Switzerland often looks like the perfect example of heaven, the place where the elves live or the promised land where cows give instant milk chocolate. The grass is greener there, the lakes and rivers bluer and the cute marmots are trail companions. Right?
There are a few stereotypes for almost every country out there. Most though are wrong, as we experienced in Paris. So in September we packed and got ready to be underwhelmed by Switzerland. Boy we were so wrong! It really is perfect!
The target destination – The top of Europe, or Jungfraujoch. The place is known as the Top of Europe, as it is the highest point in Europe that is accessible by train. And only by train.
And because it’s in the vicinity of Interlaken and Grindewald (Instagram favorite pics destinations and Tolkien’s inspiration for Rivendell) we decided on a list of places to visit and things to do alongside the Top of Europe.
Top 10 things to do in the Jungfrau Region
How to Visit Jungfraujoch
General things to consider first, and then a list of 10 Must-Do Things to do in the Jungfrau Region, to get the most out of the experience.
What to Prepare and what to Expect when you visit the Jungfrau Region of Switzerland
1. What to prepare for in the Jungfrau Region, Switzerland
Prepare to walk a lot. The place is trail heaven because the region of the Bernese Oberland is situated at the foot of the Bernese Alps. Basically, left and right you have places to climb, walk to and arrive at.
The region consists of two valleys south of Interlaken: that of Grindelwald and that of Lauterbrunnen, both drained by the river Lütschine. So invest in quality shoes and a good outer layer.
Choose the month with care, depending on what you want to do. For a season for walks and views with fewer people, go before June, when the summer season starts. For skiing, go after 15th of December, when the winter season starts. Some hotels, like the one in Wengen we stayed in, are closed from 1 Nov to 15 Dec.
2. What to Expect in Jungfrau Region, Switzerland
Expect to spend a lot on transportation. And on all the other things, except water. Water you can get for free at any fountain, the best water in the world, pure and cold.
How much does it cost to go up the Jungfraujoch, the top of Europe? – Well, if you get the standard Jungfraujoch ticket from Interlaken it will be CHF 235.80 return per adult during peak season (1 June to 31 August).
- The Top of Europe pass gives you a 10% discount in the official shops of the area.
- Once connected to the Jungfrau internet you’ll have wifi in the gondolas and all the attractions in the Jungfrau Region.
- You’ll get a small thank-you chocolate once you leave Jungfraujoch.
- On the Jungfraujoch, at over 3000 m some may get dizzy, and experience headaches or have short breath.
I still dream about this place and I would go back today. It is more than a MUST, it’s a shame to go in the area a miss it.
Food, souvenirs, and a challenge for your trip to the Jungfrau Region
- Plan for about 3000 francs for a one week trip in Switzerland.
- It’s nice that all the things they sell are Swiss made, even the hotel towels.
- Out of 10 pics, 8 will be wallpaper material.
- We still walked almost 60 km despite the countless trains and various aerial cableways, so get better shoes.
- Try to get a hotel in the middle of the region, with easy connections to all the places of interest: Top of Europe, Interlaken, and Grindewald. Wengen is just amazing and as you saw, has an easy connection to all the places of interest.
- Take at least one hike, the amazing trains and the app are made for this. There are shorter ones, harder ones, and even trails for kids, like the Munggi Weg (Marmot Trail). on these hikes and on your walks inside the villages even, make friends with the marmots and go cow pictures hunting, because the picture-perfect happy cow you imagine when thinking about Switzerland is real. And you can find so many little cow-shaped treasures.
- Swiss people speak English and are very welcoming and polite. I never saw a train conductor upset or frowning.
- The public services are excellent and there was little need to ask anything, even with all the changes from train to train.
- Be polite, always, just because it’s a good way to be, not only because swiss people appreciate it. What impressed me were the people singing in Wengen at 9 in the morning and the lady with the newspaper on the train. Calm, relaxed, happy people.
- The transportation network is the most impressive I ever saw and every region has one. That’s why you buy a Jungfrau Pass and you can only use it here. But we’ll return to other areas and I’m sure we’ll be just as impressed. honestly, going up and down the mountains of the valley in cable cars, trains and gondolas was the cherry on top of the trip.
- Expect to fall in love with every corner of this region, because in this case, the images and the reality are one and the same.
- Expect your ears to pop in the looong tunnels and your eyes to never get enough of what they see.
TIP #3: I will recommend the hotel in Wengen, because we thought is was Heaven and I want to go back there. Alpenruhe Wengen – Vintage Design Hotel gets a 5 stars review for the staff, the food but mostly for this view.
Wengen is perfect for another reason too. For us, it was the place we saw our first snow, in September. And it really is magic, as you can go to sleep in the summer and 18 degrees and get up to winter and minus 4.
- Would you come back? – YES, anytime!
- Would you move here? – NO, the touristy areas are a little hard to live in.
- Is it an effort for the family budget? – YES, for Romania and the average salary I would say it is a considerable effort.
- Would you learn the language? – NO, but I would learn german. The dialect here is a little different.
- Top 3 highlights: views, transportation, and happy people.
And a little something in the marketing department, as if they need it. Search for all the commercials, it’s a laugh.
The GALs, Catalina&Florin
”All we ever did was for a life with the freedom of choice. And travel was always on the list of things that matter.”
Decide on a trip to the Jungfrau Region with these essentials:
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More pics on my Instagram – click here.