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Jungfraujoch or ...the Schilthorn, which one to visit if you decide between the two

We will have 3 full days and two half days in the Berner Oberland area, staying in Murren. Weather permitting of course, and you if I was only able to pick one to visit, which of these should we visit? Or should we try to do both?
Thanks!

Posted by
8984 posts

They are both world class sites so if you have the time and money do both. They are not interchangeable. Jungfrau is mostly a glacier/engineering marvel attraction, and Schiltorn is mostly a mountaintop panorama attraction. If I had to pick one it would be Jungfrau. Even though it is more expensive and time consuming there is more to do. Commanding views of the glacier valley, walking on top of the glacier, and seeing the ice galley inside the glacier.

Posted by
436 posts

Jungfrau. That was my priority :-)

We took the first train and spent a full day on top including a short hike on the glacier to a mountain hut called Mönchsjochhutte. The first train offers a discount, low crowds and awesome light. Totally worth the cost and time.

The next day it rained and we did not get to do the Schilthorn. We had a lot of rainy days in Switzerland on that trip which was in July.

So pick your priority and hope for a good weather day.

Posted by
11 posts

Thanks for your thoughts! We're staying in Murren for three nights and whether we ascend both depends on the weather; It's quite useful to read others' thoughts and advice.

Tony

Posted by
31471 posts

Sue,

A few points that may help with your decision......

  • The Schilthorn is much closer to Mürren, so that will be an easier and less expensive trip (although still not cheap).
  • Weather won't be as much of a factor at the Schilthorn since it's mostly an indoor attraction. However it will be a more pleasant visit in nice weather as you can enjoy a fine meal in the revolving restaurant while watching the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau pass by the windows.
  • If staying in Mürren getting to the Jungfraujoch will take longer. You'll first have to travel back to Lauterbrunnen on the BLM railway and cable car, and then connect with the Wengernalpbahn for the trip to Wengen and Kleine Scheidegg. That's kind of a unique train as it uses a rack system between the two rails to allow steeper climbs. At K.S. you'll again change trains and board the Jungfraubahn for the trip to the top.
  • How much you'll be able to see during a visit to the Jungfraujoch is very much weather dependent. if the weather is bad, you'll still be able to visit the Ice Palace and indoor sites but going out on the glacier may not be possible, and venturing out on the deck of the Sphinx Observatory may be cold and unpleasant. On my last visit there, weather at the top was a blizzard with gale force winds and there was NO views of any kind. You'll need to carefully choose which day you visit.
  • As an example of how severe the weather can become, on the day following my visit to the Jungfrau rail service was suspended between Wengen and Kleine Scheidegg due to "high winds". If the wind at that elevation is strong enough to affect trains, it will likely be much worse at the top.
  • If you have the money, seeing both is certainly possible, but it will be expensive. Having a half fare card or one of the other passes might be worthwhile.
Posted by
6635 posts

I vote for Schilthorn if you must choose one. Jungfraujoch is 1 1/2 hours up and same down, in a mostly dark tunnel. Could be good weather when you start, and bad once you get to the top.

Posted by
7205 posts

Definitely Murren is the place to be! All of these alpine villages are wonderful, but Murren is just "home".

Posted by
27723 posts

Some people have difficulty with cable cars, all that being suspended by wire way up in the air and all that and may prefer riding on a train which never leaves the ground.

The only time I worried about that was the ride up into the mountains just out of town in Salzburg.

The cable cars up via Gimmelwald and Muerren have always been very secure to me, and a jolly good ride....

Posted by
7205 posts

There was a situation just last year (?) where the gondola up to Schilthorn became disabled midway, and the people had to be rescued via helicopter...who cool is that! Some people actually have to pay for those helicopter rides over the alps or those paragliding treks. But these people actually got the experience included in the price of their Schilthorn ticket. I think I would be scared for a few minutes as we jumped out the gondola door tethered to a rescue helicopter, but thinking about it now it sure does sound like an adrenaline rush fun time :-)

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CUD-E7b2zVo&autoplay=1

Posted by
11288 posts

If you lack either time or money to go up the Schilthorn (and do try to do it - as Chris says, the view from Birg is amazing), consider the Allmendhubel. It's not as impressive, but you do get to see the peaks of the three mountains (the views of the peaks are obstructed while in Mürren), and it's cheap.

For me, while the Jungfraujoch was memorable, the "time to get there/money spent/enjoyment gotten" ratio favored the Schilthornbahn. But they are quite different, and I'm in no way sorry I did both (I had a Swiss Pass, so the Schilthorn was 50% off and the Jungfraujoch was 25% off). If I went back, I'd probably do the Jungfrau again, but I'd definitely do the Schilthorn again, as long as the weather was good. Do have your hotel check the webcams before you go up either one, with the proviso that the weather is so changeable in the mountains that what you see when you leave Mürren can be quite different from what you find on arrival.

Posted by
2580 posts

I chose Schilthorn because the idea of tunnels and ice palaces didn't appeal, and Rick made it pretty clear that the Jungfrau was more crowded. I found the ride to the Schilthorn from Interlaken to be excellent and beautiful, the spinning restaurant highly overpriced (surprise!) and getting off at Murren and walking around a while to be wonderful. Be aware that the Schilthorn folks push their James Bond connection pretty hard and you'll soon tire of the snippets of Bond theme that are constantly playing. The gondolas are quite large (50-75 people) and don't seem to rock too terribly much.

The other reason you might choose is weather, it's pretty simple nowadays to start tracking weather a few days in advance not just on sites like Accuweather but also on the mountaintop sites themselves. When I confirmed that the Schilthorn would be clear on my chosen day, off we went.