Windswept, remote, and beautiful, the Jungfraujoch is a railway station unlike any other. Perched on a mountain, it features an observatory, ice palace, and snow park. It’s a real can’t-miss destination of the Bernese Alps.
At 11,332 feet (3,454 meters) above sea level, the Jungfraujoch is literally breath-taking. Its nickname — the Top of Europe — is a misnomer, since the station doesn’t even occupy the the highest elevation in Switzerland, let alone Europe. But because it’s situated between the peaks of Jungfrau and Mönch, the Jungfraujoch offers sweeping views of the Alps.
For many travelers, this excursion is the highlight of any vacation in Switzerland. Here’s everything you need to know before you go.
What to do
At the end of a long train ride along mountain passes and through tunnels, you’ll finally arrive at the Top of Europe.
Start by visiting the Sphinx Observatory. You’ll take a quick elevator ride from the Jungfraujoch to a research station that houses laboratories, telescopes, and astronomical and meteorological domes. Up here, the views are prime. Walk around to enjoy the panorama of the surrounding peaks, then pull out your camera and try to do justice to the scenery. With vast expanses of snow, clouds, and mountains, you’ve never seen a wonderland like this before.
Make your next stop in the Ice Palace. It’s a museum of wildlife sculptures, and everything is carved from ice. The Ice Palace is open all year long, but it’s chilly, so take a jacket no matter when you visit.
From mid-May to mid-October, the Jungfraujoch’s Snow Fun Park takes the word “winter” right out of “winter sports.” Here, visitors can rent skis, snowboards, tubes, and sleds for a playful day on the slopes. If none of those options appeal to you, try the zipline instead!
If you’d prefer an immersive experience in the Alps, consider hiking to the Mönchjochhütte. This hut is accessible via footpath; plan on a 45-minute hike from the Jungfraujoch. Between mid-March and mid-October, you can even spend the night there.
Alternatively, the Top of Europe is also the starting point for a two-day guided hike across the Aletsch Glacier. Trekkers spend the night at a hut near the halfway point.
And if you work up an appetite on the mountain, there are several restaurants at the Jungfraujoch, so you can chow down before catching your return train.
How to get to the Jungfraujoch
Although some attractions are only available during certain seasons, the Jungfraujoch itself is open all year long.
Interlaken is the gateway to the Jungfrau region, so all Jungfraujoch-bound trains depart from the Interlaken Ost station. Passengers travel via Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen; both itineraries require transfers and last a little longer than two hours.
A round-trip ticket from Interlaken costs about 225 Swiss francs per adult. However, this railway accepts the Eurail Pass (reducing the price to 169 francs) and the Half-Fare Card (for a fare of 113 francs).
If the Jungfraujoch sounds like your idea of heaven, come along and visit it with us! Alpenwild clients make an excursion to the Jungfraujoch on the Scenic Alps by Rail Tour. On the same tour, our clients also ride iconic Swiss trains like the Glacier Express, Bernina Express, and the Gotthard Express, among others. All aboard!
Cover photo by Tom Dempsey