Friday, February 10, 2012

Day 18 - Jungfrau - Top of Europe (2011)

Early to bed and early to rise. We'll miss the train otherwise! 

By early I meant 4am we were up and about. Based on my research about going up to the Top of Europe, it's best to take the early morning train, leaving Interlaken Ost at 6:05am, reaching Jungfrau at around 8am. Not only will we be able to avoid the crowds (who usually arrive late in the morning), we can also save a lot with this early morning trip.

From Katy's B&B, we walked to Interlaken West (yes, very convenient!) to take the train to Interlaken Ost, which connects to Lauterbrunnen then to Kleine Scheidegg, and finally to Jungfrau. When we arrived at the station, of course it was too early, the ticket office was still closed. We had no idea if we still needed a ticket even with this hotel card. We just followed the crowd, took the train to Interlaken Ost, and we were ok.

the very friendly host at Katy's B&B remembered to give us this Interlaken hotel card which serves as a pass for local transpo. That means we didn't have to pay for our train ride from Interlaken Est to Interlaken Ost. She also told us what time to leave the house to be able to ride the train that connects to the Good Morning Ticket timing.

At Interlaken Ost, there weren't too many people yet (yes, still too early for most). We approached the ticket counter and saw that there was a live tv feed on Jungfrau. It was foggy! We couldn't see anything at all. I talked to the ticketing officer if there was any chance of the weather clearing and she wasn't sure (of course). Oh well, we didn't really wake up this early for nothing so we proceeded on buying our train tickets - clear weather or fog.

For the early morning ticket, aptly called "Good Morning Ticket", we paid CHF140 per adult (originally CHF190.20 for second class tickets). The children got to ride for FREE, but technically we did pay for the Junior Card which entitled them the free ride. Junior Card cost CHF30 per child. I'd say that's a huge savings.

Good Morning Ticket for adults

our train route: Interlaken Ost to Jungfraujoch via Lauterbrunnen (going up) 
and from Jungfraujoch to Interlaken Ost via Grindelwald (going down)

This was the suggested route to take based on the travel blogs I've read. And it was also suggested by the ticketing officer. We'll be having different views of the mountains.

the Junior Cards for our boys
Each parent should keep one ticket per child (in case one gets lost???).

the map of the train routes

With tickets in-hand, we were ready for our Top of Europe experience. Departure of train from Interlaken Ost was at 635am.
on board the train from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen (first leg of the trip)

slowly ascending...

magnificent view from the train

the kids having fun in their own way inside the train

feels like heaven.. and we were not even halfway yet

Arrived at Lauterbrunnen station (655am) where we stopped and changed train to get to Kleine Scheidegg (second leg of the trip).

waiting for the train to start the journey again

kids contented to just sit and wait on-board the train

The train left Lauterbrunnen at 659am and arrived at Kleine Scheidegg at 739am.

still hoping for a clearer weather at the Top

as we got higher and higher into the mountains, it became more and more foggy... 
and, of course, colder

Ira admiring the view

drizzling a bit

We changed trains again at Kleine Scheidegg - the last place to change trains. This was actually the leg of the trip that hikes up the cost of the train ticket :) Train left Kleine Scheidegg at 8am.

reached Eiger at 2320m - not much view because of the fog

tv screen on board the train showing how many more stops to get to Jungfraujoch

the kids still in great spirits

need i say more?

the Jungfraubahn stopped at Eismeer at 3160m. I went down to check what was out there.

Voila! Snow, ice, and more snow. This meant colder weather, thus the need to gear up - kids wore their bonnets and mittens and doubled up their jackets.

The train continued its steep ascent to the top of the mountains, at times even passing through the mountains. What a great engineering feat! Next year, the jungfraubahn will be celebrating its centenary. 

we reached our final destination - Top of Europe, Jungfraujoch at 3454m - at 852am.
This is one of Switzerland's most attractive excursion destinations and vantage points.
Europe’s highest altitude railway station
You can see how cold it was from the board temperature.

We didn't waste anytime and made our way around the area. There were several things to see and do at Jungfraujoch. Half of the group stayed back at the shop to buy additional gear (mittens). The rest of us, headed to the outdoor area for the kids to play.

the kids on their way outside to play with snow

when we got out, it was "drizzling" a bit. We couldn't really care less.

the agenda for the day - SNOW BALL FIGHT!

fully covered and ready for snowball fight

Ira wasn't feeling that well when we got to the top. But he didn't want to miss the opportunity to play in the snow.

it's just pure ice and snow - white everywhere!

gearing up for the fight of the day

who's that big chunk of snow for?

too much white all around us, it's blinding!

shades do come in handy

it's cool

i got hit! 

Ira hits Kelvin.... Kelvin hits Ira... and cousin Shane was just watching and waiting.

it's time to retreat for Ira. He couldn't take the cold anymore. We left the other 2 kids outside while waiting for the rest of the group to come out.

Sphinx – 3,571m above sea level

We got into this level in a few seconds through Switzerland's fastest lift.

let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.... in summer!

We should have scene a 360-degree panoramic view of the neighboring countries. Unfortunately, with the weather we were in, all we could see were fog and blankets of ice.

how does snow taste like???
Side note - few months after we got back home, Kelvin had a growth spurt. He grew taller, and his shoe size became bigger. The new shoes bought for this trip no longer fit him after 6 months! My younger son said Kelvin grew because he ate snow from Jungfrau :)

Ira on his way back inside again. Poor kid. Couldn't take the cold weather anymore. He was actually chilling after playing in the snow.

on our way to the Ice Palace with 3 of the kids. The other group was nowhere to be found.

tunnel of ice

peeping thru the ice hole

felt like we were inside a glacier

official watch of Jungfraubahn centenary

hubby took this picture at the Plateau. He was the only one who braved the winds and cold weather


luxurious but useful remembrance from way up here
They have centennial watch models in commemoration of Jungfraubahn's 100yrs of operation.
And comparing prices there and in Singapore, it's way cheaper there!

waiting for the next train before 12noon

the mastermind behind the highest cogwheel railway technology

goodbye, Jungfraujoch... it gave us quite a high to be on the Top of Europe. We're glad we were able to share this experience with your almost Centenary celebration.

From Jungfraujoch, now back to home base.

in front of Interlaken Ost station

We walked around and looked for a place to eat lunch. Doner time!

the last train ride for the day - on our way back to Interlaken West

passing by one of the lakes in Interlaken

We headed back to Katy's B&B, rested for a while, and headed out again. We initially planned to drive to Lucerne but decided to stay withing Interlaken and check out attractions in the area.
we saw this beautiful waterfalls along the way and decided to have a closer look

from afar, we could see there was a walkway leading to the top of the hill

it's quite a steep ascent but the guys thought it would be quite an adventure to get up there and see the falls up close

a view of Lauterbrunnen halfway up the hill

armed with umbrellas cause it was drizzling, we were now entering a tunnel leading to the foot of the waterfalls

There were steps carved on the stones or walls of the mountain. But it still wasn't an easy climb as the steps were slippery because of the spray of water from the falls.

we've finally reached the top of the path within the waterfalls

we were actually behind the falls now

5 adults tagging along 4 kids to the climb up the waterfalls

we've braved the steep slopes, cold weather and drizzles. The kids were tough!

we took some photos but didn't stay there for a long time. There were still other people going up and we all wouldn't fit in the small space in the viewing deck

making our way down

the trip down was faster and easier

there's like a mini park at the foot of the waterfalls with this giant faucet

care to have a drink?

while the adults were resting on benches under a tree, the kids kept themselves busy playing with water

the sign on the way up the waterfalls

One waterfall down, many more to go. So many waterfalls, so little time. It was already late afternoon, but we were still looking for one waterfall we have read about in a brochure at the hotel.

Trummelbackfalle (Trummelbach Falls)
a series of 10 glacier-waterfalls inside the mountain made accessible by tunnel lift (wikipedia)

we walked towards the foot of the mountain to check if the lift was still in operation. Along the way there were wild flowers and Ira enjoyed looking at them.

he picked one out

this was the model of the tunnel lift which brings people inside the mountain to see the water falls from within. Unfortunately, we came late in the afternoon and it was already closed. We decided to come back the next day to have the chance to see the glacier-waterfalls and to ride the tunnel lift.

for now, a photo in front of the sign to Trummelbach Falls will suffice

my souvenir from the shop which was located along the path to the entrance


  1. Thanks for sharing the experience.

  2. Thanks, this is a beautiful post!!

    I actually stayed in interlaken as well, and checked in at Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof. Quite a family friendly hostel, it would have been great for you as well :)
    Here is my review

    1. Hi Matt! Thanks for the compliment. When the kids are a bit older maybe we can also try out the backpackers villa you are recommending. I will look into it.


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