I am going on the RS 14 day Europe tour this year and was reading the reviews of this tour. One person mentioned it was an option to go on Top of the World in Junfraujoch. What is this and has anyone done it? He said no one else did it, but it was something worth doing. Can someone fill me in on what this is, what they did and why it was important to do. If anyone has been on the 14 day Best of Europe tour, please let me know what you did in Switzerland and what to expect. Also what did you wear if you were there in September. Thank you.
The Jungfraujoch is a railway station and observatory that sits between the Mönch and the Jungfrau. Essentially you take a train from Kleine Sheidegg up through the mountain to the Jungfraujoch (the highest railway station in Europe, and hence, "the Top of Europe"—note that there are higher mountains in the Alps). Once you actually get there, there are several things to do. The most spectacular is to go up the elevator to the Sphinx Observatory where you can get a great view of both the Mönch and the Jungfrau and also the magnificent Aletsch Glacier. You can also tour an ice cavern inside the glacier. If you do choose to go to the Jungfraujoch, only go if the weather is clear. This is at least a half-day trip and is expensive. If it's cloudy, you won't see a thing from the top. It can also be very busy. I really enjoy the Jungfraujoch but if I had limited time I might go to the Schilthorn or go on a hike instead.
Erica provided a great summary of the Jungfraujoch, and it's well worth a visit if you have the time and your budget will allow. It's the highest railway station in Europe, totally powered by electricity and mostly underground, which is a remarkable engineering feat considering it was started in about 1896.
As mentioned, be sure to check the weather as you won't see much if the top is shrouded in fog. However, you'll still be able to tour the indoor displays and visit the shops and restaurants. Also note that the Sphinx is at about 12,000 feet so if you have any altitude issues that's something to consider. I was moving much slower there, and climbing stairs was a bit of an effort.
You may enjoy having a look at the Jungfrau website to see whether that's something you might be interested in seeing. You could also visit the famous Schilthorn, which was used in the filming of the James Bond movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service which starred George Lazenby and Telly Savalas (one of the older movies, but still very entertaining). It's somewhat less expensive to visit than the Jungfrau and has a wonderful revolving restaurant, where you can enjoy watching the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau glide by the window while you're enjoying a fine hot meal and a glass of wine.
Actually, it's the "Top of Europe". The Jungfraujoch is the highest train station in Europe. Take the elevator up inside the Sphinx (not the one in Egypt) and you'll be there. Here's what it looks like. http://gyazo.com/910194dc08d0a815c769f83b1e8744a0
Both Jungfrau and Schiltorn are world-class attractions, but they are very different. Schiltorn is mostly a mountain-top panorama experience, Jungfrau is mostly a engineering wonder (the train goes inside a mountain top for most of it's journey), and glacier experience. While Jungfrau is more expensive and takes longer to visit you get more bang for you buck as their is more to see and do. Even when the visibility is poor the glacier activities can still be enjoyed.
"Even when the visibility is poor the glacier activities can still be enjoyed."
That's not always the case. Were you referring to the indoor activities at the Jungfraujoch or venturing outside? The last time I was there, the weather was beautiful and sunny in the valley but a severe storm with gale force winds was buffeting the Jungfraujoch. Visibility was only a few metres and it was impossible to stand outside at the path to the glacier without hanging onto something solid. Of course, viewing the ice caves and other attractions inside the facility wasn't a problem.
There is no correlation between poor visibility and high-winds. The odds that there could be high-winds preventing one from venturing out on the glacier on a day with perfect visibly are the same.....
I just wanted to point out that regardless of "correlation or odds", the previous statement that "Even when the visibility is poor the glacier activities can still be enjoyed" is not always true.