The Swiss Alps are famously stunning and a magnet for tourists from all around the world. They are also home to one of the world's high observatories that double up as a major (and iconic) tourist destination. The Sphinx Observatory is located deep in the Swiss Alps in one of the entire range's most spectacular regions.

In case anyone is wondering, the Alps of the famous movie The Sound of Music are of the Austrian Alps and not the Swiss Alps. While in Switzerland, pop into Austria and visit the stunning city of Saltzberg and see where the movie was filmed. The Alps of Europe are full of so much dramatic beauty, that they are sure to take the most traveled of people's breath away.


The Sphinx Observatory: The Highest Observatory In Europe

The Sphinx Observatory is an astronomical observatory located at a height of 3,571 m (11,716 ft) above sea level. It is set atop the Jungfraujoch - one of the most spectacular of the landmarks of the Swiss Alps.

  • Elevation: 3,571 meters (11,716 feet) Above Sea Level
  • Accessed: By Railway and Lift
  • Open: Parts of The Sphinx Observatory Are Open To The Public
  • Date: The Sphinx Observatory Was Built in 1937

The Sphinx Observatory is open to the public being served by special alpine trains and an elevator leading to the top of the mountain. Here one can enjoy the second-highest observation deck in Switzerland. The highest observation deck in the country is on Klein Matterhorn at 3,883 Meters and is accessible by cable car and lift.

  • Highest Swiss Observation Deck: Klein Matterhorn At 3,883 Meters
  • Highest Construction: The Sphinx Observatory is The Highest Altitude Construction In Europe

The viewing deck that's open to the public is located beside the observatory. From there one can soak in eye-watering vistas of the surrounding mountains and valleys including Jungfrau, Mönch, and Eiger peaks. Views stretch for as far away as Germany and Italy.

The observatory is equipped with multiple laboratories, a weather observation station, astronomical and meteorological domes, and a 76-cm telescope. It studies such fields as glaciology, medicine, cosmic ray physics, and astronomy.

Related: Grindelwald: A Guide To Switzerland's Most Beautiful Village

The Jungfraujoch  Railway: A Truly Alpine Railway

Few mountains so high, ice-capped, and rugged are so easily accessible. The Jungfraujoch railway station is the highest train station in Europe that climbs almost to the top of the mountain at 3,454 meters (11,332 feet) above sea level. From there one can take an elevator to the top.

  • Jungfraujoch railway station: Highest In Europe At 3,454 meters (11,332 feet)
  • Opened: In 1912
  • Price: The Train Tickets Start At around 100 Swiss Francs ($106.00) Depending On The Departure Point

The Jungfraujoch station has been going for a long time now (it opened in 1912) and was built to get the scientists up the mountain to do their observation work. It is located less than 300 meters (yards) from the Sphinx ridge. The Sphinx Observatory itself was completed in 1937.

The Jungfraujoch railway station is an underground terminus station (by underground that's inside the top of the mountain). The segment runs from Kleine Scheidegg in the Bernese Oberland and goes through the Jungfrau Tunnel that cuts its way through the Eiger and Mönch.

One can board the train at the alpine Swiss city of Interlaken or from one of the stops along the way.

Related: This Is Why You Should Consider Visiting Switzerland In The Summer

The "Top Of Europe" - Is Really The Top Of Europe

"Icy air sweeps over your face, snow crunches underfoot, and the panorama almost takes your breath away: on one side the view of the Swiss Mittelland towards the Vosges, on the other the Aletsch Glacier, lined with four thousand metre peaks. Standing on the Jungfraujoch 3,454 metres above sea level, you can feel it with your first step: this is a different world. It's one you have to experience."

Jungfrau Top of Europe

The “Top of Europe” is a building built on a mind-bending steep precipice. The Top of Europe overlooks the eternal snows of the Aletsch Glacier and has five levels. It includes several restaurants and a permanent exhibition about the Jungfrau Railway and the Alps. There are both enclosed and open viewing platforms.

If one is traveling on a budget, then pack some food for the trip. This is Swissland and nothing is cheap!

  • Fun Fact: The Top Of Europe Has Europe's Highest-Altitude Post Office
  • Jungfraujoch: A Snow Saddle That's The Lowest Point Of The Ridge Between Jungfrau and the Mönch
  • Open: 365 Days A Year (Even In The Winter)

Visiting the Top of Europe is an adventure unto itself. The train ride up into the Swiss Alps and then up the mountain and into the mountain is enough to even put Canada's vaunted Rocky Mountaineer to shame.

Next: Himalayas Vs Swiss Alps: Check Out These Real Tourist Photos To Help You Decide Which Mountains To Visit