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This is the last post on this wonderful one-day tour of the Jungfrau area. From Interlaken Ost station to Jungfraujoch, one way, it took about 2.5 hours and two changes of trains.


We came back down the mountain using a slightly different route. The trip from Jungfraujoch to Kleine Scheidegg is the same except it took a few minutes less than the ascent. From Kleine Scheidegg (elevation 2,061 m, 6,762 ft), we went downhill via Grindelwald (1,034 m, 3,392 ft) instead of Lauterbrunnen where we started. See the first of five posts here.


For the whole circuit, in total, that is 5 hours of train journeys divided into 6 segments in one day.


A one way, second class fare was CHF50, first class fare is doubled that. Except for hang-gliders or some extreme skiers or hikers, there are no other way down. Considering the comfort, convenience and vertical distance traveled, not to mention views, it was worth it.


There were two stations before reaching Grindelwald: Alpiglen and Brandegg.


Grindelwald is a village/ski resort that has been inhabited since Roman times and was first mentioned in print in the 1100’s.


The tourism industry began in Grindelwald in the late 18th century. Many English came to the village to climb the alpine peaks around the valley. It is the only decent size resort in the area that can be reached by car.


We walked around Grindelwald a bit to stretch our legs. The village is full of hotels, shops and restaurants, and many tour buses too.


From the village, looking back, one can see the way the train comes down the mountain.


Zoomed in.

Can you see the narrow railway cutting through the alpine pastures in the middle ?


We got a different train and continued our way back to Interlaken.


The success of this trip depended critically on the weather which apparently changes constantly and abruptly. It was wise to follow the advice of the tourist information center to wait until it is clear. We were in Interlaken for three days – this was our last day. Those tour groups from abroad do not have the flexibility and may have to miss the Jungfrau altogether.


Now that we have an idea of what the area looks like, planning becomes easier. It would be great if we can spend a week in any one of these villages – Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald, Wengen, Kleine Scheidegg or the nearby Murren and explore the alps and the alpine meadow and woods on foot.





This is Jungfrau Circuit #4 post.  Jungfraujoch is an under-mountain railway station where the mountain train terminates and one can take different routes to explore the area. The first post of the series is here.

For the 100-year anniversary of the Jungfrau Railway, a 250-metre long adventure tour called Alpine Sensation was inaugurated in 2012. It describes the development of tourism in the Alps and Adolf Guyer-Zeller’s great idea (see photo below) and extreme efforts required to construct the Jungfrau Railway. A short light show with shaking floors – it was quite amusing as we were not expecting it.

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There were indoor fast food and fine dining restaurants, and quite a few shops – especially watches -Tissot has a big presence here to show off its Touch series of watches which can measure altitude and atmospheric pressure among other geeky functions. I guess it could be fun to see the altitude number changes as one goes up/down the mountain.

Switzerland is famous for these two things – watches and cows.



This tour viewable on an escalator creates a direct connection from the Sphinx Hall to the Ice Palace –  it’s not much of a palace, more a series of inter-connecting ice caverns beneath the glacier.

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Cutesy ice sculpture decorates numerous alcoves.

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The floor was a bit slippery but it was dry inside despite the shiny surfaces.

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The walls of the glacier tunnel looked like marble from a distance.

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We thought this might be Sherlock Holmes (smoking a pipe) or the king of the palace.

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There are numerous caves and dark passages. The Ice Palace is bigger than the Mer de Glace ice caves near Chamonix – see our earlier post here.

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The Ice Palace is a touristy thing so all the diversions get you safely back to the exit.

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What’s that directly below the viewing area ?


Zooming in reveals the structure as an “escalator” serving a sledding area. No need to pull the sled back up the hill.


There is really so much winter sporty things to do up here even in the summer.

But it’s time to go down hill and head home. More to come.

This is Jungfrau Circuit #3 – our train journey to the Top of Europe. See part 1 and part 2, here and here.


After Eigerwand, the second and last stop under the mountain is Eismeer. Like Eigerwand, we have 5 minutes to look out through the giant windows. But unlike Eigerwand, all we saw was snow.


Located just behind the south-east face of the Eiger, one can observe the Grindelwald-Fiescher Glacier through the window.


According to Wikipedia, the station opened on 25 July 1905, with the extension of the Jungfraubahn from its previous terminus at Eigerwand station. The building of the line this far had depleted the railway company’s finances, and for the next seven years, Eismeer was to remain the upper terminus. After further fund-raising and an extended construction period, the line was extended to Jungfraujoch station in 1912.


Jungfraujoch is an under-mountain railway station situated below the Jungfraujoch col at 3,454 meters (11,332 ft). It is the lowest point on the mountain ridge between Mönch and Jungfrau.

What a place to do hang-gliding !


But the Jungfraujoch railway station, at an elevation of 3,454 meters (11,332 ft) is the highest railway station in Europe and is connected to the Top of Europe building.

jungfrau-6We first heard a roar and a few seconds later, these two jets just flew right pass the Jungfrau.  Spectacular flying ! We assume those planes were used for air show or tourism since they were bright red. Lucky that I managed to get a shot of them.


This is the summit of Jungrau – just partially hidden behind clouds. When we first arrived in Interlaken, the tourist office folks told us to wait until the third day when the weather was fairer, otherwise there is nothing to see. Thank you for the advice !


The Sphinx (3,571 meters or 11,716 feet) is a peak that lies just to the east of the col. Try match the two photos above of Jungfrau with the view on the left side of the viewing table.


At one of the vantage points, there were viewing tables in multiple directions which list the Alpine and Jura peaks that are visible. The photo below corresponds to the view on the right side of the viewing table.



Same direction but zoomed in to get a better view of  Kleine Scheidegg and the little Fallbodensee.



Looking in another direction at the Great Aletsch Glacier which began at the bottom of this spot and extends 22 km – the longest in the Alps.



A zoomed-in view of the Grosser Aletschglectscher.



There is an elevator to its summit, where a small viewing platform and an observatory.


To a get a sense of how the whole area looks, click on the map below to get a jumbo version.

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The tour continues in our next post.

This is part 2 of our trip to the Top of Europe … continuing with our train journey from Interlaken up to Jungfraujoch … see our earlier post here.

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Located at Kleine Scheidegg is the Hotel Bellevue des Alpes (building behind the souvenir store). Built in 1840, the Bellevue des Alpes was last extended and renovated in 1948. All the great mountaineers of the 20th century as well as celebrities from society, skiing and the film industry have stayed in this hotel.

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The Kleine Scheidegg railway station, which serves the two rack railways, the Wengernalpbahn (since 1893) and the Jungfraubahn (since 1896).

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The Wengernalpbahn has two branches: one begins at Grindelwald; the other commences at Lauterbrunnen and climbs to the pass via Wengen.

Click this map to get a bigger image. You will better appreciate what the mountains and the area offer in terms of activities and vistas. Can you find Kleine Scheidegg ?

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The Jungfraubahn runs 9 kilometres from Kleine Scheidegg almost entirely within a tunnel built into the Eiger and Mönch mountains and contains three stations, while two are in the middle of the tunnel.

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An earlier train that departed Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch (see photo below).  The journey from Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch takes approximately 50 minutes including the stops at Eigerwand and Eismeer; the downhill return journey taking only 35 minutes.

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The first stop is at Eigergletscher at 2,320 m (7,612 ft). There is hardly anything here except the entrance of the tunnel and mountain fresh air.

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Mountain air.

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Fallbodensee, along the way up, a small pond that is clearly visible from the top.

klein s-9In case you are wondering, our trip was taken in early September.

klein s-10We think that is Wengen in the distance – the resort village we passed through a little while ago.  Then we entered the long tunnel.

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Eigerwand is an underground (or more aptly under-mountain) railway station situated at 2,864 m (9,396 ft). The only access to the station, other than by train, is a door in the sheer face of the mountain. This has, on occasion, been used to rescue mountaineers stranded on the mountain.

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The station is situated just behind the famous north wall of the Eiger, and its principal purpose is to allow passengers to observe the view through a series of windows carved into the rock face. The holes were used to remove excavated rock from the tunnel during construction. The photos below were taken from the giant windows through thick glass.

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Uphill trains stop at the station for five minutes. One can see Fallbodensee and Kleine Scheidegg in the pictures above and below.

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That’s how much we climbed in only a short while. The uphill journey continues in the next post.



One of the main attractions of Switzerland is located near Interlaken. The Jungfrau (4158 m, 13642 feet; in German meaning “maiden/virgin”) is one of the main summits in the Bernese Alps. Together with the Eiger and Mönch, the Jungfrau forms a massive wall overlooking the area. There is a height difference of 3,600 m between the summit and the town of Interlaken where the photo below is taken from our hotel room.


We are calling this the Jungfrau circuit because we went by rail up to Jungfraujoch (3454 m, 11333 feet) via Lauterbrunnen and came down via Grindelwald (it can also be done in the other direction). There will be at least two more posts in this series. Click the map for a bigger image of the area.

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We did this tour in the summer of 2013. The train for Lauterbrunnen departed from the Interlaken Ost station. My Swiss annual train ticket (general abonnement) got me as far as Lauterbrunnen and a discount for the rest of the train journey from that point up to Jungfraujoch. It is quite an expensive train ride but considering the elevation and the sights, it is well worth it.


The train snaked its way from Interlaken alongside a river up to Lauterbrunnen which is situated in a very impressive trough valleys in the Alps, between gigantic rock faces and mountain peaks.


The name ‘Lauter Brunnen’ (‘many fountains’) came from the numerous waterfalls (apparently there are 72) in the valley, the most famous being the Staubbach Falls. As we did not stop here except to change train, we did not really visit the valley and have to come back to do some hiking.

At the bottom of the valley (792m, 2608 feet).


We changed train and continued our climb. Looking back into the valley.


The next stop was Wengen (1274m, 4180 feet).


Wengen is a car-free resort village. We imagine it to be very tranquil except when the train rolls in. It looked quite busy when we got there.


Lots of hiking trails, and cows, all over the mountain.

lauterbrunnen-12Wengen would be another good place to stay for hiking.

lauterbrunnen-8Looking back at Wengen.

lauterbrunnen-9The climb continued. The next stop is Kleine Scheidegg at 2061 m, 6762 feet.

lauterbrunnen-10There were fewer and fewer trees. This is genuine alpine landscape.


Kleine Scheidegg meaning “minor watershed”  is a high mountain pass below Eiger and Lauberhorn peaks.


Kleine Scheidegg connects Grindelwald with Lauterbrunnen.

lauterbrunnen-15We changed to another rack railway train and continued our climb to Jungfraujoch. Rack railway is a steep grade railway with a toothed rack rail, usually between the running rails (see third rail in the middle in photo above). The trains are fitted with one or more cog wheels that mesh with this rack rail.

lauterbrunnen-14The circuit is in our opinion a must-do for visitors of Switzerland as it brings many of the popular elements of this country together in a one-day trip. See our next post for the trip up to the top of Europe.