"Top of Europe" is the name given to the station, which is the terminus of the railroad to the Jungfraujoch inside the Sphinx at an altitude of 3,454 meters
12 Highlights at the Jungfraujoch
- At 3571 meters above sea level, there is a viewing platform around a glassed-in observation hall. Next to it is the Sphinx Observatory with astronomical dome and weather observation station.
- The Aletsch Glacier, 22 km long, is the largest glacier in Europe. It stretches from the Jungfraujoch to the south and covers an area of about 80 km².
- A 1000 m² labyrinth of winding ice paths and caves runs under the Aletsch Glacier and can be visited.
- A 360-degree cinema below the Jungfraujoch shows the high alpine world all around. the tour is 250 m long and contains adventure niches at intervals.
- The climate at the Jungfraujoch is extreme and unpredictable. Even in summer, icing, avalanches or strong winds occur.
- One-day and multi-day glacier trekking tours can be undertaken with mountain guides in summer.
- The Glacier Experience Trail is a footpath that leads directly over a crevasse via a suspension bridge. It is signposted and only accessible in summer.
- Ice caves are located at the edge of the glacier below the Jungfraujoch. They can be visited on guided glacier hikes from Moosfluh or Bettmeralp.
- Helicopter flights to the Jungfraujoch offer a direct view of the 4158-meter-high Jungfrau mountain peak, the Mönch and Eiger.
- There is a snow fun park with tyrolienne at the Jungfraujoch.
- Several restaurants and bars cater to self-service or à la carte guests.
- The Top of Europe Flagship Store extends over two floors.
Even the ride on the Jungfrau Railway is an experience of a special kind. The Jungfraujoch has been accessible by Jungfrau Railway from the Kleine Scheidegg valley station since 1912. It takes 35 minutes to get there. Guided glacier hikes are possible from the Jungfraujoch, which reveals a very beautiful and extraordinary glacier world. Even those who do not dare to do so can experience the unique glacier world from the glacier platform.
If you are visiting the Jungfraujoch for the first time, we have put together 12 tips for your first visit to Jungfraujoch.
Sights at the Jungfraujoch
The Jungfraujoch represents the transition between the peaks of the mountains Jungfrau and Mönch. It is located on the border of the two regions Bernese Oberland and Valais. The Jungfraujoch is part of the Unesco World Heritage "Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch".
A ride on the Jungfrau Railway up to the "Top of Europe" is already part of the experiences around the Joch. Viewing platforms on the Sphinx rock next to the observatory and above the Top of Europe train station offer an overview of the region and, in fine weather, beyond. Popular destinations for excursions are the Great Aletsch Glacier, the Ice Palace below it or the ice caves on the edge of the glacier.
Sightseeing attractions include:
Sphinx Observatory with viewing platform
The Jungfraujoch plateau: the glacier platform
The Ice Palace under the Aletsch Glacier
Alpine sensation at the Jungfraujoch
The Great Aletsch Glacier at the Jungfraujoch
Sphinx Observatory with viewing platform
At the Jungfraujoch, the observatory of the same name stands on a rocky outcrop called Sphinx. It belongs to a foundation of Jungfraubahn Holding AG. In addition to an astronomical dome and a weather observation station, it consists of several laboratories, a workshop and two terraces that are used for scientific projects.
The 76 cm telescope in the dome is no longer used. The observatory handles various projects, including long-term projects. On the Jungfrau East Ridge, at an altitude of 3,700 meters, mainly climate and environmental measurements are carried out. A heated inlet system is installed on the roof. From the Jungfraujoch train station, the trail leads through a 560-meter tunnel through the ice, as well as a funicular that covers a 240-meter difference in altitude.
The weather station is the highest still permanently manned station in the world. The readings of about 25 weather elements are transmitted to the headquarters in Zurich every ten minutes. These facilities cannot be visited inside.
The Sphinx viewing platform
The Jungfraujoch viewing platform runs around the observatory. The Sphinx viewing platform is located at 3,571 meters above sea level. It offers a distant view over the Alps, reaching as far as the Vosges and the Black Forest in good visibility conditions. On the other side, a view over the Aletsch glacier is possible.
Since 1996, the observation hall has been glazed and terraces run around the observatory building. A 111-meter lift leads to the observatory, covering this distance in 25 seconds. Above the observation deck run taut steel cables. They form a Faraday cage and thus protect against lightning strikes, which can occur at this height even when the sky is blue.
The observation platform is open daily during the operating hours of the railroad.
The Jungfraujoch plateau: the glacier platform
Above the Ice Palace, visitors to the Jungfraujoch can access the plateau via direct paths. It is located at 3,451 meters.
There is snow and ice on the glacier platform, which is full of views, all year round. The viewing platform is used for views, photography and as a meeting point for guided treks across the Aletsch Glacier, ski tours and hikes. Events are also held here and in the run-up to Christmas a Christmas tree is erected, which is visited by Samichlous on 06 December and by the Christ Child on Christmas Eve.
From the station the path leads up through the tunnel system. Below the entrance to the Ice Palace, the path goes outside and slightly uphill to the plateau.
Jungfraujoch Ice Palace under the Aletsch Glacier
The ICE gateway guides visitors from the Jungfraujoch down to the Ice Palace. In the 1930s, mountain guides created the passages and halls with saws and picks. They are located about twenty meters below the Aletsch Glacier
The labyrinth of winding ice paths with cave-like halls and rooms covers a total of 1,000 square meters. Today, works of art made of ice are exhibited here in niches next to the partially mirror-smooth passages. Eagles, bears, dogs, ibexes or penguins are among the works of art that an artist creates each year. Even "Charlie Chaplin and the kid", a scene from Chaplin's World Museum, has already been created in ice and exhibited here. The temperature of the ice palace must be constantly maintained at a temperature of -3°C. The vault and the ceilings have to be regularly reworked because of the evaporation of the visitors. There are railings in slippery places.
The Ice Palace is open daily from 7:30 am to 4:15 pm.
Just before the entrance to the Ice Palace, a view of the mountain interior is possible. From a bridge, at an altitude of 3,483 meters, it is possible to view a karst cave made visible by the construction of the tunnel.
Alpine sensation at the Jungfraujoch
Below the Jungfraujoch, a 250-meter tunnel depicts the beginnings of the Jungfrau Railway. The tunnel runs between the Ice Palace and the Sphinx Hall. Visitors experience the pioneering era of the railroad and the mountain in the multimedia display of Alpine Sensation, partly on moving walkways.
A film projection room is located in the Sphinx Hall. A 360-degree cinema shows the high alpine world around the Jungfraujoch. The adventure tour is 250 meters long and contains adventure niches at intervals
For example, the brothers Rudolf and Hieronymus Meyer from Aarau stand as Jungfrau first climbers. Two Valais mountain guides can also be seen: Alois Volken and Joseph Bortis. Original black and white photographs are accompanied by sounds of railroad construction. Thirty commemorative plaques tell of the victims of the Italian miners during the railroad development of the Jungfraujoch. The young men were no more than twenty years old. The Alpine Sensation covers 1,200 square meters and is open all year round.
The Great Aletsch Glacier at the Jungfraujoch
At the Jungfraujoch, the Aletsch Glacier begins to the south and, at twenty-two kilometers long, is the longest glacier in Europe. The ice masses cover an area of about 80 km². Glaciers consist of ice, firn on top and snow at the very top. Firn is older snow that has acquired a higher density through thawing and freezing. About one meter of firn is created from eight meters of new snow.
From the Jungfraujoch, the glacier leads to the Konkordiaplatz, which covers an area of 6 km². At this point four glaciers meet and flow together as the Great Aletsch Glacier further south. The firn depressions come largely from regions around 3,800 meters above sea level from mountains such as Jungfrau, Aletschhorn, Mönch, grosses Fischerhorn, Grünhorn, Kranzberg and Trugberg.
The four glaciers:
The Grosse Aletschfirn flows from the west and has a width of 1.5 km and a length of 9 km up to the Konkordiaplatz.
The seven-kilometer-long Jungfraufirn flows in from the northwest.
The Ewigschneefäld comes from the north and flows in 8 km length and 1.2 km width.
The Grüneggfirn joins it from the east.
The Great Aletsch Glacier is 900 meters thick and weighs about 27 billion tons. It moves about 200 meters per year at the Konkordiaplatz. Differing flow velocities within the glacier create stresses that lead to deep cracks.
The Jungfrau Panorama film provides an all-round experience of the mountain world around the Jungfraujoch. Visitors get the feeling of flying through clouds, plunging into masses of snow or even sinking into crevasses of ice. The film is shown on all days as long as the mountain railroads are running.
Ride with the Jungfrau Railway
The Joch has been accessible since 1912 via the Jungfraubahn, which has its valley station in Kleine Scheidegg. The Jungfrau Railway is an electric rack railroad. From Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch, the route of the railroad passes through Eiger and Mönch.
Seven kilometers of the total 9.34 kilometers that the railroad overcomes are in a tunnel. In the process, it climbs about 1,400 meters in altitude. Before reaching its terminus, the Jungfrau Railway stops at the Eiger Glacier (2,320 m) and Eismeer (3,158 m) stations. The terminus of the railroad to Jungfraujoch is located inside the Sphinx at 3,454 meters above sea level. Sphinx is the name given to a rocky knoll at the Jungfraujoch where the Sphinx Observatory is located. The trip takes 35 minutes.
Descending railroads stop for five minutes at a time at two observation windows, which were used to remove excavated material when the railroad was built. The railroad still runs on 1125 V three-phase current and therefore has two parallel contact lines. During the descent, the braking energy is fed back into the catenary as electrical energy.
Cable car Eiger Express from Grindelwald Terminal
From Grindelwald Terminal, the Eiger Express cuts the total travel time to Jungfraujoch in half compared to the rack railroad. At the Eiger glacier, you then board the rack railroad.
The Eiger Express is a three-cable circulating railroad with a length of 6483 meters. It overcomes 1391 meters in altitude.
Offer dei Swiss Activities:
Activities at the Jungfraujoch
Numerous hikes and glacier trekking tours are undertaken in summer in the region with mountain guides. The weather is always unpredictable up here, but summer is better in any case. Some activities can basically be done all year round on the Jungfernjoch glacier.
These include some of the summer hikes if the weather conditions are good. The shelters of the refuges are open to alpinists even in winter. Fuel is available and there are cooking facilities and showers. However, hikes and treks across the glacier should only be undertaken by alpinists or with a mountain guide.
Even though these activities can be done all year round, it is essential to pay attention to the weather conditions at Jungfraujoch.
The excursion destinations at the Top of Europe are also open to visitors all year round.
The activities include first and foremost:
- Trekking and ski tours across the Aletsch Glacier
- Glacier hikes to the Konkordia Hut
- Hiking to the ice caves below the Jungfraujoch
- Hike from the Jungfraujoch to the Mönchsjoch hut
- Via ferrata at the Jungfraujoch
- Helicopter flight to the Jungfraujoch
- Snow-Funpark at the Jungfraujoch with Tyrolienne
- Snowkiting at the Jungfraujoch
Trekking and ski tours over the Aletsch Glacier
The Aletsch Glacier is used in summer by mountaineering schools and private mountain guides for glacier trekking from the Jungfraujoch. These tours are also suitable for beginners who have a normal physical condition. They are trekking tours that involve five to six hours of marching in thinner air.
Glacier trekking on your own requires a good knowledge of the technical and navigational challenges, as conditions on the glacier can change radically in a very short time
Ski tours on the Aletsch glacier, for example, have the Lötschenlücke as their goal. High-mountain tours to the Eiger, Jungfrau, Mönch or other peaks also start here.
A glacier adventure trail leads on a footpath to a large crevasse. This is crossed over a suspension bridge. The adventure trail is marked as such and is only accessible in summer.
Glacier hikes to the Konkordiahütte on the Jungfraujoch
Hikes from the Jungfraujoch across the glacier to the Konkordiahütte start at the Sphinxstollen of the Jungfraujoch. The Konkordiahütte consists of several buildings and belongs to the Swiss Alpine Club SAC.
Tours to the Konkordiahütte are carried out as one-day or multi-day hikes. They continue the following day, for example, to Riederalp or Märjelesee.
The Konkordiahütte stands at 2,850 meters above sea level, more than 150 meters above the Konkordiaplatz. The SAC gives these approaches to the hut:
Hike from Jungfraujoch to Konkordiahütte (4 hrs, 160 hm ascent, 760 hm descent):
From the Jungfraujoch (3,454m) the trail goes via the Sphinxstollen to the Jungfraufirn. Afterwards, a descent over two glacier depressions, one behind the other, leads down to a flatter terrain, where the Jungfraufirn meets the Ewigschneefäld. Then the moraine and the glacier stream are crossed. A gentle climb leads to the S foot of Grünegg and over a second moraine. Clearly visible metal stairs lead up to the hut. In summer, the path quickly becomes slippery due to snow melt. Temporary bridges make the paths passable in summer.
Ski tour from Jungfraujoch to Konkordiahütte (1-1.5 hrs, 150 hm ascent, 740 hm descent):
Via the Sphinxstollen, the trail leads to the Konkordiaplatz via the Jungfraufirn southeastward down, across the wide area to the eastern edge to the ski depot of the hut at the foot of the metal ladders.
Ski tour from Jungfraujoch via Ewigschneefäld to Konkordiahütte (1.5-2 hrs, 310 hm ascent, 900 hm descent):
Via the Sphinxstollen, head northeast along the winter hiking trail to the Oberen Mönchsjoch (3623 m). Via the Ewigschneefäld the descent leads down to the rock spur (point 3135). East of the glacier break (on the left) it goes down through a hollow to the Konkordiaplatz to the ski depot of the hut at the foot of the metal stairs.
The Konkordiahütte has 155 sleeping places and a shelter with 35 places. Overnight stays must be reserved in advance. The hut is closed from mid-September to mid-March. The winter room is located below the main hut in the Hasler hut and offers shelter and protection during the unattended period. A wood stove, beds, blankets, pillows, light as well as emergency provisions are available in the hut.
Hike from the Jungfraujoch to the Mönchsjochhütte
From the railroad station on the Jungfraujoch, a trail leads from the tunnel system below the Sphinx directly to the Mönchsjochhütte. It leads from the exit of the Sphinx tunnel directly across the glacier and is accessible from mid-March to mid-October. The trail is well marked and a snow groomer grooms it daily.
This hike is also suitable for children. However, good footwear and weather-appropriate clothing are important for the snow-covered trail. During the hike, the 4000-meter mountains can be viewed in the immediate vicinity.
A hike without a stop takes about two hours including the way back. There is a difference in altitude of 200 meters. The Mönchsjochhütte is located at 3657 meters above sea level and offers a restaurant as well as overnight accommodation for up to 120 people.
Book overnight stays
Overnight stays must be reserved in advance and you should bring your own hut sleeping bag. The highest guarded hut in Switzerland stands southeast of the Mönch. Poles support the hut built directly against the rock.
The hut is closed from mid-October to mid-March. During this time, up to 16 sleeping places can be booked in two rooms, which have a wood stove and crockery. Access to the hut in this period is possible for experienced mountaineers.
Hike to the ice caves below the Jungfraujoch
The ice caves are located below the Jungfraujoch on the edge of the glacier. The entrances to the ice caves are accessible. Thus, the deep blue ice caves can also be hiked inside.
As a result of glacier recession, individual hiking trails had to be closed again and again in the past. Slopes started to slide because the pressure on the surrounding rock decreased. For this reason, the full-day hike should only be done with an authorized mountain guide and is also possible for school children.
Guided glacier hikes to the ice caves start in Moosfluh or from Bettmeralp. During the hike the glacier is always in view. For the start from Moosfluh, the approach begins in eastern Riederalp via the Riederalp - Moosfluh cable car. From Bettmeralp guided "Gletschertouren Katzenlöcher" to the ice caves are offered with the following schedule:
- 1,5 hrs. ascent to the Blausee - Biel
- 1,0 hrs. descent from the ridge down to the glacier
- 2,0 hrs. hike on the glacier
- 1,5 hrs. ascent from the cat holes up to the ridge
- 0,5 hrs. via Biel down to Bettmeralp
The best time for these hikes is from June to October.
Via ferrata at the Jungfraujoch
There are challenging via ferratas near the Jungfraujoch. Some sections may only be climbed in the company of a mountain guide. The via ferratas are secured by wire ropes, iron steps or wire ropes.
In addition to a good physical condition, the right equipment for the via ferratas is very important. This includes a climbing helmet, via ferrata set, climbing harness, webbing sling, via ferrata shoes, via ferrata gloves and HMS carabiners.
The German Alpine Association DAV gives ten recommendations for via ferrata.
The two most famous via ferratas in the region are (moderately difficult):
The via ferrata via Ferrata Aletsch includes climbing passages in the upper Massaschlucht. It leads around the Gibidum reservoir. The 80m long and 40m high Nepal Bridge is a particular challenge. Climbing experience is important on the steep rock faces of the Stockflüe, as there are several difficult traverses.
- 3,4 km length
- 4 hrs.
- 131 meters of ascent
- 142 meters of descent
The via ferrata Eggishorn requires in particular a head for heights and surefootedness. A 40-meter-long three-rope bridge and a 30-meter-long suspension bridge are the special features of this A further 30-meter-long tyrolienne (rope slide) may only be used in the company of a mountain guide. However, it can be bypassed.
- 1,4 km length
- 3 hrs.
- 145 meters of ascent
- 145 meters of altitude descent
Helicopter flight to the Jungfraujoch
Helicopter flights to the Jungfraujoch start, for example, at the Gsteigwiler heliport near Interlaken or at the Croix de Coeur altiport in Lauterbrunnen. During the flight, there is a direct view of the 4,158-meter-high Jungfrau mountain peak, as well as the Mönch and Eiger.
Disembarkation is either directly on the glacier or at the starting point. Without exit the helicopter flight lasts about twenty minutes, with exit thirty minutes.
Some helicopter flights combine the tour with the Matterhorn. They take about sixty minutes as a sightseeing flight, including glacier landing correspondingly longer.
45-minute sightseeing flights around the Jungfraujoch start from Bern-Belp airport. They lead along the Aare, over Lake Thun, past the north face of the Eiger to the Jungfraujoch. The return flight is along the Schilthorn over the area of Lauterbrunnen back to the starting point.
Flights with a helicopter to or around the Jungfraujoch usually take place with five passengers.
There are a few things to keep in mind:
- The maximum weight of all passengers
- Equipment and clothing adapted to the weather
- Camera and sunglasses
- Pregnant women after the 20th week, persons with pacemakers, physical and mental restrictions only after consultation with the doctor in charge
- Spontaneous deviations from the flight route are decided by the pilot.
Snow Fun Park at Jungfraujoch with Tyrolienne
In addition to snow, the Snow Fun Park has another attraction to offer in summer: a zipline. It is called Flying Fox, Tyrolienne or Zipline and is open daily from the end of May to mid-October from 10:30 to 17:00.
Snowkiting at the Jungfraujoch
Snowkiting at the Jungfraujoch is carried out directly on the glacier. The prerequisites for this are appropriate snow and wind conditions. Trained snowkiters or beginners under professional guidance can snowkite at Schneefäld, for example.
Restaurants, bars and stores at the Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe
There are several restaurants and bars on the Jungfraujoch. They offer food and drinks as well as the view of snow, mountains and panorama.
Self-service restaurant Aletsch
The Aletsch self-service restaurant offers traditional Swiss dishes, Rugenbräu beer, a top-of-Europe wine and various non-alcoholic refreshments. It is open daily during the day 10:15 - 14:30.
Self-service restaurant Bollywood
The self-service Bollywood restaurant has Indian and Asian cuisine on the menu. It stands at 3,454 meters above sea level and offers a direct view of the glacial panorama of Europe's longest glacier. The self-service Speedy restaurant is located in the reception hall of the Top of Europe station on the first floor. It offers homemade cakes and sandwiches. Its motto is "simple, fast and uncomplicated". It opens weekdays during the day until about 15:00.
The à la carte Restaurant Crystal serves international and classic Swiss cuisine in a high alpine ambience. It also serves homemade desserts and homemade Eigerspitzli for coffee. Open daily from 11:00 am - 3:00 pm (weather permitting and in high demand).
The Coffee Bar welcomes travelers in the entrance hall of Jungfraujoch Station. In addition to drinks, it serves baked goods, snacks and handmade chocolate specialties. The Coffee Bar is open daily during the day at the operating hours of the railroad (in bad weather from 10:15 - 14:30).
The Sphinx Bar is located on the Sphinx Rock, which is reached via an elevator. Next to the observatory, drinks such as beer, aperitifs or hot chocolate are served on the terrace. The bar is located 117 meters above the Jungfraujoch. Open from 11:30 to 14:00 in summer when the weather is nice
Homemade cakes and sandwiches are offered on the first floor of the Top of Europe. Open only in very nice weather and high demand, from 11:30 - 14:00.
Top of Europe Flagship Store with Top of Europe Shops
The Top of Europe Shops are souvenir stores offering chocolate, watches or clothing directly on the Jungfraujoch. They form the center of the Top of Europe Flagship Store. Special decorations are designed to make shopping a pleasure.
These include the historic Eiger Ambassador Express right at the entrance, entire ceilings made of Swiss Army knives or silver leaves, and giant replica watch movements. Visitor guidance is provided by a replica train track that runs through the entire store.
In addition to useful items such as forgotten hats, warm clothing or sunscreen, visitors can also find valuable souvenirs such as Swiss Army knives, watches or perfumes. Customers have the opportunity to create their own Swatch with motifs from the Jungfrau region in the Swatch Store. It will be printed directly on site.
Lindt chocolate, luggage or carved wooden figures are offered as well as snow globes, magnets, key rings and other small souvenirs. In the Lindt store, visitors can directly experience the production of chocolate.
The Top of Europe Flagship Store extends over two floors and also contains a Jungfrau Railways competence center, the "Rail Info & Ticket".
Weather at the Jungfraujoch
Even in summer, the weather changes quickly and should be checked in any case before a visit. Winter clothing is appropriate even in summer, plus headgear and sunscreen.
The weather at the Jungfraujoch in extreme climatic conditions
There is snow at the Jungfraujoch even in summer. At the same time, the sun shines in particular strength, as it is reflected by ice and snow. The weather can change very quickly on the Jungfraujoch, on the glacier and surrounding regions. Weather-appropriate clothing therefore means warm clothing (onion style), sun protection, sunglasses, gloves and warm headgear even in summer. On each excursion are also required especially slip and waterproof mountain boots.
Unpredictable weather on the glacier
The weather is often unpredictable in the Jungfrau region. The average annual temperature is about -8 degrees Celsius and even in summer only slightly above freezing. Extreme temperatures rarely reached are -37 and +18 degrees Celsius. Heavy icing and snowfall lead to increased avalanche danger. The average wind speed measured per year is about 25 km per hour, towards evening and at night gusts reach up to 60 km/h, mostly the wind blows from south-southeast. There is fog on the Jungfraujoch on about half of the days in the year.
Location and approach to the Jungfraujoch
The Jungfraujoch connects the four-thousand-meter peaks Jungfrau and Mönch. It is located directly on the border between the cantons of Bern and Valais.
On foot, access to the Jungfraujoch from the southern Valais via the Aletsch Glacier is possible as an easy trekking tour, but dangerous due to the danger of crevasses in the Jungfraufirn. An ascent from the Bernese Oberland represents an arduous high altitude tour that is only possible in favorable weather.
To the station of the Jungfrau Railway in Kleine Scheidegg, cogwheel trains of the Wengernalpbahn leave from Grindelwald as well as from Lauterbrunnen.
From Interlaken to Grindelwald (terminal), the drive takes just under half an hour. The approach is via the Grindelwaldstrasse.
Grindelwald Terminal is also reached in half an hour by Berner Oberland Bahn. Trains depart from Interlaken Ost every 30 minutes.
Parking in Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen
Two large parking lots are available for visitors arriving by car. One is in Grindelwald Terminal, the other in Lauterbrunnen.
The parking garage in Lauterbrunnen is 2.50 m high inside and open throughout. Tickets can also be booked online. The Parkhaus in Grindelwald Terminal offers 1000 parking spaces and is also booked online. Entry and exit is via a QR code.