How to Visit Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe
Tips and advice from a local Swiss on how to visit the Jungfraujoch, one of the most popular destinations in Switzerland!
The Jungfraujoch is located in the Bernese Alps (in German: Berner Oberland), which is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. It stands at 3,454 metres/11,332 feet above sea level, and it boasts the highest railway station in Europe. From the Jungfraujoch, you will have stunning panoramic views of the Aletsch Glacier, the Swiss alps and beyond, as well as access to various indoor and outdoor activities at this height.
Is the Jungfraujoch Worth It?
Yes! I would absolutely recommend visiting the Jungfraujoch if you are travelling to Switzerland. The alpine and glacier views are simply spectacular, and you will indeed feel like you are standing on top of Europe, if not the world.
The Jungfraujoch is an ideal destination for visitors to Switzerland who have limited time to visit the Swiss alps, or for those tourists who have never been to the top of a high, snow-capped mountain before, and who are unlikely to make the trek there by traditional means on foot.
There are not many high mountain peaks which are easily accessible to city tourists, i.e. people who don’t hike or ski, and the Jungfraujoch boasts having the highest railway station in Europe, which makes it a relatively smooth and easy journey, including for people with mobility issues and families with children.
Much investment has been made in establishing the Grindelwald Terminal (opened in 2019) as well as the Eiger Express cable car (opened in 2020), so that your journey to the top of Europe is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. And once you are at the top, there are plenty of food and sight-seeing attractions for everyone to enjoy their visit.
If you ski regularly in Switzerland, especially in the Jungfrau region, you might already be familiar with similar views at the top of any Swiss mountain in winter, and which are much cheaper to access. But I think it is a worthwhile journey when you have friends and family visiting, especially if they are not from Europe and they are not familiar with glaciers and mountain landscapes.
What to See at the Jungfraujoch
When you arrive at the Jungfraujoch train stop, you will be inside a tunnel in the mountain. From there, you will enter a large multi-storey complex which houses various attractions, shops, bars and restaurants.
Some of the attractions include:
- Glacier Plateau. You can exit the complex to go outside onto the Glacier Plateau where you will have amazing views of the Aletsch Glacier and the surrounding mountains. If you make it this far, it is worthwhile getting your photo taken with the famed Swiss flag.
- Snow Fun Park. From May to October, the Snow Fun Park is open for visitors to ski, snowboard or enjoy other snow activities at one of the highest locations in Europe. Kids (and adults) will enjoy sledding or tobogganing here.
- Sphinx Oberservation Deck. You can take a lift up to the top of the Sphinx Observatory for more amazing views.
- Ice Palace. A changing scene of ice sculptures inside a cave made from ice. The walls and floors are also made from ice, so it can get slippery in places. Our kids loved the ice cave and narrow tunnels.
- Lindt Chocolate World. There’s a room showcasing vintage chocolatier memorabilia, but I couldn’t help thinking it would be better replaced by extending the existing shop where you can buy various types of Lindt chocolate. The shop itself is very small and can become very crowded, but if you want to buy a sweet souvenir, you can’t go wrong with Lindt.
On a recent visit with another family, we stayed for 3 hours to have lunch, as well as to visit all of the attractions. However, with some members of our group feeling unwell with mild altitude sickness, and restless children in general, we didn’t see all of the attractions during this time. However, we spent longer at places like the Ice Palace (our kids made multiple visits) and the Glacier Plateau (we spent nearly an hour queuing to have our photos taken). I think being flexible is important on trips like these.
But we feel ok about not having seen everything on this visit – we have a good excuse to go back another time
How to Get to the Jungfraujoch
To get to the Jungfraujoch, the easiest way is to travel to Grindelwald, which is approximately 2.5 hours from Zurich.
Whether you choose to travel solely by train, or by cable car plus train, the cost is roughly the same.
To Reach the Jungfraujoch by Train
- You will need to travel to Grindelwald Bahnhof (Grindelwald train station), which is located in the main village of Grindelwald.
- The train is a more scenic and slow journey which takes about 1 hour to reach the Eigergletscher.
- From the Eigergletscher, a final train is required to reach the Jungfraujoch, about 26 minutes. There is a train leaving every 30 minutes.
- The total travel time between Grindelwald Bahnhof and the Jungfraujoch is approximately 1.5 hours, plus waiting time between connections.
To Reach the Jungfraujoch by Cable Car Plus Train
- You will need to travel to Grindelwald Terminal, which is a new train station which opened in 2019.
- From the Grindelwald Terminal, you can take the Eiger Express cable car to the Eigergletscher (Eiger Glacier). The Eiger Express cable car departs regularly every few minutes, and the trip to the Eigergletscher takes just 15 minutes.
- From the Eigergletscher, a final train is required to reach the Jungfraujoch, about 26 minutes. There is a train leaving every 30 minutes.
- The total travel time between the Grindelwald Terminal and the Jungfraujoch is approximately 41 minutes, plus waiting time between connections.
Day Trips from Zurich to the Jungfraujoch
With some good planning, it is possible to do day trips from Zurich to the Jungfraujoch. Whether you live in Zurich or you are a visitor to Zurich, you can absolutely travel to the Jungfraujoch and back on the same day.
A sample timeline would be as follows, which my family and I recently used. I have listed the destinations in German because many of the signs and timetables will display the names in German (although the announcements on the trains will be in multiple languages, including English).
|8:02 to 9:58||Take the train from Zurich HB to Interlaken Ost|
|10:05 to 10:34||Take the train from Interlaken Ost to Grindelwald Terminal|
|10:45 to 11:05||Take the Eiger Express from Grindelwald Terminal to Eigergletscher|
|11:15 to 11:41||Take the train from the Eigergletscher to the Jungfraujoch|
|12:00 to 13:00||Have lunch at the Jungfraujoch|
|13:00 to 16:00||Visit the attractions at the Jungfraujoch|
|16:17 to 16:41||Take the train from the Jungfraujoch to the Eigergletscher|
|16:50 to 17:10||Take the Eiger Express from the Eigergletscher to the Grindelwald Terminal|
|17:22 to 17:53||Take the train from Grindelwald Terminal to Interlaken Ost|
|18:00 to 19:58||Take the train from Interlaken Ost to Zurich HB|
How Long to Spend at Jungfraujoch
I recommend planning at least 2-3 hours at the Jungfraujoch, which is enough time to have a snack or meal, see the alpine views from the Glacier Plateau and/or Sphinx Observation Deck, and visit some of the other attractions on offer.
Given the time that it takes to travel to the Jungfraujoch, you should relax and enjoy the sights and activities on offer at a leisurely pace. But how long you wish to stay at the Jungfraujoch is entirely up to you. Your train tickets are not limited by time.
Also keep in mind that, if you don’t fare too well at high altitude, you might also want to descend sooner rather than later.
How To Buy Tickets for the Jungfraujoch
The Jungfraujoch is the highest railway station in Europe. So buying tickets for the Jungfraujoch merely requires buying train tickets to travel to this site.
Alternatively, you can buy the tickets for the Jungfraujoch at any train station in Switzerland. If you are confused about which train station to go to, or what type of train ticket to select, buying the tickets in person would be highly recommended.
The tickets from Grindelwald Terminal to the Jungfraujoch are the same cost, regardless of the time of day or time of year that you are travelling.
Should You Buy Tickets to the Jungfraujoch in Advance?
It is not necessary to buy tickets to the Jungfraujoch in advance. The tickets to the Jungfraujoch are unlimited in number. This means that any number of people can buy tickets for the Jungfraujoch on any given day. However, the tickets do not guarantee a seat on the train or cable car, unless you have paid for a seat reservation in advance (see next section).
Also, you might want to check the weather first before you make your way up, in case there is a forecast for bad weather – if there are especially bad storms or high winds predicted, you might want to postpone your visit. Otherwise, you will find that the weather can generally change very quickly up the top, from cloudy to sunny and back again.
If you buy the tickets online in advance, you will need to select the date of departure. Even if you select a specific train time online, the tickets are generally available from midnight on that date to 5:00 the next day. For example, if you select the 8:02 train from Zurich HB, the tickets are actually valid from 00:00 to 5:00 the next day.
Should You Reserve Seats for the Jungfraujoch?
During the busy summer season, it is recommended to buy a seat reservation for the train between the Eigergletscher and the Jungfraujoch to guarantee a seating place, otherwise you will be standing for the entire journey. The cost is CHF 10 per person, return. I recommend checking at the train ticket counter to see if seat reservations are necessary – the staff are usually very honest about whether you should pay this extra fee.
During the peak summer season, and during peak hours, the regional and intercity trains can also get crowded. Seat reservations are not possible on these trains, so you might want to buy first class tickets where the cabins are generally less busy.
How Much Does it Cost to Visit the Jungfraujoch?
The cost of visiting the Jungfraujoch is the public transportation fees. There is no entry fee to enter the Jungfraujoch attraction site.
The cost of travelling to the Jungfraujoch will vary depending on from where you start your journey, and what concession cards you hold, if any. For example, an adult travelling from Zurich HB to the Jungfraujoch will pay approximately CHF 350 for the entire journey with no concession card in second class.
If you have an SBB Half-Fare Card, you can travel with a 50% discount for the entire journey.
Children between ages 6 and 15 travel at a discounted fee throughout Switzerland.
Children under 6 years old travel for free throughout Switzerland.
Children who hold an SBB Junior Card and who are accompanied by their parents travel for free throughout Switzerland.
For full details on ticket prices and travel passes, please visit sbb.ch
Where to Eat at the Jungfraujoch
On a recent visit with friends, we had lunch at the Restaurant Crystal which has an à la carte menu, i.e. you order your meal at the table. On offer are some traditional Swiss dishes such as Cheese Fondue, Veal Schnitzel and Rösti, as well as some more “modern” options like grilled salmon or smoked tofu. The food is quite good, the service is friendly, and the mountain views are breathtaking. I highly recommend calling or emailing in advance to make a reservation, ideally for a window table.
There is also the Restaurant Aletsch self-service restaurant where you can load up a tray with food and drinks, and eat at a table of your choice, i.e. cafeteria-style.
Fans of Indian food might appreciate the Restaurant Bollywood self-service restaurant.
There are also some eating options at the Grindelwald Terminal, including the King Noodle Bar which makes ramen-style noodles to order. On site is also a Coop supermarket where you can buy sandwiches and salad bowls (also Shin Ramyum noodles) for a more budget-friendly or picnic-style meal.
What to Wear When Visiting the Jungfraujoch
As the Jungfraujoch is essentially the top of a mountain, you are best advised to wear suitable hiking gear for your visit, taking into consideration the time of year that you are visiting. However, the majority of people who visit the Jungfraujoch are tourists who have never been on a mountain before, and perhaps have never seen snow before.
I recommend wearing or packing the following:
- Warm winter jacket. In the height of summer, the weather might reach a high of 2°C/35°F, but a bit of wind will make it feel much colder. Pack a warm jacket to make your visit more comfortable. Needless to say, it is very cold in winter.
- Hiking shoes or other shoes with good grip. There is snow at the Jungfraujoch all year round. If you plan to walk on the snow, it can be slippery in places, and you don’t want to be the person with smooth leather-soled shoes or platform sandals and unable to take a step in the snow without slipping onto your backside to the laughter of watching tourists. It can also get slippery in the Ice Palace. We saw many tourists wearing sneakers, which is probably ok if there is some tread on your soles and if you take extra care where the snow might be icy and/or slippery.
- Scarf and beanie. Take extra layers so you can keep warm and comfortable, which will help to extend your stay outside.
- Ski gloves. If you want to touch or play with the snow, ski gloves are highly recommended, especially for children.
- Sunglasses. The sun is very bright at the top and the light reflecting from the snow can also be blinding. I was unable to keep my eyes open for very long without my sunglasses.
- Sunscreen. I highly recommend applying sunscreen with SPF 50+ before you arrive at the top.
When to Visit the Jungfraujoch
The Jungfraujoch is open 365 days of the year. The peak season is in summer when many tourists will make their way to Grindelwald for some Swiss mountain experience, as well as to visit the Jungfraujoch where there is snow all year round.
We recently visited the Jungfraujoch during the Easter weekend in April, and we were told by both the tourism office and railway office that it was “low season”. Despite this, we found the entire journey up to the Jungfraujoch, as well as the Jungfraujoch itself, to be quite crowded with tourists. It was hard to take a photo without a tour group walking through your shot, and we were constantly jostling with many tourists who lacked self-awareness (and which happens wherever you have large groups of people).
At the Glacier Plateau, we waited patiently in line for about 40 minutes before we could take a photo with the famed Swiss flag, yet several tourists (who were not in the queue) saw it fit to grab the flag for a quick photo whenever the handover wasn’t fast enough. There were also the families or groups who took 101 photos in every pose and angle they could think of.
If our experience in the low season was this busy and crowded, I dread to think of how congested it might be in the high season.
I think the best time to visit the Jungfraujoch is in winter when there are fewer tourists at the top, although the region itself will be busy with skiers and snowboarders. If you are visiting in summer, I recommend going to the Jungfraujoch early in the day before the crowd arrives.
Some people experience altitude sickness when travelling up to the Jungfraujoch.
Altitude sickness can happen if your body has difficulty adjusting to the lower levels of oxygen at high altitude. Symptoms of altitude sickness include:
- Vertigo or dizziness
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of co-ordination
Some people may experience symptoms of altitude sickness on the train journey up the mountain, or as they climb higher within the Jungfraujoch complex.
Unless you know that you are prone to altitude sickness, it is hard to predict if you will be affected by it, and how bad the symptoms might be. On a recent visit, we saw several visitors lying supine on the floors in various places or sitting on the stairs trying to control their symptoms.
If you think you might suffer from altitude sickness, it would be a good idea to bring along the appropriate medication for headaches and nausea, as well as to make sure you are well hydrated during the journey.
I often experience mild symptoms of altitude sickness when skiing at very high elevations, and I usually just need to take my time to acclimatise before proceeding further, i.e. sitting down to catch my breath or to regain co-ordination. For me, I find Ricola candies to be effective in providing temporary relief of any nausea or vertigo symptoms.
If you are travelling with children, keep in mind that they, too, can suffer from altitude sickness, and you may have to make last-minute changes to your plans.
If, for any reason, you feel unwell, seek immediate medical assistance and/or descend as soon as possible. Sometimes, just going down one floor will resolve your symptoms. Other times, you might need to descend completely before your symptoms will go away.
Travelling With Children to the Jungfraujoch
Tickets for children travelling to the Jungfraujoch are either free or very inexpensive, so it is a worthwhile experience for them, especially if they have never seen snow before.
However, keep a careful eye on them. I was terrified of my daughter slipping under the rope railing on the Glacier Plateau (she was constantly playing along the edges to be away from the crowd), and I saw several toddlers slip and slide dramatically in the Ice Palace.
Prams or strollers are also difficult to manoeuvre on the site, even more so if the site is crowded with tourists. So I recommend leaving the prams or strollers at home.
Tips for Visiting the Jungfraujoch
- Buy tickets online. Plan ahead and buy your train tickets to the Jungfraujoch online, either at sbb.ch or jungfrau.ch
- Leave early. If you are planning a day trip to the Jungfraujoch, leave as early as possible so that you can arrive at the top as early as possible to avoid the busy crowds.
- Stay overnight in Grindelwald. Although it is possible to visit the Jungfraujoch as a day trip from Zurich or another Swiss city, you will have a more pleasant and comfortable journey if you visit the Jungfraujoch as part of a trip to the Bernese Alps. Grindelwald is a very beautiful village in both summer and winter, and staying overnight means that you can make the journey up to the Jungfraujoch earlier in the day when it will be quieter at the top. Instead of having lunch at one of the busy restaurants at the Jungfraujoch, head back down to the main street in Grindelwald where you will have lots more choices of restaurants. See my article for places to eat and drink in Grindelwald.
- Pack medication for altitude sickness. You never know if you or someone in your group might succumb to altitude sickness, so I recommend packing some medication for headaches and nausea, as well as some Ricola candies or similar. There is no pharmacy at the Jungfraujoch, nor at the Eigergletscher or Grindelwald Terminal. The nearest pharmacies are on the main street in Grindelwald.
- Pack your camera. It would a shame to come all of this way and forget your camera or smartphone!
Tips for First-Time Visitors to the Snow
- Walk or play in the snow at the Eigergletscher. This “middle station” before travelling to the Jungfraujoch is actually the start of a ski slope. You can walk out onto a flat area of snow where you will see people putting their skis and snowboards on. You will usually find many tourists enjoying the snow and views here while waiting for their train.
- Walk or play in the snow at the Snow Fun Park at the Jungfraujoch. During the warmer months when the ski season has finished, the Snow Fun Park at the Jungfraujoch is open from May to October for visitors to experience skiing, snowboarding, and other winter activities like sledding or tobogganing. The area is operated by a local skiing school, so you can book skiing lessons or snowboarding lessons, and you can even rent your entire outfit and equipment on site. The Snow Fun Park is intended for people who have never seen snow before and who want to experience a bit of fun in the snow off-season.
- If you are visiting Switzerland from November to April, you can visit the snow by travelling to any skiing region during these months. If you are visiting Grindelwald, here are some tips for skiing in Grindelwald.
Crash Landing on You Filming Locations in Switzerland
Fans of the Korean Netflix TV show, Crash Landing on You, will know that part of the show was filmed in Switzerland. In fact, Crash Landing on You was one of the best advertising campaigns for Switzerland; every Swiss scene was filmed at an iconic location in Switzerland, show-casing the country’s natural beauty and majestic landscapes.
Many of the scenic shots were filmed in the Jungfrau region at Kleine Scheidegg, Eigergletscher, and Jungfraujoch. At various sites, you might find these heart-shaped photo stalls where you can create your own #cloy memories.