We drove to Lauterbrunnen. On our approach, the snow-capped mountains loomed before us.
I was in awe. Tears pricked my eyes with emotion. I’m like that. A beautiful landscape or stunning sunrise does that to me.
My kids were horrified at my emotional display, but what can I say? I was moved.
I was excited. This was home for the next week and I couldn’t wait to get out amongst all that beauty and explore.
Lauterbrunnen, the valley of the 72 waterfalls, is nestled at the foot of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau Mountains.
Located 13 km from Interlaken in the Jungfrau region, Lauterbrunnen is the perfect base from which to explore this area.
It is one of the most stunning places I have visited.
A deep valley cut into steep mountains rising on each side, the landscape is dramatic. From the vertical cliffs, 72 waterfalls cascade down into alpine meadows dotted with chalets.
Keep in mind when planning your trip, Switzerland is not cheap. But it is worth flexing the budget.
During our stay, we were on a very tight budget, particularly travelling with two children. Even so, it was one of the highlights of our 2 ½ months European trip, and I highly recommend it.
Where to Stay
There is a variety of accommodation available in Lauterbrunnen. I have listed a range that will suit most tastes and budgets but by no means is this an exhaustive list.
Hotels, B&B’s & Inns
There are a number of hotels to choose from in Lauterbrunnen varying in budget and style.
Hotel Silberhorn – conveniently located near the train station. A three-star hotel with an excellent selection of Room types. This hotel has top billing on TripAdvisor.
Hotel Oberland – A family-run hotel conveniently located 5 minutes from the train station and near the Staubbach Falls.
Hotel Staubbach – A simple hotel/B&B located near the edge of the village near the Staubbach Falls.
We stayed at the Camping Jungfrau, Mountain Holiday Park and loved it.
The park offers camping and parking sites for travellers with caravans, motorhomes and tents and also provide a range of Bungalows, onsite Mobile Homes and Caravans.
In addition, there is a Hostel, Holiday Lodge for Groups of up to 60 people and a Chalet for groups up to 100 in the Summer months, with a slight variation on availability in the winter months.
The holiday park also has a shop/kiosk and restaurant, as well as other facilities like a laundry.
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7 Best Things to Do in Lauterbrunnen
There are so many places to visit and see both in and near Lauterbrunnen and for a day trip. We have listed the most popular as well as the ones I have experienced.
Schilthorn is famous for the James Bond Film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service that was shot there.
Ride the cablecars to the top from Lauterbrunnen and Murren, and visit Piz Gloria Revolving Restaurant located at 2970 metres.
You will have stunning views of mountain peaks and glaciers.
You can find more information here.
2. Staubbach Falls
Located just outside the village, Staubbach Falls plunges 300 metres to the valley below.
The Staubbach Falls is across the road from Camping Jungfrau. The sound of its cascading water lulled me to sleep each night.
Visit the quaint traditional village of Murren.
Murren is only accessible by cable car from Lauterbrunnen and Stechelberg and is a stop on the way to Schilthorn.
It is a car-free village and the highest village in the Bernese Oberland.
To get to there, take the cable car from Lauterbrunnen to Grutschalp, and then take the train to Murren. The whole trip takes less than 30 minutes.
Once you have explored Murren, take another cable car down to the village of Stechelberg.
From Stechelberg you can walk through the valley back to Lauterbrunnen, taking about an hour.
If you don’t feel like walking (although I highly recommend it) a bus runs every 30 minutes.
4. Trummelbach Falls
Trummelbach Falls is unique, with ten glacial waterfalls hammering down inside the mountain unloading 20 000 litres of water per second. The noise is deafening.
the falls are accessible to the public by an internal lift, viewing platforms and walkways.
Depending on the season and the weather, opening times vary. It is best to check opening times before visiting.
5. Day trip to Grindelwald
We spent a day in Grindelwald and took the cable car up to First with the intention of riding the 800 meters long First Flyer down.
Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side, so we rode Trotti Bikes (scooter) down the mountain instead. Now, that was an interesting experience!
Grindelwald is spectacular, the quintessential alpine village, and I highly recommend a visit or stay a few nights if your itinerary allows.
I would love to go back to ride the First Flyer!
6. Top of Europe
Located 3454 metres above sea level is the Top of Europe.
It is an amazing trip, and once there you look down over the Aletsch glacier, and out to the German and Italian Alps.
A trip to the Top of Europe on the Jungfrau railway departs from Lauterbrunnen on a cogwheel train to Kleine Scheidegg. Then you climb through the mountain via the 7 km long Eiger tunnel to the top, stopping at intervals to disembark to look out of the mountain via viewing windows.
The high altitude building at Jungfraujoch houses an Ice Palace, Restaurant and viewing platforms.
If you want to experience a winter wonderland, even in summer, head outside as we did for some tobogganing.
Highly recommended but dress warmly even in summer.
Going to the Top of Europe is expensive, CHF 189.60 so you will need to weigh up whether the experience will be worth blowing the budget.
7. Base Jumpers
Lauterbrunnen hosts a lot of base jumpers (is that the correct name?)
We sat and watched this for a couple of hours. I was enthralled by their bravery (some would say stupidity) and the absolute rush and freedom they must experience.
Take a picnic, walk through the valley and then stop and watch. We even chatted to a few of them as they landed right near us. Fascinating.
A lot of people come to this region to hike. The trails are extensive, and the views are to die for.
But will non-hikers find it worthwhile?
Absolutely. However, you should be prepared to walk. A lot. You may not want to hit the hiking trails, but to see what is on offer you need to get out and walk.
For its sheer natural beauty alone this place is worthwhile visiting. Lauterbrunnen and its surroundings offered so many things to do.
Personally, I could have just sat on the verandah of our cabin sipping wine, eating cheese and staring at the awe-inspiring view for the week and have been content. I’m easily pleased.
Switzerland is Expensive
There is no way around it.
Eating out will eat at your budget (pun intended). At the time we visited I was travelling through Europe with a family, so we were on a tight budget.
This is how we ate well, without destroying the budget:
- Our cabin had a kitchenette. Self-catering is a huge budget saver.
- I love to cook – our favourite lunchtime meal was fried sandwiches with cheese and sliced meat bought at the supermarket. Not healthy, but certainly delicious.
- I bought fresh produce from the supermarket (Coop) and made salads and antipasto platters and cooked steak and vegetables.
- Buy wine and cheese at the supermarket. The wine is good and much cheaper.
Getting to Lauterbrunnen
By car, Lauterbrunnen is easily accessible in summer. Check the passes for winter accessibility.
Trains run from Basel to Interlaken Ost and from there to Lauterbrunnen. From Zurich and Geneva, change trains in Bern. Trains run every 30 minutes.
Fly into Zurich, Basel/Mulhouse or Bern and then catch a train or drive to Lauterbrunnen.
If you are travelling around Europe, you might find these posts useful.
- 9 Things to do in Amsterdam (with teenagers)
- The Pretty Town of Bacharach, Germany
- My Tour to Monet’s Gardens
- 7 Things to do in Lauterbrunnen. Switzerland
- 7 Reasons to Visit Slovenia Now