Top of Europe

Jungfraujoch is a saddle in the Bernese Alps, connecting the two four-thousander peaks Jungfrau and Mönch, at an elevation of 3,466 metres (11,371 ft) above sea level. It is a glacier saddle, on the upper snows of the Aletsch Glacier, and part of the Jungfrau-Aletsch area, situated on the boundary between the cantons of Bern and Valais, halfway between Interlaken and Fiesch.


Since 1912, the Jungfraujoch has been accessible to tourists by the Jungfrau line, a railway from Interlaken and Kleine Scheidegg, running partly underground through a tunnel through the Eiger and Mönch. The Jungfraujoch railway station, at an elevation of 3,454 metres (11,332 ft) is the highest in Europe. It lies east of the saddle, below the Sphinx station, and is connected to the Top of Europe building, which includes several panoramic restaurants and a post office. Several tunnels lead outside, where secured hiking trails on the crevassed glacier can be followed, in particular to the Mönchsjoch Hut. The Sphinx Observatory, one of the highest astronomical observatories in the world, provides an additional viewing platform at a height of 3,572 metres (11,719 ft). It can be reached by an elevator from the Jungfraujoch. The observatory houses one of the Global Atmosphere Watch's atmospheric research stations.


The more transient something is, the more beautiful. This is especially true of the Ice Palace and its treasures. Mountain guides created the aisles and halls in the 1930s with picks and saws in the middle of the Jungfraufirn. Today, artists create the ice – with a great deal of flair. On a mirror-smooth tour through a frosty world, visitors will discover their works of art in nooks and crannies. An eagle, penguin or bear, as though they had just turned to ice, appear quite natural. Even at minus three Celsius, they are melting.


The Mönchsjochhütte has no shortage of attractions: The highest-altitude serviced hut in Switzerland is accessible from the Jungfraujoch on a marked footpath in 45 minutes. The trail leads through the alpine glacier world in the midst of the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch. The hut offers a breathtaking view into Central and Eastern Switzerland as well as the Valais mountains. It is the starting point for tours all year round. No less impressive is daily life at 3,650 metres above sea level. Even the most mundane tasks need a special solution here. You wash with melt water from a 3000-litre tank; the hut keeper gets food and drinks from the Jungfraujoch on a snowmobile. Staying overnight in a dormitory is open to everyone. Sunset and sunrise included. Where else can you find this?


Travellers of antiquity who could not solve the riddle of the Sphinx were strangled by the monster. Visitors of the eponymous rock formation on the Jungfraujoch need not worry about this. And they can travel in greater comfort: An ultrafast lift takes you to the observatory, an international research station. It climbs 108 metres in 25 seconds. They need do nothing more than enjoy the view up there. They can safely leave the riddles to the explorers.


Big railway station on Kleine Scheidegg: Two cogwheel railways meet here, where you can discover the most beautiful region in the Bernese Oberland. Because nature is very close, and many excursions will tempt you: Would you prefer to go to the Jungfraujoch, hike the Eiger Trail or conquer the Lauberhorn?





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© 2018-2020 by Emilien Gigandet - Switzerland - emilien.gigandet@gmail.com