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View of the Sphinx observatory, station building with restaurants and shops as well as Jungfraufirn and Aletsch glacier.

View of the Sphinx observatory, station building with restaurants and shops as well as Jungfraufirn and Aletsch glacier.

Pass height 3466  m above sea level M.
Canton border:
Canton BernCanton Bern Bern / Valais SwitzerlandCanton of ValaisCanton of Valais 
expansion Rack railway
Mountains Bernese Alps
Jungfraujoch (Bernese Alps)
Coordinates 641750  /  155.39 thousand coordinates: 46 ° 32 '55 "  N , 7 ° 58' 59"  O ; CH1903:  641750  /  one hundred and fifty-five thousand three hundred and ninety

The Jungfraujoch is at 3466  m above sea level. M. the lowest point in the ridge connecting the Mönch and Jungfrau in the Bernese Alps , on the border between the cantons of Bern and Valais . The yoke is wide and strong überfirnt . Because of the glacier melting that also takes place there , it sinks a few decimeters every year. It is one of the most important travel destinations in Switzerland. Around 1 million tourists (as of 2018) travel to the highest train station in Europe every year.


The surroundings of the Jungfraujoch

In the vicinity of the Jungfraujoch there are some four-thousand-meter peaks in the Bernese Alps . In the northeast are the Mönch ( 4107  m above sea level ) and the Eiger ( 3967  m above sea level ) and in the southwest the Jungfrau ( 4158  m above sea level ). In the south of the Jungfraujoch, behind the Konkordiaplatz, the Aletschhorn can be seen. 200 meters to the west on the ridge to the Jungfrau is the 3,557-meter-high Mathildespitze, about 600 meters east of the yoke rises the Sphinx, a striking little peak with a height of 3,571 meters. It carries a viewing platform and a scientific observatory ( Sphinx observatory ). Inside is the terminus of the Jungfrau Railway at 3,454 meters above sea level . This station is the highest train station in Europe (hence the nickname Top of Europe ). A tunnel leads from here to the Valais side and the Aletsch Glacier . The fastest elevator in Switzerland leads to the summit of the Sphinx. A path, usually prepared for walkers in summer, leads from the Jungfraujoch to the Mönchsjochhütte . There is no overnight accommodation for visitors at the Jungfraujoch itself. The tunnels are closed at night so that free bivouacking is not possible.


The Jungfraujoch as seen from the Eggishorn (southern direction)

The Jungfraujoch has practically no significance as a transition for hiking or ski tourists from the Bernese Oberland to the Valais or vice versa. The path from Valais over the Aletsch Glacier is easy - apart from the danger of crevasses in the Jungfraufirn. The ascent from the Bernese Oberland , however, is a difficult high-altitude tour (steep ice, G 5-6, sometimes impossible).


The Jungfraujoch has been accessible by the Jungfrau Railway since August 1, 1912 . From Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen you can take the Wengernalpbahn to the Kleine Scheidegg station . This station is the "valley station" of the Jungfrau Railway and is 2,061 meters high. From here the Jungfrau Railway has to conquer 9.34 kilometers before it arrives at the Jungfraujoch. On its way, the train stops at two stations: Eigergletscher (2,320 m) and Eismeer (3,158 m). The Eigerwand station (2,864 m) has not been operated since December 11, 2016.

Buildings and plants

Since 1912, with the opening of the Jungfrau Railway, the well-being of visitors to the Jungfraujoch has been taken care of. Several restaurants, but also special viewing platforms and experiences were specially planned and implemented for this purpose.


The temporary “tourist house” with the highest restaurant in Europe was inaugurated at the opening. When it opened in 1924, the new "Berghaus Jungfraujoch" - with a gable roof and built into the rock face - complemented this tourist house. It became known as "The House Above the Clouds". On the ground floor there was a spacious waiting hall with heated floor, train and post office counters and a bazaar. Particularly striking stabbed the "Walliser Stube", with the pine paneling and application of natural stone received a special characteristic. Guests from all over the world stayed in one of the 18 cozy, wood-paneled bedrooms with sinks and jugs on the bedside table. On the viewing arbor you stood at the origin of the longest and largest continuous glacier in the Alps, the Aletsch Glacier. In 1972 a fire raged in the Berghaus with considerable consequences: only the railway office, the platform in the rear rock cavern and the research station could be protected from the fire. After the accident, the Jungfrau Railway invited architects to a competition to design a new building. The winner was Ernst E. Anderegg with the “Top of Europe” inserted in the slope, which was inaugurated in 1987.

Sphinx observatory and research station

Sphinx observatory

Even before construction began on the Jungfrau Railway, the founder of the railway, Adolf Guyer-Zeller , planned to set up an observatory and a meteorological research station. In 1931 the laboratories for meteorology , glaciology , radiation research , astronomy , physiology and medicine at ( 3571  m above sea level ) with a rock home for 13 researchers were inaugurated. In 1937 the Sphinx Observatory was moved into. In 1950 the dome for astronomical observations was added to the observatory, which has since been repeatedly adapted to the most modern requirements of science. The research building itself cannot be visited.

Below the Sphinx Observatory and east of the train station and the restaurants is the High Alpine Research Station , a research facility of the International Foundation High Altitude Research Stations Jungfraujoch and Gornergrat affiliated with the University of Bern . The guest rooms at the research station are the only place to stay overnight on the Jungfraujoch, but are only reserved for scientists and supervisors.

The observatory is accessible with a 111.4 meter long lift. When the weather is nice, the viewing platform offers visitors a view of the neighboring countries France, Germany and Italy. In 1993 the Sphinx was renovated for visitors. It took three years to complete it together with the fastest lift in Switzerland, the glazed viewing hall and the terrace running around the building.

Ice palace

Two mountain guides began to cut a huge hall out of the glacier ice in the 1930s. A 1,000 square meter labyrinth was created by hand with an ice ax and a saw - the Ice Palace. The work started in 1934 was never completed. Due to the evaporation of the thousands of visitors, the grotto has to be artificially air-conditioned to minus three degrees. The ceilings and the vaults of the corridors need to be cut down regularly. In 1992 the Ice Palace was given a new entrance and has been accessible via the Ice Gateway since 2002.

post Office

The highest post office in Europe with its own postcode 3801 is also located on the Jungfraujoch .

Directional beam station Ostgrat

The Ostgrat directional beam station, which was dismantled in 2011, was located on the east ridge of the Jungfrau at an altitude of less than 3700 meters . From the Jungfraujoch there is a tunnel railway, partly through the glacier, and a single-track funicular railway to the facility. In the middle of the funicular there is an intermediate station which is used for research purposes. There are photovoltaic test systems there.


The intense solar radiation is ideal for energy use. In this way, the heat that falls during the day is stored for the night. But the numerous sources of heat that are otherwise neglected - from lamps to electrical appliances to the body heat of the people present - are included in the regulation of the room temperature. There is no radiator in the entire Berghaus. Even when the sun is not shining and the outside temperature is minus 30 ° C, there is no need for additional heating during the day. Only at night is enough heat supplied via the ventilation system with electrical energy that a room temperature of at least 18 ° C is maintained.

Industrial water is obtained from snow and treated. In dry periods it still has to be brought up from Kleine Scheidegg by rail by cistern wagons. A new project is planned for 2012 in which the water will be pumped through pipes from the Kleine Scheidegg up to the Jungfraujoch using compressed air. This means that the number of cistern transports can be reduced.

The wastewater can no longer be discharged into the glacier crevasse. For this reason, a 9.4 kilometer sewer pipe was installed into the valley. All waste water from kitchens, accommodations and toilets can be disposed of in an environmentally friendly way.


Extreme climatic conditions prevail on the Jungfraujoch. The mean annual temperature is −7.9 ° C with fluctuations from −37 ° C to +12 ° C. The wind speed can be up to 260 km / h. The sun shines an average of 1700 hours a year. Heavy icing, snowfall and avalanches must be expected in every season.

Average monthly temperatures for Jungfraujoch, Sphinx, 3576 m
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) -10.5 -10.8 -10.0 -7.9 -3.7 -0.6 1.9 1.8 0.3 -2.5 -6.9 -9.1 O −4.8
Min. Temperature (° C) -16.6 -16.8 -15.7 -13.4 -9.0 -5.9 -3.4 -3.3 -5.1 -7.6 -12.8 -15.3 O −10.4
Temperature (° C) -13.6 -14.2 -13.1 -10.8 -6.7 -3.7 -1.2 -1.2 -2.6 -5.2 -10.4 -12.3 O −7.9
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Source: Meteoschweiz


Up until 2009, 25 polar dogs were used on the glacier every day . The dogs pulled sleds with visitors on a groomed slope (around 500 meters long), but were also used for mail and food transport from Wengen to the Eiger Glacier. The pack was considered the most photographed motif on the Jungfraujoch.

The high mountain region is interesting for ornithologists, as different bird species sometimes also overwinter. The snow finch, for example, nests and sleeps in the rugged rock faces and finds food in the researchers' houses.


  • Daniel Anker (Ed.): Eiger - The vertical arena . 4. revised Edition. AS Verlag , Zurich 2008, ISBN 3-905111-51-9 .
  • Florian Inäbnit: Jungfrau Railway . The Kleine Scheidegg - Jungfraujoch line of the Jungfrau Railways . Prellbock Druck und Verlag, Leissigen 2003, ISBN 3-907579-27-5 .
  • John Bell: The Alpine Guide, Central Alps , London 1866.
  • Jungfraubahn Management AG press release on the 100th anniversary of August 26, 2011.
  • Ralf Roman Rossberg : The Jungfrau Region. Railways, landscape, history . Hallwag Verlag, Bern / Stuttgart 1983.
  • Walter Gunthardt / André Hug / Niklaus Gurtner / Ueli Flück: Jungfrau . Brügger AG, Meiringen 1987.
  • Heinz Schindler / Peter Wenger / Jungfraubahnen (Eds.): Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe. Its buildings and facilities . Schlaefli & Maurer AG, Interlaken o. J.


  1. Today it is no longer the highest restaurant in Europe: the one on the Klein Matterhorn near Zermatt is higher.

Web links

Commons : Jungfraujoch  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. SDA: Jungfrau Railway set a new visitor record last year. Retrieved October 1, 2019 .
  2. Accommodation (Jungfraujoch). In: High Altitude Research Stations Jungfraujoch and Gornergrat. Retrieved May 26, 2016 .
  3. Jungfraujoch: important location for photovoltaic research. In: solarportal24.de. December 2, 2009, accessed May 26, 2016 .
  4. Climate tables . Meteo Switzerland. Archived from the original on June 27, 2009. Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved August 8, 2009. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.meteoswiss.admin.ch