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Ever been to the Jungfraujoch ("Top of Europe")? Worth it?

Ever been to the Jungfraujoch ("Top of Europe")? Worth it?

Old Sep 22nd, 2012, 05:10 AM
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Ever been to the Jungfraujoch ("Top of Europe")? Worth it?

Have been to Switzerland 3 times and have yet to do this. Seems sooo long to get there and very expensive.

What is your experience? Worth it? What did you do when you got to the top? What time of year did you go?
kenav is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2012, 05:36 AM
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We chose to take the cable car up the Schilthorn and have a spectacular view of the Monch, Eiger and Jungfrau.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2012, 06:19 AM
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We were staying in the BO so it wasn't so long to get there. The trouble was it was socked in and it is very expensive, even with a Swiss Pass. Check the monitor in the ticket office before buying tickets.

We really enjoyed the Schilthorn. Not only was it much less expensive but you get fabulous views of M, E & J, as Myer stated, instead of being ON them. It was one of the highlights of my 3 week tour of Europe.

BTW, they do a breakfast buffet that was pretty good in their revolving restaurant. You can buy a combo breakfast/cable ticket and save a little money. It's called the 007 Breakfast!
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Old Sep 22nd, 2012, 06:22 AM
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Have been to the Schilthorn. I thought it paled in comparison with Schnigge Platte. Did you do any hikes from the Schilthorn?

Connie - do you mean by "socked in" that it was cloudy, or you couldn't see anything when you got up there?
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Old Sep 22nd, 2012, 06:44 AM
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Yes, we went and it was definitely worth it.

But you need to understand the conditions.

First, it isn't available many days - since the top is wreathed in clouds and you can see nothing (as in you can see perhaps 6 or 7 feet in front of you - this happened to us on Mt Pilatus). We spend 3 days intnterlaken (touring from there) before we got a day clear at the top (in late May).

If anyone in your group has breathing problems you may want to reconsider - since the air is thin enough to affect most people to some degree. An older couple that took the trains up with us turned around and went right back down since they were having a lot of trouble catching their breath. We felt better after a light lunch and stayed for several hours - but we are, younger, healthy and never smoked.

There are a number of things to see and do besides just the views: ice carving display, sled dog rides, have a look at the ski school and go outside at the weather station. Frankly. many of the views on the way up are even more charming but less dramatic, than those from the top.

You need to be prepared for cold temps and lots of ice - so wear several layers (so you can remove on the way back down to the valley as it gets warmer) and make sure you have socks and sturdy non-skid walking shoes.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2012, 08:33 AM
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Loved it! I have been and it was a gloriously beautiful day when I went. I think I went around early June. At the top there is not much "to do" other than enjoy the awesome views from the outside observation area, you can see the ski lift area and you can go through what is like an ice house, kinda cool

It seems the weather can be a real factor and I was lucky.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2012, 08:51 AM
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Been twice and loved it - but is it worth it is a subjective question with also the huge cost of getting there - even with a Swiss Pass (which covers trains in full til Wengen or Grindelwald but then just 25% off from those stations via Kliene Schiedegg to the Jungfraujoch, highest train station in Europe.

The train ride ain't much as it is nearly all in tunnel with just a few stops for passengers to cram onto balconies cut in the rocks to see out - up top of is world of perpetual snow and glaciers, one of which, the Aletsch Glacer is the longest in the Alps and you can walk to its tip - there is also a vast ice grotto - caves (similar to the one at Schilthorn) and of course rave views both down over the Interlaken area with Interlaken lovingly wedged between the two lakes that bookend it and to the south a view over the vast Aletsch Glacier for miles as it tumbles down to the Rhone river (I think).

For kids there are various rides, including dog sleds and a long thing you hang on and move across the snow.

One negative here to me are huge crowds - every Chinese or Japanese in Europe is here along with many Americans and folks from all over - trains can be quite congested as can the indoor station with restaurant up top.

If you have never seen ice or snow then the worth of Jungfgraujoch may well increase.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and felt it was worth the money (but I had a Swiss Pass which cut the cost a bit) - there is an Early Bird Special that cuts costs but entails a very early departure in the morning - can come back on any train however.

I did thoroughly enjoy the Schilthorn - a very different experience and I would not say I enjoyed one better than the other and with a Swiss Pass it covers all the lifts and trains to Murren and Gimmelwald from Lauterbrunnen - including the postal bus to Stechlberg and gave 50% off on the cable way Murren to Schilthorn, said to be the longest in the Alps and a real thrill (as opposed to the boring train nearly all in tunnel from Kl Schiedegg to Jungfraujoch.

Check out these fab IMO sites for more on Jungfraujoch and Swiss trains, cable ways and passes in general - http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/id3.html; www.ricksteves.com and www.swisstravelsystem.com.

To sum it up Jungfraujoch was worth it even with the high cost - totally unique place but I can see where others may think it was a waste of money and over hyped.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2012, 09:16 AM
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It was a highlight of our trip to Switzerland, expensive but worth it.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2012, 11:49 AM
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Well if you live at sea level and the nearby mountains are very low (pretty - but low) it's fascinating to see a glacier up close, be so high and see the incredible views (as well as the charming ones on the way up).

I don't recall it being especially expensive - considering the cost of other things that people do. But it was several years ago.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2012, 03:12 PM
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there is a lot more to see and do at Jungfraujoch than at Schilthorn - even though the latter is also a great experience - getting to Schilthorn to me is the most awesome thing (as opposed to train wholly in tunnel to Jungfraujoch) - but Schithorn is just a buiding (Piz Gloria with its famous revolving restaurant as seen in James Bond On Her Majesty's Service) - but just a large platform as well as ice caves.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2012, 03:30 PM
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I guess I'm weird. I tend to think views OF mountains are better than views FROM mountains. I've been to the top of the Jungfrau twice. Once was at Christmas and yes, we couldn't see a thing, but it was thrilling to get there and to be there. The other time was in the summer and it was really beautiful and still just as thrilling to be there.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2012, 04:04 PM
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NeoPatrick - Yes, I also like to look at mountains - rather than be in them. However, once you're in the Alps, when you're on a mountain don't you see others a well?

PalenQ - I remember going to the Schilthorn and feeling that, well, it was just a platform and once we Iooked around there wasn't much else of interest. I did notice some people walking back down. Didn't know you could do that and only saw them on our way back down via cable car. Hiking down must be an experience.

Never saw the ice caves. Are they interesting or kitchy?

How long is the trip up to the Jungfroch? I was also concerned about the crowds. I hate jockying for a view or for space.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2012, 05:48 PM
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We've been twice. Very worth in it IMO. The train ride went fast. We stay in Lauterbrunnen. so I believe it is under 2 hrs. We picked up breakfast and ate on the train. You change trains at Kleine Scheidegg.

Although it is crowded it is not a real problem. There is no one real 'view' so people are all over. There are several activities outside: zip line, inner tubes, sledding, hiking.

The cafeteria is a great place to get out of the cold, have some hot chocolate and a snack. It is surrounded by windows so you don't miss anything. The ice palace with the carvings is fun to walk through also.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2012, 02:02 AM
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I was once. Will not repeat it. It was end of the 1990s in early July, weather was perfect (tons of new snow two days earlier, then sunny). It was ridiculously expensive even back then. We had made the hike from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg that morning and when we arrived at Kl. Sch. we wondered ... and said "What the hell!" and went up. The train ride is all in a tunnel from station Eigergletscher up, so you see nothing. The view from the stop(s) are nothing special either.

We had enough time for the hike to Mönchsjoch hut and back, otherwise there's nothing up there which I was interested to do. The views are not different (even less stunning) than from some other places in the Alps. Personally I prefer the view from Männlichen (top, not cable car station) or from Schynige Platte in the B. O., from Diavolezza or Muottas Muragl, or from Gornergrat ... etc.

The ice cave is not overly exciting. I can see such figures caved out of ice/snow every winter an hour from my home for zero money.

I admire the craftmanship that it took (and still takes) for the cog-train, the tunnel, the installations - but that's it. And worth the money? Subjective, depends on your own relation to money.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2012, 08:32 AM
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. I did notice some people walking back down. Didn't know you could do that and only saw them on our way back down via cable car.>

Well IME from the Schilthorn platform the initial descent from that appeared very dicey to me - I would think proper hiking boots may be needed for the initial steps off - after that it appeared fine - I think it may be more practical to hike down from the intermediate station of the long cable from Murren to Schilthorn if not experienced hiker.

Of course it is not possible to walk down from Jungfraujoch unless you are a veritable mountain climber!
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Old Sep 23rd, 2012, 10:40 AM
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Well I looked at the costs and they have definitely increased since I was there. But when you consider that a day at Disney costs $90 (and IMHO is worth about $5) this doesn't seem that bad for a once in a lifetime experience.

I guess if someone lives in the mountains and get to see ice sculptures routinely it may not be that interesting. But for us - who don;t live in or routinely see mountains - and don;t stay in one of the small villages up in the mountains - to me it's definitely worth it.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2012, 11:10 AM
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Hi Kenav,

I've not personally climbed Schilthorn or gone up to Jungfraujoch. I'm the one down below hiking the Panoramaweg whilst my family does the higher things!

I find the whole area simply glorious. Those heading up to Jungfraujoch are as excited as kids on a day off from school and the trains are beautiful in that special Swiss way. I didn't find the price anymore expensive (relatively) than other things in Switzerland which you already know is pricey esp. since the Swissfranc is stronger these days.

My very healthy and hearty husband was surprisingly tired after he went up Jungfraujoch but did enjoy the view and he is not a big lover of "views" per se. I waved to him from across the way as I had climbed up the Lauberhorn.

My husband and daughter hiked up Schilthorn and then took the cable down. They enjoyed it very much. Neither had anything more sophisticated than sneakers and neither are hikers and my daughter does not like heights but they did fine.

Have a wonderful trip - LOVE that part of Switzerland. I often went there for a few days of time alone hiking and enjoying the views.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2012, 01:17 PM
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I have been to Jungfraujoch twice and loved it! But I just returned from Wengen and instead of going back to Jungfraujoch, I went to Schilthorn, Schynige Platte,and Niesen Mountain. All were beautiful!
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Old Sep 23rd, 2012, 03:01 PM
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yes, the trip to the jungfraujoch aka "top of the world" is worth the time and cost to get there. on the way up, it doesnt really feel like it's a long time because the sightseeing will keep you occupied if not mesmerized. at the top, besides the fantastic scenery, there are plenty of things to occupy you. there's the ice cave with its interesting exhibits, there's also a dogsled "show" and reasonably priced restaurant. the trip to the top will be weather-dependent but the hotels in the area monitor the weather and visibility conditions so they can tell you at least the day before if the weather will cooperate with your plans. otherwise, there are other alternate activities such as a visit to the staubbach falls, hike in wengen, etc.

lauterbrunnen or wengen would be a good base for exploring the jungfrau. we were there 4 years ago and stayed in staubbach inn in lauterbrunnen which i would highly recommend.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2012, 03:45 PM
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For me it was absolutely worth it.
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