The little train climbs slowly through a beautiful landscape, approaching the glaciers and its destination: the Jungfraujoch. At 3,454 meters (11,332 ft), Jungfraujoch Top of Europe is the highest train station in Europe and the journey is one of the most scenic train rides in the Alps.
From the Sphynx Observatory‘s deck, perched up a steep rock and reachable with an elevator, the surrounding scenery is breathtaking.
Snow and rocks, ice delicately shaded in light blue, the shapes of the crevasses, the winding moraine of the Aletsch glacier, the longest glacier in the Alps, a white wonderland. I can’t help thinking at how lucky I am to be in such a wonderful place, blessed by a perfect weather, with the glaciers standing out before a deep blue sky.
Speechless in front of such indescribable beauty, I realise that I’m looking at the largest glacier in Europe and one of the most dramatic landscapes in the alps. No wonder the Jungfrau-Aletsch-Bietschhorn region was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List and that people from all over the world come to admire this stunning alpine scenery.
It’s thanks to a visionary man, the Swiss entrepreneur Adolf Guyer-Zeller, that this superb region is accessible all year-long. Back in 1893, during a walk in Murren, a village in the Bernese Oberland, Adolf Guyer-Zeller had the idea of building a railway up to the Jungfrau. The rack railway, 9.3 km (5.8 mi) of which 7.2 km through a tunnel dug into the mountains Eiger and Mönch for a difference in height close to 1,400 meters (0.86 mi), was completed in 1912 and since then the Jungfraujoch has become one of the main touristy spots in Switzerland.
Along the way, the train makes two stops in the tunnel where passengers can get off and admire the stunning views on the mountains and glaciers through large panoramic windows. It’s only a very short stay but a great foretaste of what will come once reached the Jungfraujoch.
If you love mountains and glaciers, you can’t miss the Jungfraujoch
No surprisingly, the Jungfraujoch is flooded with tourists – for this reason, it’s better to book the train at least one day in advance – and the site exploits as much as possible the potential coming from the many international visitors with shops and number of activities. However, the surrounding scenery is so wonderful that I soon forgot the people around me and got lost in the perfect beauty of the glaciers and the majesty of the alps.
After spending a long time on the observation deck, I was rewarded with more stunning views from the scenic Crystal restaurant, with its wide window panes overlooking the wonderful alpine scenery making for an unforgettable lunch. I just couldn’t get enough of immersing myself into this white wonderland, willing to impress as much of all this beauty in my memory.
On the way down, the restaurant at Eigergletscher is well worth a stop for a coffee and one of the delicious home-made cakes, to savour on the terrace right below the glacier. From there, the ice cascade is even closer and the view is dramatic.
I was keen to have a short walk and thus followed the trail from Eigergletscher down to Kleine Scheidegg, an easy hike of about 45 minutes with a lovely view on the valley and the Eiger north wall.
At Kleine Scheidegg, I boarded the train leading back to Interlaken, this time via Grindelwald (I arrived in the morning along the Lauterbrunnen-Wengen route) to complete the circle circuit with the Jungfraubahn.
For some (many?) people, getting up to the Jungfraujoch might be just a check mark on a Switzerland must-do list. To me, it was a wonderful day and a memorable experience in one of my favorite landscapes: the glaciers.
Have you ever experienced the magic of the glaciers?
Getting there: The Jungfrau Bahn connects the Junfraujoch with Interlaken, Wengen, Grindelwald and more town in the Bernese Oberland. You can see the full timetable via Grindelwald and via Wengen. Booking is highly recommended and you can do it also online.
Fares: There are many ticket options at different rates, including special offers. If you plan to stay 3 days in the region, the best option is the VIP Pass, entitling to unlimited travel on the Jungfraubahn railway network for 3 consecutive days.
Altitude and weather: Remember that some people might be subject to high altitude sickness (in this case, the best thing to do is going back at a lower altitude) and that the weather in the mountains can rapidly change. Don’t forget to wear proper shoes and to take with you warm clothes, even on a hot and sunny day.
Note: This amazing journey was made possible thanks to the kind invitation by the Jungfrau Mountain Railways to discover a truly magic region. As always, opinions are mine and mine only.
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Travel addict and passionate about photography, Simon Falvo started Wild About Travel back in 2009. Leveraging her strong PR background, she developed an extensive knowledge of Digital Communications and Social Media Marketing. Besides travel writing Simon holds workshops and trainings, she collaborated with tourism boards for digital marketing campaigns and participated as a speaker at several events.