Destination: The Top of Europe-Jungfraujoch
Many places boast breathtaking scenery, but the majestic beauty of the Swiss Alps puts them in a league of its own. The bright blue skies, the lush green valleys and colorful wildflowers, the imposing mountains with dazzling snow on the top - photos cannot do it justice and seeing it yourself is a must.
One of the most beautiful areas of Switzerland is the Interlaken-Jungfrau region with its famous mountain trio Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, each rising over 3,658 meters (12,000 feet).
The Bernese Oberland Railway takes 800,000 visitors a year to the highest train station Jungfraujoch-Top of Europe offering one of Switzerland's most impressive train rides and stunning views of the Bernese Oberland in Central Switzerland.
The cogwheel train Jungfraubahn takes visitors all the way from the valley in Interlaken to the top of the snowy Bernese Alps and to the highest railway station in Europe, the 3,454-meter high (11,332-foot) “Jungfraujoch—Top of Europe.” As you travel higher and higher, the views of the colorful meadows and mountains, the Alpine cottages, cows and wild flowers are absolutely spectacular, and the thrilling last part of the three-step journey goes through a tunnel inside the mountain.
Three trains are needed to get to the Top of Europe station, the total traveling time being just over two hours.
The Bernese Oberland Railway connects Interlaken Ost with Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen, one train traveling to Grindelwald (35 minutes), the other to Lauterbrunnen (20 minutes). The train has 1st and 2nd class cars and the best view is on the right. Tickets can be purchased online or at the train station.
At either Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen, the next, Wengernalp Railway cogwheel train heads towards Kleine Scheidegg. The train from Grindelwald takes just over half an hour while the trains from Lauterbrunnen need around 45 minutes to reach Kleine Scheidegg. Both sides of the train provide excellent views.
From Kleine Scheidegg at the base of the 1,829 meter (6,000-foot) Eiger, the Jungfraubahn trains climb up offering above-the-clouds vistas, and travels then through the 10 kilometer (6-mile) Eiger Tunnel inside of the mountain. This last section of the route takes 50 minutes and trains stop twice at special viewing platforms inside the tunnel to allow passengers to get off for a few minutes of sightseeing.
The final destination is at an altitude of 3,454-meter high (11,332-foot) above sea level at the “Jungfraujoch—Top of Europe” station.
At the top in Jungfraujoch you will find viewing platforms and the The Sphinx Observatory that sits at an altitude of 3,571 meters and offers a 360° panoramic views of the world-famous Jungfrau landscape, including the mighty Aletsch Glacier, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The glacier is made up of 27 billion tons of ice and looks like a wide, icy highway between the mountains.
The 250-meter 'Alpine Sensation' tunnel showcases the history of the Jungfrau Railway and there is a display of some fun ice sculptures from polar bears to Sherlock Holmes.
There are plenty of dining options and for chocolate lovers, the Lindt Swiss Chocolate Heaven offers chocolate tasting 3,454 meters above sea level.
Visitors to Top of Europe receive a special Jungfrau railway passport and can have it stamped with a unique “Top of Europe” postmark.
This unforgettable, once-in-a-life trip to one of the most beautiful places on the planet should be on everyone's bucket list.
A trip to Jungfrau can easily be combined with another beautiful mountain, Schilthorn. Read more about Schilthorn here: Schilthorn and Piz Gloria - on the Trails of James Bond