In 2005 I made my first visit to Switzerland. Apart from catching up with friends and touring the country I took an amazing railway journey to the top of the Jungfraujoch. This is a saddle between the Jungfrau Mountain (Young Virgin Mountain – 4,158 metres / 3,642 feet) and the Mönch Mountain (4,107 m / 13,474 feet) which are some of the highest peaks in the Bernese Alps.
You start out in Interlaken and take a 7.3-kilometre-long (4.5 mile) train / cog railway journey to the highest railway station in Europe which is 3,454 metres (just over 11,000 feet) above sea level! This has to be one of the great train journeys you can take?
To get to the Jungfraujoch you must travel on the cog railway through a tunnel within Eiger Mountain (3,970 metres / 13,020 feet) and Mönch Mountain. What an engineering feat this was to create a railway line in the early 20th century that zig zag’s its way up and inside these mountains.
On the way up you stop at the intermediate stations of Eismeer and Eigerwand where you can look out windows in the rock face of the mountain to take in the view of the surrounding glaciers and countryside. This is not a cheap trip but the views are well worth it.
Once you get up top as you exit the railway station you walk through the Ice Palace for a chilly yet fun welcome to the Jungfraujoch. The railway station may look like any other one underground until you remember you are inside a mountain!
From there you can head up to the Sphinx or the Berghaus to take in the view. We wandered about then enjoyed some lunch whilst taking in the surrounding vista.
Look out far and wide across Switzerland or back toward the Aletsch Glacier. At a length of 23 kilometres / 14 miles it is the largest glacier in the alps. Spectacular!
The views are great but to truly take in the beauty of the Jungfraujoch, hike out to the edge of the glacier. The scenery is almost overwhelming and at that altitude it literally takes your breath away!
The day was finished with a hike to the quaint and oh so Swiss town of Grindelwald. I wonder how many people have broken out into the Sound of Music in this place?
Switzerland has to be one of the most beautiful countries in this great world of ours. They make great chocolate too!