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We leave tomorrow ~ Jungfraujoch worth it?

We leave tomorrow ~ Jungfraujoch worth it?

Sep 12th, 2007, 01:12 AM
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We leave tomorrow ~ Jungfraujoch worth it?

We still haven't decided if we will try the Jungfraujoch if the weather cooperates, or maybe just the Schilthorn and Piz Gloria.

Any last minute advise? Most seem to love or hate it, many seem to think over-rated.

wrenwood is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 01:20 AM
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This reply comes from someone who lives in Switzerland but has never been to the Jungfraujoch itself.

We've got great weather the next few days with the most breathtaking views. The temperatures are cool but it should stay quite dry.

If I were you, I'd go. It supposed to be quite an experience on a beautiful day. Hopefully, you'll have time for both.

If you have a Swiss half fare card or another Swiss tourist card, the Jungfraujoch price is greatly reduced.
kleeblatt is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 02:32 AM
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Hi Schuler, we actually won't be in that area until September 20-25 and the long term forecasts are driving me nuts. One day that period is heavy rain, the next day they forecast sun. I guess those mountains just create their own weather as they feel like it!

Have you been to Schilthorn?
wrenwood is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 03:18 AM
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It's been many years since I've been up at the Schilthorn. I hope someone else who's been to both recently can help you more.

As for the weather, it's really only predictable two days or less before the actual day in question. You'll just have to ask at your hotel what the weather will be like that day and make your decision spontaneously.

That's what the Swiss do.
kleeblatt is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 03:46 AM
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We've taken both trip on separate trips and enjoyed them tremendously. We were lucky enough to get great weather and views both times.
Most hotels have webcams for conditions at the top. If you get a great day and can get off early that would be your best bet for great views as conditions tend to change as the day progresses.
If you take the Jungfraujoch make sure to stop on the way down for lunch in Klein Scheidig.
We also walked from Klein Scheidig to the next train stop. Fabulous views and generally easy walking.
grimmy is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 04:51 AM
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We went up Jungfrau about 2 years ago and had an amazing time. The weather was good the day we went, clear skies. The view was fantastic. I would say go if the weather cooperates.
sharon1306 is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 10:44 AM
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I realize we will have to wait until we get there to decide, and that the weather may decide for us!

There were a lot of people on Rick Steve's Best/Worst that rated Jungraujoch as worst ~ over rated, not worth the price and time etc. I just hate to waste the time if it's not worth it.

I found this panorama photo which certainly makes it look worthwhile


How are Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn different?
wrenwood is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 10:47 AM
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For some reason the url for the photo didn't post correctly


Make sure to copy and paste the whole thing
wrenwood is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 10:50 AM
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I loved it. I'd go again in a heartbeat and second the suggestion to have a rosti lunch at Klein Scheidig.
Luisah is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 10:58 AM
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We visited the Jungfrau in June and it was great. Lots to do there. We planned to go to the Schilthorn, but the weather did not cooperate and we did not go. We were staying in Lauterbrunnen and were able to check out the live cams so we could see the weather at either location. On the rainy day we did visit the Trummelbach falls and enjoyed that.

Depending on where you are staying I would wait to see what the weather is doing that day.

Have a great trip.

travelatte is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 11:58 AM
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I was just at the Jungfraujoch in August. I'd been wanting to go for 15 years and it was definitely worth it. We arrived around noon on a sunny day and it was just starting to cloud up when we left. You definitely need to go on a good weather day. Be sure to go up the elevator to the Sphinx for the best views. If you are up to it, try the short hike (45 minutes) across the glacier to the Mönchsjochhütte.
hausfrau is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 12:00 PM
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I just wrote a very long response and lost it! Starting over:

I'm not particularly advocating for the Jungfraujoch; I've been up there twice and have mixed feeling myself. But I looked at the Rick Steves posts to see why people said it is the "worst". Here is one, the most critical:

"Worst: Jungfraujoch
Why: Hated it. Cost us over $300 to get there (2 of us) and it was absolutely not worth it. The views from Murren (where we stayed) were better. It took us 6 hrs round-trip, from Murren; would have much rather spent it hiking near Murren. We've been to Chamonix, the French Alps, and they were 1000 times better than Jungfraujoch. When we got to the top destination there was only a very small area where we could go outside to see what view there was and it was packed with 50 rowdy teenagers running around and throwing snow at each other. There was some kind of strange fencing (it appeared to be temporary and half falling down) all around this small area, which ruined our photos. If you are not outside in this very small area, you are indoors at either the restaurant, the cheaper cafe area, tiny gift shop, or ice museum. We did not go all the way to the top to stay indoors! It was AWFUL!"

First of all, they paid too much---at $300 for 2, they were not using a pass to get half-price. This is truye of most of the people who did not like it---they paid full price, which is very expensive. Also, I noted that most of the people who rated it "worst" came over from Mürren. That's a longer trip than you will have from Grindelwald. But I would agree with them that on a nice day, a hike around Mürren would be a better choice. You, on the other hand, can incorporate a nice hike into your Jungfrau trip on the way down, if you like.

Crowded: yes, especially on a nice day in mid-summer. Both the train and the building can be very crowded. I don't know what it is like in September when you will be there.

One person pronounced it "too touristy" and complained about the restaurant named Bollywood. Well, Switzerland has become very popular with visitors from India, and the tourist industry is making a real effort to make them feel welcome and comfortable, as with vegetarian and ethnic cuisine. So go eat curry and pappadams at Bollywood when you're up there, or not. But it's not a reason to criticise the place.

The person above also mentioned being confined to a small fenced area when she went outside. I've never seen that. Usually there is a large area open to saucer-sliding, sometimes even skiing, and you can walk all the way to the Mönchsjoch Hütte, an hour each way, if you want. If there is a small fenced area now, that's new to me.

The person above didn't mention the ice palace, with its tunnels and sculptures. We like that. Or going up onto the outside viewing platforms of the building, where there are telescopes and views all around. Maybe they didn't take the time to do those things.

Agreed, it's not to everyone's liking. The train ride, in particular the part where you go through a tunnel bored inside the mountain for over half an hour, can be crowded and claustrophobic. But elsewhere you get great views from the train.

For many who would not otherwise do so, it is a way to experience, however briefly, the mountaineer's world of rock, snow and ice. It is beautiful up there. But whether it is "worth it" depends on your own expectations, likes and dislikes, and the crowd and weather conditions you experience on a particular day.

As for how it is different from the Schilthorn, that one is a cablecar ride (not a train) up to the top of a peak (Jungfraujoch is a saddle or pass on the side of the actual peak). Some people prefer the cablecar for its views and the feeling of being up in the air. Others are terrified.

I haven't been up the Schilthorn myself, but I believe the top offers a much smaller area to walk around; this year it may be rock instead of snow. The views are supposed to be terrific.

Now you're probably really confused. I better post this before it disappears again. i'll be happy to answer questions.

enzian is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 12:37 PM
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Actually this isn't confusing me it's really helping to have positive experiences posted.

Thank you Enzian for checking out Rick Steves to see why I was so alarmed. I did wonder what expectations some of them had, or if they had gone up on a bad day, or never really walked around.

If the weather allows us to go really early ( I think the first trip up is around 6AM? ) what hikes would you suggest afterwards?
wrenwood is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 02:08 PM
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The Jungfraujoch is an expensive trip. At the current pricing, the un-discounted price is 176.60 chf round trip from Interlaken Ost. If you have a Swiss Card or other type of rail travek discount instrument, you can get a discount of 50%.

Or if you have the Jungfrau region pass you could go up for 50% off the cost from Kleine Scheidegg to the top. (Assuming you are using a free day.)

At the current exchange rate, the ticket from Interlaken Ost would cost you about $75.00 IF you can get it for half price.

I would not go to the top unless the day is predicted to be clear. If you want to hedge your bet, travel as far as Lauterbrunnen and look at the TV monitor in the train station and see what the scene looks like. (You have to change trains there anyhow.) If you can see the Jungfrau from below, it should be ok. Then buy a ticket to the top. There is no increase in price for buying the whole thing I might add.

If you have a Swiss Rail Pass, you can get to Lauterbrunnen for nothing.

The part of the trip that costs you is the final stage from the station known as Eigergletscher to the top.

That part of the trip is never free with any kind of pass that I know of.

I agree with the above description that mentioned the walk to the Mönchjochhütte, which is a hikers' shelter 3-stories high bolted to the side of the Mönch.

The views from the top are awesome, particularly the views to the south which are not available from other viewpoints reached without considerable climbing.

The Schilthorn is a lesser peak reached by the Schilthornbahn which originates at a valley station near Stechelberg, witch itself is at the far end of the Lauterbrunnen Valley.

The cable car, a big cabin holding about 80 people, goes up in 3 stages:
Stechelbergh - Gimmelwald
Gimmelwald - Mürren
Mürren - Schilthorn

However, many people take the new cable lift from Lauterbrunnen to Grutschalp and then ride the little train to Mürren, walk to the Schilthornbahn station and continue on.

The cost is about the same as is the time required.

I took the Schilthorn trip once, but never repeated it. I did repeat the Jungfraujoch trip, but did not do it this year or last.

If you want to substitute two wonderful vantage points from which to view the north faces of those peaks, I can offer two choices:

1. Take the train to Wengen. Walk a few yards to the Männlichenbahn and ride the cable car to the top of the ridge.
Walk to the high knob at the north end of the ridge for some great views of the Eiger and friends.

2. Take the train to Grindelwald. Walk east along the main street to the Firstbahn and ride up to the end station called First (has no relationship to second.) From the terrace of the restaurant you have unbelievable views of the whole range.

If you have the energy, go up to the top of the Faulhorn. It is a steep hike, but it is the best viewing point I know of where you can look from north to south and from south to north and see the lakes on either side of Interlaken.

No other view quite like it in my opinion.

Age has caught me and I had to be content with the restaurant this year. But I took my new digital camera and made a pan shot of the whole Berner Oberland that is visible from the terrace of the restaurant.

It is amateur work, but I will cherish it.

bob_brown is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 03:04 PM
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I just did a trip up to the Jungfraujoch in late August. Unfortunately we had only one full day available for the trip, and it was pretty cloudy that day. We had some spectacular views in between the banks of clouds that blew by, but overall I'd say the experience was about 20% as impressive as it would have been on a clear day. In my opinion, it was still worth doing, but I may have been more excited than some others as I'm not an experienced mountain traveler.

Others who are more familiar with the Jungfraujoch have posted more details than I can, but I'd like to add a couple of tips for those who haven't figured them out:

1. It's cold up there! On the day when I went, it was about 55 degrees Fahrenheit in Wengen, and 30 degrees with a rather stiff wind up on Jungfraujoch. The most interesting activities all take place outdoors, and I would have been happier and able to stay out a lot longer if I had brought some proper winter attire.

2. There's not a lot of oxygen up at the top. I saw a few signs advising people to walk slowly on the stairs, and I quickly found out why. I'm reasonably young and healthy, yet I still found myself getting uncomfortably out of breath when walking up stairs, at least at first. Take it easy and get used to how the low oxygen pressure affects you before you start any serious hiking or stair-climbing.

As for hiking: We stayed in Wengen, took the Männlichenbahn from right outside our hotel to Männlichen, and then hiked to Kleine Scheidegg, from which the Jungfraujoch train departs. The trip from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg was really more of a walk than a hike -- it took about an hour and a half, but was very level, and on very well-maintained paths. Lots of nice views, complimented by the music of cowbells echoing up from the valley.

I'm going to consult this thread again before my return trip to the Berner Oberland, which I hope will be soon.
hawksbill is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 06:15 PM
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No one has said much about the Schilthorn which I thought was the most fabulous view I have ever seen in my life! We stayed in Wengen so for us, the trip to the Schilthorn involved taking the train down into the valley and then up the other side of the valley from Stechelbergh to Gimmelwald and from
Gimmelwald to Mürren and then from
Mürren to the Schilthorn. We loved the walk from cable car to cable car. It was level and took you past houses, hostelries, even past an outdoor ice skating rink where skaters in late winter were performing exquisite moves with ease and grace. The Schilthorn has a restaurant at the top that revolves very slowly so that the panoramic view of 200 peaks changes while you are there. I do recall that one woman in the cable car was in a terrified state looking out through the windows at the views and had to sit on the floor with her head in her hands most of the way up. I assume she was not a skiier and had never been on a gondola or tram. My family and I loved the entire experience. Because we did not have another day with clear skies, we did not go to the Jungfraujoch... also, at the time, my sons were ages 10 and 15 and sitting for so long on the train to Jungfraujoch did not seem as appropriate for their activity level as the trip to the Schilthorn which included the wonderful walk.
canyonjane is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 06:31 PM
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My first trip to the Jungfraujoch was on one of my earliest trips to Europe and it was indeed memorable. A few years ago we returned and it seemed even better. It used to be (and I guess still is?) the "highest point in the world you can reach by mechanical means". How could it not be worth it?

I also enjoyed the Schilthorn but not as much. Canyonjane I hoped you rented for the boys the James Bond film with the spectacular scenes filmed up there? I still remember that for lunch up there we had "James Bond Spaghetti" -- or was it called "007 Spaghetti"?
NeoPatrick is online now  
Sep 13th, 2007, 03:29 AM
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We are packing our thermal underwear and praying to the weather spirits for clear weather!!

Thanks so much for all the feedback, and the suggestions on hikes. We leave for the airport in about 7 hours!

I have never done a trip report before, but I will give it a try when I get home. Itinerary is 2 nights in Appenzell, 1 night in Schaffhausen, 5 nights in Grindelwald, 4 nights in Guarda, 2 nights in Weggis, and an overnight in Kusnacht before we head back to Germany, and our in-laws fly out of Zurich.

Yesterday the weather here in Virginia was very clear. As I was looking at our Blue Ridge Mountains and thinking how beautiful they looked, I suddenly thought...........I bet they look really small when we get home!

Thanks again for everyone's help, planning this trip has been a joy.

wrenwood is offline  
Sep 13th, 2007, 04:12 AM
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I concur with some of the negativity, there are many many exceptional mountains in Switzerland, the Jungfraujoch didn't excite me anymore than most of the other mountain peaks which can be visited. And with the cost and length of trip, I usually tell friends and family to go elswhere. Views are amazing everywhere.
sansman is offline  
Sep 13th, 2007, 05:21 AM
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wrenwood, by now you have left so it remains for you to read when you return my good wishes for your trip.

For anyone else reading, what can determine your choice is time and hiking ability. With limited time, and equally limited good weather time, do not exchange the chance to do even a limited and fairly easy hike (say from Mannlichen/'the Gifel' to Kleine Sheidegg, or in the area around Muerren) to do the train trip from Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch. Especially if it is the season for mountain flowers.

To me, the best views to be had for the buck are at between 4,000 to 7,000 feet. Higher than that is spectacular, but I still think that, faced with a choice or a tight budget, that things follow a law of diminishing returns. Of course, I say this as one for whom the sight of ice, even ice sculptures or an ice palace, isn't so unusual. Were I from Australia (as my travelling companions were the time I did Jungfraujoch) I might have a different answer.
Sue_xx_yy is online now  

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