Switzerland: To Top of Europe- Jungfraujoch!

Travel Period : 16-20 July 2013

Location:  Jungfrau, Switzerland 

{ Previous: Dinner in Interlaken }

Day 4- Morning to Afternoon

“Today is our last full-day at Switzerland… We must make this day the most memorable one!” I told myself. Who knows when we will be able to step foot onto this continent again, especially when it’s so far from our homeland Singapore?

Waking up early in the morning, we looked out of the windows praying for a clear, blue sky. “Yes!” We exclaimed as we saw a beautiful and clear morning! This would mean we should be getting good visibility up on Jungfraujoch too!

:: Side-note: To prevent seeing misty nothingness on Jungfraujoch and get an idea of the weather, you could check the livecam view::

Day4_NiceWeatheronWengen

Jungfraujoch also known as the Top of Europe, has the highest railway station in Europe located 3,454 metres above sea level.

Once inaccessible, it is now a famous tourism spot, thanks to the construction of the Jungfrau railway (German: Jungfraubahn). It is also an UNESCO Heritage Site. We had so far accumulated many UNESCO sites in our Europe Trip so this was another nice addition. In German, “J” is pronounced as “Y”, one is to say it like “Yong – frau – york”. Its name also means “maiden/virgin” with a nice chinese name “少女峰”.

Long before we arrived at Switzerland, we have been deciding whether to go up to Jungfraujoch. We were put off by the high prices for the train tickets to get up there, thinking we could save and use that amount of money more wisely on other sightseeing spots and activities.

“It’s just a mountain where we can see snow, right? Seems nothing fantastic.” So we thought.

We were also worried that our attire (non-winter jackets and track shoes) would not be suitable on the snow-filled alps and Dar would catch a cold there. (We weren’t sure of the ‘coldness’ level)

“Should we, or should we not?” This was a question that circled in our minds for the longest time, even after we arrived at the Jungfrau region of Switzerland.

Finally just last night, we made a firm and final decision — Yes! We are going to make this journey!

The last thing we want, was to leave Switzerland with regrets for missing out on Jungfraujoch (“What if it’s reallyyyy nice?”) Most probably, we would not be returning here again in our lifetime, since the world is so big and there are still so many places we want to go but have yet to explore!

As for the prices, it wouldn’t be as expensive as we had thought too since we would be able to get a 50% discount with our Swiss Card (this was one of our considerations when we decided on buying this rail pass anyway).




So after finishing up our breakfast, we packed our stuff and were ready to begin our journey to The Top of Europe!

Tickets To Top of Europe 

With the cool winds as our companion, we leisurely walked uphill towards Wengen Train Station. At the ticket counter, we told the staff about our itinerary for the day — that we would also like to visit Grindelwald after visiting Jungfraujoch.

She then proposed going to

  • Jungfraujoch via Kleine Scheidegg
  • Return from Jungfraujoch to Kleine Scheidegg, transferring to Grindelwald
  • Return from Grindelwald to Wengen with a stopover at  Zweilütschinen railway station.

We would not need to pass by Wengen again and this would be a cheaper route. She then told us that it would only cost us two a total of 193.60CHF for this entire journey (after the discounts with the Swiss Card ! Dar travels free) Wow! We were glad that this was cheaper than we had imagined, since we knew that it costs 163CHF per person just to go up to Jungfraujoch (before discount)!

:: Side note: Tell the ticketing staff your destination, they would be happy to help you plan your route with timings and tell you the cost ::

Day4_PassportstoJungfraujoch

We were given a nice little booklet which was made like a ‘passport’ to Jungfrau. We could stamp on them when we finally reach this special destination. It was sure a nice touch to the journey!

Train Journey Begins!

With the tickets in our hands, we eagerly waited for the Wengenalpbahn to arrive, which would bring us up to Kleine Scheidegg.

Day4_BeginRailtoJungfraujoch

Reaching  Kleine Scheidegg

Day4_Reachingkleine-scheidegg

This was a place we had briefly visited after the hike from Männlichen. Arriving there, we saw a large crowd at the station and had to scramble through them to look for the Jungfraubahn train that would take us up to Jungfraujoch.

Unlike the other trains, the train was fully concealed and air-conditioned with nice cushioned seats. Since we would be heading very high up in altitude, it just wouldn’t make sense to have open windows with icy cool winds blowing in.

Even though we took the Brienz Rothorn railway yesterday, we still felt excited as we knew we would be climbing up to even greater heights this time with the Jungfraubahn. Furthermore, we would be passing by different types of sceneries, the former with vast greenery while this would climb past barren mountains, into tunnels deep into the mountains and ending on the snow-filled alps.

There were digital screens placed around the carriages, updating us on our current location and altitude, and giving us information on the history and locations. This further helped fuel our interest and involvement in ‘climbing’ up to the Top of Europe.

Day4_FromKLScheideggtoJungfraujoch
Scenery we saw on the way – the Alps up close!

“Look!” We exclaimed to each other as we passed by some gorgeous scenery of the alps outside the window. The alps were many times more beautiful up close than seeing it from afar. We could begin to appreciate the grandness of nature and these mountains, while thanking the people who had made this railway possible (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jungfrau_railway).

Halfway Stops

At Eigergletscher (2,320 m), the railway started to run almost entirely within a tunnel built into the Eiger and Mönch mountains. From this point onwards, it was pitch dark outside and we would focus on the digital screens to find out about our current location.

Some moments later, the train stopped at the Eigerwand station (on the north face of the Eiger). Almost everybody thought it was a mandatory stop for the train to rest (in case of overheating, maybe?) while we were to obediently wait inside the train. I was thinking otherwise as I have read that this was one of the two stops before Jungfraujoch that we could actually dismount and check out the views outside.

True enough, an announcement was soon made on how long the train would be waiting here, and that passengers could (or rather, should) alight during this period, either to take a toilet break or do some sightseeing.

The silent crowd grew into a noisy and excited one upon the announcement, and we all began to move out of the train, heading towards the several huge panels of windows in the station. Through the windows, we could see that we were indeed on high grounds, though much greenery could still be seen. “When will we see the snow-filled alps?” We wondered.

Day4_OnRailtoJungfraujoch

When the time to leave was nearing, we all returned to our train, with plenty of chatter among the passengers. All were getting excited and having the same thoughts as me, eagerly anticipating what was going to await us higher up!

The train soon moved off and about 13 minutes later, we had arrived at the Eismeer station, at an altitude of 3160m (10368ft).

When the train stopped however, the passengers no longer stayed quietly in the train anymore like the previous stop. Instead, everybody started to flock out to check out the station and the scenery outside. People do learn fast, yay?  It was cold outside and we were glad for our layers of clothing and thick jackets.

From far, the windows just looked completely white but as we moved closer, we could start to see the spectacular views of the snow-filled scenery outside the station!

“WOW!!” This was the first reaction most of us had when our eyes began to adjust to the bright reflections from the snow, as we started to make out the magnificence and beauty of the alps!

Day4_OnRailtoJungfraujoch02

“If this was already so beautiful, I wonder how will it look like when we are up at Jungfraujoch later?” This thought came into my mind and this made me really excited and looking forward to more wonders ahead in today’s journey. “Today is indeed going to be the climax of our Europe trip!” I thought hopefully.

Interestingly, we noticed two people hiking outside in a distance! We had initially thought our eyes were playing tricks on us but after rubbing our eyes, we were sure the two brave souls moving across the Alps in such extreme environment!

Day4_OnRailtoJungfraujochScenery
Spot the Mountain Climbers !!!

After praying for their safety silently (and admiring their courage), we returned to the train, preparing for the next and final stop of our journey.

Would this so-called Top of Europe live up to everybody’s expectations? Or would it be just a touristy gimmick that was overly commercialized?

We would find this out soon, as the train started moving off to bring us to our destination on this Jungfraubahn line.

Day4_OnRailtoJungfraujoch04

We had reached!

{ Next Post: At Jungfraujoch as we explored the Sphinx Observatory and Summer Snow Slide! }

  1. Linda May 12, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    I enjoyed reading your Europe posts especially Switzerland and see all the beautiful scenery. This one is like a tease, I can’t wait for the next post.

  2. Cat May 12, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    *wave. Thanks Linda! Nice to hear from you and I’m so glad to get a little response to our Europe posts!
    Okay, back to work on delivering the scenic pictures! I have to select hard and resist from putting too many up!

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