Switzerland – Discovering Europe at 3,471 meters above sea level

Jungfraujoch

6.45am, middle of our holiday, my kiwi wakes me up…

Kiwi – we are going to miss the first train…

Voyagista – What??? We said we weren’t going to take the first train!

Kiwi – I couldn’t sleep and the weather looks great, we might as well go earlier…

Hardly awake, we were already boarding the first train towards Jungfraujoch… and to my surprise the first train was full! Maybe this is due to the discount for the first train (except for us since we had a pass), the beautiful weather this day, or the fact that this train doesn’t have tour groups, but still this is too early for a holiday!!!

Jungfraujoch-3

Jungfraujoch is the most prominent local tourist attraction: you reach 3,471 meters aboard the highest train in Europe to reach some of Switzerland’s world heritage mountains. The rail track is going through the famous Eiger North face, it took 16 years at the beginning of the 20th century for the Italian workers to work their way to the top giving easy access to the high mountain areas to the crowds: a visionary idea, especially at the time!

The first stop is at the station in the middle of the north face of Eiger: we couldn’t see any climbers through the window but the views were amazing. Second stop is in front of the glacier and finally after 1h30 from Wengen we arrived at the Disneyland of the Alps!

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Jungfraujoch

Monch hut

We almost feel at home in Asia: japanese, chinese and indians are here in great numbers. Jungfraujoch must be included in many tours of Europe because many of my colleagues in Hong Kong knew about it (while they don’t know the great destinations right next door in China).

Managing to reach high mountain areas so easily is incredible and the Aletsch glacier in front of you at the top is magnificent. As a result the place gets pretty packed (883,000 tourists in 2012…) and the price is exorbitant. We quickly flew from the “eldeweiss and wooden structure” attractions, from the expensive sledge lessons, and from the ice palace packed with the tourists trying desperately not to slip (the ice palace actually needs to be refrigerated, not very ecologic!)

Thankfully you can do THE walk towards the Monch hut and this is not as packed… . One hour return but when you are so high it’s already high enough to enjoy the super scenery and the peacefulness of the area (a relative peace) but everything in Jungfaujoch has to be put into perspective. We really enjoyed it and recommend it.

We came to Wengen to discover the famous Jungfraujoch but in the end we discovered a beautiful region: do not come to the Bernesse Oberland just for Jungfraujoch but take your time and enjoy all the things the area has to offer. I have already introduced you to the best easy hikes here and more are coming on Voyagista, stay tuned!

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Ice cave

Voyagista’s Tips

  • When you get off at the intermediary stops, leave something on your seat so that nobody steals it…but do step out of the train, the view is totally worth it!

  • Only go to Jungfraujoch if the weather is fine otherwise you won’t see anything and you will be wasting your time and money. Better go early in the morning.

  • The walk to the Monch hut is easy but you are walking on the snow so don’t go with your flip flops like some of the tourists we saw.

  • Another nice view in the area is the Piz Gloria at the top of Schilthorn… that’s where the famous skiing scene of the James Bond “On Her majesty’s Secret service” was filmed. Instead of being on the biggest mountains you can see them. The fare is on the expensive side as well but if you are courageous you can have the same views just hiking from Murren.

Have you already been to Jungfraujoch? Do you agree with me?

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Comments

  1. this is so helpful! I am going to try to go in May. I’m curious – what pass did you have that gave you a discount – the Swiss pass? How much was the discount?

    • Hi, we got the jungfrau 6 day pass. With this pass the train is free to Eigergletscher, then 50% discount to Jungfraujoch. If you only stay in this area in Switzerland and stay for a week, this is the best option.

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