Wondering what to expect when visiting Jungfraujoch, The Top of Europe? Home to the highest train station in Europe, the largest glacier in the Alps, and incredible mountain views, Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe is an excursion that is not to be missed. It is truly one of the most beautiful places in the Swiss Alps. When the weather is clear, Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe is spectacular. We had a picture-perfect day visiting this famous European peak and we want to share exactly what you can look forward to when you visit this gorgeous viewpoint.
All About Jungfraujoch Top of Europe
Jungfraujoch is located in the region of Bernese Oberland in the Swiss Alps. When you visit Jungfraujoch, top of Europe, you aren’t actually going to the top of Jungfrau Mountain, you are going to a viewpoint that is known as a Joch. Joch is translated to Yolk, meaning you are basically wedged in the low end of a saddle between two peaks, Jungfrau and Mönch. With an elevation of 3454 meters, you are going to feel the elevation once you step off the highest cogwheel train in the world. So if you are sensitive to altitude, take your time as you explore, some people were feeling a wee bit dizzy at this elevation.
How to Get to Jungfraujoch
The best way to get around Switzerland is by train. you purchase a Swiss Travel Pass that will make it easy to get around anywhere in Switzerland by Train. To get to Jungfraujoch, you will need to make your way to Grindelwald Terminal by train.
- A Swiss Travel Pass includes:
- Unlimited travel by train, bus, and boat
- Public transportation in more than 90 cities and towns
- Including mountain excursions: Rigi, Schilthorn, Stanserhorn, and Stoos
- Free admission to more than 500 museums throughout Switzerland
- Two free informative apps to help plan your Switzerland journey are: Grand Train Tour of Switzerland app and the Swiss Travel Guide app
We have broken down the exact route we took from Grindelwald Station in Grindelwald village to Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe below. You can purchase tickets in advance at Jungfrau Railways.
Train to Grindelwald Terminal
There are two ways to get to Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe. Train only or via the new Eiger Express that shaves 42 minutes off the journey. We took the new Eiger Express and it was awesome. Depending on where you are staying, you will hop on the Bernese Oberland Railway to Grindelwald Terminal. Once you reach Grindelwald Terminal, you walk through the state-of-the-art facility that feels more like an airport than a ski area. With moving sidewalks, boutiques, and restaurants, it has everything you need. But you aren’t going to spend too long here, because you are going to the top of Europe baby!
Bahn Eiger Express to Eiger Station (Eigergletscher)
The Eiger Express is the most modern tri-cable gondola in the world. This new gondola was built with little impact on the environment using only seven towers spanning 6483 meters. (miles) Plus, it is massive, the Eiger Express can hold up to 26 passengers per gondola moving a lot of people at a time. The windows heat up keeping the views clear in winter and it moves fast. The Eiger Express takes you from Grindelwald Terminal to the Eiger Glacier station in just 15 minutes.By taking the Eiger Express, you shave off 42 minutes of travel time and transfers making the journey an easy straight shot to Jungfraujoch with only one transfer to the highest railway in Europe.
Jungfraubahn – Jungfrau Railway
Once you reach Eiger Glacier Station (Eigergletscher) this when things get really interesting. From here, you transfer from the gondola to Jungfraubahn (The Jungfrau Railway) all the way up to Jungfraujoch. This historic cogwheel train is the highest cogwheel train in Europe. Not only that, it travels right through the Eiger and Mönch Mountains via a 7km long tunnel. It is steep and a very cool experience. There is also a little multimedia show to keep you occupied while you travel up for about 30 minutes.
Eismeer Sea of Ice
The Jungfrau Railway was completed in 1912 and is truly a feat of engineering. Imagine building a tunnel going through mountains at high altitudes more than 100 years ago! During the train journey, there is a stop in the middle of the mountain where you can get out of the train for views of the Aletsch Glacier. The Aletsch Glacier is an 80 square km ice sheet that is 22 km long and 1 km thick, making it the most powerful ice stream in the Alps. From here, you have a close-up view of Eismeer (“Sea of Ice”) of this mighty glacier. But the stop isn’t long because you are about to have your mind blown.
What to do at Jungfraujoch Top of Europe
Once disembark the train, there is one more journey to take before you start exploring. It’s time to bard the ultra-fast elevator that takes you up another 117 meters to your destination, Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe. It is here that you are free to explore all the panoramic views from The Spinx Observation Terrace. Take your time here as you have extraordinary views of Jungfrau and Mönch peaks. You can also see the Eiger from here as well as the Aletsch Glacier.
Keep an eye of for the Alpine chough birds that soar through the air. These birds can only survive at altitudes of over 3000 meters. It is here that you are standing on the famous domed research station that you see in all the arial views of Jungfraujoch, Top fo Europe. Note, drones are not allowed to be flown at this UNESCO World Heritage Site so leave that view to the helicopter tour or the professionals that have a permit.
The journey continues through Alpine Sensation, a multi-media display showcasing the building of the Jungfrau Railway. As you enter, a giant snow globe welcomes you with scenes from Switzerland. It is in Alpine Sensation that you’ll learn of Adolf Guyer-Zeller, the creator of the Jungfrau Railway who had a vision of taking tourists to the top of the mountain via train. He never lived to see its completion but his legacy lives on.
As you ride the moving sidewalk you pass photographs taking you on a journey from the early days of the building of the railway to the hardships that the construction crews faced. It also pays tribute to the 30 men who were killed building the railway.
We had seen pictures of the Ice Palace located at Jungfrau, Top of Europe, and expected a cheesy exhibit for kids. Boy, were we wrong! This glacier tunnel was dug in the 1930s with good old-fashioned chisels and hammers. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that we were walking under a glacier. I kept asking our guide Doris, “Are we under the glacier right now?” The long tunnel of ice is extraordinary.
There are ice sculptures scattered throughout the 1000 square meters of tunnels that weave under the Aletsch Glacier. From a Charley Chaplin ice carving exhibit (Charley resided in Switzerland after being exiled from the United States) to mountain animals, the ice carvings are works of art.
It’s time to head outside to walk in the snow. It may be summer below in Grindelwald, but it is year-round winter up here at the Top of Europe. This viewpoint offers the best views of the mountains of Germany and France and on the other side an unobstructed view of the Aletsch Glacier.
There’s also a photo opportunity to hold the Swiss Flag as you stand at the top of Europe. We liked to pretend we had just summited a mountain holding the flag, however, it was the easiest ascent we’ve ever had in our lives with gondolas, trains, and elevators taking us to this phenomenal viewpoint. It’s worth the shot though to say you’ve been there, done that.
Hike to Mönchsjoch Hut
We didnt’ have time to do a glacier hike, but we did get to see groups hiking to Mönchsjoch Hut. Imagine hiking at an altitude of 3650 meters through the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Swiss Alps as you take in the panoramic views of the mountains. You can stay overnight at the hut to enjoy the sunset from the Top of Europe. (Make sure to book in advance)
We were lucky to have a bluebird day during our visit to Jungfraujoch, but sometimes people go all the way up and are shrouded in clouds. If you happen to be at the top on a bad day, there is a 360-degree panorama display of the surrounding mountains. We didn’t spend too long here because we had the real deal in front of our very own eyes, but it is a cool film taking you to crevasses, through the clouds and overhead views of the Jungfrau Region. But you don’t have to stay overnight, the hike is only about 45 minutes one way, so you can make it out and back in about two hours.
Shops and Restaurants
Going up to the Top of Europe is an expensive excursion, so you don’t want to hurry back down once you’ve reached the top. Jungfrau Region has made sure to offer plenty of opportunities to make the most of your time at the top. Make sure to stop into Lindt Chocolate Heaven for a sample of chocolate and a chance to take home some delicious treats.
Also, like everywhere in Switzerland, you can purchase a watch if you want. I often wonder who buys a watch at the top of a mountain, but our guide Doris told me that many people buy watches here. You can even get a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife if you want.
And no attraction would be complete without a stop for a bite to eat. There are three restaurants at Jungfraujoch Top of Europe. Restaurant Crystal and Restaurant Aletsch offer traditional Swiss Cuisine while Restaurant Bollywood caters to those looking for some Indian food. There is also a Speedy self-serve restaurant for some dining as well. If you want to have a drink, there is a coffee bar or a cocktail bar. At the Sphinx Bar, you can enjoy a glass of bubbly as you make a toast from the Top of Europe.
Hike the Eiger Trail
We didn’t spend too long at the restaurants or shops as we had a big afternoon ahead of us hiking the Eiger Trail. You don’t need to hike the Eiger Trail when visiting Jungfraujoch, but we highly recommend it. Rather than taking the gondola back down, take the Jungfrau Railway beck to Eigergletscher (Eiger Station) and start hiking to Apliglen. The Eiger Trail is an easy 2 hour hike that takes you along a rolling footpath that passes by the Eiger North Wall offering astounding views of the Grindelwald Valley.
If you have ever wondered where those famous photos of Swiss Cows on mountains are taken, it is right here. While hiking along the Eiger Trail we came across a herd of cattle that are set free during the summer months to graze on the mountainside. The grass of the mountains create the perfect food to create delicious Swiss cheese. Along the route you’ll see beautiful flowers, waterfalls and views of the surrounding mountains. Don’t miss doing this hike!
Hot Tips for Visiting Jungfraujoch Top of Europe
Jungfrau Top of Europe Passes can be purchased at their website here. If you have a Top of Europe Pass you will receive a 10% discount. Your pass includes unlimited trips to Jungfraujoch on the day of validity.
Check the weather before going to Jungfraujoch – The experience really depends on the weather and if you are spending that amount of money to go up to the Top of Europe, you are going to want to be able to see it.
Start as Early as Possible – Time tables change depending on the time of year, but we made sure to go up the first gondola from Grindelwald Terminal at 8:00 am. Plus, the weather is usually better in the morning in the Jungfrau region. (don’t hold me to this, but it has been our experience)
Reserve Your Tickets – Make sure to reserve your tickets in advance so that you get on the first gondola and then first train. Other people had to stand in line to wait for tickets to become available.
Dress for cold weather – We saw people going up to Jungfraujoch in shorts and we knew they were going to have a horrible experience. It is cold up there. We had an outer wind layer and a warm fleece layer along with a winter hat and gloves that we could put on when we reached the top. It made for a very comfortable experience. Even the ice cave is cold, so you will want to be warm to truly enjoy it.
Hire a Local Guide – We had a guide with us and it was so helpful. We didn’t have to think about a thing as she led us through each step of the Jungfraujoch Top of Europe experience. Plus, she gave us insightful information and a guided history of the region. It truly was a special experience and one of our favorite days in Switzerland ever. (we’ve been to Switzerland three times!)
Where to Stay when visiting Jungfraujoch Top of Europe
We stayed at the Romantik Hotel Schweizerhof in Grindelwald. It was a fantastic location just one stop from Grindelwald Terminal. It’s only about a 3-minute walk to Grindelwald Station and the train from Grindelwald Station to Terminal is only three minutes. Within 6 minutes we were at the gondola getting ready to make our way up the mountain. This historic hotel has a lovely outdoor patio for dining, a fantastic buffet breakfast, and fabulous views of Grindelwald First.
So, Is Jungfarujoch worth it?
Yes, Definitely! We didn’t know what to expect when going up to Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe, but it exceeded our expectations. It was one of the most beautiful scenes we have ever laid eyes on. By going early in the morning, we stayed ahead of the crowds and had spectacular views. There is so much to do up at Jungfraujoch, we think it is definitely worth the price.
By riding the Cogwheel trains, taking the gondola, going through the Ice Palace and having the views from the Sphinx Viewing Platform and Glacier Plateau, it was definitely worth every penny. You don’t often get an experience like this without having to trek for hours and our visit to Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe is an experience we will cherish for years to come.