Switzerland known for its beautiful alps is much more than just those. Yes, this beautiful country is on the must-visit list of almost every savvy traveller or tourist. I visited a few places in Switzerland on a trip where our main highlights were the memorable journey of Bernina Express and the climb to the top of Europe on Jungfrau Mountain.
First time feels
Jungfrau was my first stint with a real snow-covered mountain. I have to admit, coming from the land of Himalayas, it’s a shame that my first encounter with beautiful snow-covered mountains was in Europe. This year, I promise myself to get some stories back from the Himalayan range.
What is Jungfraujoch?
As of now let’s focus on Jungfraujoch (a place covered in snow all 12 months in a year). It is a saddle in the Bernese Alps which connects Jungfrau and Mönch – two four thousander mountains. This saddle has been accessible to tourists via Jungfrau line, a railway line running from Interlaken and Kleine Scheidegg. This railway line to reach Jungfraujoch is about 9km long and passes through 7km long Eiger and Mönch tunnel. At the elevation of 3,454 metres, Jungfraujoch is the highest railway station in Europe. There are two stations within the tunnel which provide amazing views of the glacier world outside through the windows. The train stops for 5 minutes at these stations, so you have enough time to soak everything in.
How it all started
The idea about this tunnel first came to Adolf Guyer-Zeller in 1893. He was a Swiss entrepreneur who led his father’s company of spinning mill and textile export trade in Zurich to success. The tunnel construction started on July 27, 1896, and took 16 years to reach a point where it was opened to tourists.
What can you do once you’re at the Top of Europe?
Once at the Jungfraujoch, there are a lot of things that one can enjoy apart from the spectacular views. You can visit The Sphinx Observatory which can be reached through an elevator from Jungfraujoch. It is one of the world’s highest astronomical observatories from where you can enjoy 360-degree views from a terrace or from inside the building with windows.
There is an Ice palace where you can admire lots of ice sculptures and visit multiple restaurants. You can also go out in the snow at “The Plateau” and enjoy the views of Grosser Aletsch glacier and more snow-covered mountains. With proper gears and permissions, you can also go hiking across the glacier to the Mönchsjoch hut.
And now the best part, Lindt has a Swiss Chocolate Heaven right there in Jungfraujoch. You can see how chocolate is made and its history. If you are fan of Lindt chocolates, like me, you can buy chocolates from here.
Getting there – visitor’s tip:
We stayed at a beautiful Swiss cottage in Wengen and took our train to Jungfraujoch around late morning. Our trip was made more comfortable by Swiss pass, although it looks expensive at first, it does include a lot of journeys in it including the panoramic trains and Jungfraujoch. If you buy these trips separately, you will end up paying more than the pass itself.
Visit Switzerland to experience this first hand and if you want to plan your trip to Switzerland, message me through the comments section and I will definitely revert.