Qwest Destinations introduces Jungfraujoch

Jungfraujoch, an adrenaline filled train ride to the Top of Europe 

The highlight of any Swiss holiday is a train ride to Jungfraujoch, billed as the Top of Europe as it is the highest train station in Europe at 3454 meters. Jungfraujoch is a col and a glacial pass between the Jungfrau mountain and the Monch mountain. 

Introducing the Jungfraujoch, an idyllic train journey to Sri Lankan travellers is leading tour operator Qwest Destinations. At a specially organised preview, Sony Abraham, Regional Director, Jungfrau and Remo Kaser, Director of Sales, Jungfrau, delivered a presentation on why a journey on Jungfrau to the Top of Europe should be on every travellers' bucket list. Jayantha Perera, Chairman Qwest Destinations also extolled the virtues of this scenic journey and implored people to visit the area. 

Some journeys we undertake in our lives leave an indelible mark  and remain in our memories forever. It is said that a trip to Jungfraujoch is one such journey that will enthrall and remain in a traveller's heart and mind for years to come. A heavenly place high up in the Swiss Alps, Jungfraujoch is a  UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Swiss Alps. 

Interlaken is billed as the gateway to Jungfrau and thrill-seekers, outdoor junkies and nature lovers have been drawn to Interlaken for decades. The Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau tower over Interlaken Sheer rick faces capped with gleaming ice are as foreboding as they are beautiful. The 1800 meter north face of Eiger, the highest on the Continent is one of the greatest climbing challenges in the world. These mountains were what drew the wealthy Victorians to the area more than a century ago. They are the reason for Europe's highest railroad and the graceful colonial style hotels dotting the landscape. 

The route from Interlaken to Jungfraujoch comprises of three different railways. The first leg from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen  is on the Bernese Oberland Railway. This narrow-gauge line was opened in 1890 and it is 12 miles in length. Over the course of the route, the line climbs 467 meters above sea level. The line was electrified in 1914 and some of these locomotives service for occasional use on special trains today. Nowadays, services are mostly run by specially designed trains with low floors and large windows, built to maximise both comfort and views of the beautiful Alpine scenery in the area. At Lauterbrunnen, the Wengernalp Railway runs to Kleine Scheidegg. Like the Bernese Oberland Railway, this is also a narrow-gauge line and was opened for traffic in 1893. 

It is from Lauterbrunnen up that the rolling tracks transform into a graceful clog. The journey is at a relaxed pace and frequent gaps in the Alpine shrubbery are treated with framed stills of sweeping valleys. The power of water and ice is apparent here as valleys lurch from side to side, bearing millennia of shaping as powerful glaciers scar the landscape. 

The next stop is Wengen from there its onwards via Kleine Scheidegg, where you board the classic red wagons of Jungfraubahn for a further 1500 meter climb. The trains bores its way through the Eiger Mountain resurfacing to give you breathtaking views of the picturesque scenery that abounds. 

Hybrid technology has rendered these trains ecologically sensible. Today these sleek metallic workhorses ferry over thousands of visitors to Jungfraujoch a day. The journey is an impossible scenic one. As you ascent you pass vast meadows where gradually flora and fauna give way to barren rock and patches of snow. In the distance the 22 kilometer Aletsch Glacier glistens in the blinding sunlight. 

At the top of Jungfraujoch the scenery is breathtaking. Vistas of snowcapped mountains and glaciers stretch for miles around. While at the top, a range of activities awaits. The Ice Palace, a tunnel 30 meters in length through the glacier is a shimmering world of blue ice. It houses translucent sculptures of eagles and bears which watch over passing visitors.  The Sphinx is the highest vantage point at the peak at 3571 meters. 

To celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the Jungfrau Railway, a 250 meter long adventure tour called Alpine Sensation was opened in 2012 at Jungfraujoch. Single sensory images with light and music help tell the tale about tourism past and present in the region from Adolf Guyer-Zeller's great idea to the extreme efforts required to construct the Jungfrau Railway. 

The Snow Fun Park is where you can indulge in winter sports in the summer as crazy as it sounds. Float on a steel cable, or whizz down the slopes with skis or snowboards or glide through the sledging park. Fun for the whole family, this is popular for those with an adventurous streak. 

A range of restaurants at the peak services various palates from spicy food to European cuisine. The Lindt Chocolate Heaven is where you can discover the history of Swiss chocolate. A free exhibition, you can learn about the entire process from cocoa extraction to the production of the famous Lindt truffles and then browse in the shop for some chocolate treats. 

For those adrenaline junkies, there is a hike from Jungfraujoch to Monchsjoch hut which is approximately one hour. It is an amazing way to experience hiking in the Alps on this specially prepared trail. You can cross a glacier without ropes or a mountain guide and add it to your list of achievements. 

Billed as one of the most beautiful regions of Switzerland with scenic landscapes and panoramic vistas, Interlaken and its surrounding areas are a traveller's delight. Indulge in a trip of a lifetime and ascend the peaks in comfort on the Jungfrau as you head to the Top of Europe. 

For detailed information about Jungfraujoch, call Qwest Destinations on  (011) 2 687 502 or 0777649000 or email tours@qwestdestinations.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tina Edward Gunawardhana

Tina Edward Gunawardhana is a journalist specialising in travel, lifestyle, cuisine and personalities. She is also the features writer for Hi!! Magazine. An intrepid traveller, she likes to show readers the world through her eyes and experiences. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - tinajourno tinajourno@gmail.com

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