Lauterbrunnen Valley is one of the most spectacular destinations in all of Switzerland. Its alluring terrain of towering mountains and verdant valleys is full of natural wonders and quaint villages to explore. No matter the season, there are plenty of things to do in Lauterbrunnen.
Lauterbrunnen is most often referred to as the Valley of 72 Waterfalls, as well as being known as the location inspiration for Lord of the Rings. Aside from the captivating cascades and Tolkienesque topography, there are a plethora of popular places to discover among this lush alpine landscape.
It’s a quintessential destination for delving into all the amazing things that Switzerland has to offer in every season.
Where is Lauterbrunnen?
Lauterbrunnen is a village and a municipality near Interlaken, Switzerland. It’s well known and well touristed during the winter and summer. This is primarily because of Staubbach Falls, which has been seen in thousands of viral videos and social photos.
If you are visiting the Jungfrau region, adding Lauterbrunnen onto your Swiss itinerary is well worth it. It’s not every day you get to see a mammoth waterfall cascading into the town below.
How to Get to Lauterbrunnen?
Lauterbrunnen is straightforward to reach by train and car. We rented a car in Switzerland and easily drove from Grindelwald to Lauterbrunnen easily. There is a large paid parking garage at the train station. Many hotels have parking for their guests too!
The Lauterbrunnen Railway Station is in the center of the village and is connected to Interlaken, which is how many Swiss travelers without vehicles will get to Lauterbrunnen.
From the railway station there are trains to Wengen, Kleine Scheidegg, and Grindewald
Once in Lauterbrunnen village, bus services will link to Stechelberg and the Trümmelbach Falls and to Isenfluh.
The Best Things to Do in Lauterbrunnen
Otherwise known as the Lauterbrunnen Switzerland waterfall, or “Switzerland waterfall town,” Staubbach Falls reach a staggering height of almost 1,000 feet. This waterfall is why many people travel to Lauterbrunnen in the first place. To see a huge waterfall dropping right into a town is on many people’s European bucket list.
Set above the charming village you can walk right up to Staubbach Falls, however the best views are seen from afar.
The trek to arrive is short from town and leads to stunning vistas from behind the rushing, plunging river. Staub, meaning dust, refers to the wide-reaching spray and mist that flies off of the falls, creating a magical and refreshing scene. While you can walk right up to the waterfalls, I love the views from the town and the trail heading up to Wengen!
One of the best times to see this waterfall in Switzerland is during the summer when the glacial melt from the mountains is rushing into town.
These subterranean waterfalls are a fascinating sight in Switzerland. They’re located in Lauterbrunnen Valley not far from the village of Lauterbrunnen, right in the heart of the Bernese Oberland region. Up to approximately 20,000 gallons of water flows through the dense cliff walls every second here.
It cuts through these rock faces over a series of ten tiers, making a thundering noise that can be heard way before arrival. The underground area is illuminated, which is an astonishing sight, as are the tunneled paths through the intricate cavern spaces. It’s a super easy one to access, take the quick elevator ride up to the top viewing platform.
If you take the gondola up to Murren, you’ll get great views of Trummelbach Falls from above.
Stroll Through Lauterbrunnen Village
After visiting Staubbach Falls take some time to stroll through the small village of Lauterbrunnen. Along the main street, you’ll find plenty of restaurants, cute souvenir shops, and boutique family-run hotels. It’s not a huge village and will only take you 30 or so minutes to walk, but it’s well worth the stroll!
Head Up to Murren Village
Set at the very end of the valley, Murren Village is a classic Swiss-style hamlet that is completely car-free. It’s just as remarkably beautiful as it is absolutely adorable. Filled with traditional chalets, it’s an idyllic example of the local lifestyle of Lauterbrunnen.
It’s only a short, 20-minute journey via cable car, that is well worth the ride in itself. There’s a wide array of cute cafes and classic eateries to enjoy in the picturesque and peaceful mountain atmosphere, many serving up classic local cuisines like fondue.
Just above the village, be sure to visit the Schiltap Cheese Farm to learn all about how such mouth-watering delicacies are made. It’s also a popular spot for skiing during the winter months and a great jumping-off point for several of the beautiful hikes in the area.
The 1,907-metre-high Allmendhubel is a paradise for hikers, families and connoisseurs. In under four minutes, a funicular railway takes you from the town of Mürren to the mountain excursion. Here you will find a rustic Panorama Restaurant with a large sun deck to enjoy the mountain views.
After lunch, head out on the flower trail. This is a short family-friendly trail where you will see over 150 types of mountain flowers, including cyclamen, alpine roses, and edelweiss. This 20-minute stroll is great for families with strollers.
Wengen is another authentic alpine village to visit that you can get to by train from Lauterbrunnen. It’s covered in cute timber chalets and traditional hotels. It’s also car-free, which only adds to its tranquil vibe.
Getting to Wengen is a fun and favorite activity in its own right, aboard the iconic cogwheel yellow train from Lauterbrunnen. The journey itself is super short but incredibly scenic, so make sure to have your camera ready. There’s a wide range of outdoor adventures to be had here, from skiing to hiking. Due to the sheer altitude of Wengen, the views available are absolutely spectacular.
Kleine Scheidegg is a mountain pass in Switzerland. It’s a great jumping-off point for those wanting to go to Jungfraujoch, but even if this isn’t your intention visiting Kleine Scheidegg is still one of the best things to do in Lauterbrunnen.
Kleine Scheidegg is the meeting point of two railways. Getting here is half the fun! Once at Kleine Scheidegg station you have endless hiking opportunities, can venture up to Jungfraujoch, hike the Eiger Trail or conquer the Lauberhorn. Alternatively, you can do nothing at all besides sit at an outdoor cafe soaking up the views of the Bernese Oberland.
Gimmelwald is perfect for any traveler looking to explore somewhere a bit more off the beaten path. It’s a small farming village that sits high above Lauterbrunnen, perched on the edge of a cliff.
All in all, it’s a sleepy little village below Murren that offers an abundance of tranquility, especially since it’s car-free. There are a few hotels and a small hostel where people gather for an evening scene.
It can be reached by bus, cable car, or even by foot if coming from Murren. It boasts an elevation of over 4,000 feet and an enchanting landscape around it. In the summer, you’ll find cool mountain streams and lush fields of wildflowers, and in the winter, it’s a cozy scene that feels totally authentic and tucked away from the hustle and bustle of more touristy areas.
There are 213 kilometers of pistes in the area, so there is plenty of skiing and snowboarding to be had. This is one of the best things to do in Lauterbrunnen in the winter! Choose your ski destination: Grindelwald First, Grindelwald-Wengen, and Mürren-Schilthorn!
Mount Schilthorn is a majestic towering peak that happens to be home to a famous revolving restaurant called Piz Gloria. Aside from the coveted cuisine, it’s also famous for having a cinematic cameo in a 007 classic On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
It’s almost 10,000 feet high and provides views looking out over the Big Three; Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau. To reach the top you can take the gondola from the Stechelberg Station at the base of the mountain in Murren.
In the colder months, it’s very common for ski enthusiasts to flock here as it’s one of the best places to ski in the area. Regardless of the time of year or your affinity for flying down snow-covered mountainsides, the panoramas from this peak are a must-see when in Lauterbrunnen. It’s easily one of the best places to catch a stunning sunset in the region.
Tanzbödeli and Obersteinburg Hike
This hike offers some of the most staggering 360 vistas of the surrounding Alps in the entire Lauterbrunnen region. On a clear day, it offers glacier-laden peaks as far as the eye can see, and even on a cloudy day you’ll feel totally immersed in the floating white fluffy fixtures.
Either way you’re in for a tremendous top-of-the-world sensation. In total, it’s just over 12 miles on this path that goes from Gimmelwald to Tanzbödeli to Obersteingburg to Stechelberg. It can be quite a steep ascension at parts so prepare accordingly, though there are plenty of beautiful stops to make along the way. It’s mostly a dirt path and the total elevation gain is about 3,600 feet.
Skyline Walk at Birg
Halfway to Schilthorn, there’s an essential stop off at Birg that you don’t want to miss. It’s accessible via cable car and stands tall at over 1,600 feet high. It’s a super unique stop that has a bit more to offer than just breathtaking vistas, and it’s ideal for anyone seeking a little adrenaline rush.
The Skyline Walk offers a viewpoint built on a clear floor, below which is a vertical drop of hundreds of feet down. Over 500 feet of walkway traverses along the cliffside, and is actually built right into it. It’s sometimes aptly referred to as the Thrill Walk, as it contains mesh metal tunnels to crawl through and netted tightropes to tenderly cross. It’s a jaw-dropping journey that you’ll never forget.
Venture to Interlaken
Interlaken is a stunning town near Lauterbrunnen. It sits next to Lake Brienz and Lake Thun, and the River Aare runs right through it. It’s just generally a gorgeous destination to spend some time in and where many visitors choose to base themselves. While Lauterbrunnen, Murren, and Wengen are all towns, Interlaken feels more like a little city. So your chances of scoring more affordable accommodation here is higher.
There is an abundance of hikes that are easily accessible from Interlaken. One of the best things to do here is take the cable car to Harder Kulm for a spectacular vista looking out over the town and an adorable cafe at the top. It’s a super easy day trip from the valley and has more to offer as far as a lively cuisine, nightlife, and shopping scenes, for which Lauterbrunnen can be a bit lacking.
Though famously touristy, Interlaken remains both serene and scenic for spending a day wandering away. If you’re a daredevil looking for a more thrilling activity, this is the best place to go skydiving in the Swiss Alps.
Eiger Trail Hike
The Eiger Trail Hike is one of the most popular routes to navigate in the country. It takes adventurers straight under the famous north face wall of Eiger Mountain, which is known for being one of the toughest climbs in the entire world.
On this path there is always something spectacular to take in in every direction as it’s totally surrounded by towering glacial mountains. After a little over a 2 km, you’ll come to the Eiger Mountain viewing area, and it’s a breathtaking sight to behold. Starting from Eigergletscher and ending at Alpigen, the total trail is about 6 km long, and though there’s some incline it’s super manageable for most skill levels.
Get to the top of Europe: Jungfraujoch
Take a cogwheel train up to the highest station in Europe on a day trip out to Jungfraujoch. A tour leaves from Lauterbrunnen Railway Station to start the alpine ascent.
From the summit, the sweeping scenes of surrounding wilderness are awe-inspiring. There are also several attractions to explore, such as the Ice Palace, Snow Fun Park, Sphinx Vantage Terrace and more. If the altitude works up an appetite, grab some authentic eats at the Crystal Restaurant and save room for something sweet from the Lindt Chocolate Heaven.
Often referred to as the Top of Europe, the peak is a staggering 11,000 feet high. The journey itself is half the fun as the slow and steady climb over about 90 minutes allows you to really take in the tremendous beauty.
Via Ferrata Murren
This Via Ferrata is one of the most popular ones in the whole region. It’s a fairly easy Via Ferrata, except for one long section that will definitely test your fear of heights. The Via Ferrata Murren starts in Murren and ends in Gimmelwald.
After about 15 minutes on the Via Ferrata you’ll see what I’m referring to when I say it will test your fear of heights. For a large portion, you will be walking a sheer cliff face with only the iron rod steps beneath you.
The grand finale of this via ferrata is the long suspension bridge over a canyon that you’ll have to cross. We had an absolute blast on this via ferrata route, but it’s not for the faint of heart!
The Rotstock Via Ferrata
The Rotstock Via Ferrata is an epic undertaking that is well worth the effort for any outdoor adventure enthusiasts. There are a few Via Ferratas around the area, and The Rotstock is one that many tourists can enjoy.
The good news is that no extra skills are needed to complete this complicated endeavor, as you will be strapped into a harness and using sets of metal stairways, bridges, and ladders to make it to the stunning summit at 1,300 feet in the air. It’s super safe, but we would only recommend it to those comfortable with heights and exposure. This vertical hike is about three miles in total, but the 360-degree panoramas are a pretty great pay off if you ask us.
Hike to Lake Bachalpsee
Bachalpsee is one of the most alluring lakes in all of Switzerland. The surrounding terrain is covered in bright wildflowers and the glacial mountains make for a beautiful backdrop to the shimmering bright blue waters.
Its altitude is impressive at 7,500 feet, but don’t let that dissuade you. An easily accessible cable car takes you to First station, and it’s just under a two mile trek from there each way. If you’re feeling more ambitious you can hike the Schynige Platte trail to First instead of using the transport.
It’s a strenuous trek at just under 10 miles, but it has become quite popular for a day hike because of just how many wonderful gems of local wilderness it encounters.
Stroll Grindelwald Village
Grindelwald is a perfectly authentic alpine resort town not far from Lauterbrunnen. It’s accessible by either car or train and is most enjoyed for its state-of-the-art skiing facilities. It’s shrouded in stunning scenery and is frequented by those seeking a relaxing break from the real world in the iconic Swiss Alps.
There are a few other fun activities to participate in here as well. This includes a zipline called the First Flieger, where you can soar at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour through the air. Also, the Tissot Cliff Walk, a route that has a 130-foot suspension bridge leading to a picturesque viewing platform. If you’re looking to indulge in a great meal while in the village, try Mt. First Restaurant.
Hike the Panoramaweg
Hiking the Panoramaweg takes roughly two hours to complete in total, making it one of the more manageable walks in the area. To arrive, take the cable car from Lauterbrunnen up to Grutschalp. It’s super affordable and the views on the way are sure to take your breath away.
Once at the top, this path meanders beside the Weisse Lutschine, through the village and along the photogenic promenade all the way down to Murren. It actually translates to Panoramic Path, and this is the perfect name for it. The views of Jungfrau mountain are jaw dropping and a stop at the gardens in Allmendhubel is always encouraged along this route.
Hike to Stechelberg
A quiet (and mostly car free) road lies just after the famous Staubach Falls. It travels two and a half miles to Stechelberg throughout which you’re sure to see some of the most impressive and captivating views in all of Lauterbrunnen.
Along this adventure there are multiple waterfalls, rocky cliff faces, wandering cows and sheep, and even the delightful occurrence of cheese vending machines. It’s common to see people getting a real bird’s eye view of Lauterbrunnen along this hike, as extreme adventure activities abound in the area from paragliding to base jumping.
One of the best things to do in Lauterbrunnen is biking! It’s certainly faster to get around on two wheels than on two feet here, so it helps when trying to pack as much scenic beauty in as possible.
If you love to cycle, you have to take advantage of the abundance of trails here made just for this activity. There are nearly 60 routes to try, with something for every skill level and ranging from relaxing to adrenaline-fueled. They lead up into the alpine wilderness or through more rural sleepy villages nearby.
It’s just another vantage point to explore the valley of Lauterbrunnen from, and there are even some great tours to book on bicycle. The Swiss also love their e-bikes, so odds are you’ll see others traveling this way often, and let’s be honest sometimes it’s nice to have a bit of extra help when making your way around this rugged terrain.
When is the Best Time to Travel to Lauterbrunnen?
No matter the season, this village is sure to blow you away, and there are always plenty of things to do in Lauterbrunnen. In the summer you’ll find wildflowers abound and a rushing waterfall. In the fall the area will be awash with yellow, orange, and red colors. While in the winter you can enjoy skiing or sledding into Wengen and seeing Lauterbrunnen from above.
We personally visited in February and August and loved our time exploring in the summer.
Where to Stay in Lauterbrunnen
Plan For Your Trip
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