Opened in late 2020, the ultra-modern Eiger Express is a technological and recreational marvel in the mountains of Switzerland. With 44 gondolas, each with 26 seats, this new mode of transportation can carry over 2,000 passengers every hour. Skiers, hikers, tourists, and others can travel comfortably with incredible views on these high-tech 3S gondolas. And, they can reach their destinations (Jungfraujoch or Eigergletscher) in 45 minutes less time than before.
Even in the cold of winter, the heated compartments with heated seats will keep you warm and comfortable. The large cabins are designed to carry Baby strollers, wheelchairs, and sporting equipment. Much of the operation is automated and is designed to seamlessly transport people and goods up and down the mountain. Safety and comfort are always the top priority. Get tickets here>>
If you are looking for luxury, you may want to try cabin number 888, the VIP cabin. The red carpet and the eight red leather swivel chairs set against the golden frame add to the luxurious feel. Indirect floor lighting together with the ceiling depicting a starlit night also helps set the mood. Finally, the champagne bar in the middle of the cabin is ready with your wines, champagne, and snacks.
At speeds up to 29 km per hour, the 6,483-meter trip takes between 15 to 20 minutes to reach the Eigergletscher, Grindelwald station. Operating hours are generally 8 am to 5 pm, but check the website to check (times can change or they may be shut down for maintenance or weather). Larger families or groups can request to have all members of the group seated together in the same cabin for their convenience.
Once you arrive at the Eigergletscher station, you can take the highest train in Europe (at 3,454 meters above sea level) and arrive at Jungfraujoch in less than 30 minutes, making your overall journey from Grindelwald in less than an hour. Much of the railway travels through a tunnel dug through the solid rock of the Monch, Eiger, and Jungfrau mountains – a true engineering marvel.
The Jungfraujoch sits on the saddle between the tall peaks of the Jungfrau and the Monch mountains. With indoor exhibitions, shops, and viewing areas, I would recommend at least two to three hours at Jungfraujoch (or more if you prefer) for the best experience. There are also several outdoor viewing platforms, activities, and hikes available. It can be rather cold and windy outside, so dress in layers appropriately for your planned activities.
The Sphinx Observatory
At 3,571 meters high, The Sphinx Observatory is one of the primary viewing areas at the Jungfraujoch, with 360 views from inside or on the outside terrace. Surrounded by glaciers and the peaks of the Jungfrau, the Monch, and Eiger Mountains, you truly feel you are on Top of Europe with the spectacular views. I would highly recommend going outside for some of the tremendous views and the cool, fresh air. You can always go back inside if you find it is too cold or windy for you.
From viewing rooms and the outside platforms at Jungfraujoch, you can see the Aletsch Glacier, the largest glacier in the Alps. At around 900 meters thick in some areas, an estimated 12 billion tons of ice make up this magnificent mass of ice. Views from The Sphinx or other areas give visitors an idea of the massive size of this glacier, which is continuously moving and shrinking each year.
Alpine Sensation is a series of exhibitions, halls, artwork, history, and lighting effects between the Sphinx Viewing Platform and the Ice Palace. Within the 250-meter tunnel and the two halls, visitors are entertained with professional displays.
Upon entering the attraction, visitors are greeted by the giant snow globe diorama, “little dreams of Switzerland,” depicting the sights and sounds of Jungfraujoch and Switzerland. Surrounded by an array of glittering gold stars, the glowing globe, educational displays, and the sounds of a Swiss village, Alpine Sensation is a fun part of the Jungfraujoch experience.
Visitors learn about the geography, construction, and history of the Jungfrau Railway and the Jungfraujoch. Narratives and photos of workers, equipment used, fatalities, and the challenges faced help visitors understand the enormity of the task. Displays also introduce us to Adolph Guyer Zeller, the entrepreneur who planned the railway and arranged the financing for this massive undertaking. Unfortunately, Guyer Zeller passed away in the early years of the project, and never saw his dream completed.
The Ice Palace
Just beyond the Alpine Sensation, a frozen tunnel of ice takes visitors to the engaging Ice Palace. Professional ice carvings of penguins, birds of prey, wolves, a piano and piano player, and other ice figures fill the frozen halls. All around us, people stared in awe at the sculptures in this ethereal, icy wonderland. For some humor, the designers even enclosed Scrat, the feisty squirrel from the popular movie Ice Age, into a frozen wall. It is cold and can be slippery in the Ice Palace, so dress appropriately, walk carefully, and make use of the handrails.
After coming in from the cold, windy terrace at The Sphinx viewing platform, we came inside the inviting Crystal Restaurant. The hot spicy tomato soup with mango cubes warmed our bodies as it filled our bellies. We also tried the traditional Rosti, hardy comfort food consisting of hash browned potatoes baked with ham and cheese, bacon, onion, and a fried egg. For dessert, we indulged in an assortment of options, including ice cream sundaes and a delicious homemade carrot cake. We also enjoyed our Eigersplitzli, Swiss milk, and dark chocolate nuggets creatively molded in the shape of the Jungfrau mountain peak.
Lindt Swiss Chocolate Heaven
Speaking of chocolate, we couldn’t leave the mountain without paying a visit to the Lindt Swiss Chocolate Heaven. Exhibits demonstrate how the chocolate is made, and give interesting and educational tidbits about the Lindt company. And, of course, there is a chocolate shop where you can find almost any flavor of chocolate you can think of – and many that you probably didn’t even know exist.
Top of Europe is a Top Experience in the Jungfrau Region
We had a grand time taking the Eiger Express and the train up to the Jungfraujoch. The magnificent new Gondolas, the cog railway, the fun exhibits, and some of the best views of the Bernese Oberland kept us captivated throughout our visit. If you visit this beautiful area of Switzerland, be sure to make time to experience the Eiger Express and Jungfraujoch yourself.
You’ll be glad you did.
Story and photos by Scott Kendall. Thanks to Visit Switzerland for graciously hosting us on our visit to the Eiger Express and Jungfraujoch. All opinions are my own.