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Sunday, July 9, 2023

Jungfraujoch, The Top of Europe

One of the top tourist destinations in Switzerland is Jungfraujoch. Located in Bernese Oberland region, Jungfraujoch is a glacier saddle connecting 2 major Alps mountains, the Jungfrau and the Mönch. It lies at an elevation of 3,463 metres above sea level and it is covered in blissful snow throughout the year. Our kids never saw the real snow so we thought it was a good idea to bring them up there and let them have their first experience with snow. 

We decided to stay in Interlaken area because it is a strategic location to explore the Bernese Oberland region. A lot of tourists apparently had the same idea. We met a lot of people from many parts of the world in Interlaken. No wonder the price of accommodation in Interlaken was very high.

The following day after we arrived in Interlaken, we went to Jungfraujoch. We checked the condition of the weather in Jungfrau website the day before and was so delighted to know it would be sunny in Jungfraujoch. The website provided not only the weather forecast in the city but also the weather on the top of the mountain, so it was really useful.

From Interlaken, there are 2 alternative routes to go to Jungfraujoch. 

1. Via Lauterbrunnen - Wengen - Kleine Scheidegg - Jungfraujoch. 

2. Via Grindelwald - Kleine Scheidegg - Jungfraujoch. 

Map route options Jungfraujoch

We took the Lauterbrunnen route by train when we went up to Jungfraujoch and took the Grindelwald route by Eiger Express gondola when we returned to Interlaken. By doing so, we could enjoy sceneries in both areas. Since we also wanted to explore Lauterbrunnen and had a closer look at the impressive waterfall, we made an hour stop there before taking the train to Wengen. We also took an hour stop in Kleine Scheidegg to enjoy the area and took pictures. I also wished we could stop for a while in Wengen, but then we would be too late to take the reserved train seat in Kleine Scheidegg at 12 pm. If you had an extra time in Interlaken, actually it would be better to spend another day in Lauterbrunnen and/or Wengen. One hour is not enough to explore the area. 

Tickets to Jungfraujoch are expensive. Round tickets from Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch cost CHF 218 in high season (June 1 to August 31). This is not including the train tickets from Interlaken to Kleine Scheidegg. Fortunately with Swiss Travel Pass, we can travel for free up to Wengen. From Wengen onwards, we got 25% discount on train fare. We also got 50% discount for Jungfraujoch tickets and children under 16 year old don't need to pay. With the add-on of reservation cost CHF 10 per adult, we paid around CHF 340 for 2 adults and 2 kids. 

It takes around 35 minutes from Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch by Jungfraubahn train. We enjoyed the breathtaking view of snowy mountains before the train went into the dark tunnel and went up to the mountain peak. When we arrived in Jungfraujoch train station and walked to the main building, we saw a lot of tourists flooding the room. Summer is indeed a peak season.

We took the lift to go to Sphinx Observatory and saw the panoramic view over the Alps and the Aletsch Glacier. We were lucky it was sunny and the sky was so clear, we could enjoy the incredible view of the glacier and the snowy mountain. I might be too excited to see the scenery I didn't felt any dizziness. But both my kids and husband felt dizzy when they were at the Sphinx Observatory. A normal phenomenon considering we were at 11,716 feet above sea level. 

From Sphinx Observatory, we walked to Snow Fun Park where the visitors can enjoy snow tubing, snowboarding, sledding, flying fox or simply making and throwing snow ball. Perfect place for kids who love adventures. That was our daughters' first encounter with snow. My eldest daughter was so happy and had fun making snowball and throw them to us. 

We continued our journey to the next attraction, Ice Palace. As we went through the ice tunnel, we saw a variety of ice sculptures including Scrat from Ice Age that was stuck inside the ice. Very cute. All of the tunnel surfaces, from the ceiling, wall and the floor, were made of ice so they were slippery. We needed to walk extra carefully. I couldn't take many pictures inside because my daughter kept complaining she felt cold and wanted to leave the place. After one fast round, we left the palace and entered a warm place, Lindt Chocolate Heaven. 

Lindt Chocolate Heaven is more than just an ordinary chocolate shop. It is the highest chocolate shop in the world.  Next to the Lindt shop, five exhibits provide information about chocolate making. A big multitouch table is placed in the center of the room where people can play the game while learning about the history of Swiss chocolate. In the shop we can find an extensive range of Lindt chocolates, more varieties than what we normally find in our home country. 

The last station is the souvenir shop and restaurant. It is exactly the same place where we arrived. All of us were tired and hungry. We bought chicken nugget and French fries. Simple menu but nice and memorable because we ate it while enjoying the scenery out of the window. 

On our way back home, we took Eiger Express gondola to Grindelwald Terminal. It is a very big cable car with an almost full length window. We watched the stunning view of Eiger on one side and beautiful mountain landscape on the other side. Our trip to Jungfraujoch eventually ended but the memory of it lasts forever in our heart...

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