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  • Writer's pictureDeb Smithers

Jungfraujoch, Best Swiss Glaciers

The Top of Europe

Art work etched into Ice, in the ice caves in Switzerland

When birthdays come around it is a celebration of age, the gratitude to have another year ahead and what it will present. Always looking for something different to embrace the day, a bit of adventure, excitement, or something to just 'scare the pants off you'.

"I am lucky to have fabulous memories from past birthdays like swinging gracefully through the jungle tops in Indonesia, hand-gliding serenely over the ocean, peacefully drifting across the amazing northern rivers' hinterland in a hot air balloon, or experiencing that first jump out of a plane.

As another birthday arrives, I am filled with the memories of this time last year when I was in Switzerland and took a birthday adventure to see one of the 'Best Swiss Glaciers', Jungfraujoch, the 'Top of Europe,' the highest accessible point among the giant glaciers. It was an experience like no other, and it's always a pleasure to share this cherished memory."

The train journey began in Bern and onto Zurich, then to Grindelwald which took about 4 hours and is by far one of the best train journeys I have experienced with its breathtaking views of the majestic mountains, crystal blue lakes, and charming little alpine villages.

A perfect picture of a river with trees, a train passing and a mountain overhead.
Best Swiss Glaciers. Picture perfect

As the train goes along at a steady pace, you will see snow-capped peaks, green valleys, and waterfalls. The experience is enchanting as you take in the natural beauty of Switzerland's landscapes. I remember being amazed at how picture-perfect everything looked and it was hard to believe I was here amongst the Best Swiss Glaciers.

Magnificent green landscape and the magnificent snow capped glacier.
Grindelwald and its snow capped mountains

When arriving in Grindelwald, the train station is in the middle of the town so navigating your way from there is easy, I was blessed to know friends who owned a quaint little chalet close to the station and after a greeting drink, it seemed only fitting to try the local food and beer. I would suggest while there you try the traditional Rösti, a crispy-crusted fragrant potato pancake served with shaved Belper Knolle, an amazing garlic-infused cheese, rolled over the finest black pepper and stored in cheese caves for 15 weeks, and the taste is unforgettable.

a beer with a snowcapped mountain in the background.
The magic of this mountain

As for the Grindelwald beer, it was as wonderful as I imagined it to be and you cannot leave until you enjoy the sunset with a bit of fondue and wine and admire the magnificent views of the glaciers.

Standing with a statue moose in front of Eiger glacier.
Eiger Glacier.

There are so many activities to experience in Grindelwald and so many different treks you can take depending on your fitness and endurance levels. If you want a climb that is a little easier than there is the spectacular Lauberhorn, which is home to the famous world cup race in winter. In the summer you can climb to the peak which is breathtaking.

two giant mountains towering over  the town of Grindelwald.
Best Swiss Glaciers

On a nice day, you can take the gondolas to Kleine Scheidegg and Gross Scheidegg, a simple walk to First which has a panoramic view and is light and easy. Walk from First to Faulhorn for the fantastic and beautiful view. On one side, you can see Germany and on the other, an incredible panorama of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau.

In the evenings they have many events in the open sky stadium with the imposing Eiger Glacier as your backdrop. There are lovely places to dine, with warmth and incredible food, musicians playing outside the chalets and hot chocolate stalls on the street. The town folk are incredibly happy and welcoming to the visitors to their town and are always up to enjoy the party.

The red Jungfraujoch train with the snowcapped glaciers in the background
Junfraujoch Railway.

It was an early rise, rugged up and ready to go I was to catch the train from Grindelwald to Kleinscheidegg (2061 m), then onto Eigergletscher (2335 m) from there I boarded the train to Jungfraujoch (3454 m). The Jungfrau Railway ascends at a jaw-dropping 1400 meters to reach the Top of Europe in just 35 minutes.

The construction of the Jungfraujoch railway began in 1896 taking 16 years to complete and with the terminal at 3454 meters above sea level it is the highest railway in Switzerland and Europe.

The observation deck of Jungfraujoch, amongst the snow covered Swiss glaciers.
Observation deck

The construction phase was troubled by many problems including the shortage of funds, weather and unfortunately many deaths due to construction accidents. It is hard to imagine the idea of building a railway, to a glacier over 3.5 km long and dating back to the 19th Century. How did they manage it?

The journey up left me speechless with views of the magnificent UNESCO-listed Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch region. Giant mountains with a hint of eeriness as you watch the landscape gradually transform before your eyes.

A map of the Swiss alps. The Jungfraujoch region.

In Eigergletscher we had 3 minutes at the station where we were allowed to quickly take a few photos as this is the best spot for photographs before reaching the Jungfraujoch viewpoint.

The incredible formations of the snow over the glaciers

Helicopter joy flight over the glaciers in Jungfraujoch

Arriving at the top of Jungfraujoch felt amazing and I could hardly believe I had made it. It was beautiful like nothing I had seen before, SNOW!

Navigating your way around the view spot was tricky, there were a lot of tunnels you could take and it was very easy to make a wrong turn so I suggest using the map to avoid wasted time going in lost circles.

There is so much to explore including the Ice Palace, Snow Park and the Sphinx Observatory which is the highest Astronomical observatory in the world.

It was the most surreal moment to step out onto the observation deck for the first time, I was left speechless, it is a remarkable place to witness the grandeur of the Swiss Alps and immerse yourself in one of the most beautiful and majestic natural landscapes in the world.

You could find no better way to end the day than with a visit to the best Lindt chocolate store in Switzerland, take a hot chocolate while relaxing in the glass cafe enjoying the glaciers and taking in such a memorable moment

In the lindt chocolate factory with 2 statue chefs, mixing the melted chocolate.

The magnificent view of the mountains and rivers from the top of the snow capped glacier. outstanding view.

  • Sunset dining on the aerial cableway up to Pfingstegg.

  • Be entertained at the Open Sky events including the Swiss orchestra, films and music in front of the imposing Eiger north face with impressive light installations in the village centre of Grindelwald

  • Swiss night hiking

  • Star photography workshops

  • Spend a week on the mountain top, under the stars in a tipi village

  • The stunning Aare Gorge and Glacier Gorge

  • Take a helicopter adventure over the Glacier for a breathtaking view

  • Take the gondolas to really enjoy the panoramic views.

A young girls standing in front of Orchinnese in Switzerland.

A big thank you to this sweet angel, Miss Manuela, for gifting me this most incredible birthday surprise. See you soon!

"The purpose of life is to increase a warm heart"

Dalai Lama


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