The Jungfraujoch: a trip to the top of Europe

Posted on July 15, 2016 in Inghams Lakes & Mountains Summer Destinations Switzerland by Kevin.Holland Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The Jungfraujoch is a destination that everyone is itching to see, be it your first time in Interlaken or your 50th visit, each time you see it a little differently.

The journey starts at Interlaken Ost train station, a busy station, with visitors heading to many destinations and trains running like clockwork to get them there. But the train you need, stands out from the others, a little blue and yellow mountain train from platform 2A. Ensuring you are on the front half of the train to Lauterbrunnen, you will chunter through Wilderswill and along Lutschine River where waterfalls cascade down the mountains and the odd herd of cattle with their traditional bells saunter into sight. The train will split at Zweilutschinen but stay on until Lauterbrunnen as this is where you will make you first change.

A simple change at Lauterbrunnen, from one side of the platform to the other, you take your second mountain train, but this time it’s green and yellow. From Lauterbrunnen you will snake up the mountain side, slowly climbing higher past the alpine town of Wengen to the highest train station in the Jungfrau region, Klein Scheidegg.

At Klein Scheidegg you will make your final change onto the famous red and yellow train that will take you through the Eiger and Monch to your destination. It’s a 45 minute journey through the mountain tunnels built 120 Years ago and it shows the true grit of those pioneers that carved it out! On your journey through the mountain you will make two stops; first within the Eiger (translation: Monster) where you will to gaze over the Grindelwald valley through the glass mountain wall. The second stop, within the Monch (translation: monk) gives you the first up close glimps of the Jungfrau’s glaciers (translation: young woman) where you can marvel over their contours and sheer size. Your final stop will of course be at the Jungfraujoch.

At the top you can follow a tour route which will naturally take you to see all the different sights. Don’t forget to make a stop in the highest Lint chocolate shop in Europe and to skate through the beautifully sculpted ice caves. But of course, the most vital stop is to view the mountain scenery and glaciers out in the elements from the top of the sphinx. You can even take a 30 minute walk over the snow to the fully functioning research facility focusing on astronomy and the composition of the earth’s atmosphere; valued by its researchers due to being so far away from any pollution.

Before heading back down don’t forget to pick up your Jungfrau passport near the exit and get it stamped with the day of your visit.

Once back at Klein Scheidegg you can take a different route home. From here take the train to Grindelwald, curving down the mountain past Marmot burrows (aptly named so keep an eye out for them!) and down in to Grindelwald town. Here take the opportunity to wonder around, get a coffee or an ice cream and enjoy the views of the town below the dramatic north face of the Eiger. From Grindlewald, you make your final change of the day back to Interlaken Ost.

Once back at your hotel, in need of a cup of tea, you can proudly say that you have travelled to the top of Europe.

Top tips:

  • Aim to head out on the 9.05am train, this means you will get to the Jungfraujoch just after 11, it tends to get busy after 12/1pm so it is nice to get up there before the crowds do.
  • Lunch at the Jungfraujoch can be fairly expensive however down in the station of Klein Scheidegg there is a restaurant where you can pick up some very tasty traditional dishes such as rosti or alternatively Grindelwald offers many cafes and restaurants- the Eiger+ is a great stop and is also very reasonable.

Blog by Rebecca Rowe-Leet, Inghams resort representative in Interlaken.