Lauterbrunnen is an idyllic Swiss village located in an impossibly beautiful valley in the Alps. Rising snow-capped peaks, high waterfalls and the rugged sides of the valley mean you rarely have to move to enjoy a truly breathtaking view. It is surprisingly accessible by train, and there is much to do in Lauterbrunnen.
The pristine village is popular all year round. But if you go there in spring or summer, you will get the best of both worlds – snow-capped peaks and an endless range of scenic hikes and walks. When winter blows, the deep green meadows turn snow white and the resorts on the nearby hills open for business.
Here are the best things to do in Lauterbrunnen:
1. Rise above the valley
Base jumpers from around the world make pilgrimages to Lauterbrunnen to bounce off its vertical sides. If this is too extreme for your taste, then you can hand over control to a trained professional who will control a calmer paraglider on your behalf. The flights are among the most picturesque and dramatic in the world. You will leave with a whole new perspective for the region and most likely life.
Internal advice: There are several paragliding companies in the region, further down the valley at Interlaken. If you are set to sail over Lauterbrunnen, take a look at the offers from www.paragliding-jungfrau.ch.
2. Make a hike
Lauterbrunnen is a dream of tourists. There are hundreds of walks and hikes that serve a wide range of skill levels. As a general rule, the harder the hike, the better the rewards. But even a light walk along the bottom of the valley will give impressive views. Walks to nearby villages will take you along snow-covered lakes, cows, mountain goats and to remote mountain huts, where you can enjoy a steaming cup of hot chocolate with a dramatic perspective.
Internal advice: The valley has an extensive network of hikes and walks. Check with your hotel reception, get a map from one of the local shops or visit Wikiloc.com for a user-generated list of trails in the region.
3. Take a ride
Lauterbrunnen is also famous for its mountain biking and is a great way to go the extra distance on land. Keep in mind that the sides of the valley are incredibly steep and probably not suitable for unfit or amateur cyclists. But even a light ride to the end of the Stechelberg valley will be useful. If you are up for a bigger challenge, you can take your bike in the gondola lift to the nearby village of Müren.
Internal advice: There are one or two bicycle rental places in Lauterbrunnen. But for better value, you can rent one in nearby Interlaken and ride a bike through the valley – this will add a picturesque 13 kilometers to your trip.
4. Take a walk behind the waterfall
There are several waterfalls that descend the walls of the Lauterbrunnen valley, some more accessible than others. Staubbachfall is just a short walk up the valley and there is a marked trail that takes you behind the water. You will find another popular waterfall up the valley called the Trümmelbachfäll, which is just as exciting to explore.
Internal advice: The walk to Staubbachfall can be a bit slippery, so take a pair of hiking poles at the beginning of the trail to keep your balance.
5. Take a train to the top of Europe
Lauterbrunnen is famous for its convenient access to one of the peaks of the Bernese Alps – Jungfrau. And for fans of rail travel, the good news is that you can get to the top by train. Jungfraujoch Station, 3454 meters above sea level, is the highest railway station in Europe. The journey is almost as exciting as the sights that await you at the top.
Internal advice: Show your card when booking – Eurail Pass holders receive a 25 percent discount on the ticket price to Jungfraujoch.
6. Enjoy a traditional cheese fondue at Mürren
There are few things that are better than the traditional Swiss cheese fondue eaten in the country of origin. There are several places to indulge in this iconic dish in and around Lauterbrunnen, but this is a particularly welcome reward after a steep walk to the mountain village of Mürren. Most restaurants and hotels have a fondue on the menu. You really can’t go wrong with any of them in this part of the world.
Internal advice: If you overdo it, then you can always catch the train back – Eurail Pass holders receive a reduced price.
7. Watch the sunset from 2600 meters
You may know Schilthorn from the popular 1969 Bond film Her Majesty’s Secret Service – but even if you don’t know it, the trip to this dramatic observatory is a truly remarkable experience. If you have the legs for it, the walk to the top is an impressive achievement. If not, you can still sail to the top aboard the virgin gondolas. Or combine the two and reward your epic uphill ride with a gondola ride back to reality.
Internal advice: Show your Eurail Pass when buying a ticket so you can get a significant discount on Schilthorn gondola tickets.
Lauterbrunnen is a destination that will delight you with Switzerland and its natural beauty. Whatever your interests, things to do in Lauterbrunnen will enchant everyone who visits this stunning little village. And if you are for the best Swiss rail experience, continue your journey with the Golden Pass train. It’s free for Eurail Pass holders.
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