Welcome to Jungfrau The Top Of Europe

Guide to Jungfrau  The Top Of Europe, Switzerland
“Across the valley…the giant form of the Jungfrau rose cold and white into the clear sky. It reminded me, somehow, of ...those colossal billows which swell suddenly up beside one's ship, at sea, sometimes, with its crest and shoulders snowy white, and the rest of its noble proportions streaked downward with creamy foam.” - Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad

High above the toytown villages and silver lakes of Brienze and Thun, the summit of The Jungfrau embodies the pure and awe-inspiring beauty of Switzerland’s mountains. One of the main summits in the Bernese Alps, alongside the Eiger and the Monch, the three faces form a great wall of black jagged rock and drifting, crystalline snow, overlooking the valleys of Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald.

But while just over a century ago, climbers would risk- and lose-their lives, in order to attain the summit, the advent of the Jungfraubahn cog railway in 1912 means that visitors can reach the top in comfort, and survey its astonishing beauty from a height of 3,454 m.

Starting from Interlaken, the trains – an old fashioned delight, with heated seats, wooden carriages and big plate glass windows that open for photographs- go via Wilderswil. From here, one route climbs via Lauterbrunnen and one via Grindelwald, a charming skiing village. The Wilderswil-Schynige Platte section on the way is known as ‘the nostalgia train’- the route passes lovely old villages, and hiking trails; through glittering snow in Winter, and soft, green meadows and Alpine streams in Winter. At Schynige Platte, the historical cogwheel railway stops by a mountain hotel, with a panoramic view from the restaurant.

On the other route, Lauterbrunnen means clear water- and there are up to 72 waterfalls here in Spring, one of which is almost 300 metres high, and was famously seen by Goethe in 1879, who write a poem about it- “Song of the Spirit of the Water.”

Skiers often take the train to the next station, Wengen, for amazing views of the valley and a variety of ski routes. The Hotel Victoria is popular with Winter sports lovers, and a cable car station beside it takes skiers even higher. The famous Lauterbrunnen ski race begins here.

At Kleine Scheidegg, travellers change trains for the summit. The train crawls up the Eiger, where the lethal North face glowers down, and then through a tunnel blasted into the rock. Halfway, travellers briefly alight to adjust to the altitude, and there is a viewing window cut into the rock, where the swirling snow and surgically sharp peaks of the Jungfrau can be seen in breathtaking close-up.

At the top, the Jungfrau Tour is an impressively immersive experience, with a 360* cinema showcasing aspects of the mountain, a full exhibition dedicated to the building of the railways, a souvenir shop, a good self-service restaurant with panoramic views, and an Ice Palace- vast tunnels carved into the mountain, with ice sculptures and dioramas to admire.

There is also a viewing platform, where visitors can experience the extreme weather at the summit, and admire the Sphinx, the famous rock formation.

It’s important to bear in mind that, while the trip is suitable for most ages and levels of fitness, some people do experience mild altitude sickness. At the summit, brain and lung capacity is only around 80%, so slight shortness of breath is common, as is a light-headed sensation. Adjusting can take up to an hour- and it’s not recommended that first timers stay up there for longer than two hours. The cure for anyone who feels strange is to eat something- or to descend again.

It’s a good idea to take the train back via the alternative route, to make the most of a day in the mountains. Grindelwald is a traditional village of wooden chalets, hugely popular with skiers- there are cafes, ski shops and hotels lining the quaint main street, and a cable car extends up the mountain. This region is perfect for hiking or winter sports. The Grindelwald-First route is sunny and south facing, with about 100 km of hiking routes, Alpine meadows and the Bort children’s playground.

For those who don’t want to visit the summit, the Bernese Oberland railway goes from Interlaken Ost to Wilderswil, Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen, through beautiful mountain villages waterfalls and rivers.

The Winteregg-Murren route is also ideal for families. An aerial cableway runs from Lauterbrunnen to Grutschalp and connects to the narrow gauge railway that runs from Murren via Winteregg. At Winteregg there’s a new children’s playground with an Alpine theme with swings, a climbing area and an Alpine hut, while the restaurant serves traditional Swiss dishes and offers fabulous views over all three mountains.

Hiking routes and further train routes are all listed on www.jungfrau.ch




Guide to Jungfrau  The Top Of Europe, SwitzerlandGuide to Jungfrau  The Top Of Europe, Switzerland



Guide to Jungfrau  The Top Of Europe, SwitzerlandGuide to Jungfrau  The Top Of Europe, Switzerland
Guide to Jungfrau  The Top Of Europe, Switzerland

In The Mood

TAKE THE TRAIN FROM INTERLAKEN OST VIA LAUTERBRUNNEN OR GRINDELWALD.

YOU CAN CHECK TIMES AND PRICES ON THE SBB WEBSITE.

IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BUY A SWISS PASS, OR A JUNGFRAU UNLIMITED RAILWAYS PASS (SEE BELOW), A HALF PRICE SWISS PASS MAY BE THE MOST AFFORDABLE WAY OF VISITING THE JUNGFRAU.

SEE BELOW FOR SWISS TRAVEL SYSTEM TO BUY PASSES.

SWISS PASS

It's sometimes cheaper to buy a Swiss Pass for travel through Switzerland as trains can be expensive between cities.

However, working out if it's the cheapest option can require a degree in maths and the campaign skills of a general.

There is no simple way round finding out if the pass is worth it other than adding up all the options.

The Swiss Pass is popular as it allows flexibility.

The Swiss Pass entitles you to unlimited travel on consecutive days throughout the rail, bus and boat Swiss Travel System network. The Swiss Pass is available for 4, 8, 15 or 22 days or one month.

This pass also covers scenic routes and local trams and buses in 41 towns and cities and will offer 50% reduction all most mountain-top trains and cable cars. The Swiss Pass will also include the Swiss Museum Pass, allowing you free entrance to 470 museums and exhibitions.

PRICE FROM £299 for 4 days. Children 6-15 travel for free with with a fare paying parent.


SWISS FLEXI-PASS

The Swiss Flexi Pass allows travellers to freely choose their traveling days. You may travel on the Swiss Travel System network for 3, 4, 5 or 6 non-consecutive days within a month; on the selected days, you are offered the same great possibilities as when traveling with a Swiss Pass.

On the days between the first and the last activated day, your Swiss Flexi Pass offers a 50% discount on train, (postal) bus and boat rides, as well as on most mountain-top excursions.

The Swiss Flexi Pass will offer 50% reduction on most mountain-top trains and cable cars and will also include the Swiss Museum Pass, allowing you free entrance to 470 museums and exhibitions.

Children between the ages of 6-15 travel free if accompanied by a fare paying parent. Prices from £287 for 3 days.


SWISS HALF PRICE PASS

The Swiss Half Price pass may be an option well worth considering. It often works out cheaper than a Swiss Pass, depending on how long you're staying in Switzerland and how many journeys you're making. It also gives 25% discount for the Jungfrau.

Price £83.00

TO BUY PASSES & MORE INFO VISIT THE SWISS TRAVEL SYSTEM WEBSITE.




You can also buy Jungfrau Unlimited Railways Pass. This guarantees 6 consecutive days of unlimited travel on all Jungfraubahnen trains and cable cars, including a 50% discount on entry to the Jungfraujoch, and unlimited travel on the Grindelwald and Wengen cable cars, trains to Kleine Scheidegg, Schnyge Platte, Harder Kulm, the "First" cable car, and the ships on Lakes Brienz and Thun.

If you have a Swiss Travel System Family card (Swiss Card, Swiss Pass) children travel free. Adult cost: £179.00, Adults with Swiss Pass or Swiss Flexi Pass, £132.50 Children under 16yrs with parent/s (Junior Card) £21.50

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR PASS WITH THE SWISS TRAVEL SYSTEM

Be aware of your body’s response to altitude. Youth and health is irrelevant- altitude sickness can strike anyone, so after 3000 feet, don’t ignore symptoms. If you feel dizzy, breathe steadily and calmly, and have a snack.

Trains run every hour during winter, till 4.40 pm, but if the weather is particularly bad, they are stopped. Weather reports are checked continually- at the top, the temperature can reach minus 25.

Above Grindelwald is the longest sledge run in the world, which extends for 15 km. Take the cable car up, and then sledge back down.

To ski on the mountain, you will need a ski pass. See www.jungfrau.ch for details.




Getting Around

TAKE THE TRAIN FROM INTERLAKEN OST VIA LAUTERBRUNNEN OR GRINDELWALD.

YOU CAN CHECK TIMES AND PRICES ON THE SBB WEBSITE.

IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BUY A SWISS PASS, OR A JUNGFRAU UNLIMITED RAILWAYS PASS (SEE BELOW), A HALF PRICE SWISS PASS MAY BE THE MOST AFFORDABLE WAY OF VISITING THE JUNGFRAU.

SEE BELOW FOR SWISS TRAVEL SYSTEM TO BUY PASSES.







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