the train stops right at the Eiger Glacier. I wish we had stepped off the train and seen it up close and walk in the region.
Tip: Check what things you want to do at the Jungfraujoch Top of Europe Station so you can plan accordingly! Reading this blog is a good idea to start with.
How cold it is at Jungfraujoch station
We traveled in mid-September and at the Observation Deck, we were blown away. Not only by the spectacular views but mostly by the ice-cold wind howling around the mountains and up the wall of ice surrounding us.
It was surreal really. At one side of the Jungfraujoch, I couldn’t stand for more than 5 minutes as tears would freeze on my face and my hands would go numb.
But on the other side of the mountain, overlooking the glacier, just 5 meters away, it was sunny and windless. Almost warm. It was on this side that people would sit like in Meerkat Manor, faces pointed to the sun with their eyes closed.
One of the things that surprised me about my travel to Switzerland was the amazing weather. We had nothing but sunshine and I hadn’t used my sweater or jacket at all during our trip! But I was glad I brought it when we went up to the Jungfraujoch. I didn’t bring that woolly hat and gloves for nothing!
Tip: Even in summer, a visit to the Jungfraujoch can be bitter cold. Due to the winds and high altitude, it is important to dress warmly. Long trousers, closed shoes, a warm sweater plus a windproof jacket make a visit much more comfortable. Throw in a warm woolen hat, gloves, scarf,
Make sure to apply sunscreen and lip balm because at these high altitudes the sun and wind are fierce!
How Bucket List- worthy a visit to the Jungfraujoch is
I was absolutely shocked when I had to pay almost 300 euros for 2 return train tickets to the Jungfraujoch (that is actually including a 25% discount).
I mumbled to myself: this better be worth it! And it was!
I was absolutely blown away by the view, the amazing engineering that makes the Jungfrau-railway possible and the fierceness and beauty of mother nature.
The ride from Interlaken to Jungfraujoch was long, our trip and visit were expensive and it was cold up there. But it was all worth it.
I think it’s one of the easiest ways to get to 3.454 meters altitude (11.332ft) on a train.
The Top of Europe Jungfrau station offers you an easy way to see the gigantic Swiss Alps.
To experience Alpine life at a high altitude without the dangerous climb up there.
If you have the funds or are able to make room in your travel budget, I think a visit to the Jungfraujoch is worth the money. If you go to Switzerland, make sure to cross the Jungfraujoch off your bucket list!
Are you ready to visit the Top of Europe Jungfraujoch station and experience this once-in-a-lifetime view? Buy your 3-day Jungfrau Travel Pass to explore the region here or book your day trip from Interlaken here.
Have you been to the Jungfraujoch? Did you travel via Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald? Did you stay overnight or even multiple nights? What was your favorite thing at the Top of Europe station?
Anything else you wish to know before you go to the Jungfraujoch? Share your experiences in the comment section below, I’d love to read them.
Images in the post have been taken by myself or my boyfriend unless stated otherwise. Pinterest images above are with special thanks to & copyright by Jungfrau Region: swiss-image.ch