Updated on: April 2, 2024

How to visit Jungfraujoch – aka the Top of Europe – on a budget


Jungfraujoch is one of those places…

One that makes the bucket list of almost every person coming to Switzerland.

One that causes your jaw to hit the floor once you see those mountains and glaciers.

One that confirms that Switzerland has the potential to make your wallet bleed

And one that, despite the high costs, is worth every penny to experience.

At Christmas of 2016, when I started this blog and began to write about budget-friendly places in Switzerland, I swore to myself that Jungfraujoch wouldn't make that list. 


Now, almost four years later, it’s time to break the silence. Expensive as it is, Jungfraujoch has earned its rightful spot on every single bucket list and it’s time I stop excluding this wonderful place from my blog. Instead, let’s take a look at this special part of the world and try to squeeze it into a budget traveller’s bounds of possibility.

Are you ready to rise to the Top of Europe?

1. What is Jungfraujoch?

Jungfraujoch, also known as the Top of Europe, is Europe’s highest railway station and was built for one purpose only.

To attract tourists.

In the late 19th century, Adolf Guyer-Zeller had the bright idea to build a cogwheel railway from Kleine Scheidegg through two mountains – Eiger and Mönch – all the way to Jungfraujoch.

Which, if you think of it, is slightly insane.

The terrain up there is anything but hospitable and blasting your way through two mountains to end up at 3.454 metres (11.300 feet) above sea level is by no means an easy task.

Considering it was the 1890s!

Not surprisingly, the undertaking took its toll and 30 people lost their lives during construction. Finally, in 1912, this piece of engineering art was completed. Since then, people from around the globe have been visiting Europe’s highest railway station to enjoy the views, take in the fresh mountain air and play around in the snow. 

2. Where is Jungfraujoch?

Dominantly positioned in the Bernese Alps, where the Cantons of Bern and Valais meet, is the most famous Swiss mountain trio: Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. Jungfraujoch is nestled between the two peaks of Mönch and Jungfrau.


Jungfraujoch lies between the peaks of Mönch and Jungfrau.

3. How do I get to Jungfraujoch?

Reaching the Top of Europe is a bit of a mission, to say the least. 

First up, you need to make your way to Interlaken. That in itself isn’t too hard as you’ve got frequent trains coming in from Bern and Basel as well as the Golden Pass Line from Lucerne. And with no more than one or two transfers, you can reach Interlaken from every major Swiss train station within a reasonable amount of time. 

It’s in Interlaken where things start getting interesting. The saying “the journey is the destination” is alarmingly accurate in our case here. But before we dive into your options, take a look at this map on page two to familiarise yourself with the whereabouts.

Option 1: Interlaken - Lauterbrunnen - Wengen - Kleine Scheidegg - Jungfraujoch

Hop on the train from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen, where you transfer to a cogwheel railway to Kleine Scheidegg.

Between Lauterbrunnen and Kleine Scheidegg, you’ll pass through Wengen, where the famous Lauberhorn Ski World Cup takes place every January. If you’ve ever wanted to inspect the slopes where the pros race down at break-neck speed, this is your chance. 

At Kleine Scheidegg, the Jungfraubahn awaits you for your last leg up to Jungfraujoch. All in all, this one-way trip takes roughly two hours.

Option 2: Interlaken - Grindelwald - Kleine Scheidegg - Jungfraujoch

Catch the train from Interlaken to Grindelwald, where you transfer to a cogwheel railway to Kleine Scheidegg. This option rewards you with spectacular views of the impressive yet murderous Eigernordwand - the north face of the Eiger Mountain.

Again, at Kleine Scheidegg, the Jungfraubahn awaits you for your final climb. This option, like the first one, takes about two hours.

Option 3: Interlaken - Grindelwald Terminal - Gondola to Eigergletscher - Jungfraujoch

As of December 2020, you now have a third option. This one saves you quite a bit of time – 47 minutes to be precise – and includes a ride in a brand new gondola.

Instead of hopping on the cogwheel railway in Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidegg, you can catch the Eiger Express gondola to the railway station Eigergletscher. At Eigergletscher, which is the station after Kleine Scheidegg, you transfer to the Jungfraubahn. 

Options 1 and 2 are combinable, which means you can travel up via Lauterbrunnen to Kleine Scheidegg on the way up and back down through Grindelwald. Or vice versa.

This option gives you the best of both rides and if you manage to schedule your timetable accordingly, it’s the one I recommend.

4. What can you expect at Jungfraujoch?

Phew, where to start… I will try to keep this section short and let the images do the talking instead. 

But in a nutshell, what awaits you at Jungfraujoch is the following: 

  • spectacular views of towering mountains and glistening glaciers
  • a five-minute photo-stop at Eismeer station right before Jungfraujoch
  • insanely steep and slow train rides to Europe’s highest railway station
  • very thin air that will have your heart pounding in your throat
  • plenty of snow to play around in
  • maybe a little altitude-induced dizziness
  • several souvenir shops to grab a Swiss Army knife or maybe even a Swiss watch
  • an ice palace and lots of signs describing the history of Jungfraujoch
  • more photo opportunities than you thought possible
  • and, unless you travel during a global pandemic, probably quite a crowd that had the same idea as you in getting up here...

Have fun flipping through the gallery for some impressions of what you can expect.😊

5. How much time should I factor in for my visit at Jungfraujoch?

That depends on what your plans at the Top of Europe are. If you’re happy to just head up, do the tour through the ice palace, the souvenir shops and the viewing platform, you won’t need more than 1.5 - 2 hours.

Which ends up being a half-day trip from Interlaken with the journey up and down.

But if you’re up for a walk during summer, like for instance to Mönchjochs hut, add an extra 2-3 hours. Also, if you’re keen on ziplining, trying out some winter sports or just playing around in the snow, factor in some extra time to visit the Jungfraujoch Snow and Fun Park. 🙂 

Play around in the snow at Jungfraujoch

To spend some quality time in the snow, make sure you factor in enough time at Jungfraujoch.

6. How much does it cost to visit Jungfraujoch?

This is where it gets tricky.

As you can see in this file, there are two pages worth of ticket options. Which is one too many for me to simply tell you how much your trip will cost. 

The prices also change seasonally.

Your options are plentiful and depending on where you start and end, your price will be a different one. Also, you're entitled to a discount if you rock up with an Interrail, Eurail, Swiss Travel Pass or Jungfrau Travel Pass. So the question of how much your ticket will be isn't an easy one to answer. 

To give you a rough idea of what to expect, here’s a point of reference. If you don’t have any kind of travel pass, expect to pay around 210 CHF for a return trip from Interlaken to Jungfraujoch. Depending on the season. 

A travel pass, which I will talk about in a bit, can reduce those costs by 25% to 50%.

7. Where can I buy my Jungfraujoch ticket?

You have several options to buy your ticket. Either head to any train station that comes with a ticket counter or visit the Jungfraubahnen station in Interlaken Ost.

The most comfortable option is definitely to buy your ticket to Jungfraujoch online on Swiss Activities. You can do this right here and complete the whole check out process while you're reading this post. And the best thing is that you'll get your seat reservation as well. 

8. How frequently do trains to Jungfraujoch depart?

Like the ticket prices, the timetable changes seasonally but as a general rule of thumb, you’ve got two hourly connections

To plan your trip in detail, either ask at the Jungfraubahnen station in Interlaken Ost to give you the current timetable, check out this map or look for your connection in the online timetable

9. Are there any ways to save money?

Now we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty…

Most things in life leave room for optimisation if you take a closer look. In our case, I see three ways to reduce the expenses on your trip to the Top of Europe.

One of them – you might have guessed it – is to pay with your sweat and tears.

Option 1: Hike parts of the way

While you can’t simply walk to Jungfraujoch, it is possible to skip the train to Kleine Scheidegg and hike parts of the way.

You can either take the train to Lauterbrunnen, hike to Wengen and onward to Kleine Scheidegg, or start in Grindelwald and hike to Kleine Scheidegg from the other side. 

Those hikes take around four to five hours (one way) and might be an excellent opportunity to explore the best the Jungfrau region has to offer. To plan your hike or find other options - as there are plenty in the area - refer to this hiking map

Having said that, I only recommend the sweat-and-tears-option if you’re visiting during summer, are physically fit and have been on a hike or two in Switzerland before.

Also, hiking both ways might be a bit much, unless you set off very early in the morning and don’t mind getting back late. Please come prepared and read my post about hiking in Switzerland in advance.

Bon voyage. 

hiking in the Jungfrau region

Hike parts of the way to save money on your ticket to Jungfraujoch.

Option 2: Get a discount

Option two is to buy a travel pass of some sort as they entitle you to all kinds of discounts. Having a travel pass generally makes sense if you mostly travel through Switzerland by public transport.

Discounts range from 25% with an Interrail / Eurail Pass to 50% with a Swiss Travel Pass, which isn’t too bad considering you start at around 200 CHF.

If you’re in the Jungfrau area for a while, meaning in and around Interlaken, looking into the Jungfrau Travel Pass might be something worth considering. Unfortunately, this one's only available during summer but depending on when you visit, their offer could save you quite a bit of money on certain rides and day trips.

Option 3: Rise early

There's something called the Good Morning Ticket to Jungfraujoch. If you leave before 7 in the morning, you get a discount on your journey. You can find out more about this rise and shine ticket on the Jungfrau Website.

10. What are my cheaper alternatives to Jungfraujoch?

You might be wondering if there are any equally impressive destinations with a lower price tag. While I believe there’s no place quite like Jungfraujoch, I do know a few spots with the potential to knock your socks off.

Alternative 1: Aletsch Arena

Aletsch glacier, the beauty that lies in front of you when you visit the Top of Europe, is the largest and longest glacier of the Alps. It’s over 22 kilometres (14 miles) long and luckily, there’s more than one angle to marvel at it from. 

To access a cheaper spot, you'll need to travel to its other side in the Canton of Valais. During summer, there are countless hiking trails awaiting you and the best way to prepare yourself for your endeavours is by visiting the World Nature Forum near Brig main station.

They know everything about this UNESCO World Heritage site and are happy to share their suggestions with you. If you happen to have any spare time, I highly recommend visiting their museum to learn more about the Aletsch area. 

My favourite hike is the one starting at Riederalp, leading past Riederfurka and through the Aletsch forest, after which you get a spectacular view of the Aletsch glacier.

While the Interrail / Eurail pass isn't valid on the gondola from Mörel to Riederalp, the Swiss Travel Pass gets you a 50% discount. But even paying full price won’t break your budget because a return trip is only 20 CHF. Which is way better than 210 CHF… 

Alternative 2: Gornergrat

If you’re looking for high mountain peaks, thin air, steep cogwheel railway rides and glacier views, Gornergrat in Zermatt is another noteworthy alternative to the Top of Europe. 

From Zermatt, the Gornergrat railway takes you up to 3.135 metres (10.280 feet) above sea level, where you’re greeted with impressive views over the Gorner glacier and, unless it's veiled in clouds, the Matterhorn. 

The area is fantastic for hiking and you can cut back on your expenses by walking parts of the way. Just keep in mind that the terrain is steep, the air thin and you’ll need to come prepared. 

Regardless of whether you do it all by rail or hike parts of the way, one place you shouldn’t miss is Lake Riffelsee. This stunning mountain lake is very close to Rotenboden station, the one right before Gornergrat. You can either stop over, walk to the lake and continue your journey on the next train. Or you can get off at Rotenboden, enjoy some time by the lake and hike the rest of the way to Gornergrat. 

Up to you and your budget, your lungs’ capacity and your leg power. 

While riding the Gornergratbahn isn’t cheap, it’s cheaper than the Jungfraubahn. Full-fare return tickets range between 80 CHF and 126 CHF.

Their prices change seasonally alongside with the timetable. While Interrail and Eurail pass holders aren’t entitled to a discount, your Swiss Travel Pass gets you up for half the price. 

By the way, my friend Gabriela shares her insider tips of Zermatt in this interview on my blog.

Alternative 3: Schilthorn

A much-loved day trip from Interlaken is a mountain peak that's enjoyed international popularity since 1969.

Back then, it played a role in the 007 movie “On Her Majesty’s Secret Services” and up until today, James Bond is an important asset to the Schilthorn marketing strategy. They even established a 007 walk of fame with the featured actors and crew members from way back when...

The mountain panorama at Piz Gloria is genuinely impressive and you can admire Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau in their full glory. Along with countless other Alpine peaks.

With 2.970 metres (9.740 feet) above sea level, Schilthorn is a little lower than Jungfraujoch and Gornergrat but don’t worry, walking around should still leave you out of breath and give you that high alpine feeling.

Swiss Travel Pass and Interrail / Eurail pass holders are entitled to discounts. 

And if you're up for adding some more thrill to the experience, you can always opt for a paragliding flight with my colleague Denis from the starting place above Mürren down to Stechelberg. I had the chance to fly with him in this area in February 2024 and absolutely loved it!

Alternative 4: Glacier Express or Bernina Express

Another option to see glaciers, mountains and the best that Swiss nature has to offer without visiting Jungfraujoch is on board a scenic train.

I’ve written an extensive post about the Glacier Express and the Bernina Express here. They both accept all travel passes and might be a great way for you to see the best of Switzerland without heading to the Top of Europe. 

If you go for this option, please do yourself a favour and buy a travel pass. Riding the full Glacier Express from St. Moritz to Zermatt costs 152 CHF, which doesn’t include the compulsory reservation fee. With your Interrail / Eurail or Swiss Travel Pass, all you need to pay for is the reservation fee. 

11. Here are some insider tips I can share

Before we close this up, I have a few insights I’d like to share with you after my trip to Jungfraujoch in November 2020. Some might seem random, but I hope you’ll still find them helpful.

  1. To avoid the queues and paying for food at the restaurant at Jungfraujoch, grab your picnic in Interlaken. However, if you bring along anything liquid – like for instance yoghurt or cottage cheese – make sure you put it in a sealed plastic bag. With your destination being at almost 3.500 metres above sea level, the risk of the lid bursting open and leaving quite a mess in your bag is real.
    My carrot salad reminded me why I should have paid more attention in physics class when our teacher explained the correlation between pressure and altitude. Bottom line, seal it or leave it. Or clean it… 🙂 
  2. Wear good shoes and warm clothes. It’s cold up there. Especially inside the ice palace.
  3. If you’re as pale as me, I suggest wearing sunscreen as the sun can be quite aggressive at this altitude. Even more so when it’s reflected in the snow.
  4. Jungfraujoch is very popular and can get crowded. To avoid having to skip several trains to find a free spot, make a reservation beforehand. If you book your ticket through Swiss Activities, you'll get that reservation in the same go as your ticket because you'll be booking your specific time slot. 
  5. You’d expect the souvenir shops in a place like Jungfraujoch to be a rip-off. But they’re actually not. In case you’re looking for an out-of-the-ordinary place to buy yourself a Swiss Army knife or some Lindt chocolate, you won’t pay more at Jungfraujoch than you would down in the valley.
  6. The trains to Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen depart Interlaken as one train and split up in Zweilütschinen. Please make sure you get on the right half when boarding in Interlaken.

12. Is a trip to Jungfraujoch worth it?

Having done my share of travelling, I’ve come across countless places that cost me an arm and a leg. Some of them, like the Galapagos for instance, were worth every penny. 

While others weren’t so much.

I know the dilemma of weighing up when to splurge and when to do your wallet a favour. But in the case of Jungfraujoch, I can confidently say that I’d be very surprised if it made your regret-list.

In other words. Yes. It is worth it. Even if mountains, glaciers and snow aren’t new to you. There’s just something about this place that’s unlike anything else. 

I hope you’ll feel the same way.


The Top of Europe certainly lives up to its name.

Oh, and in case you were wondering what ever happened to that genius / lunatic with the idea to build the Jungfraubahn, he never lived to see the outcome of his flash of inspiration. He died of pneumonia only one year after they started blasting their way through the mountains.

Life really does hand you lemons sometimes. 

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  1. Hi, loved this website thank you so much, super helpful. I have a eurail pass so I can hopefully get a discount, but I am scared that If I leave it until the day before and book at an office it will be sold out. Do you know if it ever sells out? Thanks so much for your help.

    Kind regards, Marianna

    1. Dear Marianna

      Thank you for your lovely comment. And yes, you do get a discount with your Eurail Pass.
      As for your question: Tickets don’t sell out. However, if you plan on getting a seat reservation, which I highly recommend you do during busy times, you might not be able to get on the train you’re planning on if you leave it too late. But if you’re flexible with your travel times, I think you should be fine just rocking up at the counter at the train station the day before and ask when they still have seats available.

      I was just at Jungfraujoch two weeks ago and the train wasn’t full at all. And it was a stunning day. But of course, this might be different when you go up. It’s really up to you how safe you want to play it. Hope this helps and enjoy your time at the Top of Europe!

  2. hi! was just wondering, is it possible to get a round trip ticket from interlaken to jungfrau?
    however, i'll be staying at lauterbrunnen, was thinking if i could do lauterbrunnen-jungfrau, then on the return trip from jungfrau-grindelwald-interlaken? appreciate your help!

    1. Hi, thank you for your question. I think it should be possible to get a round trip starting in Lauterbrunnen and finishing in Interlaken. However, since your journey isn’t the “typical” way people usually travel to Jungfraujoch, I recommend buying your ticket at the train station in Interlaken or Lauterbrunnen. Just let the person know how you wish to travel and they can help you out. I haven’t found a way to book this trip online, so better go through the counter.
      Hope this helps and enjoy your time in Switzerland
      All the best, Seraina

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