The village of Lauterbrunnen lies in the heart of the Jungfrau region and is a “must-see” destination when in Switzerland. It is one of the best day trips from Interlaken for lovers of the great outdoors with the bonus that is is only 20 minutes away by car or train.
With snow-capped mountains, chocolate-box wooden chalets and views that will take your breath away, this traditional Swiss village was one of the most beautiful places in Switzerland that we had visited on our European Road Trip Itinerary.
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Best Things to Do in Lauterbrunnen
Lauterbrunnen is one of Switzerland’s most charming villages, making it a paradise for photographers, hikers and nature enthusiasts. Swiss flags hang proudly from timbered-buildings, and artisan shops sell beautiful Swiss crafts. Lauterbrunnen’s cafes and restaurants will entice you in with aromas of fresh coffee and fondues!
Immerse yourself in your surroundings and admire the beauty of nature in the countryside all around the Lauterbrunnen valley.
Best Waterfalls to Visit in Lauterbrunnen
Lauterbrunnen translates in German to “Loud Springs”, and once you have visited one of these thunderous waterfalls, you will understand why!
Lauterbrunnen’s magical waterfalls and its sensational landscape were the inspiration for Rivendell, the home to the elves in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit novels written by J.R.R.Tolkien.
As film buffs, we are always keen to visit spots that have featured in movies, such as Hobbiton in New Zealand, as well as locations that have had an inspirational impact. Lauterbrunnen and Interlaken were also the settings for the James Bond film “On her Majesty’s Secret Service” in 1969.
Trummelbach Falls is unique in Europe as being the only accessible mountain that has ten internal glacial waterfalls. It is easy to navigate as it is illuminated and made accessible by a tunnel-lift and a series of walkways and handrails. Cave areas can get very wet underfoot as the glacial melt from the mighty Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau fall at a rate of 20,000 litres of water per second!
Waterproof jackets and footwear should be worn, and prepare yourself to be deafened by the roar of the water as it gushes past the vertical rock faces that are up to 400 hundred meters high.
Depending on weather conditions, the Trummelbach Falls are open daily in April until November from 9 – 5 pm and in July and August from 8.30 – 6 pm. It is always a good idea to check that the falls are open before setting out rather than having a disappointment when you arrive.
Staubbach Falls is Switzerland’s highest waterfall and the most well-known in Lauterbrunnen’s “Valley of 72 waterfalls.” Explore its cascading waters from behind a purposely-built viewing point built into the rock face.
During high season, the waterfall is illuminated in the evening.
Best Hikes in Lauterbrunnen
Hiking routes in and around Lauterbrunnen will take you through the beautiful Swiss landscape offering breath-taking views from the mountains.
Yellow signs in town mark the different trails that you can take from easy to difficult levels.
Lauterbrunnen Loop Trail
As this is the great outdoors, it only seems right to embark on at least one of the area’s hiking/walking trails.
The most popular one is a loop hike up to the car-free village of Murran and on to Gimmelwald before descending back to Lauterbrunnen.
You may prefer to take the cable car up and then only hike back down as it is an intense hike. The Restaurant Winteregg lies close to Mürren and offers a stop for refreshment amidst the best alpine landscape of mountain streams, meadows and pine forests.
If you do prefer this idea, then take the cable car from Lauterbrunnen to Grutschalp which takes 5 minutes and then from there you can hop aboard the 15-minute rail journey to the start of the hike in Mürren.
An easier walk suitable for all ages is the flower trail in Allmendhubel via Blumental (flower valley). Spot 150 different mountain flower species on this hour-long walk.
The funicular can reach Allmendhubel from Murren. The funicular operates all year-round but may shut for maintenance on scheduled dates. The tourist office should be able to help you with the dates.
Whatever you decide to do the views are out of this world, and you will feel like you want to burst into a rendition of the Sound of Music! For information on all the best hikes to do in the area head to the Lauterbrunnen tourist office and pick up a leaflet to guide you.
Journey to Jungfraujoch “The Top of Europe”
The most popular thing to do in Lauterbrunnen is to take a trip on the cogwheel train up to Jungfraujoch. The journey takes one and a half hours.
From the moment you step aboard this charming form of transport, the views are incredible as it gently makes its ascent to the top of the mountain. It is advisable to arrive early to take this trip as there are many activities to try out at the top of Jungfraujoch.
Book your ticket online, especially during summer.
On the ascent, keep an ear out for the cowbells ringing as the cows graze on the side of the mountains – the epitome of everything associated with the charm of Switzerland.
A mandatory stop halfway up the mountain at Kleine Scheidegg is a delightful place to take a break for coffee, lunch or maybe apple strudel before boarding another train to take you to the Top of Europe.
Kleine Scheidegg is at the foothills of the Eiger – the most treacherous mountain in the world. The Eiger is perpetually cast in shadow and hosts its own weather system. Its ice and limestone sheer rock face is a challenge for the most experienced mountaineer.
If you want to stay in Kleine Scheidegg for a while before continuing up to Jungfraujoch, then there are walking and hiking trails to discover. We set off on a walking path which took around 45 minutes, and I have to say the views were fantastic.
Jungfraujoch – Arriving at the Summit
Jungfraujoch is Europe’s highest-altitude railway station at 3,454 metres above sea level. When you step out of the train, you feel like this is a different world. With snow at the summit, it’s hard to believe that you are above Lauterbrunnen and the valley below is swathed in sunshine and green pastures!
Get accustomed to the high-level altitude – it affected us for about the first 10 minutes we arrived. I felt quite dizzy and nauseous and had to sit down for a while.
Jungfraujoch is open all year round, and there is plenty to do and see on the top of Europe. Allow yourself at least 1 -2 hours and keep hold of your belongings. We put our camera down and forgot it and then had a mad dash retracing our steps, trying to find it. Everything turned out fine in the end as someone had handed it in, but at high altitude, the last thing you want to be doing is rushing around and stressing out!
Top Things to do at Jungfraujoch
Sphinx Observation Deck – Views across the Aletsch Glacier.
Ice Sculpture Exhibition – Discover statues carved from the glacial ice.
Alpine Sensation Multi-Sensory Show – History of the miners who built the railway.
Lindt Chocolate Factory – The famous swiss chocolate brand.
Snow Park – Sledging, skiing, snowboarding, snow-tubing, and a zipline across the glacier.
Glacier Plateau – Views from here stretch across the Jungfrau and Silberhorn mountain peaks.
Restaurants and Shops
Best Restaurants in Lauterbrunnen
A great place to stop for lunch, freshly-brewed coffee and desserts, this is Lauterbrunnen’s best cafe.
Swiss Restaurant Weidstuebli
One of the best Lauterbrunnen restaurants offering a traditional Swiss feel and close to Staubbach Falls. A great place to enjoy a hearty meal after walking or hiking in the area.
The best restaurant in Lauterbrunnen for vegetarian and vegan dishes and serving Swiss and European cuisine in a cosy setting.
Hotel Oberland Restaurant
With an outdoor garden space for dining during the warmer months and an extensive menu. Soups, salads, pizzas, pasta, meat and fish dishes and traditional Swiss dishes of fondues and röstis are all available.
Set in Wengen village, this is one of the best restaurants in the area. It offers Swiss cuisine with a setting of the beautiful Swiss Alps as a backdrop.
Best Hotels in Lauterbrunnen
The Best Way to Get to Lauterbrunnen from Interlaken
By Car or Taxi: We had our car with us for the 15-minute drive from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen. Plenty of parking is all around town. Once you are in Lauterbrunnen, you will travel around on foot, by train or cablecar.
By Rail: From Interlaken, there are hourly trains that depart from Interlaken East Train Station. If you have the Jungfrau Travel Pass taking the 20-minute journey by train to Lauterbrunnen is very easy. Information on train stations in the Jungfrau Region can be found here.
By Bus: From Interlaken, the bus will take approximately 20 minutes.