When you leave from Interlaken, heading for Kleine Scheidegg by taking a unique, moderncogwheel railway something magical will appear. From here, the Jungfrau railway climbs through the Eiger tunnel, only stopping to enjoy spectacular vistas on the way to the highest railway station in Europe: The Jungfraujoch. Over 3517 meter high and called the Top of Europe is Switzerland’s most breathtaking scenery. View a 13.6 mile ice stream, an Ice Palace and views that will melt your heart. What do you call this once in a lifetime railway experience in Switzerland? The Jungfraujoch, the Top of Europe.
If you are about to travel trough the Interlaken region everyone will tell you to go climb the Jungfraujoch, the top of Europe, where you’ll find the Sphinx Observatory and from where the Jungfrau and Mönch peaks can be seen. Unless you’re an experienced climber, you’ll only be able to arrive here by train to the highest station in Europe (Jungfraujoch, on 3454 m) and after taking several trains from Interlaken.
The train goes to the Observatory, from where you can take a view over the peaks of Jungfrau and Mönch mountains and part of Aletsch glacier. There is a restaurant and also a terrace with a panoramic view of 360 degrees, and you can make excursions by foot, snow and zip wires activities, and visits to an ice palace with sculptures. Besides winter clothes and adequate footwear for snow and ice, it’s recommendable to carry some food and drinks. The walk lasts 3 hours and the prices at the top of the mountain are expensive.
Kleine scheidegg via Lauterbrunnen and Wengen
BOB (Berner Oberland-Bahn): Interlaken Ost – Wilderswil – Zweilütschinen – Lauterbrunnen + WAB (Wengernalpbahn) Lauterbrunnen – Wengen – Kleine Scheidegg
The station of Interlaken Ost is an end terminus for 4 different railway companies. Changing trains is here always required. On the northern part of the station are departing the trains of the SBB and the BLS. The trains of the SBB and BLS in the destination of Spiez depart on the northern part of the station, tracks 5,7 and 8. The Trains in the destination of Luzern, keep in mind to get in the right part of the train in Interlaken. In Interlaken your train is to Grindelwald is located on 2B side of the platform. Both trains to Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald run coupled together to Zweilütschingen where the train is split in half. Check always your destination sign on the train it self, the front part will continue towards Lauterbrunnen.
All trains split here of combine here. Watch out that you are in the correct side of the train. The front will continue towards Lauterbrunnen, and a moment later the back and will continue towards Grindelwald.
Wengen is a city that’s located on a mountain and steep slope. The only way to get here is by walking and taking the train. Wengen is a car free town so traveling needs to be with the train. Most of the inhabitants of Wengen exploit a hotel. It is an perfect place to start your hike in this area!
When you are traveling to the Jungfraujoch you’ll need to change on Kleine Scheidegg. This is the place where the two lines comming from Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen join. You can also just skip Jungfraujoch completely by traveling on the other side down towards Grindelwald. This option is very cheap when compared with the last branch going towards the Jungfraujoch.
In theory trains could just drive further down to the other of Kleine Scheidegg. Problem given is that the motorwagon always needs to be on the downside so the trains need to turn around.
Kleine Scheidegg via Grindelwald
BOB (Berner Oberland-Bahn): Interlaken Ost – Wilderswil – Zweilütschinen – Grindelwald + WAB (Wengernalpbahn): Grindelwald – Kleine Scheidegg
Keep in mind to get in the right part of the train in Interlaken. In Interlaken your train is to Grindelwald is located on 2B side of the platform. Both trains to Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald run coupled together to Zweilütschingen where the train is split in half. Check always your destination sign on the train it self, the back part will continue towards Grindelwald.
The Wengeralpbahn starts out of Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen comming together in Kleine Scheidegg. It doesn’t matter where you stay if you want to go up towards the Jungfraujoch, both journeys are priced almost the same.
Jungfraujoch – The top of europe
Jungfraubahn (JB): Kleine Scheidegg – Jungfraujoch
From Kleine Scheidegg, you can travels year-round through the tunnel and over the steep climb up to the Jungfraujoch. The tunnel from the Eiger Glacier station, built between 1896 and 1912, is seven kilometers long. Two stops in the tunnel permit spectacular views of the Eiger north wall and surrounding glacier world.
Tunnels lead from the mountain station to the ice palace containing ice sculptures and out onto the viewing plateau, with a lift up to the “Sphinx” observation terrace and the “experience subway” tour known as the Alpine Sensation.
This last stretch of only 7 km is really slow (it lasts 50 minutes), in order to prepare the body to the height of the mountain and the difference in pressure and oxygen level that we’ll face later. In fact the train makes two stops of 5 minutes in the middle of the tunnel, at a pair of halts with picture windows where you can see the mountains you’re about to climb and the Eiger glacier as well.
You can reserve a seat from Kleine Scheidegg to the Jungfraujoch and also if required for the return journey, at CHF 5.- per single journey. Reservations can be made at station in the Region or online. These reservations are not required or but recommended for your upward journey. Trains are especially early in the morning are quite full.
SPB (Schynige Platte-Bahn): Wilderswil – Schynige Platte
The Schynige Platte Railway travels from Wilderswil up to the vantage point of Schynige Platte. The 7,3 kilometre-long cogwheel section climbs a height difference of 1,420 metres.
The variety of natural attractions en route is impressive: forests, Alpine pastures and marvellous views of Lakes Thun and Brienz. During the trip to the summit station, passengers are treated to incredible, uninterrupted views of the snow-clad trio, the Eiger, Mönch & Jungfrau. Only a few steps awayfrom the summit station lies the entrance to the Botanical Alpine Garden, with around 600 different flowering plants and ferns displayed in 15 typical natural locations. An ever-changing collage of colour from mid-June till about the end of September. The entrance is free.
Mürren via Grütschalp
Cableway Murrenbahn: Lauterbrunnen – Grütschalp + BLM (Bergbahn Lauterbrunnen-Mürren) Grütschalp – Winteregg – Mürren
The Lauterbrunnen-Mürren Rail & Cableway links Lauterbrunnen with the holiday resort of Mürren. An aerial cableway travels from Lauterbrunnen to the Grütschalp summit station, where passengers change to the narrow-gauge railway to reach the Winteregg Restaurant and Mürren. The narrow-gauge railway is four kilometres long with a maximum gradient of 5 percent.
HB (Harderbahn): Interlaken Ost – Harder Kulm
The Harder Railway (HB) climbs 755 meters in eight minutes and takes you from Interlaken Ost to the Harder Kulm, Interlaken’s home mountain. During the ride with the funicular and at the mountain station, anyone will enjoy the view of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, the mountain valleys and the peaks of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau.
Round off your day with a relaxing evening on the Harder Kulm. All tickets (on that same day) are valid for a free ride up and down. Only in summer. Extra evening trips Ascents: 19:00,19:30,20:00,20:30.
Grindelwald – First
Grindelwald – Bort – Schreckfeld – First (Cableway 3 sections)
The key element of the First Aerial Cableway is the cableway with six-seater gondolas travelling from Grindelwald up to First via Bort and Schreckfeld.
Grindelwald-First makes the hearts of many adventurers beat faster. First Flyer, Mountain Cart and Trottibike scooter take care of the adrenaline rush and the need for speed. If that’s not enough, then there’s the First Cliff Walk by Tissot. The summit trail consists of an approximately 40-metre long one-rope suspension bridge, climbing stairs and a 45-metre long observation platform.
Grindelwald-First is also the starting point for many hiking trails. On a tour to Bachalpsee , for example, you can enjoy the idyllic Swiss Alps. The snow-covered peaks of the Alps are reflected in the crystal clear blue water.
The First Flyer is an 800 metres of steel cable, up to 50 metres high and speeds of up to 84 kilometres per hour – the First Flyer promises thrills. You will sit in a securely designed harness for the rapid descent from First to Schreckfeld. The descent is stopped by a spring device. Up to four people can whiz downhill at the same time on the gigantic zip line.
Tickets, prices and reductions
Getting there is not only expensive, it requires some tips and tricks: the normal tariff is around 200 CHF per person, but if you take the first train in the morning (or the last one in the afternoon) you’ll get a discount of 25%. However with the first train, you will have to go back before 12h. These are called the “Good morning” and “Good afternoon” tariffs. The price of the train ticket includes the access to the entire Jungfrau complex, but not the rest of the additional activities that can be done there.
Now the question is, why should you go here since Interrail has only a small discount and will cost you a fortune? This trip is worth it for several reasons: the different train travels across valleys and mountains, the slow and continuous climbing at 3500 m high, the view over the glaciers and snowy mountains, the purity of the air at such height the region it self… There are so many reasons to go up here.
Interrail grands 25% discount on all types of transportation in the Jungfrau Region.
Eurail grands 25% discount on all types of transportation in the Jungfrau Region.
Swiss Travel Pass (Flex): Free travel from Interlaken Ost to Grindelwald, Wengen (via Lauterbrunnen) and Mürren, 25% on Grindelwald/Wengen – Kleine Scheidegg – Jungfraujoch and 50% on other mountain sections.
Normal Interlaken Ost – Jungfraujoch: 204 CHF return
Normal Interlaken Ost – Kleine Scheidegg: 80 CHF return
Normal Kleine Scheidegg – Jungfraujoch: 128 CHF return
Grindelwald – First: 60 CHF return
First Flyer: 29 CHF
Wilderswil – Schynige Platte: CHF 64 return
Lauterbrunnen – Mürren: CHF 22 return
Interlaken – Harder Kulm: CHF 30 return
The region offers a discount for early and late-afternoon travelers. The Good Morning/Good Afternoon Ticket offers a big discount on your travel. Traveling in the morning from Interlaken Ost departing 6.35 or 7.05 and Kleine Scheidegg 8.00 or 8.30 and back from Jungfraujoch before 13.00. Travelling in the Afternoon is from Kleine Scheidegg after 15.30.
CHF 145 from Interlaken Ost and all other stations within the Region.
Medical check: Altitude sickness
The railways allow you to transport rapidly to high altitude. As altitude increases, air pressure and the oxygen in the air decreases accordingly. A healthy body has excellent adaptation mechanisms that allow a relatively rapid rise to medium and higher altitudes up to 4000 metres without damage to health. Typical altitude sickness will appear 6-12 hours into your stay at over 2500 metres at the earliest (Kleine Scheidegg 2061m). Therefore, altitude sickness has no practical significance for a short stay at the Jungfraujoch. Nevertheless, you should only make this trip to high altitudes if you feel healthy.
Happy traveling! And don’t hesitate to ask me in our friendly forum!
Update: January 2017