If you’re like me, when it comes to planning your trip to Switzerland, narrowing down which places to visit can be really difficult. But one region that features on most people’s itineraries is the Jungfrau Region, and rightly so.
The Jungfrau Region is one of Switzerland’s most popular destinations not only because of its extraordinary beauty but because it offers so much for the visitor to see and do.
It’s also home to two of Switzerland’s most famous mountains – Jungfrau and Schilthorn.
But if you’ll only have limited time in the area, you might be wondering which of these mountains to visit. Should you visit Jungfraujoch or would Schilthorn be a better choice?
There’s no simple answer. Both are quite different excursions and can be vastly different in price, depending on the type of ticket you buy.
If you’re debating which of these mountains to visit and you need some assistance to help you choose, keep reading!
In this guide I’ll cover all the ins and outs of each mountain excursion including how to get there, what you can see and do at the summit and the intermediate stations, how much time to allow for your excursion, what time of year the excursion operates, ticket prices, and more.
Prefer to listen to this information? This guide is a transcript of Episode 56 of our podcast. > Listen here.
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Quick Comparison of Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn Excursions
|Views from summit||Aletsch Glacier||360° mountains|
|Travel time from Interlaken||Min. 90 minutes||Min. 80 minutes|
|Recommended excursion duration||Min. 6 hours||Min. 4 hours|
|Regular ticket price ex Interlaken||CHF 235.80^||CHF 108.00|
Let’s start with the excursion to Jungfraujoch as there’s no denying this is one of the most popular day trips from Interlaken and the surrounding towns.
The mountain on which the excursion takes place is Mount Jungfrau, which, together with the Eiger and Mönch, forms an impressive triple-peak of mountains in the Bernese Alps.
The ‘joch’ part of the name Jungfraujoch refers to a saddle or a pass between two mountains, and this saddle is what is referred to as the Top of Europe.
Jungfraujoch is not the highest peak in Switzerland – it has a height of 3,454 metres above sea level – but it is home to Europe’s highest railway station.
With amazing views of the UNESCO World Heritage Swiss Alps Jungfrau – Aletsch landscape from Jungfraujoch, you really do feel like you are at the Top of Europe.
How to get to Jungfraujoch
There are two ways you can reach Jungfraujoch.
Option 1 – By train and Jungfraubahn via Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald
The first, and traditional, method is to travel by train which involves a series of regional trains from Interlaken (or the intermediate stations) before changing to the Jungfrau train operated by Jungfrau Railways.
If you are starting your trip in Interlaken, the region’s largest town, you will travel by train via Lauterbrunnen, Wengen and Kleine Scheidegg, or via Grindelwald and Kleine Scheidegg.
Changes of train are required at Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald.
At Kleine Scheidegg, you change again to the Jungfraubahn, a cogwheel train for the final leg of the journey, which takes 44 minutes. Part of this section of the trip is through a tunnel that was carved through the mountain over 100 years ago.
Just before the summit is reached, the train makes a five minute stop at Eismeer Station.
Here you can disembark and look out the specially-placed windows on the platform, and on a clear day, take in the magnificent views of the Eiger and Monch.
Travelling from Interlaken by train all the way to Jungfraujoch takes just over 2 hours from Lauterbrunnen and slightly less from Grindelwald.
Trains from Interlaken to Jungfraujoch operate twice per hour.
Option 2 – By Eiger Express cable car and Jungfraubahn from Grindelwald
The second, and newer, option to get to Jungfraujoch is to travel part of the way on the Eiger Express cableway, which opened in December 2020.
This state-of-the-art cableway travels between Grindelwald Terminal and Eiger Glacier station, where you then connect to the Jungfrau train for the final leg of the journey.
If you travel this way, you’ll reach Top of Europe 47 minutes faster than if you travel the entire way by train.
The Eiger Express cable cars can hold 26 passengers, offer 360 degree views and operate continuously throughout the day.
Of course, trains depart from Interlaken Ost for Grindelwald Terminal every 30 minutes, making it a seamless journey.
Both ways of reaching Jungfraujoch are very scenic and you can, of course, opt to travel one way by train and the other by train and cable car if you wish.
GOOD TO KNOW
Grindelwald Terminal is a purpose-built terminal for the Eiger Express cableway and the Grindelwald-Mannlichen cableway, and it also has a train station. The Grindelwald Terminal station is different to the main Grindelwald train station but is on the same line.
If you are travelling by train from Interlaken and wish to take the Eiger Express cable car, make sure you disembark the train at Grindelwald Terminal, which is four minutes before the main Grindelwald station.
Things to do at Jungfraujoch
Jungfraujoch Top of Europe
Once you reach Jungfraujoch Top of Europe there are numerous things you can see and do. One of the highlights is the opportunity to view the incredible Aletsch Glacier.
The highest glacier in Europe, Aletsch Glacier stretches for 23 kilometres from the Jungfrau to a plateau above the Rhone Valley.
This UNESCO World Heritage site is two kilometres wide at its widest point and is one of the most breathtaking views you’re likely to see.
The best place to see the Aletsch Glacier is from the Sphinx Observatory which is actually an international research station.
An elevator, which climbs 108 metres in just 25 seconds, whisks you up to the viewing platform where you’ll get panoramic views of the Aletsch Glacier and the surrounding Alps – in good weather, of course.
Another popular place to visit at Jungfraujoch is the Ice Palace which features a display of ice carvings.
There’s also the Alpine Sensation, a 250 metre long tunnel showcasing the history of the Jungfrau railway and the development of tourism in the Alps, and there are numerous shops including a Lindt Chocolate shop.
From mid-May until mid-October, visitors can enjoy activities such as snow tubing, sledging and skiing at the Snow Fun Park. There’s an additional cost for these activities.
There are three restaurants – two of which are open year round, a bar and a coffee bar at Jungfraujoch, too.
On your trip to or from Jungfraujoch you can stop off and spend time at any of the intermediate stations.
At Eiger Glacier station you’ll find two restaurants; there are numerous restaurants and a couple of souvenir shops at Kleine Scheidegg; whilst Grindelwald, Wengen and Lauterbrunnen are all small towns with a range of shops and services.
There are some great hiking trails available, too. I love the Eiger Glacier to Kleine Scheidegg for its incredible scenery.
How much time to allow for your trip to Jungfraujoch
So, how much time should you allow for your excursion to the Top of Europe? I recommend you spend at least three hours at the top plus your travel time.
The Top of Europe complex is built on a number of different levels and it takes some time to visit the Ice Palace, Alpine Sensation and Sphinx Observatory.
If you go outside and visit the Snow Fun Park, you will be walking on snow so you won’t want to rush and risk falling over. And because you are at such a high altitude, you may feel a little lethargic or light headed, so allow plenty of time.
Try to put aside the best part of a day for your visit so that you can experience all the activities and exhibitions, and enjoy a leisurely lunch, without being rushed.
Jungfraujoch ticket prices
The excursion to the Jungfraujoch doesn’t come cheap so you’ll want to get as much out of your visit as possible.
The regular price of an adult ticket from Interlaken to Jungfraujoch is 235.80 Swiss francs during high season, and slightly lower in low season.
This price can be reduced if you hold a Swiss Travel Pass, Swiss Half Fare Card or Regional Pass Berner Oberland. If you hold a Jungfrau Travel Pass you pay just CHF 75 for the excursion.
Children aged from 6 years to 15 years inclusive travel for free but they must hold the Junior Card which can be purchased from any train station in Switzerland for CHF 30.
Read our detailed guide to Jungfraujoch ticket prices here >>
Comparison of Jungfraujoch ticket prices
|Regular adult ticket price ex Interlaken||CHF 235.80^||BUY HERE|
|Discounted price with Jungfrau Travel Pass||CHF 74.00^||BUY HERE|
|Discounted price with Berner Oberland Pass||CHF 99.00||BUY HERE|
|Discounted price with Swiss Travel Pass||CHF 159.10||BUY HERE|
|Discounted price with Swiss Half Fare Card||CHF 117.90||BUY HERE|
If you purchase one of the travel passes mentioned above, you can buy the discounted supplement for the Jungfraujoch excursion at any train station in the Jungfrau Region.
The Jungfrau Travel Pass and Regional Pass Berner Oberland are seasonal passes – see when they are available here.
When is Jungfraujoch open?
Jungfraujoch Top of Europe can be reached by train 365 days per year.
The Eiger Express cableway is open year round except for one week in November when annual maintenance is performed. In 2022 the closure dates are November 7 to 11 inclusive.
Now that you know all about visiting Jungfraujoch, let’s talk about the Schilthorn. This mountain is located above the lovely village of Mürren and the Lauterbrunnen Valley.
It has a height of 2,970 metres above sea level and provides spectacular 360 degree views of more than 200 mountain peaks. In fact, the view is so incredible it has been nicknamed ‘the Swiss Skyline’ and it will take your breath away.
The summit is also home to the Piz Gloria revolving restaurant which featured in the 1969 James Bond movie “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” and I’ll tell you more about it soon.
How to get to Schilthorn
To reach the Schilthorn you have a choice of two ways to get there – both provide wonderful views.
Option 1 – By cable car from Stechelberg
The first route starts in Stechelberg, 12 minutes by car or bus from Lauterbrunnen. This is where you’ll find the valley station of the Schilthorn cableway.
Currently (in 2022), the Schilthorn cableway consists of four connecting cable cars between Stechelberg and Schilthorn but this will change in the future with the opening of the new 20XX project which is under construction.
At the moment, you first take a cable car from Stechelberg to Gimmelwald and then change to another cable car up to Mürren. Then, in Mürren, you board another cable car to travel up to Birg where you change for the final leg of the journey to Schilthorn.
When changing cable cars you are always in the same building, so the changeovers are very easy.
As part of the 20XX cable car project, there will be no stop or change required in Gimmelwald as a new direct cableway is being built from Stechelberg to Mürren. The new cableway is scheduled to open in 2023.
In total, this route from Stechelberg to Schilthorn currently takes 32 minutes.
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The cable cars depart twice per hour and you do need to scan your ticket at the turnstile to board each cable car so keep your ticket handy.
If you are travelling from Interlaken, you can either take a train to Lauterbrunnen – services operate every 30 minutes – and then take a bus, which departs from outside the train station, to Stechelberg.
Travel time from Interlaken to Stechelberg is 42 minutes. Alternatively, you can drive from Interlaken to Stechelberg in around 30 minutes.
Option 2 – By train and cable car from Lauterbrunnen
The second way you can reach Schilthorn is by taking a cable car from Lauterbrunnen to Grutschalp and then change to a train to Mürren.
Once in Mürren, you then need to walk through the village, which is about one kilometre long, to the Schilthornbahn cable car station. Here you take a cable car to Birg and then one to Schilthorn.
Travel time for this route is 47 minutes plus the time it takes you to walk through Mürren. There are at least half hourly services on this route, too.
To get from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen, you can take a train, as you would for the first option above. It’s a 20 minute train trip.
Things to do at Schilthorn
Once you’ve arrived at the summit of Schilthorn, there’s lots to see and do. For many, the main attraction is, without a doubt, the spectacular view from the Observation Deck.
As well as the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, on a clear day it’s possible to see Mt. Titlis, the Jura mountains, the Black Forest in Germany and even Mont Blanc in France. You can also see Lakes Thun and Brienz.
As I mentioned earlier, Schilthorn is where the James Bond movie “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” was filmed so there are plenty of James Bond inspired attractions here.
These include Spy World, an interactive exhibition where you can, amongst other things, fly a helicopter simulator, learn some Bond trivia, and ‘virtually’ ride in a bobsleigh that was used in one of the movie’s famous chase scenes.
There’s also a cinema which shows scenes and stunts from the movie.
Outside, the 007 Walk of Fame features information boards about the movie’s cast and crew so you can take a DIY tour.
There are great views from the Walk of Fame and from the perfectly placed ‘view lounges’ where you can sit for a while and take it all in.
The Schilthorn also guarantees snow 365 days a year so if you’ve always wanted to touch snow, this is a great place to do so.
When you’re hungry, the Schilthorn offers both a take away shop and the 360 Degree Restaurant Piz Gloria.
This was the world’s first revolving mountain restaurant and one rotation takes 45 minutes, which gives you plenty of time to watch the beautiful mountain scenery go by as you enjoy a delicious meal.
The restaurant is very popular so reservations are recommended. There’s also a souvenir shop where you can buy those must-have Schilthorn mementoes.
On your way to or from the Schilthorn summit, it’s definitely worth stopping off at the Birg intermediate station for a look around. Here you’ll find a bistro with an outdoor terrace, and two activities not for the faint-hearted.
Skyline Walk is an observation deck with a see-through floor which protrudes out over the vertical abyss. Right in front of the Skyline Walk are the ‘big three’ – Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau – which provide the perfect backdrop for your photo.
The Thrill Walk, meanwhile, is a 200 metre steel pathway which clings to the cliff face underneath the observation deck AND the cableway! To get your heart pumping there’s a tightrope to walk across, a tunnel to crawl through and a glass-bottomed floor.
The village of Mürren deserves some time, too.
There are numerous cafes, restaurants and shops here, and you can also take a funicular to Allmendhubel, where there’s a fantastic childrens’ playground, a restaurant and numerous walking trails.
Read more about planning a visit to Schilthorn here >>
How long to allow for your visit to Schilthorn
When you’re planning your visit to Schilthorn, I recommend you allow at least two hours to visit the summit and Birg stations, plus your travel time.
If you would also like to dine in the 360 Degree Restaurant, have a look around Mürren or do a hike, you’ll need to allow longer.
Schilthorn ticket prices
Ticket prices for the Schilthorn are considerably cheaper than Jungfraujoch.
The regular price from Interlaken to Schilthorn is CHF 108 per adult, and discounts apply if you hold a Swiss Travel Pass, Swiss Half Fare Card, Regional Pass Berner Oberland or Jungfrau Travel Pass.
Children up to 16 years who have a Junior Card or Swiss Family Card, and are accompanied by a parent, travel for free.
|Regular adult ticket price ex Interlaken||CHF 108.00||BUY NOW#|
|Discounted price with Jungfrau Travel Pass||CHF 85.60||BUY NOW|
|Discounted price with Berner Oberland Pass||CHF 42.80||BUY NOW|
|Discounted price with Swiss Travel Pass||CHF 42.80||BUY NOW|
|Discounted price with Swiss Half Fare Card||CHF 54.00||BUY NOW|
If you purchase one of the travel passes mentioned above, you can buy the discounted supplement for the Schilthorn excursion at any of the Schilthorn cable car stations or at the Lauterbrunnen to Grütschalp cable car station.
The Jungfrau Travel Pass and Regional Pass Berner Oberland are seasonal passes – see when they are available here.
When is Schilthorn open?
The Schilthorn is open year round except for two short maintenance periods each year – 3 weeks from mid November and four days in April. The closure dates can be found in this article.
Schilthorn or Jungfraujoch? Final Thoughts
I’ve covered a lot of information in this guide and I hope it has helped you to decide whether to choose Jungfraujoch or Schilthorn for your excursion.
Or perhaps you’ll visit both.
They are both fantastic excursions – the best one to visit depends on your interests, the time you have available and your budget.
If you only have one day to spend in the area, you should definitely just choose one of these mountains to visit, but if you have two or three days in Interlaken and the Jungfrau Region, you will have time for both.
Whichever mountain excursion you decide to take, it’s sure to be a memorable experience. Enjoy!
🇨🇭 To read all our guides to Interlaken and the Jungfrau Region, > click here.