Jungfraujoch: The View from the Top of Europe

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Sometimes, I wonder if I’m missing out on a big part of the Swiss experience: skiing. Switzerland is – to state the obvious – quite mountainous, and skiing is a big deal here. My dad has been trying to get me to embrace skiing for years and years now, but after trying it once in middle school and being absolutely terrible at it (seriously, it cannot be overstated just how bad I was), I have zero desire to try again.

Most of the time, my ski-free existence doesn’t bother me, but I must admit that a part of me thinks it would have been sort of amazing to go skiing in Switzerland. A larger, more sensible part of me also knows that it probably would have resulted in my imminent death, as the mountains here make our faux-mountains in Michigan look like a joke. Needless to say, that part of me wins the battle every time.

But while I never made it to Switzerland’s slopes, I did make it to the mountains themselves to soak up some pretty incredible views. I used the town of Interlaken (cute but, in my opinion, unremarkable) as my base, and then made a day trip up to Jungfraujoch, also known as the highest train station in Europe. From the viewpoints at Jungfraujoch, you can look out onto the peaks of three mountains: the Jungfrau, Eiger, and Monch. Despite bitterly cold winds, seeing the view from the top is definitely an awe-inspiring experience.

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While at Jungfraujoch, you can also make your way through the ice caves. Every surface – even the floor, so tread carefully – is made of ice, and the passageways are dotted with ice sculptures, too. To be honest, I thought the ice cave was almost more fun to experience than the mountain views, though that may have just been my windburned face and shivering fingers and toes talking.

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A trip to the top of the Jungfrau is lengthy (from Interlaken, you’ll have to take three trains) and pricey (even with my 1/2 fare travel card, the tickets were about $115 – yikes!). For that reason, I don’t know that I would classify Jungfraujoch as a “must see” in Switzerland. For me, however, I knew I had to get to the mountains at least once, and seeing the dramatic views from “the Top of Europe” turned out to be a solid way to do just that.

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