Julie Switzerland 4 Comments

If you are planning a visit to the Bernese Alps and only have the time, or the money, for Jungfraujoch or Schilthorn, which one should you visit?

Both are extraordinary experiences, offering panoramic views of the Alps with a few unique differences. Both also come with a big sticker price.

In this article, get an overview of what to expect at each visit, how much you will spend, and then get our recommendations for which one to visit, based on your traveling style.

An Overview of Jungfraujoch

A trip up to Jungfraujoch is one of the most popular things to do in the Bernese Oberland. Stand on one of the highest points in the Swiss Alps, walk through an ice cave, play in the snow, get panoramic views over the Alps, and hike out to Mönchsjochhütte.

Also called the Top of Europe, there is a lot of marketing and advertising to make you, as a tourist, feel like this is something you must do. And it’s working. Jungfraujoch is getting to be a very crowded experience, especially in the summer months.

How to Get to Jungfraujoch

The only way to get to Jungfraujoch is by train. Depending on your starting point, you will most likely take a series of trains to get here. And this can take several hours.

First, you will have to get to Kleine Scheidegg or Eigergletscher. The final train to Jungfraujoch, called the Jungfraubahn, leaves from Kleine Scheidegg.

If you are starting in Wengen, Lauterbrunnen, Murren, or Gimmelwald, you will take the train to Kleine Scheidegg. It is here that you will board the Jungfraubahn and then it is a 35-minute ride, mostly in a cold, dark tunnel, to get to Jungfraujoch. You exit the train at Jungfraujoch, the highest train station in Europe.

New for 2021 is the Eiger Express. This brand new gondola connects Grindelwald with Eigergletscher, cutting down travel times. If you are starting in Grindelwald or Interlaken Ost, you will take the Eiger Express to Eigergletscher, then board the Jungfraubahn at this station, and take this train to Jungfraujoch.

Train to Jungfraujoch

The Jungfraubahn, before it enters the tunnel.

How Much Does a Visit Cost?

Without any discounts, tickets can cost at least CHF 200 per person (roughly $200 USD). The final train ride (Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch) costs CHF 156 in the high season. Round trip tickets from Grindelwald Terminal to Jungfraujoch cost CHF 214 in the high season.

There are discounts to make this cheaper. If you have the Swiss Travel Pass, you will get a 25% discount. Kids travel free with a Junior Travel Card. The Jungfrau Travel Pass also offers discounts. 

Learn more about how to visit Jungfraujoch, with maps, advice on how to get here and reserve your tickets, with lots of tips to have the best experience, in our article

Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe…Is It Worth It?

What Can You Do on Jungfraujoch?

There is a lot to do, once you are here. Enjoy the panoramic views from the Sphinx Terrace, go snow tubing or skiing on the Aletsch Glacier, hike out to Mönchsjochhutte, and see the ice carvings in the Ice Palace. There are also several restaurants and gift shops where you can spend more money.

A visit typically lasts 4 to 5 hours, a little bit longer if you also plan on snow tubing or skiing.

Jungfraujoch or Schilthorn Post

Top of Europe Ice Carving

Jungfraujoch View

The view from the Sphinx Terrace.

An Overview of Schilthorn

Schilthorn is another high alpine peak in the Bernese Oberland. It sits across the Lauterbrunnen Valley from Jungfraujoch.

Piz Gloria, the main complex of buildings on Schilthorn, was featured in the James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. While you are here, you can dine in the rotating restaurant that was featured in the movie.

How to Get to Schilthorn

Most people get to Schilthorn by riding the series of cable cars that starts in Stechelberg. There is also a hiking trail to the top.

The ride on the cable car is one of the best parts of the visit to Schilthorn. You silently drift over small towns and hamlets, past farms and their cows and sheep, and the views of the mountains get better the higher you go. There are no cold, dark tunnels on this journey, just sweeping views of the Bernese Alps.

Cable Car Schilthorn

A view of the cable car, taken from Birg.

How Much Does a Visit Cost?

A visit to Schilthorn is much cheaper than Jungfraujoch. Again, your cost depends on your starting point, but prices range from CHF 85 to CHF 125.

Similar to Jungfraujoch, you can also get discounts on these prices. The Swiss Travel Pass gives you a 50% discount. Kids travel free with the the Junior Card.

Of course, if you hike to Schilthorn and ride the cable car down (or vice versa), you save roughly 50% on the ticket price.

What Can You Do on Schilthorn?

From the viewing platform at Schilthorn, you get amazing views of Mönch, Eiger, and Jungfrau, not to mention 200 more mountain peaks. Have brunch at Piz Gloria, the rotating restaurant, and visit Bond World.

Schilthorn or Jungfraujoch


On the cable car ride to Schilthorn, you will transfer in Birg. Walk the Thrill Walk and enjoy more stunning views of the area.

Birg Cliff Walk

Birg Thrill Walk

Learn more about how to visit Schilthorn, with maps, advice on how to get here, with lots of tips to have the best experience, in our article

Everything You Need to Know to Visit Schilthorn and Birg

Jungfraujoch or Schilthorn?

So, how do you decide which one to visit? Here are the advantages and disadvantages of both.

Jungfraujoch…The Good

Visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Jungfraujoch is located within the Jungfrau-Aletsch Region, an area that was chosen as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001. For those who are trying to see as many UNESCO sites as possible, this would be one for the list.

Aletsch Glacier

View of the Aletsch Glacier from Jungfraujoch

Ride a Historic Train

Jungfraujoch is the location of the highest train station in Europe. Construction of the railway began in 1896 and was all done by manual labor: pick axes, shovels, and human labor. It took sixteen years to complete the railway, officially opening in 1912.

Play in the Snow/Walk on a Glacier

At Jungfraujoch, you get to go hiking, skiing, and snow tubing, even during the summer months. For many visitors, this chance to play in the snow is one of the highlights of a visit here, especially for visitors who typically don’t get to see snow where they live.

Jungfraujoch Snow

Best Choice for Kids

With the chance to play in the snow and the ice carvings in the Ice Palace, Jungfraujoch is a better choice if you are traveling with kids.

Jungfraujoch…the Bad

It’s Expensive

The visit to Jungfraujoch is nearly double what you will pay to visit Schilthorn. Yes, you get to do more once you are here, but CHF 200 is a lot to spend.

It Feels More Touristy and Crowded

There is a lot more marketing to draw visitors to Jungfraujoch. Not only will people be arriving from nearby locations like Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen, but also Lucerne and even Zurich.

To avoid the crowds, make sure you are on the first train of the day. Even then, it will still feel crowded, especially in the summer months.

You Should Book Your Tickets in Advance

This is such a popular activity that if you want to be on that first train, you should book your tickets 1 to 2 days in advance. Watch the weather and keep your fingers crossed that the forecast doesn’t change, if it’s predicted to be a clear day when you reserve your tickets.

Schilthorn…the Good

The Ride to Get Here is Thrilling

No expensive train ride. No ride through a long, dark tunnel. Just a series of thrilling cable cars get you to Schilthorn.

Brunch at Piz Gloria, the Rotating Restaurant

We loved this! It takes 45 minutes for the restaurant to do one complete revolution, and during this time, you get to enjoy the view as over 200 mountain peaks slowly drift by outside your window.

Piz Gloria Restaurant

The View is Better than Jungfraujoch

This is just my opinion, but I think that the view is better from Schilthorn. Since Piz Gloria sits on top of a mountain peak (versus Jungfraujoch, which sits on a saddle between two mountains), you get 360° views of the Alps. Plus, you get a spectacular view of Jungfrau, Mönch, and Eiger, with the Lauterbrunnen Valley stretched out in front of it.

At Jungfraujoch, your main view is of the Aletsch Glacier, which is wonderful, but it’s not jaw-dropping like the views from Schilthorn.

Schilthorn View

The view from Schilthorn

It’s Cheaper

Ticket prices are roughly half of what you spend to visit Jungfraujoch.

You Can Hike to Schilthorn

For those looking to add on an epic hike with even more amazing alpine views, you can hike to the peak of Schilthorn (or ride the cable car up and hike back down to Mürren or Gimmelwald).

You cannot hike to Jungfraujoch.

Takes Less Time

If you are staying near Mürren, you can be at the top of Schilthorn in less than 30 minutes (it took us 2 hours to get to Jungfraujoch from Mürren). There is also less to do here, so in general, most visits last 3 hours. If you are short on time and staying in or near the Lauterbrunnen Valley, choose Schilthorn.

It’s Less Crowded

For both experiences, we were either on the first train or the first cable car of the day. The train to Jungfraujoch was completely full, so that’s a lot of people immediately flooding the building.

For Schilthorn, we shared the much smaller cable car with just a handful of people. While we dined at Piz Gloria, we almost had the restaurant to ourselves.


The Schilthorn terrace first thing in the morning.

Schilthorn felt wonderfully empty compared to our experience at Jungfraujoch.

It does get crowded on Schilthorn, typically between 10 am and 4 pm. But at least you have the chance to have a quieter, less crowded experience here, if that is important to you.

Birg Thrill Walk

On the ride up to Schilthorn or back down to Mürren or Stechelberg, get off at Birg and walk the Thrill Walk, for more stunning views of the Alps.

Jungfraujoch or Schilthorn Image

Birg View

The view from Birg

Schilthorn…The Bad

Less Likely to See Snow

Mid to late summer, there is not much snow left on top of Schilthorn. However, in 2020, an area opened where visitors can touch the snow.

But if you want to walk on the snow, Jungfraujoch is the clear winner.

In Conclusion

The main reasons to visit Jungfraujoch are for high alpine views of a wintry wonderland, the chance to walk and play in the snow, and to ride a historic train to the highest train station in Europe. The downside is the huge price tag (can be over CHF 200 per person) and the possibility of spending at least 3 to 4 hours on trains, depending on your starting point.

The main reasons to visit Schilthorn are to ride the series of thrilling cable cars, take in 360° views of the Alps, dine at Piz Gloria, and walk the Birg Thrill Walk. This is much cheaper and quicker to visit, so if you want high alpine views without spending a small fortune, choose Schilthorn.

Of the two experiences, Schilthorn was our favorite. We enjoyed both, but the price and length of time to get to Jungfraujoch is a big minus. Plus, the crowds get to be insane mid-morning. But we loved walking out to Mönchsjochhutte and this was our favorite experience at Jungfraujoch.

Schilthorn was an all-around great experience. From the cable car ride to the wonderful brunch and the Birg Thrill Walk, we enjoyed every single minute of this experience.

If you can visit both, do it, because I think that they are worth it, since they offer different experiences. Just make sure you do these on clear days so that you get to enjoy the spectacular views.

I hope this helps you make your decision, and if you have any questions about which one is better, Jungfraujoch or Schilthorn, let us know in the comment section below. Also, if you have done both, which one do you recommend?

More Information for Your Trip to Switzerland:

Read all of our articles about Switzerland in our Switzerland Travel Guide.

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Jungfraujoch or Schilthorn Switzerland


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Comments 4

  1. Thank you for this helpful overview. Our family is planning to travel to Switzerland and Italy next May and I have been researching both of these options. We live near Lake Tahoe and experience snow every winter, so after seeing your reviews of both places I have decided that Schilthorn will be our destination. The cable cars, view, and optional rotating restaurant were all selling points. Now, here’s to hoping we can travel in Europe next spring!

    Thanks again for this informative post!

    1. Post

      You’re welcome! We are keeping our fingers crossed that travel starts to get back to normal next year. Have a great trip! Cheers, Julie

  2. Hi Julie,

    This was very helpful as I have been obsessed with getting to the Jungfraujoch with the Schilthorn being obsession number 2. However, after seeing the views from the Schilthorn and the option to have brunch in the rotating cafe, I think this would be my number 1 destination when we get there. I do see your point about the Jungfraujoch becoming somewhat touristy, but the thought of standing on that platform at the sphinx is very appealing. Plus, just the history and story behind the railway make it a great story. Of course when we do get there we’ll try very hard to do both, but I suspect I’ll come away as you did and enjoy the Schilthorn more. And if for some reason we can only do 1 I think I will vote for the Schilthorn.

    Thanks for the great post.

    1. Post

      You’re welcome! Schilthorn was our favorite of the two, because of the brunch and the cable car ride. Cheers, Julie

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