by Ronnie Juhanns
Cover Photo of Jungfraujoch, Switzerland, by GIGASHOTS / shutterstock.com
Travelers from around the world visit Switzerland to take the journey to the top of Europe and visiting Europe’s highest altitude railway station. At 3,454 meters this is one of the most impressive views of Switzerland’s many snow-capped peaks.
The Jungfrau railway runs 9 kilometers from Kleine Scheidegg to the highest railway station in Europe at Jungfraujoch (3,454 m).
— Photo by PixHound / shutterstock.com
I’ve taken this journey a few times during different seasons and each experience was unique.
The train ride to Jungfraujoch in itself is amazing and is worth the time spending 30 minutes from the Grindelwald village station to Kleine Scheidegg pass station and another 50 minutes on an epic ride to the highest point. However, if you time it right you can enjoy the views during the first leg, take a break at the Kleine Scheidegg station and treat yourself to local food and drink specialties inside the restaurant or out on the terrace with view of the Eiger mountain, as well as the surrounding peaks and valleys, before boarding the next train that will take you through the Eiger mountain tunnel.
If you’ve never been in the Swiss Alps be prepared for a variety of weather conditions and temperature changes. Everything from high winds to snowstorms and whiteout conditions due to dense fog can take you by surprise. Be prepared by having proper layers and not assuming that the sunny skies at the start of your trip will last for the rest of the day.
Below are some of the most popular attractions for your visit to the top of Europe.
The train stops at the Eismeer station at 3,160 meters for a 5-minute break to give passengers the opportunity to take photographs. Views of ice blocks and 4,000-meter peaks have visitors gasping in awe. This stop is a great opportunity to take an assessment of weather conditions and figure out if you need to dig into your backpack to adjust your clothing layers.
The Alpine Sensation
This is a 250-meter-long corridor between the Sphinx Hall and Ice Palace peaks. During this amazing and very chilly experience you can see memorials of the miners who’s hard work and sacrifices made the journey by railway to the top of Europe possible. Listening to the music and seeing the images along the way can be enlightening, or haunting, as you are taken back in time to the start of the construction of the railway.
Ice Palace by PixHound / shutterstock.com
The corridors and halls of the Ice Palace are a very impressive collection of ice artwork presenting a variety of sculptures, including a bear, penguin, eagle and more. The natural resemblance of the animal sculptures makes them appear as if they were frozen in place. The Ice Palace was carved out of the glacier in the 1930s by two mountain guides by hand using only ice picks and saws, creating a 1000 square meter large labyrinth.
Lindt chocolate by Ekaterina_Minaeva / shutterstock.com
Lindt Swiss Chocolate
Although Lindt chocolate can be found almost anywhere, chocoholics from the world over spend a lot of their time at Jungfraujoch visiting the highest altitude chocolate shop and factory. The Lindt tour includes everything from learning how to use the mixing machines, how chocolate bars are made, an overview of the facility, and free time to load up on your favorite fix.
Living within a few hours of Switzerland in the KMC, I suggest driving to Interlaken or giving you the opportunity to not only visit the top of Europe by train but also ending your day by spending time sightseeing, eating more Swiss food, shopping for souvenirs like Swiss chocolate, Swiss army knives, watches, handcrafted woodworks, and eating the best Black Forest Cake (Schwarzwaelder Kuchen) in Europe while being entertained by the dozens of paragliders circling above and landing in a field just a stone’s throw away.
- All weather clothing layers
- Sturdy hiking boots or shoes with a good grip
- Snacks and water especially for kids
- Sunscreen and sunglasses
- Cash and plastic. Some small cafés, bars and shops do not take cards.
- Check the weather before purchasing your ticket.
Additional information: www.myswissalps.com/jungfraujoch