WHAT TO DO IN LAUTERBRUNNEN, SWITZERLAND
- 1 WHAT TO DO IN LAUTERBRUNNEN, SWITZERLAND
- 2 LAUTERRBUNNEN INFORMATION
- 3 HOW TO GET TO LAUTERBRUNNEN
- 4 SWISS TRAVEL PASS
- 5 WHERE TO STAY IN LAUTERBRUNNEN
- 6 BEST LAUTERBRUNNEN ACTIVITIES
- 6.1 LAUTERRBUNNEN VILLAGE
- 6.2 STAUBBACH WATERFALL
- 6.3 GRÜTSCHALP
- 6.4 GRÜTSCHALP TO MÜRREN
- 6.5 MURREN
- 6.6 SCHILTHORN / BIRG
- 6.7 GIMMELWALD
- 6.8 WENGEN
- 6.9 WATER TRAIL WALK
- 6.10 TRÜMMELBACHFÄLLE
- 6.11 JUNGFRAUJOCH
- 6.12 PARAGLIDING
- 6.13 VIA FERRATA FROM MURREN TO GIMMELWALD
- 6.14 SCENIC HELICOPTER RIDE
- 7 FINAL THOUGHTS ON BEST THINGS TO DO IN LAUTERBRUNNEN
Are you planning your Lauterbrunnen itinerary and are wondering about the best things to do in Lauterbrunnen? Then read on because you will find out about the best activities plus more travel tips.
Lauterbrunnen is one of the top travel destinations in Switzerland.
Not only is it one of the prettiest villages in the country, but it is also extremely popular amongst adventure lovers, it is home to 72 waterfalls, has easily accessible mountain peaks with grandiose panoramas, and a really cute village center. Believe me when I say: Lauterbrunnen is an amazing place and one of the top villages in Switzerland to visit. Whether you come here for 1 day or longer – you will not regret it.
- Lauterbrunnen is located in the Bernese Oberland – close to Interlaken (20-minutes train ride) and the capital Bern (about 90-minutes train ride).
- It sits at about 800 meters above sea level and is known as the valley of 72 waterfalls (yes, you will find out about some of these waterfalls later).
I have visited Lauterbrunnen about 4-5 times – in summer, fall, and winter. Each time is special and I could not name a favorite season. The places/activities mentioned here can be visited/done at any time of the year – if not, I mention that.
This post can be used as a Lauterbrunnen itinerary, too, as I tried to cluster these attractions so you can do them one after the other. To do the top 10 activities in Lauterbrunnen you will need about 2 days – longer if you want to do all activities mentioned in this post.
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HOW TO GET TO LAUTERBRUNNEN
Lauterbrunnen is easily accessible via car or train.
- BY CAR: If you arrive by car, leave your car in the big car park next to the train station or drive close to the church and Staubbach Waterfalls where you can park your car for a few hours. Both places are paid parking only. There are parking slots on the street but they are usually reserved for hotel/restaurant guests.
- BY TRAIN: The easiest option is to arrive via train. Lauterbrunnen has a small train station which is just a few minutes walk away from the village center. Trains from Interlaken run there regularly and just take about 20 minutes which makes Lauterbrunnen also a perfect day trip from Interlaken.
SWISS TRAVEL PASS
If you travel by public transportation (highly recommended), I suggest getting a Swiss Travel Pass because it will reduce your spending in and around Lauterbrunnen.
- The initial price for a Swiss Travel Pass is quite high, but it has many perks and normally pays off. You can choose between several passes (different length duration, classes, etc.
- In Lauterbrunnen, you can use the cable car to Grütschalp (more on that later), use the train to Murren and Wengen without any extra costs. This might be a perfect way to save money. You also get a 50% discount for your trip to Schilthorn.
- In general, the Swiss Travel Pass allows you to use buses and trains in Switzerland without any extra costs, you can do unlimited boat cruises on most lakes, you have three mountain rides included in it (e.g. Mount Rigi in Lucerne), and you have free entry to over 500 museums.
- Check out prices for a Swiss Travel Pass here. (I normally book my tickets through GetYourGuide because of the great customer service and generous cancelation policy – it is actually much better as if you bought them through the official Swiss Travel Pass Website).
WHERE TO STAY IN LAUTERBRUNNEN
Here are some recommendations for your trip to Lauterbrunnen.
- The Chalet Rosa is located in a 360-year-old building! Cozy and welcoming, the rooms offer a view to the surrounding waterfalls. The rooms feature ensuite bathrooms and larger family rooms are also available. Have a look at the prices.
- Quite basic but unique, the Alpine Base Hostel is located slightly outside of the center and right in front of the stunning Staubbach waterfalls. A few rooms have bunk beds and a few king-size beds, plus there is a shared kitchen. Check out the Alpine Base Hostel.
- The Valley Hostel is in the city center of Lauterbrunnen and, guess what? It has a view of waterfalls! The rooms have bunk beds or king-size beds and host from 1 to 4 people. The bathrooms and the kitchen are shared. Find the best prices here
BEST LAUTERBRUNNEN ACTIVITIES
So, let’s start talking about what to do in Lauterbrunnen.
The village center of Lauterbrunnen is quite small but still worth checking out – from the train station just get up the main street “Auf de Fuhren“, which is lined up with many hotels and restaurants.
The village center is cute – but what will catch your eye are the Staubbach Waterfall, the church, and of course, the Alps in the background.
For one of the best views, walk along the main street, and when you see Hotel Schütze, turn left to enjoy a view from this vantage point.
If you walk down then you have more great views of the church and the Staubbach Waterfall.
- TIP: Lauterbrunnen has a digital photo hotspot rail – you can check it out here and see the mostInstagrammable locations in Lauterbrunnen.
Staubbach Waterfall, which you have seen from the distance, is located just west of Lauterbrunnen.
The waterfall is probably the most famous attraction in the valley – it drops 297 meters and is the third highest waterfall in Switzerland. In the summer months, warm winds swirl the waters around, so that the Falls spray in all directions and it looks like dust. This is where the name comes from: Staub in German means dust.
Apparently, the poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was inspired to write his poem “Song of the Spirits over the Waters” by the falls.
- TIP: In the warmer months, there is a path (via a tunnel) that will take you very close to the Staubbach Waterfall – also giving you a great view of the Lauterbrunnen Valley.
Then it is time to head to Grütschalp which is a railway station at almost 1500 meters above sea level. You could hike there, but the hike apparently is not a nice one, so I suggest getting up via cable car/gondola.
The cable car station is just above the train station of Lauterbrunnen and the cable cars run several times an hour.
From the Grütschalp Mountain Station, you have some incredible views of the Swiss Skyline already – the panorama is breathtaking! Especially on a clear day, not much can beat the view of the three famous mountains, Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau.
There is not much else to do at Grütschalp so you can continue your journey.
- TIP: This part of the gondola ride – from Lauterbrunnen to Grütschalp – is included in your Swiss Travel Pass.
- TIP: Try to stand on the side to the Lauterbrunnen Valley (so in direction of travel stand on the left side) – I did not get a good spot but the views of Lauterbrunnen village are better from that side.
GRÜTSCHALP TO MÜRREN
There are two options to get to Mürren (one of the prettiest mountain villages in the country) now – both are fantastic so whatever you choose will be great.
TRAIN RIDE FROM GRÜTSCHALP TO MÜRREN
- TIP: This train ride from Grütschalp to Murren is also included in the Swiss Travel Pass.
Option 1 includes a short 10-minute train ride from Grütschalp to Mürren. The train stop is just at the cable car station and normally, the (short) train waits and is ready to depart once you step out of the cable car.
Let me tell you: The train ride is scenic! It is short but scenic. You can open the window and enjoy the experience. In winter, you can expect some beautiful winter wonderland and in summer you will see the 50 shades of green.
I have not done the ride in spring or fall, but I am pretty certain it is always an impressive train ride (unless it is raining or very foggy).
- TIP: Try to sneak a seat on the left side (in direction of travel) as you have the best views of the Swiss Skyline from there.
HIKE FROM GRÜTSCHALP TO MÜRREN
Option 2 is a beautiful and quite easy hike from Grütschalp to Mürren.
It takes about an hour/an hour and a half and though there is a slight uphill, it is a doable hike for almost all people of all ages. The path is wide, the incline not a lot, and the view: priceless.
You can do this hike at any time of the year – also in winter. BUT the path might be closed if the snow gets icy and thus it is too slippery and dangerous.
Mürren, 1638 meters above sea level, is one of the prettiest Swiss mountain villages. This car-free village sits above Lauterbrunnen and is a tourist magnet all over the year.
This is probably how you imagine a cute, traditional Swiss village in the Alps.
Murren is popular at any time of the year, however, I liked it more in winter.
It is known as a paradise for winter sports lovers, so there are many people who come here for snowboarding or skiing. But even if you are not into winter sports, this is the place to visit in winter – but also at any other season.
Regardless of the time of your visit, you will find many cafes and options to have your lunch outdoors and enjoy the beautiful, actually stunning scenery.
HOW TO GET TO MURREN:
As mentioned above there are two ways to get to Mürren from Grütschalp – via train or a hike. If you arrive at Mürren train station (station BLM) you have to walk a few minutes to arrive at the heart of Mürren.
You can also reach Mürren via gondola from Stechelberg or via hiking from either Stechelberg and then via Gimmelwald (more on those places later).
SCHILTHORN / BIRG
If you use this post as a Lauterbrunnen itinerary, you can then get up higher the mountains – head to Schilthorn Mountain from Mürren.
From Mürren, the gondola will bring you to Birg station first. You can either change gondolas and get to Schilthorn straight away or get out here first. We start with Schilthorn first.
I have done this mountain excursion twice – once in the summer when it was a bit foggy, and once in winter when I had perfect clear views.
The latter made it an extremely amazing experience and thus, I do believe visiting Schilthorn is a must-see in Lauterbrunnen.
Schilthorn is the highest mountain in the range lying north of the Sefinenfurgge Pass. It is 2,970 meters above sea level and lies above the village of Mürren, from where a cable car leads to its summit.
At the top of Schilthorn you will find several attractions:
The main attraction is the incredible, incredible view of the Swiss Skyline. Wow, what a breathtaking view.
Some might argue the best thing about Schilthorn is the famous Piz Gloria restaurant. Piz Gloria is a 360°revolving restaurant that rotates around its own axis in 45 minutes – offering great views and of course, food and drinks.
But has not Schilthorn become famous because of a James Bond movie?
Yes, that is true. Many people all over the world actually know Schilthorn and Piz Gloria because it was the filming location of the 007 movie “On Her Majesty’s Secret Services“ in 1969.
Inside Piz Gloria, you will find an interactive exhibition which is all about James Bond and the film.
This should take about one or two hours (if you do not eat at the restaurant) and then hop on the gondola and get down.
- There is no entrance fee and you can visit the museum and restaurant for free.
On your way to/from Mürren, you get to Birg. Birg stands at 2677 meters above sea level, offering fantastic views of the Swiss Skyline, and it is home to the Thrill Walk. This 200-meter long walk leads down into the vertical walls of the imposing rock massif.
The Thrill Walk is free – but keep an eye on the time. It closes earlier than the restaurants etc. 30 minutes before the last gondola ride.
- TIP: If you have a Swiss Travel Pass you only need to buy a ticket from Mürren to Schilthorn. You will get a 50% discount on that. You could buy it on the spot, but you can also buy them online in advance to avoid unnecessary waiting in line.
- Without a Swiss Travel Pass, you need to pay full price. In this case, I recommend buying this ticket in Lauterbrunnen at the cable car station to Mürren. It also includes the fares from Lauterbrunnen to Grütschalpand from Grütschalp to Mürren.
EXTRA TIP: This is also a beautiful spot to watch the sunset.
If you have time and enjoy hiking, I recommend doing a quite easy hike from Mürren to Gimmelwald, which is a tiny village at 1367 meters above sea level.
From Mürren, it is a lovely 2,7-kilometers (1,7-miles) point-to-point trail with great views. Gimmelwald itself is a cute village with only very few traditional houses and hotels. It is a car-free village and probably the synonym of tranquility.
From there you can hike down to Stechelberg (at 867 meters) – it is also the gondola station for/to Mürren.
Then you could take a bus back t Lauterbrunnen or just walk all the way back (about 1-2 hours without any incline(decline).
If you have more time on your hand, then you should hop onto the train to Wengen.
Wengen, which sits at 1,274 meters above sea level (4,180 feet) is another small mountain village (similar to Mürren) that is also car-free and easily accessible via trains.
With the Wengernalpbahn it is a short train ride from Lauterbrunnen train station and one of the most epic rides you can take.
Also, the train station in Wengen is probably one of my favorite stations in the country – what an amazing view you have from there!
Wengen is quite pretty but there is not that much to do and see – except for winter sports enthusiasts or hikers. However, it is still worth a quick trip – just the train ride alone makes it worth it.
TIP: Sit on the right side – and backward – in direction of travel. Shortly after leaving Lauterbrunnen, you will have some amazing views of Lauterbrunnen.
WATER TRAIL WALK
Lauterbrunnen has many hiking trails – some of them are mentioned above. If you want to go on a scenic walk, rather than a hike, then you can choose the route from Stechelberg to Lauterbrunnen or the other way around.
If you come down from Mürren (via Gimmelwald or via cable car), then walk along the river “Weiße Lütschine” towards Lauterbrunnen. This walk should take about 1,5-2 hours and does not require a high fitness level. You can walk along the water for most of the time – what an easy and yet scenic walk!
If you are in Lauterbrunnen and do not plan to get up the mountains, I suggest, walking from Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg and then take a bus back to Lauterbrunnen.
- The entrance fee for the Trümmelbachfälle is about 12€ ($13).
As previously mentioned, Lauterbrunnen is the valley of 72 waterfalls. Some of the most impressive are the Trümmelbachfälle or Trümmelbach Falls.
What makes these waterfalls so different from the others? They are a series of ten glacier-fed waterfalls inside the mountain and Europe´s largest subterranean waterfalls.
They are the world’s only glacier waterfalls that are accessible underground by lifts, galleries, tunnels, paths, and platforms. They alone carry the meltwater of the glaciers from the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains down to the valley – up to 20,000 liters of water per second.
- TIP: The waterfalls are only open from about April to the beginning of November. It depends on the weather conditions, so please double-check if you want to visit.
Another day trip you can take from Lauterbrunnen is Jungfraujoch. Visiting the “Top of Europe“ is quite an experience and one of the most famous tourist attractions in Switzerland.
Jungfraujoch is a pass in the Bernese Alps at 3,466 meters above sea level, connecting the two peaks of Jungfrau Mountain and Mönch Mountain.
The highest train station in Europe is located at Jungfraujoch – another reason it is called the “Top of Europe“. You have snow on the Jungfraujoch guaranteed throughout the year which makes it a perfect place for those who want to experience a day in the snow even in the summer.
There are several ways to visit Jungfraujoch. However, if you are based in Lauterbrunnen, take the train to Wengen and then switch to another train to Kleine Scheidegg. From there you can take the last train which will bring you up all the way to Jungfraujoch.
Lauterbrunnen is also known as a fantastic place to paraglide. You do not need any experience but can book tandem paragliding to feel the pure weightlessness of flying – all that comes with the incredible views in one of the most stunning places in Switzerland.
This is not for the faint-hearted and yet it is also not a dangerous activity. If you visit Lauterbrunnen n a budget, then this might be not for you as the prices are high – but the reviews are great and if you want the thrill of something more unique – especially in such a setting – book a paragliding experience in Lauterbrunnen.
VIA FERRATA FROM MURREN TO GIMMELWALD
If you are looking for more thrilling activities then you should check out different options to do “via Ferrata“.
A via Ferrata is a protected climbing route especially popular in the Alps. In German, it is also known as “Klettersteig“.
What is “via Ferrata“? It is climbing routes with steel cables, rungs, or ladders, which are fixed to the rock. The climbers affix a harness with two leashes to be safe.
It is more thrilling and harder than a hike in the mountains and in Lauterbrunnen, via Ferrata is quite big and you can choose from several paths. One popular one is from Murren to Gimmelwald. In Murren, you will find places where you can rent gear if needed.
SCENIC HELICOPTER RIDE
Taking a scenic helicopter ride over Lauterbrunnen & Jungfraujoch probably is one of the most epic experiences, but it does not come cheap. This is why I have – until now – not done it myself, but it really is on my bucket list for Switzerland.
There are several options to go on a helicopter ride from Lauterbrunnen and you fly over the Eiger, Mönch & Jungfrau mountains.
The scenery in and around Lauterbrunnen is one of a kind, so enjoying these views from an aerial perspective must be one of the very best things to do in Lauterbrunnen.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON BEST THINGS TO DO IN LAUTERBRUNNEN
There is a lot to do and see and whether you like some adventure or take it easy, Lauterbrunnen will not disappoint.
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