Jungfraujoch


Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Ben the Grate on July 27, 2005

It may be pricey. It may be crowded. And it may be campy. But you can't skip out on a trip to the Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in the world, 11,333 feet above sea level. You can get even higher if you take the elevator to the Sphinx weather station. It sits perched in the saddle between the Jungfrau and Monch, cloaked in perpetual ice.

The special train starts at Kleine-Scheidegg, up the mountain from either Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen. It heads up to Eigergletscher Station (jumping off point for the Eiger Trail, and killer close-up views of the Eiger Glacier). Then it enters the tunnel it will navigate all the way up through the heart of Eiger. At one point you can stop and peer out windows from halfway up the north face of Eiger. This is where rescuers disembark to help stranded climbers on Eiger. Then it continues its frighteningly steep climb up the tunnel through Monch to the Junfraujoch.

There is much to see and do at Jungfraujoch. Walk through labrynthine ice tunnels, marvel at ice sculptures, eat at several cafes, take the elevator to the Sphinx, Europe's highest weather station, slide around on the snow and ice, peer down the Aletsch glacier, the longest in the Alps, play with sled dogs, or ski in your shorts in August.

Prepare for blasting winds, cold temperatures, and sun that will burn you much faster than you think. The place is quite large and can be very confusing. Take a map and follow the signs.

Getting there can be pricey. The fare in Summer 2005 was $140USD roundtrip in first class from Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald. Ouch! But you don't need to go in first class, and you don't mind leaving early and departing the Jungfraujoch by noon, because you're going to hike the Eiger trail in the afternoon. Which means you qualify for the Good Morning Fare, which is $114.05. And you also followed my advice and purchased a Jungfrau Railways pass, which means you get 50% off the Jungfraujoch leg, which brings it down to around $50. And if you can afford to vacation in Switzerland, you can afford the $50 to get to the top of Europe.

Jungfraujoch
Top of a mountain
Jungfrau Region, Switzerland

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