Lauterbrunnen is one of the most photographed spots in Switzerland, perhaps even in the Alps. The most famous point of the valley, considered one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in Europe, is the settlement of the same name, which owes its fame to the giant Staubbachfall waterfall. In our current article, we will look at what attractions Lauterbrunnen offers.
Many people know the neighbouring Grindelwald from the Harry Potter books. Still, few know that Tolkien modelled the world of the Rivendell valley on the Lauterbrunnen valley when he visited the area in 1911.
|Country||Canton of Bern, Switzerland|
|Location||Jungfrau region, Interlaken district, Bernese Oberland tourist region|
|Parking||Parking lot next to the cable car|
|Towns||Lauterbrunnen, Mürren, Wengen, Gimmelwald, Stechelberg|
|Top things to see||72 waterfalls like Staubbachfall (297 m)|
|Getting around||Bus, cable car, cogwheel|
Where is Lauterbrunnen?
Lauterbrunnen is located in Switzerland, in the canton of Bern, in the district of Interlaken. The valley lies in the Alps and belongs to the tourist region of the Bernese Oberland, which also includes the towns of Interlaken and Grindelwald. It can be reached by car in 1 hour in the southeast direction from the capital - Bern.
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- Distance from Bern: 70 km / 1 hour
- Distance from Zurich: 130 km / 2 hours
- Distance from Zermatt, Matterhorn: 120 km / 2.5 hours
The countryside is part of the Jungfrau region, which combines the Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen valleys with the surrounding towns. It got its name from the highest mountain in the area, Jungfrau (4158 m).
The village of Lauterbrunnen has five parking spaces, while Stechelberg - the last settlement in the valley - has one designated parking lot. All of them are paid, and you can settle the fee with a credit card.
The village of Lauterbrunnen is the first settlement in the valley, while Stechelberg is the last. The train only runs to the front of the valley - so you need to go further by bus, car, bicycle or on foot. Only cable cars continue to the area's peaks; there is no bus transfer.
More about the valley
Lauterbrunnen is an approximately eight kilometres long U-shaped valley near the Lauterbrunnen wall. Its area is 164.51 km2. The valley starts with the village of the same name and ends at Stechelberg (you can get there by car, bus, or on foot).
The limestone cliffs form a dramatic view. The valley is one of the deepest in the Alpine chain compared to the surrounding mountains' height. It's pretty broad, as it reaches 1 kilometre at some point. The 72 streams from the neighbouring mountains form cascades so high that they are almost lost in the spray when they reach the ground. The following mountains bound it:
- in the east, the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau
- in the south, the Gletscherhorn, Mittaghorn, Grosshorn, Breithorn and Tschingelhorn,
- the Gspaltenhorn and Schilthorn mountains in the west
The Kleine Scheidegg pass connects it with Grindelwald, while the Sefinenfurgge pass connects it with Griesalp and Reichenbach im Kandertal. Both passes have hiking trails that are part of the Alpine Pass Route (a multi-day hiking trail in Switzerland between Sargans and Montreux).
The settlements of the municipality of Lauterbrunnen are Wengen, Mürren, Gimmelwald (not Grindelwald!), Stechlberg and Isenfluh.
#1 Mürren (1634 m)
Mürren is full of traditional Swiss-style wooden houses and idyllic village life. It offers a peaceful atmosphere with beautiful restaurants and cafes serving traditional Swiss cuisine — a great starting point for hiking and cycling.
- Bus 141 runs between Lauterbrunnen and Mürren every half hour during the season.
- It is worth knowing that the cable car that takes you to the top of the Schilthorn from the "Stechelberg Gondola Station" starts here.
#2 Wengen (1274 m)
Although the village is fabulous, many people visit Wengen for the famous Yellow Train. Feel free to hop on the iconic train from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen; you won't regret it. Let's absorb the feeling of Alpine life and observe how the locals live in harmony with nature.
- Walk through the village's streets and admire the houses and the church.
- Wengen is the largest settlement in the area.
- You will find many shops, vendors and restaurants here.
- During winter, it's a popular ski resort.
#3 Gimmelwald (1367 m)
Gimmelwald is a scattered settlement at the cable car's intermediate station starting from the end of the valley. The gondolas from here go to Mürren to get to the Schilthorn mountain.
Hiking Wasserweg (Waterfall Trail)
Between Lauterbrunnen and Stechelberg, there is an easy hiking trail from which you can admire many waterfalls. The 8 km long Wasserweg route, called the waterfall road, overcomes a level difference of about 160 meters. Calculate 2.5 hours to complete it. On the way back, if you want, you can also take the bus, which will bring you back in 20 minutes, for about 3 CHF.
Things to see: Top 8 waterfalls
The most worthwhile sights of the valley are the waterfalls. It's not a problem to find one, as there are 72 of them. If you want to admire them all, a week would not be enough to visit them. Here are some teasers:
The 297-meter-high Staubbachfall can be found in the municipality of Lauterbrunnen. It is a fascinating sight and a symbol of the entire valley.
The vast waterfall rushes down from the mountain behind the houses, offering a magnificent view from the road. Behind the waterfall, you find a mysterious cave from which you can peek behind the "stages".
The Staubbach waterfall carries melted snow collected from the Bietenhorn (2,755 m) and Wyssbirg (2,616 m) mountains. The hanging waterfall does not trickle down the rock but freely rushes down from the cliff's edge into the ground, mostly seen when the water flow is high - during the summer.
- GPS of Staubbachfall: 46.58965°N 7.905505°E
#2 Trümmelbach waterfall
The Trümmelbach waterfall (Trümmelbachfälle) is another gem worth exploring while walking through the valley. Don't expect a classic waterfall, as the waterfall consists of 10 different cascades. By the way, you can only admire this if you go through a cave and a gorge.
The waterfall(s) height is 140 meters, and its maximum width is 12 meters. Like its higher brothers, the Trümmelbach river also carries glacial water, which collects water from the surrounding mountains (Eiger, Mönch, Jungfrau).
- The waterfall can be found after the settlement of Lauterbrunnen (3 km away). We can park on-site.
|Season||mid-April - October|
|Opening hours||09:00 - 17:00 (main season 08:30 - 18:00)|
#3 Spissbach waterfall
The Spissbach waterfall is one of several waterfalls that flow into the valley. The waterfall falls about 290 meters in two steps. First, on the side of the valley wall, then it continues freefalling. It is located opposite the well-known Staubbach waterfall.
#4 Murrenbach Falls
The huge Murrenbach waterfall falls five steps from a height of 417 meters. The massive waterfall is the highest in Switzerland. It provides a fabulous sight between May and August when the water flow is the highest.
- You can enjoy it by taking the cable car along the Stechelberg-Gimmelwald-Mürren-Schilthorn route.
- Location: Murrenbach Falls is next to the village of Stechelberg, the gateway to the upper valley of Lauterbrunnen. You are 4.7 km from the village of Lauterbrunnen.
#5 Buchenbachfall waterfall
The 380-meter-high waterfall is located 1.7 km from the village of Lauterbrunnen. An ideal program if you want a leisure walk with a beautiful view.
#6 Gryffenbach Falls
The Gryffenbach waterfall can be found on the "Alpweg" tourist route. The 45-minute walk crosses the Grütschalp cable car line twice and passes a waterfall before returning to Lauterbrunnen.
#7 Hasenbachfall waterfall
The 378-meter-high waterfall is also located in the valley. It is one of the 72 waterfalls that beautify the countryside.
#8 Talbach Falls
Talbach Falls is a hidden gem in the heart of the Alpine region at the end of the Lauterbrunnen Valley near Stechelberg. You can discover the waterfall up close, but be careful of the slippery steps leading to the falls.
- Distance from Lauterbrunnen: 5.2 kilometres
What to do nearby: Grindelwald
Grindelwald is even more popular than Lauterbrunnen. The two valleys are located parallel to each other, which makes it easy to reach.
Grindelwald: Top 9 things to do
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