Day 8: Nachster Halt – Jungfrau
Jungfrau; the queen of the mountains. It’s not the biggest mountain in Switzerland but it’s probably the highest anyone can go by train. If you want to experience winter in the summer, look no further. It’s also a very expensive train ticket so hopefully you decided to go during good weather. Many tourists come from their Interlaken and Grindelwald hotels to get to Jungfrau. It’s best to wake up first thing and try to beat the crowds.
It was an unbelievably nice and clear day but the mountain forecast had thunderstorms on the itinerary for the afternoon. More reason to get things done early. From Lauterbrunnen, we headed to the small town of Wengen via a short train ride. Wengen looks nice, like a mini Grindelwald. If I ever returned, I’d stay here.
Anyway, from Wengen, we took the cable car up to Mannlichen. We didn’t want to be late to Jungfrau, but from the Mannlichen station, there is a peak 15 minutes away which has great views of the valley. Nevertheless, Mannlichen station has its own views.
I read somewhere that one of the easiest and most scenic hikes is from Mannlichen station to Klein Scheidegg station; the main station for the Jungfrau train. It’s about an hour or so and yes, it’s the most scenic hike I’ve been on.
Did I mention it’s mostly downhill.
Halfway through the path, you make a right turn, and suddenly the big 3 decide to join the party. These guys know how to make an entrance.
Once again, strategically placed benches; the Swiss know the spots.
And if you’re into construction, you can try it out I guess.
It was a nice day and all but without any shade, the sun will mess get you hot and uncomfortable so bring sunscreen and water. Keep in mind that you’ve been 7,000 feet above sea level this whole time. After a scenic hour, you’ll arrive at Kleine Scheidegg.
Now here is something that I learned and didn’t know beforehand which is really important. The train to Jungfrau is limited and you have to get your tickets prior to arriving otherwise you may find out that tickets are sold out. Trains leave every half hour or so with a certain number of seats. When your competition is busloads of tour groups, you have to take what you can get. We ended up with train tickets but had the earliest one available which was in 2 hours. Eh, that’s ok I guess, we were hungry anyway so we just ate bratwursts and such at the restaurant. And there is wifi, so an hour can go fast and smooth. And one more tip, when booking the return train, give yourself 3 hours instead of 2 because you may want to take your time.
Choo choo, onward to Jungfrau. Much respect to those who blasted the mountain to make the these tunnels above 10,000 feet years ago. As you ascend you may have to put layers on. When you first get off, you may want to go straight to the Sphinx Terrace observatory. Remember to put on your shades before getting off the elevator, its bright out there. You’ll notice that you’re in a winter world surrounded by snow, ice, and rock. And Aletsch glacier (Europe’s longest glacier [22km] is in front of you as well.
From the observatory, you’ll also see fun stuff going on below like skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, and zip lining. What is this place? Well, time to head below and play. Right along the glacier, is the Snow Fun Park. We didn’t hesitate for a second and just got on snow tubes. Before you know it, and hour or so passed. Sledding is cool too but you’ll get your legs more wet from the snow.
We didn’t do the zip line because it was kind of short for what it was worth, but stay tuned to a Swiss zip line that I think is worth it in the following post. And if you wanted to trek 45 minutes across the glacier to the Monch hut, you could do that too.
There are other areas to explore such as the Alpine Sensation (museum with lights and music) and Ice Palace (ice cave with ice sculptures similar to Zermatt’s glacier paradise ice cave) but we didn’t get a chance. Snow fun park was too fun for anything else lol.
And before leaving, make sure to stop at the world’s highest-altitude chocolate shop. We started to notice some big clouds swarming the mountain, well it’s time to go anyway. As we headed back down to Lauterbrunnen and Interlaken from Jungfrau, it rained hard; totally dodged that nastiness up there. Always check the mountain-forecast site for the weather before planning your next day, it helped me a lot.