To the Jungfraujoch
There are two routes from Interlaken to the Kleine Scheidegg (starting point of the Jungfraubahn), either via Lauterbrunnen or via Grindelwald: the best plan is to go one way and come back the other. The line to both places is the same as far as Zweilütschinen, at the junction of two streams, the Schwarze Lütischine (Black Lütischine) coming from Grindelwald and the Weisse Lütischine (White Lütischine) from the Lauterbrunnen valley.
Wengen (1,300 m/4,267ft; pop. 1,150), beautifully situated at the foot of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, is an ideal base for walks and climbs in the mountain world of the Bernese Oberland. There is a cableway up Männlichen (2,343km/7,687ft), and numerous attractive footpaths. Particularly rewarding is the climb to the Wengernalp, either direct (1.75 hours) or by way of the Mettlealp (1,700 m/5,578ft; immediately opposite the Jungfrau; three hours).
From Wengen the railroad continues up for another 4km/2mi to the Wengernalp (1,873 m/6,145ft; Hotel Jungfrau, November-April, 45b.), from which there are splendid views of the Trümleten valley and the Jungfrau. There is a chair-lift from Wengernalp Wixi to the Lauberhornschulter (2,310 m/7,579ft). 11km/7mi farther on is the Kleine Scheidegg, starting point of the Jungfraubahn.
Kleine Scheidegg - Start point of Jungfraubahn
Kleine Scheidegg (2,081 m/6,830ft; Scheidegg Hotels, open December-September), the terminus of the rack (cog) railroads from Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald and the starting-point of the Jungfraubahn, with tremendous views of the nearby 4,000 m/13,124ft peaks of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. Magnificent walks; splendid skiing country (Arven, Honegg and Lauberhorn ski-lifts). Sight-seeing flights over the glaciers from Männlichen.
First section, from the Kleine Scheidegg (2,061 m/6,762ft) to the Eiger glacier (2,320 m/7,612ft), opened in 1898; from the Eiger glacier (2,320 m/7,612ft) to the Eigerwand (2,865 m/9,400ft) in 1903; from the Eigerwand (2,865 m/ 9,400ft) to the Eismeer (3,160 m/10,368ft) in 1905; and from the Eismeer (3,160 m/10,368ft) to the Jungfraujoch (3,454 m/11,333ft) in 1912.Total length 9.3km/6mi; gauge 100 cm/39 in; gradients up to 25%.Tunnel 7.1km/4mi long from the Eiger glacier to the Jungfraujoch. Rack-railroad (cog-railroad).
Eigerwand station (2,865 m/9,400ft), with a magnificent view of Grindelwald, 1,800 m/5,906ft below. From here the line runs under the Eiger and it is 5.7km/4mi to Eismeer (Sea of Ice).
Sea of Ice
Eismeer (Sea of Ice, 3,160 m/10,368ft) on the south face of the Eiger, 40 m/131ft above the Upper Grindelwald-Fiescher Firn (névé, or frozen snow), with views over the much-crevassed surface of the glacier towards the Wetterhorn, the Schreckhorn, the Fiescherhörner and the great crevasse under the Mönchsjoch. From here it is a journey of 50 minutes (9.3km/6mi) along the rack-railroad to the Jungfraujoch.
The Jungfraujoch (3,454 m/11,333ft), the highest railroad station in Europe, which together with the accommodation for visitors, the research stations, the underground passages and the elevators forms a little subterranean town of its own. An outer lobby (post office, shops, restaurants, lookout gallery) leads into the Ice Palace (Eispalast), a cavern hewn out of the glacier, with ice sculpture.From the Sphinx Tunnel an elevator (112 m/367ft) ascends to the summit of the Sphinx (3,573 m/11,273ft), with an lookout terrace, a research institute and a weather station. There is also an exit from the tunnel giving access to a summer ski school; here, too, visitors can have a sleigh ride, pulled by husky dogs.The views from the Jungfraujoch itself, the saddle of firn (névé) between the Mönch and the Jungfrau, are breathtaking. To the south can be seen the Aletsch glacier, 22km/14mi long, to the north the mountain world of the Alps, the Mittelland and beyond this, on clear days, the Vosges and the Black Forest.
Facilities: Gift shop, On-site accomodations, Restaurant or food service
Top of Europe Restaurant
Next to a self-service restaurant is Jungfraujoch's first-class Top of Europe restaurant opened in 1987, offers magnificent views of the mountains and in fine weather the Aletsch glacier.