We’re sharing our 12 best tips for your first trip to Jungfraujoch with you. As you visit the Top of Europe for the first time, there are certain things you should keep in mind. If you take them to heart, you will be ready to explore one of the most popular spots in the Swiss Alps.
The Jungfraujoch is nicknamed “The Top of Europe” for good reason.
Its associated Railway Station is indeed the highest in all of Europe, situated over 3400 m above sea level. As a saddle connecting two significant mountains of the Bernese Alps (Jungfrau and Mönch), it enjoys some of the most picturesque views Switzerland has to offer.
Combined with a modern infrastructure and additional sights below its observatory, the summit is the perfect destination for an exciting day trip. Below are our 12 best tips for your first trip to Jungfraujoch.
While staying hydrated should be one of your daily priorities anyway, it becomes even more important when in high altitude. Lower oxygen concentration means that you will be breathing more frequently and thus increasing your heart rate.
On top of that, air in high altitudes holds less moisture than on the ground, which can be a contributing factor to dehydration. We have found it is easier to prevent a hydration-related headache than to cure it, so make sure to drink plenty of water.
If you’re worried about drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated, don’t be. When nature calls, the facilities on the way to and at Jungfraujoch have you covered. You’ll find toilets everywhere, except on the trains. As the tracks are incredibly steep, installing a toilet would definitely come with its problems.
But all the train stations, terminals, restaurants and even the middle station at Eismeer come with enough opportunities for you to take a quick stop. So you really don’t have an excuse to not follow our previous tip to drink enough water.
The sun is very strong in high altitudes and can leave you with an unexpectedly red face. So make sure you come prepared with sunscreen and sunglasses.
Besides potentially complementing your chic mountain outfit, sunglasses are an essential part of any trip to the snow. The (over)exposure of UV rays reflecting from the white surface of the snow can result in a temporarily burned cornea.
Trust us when we say that looking into the snow while the sun is shining isn’t fun. So make sure you bring the strongest pair of sunglasses you can find. Your retina will thank you.
Don’t be deceived by the temperatures in Interlaken and the surrounding areas, even if you decide to visit the Jungfraujoch in spring or later. After all, you’re going to be on top of a mountain surrounded by snow. So temperatures might still drop below zero any time of the year.
You should also wear solid shoes, especially if you decide to make the trek up to Mönchsjoch Hut. Besides keeping you warm, good shoes will also prevent you from accidentally slipping on more icy grounds.
From March to October, you have the opportunity to go on a stunning trek from Jungfraujoch to Mönchsjoch Hut. We highly recommend you go on this walk to experience the snow and glaciers from up close. Please make sure you don’t leave the trail, though. You’re surrounded by glaciers up there, which is potentially dangerous if you step on unsecured ice.
Trekking from the Jungfraujoch to the Mönchsjoch Hut takes approximately an hour - including breaks. If you are planning to do this trip, make sure to take note of all previous tips in this list, as they will come in handy for the ascend to the higher perched hut.
This is also the time to get your camera or phone out and start shooting. The vast mountain landscape between the two mountains is the perfect canvas for a breathtaking photo.
If you are planning on eating something at the Mönchsjoch Hut, be aware of their opening times. Lunch is only served after 11:30 am, although you can enter and sit down for coffee or tea before that time. It is possible to pay with cash, credit card or Twint at the hut.
There is plenty to see and do once you are at the Sphinx Observatory. So factor in enough time to experience all Jungfraujoch has to offer.
The publicly accessible viewpoint on top of the observatory provides you with stunning 360 degree views of the mountains and its surrounding towns. Need a break? Enjoy one of the typical Swiss meals in the restaurant, while being surrounded by the lush views.
Still got some energy left in the tank? Head down to learn more about the history of the Jungfraujoch and how it was built or visit the Eispalast, a cave-like structure made entirely out of ice. The latter features ice sculptures made by various artists.
We recommend at least 4 hours if you plan on hiking to Mönchsjoch Hut and having lunch at Jungfraujoch. If it's a busy day, try and make it even more to ensure you’re not in a rush.
As you might have already guessed, the trip to the Jungfraujoch is made for taking beautiful memories with your phone or camera. The vegetation and the surroundings vary a lot between Interlaken and the top of the mountain, so there are plenty of possibilities for breathtaking shots.
If you catch the gondola to Grindelwald on your way back, make sure to sit facing Grindelwald. You will be greeted with the most amazing valley views.
You’ll be changing trains more than once on your way to and from Jungfraujoch. Those are a fantastic opportunity to take some more beautiful pictures. We especially loved Kleine Scheidegg, Eigergletscher (where you change from the gondola to the railway) and Eismeer. The latter is a quick stopover between Kleine Scheidegg and Jungfraujoch, where you have the opportunity to get off the train for a couple of minutes.
Make sure you don’t miss this one and experience the glacier from up close through the big, panoramic windows. The Jungfraubahnen staff will make sure no one gets left behind at this quick stop.
The difference in air pressure can also affect other parts of your trip besides your ability to breathe. As such, we don’t recommend bringing any liquid, sealed food items like yogurts with you. Higher air pressure might result in an unwanted explosion in your bag, potentially ruining the adventure before it has even begun.
We’ve seen it all…
From Interlaken, you have two options to travel to Jungfraujoch. One way takes you through Grindelwald, while the other train passes through Lauterbrunnen. To enjoy all the views that this spectacular journey has to offer, we recommend travelling up one way and down the other.
On the drive via Grindelwald, you can see the mighty Eiger North Face up close. Via Lauterbrunnen, on the other hand, you pass Wengen. From here, you can spot the world-famous downhill run of the Lauberhorn ski race.
Keep in mind that the train from Interlaken gets split up in Zweilütschinen. One half is going to Lauterbrunnen, while the other one is going to Grindelwald. If for some reason you happen to take the wrong train in Interlaken, you’ll have some time to switch in Zweilütschinen.
But to spare you some extra stress, double check in Interlaken that you’re picking the right train. When in doubt, just ask the staff at the train station. They’ll be happy to confirm if you’re correct.
This is probably the most important tip of all during high season. It gets ridiculously busy at times. You’d hate to waste your precious time waiting in line instead of enjoying the view at the Top of Europe. So make sure you have your seat reservation ready and feel like a royal while you pass all the people queuing up in hope of a free seat.
Those were our 12 tips for your first visit of Jungfraujoch. Without any further ado, we wish you a fantastic trip to the Top of Europe. The Alps are waiting for you.