Lauterbrunnen – the valley of waterfalls and steep cliffs in Switzerland
Lauterbrunnen (Switzerland) is one of those places often depicted on tourist postcards and magnets. It is a fabulously beautiful valley located in the famous Swiss Alps.
The Swiss Lauterbrunnen is a small village, surrounded by high cliffs, mountain lakes and picturesque meadows. It is not far from Interlaken, the tourist capital of the Bernese Highlands. Of course, the main attraction of Lauterbrunnen Valley is not the architectural buildings or museums – it is worth going here to enjoy the beauty of Swiss nature.
In Lauterbrunnen lives a little less than 3,000 people – by our standards, it’s a village. Most of the houses are in the valley, but you can also meet mountain dwellers. Due to the fact that near the village is one of the highest waterfalls in Switzerland (Staubbach), there are always many tourists here, and photos of Swiss Lauterbrunnen know the whole world. In total, there are 72 waterfalls in the valley.
In addition to Lauterbrunnen, the so-called Lauterbrunnen Valley also includes the villages of Wengen, Himmelwald, Stechelberg, Mürren and Isenflu. It is so idyllically beautiful here that J.R.R. Tolkien took Lauterbrunnen without further ado as a model for the Elbe settlement of Bruchtal. Skiing, hiking, climbing, cycling – the list of sporting activities to do in Lauterbrunnen is long. To the displeasure of the officials it is supplemented by extreme sports such as base jumping.
Numerous skydivers dive off steep cliffs in their wingsuits, glide across breathtaking scenery with their parachutes open at the last moment and land between cows and sheep in the green pastures of the valley. Several dozen jumpers have already crashed in such daring jumps. Yes, this is one of the reasons why the Lauterbrunnen Valley in Switzerland has become famous in one way or another.
However, most tourists come to Lauterbrunnen to relax and engage in other, much safer sports. Numerous ski areas in the Jungfrau ski region and scenic hiking trails invite you to thrilling slopes and relaxing hikes.
The Staubbach is the hallmark of the Swiss Lauterbrunnen Valley. Its height is 297 meters and until 2006 it was thought to be the highest waterfall in Switzerland. But after repeated measurements it was found out that the Zierenbach waterfall is slightly higher and now Staubbach is in second place.
An interesting fact is that the waterfall became famous thanks to the legendary German writer Goethe – in 1779 he visited the place, and, inspired by the beauty of Switzerland, wrote the poem “The song of the spirits over the water. 40 years later, another famous English poet Byron wrote about the waterfall, calling it the tail of a huge water horse.
Today Staubbach is the most popular tourist attraction in the Lauterbrunnen Valley. This place is especially beautiful when it rains – powerful streams of water hit the ground, which leads visitors to Switzerland in delight. Also specially for tourists was built observation deck – in a rock made a special tunnel with a view of the village and the whole valley.
The Trümmelbach waterfall (or as it is often called, the “rumbling drums”) is located 6 km from Staubach. This place, like many others in Switzerland, is famous for its beauty: not the whole waterfall can be seen walking through the valley, because several cascades are hidden in the cave of the Black Monk. To get here can any tourist. During the tour, guests will be led through a long tunnel and will be shown different parts of the waterfall up close. Rumble and lots of splashing is what awaits tourists in the cave. There is a fee to enter.
An interesting fact is that the amount of water Trümmelbach varies greatly depending on the season: from December to March it is, in fact, only a small stream in the mountains. But from July to September you can see the waterfall in all its glory.
Trümmelbach is oddly similar in color to milk: this is due to the fact that the water washes away a large number of stones and sand.
How to get there: you have to walk from the village of Lauterbrunnen to a small rise, in which the tunnel begins. Then follows a checkpoint and behind it is the cave.
- Cost to visit: 11 francs for adults, 4 francs for children.
- Visiting hours: July and August from 8.30 am to 6 pm, all other months from 9 am to 5 pm.
There are many famous Swiss resorts near the Lauterbrunnen Valley that are definitely worth a visit.
The most famous is the resort of Mürren-Schilthorn, spread at an altitude of 1,650 meters above sea level. The basis of the resort is the village Murren, which is located in a valley. From here you can enjoy stunning views of the three mountain peaks: Eiger, Monk and Jungfrau. There are only 450 people living in this place, but tourists come here several times more. The total length of the tracks of the resort is 50 km.
Another interesting place in Switzerland is the village of Wengen in the Bernese Alps, located northeast of the valley Lauterbrunnen. This is a classic Alpine village with wooden chalets and scattered all over the slope various pavilions. It is worth coming here if only to enjoy the view from the surrounding mountains. Fans of extreme sports should visit the resort in January – that’s when the annual Lauberhorn races are held, consisting of the men’s downhill and slalom.
Things to do in the summer
In the summer season tourists should also go to the Swiss Wengen – in August here opens the annual music festival named after Mendelssohn. And in September there is a mountain marathon Jungfrau, which annually attracts thousands of spectators and more than 3500 participants. It can be said that Wengen is the most famous and active city in the municipality of Lauterbrunnen.
Another pride of Lauterbrunnen is the Jungfraubahn, a railroad that runs through a mountain tunnel. Of course the stop is the “Peak of Europe” (3000 meters above sea level). This station is the highest station not only in Switzerland but also in Europe. From here it is worth going to the observation platform to look at the Alech – the Alpine glacier.
How to get to Lauterbrunnen
The Lauterbrunnen Valley is located in the mountains, so it is not possible to reach this place without a transfer.
The Lauterbrunnen Valley can be reached by train (Switzerland is well-developed rail transport) or by car.
Train: Take train number 61 (3-hour train service) at Bern station and get off at the Interlaken stop. Then change to train 145-Y and get off at Lauterbrunnen station.
Travel time is 1 hour and 40 minutes. Tickets cost 27-45 francs, depending on the class of the carriage. You can find out the exact schedule, route and purchase a travel document on the carrier’s website – www.sbb.ch.
You can also get to Lauterbrunnen by car: The distance between the cities is 70 km.
By train: At Geneva station take train line 1 (every 2 hours) to Bern station. Then take train line 61 to the Interlaken stop. Then take train 145-Y and get off at Lauterbrunnen station.
Travel time is 3 hours and 50 minutes. The cost may vary depending on the class and route – 65-125 francs.
In Switzerland, an excellent railway connection, so you can get to the desired village from anywhere in the country comfortably and quickly. Make a route and choose the best option for you on the website of the railroad – www.sbb.ch.
Parking in Lauterbrunnen
The parking lot near Lauterbrunnen railway station is the largest. Here you can leave your car and go on a trip to the mountains.
- Rental price: 14 francs (for one day), 270 francs (for 30 days).
- Working hours of the parking lot: round the clock.
Box office hours:
- April-June – 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
- July-September – 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
- October-March – 8:00 am – 7:00 pm
Reservations: you can only book parking in Switzerland online (https://www.jungfrau.ch/shop/en/parkticket) from 5 days in winter and from 3 days in summer.
The only possible option not to pay is to book a room at one of the hotels with its own parking. Some of them are:
Unfortunately, there is no place in the valley where you can park your car for free. In spite of this, the settlement in the Lauterbrunnen Valley (Switzerland) is popular among travelers.
All prices on the page are as of August 2021.
Video: detailed overview of Lauterbrunnen, waterfalls and views of the valley and useful tips for travelers in Switzerland.
Author: Maria Protasenya
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