Switzerland Must-Do: Jungfrau Railway to the Top of Europe

The Jungfrau Region Tourist Board provided us with a media package to review the Jungfrau Railway and the Jungfraujoch. As always, our opinions are our own.

Without a doubt, one of the most spectacular activities in Switzerland with kids is to ride the Jungfrau Railway to the Jungfraujoch, the highest train station in Europe at 3,454 meters/11,332 feet. We never got the chance to do this when we lived in Switzerland, but were able to fit it in a on our trip last month and we all loved this experience.

Located in the Jungfrau Region in the Bernese Alps, the Jungfrau Railway is a monumental feat of engineering as the track was built inside the imposing north face of the Eiger. Construction began in 1896 and was completed 16 years later in 1912. Not a trivial project to put it mildly …

Jungfrau Railway Experience to the Jungfraujoch

Hotel Bellevue Des Alpes
Hotel in the shadow of the Eiger 

Overnight at Historic Hotel Bellevue Des Alpes in Kleine Scheidegg

We made our base for the night Hotel Bellevue des Alpes in Kleine Scheidegg, the mountain pass that connects Grindelwald with Lauterbrunnen. There are no roads to get here, only gondolas, ski lifts, and trains.

At night when the crowds cleared, it was amazingly peaceful on this mountain ridge overlooking spectacular scenery.

Hotel Bellevue Des Alpes
Room with a view at Hotel Bellevue des Alpes 

Built in the late 1800s, Hotel Bellevue ses Alpes has been in the same family for generations. It’s the main hotel on this pass and staying here is a trip back in time, with traditional photos, furnishings,  creaky floors, and cozy spaces.

The beds are comfy and the views are to die for. Dinner is pre-set and delicious. The staff is warm and welcoming. This isn’t a kids’ hotel with any specific family amenities, but for a night or two it provides a fun and unique base to explore these epic mountains.

Connecting family rooms are available.

Jungfrau Railway View
Looking back at Murren and the Schilthorn from the Jungfrau Railway 

Jungfrau Train Experience

The other benefit to staying at Hotel Bellevue Des Alpes is that it cuts an hour of time off the train trip to the Jungfraujoch. If you start in Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald, the trip is two hours each way. If you start in Kleine Scheidegg, you only spend an hour getting to the top and then two hours back if you go all the way down to the parking lot. Reducing the round trip in a single day by an hour certainly makes the trip less taxing with kids.

The hour-long ride to the Jungfraujoch from Kleine Scheidegg involves two stops at the Eismeer and Eigerwand stations for a peek at the view from different vantage points. These stops give you a real sense of the engineering feat involved in creating the railroad as you literally out of the peer out of the rock face.

UNESCO-protected: Longest glacier in Europe 

Top of Europe

On a clear day the views from the Jungraujoch over the Aletsch Glacier — Europe’s longest glacier at 22km — and beyond are unbelievable. The Top of Europe feels like the Top of the World. In addition to taking in magnificent scenery from different vantage points, there are a number of activities including:

Jungfraujoch Zipline
Zip-line over a glacier 

>> Snow Fun park with entry level skiing and snowboarding

>> Glacier zip-line

>> Glacier hike to the Mönchsjoch Hut

>> Ice tunnels below the glacier

>> Alpine Experience – a moving walkway through lights, music, and displays

There are also a few different restaurants for a meal.

The adult round trip fare is 197.60 CHF per person from Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald. First Class tickets are 212 CHF round trip.

Children under age 6 travel free. Children from age 6 to 15 with a Junior Card also travel free to the Jungfraujoch, if accompanied by at least one parent. The Junior Card is available at all railway stations for CHF 30 and is valid for one year. Without a Junior Card, children age 6 to 15 pay half fare.

Jungfraujoch Ice Caves
Exploring the ice tunnels under the glacier 

Tips for Exploring the Jungfraujoch

>> The Jungfraujoch is expensive with many nooks and crannies to explore. Plan on spending the day here, there’s plenty to do.

>> If we had more time we would have walked to the Mönchsjoch Hut for lunch. It’s unusual to be able to access one of these high Alpine huts without a technical climb. Kids can do it!

>> The temperature difference at the Jungfraujoch is extreme. Be sure and bring plenty of layers for all weather conditions, including snow during the summer months.

>> You don’t need to stay at Kleine Scheidegg to enjoy the Jungfrau Railway. The Jungfrau travel information page includes details on all the various ways to access the train from different locations.

>> The Junior Card enables kids ages 6-16 to travel for free on trains throughout Switzerland when accompanied by a parent or grandparent. It is 30 CHF for a year’s worth of travel. This card is an absolute MUST when traveling with kids in Switzerland and pays for itself after a single ride. Be sure and have this for any journey with kids to the Jungfraujoch!

Jungfraujoch Alpine Sensation
Photos by Amie O’Shaughnessy

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