It is likely that when you visualize Switzerland, Lauterbrunnen is the kind of place that pops into your head – an expanse of snow-scraped mountains, waterfalls, and towering cliff walls. 

It is a breathtakingly beautiful village that looks nothing short of a fairytale image. The small town of fewer than 3000 permanent residents is situated in a lush green valley surrounded by wildflowers and trees. It is nestled between massive mountains and jagged cliffs in the Swiss Alps and features over 72 waterfalls, for which it is famous.

Serving as one of the most popular destinations in Switzerland, Lauterbrunnen is a place you have to see to believe. The stunning village is the gateway to the Jungfrau Region and is often referred to as The Valley of 72 Waterfalls. 

This article will serve as your travel guide and tell you all the different things to do in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, including everything from epic waterfalls to thrill-seeking sports.

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Jungfrau Region Travel Guide

About Lauterbrunnen and best time to visit

Not many people know this, but the famous writer J.R.R. Tolkien found his inspiration for the landscape in Lord of the Rings while hiking through the Swiss Alps in the Lauterbrunnen Valley. Any fanatic of the franchise would immediately feel like they’ve been thrust into Middle-Earth as soon as they make their way through Lauterbrunnen’s steep rock faces. 

When it comes to Lauterbrunnen, any time is a good time to visit. When looking for the best time to visit Lauterbrunnen, it all comes down to what you want to do. The village offers all sorts of activities in every weather for every type of visitor, whether passive or active.

During the summers, visitors get the opportunity to explore the surrounding area, join excursions to visit many of the neighboring towns and villages in the Jungfrau region, and head over to mountain summits through world-class trains and cable cars.

During the winters, you will find plenty of opportunities to go for a hike, ski, and toboggan in the snow-covered Lauterbrunnen. If you don’t mind the cold, visiting anywhere between December and March is absolutely magical, as you will be surrounded by stunning snow-covered mountains as far as the eye can see.

One of the most significant aspects of Lauterbrunnen is its many waterfalls. The very name “Lauter Brunnen” means “many fountains.” No trip to Lauterbrunnen is complete without a view of its remarkable waterfalls. The most famous waterfall is the Staubbach Falls located in the Bernese Highlands. 

Fitting the definition of the quintessential Swiss alpine village perfectly, Lauterbrunnen truly hits the mark with its chalet-style houses, green fields, and lofty snow-capped mountains.

Things to do in the Lauterbrunnen Valley

Stroll through the Lauterbrunnen Village

On your visit to Lauterbrunnen, don’t skip visiting the village itself. You will get a truly authentic experience of a typical Swiss village with its gentle breeze passing through the lush Alpine meadows. 

Tucked away in the greens are the quaint little houses around which you will find cozy cafes, souvenir shops, hotels, and other retailers. The village is also home to a little museum that tells the tale of Lauterbrunnen’s history.

The town might not be immense in size, but it’s certainly immense in its beauty. The village streets are lined with restaurants, cafés, hotels, varying shops, and a supermarket – enough to keep you browsing for a couple of hours.

Away from the main street, you will find a mini-golf course and a swimming pool to take a dip in during the summers.

If you want to take a break from exploring, a great option is to have a nice warming cup of coffee or have a meal at one of the sunny outdoor cafés that look out to the impressive mountain peaks.

Explore the waterfalls of the Lauterbrunnenvalley

Lauterbrunnen is nicknamed the Land of 72 waterfalls, and rightfully so. Small and large waterfalls alike are visible from Lauterbrunnen, with many waterfalls being easy to reach. 

The term “Staub” translates to “dust” and is a fitting name for the Staubbach waterfall in Lauterbrunnen. The spray from this waterfall disperses through the air just like dust, misting surrounding areas with its refreshing droplets.

Standing tall at 300 meters, it’s the third-highest waterfall in Switzerland and among the highest free-falling waterfalls in the entirety of Europe. 

Thanks to a viewing platform built into the rockface, one can get nearer and experience the glory of this waterfall up close. At night, the waterfall is lit up, making it all the more mesmerizing and magical. You will feel like you’re standing in a real-life postcard.

A brief – yet steep – trek up leads you right behind the waterfall, where you can view Lauterbrunnen and the valley through the ghost-like veil of descending water. As magical as this experience is, what makes it even better is that it’s completely free, takes less than 2 hours, and the views are absolutely priceless.  

Similar to Staubbach Falls, another impressive waterfall in the area is the Trümmelbach Falls. It is the largest subterranean waterfall in Europe and consists of 10 smaller rapids, coming straight from the Jungfrau Glacier.

You can access Trümmelbach Falls through a network of underground tunnels, walkways, and elevators. An entry fee does apply if you want to see the waterfall up close.

Situated on the Stechelberg road, Trümmelbach Falls can be reached by car, bus, or foot. The best time to experience Trümmelbach Falls is early in the morning when there is no tourist crowd. Don’t forget to pack a waterproof jacket if you decide to visit, as getting wet is part of the experience at Trümmelbach Falls.

Excursion to the Top of Europe – Jungfraujoch

Once you’ve taken a peek at Lauterbrunnen, it’s time to explore the Jungfrau region in all its glory.

The Jungfraujoch mountain sits between the two peaks of Mönch and Jungfrau, connecting them at a level of 3464 meters above sea level. 

The ascent to the top starts at Lauterbrunnen station and then on to Klein Scheidegg, where you board the Jungfraubahn for the final journey to the top of Europe: Jungfraujoch. 

While you get breathtakingly beautiful views at the top, the train ride itself offers no shortage of spellbinding scenery. Get ready to be amazed by the insane snowy views of the 22 km Aletsch Glacier and those of the towering peaks of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. 

The day tour to Jungfraujoch costs around $170 and takes you to the top, where you can view the UNESCO-listed landscape along with summit attractions, such as the Ice Palace and the Sphinx Vantage. 

Not short on indoor activities as well, the Jungfraujoch also features the Jungfrau Panorama, an iMax-style cinema, and Lindt Swiss Chocolate Heaven to keep you entertained and happy. 

You will also have the opportunity to explore the international research station called the Sphinx Observatory. Here, you can enjoy crisp views of the Aletsch Glacier and the surrounding Alps.

Follow James Bond to the Piz Gloria – Schilthorn

Schilthorn is a summit 2790 meters above the ground that provides exquisite views of the Swiss Skyline ­– a platform built of clear floor over a vertical drop. 

You can reach the top through cable cars or a combination of train and cable car. Doing so provides ample opportunity to get a nice view of the passing waterfalls and the jagged rock faces.

The Schilthorn will allow you to see the entire incredible area of Jungfrau as you will be able to view the peaks of Jungfrau, Mönch, and Eiger among many others. There are over 200 peaks to see here!

From the outdoor viewing platform, you can even see as far as Mont Blanc in France and the Black Forest in Germany on a clear day! 

If you’re the adventurous type, take a stop at Birg while on your way to Schilthorn. You can also take a walk on the Thrill Walk, which is a 200-meter-long cliff pathway that is built into the side of the mountain range. Walking on a wire mesh is surely not something for the faint of heart!

At the base of Mount Schilthorn, in Mürren, is the Stechelberg Gondola Station through which you can reach all the way up to the Piz Gloria.  

Piz Gloria is the place where the original 007 was filmed back in 1969. You will find James Bond memorabilia here along with other Bond-themed activities. 

Additionally, there is also a revolving restaurant with glass floors and ceilings that offers panoramic views of the Swiss Alps in the Jungfrau region. Enjoy a delicious meal with some of the world’s best views surrounding you. What could be better than that?

Go for a Hike in the Lauterbrunnen area

Hiking enthusiasts have a lot to explore in Lauterbrunnen and surrounding regions, including:

  • Alpweg – a 45-minute walk that crosses under the Grütschalp cable car line twice. It also makes its way by the Gryffenbach Falls before returning to Lauterbrunnen
  • Mürren to Almendhubel Flower Trail – a 1-hour route through Blumental (flower valley). Here, you will be pleasantly surprised by the more than 150 species of flower. 
  • Panoramaweg – a 1-hour walk through the village
  • Wasserweg – a round-trip of 2 hours from Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg passing through several magnificent waterfalls
  • Mürren to Grütschalp – an easy yet beautiful trail taking you through the alpine pastures, it starts from Mürren and descends towards Grütschalp. The hike takes around 1 hour and is mostly flat, making it suitable for all ages. 
  • Eiger Trail – a popular trail that connects the Eiger Glacier Railway station to Grindelwald, passing through the Eiger Nordwand on the way.
  • The Lauterbrunnen trails provide ample opportunity to enjoy incredible mountain sceneries. There is over 500 km of well-marked trails covering the various mountains and valleys, zigzagging past lakes and streams in the Jungfrau region. 

Along most of your hikes, you will often find a guesthouse or a mountain hut offering refreshments. Oftentimes, the trails end or begin near a cable car station so that the journey back is convenient and quicker.

Take the iconic yellow train and visit Wengen

Wengen is a car-free village in Lauterbrunnen and is one of the best places to see in Switzerland. 

Getting from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen takes 12 minutes and can only be done via train. The short ride is filled with incredible views along the way, making the journey as much fun as visiting the village itself.

The town has delightful little chalets and traditional hotels that add to the homeliness of the town. Since it’s located higher than Lauterbrunnen, the views are nothing short of magical. 

What’s iconic about Wengen, though, is the yellow train that will take you up over the mountainside from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen village. A quick look outside the train’s window will likely make you gasp with awe as you see the Valley of 72 Waterfalls in all its might.

Paragliding in Lauterbrunnen

If you are a thrill-seeking visitor who likes testing their limits while also taking in the best views, then paragliding in Lauterbrunnen will be perfect choice of activity for you. 

Paragliding involves flying with a skilled pilot at the helm, which means you don’t need to be an expert at paragliding. All you need to do is to strap yourself in and soar through the mountains, having the time of your life. 

Flying high above the alpine landscapes, you will be able to get a bird’s eye view of the Lauterbrunnen Valley in addition to the surrounding areas.

This activity costs around $190 and lasts around 1 hour and 30 minutes. You can book it online in advance.

Visit one of the many villages in the Jungfrau Region

Mürren: Murren is a car-free village hanging nonchalantly on the edge of a 800 m cliff, high above the Lauterbrunnen valley. 

No matter where you go in Murren, you will be reminded of its stunning beauty. There are forests, green meadows and dramatic alpine landscapes all around you. Many hiking trails, including the Schilthorn peak (Piz Gloria), are easily accessible from Murren, making it the perfect summer spot.

Wengen: Wengen is another one of Switzerland’s picturesque villages (on the opposite side of the valley to Murren). No cars, beautiful mountain peaks and lush meadows surround the village. This makes Wengen the ultimate spot for the laid-back traveler who likes their serenity.   

The location of Wengen is such that it gives charming views all the way from the depth of Lauterbrunnen up to the Jungfrau. Being a popular tourist destination, finding all the basic facilities, such as lodgings and transportation, is quite easy.

Interlaken: The word “Interlaken” directly means “in between the lakes.” It is named so because the town of Interlaken is neatly nestled between two huge alpine lakes, called the Thunersee and Brienzersee. 

It is located in the plains rather than the mountains. Despite its location, however, it still manages to provide some of the most remarkable views of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau.

Grindelwald: Grindelwald is after Interlaken the second-largest village in the Jungfrau region. It can be reached both by car and train, making it a convenient location to visit.

Apart from its stunningly eye-catching views, Grindelwald is a favorite tourist destination due to its practical infrastructure. Trains and cable cars are readily available to take you right into the heart of the mountains surrounding this quaint town.

How to get to Lauterbrunnen

To get to Lauterbrunnen via car, you will need to drive towards Interlaken on the A8. Leaving the motorway near Wilderswill, you travel for 11 km till you arrive at Lauterbrunnen. 

A parking garage located next to the Lauterbrunnen train station is likely to be needed since parking spaces on the streets are pretty limited. Parking charges apply, ranging from CHF 3 for up to two hours to a maximum fee of CHF 17 per day. 

Via Train

To travel to Lauterbrunnen by train, you first need to reach Interlaken Ost where you will be able to connect with a regional train taking you to Lauterbrunnen. The train operates every 30 minutes and the journey time is 20 minutes.

Travel time from other prominent towns to Lauterbrunnen are as follows:

  • Bern to Lauterbrunnen via Interlaken: 1h 37 by train
  • Lucerne to Lauterbrunnen via Interlaken: 2h 21 by train
  • Zurich to Lauterbrunnen via Bern and Interlaken: 2h 44 by train
  • Geneva to Lauterbrunnen via Bern and Interlaken: 3h 49 by train 

Since you will largely be relying on cable cars and local transport to get you where you need to go, it is recommended to travel to Lauterbrunnen by train.

Where to stay in Lauterbrunnen

Lauterbrunnen has no shortage of beautiful lodgings to stay in, despite being a small town. For the budget traveler, an overnight stay at one of Lauterbrunnen’s hostels is a great option. Others looking for a more comfortable and plushy space, Lauterbrunnen has a number of hotels with some great views.

If you’re looking for great views to go along with their room, Hotel Sillerhorn is the best choice. What makes it even better is its free breakfast option along with a beautiful sun terrace.

Another great option is Hotel Oberland which is attached to Lauterbrunnen’s finest restaurant named Restaurant Oberland. 

If hotels are not your thing, there are a number of Airbnbs that provide luxurious spaces with spectacular views. 

If you want to experience Lauterbrunnen at its best while also enjoying your privacy, consider renting a private chalet, giving you a little space from the hum of the village.

Final Thoughts

Lauterbrunnen Valley is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Switzerland. Featuring all the fixings of glacial waterfalls, ski slopes, hiking trails, and quaint Swiss villages, visiting Lauterbrunnen is nothing short of a fairy tale experience.