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16 Amazing things to do in Lauterbrunnen Switzerland

by Roberto
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For anyone who has seen photos of Lauterbrunnen Switzerland, it’s understandable why it evokes such deep feelings of wanderlust. It’s a near mythical place of waterfalls falling between perfect Swiss Chalets. Standing still in awe of the these is enough to fill a day, but there are many other interesting things to do in Lauterbrunnen.

Photos of Lauterbrunnen fill social media sites for many years now. You might easily think it’s the creation of talented users of Photoshop. Could a valley exist where 72 waterfalls come crashing down to the valley floor?

Well as we know it most certainly does. Lauterbrunnen translates simply to “Many Springs”. The Lauterbrunnen Valley Switzerland is the worlds deepest glacial valley, formed eons ago. The walls are some 200 meters high, sloping in at near perfect straight lines upwards. It’s these straight line valley walls that create the waterfalls; the rivers above, unable to find a different route, come cascading down to the valley, before turning to near mist by the bottom, due to the height of the drop. And does it ever make for a wonderful sight.



How to get to Lauterbrunnen

Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen

The town of Lauterbrunnen in the Jungfrau region is easily reached from Interlaken, that imaginatively entitled town that sits between two lakes, the Brienzersee and Thunersee. It is well serviced by the train line that runs there, route R taking only 20 minutes, that leads you to such beauty. If you plan on taking trains a lot in Switzerland it is advisable to invest in a Swiss Travel Pass. You have two options in this area, the Swiss Rail Pass, which services the whole country, or the Jungfrau Rail Pass which is more localized to the area. The latter is slightly cheaper and more specialized to the Jungfrau. Either way it will cost you a kidney, but when you start amassing rail journeys, you will appreciate the savings.

Alternatively the road that travels from Interlaken is a particularly scenic way of getting to Lauterbrunnen. Lauterbrunnen can be reached in by road in circa 20 minutes.


Basel to Interlaken

The nearest airport to Interlaken is the EuroAirport at Basel. This airport serves three countries. To connect via train is not without its complications. It’s best to grab an Uber or Bus 50 to Basel SBB Railway Station. From there you can make your Swiss Pass work with the train IC61 to Interlaken OST. Switch here for train R to Lauterbrunnen. The journey takes around three hours with the changes.

Driving from Basel is significantly easier with the 157 km route taking less than two hours, It travels through Swiss cheese country, a rolling countryside, dotted with perfect villages. There is an optional stop in the Swiss capital Bern on the way. In Lauterbrunnen there is paid parking next to the train station, or alternatively there is a cheaper parking lot at Evang-ref for 1 franc per hour.


Our Journey to Lauterbrunnen

Our Swiss adventure began in the beautiful capital city of Bern. We were road tripping around Switzerland and the driving route was surprisingly easy, only taking 20 minutes to reach from Interlaken. If you are planning to visit these cities, you may these blog post on them useful, as well as my guide on budgeting in Switzerland.

Things to do in Interlaken

Bern Switzerland points of interest

Tthings to do in Grindelwald

Travelling to Switzerland on a budget

The valley deepens and deepens as you approach, with some of the sheer walls very impressive. The snow capped high peaks of the Alps form a constant beautiful backdrop. Through the valley powers the Lütschine River, a glacial powerhouse fed from the water of 72 waterfalls and so many other sources. It’s not the turquoise colour of the lakes before but it has an attractive hue. The approach is in essence stunning. But it’s not a patch on what lies beyond.


Where to Stay in Lauterbrunnen

To really enjoy the full pleasures of Lauterbrunnen, it’s best to stay a couple of nights in the town. Accomodation options vary, with a selection of chalet like hotels. There are no particularly high end hotels here, as in Interlaken, but there are a few mid to low range choices. Hotel Staubbach, Hotel Steinbock and Hotel Silberhorn all offer rooms around the €200 mark. On the lower end Hotel Horner and the Valley Hostel offer rooms under €100. If you prefer to sleep with the stars over your head, a great budget option is Camping Jungfrau near Stechelberg. All hotels provide car parking for those road tripping.

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Top Things to do in Lauterbrunnen

Walk Through Lauterbrunnen Village

As you approach the valley opens and the village appears. One of the first buildings will be the train station, and all Lauterbrunnen journey’s begin here. From here the towns Main Street bypasses restaurants and shops all vying for the tourist buck, and from our experience charging excessively for the pleasure too. The buildings are the perfect Swiss Chalets you could only ever have dreamed of up until this point. An impossible mix of wood and stone, each are adorned with multiple colours and varieties of flowers.

The main sight of the buildings of Lauterbrunnen Village is its quaint church. It mainly provides a wonderful foreground to photos, however its worth a ramble inside for its stain glass windows and to see its old bell which is on display.

For a small village Lauterbrunnen has quite a few cafes and restaurants. Of these the two in hotels, Oberland and Steinbock are rated highly. For less formal surroundings Airtime Café and Flavours Café provide lunch options. Personally my favourite way to eat lunch in Switzerland was a quick meal on the move, and the bakery at Stefan von Allmen & Co is perfect for this.


Stand in Awe of Staubbach Falls

The waterfalls are what draw you here and awaited you. We used the car park, not far from the church, which stood in the shadow of the valleys main attraction. The Staubbach Falls appear as if they are in the town, or a feature of someone’s garden. They aren’t of course, as you approach, the houses stop and the falls can be seen to drop safely in a field, before calming into a river below. That doesn’t detract from it, and it is of course the most photographed and gazed upon sight in Lauterbrunnen. The challenge is in finding the right angle, and the right location to take that iconic shot. I didn’t find mine on first visit, but luckily we would return to the town again before the end of our Swiss Adventures.

The Staubbach Falls drop 270 metres from the high wall above, making it one of Europe’s highest vertical waterfalls.

Staubbach Falls, Lauterbrunnen
Staubbach Falls from Lauterbrunnen
Staubbach Falls, Lauterbrunnen
Staubbach Falls, one of the best things to do in Lauterbrunnen

So now that you’ve seen Lauterbrunnens main attraction is there much of a point of continuing on out into the open valley.

You bet there is.

Whilst the Staubbach Falls are superior, I found the smaller ones that cascaded down at regular intervals more attractive. Maybe it was the lack of people swarms surrounding them, or the fresh Swiss air in my lungs, but a visit to Lauterbrunnen should only begin in the village.


Do the Lauterbrunnen Valley Hike

The hike thorough the valley floor is easily followed and easily navigated. A paved path takes you down past several more falls, and at all time those enormous valley walls surround you, with the valley barely a kilometre wide for most of the walk. For me many of my favourite images come from this walk. The hike from Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg is 5km out and with such flat terrain should take you less than an hour, provided you aren’t too distracted by the beauty around you. Easier said than done.


Marvel at the Lauterbrunnen waterfalls

What happens when nature puts 72 waterfalls in a valley? They are everywhere, that’s what happens. So naturally I stopped constantly to take photos.

Lauterbrunnen waterfall
Another field another waterfall
Lauterbrunnen valley
Perfect place to build a house

Gaze at the general valley scenery

The valley is a true wonder of the world. Its extraordinarily beautiful and with every landscape change as I walked the views astounded me more and more. The Lauterbrunnen valley is a classic U-shaped valley formed during the last ice age, by a glacier, natures best sculptor.

Swiss Countryside
Waterfalls, cows and Mountains- how delightful
Swiitzerland Countryside
Jungfrau region
Swiss Mountains

Meet the local farm life

One thing I always associated with mountain life in Switzerland is its cows. Swiss cows are not only an iconic sight around here but also an iconic sound. The cows wear a bell and when they move the sound fills the air. The bells have their practical use too, used as a means of scaring off predators.

Swiss Cows Lauterbrunnen
The endearing sight of a Swiss cow
Ponies in the Swiss Alps
Ponies grazing among the wildflowers

See the Farms & Houses of Lauterbrunnen

The farm buildings that litter the valley provide such a contrast to their surroundings. My first thoughts were that this seems such an extraordinary place to live, but the landslide shelters found throughout the area prove that even heaven on earth is fraught with dangers. It didn’t take away from the beauty of the buildings on that given day in June though.

Lauterbrunnen Valley
Lauterbrunnen’s top piece of real estate
Lauterbrunnen Waterfall
The Swiss Alps
Lauterbrunnen
One of my favourite images
Lauterbrunnen Valley
And another- an old shed surrounded by beauty
Swiss Alps
A typical Swiss Mountain Chalet
Swiss Chalet
A beautiful example of a Swiss Chalet

Trummelbach Falls- Lauterbrunnens waterfall hike

One of Lauterbrunnen’s coolest features is the waterfall inside the mountain. Located some 3km from Lauterbrunnen village, you can also drive here if you have wheels, and there is ample parking outside. Swiss engineering triumphs again here. The Trummelbachfalle are a series of chutes and waterfalls within the mountain. So if they are in the mountain, how do you get to visit? That’s where the Swiss come in. A funicular runs straight up inside a man made tunnel in the mountain (that triumph I spoke of) which puts you right in the middle of the ten waterfalls of the Trümmelbach falls. At 5 Swiss Francs its certainly worth the admission.

From here a series of walkways, tunnels and stairs take you higher to some of the waterfalls and lower to the other half. The waterfalls are all glacier fed, and they roar through the mountain with incredible power. It really is a sight to behold. Though it is certainly not a place for anyone who has mobility restrictions. There are hundreds and hundreds of steps. I came just as the place was closing so at 5, so I quickly darted up and down the stairs, trying to get as many of the man made viewpoints that I could.

trummelbachfalle
One of the powerful chutes at Trummelbachfalle
  • Trummelbachfalle
  • Chute at Trummelbachfal
  • Trummelbachfalle
  • Trummelbachfalle


Fulfill your Bucket List plans

With most of my ambitions in Lauterbrunnen satisfied, we know had one more ambition as a couple to fulfill. To have a bit of fun. Beata’s ultimate ambition was to have her photo taken with one of those Swiss Cows. So we took off into the valley by car after returning from our hike, and found the perfect spot. Its an awesome place to try and capture some insta perfect moments.

Our photshoot in the Alps
Bringing Milka back to the cows

Experience real adventure in Lauterbrunnen

Paragliding

Perhaps the best way to enjoy Lauterbrunnen is from above. Unfortunately my plans to paraglide didn’t come to fruition, however should you wish to, Airtime Paragliding seem a very reputable company. With a route that passes by waterfalls, surely this is the most thrilling way to experience Lauterbrunnen.


Via Ferrara

Of all the Lauterbrunnen things to do Via Ferrara surely ranks as the most thrilling. The walk (which should only be done in the company of local expert mountain guides) translates as iron way and you’ll need nerves of iron to take on this challenge. A strong head for heights is an absolute must too. With a route that clings to the mountain side crosses rope bridges high above the valley it’s a must for adrenaline junkies.

It is possible to do the 3 hour climbing route yourself providing you have the climbing experience. It only opens for the summer months and is free of charge, something that’s also very welcome in Switzerland. There is a requirement to have all the necessary climbing gear and harnesses. Grindelwald Sports offer guides tours with full equipment for 135 CHF per person.


Birg Thrill Walk

For the weaker of heart (like myself) who enjoy a somewhat more subdued thrill, the Birg Thrill Walk is the answer. As the last stop before Schilthorn, Birg features a cafe, hiking and a cliff walk experience. The steel cliff walk clings to the mountain face, with a glass floor separating you from the precipice below. There is also a viewing deck for the ultimate holiday photo with the peaks behind. Entry to both facilities is free of charge.


Places to visit from Lauterbrunnen

Hike or Take the cable Car to Murren

Of course being summer in Switzerland hiking is a huge attraction. The Lauterbrunnen- Murren hike climbs from the village, before crossing above Staubbach Falls and continuing on to Murren. It’s a 6 km trail with an elevation gain of over 700 metres, and is rated moderate. The trail can be linked to the Lauterbrunnen Stechelberg trail by using the cable car to Murren connection to make it into a looped trail of 12 km.

There are a significant number of other hiking trails from Murren, linking it with Gimmelwald, and the higher peaks such as Birg and Schilthorn. Of course for those that don’t fancy 20 km walks in the Bernese Alps, help is at hand. There is a cable car running from the aforementioned Lauterbrunnen railway station up to Grutschalp, before boarding the narrow gauge railway to Murren.

Despite Murren being a village of just 450 people it is an extremely popular year round resort. It’s altitude of 1638 metres above sea level and location high above Lauterbrunnen, ensure that no roads reach it. It is a pedestrian only village and all the better for it. There are 52 km of ski runs and an ice rink in winter, and in summer this green hamlet becomes an excellent hiking base.


The Schiltorn 007 Lookout

This lookout is famed for its part in the sole Bond outing by George Lazenby, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. In the movie it served as Blofeld’s clinical research institute. There’s even a James Bond Bar for the huge Bond fans out there. The summit is at 2970 metres and is topped by Piz Gloria. Here you’ll find a revolving 400 seat restaurant with views over 200 peaks. It’s quite the sight.

The day trip here involves a number of cable cars and that Swiss travel pass will come in handy. The round trip costs 108 CHF (2021 pricing) but the Swiss card gives a 50% reduction. The easiest route is to take the cable car from Stechelberg. If driving there is a car park at the station. The 30 minute journey passes by optional stops at Gimmelwald, Murren, and Birg and one of the most aesthetic trips in the region.


Travel from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen

We followed our own path and missed out on Murren through time constraints. We did return from Grindelwald some days later, the lure of Lauterbrunnen too strong. However it was not to gaze upon those waterfalls again (even if that’s what we mostly did). Our return was to visit Wengen, another pedestrianised town above Lauterbrunnen.

Wengen is located above the valley of Lauterbrunnen. All roads seem to lead back to Lauterbrunnen train station, and when we compared train prices of how to get to Wengen, they did for us on this day too. From Grindelwald the price was quadruple that from Lauterbrunnen. When a twelve minute train ride costs Fr 27 for two you have to think of cost. The train station in Lauterbrunnen has an underground car park, ideal for any planned trips. More rail pricing and details at Jungfrau.ch.

It may only be a twelve minute train ride. but when a twelve minute train ride rises above the town and valley of Lauterbrunnen, its one you never want to end. For me, it was also the place where i finally got my iconic photo of the town. I suggest to alternate the side of the train you sit on for the return journey, just to make the most of the views. The morning we traveled, the hills were shrouded in a thick fog, adding to the romanticism of this fairy-tale land.

Kauterbrunnen
Staubbach Falls from bthe train to Wengen
Lauterbrunnen
Lauterbrunnen
Views over Lauterbrunnen
Lauterbrunnen Valley
Window view from the train

Things to do in Wengen

Arriving in Wengen we disembarked the train, and took time over a coffee in the Hotel Silberhorn, to watch life and people pass by. Again I was relieved to find that the rumour of coffees in Switzerland costing €8 each was just that. Two cappuccinos cost a mere Fr 8. Enlivened we set off to explore Wengen. While the town was nice, it didn’t occur to us as somewhere that should be on a must see agenda.It did however have its defining characteristics, with the main street again beset by cute chalets, impressive hotels and a beautiful train station.

  • Wengen Train Station
  • Wengen
  • Lauberhorn Hotel Wengen
  • Wengen


For us though, it was all about the views, and that’s why Wengen makes its appearance in my Lauterbrunnen valley. Skirt the western edge of the town until you come to Wengen’s Evangelist Reform Church, which is beautiful in its own right. But from here, the vista of Lauterbrunnen opens up, providing a stunning backdrop of waterfalls. It makes Wengen worth all the effort.

Wengen's Evangeiist Reform Church
Wengen’s Evangeiist Reform Church
Wengen
Lauterbrunnen Valley Views from Wengen
Wengen
And me

See the Top of Europe at Jungfraujoch

Billed as the top of Europe, a trip to Jungfraujoch is an experience unmatched elsewhere in Europe. The train route from Lauterbrunnen takes 1 hour 30 minutes and climbs to an incredible 3454 metres. With Europe’s highest peak of Jungfrau before you and the Aletsch Glacier beneath, it’s exhilarating. The station at the top features a gift store and restaurant, but more importantly a viewing deck to take in the snowy heavens surrounding. The onsite ice tunnels are one of its most amazing facilities too. The round trip to Jungfraujoch is one of the most expensive tourist attractions in Switzerland at 210 CHF a person, but isn’t travel all about living those one in a lifetime experiences.


The fact is however you enjoy Lauterbrunnen, it will make you stop and stare. There aren’t many places like this on Planet earth, so if you find yourself here, soak it all in.

Travel Insurance

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If you enjoyed or were inspired by this blog, I would really appreciate a share or a pin. Happy travelling.

Lauterbrunnen

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