How to get the most out of a trip to the Jungfraujoch…

My recent travels took me to the beautiful country of Switzerland, where I found it was possible to experience winter in July. There are a few different places you can head to if this is on your wish list but none is more visited than the Jungfraujoch in the Bernese Alps.

The Jungfraujoch is a saddle which sits between two of the highest mountains in the region, the Jungfrau and Mönch. It’s incredible to think that over a hundred years ago the Swiss constructed a railway tunnel through the inside of the neighbouring Eiger mountain to reach the Jungfraujoch, which is the highest train station in Europe at 11,330 feet above sea level. It’s an amazing feat of human endeavour and makes this trip a must-do whilst in Switzerland.Planning to get the most out of your visit is essential, particularly when visiting as I did in high season. At worst you could find yourself unable to take in the spectacular views because of the crowds, the weather, or unable to go at all if the trains are sold out. There is a cap on visitor numbers each day which makes it essential to do your homework so that you can have an enjoyable visit to one of the most spectacular places in Europe.IMG_8395Here are my best tips for planning a trip to the Jungfraujoch in high season:

1. Base yourself nearby

It is essential to stay overnight before your trip to the Jungfraujoch somewhere in the Bernese Oberland, be that in a nearby mountain village such as Wengen or Mürren, or a little further beyond in Lauterbrunnen or Interlaken. Many travellers contemplate making the trip from Lucerne or even Zurich. The journey time from both cities to the top is around 4 hours each way. Switzerland’s trains do make travelling a pleasure, but an 8 hour round trip may be pushing the boundaries a little. Much more importantly, the weather can change in the mountains very quickly so even if the view on webcams looks clear when you set off, by the time your 4 hour journey is over the view could be completely obscured. It’s the most expensive excursion in Switzerland so to maximise your chances of having a great view when you get up there, stay nearby. If possible, give yourself a few days in the area to maximise your chance of a clear day when the views are great.IMG_8350

2. Check the webcams before going up

All of the popular peaks in the Bernese Oberland have webcams. The cam for the view at the top of the Jungfraujoch can be found at: https://www.jungfrau.ch/en-gb/live/webcams/ Be sure to check this before setting off on your trip and consider not going if the view is poor. And whatever you do, don’t book this trip in advance. Wait until the night before so you can check the weather forecast before considering making a definite decision. This trip really is all about the views and if the top is shrouded in cloud, you’ll likely come away really disappointed.

3. The Good Morning ticket

If you can bear to get up early then this is a great way to save money and if you’re on the first train a great way to have some space to move around for at least the first half hour or so. The Good Morning ticket is a discounted fare with the condition that you take either of the first two trains up from Kleine Scheidegg (the changeover station for the Jungfraubahn) at either 8am or 8.30am, and then make your return trip leaving Jungfraujoch by 1.13pm. The cost saving is appealing on what is a very expensive trip. I took the first train up and even though the train was full, once we got up there everybody spread out to take in the various different views and attractions so it was really easy to move about and take it in. Within an hour or two the whole area was really crowded as more trains arrived and bigger tour groups began to arrive. The early bird catches the worm!

More details on the Good Morning Ticket can be found here:  https://www.jungfrau.ch/shop/en/tickets/bergbahn/angebote/jungfraujoch-top-of-europe/good-morning-ticket-jungfraujoch

4. The best attraction is the view, use your time wisely

There is so much to see once you alight the train at the Jungfraujoch station. You can visit the Ice Palace, the Alpine Sensation, watch the movie at Jungfrau Panorama, visit the highest shopping mall in Europe, play in the snow at the Fun Park, enjoy a hot chocolate or a meal… The list goes on. Make sure that top of your list is the Sphinx, the viewing platform at the top of the complex at 11,782 feet. This is really what it’s all about and where you can take in the spectacular views. Head for the Sphinx first, particularly if you’ve come up on an early train, and drown in the spectacular views. P1030906

5. Beware the effect of altitude

Whilst the numbers are mind boggling when you consider the height of the top station, the much more important factor in travelling to an elevation of over 10,000 feet is the effect of the altitude. You will notice quite quickly that the air is much thinner, there’s less oxygen and it has an effect on the breathing of even the fittest person. It is much easier to exhaust yourself so move slower than you would at sea level and give yourself chance to adjust to the conditions. I found it a strange sensation for the first few minutes but once I slowed my walking pace a little and gave myself chance to adjust then it was absolutely fine. Symptoms of altitude sickness can be experienced at this elevation and include dizziness, nausea, fatigue, shortness of breath and vomiting. If you experience any of these symptoms then the best thing you can do is to descend from the altitude by heading back down on the train. It is not advised to bring children under the age of 2 up to this sort of altitude and it’s worth checking with your doctor if you have a child older than 2 in case of other health conditions.IMG_8413

6. Buy a Half Fare card

At full price this excursion is costly. The return trip from Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch is 152CHF at full price, plus you have the cost of getting to Kleine Scheidegg from wherever your starting point is. The Swiss have a range of different travel cards and passes but one of the best money saving passes is the Half Fare card which gives you a 50% discount on tickets purchased. It costs 120CHF and is valid for one month on almost all trains, buses, trams, cable cars, gondolas, funiculars and mountain railways in the whole of Switzerland. On this one excursion alone the Half Fare card will save you 76CHF on the cost of travel from Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch. It’s almost certain that you will be travelling from somewhere else to Kleine Scheidegg first and you’ll get 50% off the fare for this journey too. I stayed nearby in Wengen and the return journey to Jungfraujoch from here is 200CHF at full price. The saving of 100CHF almost pays for the Half Fare card and you can use it wherever else you go in Switzerland too.

7. Buy a seat reservation

Seats can be reserved on the final part of the trip from Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch at a cost of 5CHF each way. This is well worth the money in high season. You will join a separate queue and are guaranteed a seat on the train (though you can’t choose which seat). At busy times it is possible you will have to stand without a seat reservation and I did observe a fair amount of jostling, pushing and shoving as the trains got busier. A seat reservation avoids this hassle and means you will have a more pleasant trip up the mountain.

I hope these tips will help you to have a wonderful journey to this incredible part of Switzerland. I was nearly put off visiting Jungfraujoch because of nightmare stories of crowds and poor weather. Follow my advice and hopefully you’ll have as great a trip as I did. It was truly unforgettable!

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32 thoughts on “How to get the most out of a trip to the Jungfraujoch…

  1. What a wealth of information. Perhaps I’ll make it there one day. Seems really cold, haha.

    I love that you included pictures of yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It wasn’t too cold in the end, around 0c but it was the contrast between this and the much warmer temperatures lower down that I really noticed.

      I much prefer being behind the camera than in front of it 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never been but it looks absolutely epic. Is it expensive as Norway needed a mortgage to buy food 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is pretty expensive unfortunately but all the hotels I stayed in had fridges so I could prepare some meals myself and hiking is free! The travel passes help too but Switzerland sure isn’t a budget location. But it is absolutely stunning 😍

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have an aunt in Geneva but even so, I want to buy chocolate and travel by cable car 😂 better start saving then x

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Staying with someone would definitely cut the cost. I bet there’s a cable car trip in reach of Geneva and plenty of chocolate too 🤣🤣

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Altitude is a very good point to note for wintry destinations, especially when you’re exposed to very cold weather at the same time.

    Thanks for sharing! Been looking into a snowy climate to visit for a holiday and I haven’t been Switzerland nor Jungfraujoch obviously so will definitely put it on my list after reading this.

    Johnny | Johnny’s Traventures
    http://www.johnnystraventures.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kind comments. Switzerland can provide a snowy climate year round if you visit Jungfraujoch, Klein Matterhorn near Zermatt or Mt Titlis near Lucerne. I definitely want to return in winter time to experience snow even at lower altitude. Hope you get to visit this beautiful country.

      Like

  4. I’ve never heard of Jungfraujoch before but it looks absolutely beautiful! Bookmarking your post in my travel folder just in case I ever end up heading there!

    Jas xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kind comment. Would really recommend Switzerland. I’ll be writing a few more posts about my travels in Switzerland so hope you find some more useful tips! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oooo okay, well I’m following you now so I’ll look out for those!

        Jas xx

        Liked by 1 person

  5. What an in-depth post! Looks so amazing, makes me want to travel to Switzerland right away! Followed your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, thanks so much! Switzerland is heavenly and I still can’t believe how beautiful it was everywhere I went. Have followed your blog too 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Your post is awesome..It truly took me on a virtual tour.. Added Switzerland in my travel bucket..
    Loved it..Thanks for sharing!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you enjoyed it and hope you get to visit Switzerland someday 😊

      Like

  7. Life With Telia August 12, 2018 — 9:03 pm

    These tips are golden. I’ve never been to snow before so I can only imagine that I would pick the worst time to go because I wouldn’t consider the weather. I haven’t traveled much so I wouldn’t have even thought of it. But thank you for all of the great information!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your lovely comments. Hope you get to visit a snowy country someday! 😊

      Like

  8. The mountains are gorgeous! And all the snow! Skiing lover right there! I have never been to Switzerland! If I ever go to the jungfraujoch (which i hope i will), i’ll know what to do!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you get to go too. Switzerland was a dream travel destination and going up to Jungfraujoch was an incredible experience!

      Like

  9. Holy crap I need to add that place on my travel bucket list! Everything looks absolutely amazing out there. I love a good hike preferably to the place with some snow haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, winter in July was quite an experience! I’ll be writing some blog posts about hiking in Switzerland so keep an eye out for those 😉

      Like

  10. Wow! What a spectacular view! I’d love to experience something like this. It’s so cool that the mountains have webcams so you can check the view before you make the long journey. That’s really handy and would save disappointment. This is such a detailed and helpful post, if I ever hear of anyone going to Jungfraujoch, I’ll be sure to recommend your post. Thank you for sharing 💖 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The webcams are a blessing and a great resource for checking the changing conditions. Really hope my post can help a fellow traveller or two. Thanks for the lovely comments xx

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow! I’ve never been to Switzerland but it looks absolutely beautiful and will have to be added onto my bucket list!! 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s stunning, photos can’t do it justice. Really hope you get to visit someday 😊

      Like

  12. These are some really helpful tips. I have never been to any places like that but this is such a beautiful place😍😍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kind comment. Switzerland is so beautiful but places like this can be overwhelmed with visitors in high season so hopefully these tips will help 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Beautifully written ..and hey, I too visited Jungfraujoch very recently (June 2018) with my family , along with the 6 year old kiddo (who has by now become a permanent wanderer, thanks to his nomadic parents)and we just loved it..I have in fact shared the entire Jungfrau experience including the incredible train journey from Interlaken Ost Station to Jungfraujoch yesterday only : https://insideoutwithrahulyuvi.com/2018/09/03/an-incredible-train-journey-to-the-top-of-the-europe-interlaken-ost-station-to-jungfraujoch/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lovely to hear that your young child is a wanderer too! It’s an incredible experience going up the mountain. I’ll never forget it…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly..Jungfrau is now permanently embedded in our memory..can still
        feel those ice cold breezy winds ❄️ 😊

        Liked by 1 person

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