A Wonderful Trip to the Jungfraujoch
Top Of Europe
Photo courtesy of Jungfraujoch
Whether you’re staying in the Jungfrau Ski Region of Switzerland, or simply fancy a memorable day out from Zurich, the Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe, makes for a wonderful excursion.
Highest Point in Europe
Whilst we were staying in Grindelwald recently, we took a trip to this majestic location. Situated at 3,454 metres, the Jungfraujoch is home to the highest railway station in Europe and although we had visited it twice before a few years ago, we were really excited to see it again, and this time to experience it in Winter.
The day we chose was bright and sunny with cloudless blue skies – perfect for visiting a location where you will be taking in views for as far as the eye can see. In fact on a clear day you can see as far as the mountain peaks in neighbouring France and Germany.
We set out from Grindelwald where we took the cog wheel train from the train station to the Kleine Scheidegg.
In itself this is a beautiful ride which lasts about 30 minutes or so and at some places the ascent is quite steep. All the while the landscape around you is changing and when you get to the end station you alight and change to another cog wheel train which takes you on the next step of the way to your final destination, Jungfraujoch, Top Of Europe.
What to See
We arrived in brilliant sunshine and as the sun reflected against the white snow we were glad we’d brought sunglasses. If you’re going to be walking outside for some time you might also want to take along some suntan lotion too.
There is a map at the top explaining all the places you can visit whilst you are there and we began with a refreshing cup of tea in the self service restaurant before going to one of the viewing points to see the beautiful Aletsch glacier.
The Aletsch Glacier
The Aletsch Glacier is the largest glacier in the Alps and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001. At around 81.7 km2 (or 31.5 square miles) it is considered the largest glaciated area in western Eurasia. The glacier is stunning to look at – it’s like a solid river or lake of ice which looks as if it is gently moving down the valley.
Next we went to another outdoor viewing point, a terrace where we could survey the glacier on one side and on the other you could see for miles.
Cloud formations were sitting like soft clumps of cotton wool above the blue skies and it all looked really beautiful.
Restaurants and Ice Palace
We stopped for lunch at the Crystal waitress service restaurant and had a tasty meal of soup and a platter of cheese and cold meats before heading for the Eispalast or Ice Palace where you walk though tunnels completely covered in ice and can see a selection of beautifully created ice sculptures.
We particularly liked the penguins and the bears – but they were all pretty special.
We also took a look at the Jungfrau Panoramic 360 degree experience where you get to see unique angles and views of the Jungfraujoch flashed up on the walls all around you.
Highest Shops in Europe
After following the map to visit all the important viewing points, we visited some of the shops where you can buy everything from watches to Lindt chocolate and even canisters of pure oxygen (said to be useful if you feel dizzy at heights!). There are also various shops selling snacks, drinks, postcards and souvenirs.
There is an astronomical observatory located above the Jungfraujoch called the Sphinx, after the rocky summit on which it is located. You can’t visit the laboratories as they are closed to the public but the panoramic views of the Alps from the terraces are stunning.
The snow walk outside on one of the terraces not only gives you superb views but also offers a place to relax in deckchairs in the sun and for children to play in the snow. We didn’t have time to walk to the end and to the Mönchsjoch Hut, as it takes about 1.5 hours, but we did enjoy a short stroll in the snow on this very special place so high up in the sky!
We really enjoyed our visit to Jungfraujoch Top of Europe and heartily recommend it. Although it was the third time we had visited it over a number of years, it always looks a little bit different depending on the weather and each time we notice something new.
You might also like to see the video of the Jungfraujoch here:
A visit to the Jungfraujoch is not cheap but there are a variety of tickets available – and how often is it that you can say that you’re literally standing at the “top of Europe”? For more information on this unique excursion please visit the Jungfraujoch website.
Things to Take With You
A few tips on things we found useful. We wore ski jackets and actually ski pants too (but ordinary trousers should be fine). Good boots or snow shoes are important especially if you want to walk in the snow on the terraces. Don’t forget to take sunglasses and sunscreen too as it can get very sunny up there and of course your camera or smartphone as it is such a memorable experience.
Staying the Jungfrau Ski Region and Skipassgeschenkt
If you are thinking of staying in Grindelwald or the Jungfrau Ski Region and going skiing, you may be interested in reading about the current offer they have called #Skipassgeschenkt which allows you to get free ski passes with every hotel stay of 2 nights or more. Please read our article here to find out more or visit the Jungfrau Ski Region Hotel Website to book accommodation here.
All photos copyright NewInZurich except for the second photo which is copyright Jungfraujoch
On this occasion we were invited up the Jungfraujoch, however all views are entirely our own.