Standing on the top of Europe… The Jungfraujoch in Switzerland. We went there with the highest railway of Europe: The Jungfrau Bahn. The views are spectacular: on one side you can see the Jungfrau, on the other side the Monch and at the back the Aletsch Glacier.
So my girlfriend and I decided to go on a trip to the Jungfraujoch in Kanton Bern. If you visit Switzerland you should come this place. It’s a tourist place, it really is. You will see a lot of Asian tourists coming on package tours.
For us Jungfraujoch is not so easy to reach. We live in Kanton Zurich so the train ride took us about 4,5 hours. (!) Yes… We had to go from Zurich to Bern, from Bern to Interlaken Ost, Interlaken Ost to Lauterbrunnen, from Lauterbrunnen to Kleine Scheidegg and finally on the Jungfrau Bahn to the Jungfraujoch 🙂 Was it worth it ? YES ! The train ride itself is very nice. You will see the beautiful mountain scenery of Kanton Bern. Once you get to Lauterbrunnen you go on the mountain train bringing you all the way up. You can enjoy the scenery, the trains have big (and clean) windows.
Shot from the train: the 3 peaks from left to right: Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau.
The Jungfrau Bahn, fantastic ride and some nice views.
Before you go on a trip to the Jungfraujoch check a couple of things.
- Weather, it is advisable to check weather conditions. Go only when it is clear weather.
- Trains. This trip is not cheap, in fact it is expensive. So make sure you got a Swiss Pass, or something comparable. Or check for packages trips.
- If you are into photography, bring filters (CPL, Blue and ND) and zoom lenses from 15mm to 200mm (Full Frame).
- Bring gloves…. 🙂 My girlfriend didn’t…
- Wear warm cloths. You are up 3500m, if it’s windy you will feel it in your bones.
The only downside on this trip is that it is so expensive. Even for Swiss standards. In the screenshot below you can see how much it will cost you if you travel from Zurich to Jungfraujoch. Price is full fare for 1 person, no discounts, return ticket. In a way it is good because it limits the amount of tourists and they need too. Jungfraujoch is not a big place and the trains have limited seating. If you have a discount card, like Swiss Pass, the trip becomes more affordable.
As everything in Switzerland the place is highly organised. Also the way to get there. The trains run on time and you feel very safe. From Kleine Scheidegg you can see the 3 peaks: The Eiger, The Monch and The Jungfrau. The train ride with the Jungfrau Bahn is nice (some great views on the way up) and you make a stop (5 min) inside the mountain to see the Ice Lake. After that you will come at Jungfraujoch station and signs will guide you to the main area. From there you can do a Tour. A Tour ? Yes, you can follow the signs and it is more like a roundtrip inside the mountain. You will see everything there is to see.
View from the Sphinx Observatory
The Ice Lake on the way up to Jungfraujoch
Remember you are still inside the mountain. To go outside there are 3 opportunities.
- You go to the Sphinx Observatory Deck
- You go the Snow Fun area. (check if it is open)
- You go the the Panorama area.
We spent a lot of time at the Panorama Area and the Sphinx Observatory Deck. You have great views over the Aletsch Glacier, you can see the Jungfrau on the right and the Monch on the left. If you turn around you can see Kleine Scheidegg and even Lauterbrunnen with clear weather.
There is a place outside called Snow Fun and from there you can walk to the Monchsjochhutte. It is very nice and you actually walk on the Aletsch Glacier. Check before if it is open. Because you walk on a Glacier, they might close it due to collapsing danger.
The scenery is just amazing. You have no idea of how big it actually is. When we were at the Aletsch Glacier a helicopter came in. The helicopter looked so small. Once you see a person or a snow mobile or a helicopter in the area you will realise how big the glacier actually is. And the mountains as well.
View on the Sphinx Observatory
Very clear weather, you can see Lauterbrunnen
That is what I came for. The weather was nice, bright bright sun. Straight in your face. 🙂 I was there around 10.30am and you will have the sun hanging low above the Aletsch Glacier. You can do these against-the-sun shots with a very high F number and some filters stacked on each other. The sun will move towards the side of the Jungfrau and the light gets better. If you want to do long shots of the Glacier wait till afternoon.
Actually we wanted to do some long exposure shots. We found out that the observation deck is the best place to do this but it is quite crowded up there. So little chance that you can set up your tripod and ND filter and keep it still for 30 seconds. We skipped this idea… But if you can wait you can do long exposure shots late afternoon before the last train goes down.
The scenery have a lot of contrast. The mountains will create a lot of dark shadows. Also you get clipping on the highlights. I choose to under expose all the time. (-2/3EV). If you bring a long lens, those shadows can help you create some spectacular shots of the ice.
Equipment wise, you need wide, standard and tele zooms. in Full Frame: 15mm to 200mm. Bring filters. CPL, ND, and if you have, a Blue filter. Your snow shots will look so good 🙂
My girlfriend took these nice panoramas with her iPhone. If you got the time, take some pano shots.
All in all a very nice but expensive trip to a unique place with stunning views. If you can afford it, go and see it.
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