After 2 weeks of traveling through Switzerland by train, we had saved the best for last. On the day before our departure, we visited the Jungfraujoch Top of Europe. The highest railway station of 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!
14 Things To Know Before Your Visit to Jungfraujoch Top of Europe
The price to visit Jungfraujoch
On 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 please. I gasped for air. I think I stopped breathing for a moment. Almost 300 Euro (310 US Dollars) for 2 return tickets up the mountain.
I knew a visit to the Jungfraujoch can be expensive. I knew roughly how much it would cost us. But that it would be that expensive, I never imagined. Off course, you can search prices, discount and package deals online. But forking over the same amount as 7 dinners or 3 nights in a hotel, for train tickets? It blew me away.
Tip: Do your homework before you go and see how much it will cost for 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 time table 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 all those times up, a trip from Interlaken Ost to the Jungfraujoch takes 2 hours. When you go down 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 sound a lot longer in my ears.
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. Best option is to stay overnight in Wengen or Grindelwald for 2 chances to get up the mountain and to explore the region. Buy your train ticket to the Jungfraujoch in advance, here or here.
How much time do you need to visit the Jungfraujoch
Speaking of time, I was surprised how long we stayed up 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 wish I knew how much there is to do at Top of Europe and how much time we would spend there.
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 till around 1pm but I think we could have easily stayed all day.
Tip: Don’t rush things. As the visit to the Jungfraujoch is so expensive, you’ll probably only do it once. Enjoy it. Savour 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 longer 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 sets them apart and things they have in common
- Journey to Jungfraujoch via Grindelwald or Wengen both takes 2 hours
- The price for a train ticket to Top of Europe station is the same
- The trains run just as often or connections are similar
- The final stretch of the train journey from Kleine Scheidegg is the same
Differences between Grindelwald and Wengen
- Grindelwald 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
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 too. 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.
Read more: Golden Pass Line from Montreux to Lucerne
Stay overnight in the Jungfraujoch region
This might have been the best decision I made during our visit on the Jungfraujoch. After some research, I settled on a 1-night stay at the Victoria Hotel & Spa 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 mountain view. 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, 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 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.
Tip: Stay overnight in Wengen or Grindelwald. I can recommend the Victoria Hotel & Spa Lauberhorn as I stayed there myself and loved the view, the breakfast, the spa and the staff! Check for availability and prices here.
Read more: One Day in Basel Switzerland
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. From our balcony, we could see the whole Jungfraujoch mountain but not this morning. The whole village and the Jungfrau valley was invisible. Covered by thick clouds I was utterly disappointed. For two weeks of our travels in Switzerland, we had nothing but beautiful sunny weather. And now, on our last day, when it matters 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 laid on the bed. Staring at the ceiling I slowly realized we might 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 awhile 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 mountain there were clouds. It was not possible to see the villages of Wengen or Grindelwald but at the top there was clear weather!
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 cow bell was all we experienced of 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, depending where you set out from, so take that in mind when you watch the weather forecast for the Jungfraujoch.
Mönch, Eiger and Jungfrau
Visiting the Jungfrau 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 at 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.
Read more: Voralpen Express to St. Gallen
Jungfraujoch is not the same as the Jungfrau
What is in a name? Turns out, when you visit the Jungfraujoch, you’re not actually conquering the mountain called Jungfrau. Jungfrau (Virgin or Maiden) 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.
Read more: Glacier Express or Local train to Zermatt?
Top of Europe Jungfraujoch station is not actually at the top of the Jungfrau
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. Silly me. 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!
Read more: Bernina Express, is the myth true?
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 is with 3.454m 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 only 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 Wall? You’ll travel for almost 30 minutes through 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 never realised 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.
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 little 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.
Read more: Gotthard Panorama Express to Lugano
How much you can do at Jungfraujoch Top of Europe Station
I had no idea! I figured we 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 displayed in 360 degrees around you.
- 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, this 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 underground 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’ve gotten off the train and see 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.
Read more: 10 Things to do in Montreux
How cold it is at Jungfraujoch station
Bloody freezin’! We travelled 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 to my face and my hands would go numb. But on the other side of the mountain, overlooking the glacier, it was sunny and wind still. 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 didn’t need my sweater or jacket at all during our trip! But I was glad I brought it when we went up the Jungfraujoch. I didn’t bring that woolen 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 warm. Long trousers, closed shoes, warm sweater plus a windproof jacket make a visit much more comfortable. Throw in a warm woolen hat, gloves, scarf and possible earmuffs and you’re good to enjoy the view at the North Side of the Jungfraujoch.
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 euro 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 was expensive and it was cold up there. But it was all worth it to. I think it is 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 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!
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 you knew 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
I paid for everything in full myself and all my opinions are my own. This post does contains affiliate links. If you decide to book something via one of my links, I’ll earn a small commission. This is at no extra costs to you.