The Jungfraujoch “Top of Europe” Adventure

It’s no secret that Switzerland is full of endless picturesque landscapes and adventures. One of these adventures is the Jungfraujoch “Top of Europe”, which is one of the most popular visitor attractions in the entire country (and a UNESCO Heritage Site!). The adventure combines breathtaking views with signature Swiss alpine beauty, fully operating and stunning 365 days a year. At 11,332 feet, this famous viewpoint is located on a ridge between the Monch and Jungfrau mountains, inviting visitors from all over the world to enjoy all it has to offer. Although it is a popular attraction, we feel this excursion is not to be missed when visiting this impressive land!


What is the “Jungfrau Top of Europe”?

The Jungfrau “Top of Europe” experience is a full train travel adventure to get to Europe’s highest train station, sitting at 11,332 ft., in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland. This is truly a place of glistening glaciers and fantastical snow-capped mountains. The journey includes various cogwheel trains and cable cars, effortlessly carrying passengers throughout the mountainous region to the top. The translation of Jungfraujoch is literally “Jungfrau saddle”, paying homage to this high-altitude saddle (a saddle is a shape in the mountain that is high & broad at each end and narrower & lower in the middle). Although you will not be at the top of Jungfrau Mountain, you will be perfectly situated in between the Monch and Jungfrau mountains where they connect. Construction of the railway began over a hundred years ago in 1896, done completely by manual labor using pickaxes, shovels, and good old human hands. The railway officially opened in 1912, completed after 16 years of hard work and Swiss perfection. It has been open and operating ever since, adding modern advancements and new exciting activities as the years have come and gone.


How to Get to/Logistics of the Jungfrau Top of Europe

The journey to the “Top of Europe” sounds like it can be long and arduous, but it is quite simple and fast! There are various routes to get to the final (rewarding!) destination, and which route you take will depend on where your adventure begins/where you are staying. Five main departure points connect to the main line. They are Interlaken, Grindelwald, Wengen, Lauterbrunnen, and Murren. The goal is to get from where you are to Kleine Scheidegg or Eigergletscher stations, where the journey to the top really begins. *There is a brand new gondola, the Eiger Express, that connects Grindelwald directly to Eigergletscher in just 15 minutes (bypassing Kleine Scheidegg and cutting travel time by 47 minutes each way!

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Of the various options to travel to the top, the following two routes are our preferred journeys based on their fast travel time and their ability not to comprise the incredible views.

Grindelwald to Jungfraujoch: Begin the journey in Grindelwald and take the Eiger Express Cable Car to Eigergletscher (total travel time: 15 minutes). Upon arrival, continue the adventure by taking the Jungfraubahn (train!) from Eigergletscher to Jungfraujoch’s “Top of Europe” (total travel time: 26 minutes).

Total travel time: 41 minutes (excluding wait time for the cable car and/or train). Pictured below. 

Interlaken Ost to Jungfraujoch: The journey begins by taking the train from Interlaken Ost Station to Grindelwald (total travel time: 29 minutes). Upon arrival in Grindelwald, take the Eiger Express Cable Car to Eigergletscher (total travel time: 15 minutes). Upon arrival, continue the adventure by taking the Jungfraubahn (train!) from Eigergletscher to Jungfraujoch’s “Top of Europe” (total travel time: 26 minutes).

Total travel time: 1 hour 10 minutes (excluding wait time for the cable car and/or trains).


Activities and Adventures at the “Top of Europe”

Once you reach the end point of this exciting journey, the last thing on your mind will be “Now, what?” immediately after stepping off the train, you are immersed in an adventure-seeker’s playground, filled with activities and adventures for every type of visitor (and every age, too!). Please see below a list of some of the things you can do here, as well as some information about the activities we loved ourselves!

Outdoor Activities:

  • Snow tubing
  • Sledding, skiing, and snowboarding at Snow Fun Park
  • Hiking across the glacier to the Mönchsjoch Hut (duration: one hour)
  • Enjoy a panoramic view from the Sphinx Observatory
  • Have a snowball fight (year round)

Indoor Activities:

  • The Ice Palace
  • Alpine Sensation (a moving walkway with photos and videos)
  • Lindt Swiss Chocolate Heaven (learn how chocolate is made)
  • Various restaurants
  • Various shopping


Sphinx Terrace

Perhaps one of the most photographed buildings at the “Top of Europe” is the Sphinx Terrace, standing tall and gray in a sea of rugged landscapes. To visit, you will take a 330ft. elevator to reach the observation deck. The astronomical observatory here is one of the tallest in the world and attracts all kinds of curious minds from far and wide. Unfortunately, the observatory is not open to visitors/the public, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a visit. Here, you will find the best lookout point available for this experience (and one of the best in Switzerland in our opinion!).

Here, you will find additional outdoor activities such as the Snow Fun Park, as well as tubing, ziplining, skiing, and snowboarding (all at an additional fee).

*Pro Tip: you may wish to take the elevator back down to the underground tunnel to walk out to the glacier.



Glacier Walk

In addition to the incredible landscapes, you are treated to unparalleled views of the Aletsch Glacier, the longest glacier in Europe. Aletsch is 14 miles long and covers 50 miles of eastern Bernese Alps territory when hiking from Riederalp to Fiescheralp.

We give the glacier walk an 8 out of 10 difficulty rating due to the elevation (around 8,674 feet) which can cause shortness of breath. With an ascent of 1,673 feet, each step brings you closer to traversing Aletsch’s dense ice sheet(which contains 11 billion tons of ice!) and savoring the panoramic views. If lucky, you may even see ibex, marmots, chamois, and the native blacknose sheep of Valais.



Monchsjochhutte — our favorite hike!

For a fun hiking option, we suggest taking the trek out to Monchsjochhutte (the other mountain!). The hike is only 1.5 miles in length, but it takes the average hiker approximately 45 minutes to complete.  The walk begins on an uphill incline, on freshly pressed snow. Although the hike may look easy from photos or onlookers,  the elevation makes the excursion much more challenging. This can also be slightly more difficult in the summer months as the snow is softer/slushier to walk in. Although taxing, this hike was our favorite experience at the “Top of Europe.” The rewarding unobstructed views offered along the way made for a truly unique and special experience.


Alpine Sensation

Connecting the Sphinx Hall and the Ice Palace, the Alpine Sensation is an eye-opening experience. The corridor runs about 800 feet and, as you travel along, you can learn of the workers who made sacrifices to pave the way for the train station to exist. It opened in 2012 and was created to honor the various generations that left their mark on the railway, a special way to commemorate the centennial. The 360-degree audiovisual panorama welcomes guests and offers a constant display of the mountain region just outside, a useful tool on days that may be cloudy or weather inclement, and one may not be able to fully immerse themselves in the expansive views. At the end, visitors love to take their pictures with the massive and colorful snow globe!


The Ice Palace

Perhaps our favorite indoor activity, the Ice Palace is exactly what it sounds like – a wondrous labyrinth of pure ice! As you walk on the icy floor (it’s okay, you won’t slip!), admire the walls and sculptures, such as animals, people, and even furniture – all carved directly from the glacier’s ice. The entire vicinity is kept at approximately 25 degrees Fahrenheit, to maintain the icy artwork, so although this is an indoor experience, you will still need your winter coat and gloves. We find that children enjoy this experience, and even adults get a real kick out of exploring this crystal clear and chilly room!


Glacier Plateau

Heading back outside and just next to the Jungfrau train station (we recommend doing this as your final activity on your way back), the Glacier Plateau is the most picturesque part of the “Top of Europe” experience. Although the attraction is busy, it is somehow quiet, with open valleys of mountains and glaciers masking all loud noises. It is here that you can get fabulous photos and views of both the mountainous side and the Aletsch Glacier. On a clear day, you can see as far as the Black Forest! But the true gem of this activity is the “must-do” photo-op, with the large Swiss flagpole. Say “Swiss cheese”!

Where to Stay in the Jungfrau Region

As you’ve now learned, there are many ways to reach the Jungfraujoch “Top of Europe” railway. There are two gateways that we feel offer the best access to the most convenient routes and the best accommodations!


Known as a paradise for thrill-seekers, a haven for nature lovers, and a dream destination for anyone with an adrenaline rush, a visit to Switzerland wouldn’t be complete without a stop in Interlaken. Perfectly placed between lakes and mountain peaks, it is the key to conquering various adventures on the same day. By morning, you can paraglide and enjoy Swiss fondue for lunch. In the afternoon, take a cruise on the serene waters of Lake Thun. And by evening, enjoy a sunset behind the mountains sharing stories (and Swiss chocolates!) with fellow travelers. The most attractive adventure, however, is the Jungfraujoch “Top of Europe” where you will be surrounded by icy peaks and breathtaking vistas.

Our favorite hotel: Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel + Spa – Set at the base of the majestic Jungfrau, in the Bernese Oberland lies a longstanding hotel that has focused on quality hospitality for generations. Dating 150 years, this hotel has stayed on top by making strides to keep up with the times and upkeep renovations as needed. The rooms and interiors (renovated in 2022!) boast bright/fresh colors with elegant fixtures. The Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa ensures a tranquil experience that can rival any of the top wellness retreats (Randy, Bev, and Zen felt this was one of the best spas anywhere in the world!). The on-site spa is one of the largest and most famous spas in Switzerland, with an emphasis on “better aging” instead of anti-aging. With 216 rooms, there are various floor plans, though all rooms feature natural lighting, top-notch in-room amenities, and stunning views of the hotel grounds and nearby landscape.



Nestled amidst the stunning Swiss Alps, Grindelwald is a picturesque town renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty and outdoor adventures. Situated in the Bernese Oberland region, it captivates visitors with its panoramic vistas of snow-capped peaks, including the iconic Eiger. Grindelwald serves as a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering an array of activities such as skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and mountaineering. In addition to its adventurous spirit, the town exudes charm with its traditional Swiss chalets, cozy cafes, and local shops. Whether exploring the surrounding trails or simply soaking in the tranquil ambiance, Grindelwald enchants visitors with its alpine allure and timeless appeal.

Our favorite hotel: Hotel Romantik Schweizerhof  –  The Hotel Romantik Schweizerhof in Grindelwald epitomizes luxury and elegance amidst the Swiss Alps. Boasting a range of accommodation options, guests can choose from meticulously designed rooms and suites, each offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Although rooms are not as modern as most, we feel the property has the best quality for a true alpine hotel. The in-house restaurants provide a culinary journey, with gourmet Swiss and international cuisine served in elegant settings. For relaxation and rejuvenation, the spa offers a range of treatments and facilities, including a sauna, steam room, and indoor pool. Additionally, guests can take advantage of the hotel’s fitness center and outdoor activities arranged by the concierge. With its impeccable service, exquisite amenities, and serene mountain backdrop, the Hotel Romantik Schweizerhof ensures a truly unforgettable stay in Grindelwald.