The stunning valley of Lauterbrunnen is a place everyone should visit if they have the opportunity. And if you’re lucky enough to be able to spend several days in the valley of the load waterfalls, you will certainly have the time of your life!
Not only is Lauterbrunnen a stunning valley with lots of things to offer to tourists who visit, but it is also one of the best places to stay at if you’re mostly interested in Jungfrau – one of the main summits of the Bernese Alps. Lauterbrunnen’s unique location is also ideal for exploring other popular destinations in the area, like Interlaken and Grindlewald.
If you truly want to make the most of your time in Lauterbrunnen and experience it in its full glory, this is the perfect guide for you. From majestic waterfalls to thrilling helicopter rides – we bring you the top ten things to do in Lauterbrunnen!
Lauterbrunnen literally translates to ‘loud waterfall’, so it’s only appropriate to kick off this guide with the most spectacular waterfalls in the area. Trümmelbachfälle is a system of glacier waterfalls, a lot of which are actually situated in a mountain. There are narrow footpaths that take you from one waterfall to another, and some even take you through lit up caves. The entrance fee is about 11CHF, which is actually pretty cheap for Switzerland.
The views here are absolutely spectacular and you will want to bring your best camera along for the ride. The glacier waterfalls are simply majestic, and it’s unreal to see the water falling from the top to the bottom of the mountain.
There is a lift that takes you to Trümmelbachfälle, but from there are lots of steps to climb. Definitely wear shoes that have great traction because the steps tend to be wet and slippery from all the water. We also recommend you bring a raincoat, because you will inevitably get wet, considering you’re constantly passing between and below waterfalls.
One thing to note is that this is probably not an enjoyable activity for people who have fear of heights or claustrophobia. But if you’re fearless and up for an adventure, a visit the Lauterbrunnen’s most famous waterfalls will certainly be the highlight of your trip!
If you want to enjoy the beauty of the valley of waterfalls in a more casual setting, than a quick walk to Staubbach waterfall is perfect for you. You don’t have to hike for hours to get there, and there are no steep climbs included – this is perfect for the more hedonistic travellers who aren’t really looking to tire themselves to death every day, but rather to enjoy the beauty of Swiss nature while relaxing.
The Staubbach waterfall is very close to the residential area of the village and you can even see it from most apartments. It flows down the mountain edge into the stream below, and it’s pretty impressive to see how water has smoothened the rock over the years. A casual picnic in the park with the waterfall in the background is perfect for relaxed couples and families who just want to spend time together surrounded by spectacular nature.
In case you’re actually up for a challenge, you can climb to the top of the waterfall. It’s absolutely worth it because the view from the top is outstanding – not only do you get to experience the full glory of the waterfall, but you can also enjoy the panoramic sight of Lauterbrunnen below.
Hardcore James bond fans know that quite a lot of scenes from the 1969 film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service were filmed in the Bern canton. But the revolving restaurant atop Schilthorn is the one that stands out even today, and it’s certainly a must-visit for true Bond fans.
Piz Gloria was only under construction when location scouts noticed it in ’68, but they deemed it interesting enough to put it in the film. The production company even partially financed the completion of the restaurant, which explains why they decided to keep the name it was given in the movie.
The revolving restaurant is not the only Bond-related thing at Schilthorn – there’s also a James Bond museum just below the scenic observation deck. The museum features exhibits on the behind the scenes production of the ’69 film, and a lot of them are in fact interactive. You will definitely want to wait in line to get into the 007 replica helicopter, and even attempt to navigate your flight over the Schilthorn mountain!
Bond World also features a souvenir shop, a 007 viewing cinema that shows some of the key scenes from the ’69 movie, and there’s even a 007 walk of fame, where you can see traces left by the crew and actors from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
If you are an adrenaline junkie, you will adore Lauterbrunnen. Head to Air-Glaciers, the Lauterbrunnen base of this popular aviation company that is determined to give you the time of your life.
You can go skydiving if you want, which is certainly a thrilling experience perfect for adrenaline seekers. Tandem jumping from a helicopter at a height of 4 kilometers and then flying through the air is definitely a feeling you won’t forget for a while, and it will have you begging for more. Just bear in mind that this experience costs a pretty penny, as does pretty much everything else in Switzerland.
If you’re not in the mood to actually jump out of a helicopter, don’t worry – you can just go on a panoramic flight that will allow you to enjoy the gorgeous mountains from the air. Air-Glaciers offer four panoramic flights to their visitors – the shortest one is a 13-minute flight over Jungfrau and it’s spectacular, while the longest option takes you all the way to the Matterhorn in a 70-minute flight, for a whooping price of 3350CHF for up to five people!
As one of the main summits in the Bernese Alps, Jungfrau is definitely the star of this region. Most of people who visit this region go there solely to be close to Jungfrau, and Lauterbrunnen is pretty much as close as you can get.
Some people head to Jungfrau for the thrilling climbing and others go for the spectacular views. Jungfraujoch, the saddle between Jungfrau and Monch, actually features Europe’s highest railway station that is just below the summit. So, even people who aren’t really avid climbers can experience what it is to stand on Top of Europe.
The reason this saddle was named Top of Europe is because the railway station made it accessible to virtually everyone. And even if you’re not into climbing and skiing, you can still enjoy your time here in a more casual way – the Sphinx observation deck offers some truly enchanting views, while the Ice Palace feels like something from a different world. There’s also a Lindt shop in the complex, as well as multiple restaurants where you can sit back, relax and take in the views.
Murren is a small village at the foot of the Schilthorn mountain. The area is very peaceful, and it’s rarely overcrowded even though it’s popular with tourists all year round. In the winter months you can enjoy some exciting ski trails, while in the summer your time is better spent exploring the amazing hiking trails that surround the village or just rock climbing.
The Flower Trail above Murren is easily one of the most popular hikes in the area. It’s an easy trail suitable for beginners, and it will take you two hours max to complete it – and that’s only if you stop every now and then to admire the different flowers you see along the way. The trail actually gets its name because it features more than 150 different mountain flowers along the course.
Another popular hiking trail begins in the actual village, and it’s very fun if you’re looking for a slight challenge. It’s a mesh of a classic hiking trail and a via ferrata, with just enough climbing to keep things interesting. It probably sounds intimidating to those of you who are afraid of heights, but the views and the sense of accomplishment you get at the top make the entire experience 100% worth it!
Wengen is a quaint little village just northeast of Lauterbrunnen main area. It’s perhaps the best known as the host of the Lauberhorn ski races of the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup that take place in January every year. The longest downhill course in the world manages to attract over 30,000 spectators each year, turning this tiny Swiss village into an international hotspot every January.
The entire village of Wengen is actually a massive ski resort, with 23 lifts and a total of 112 kilometers of ski terrain spread over 53 pistes. The trails are absolutely phenomenal – if you’re looking for some of the best ski spots in Switzerland, Wengen is definitely high up on that list. It is, after all, world cup worthy.
However, there’s not much else to do in the village, especially in the warmer months. If you’re not really into skiing, I suggest you skip the visit to Wengen and spend some more time in other areas that have a better variety when it comes to tourist activities. Sure it’s a charming village, but there’s only so much time you can spend staring at the landscape until you become incredibly bored.
If you’d rather enjoy some peace and quiet than engage in thrilling activities, head to Isenfluh – a tiny settlement north of Lauterbrunnen proper. The hamlet is mostly popular for the scenic cable car ride and great hiking trails in the area, most of which are suitable even for beginners.
The cable car will take you from Isenfluh to Sulwald in just about five minutes. The red trains are very retro, and they can fit up to eight people or a single cow – at least that’s what they say on the website.
You could skip the cable car and just hike to the top – it will take you about an hour, and you still get to enjoy some spectacular views along the way. In case you get tired by the time you reach Sulwald, you can just rest for a while at the restaurant. They serve fresh local food that’s delicious, the ambiance is amazing since the restaurant is situated in a wooden cottage and the views are breathtaking.
The hiking trails from Sulwald vary in length and difficulty – a short 15-minute walk will take you to the observation deck if you just want to take some panoramic photos. And if you really want to hike your heart out, head to Bällenhöchst. The 11-kilometer trail is best suited for medium and advanced hikers, as it features a total of 1.5km difference in height elevation.
Lauterbrunnen is very close to the other popular towns in the area and you shouldn’t pass on the opportunity to visit them. Interlaken is just a 30-minute train ride from Lauterbrunnen, and there’s a train every half hour.
The town is situated between the lakes of Thun and Brienz, and it fully takes advantage of that fact by being the hottest spot in the area for all sorts of water sports. You can go kayaking, rafting, even jetboat riding – if it’s done on water, there’s a really high chance you’ll be able to do it Interlaken.
The town is also popular for the great hiking trails that surround it, like the one that takes you to Harder Klum. You can also opt to visit the St. Beatus Caves, which feature a path through lit caves, as well as a museum.
Interlaken is also home to an adventure park, which is great if you’re travelling with children. It’s a kid-friendly park with treetop courses that have varying difficulties, so there’s definitely something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to have a fun and chill afternoon or for a proper challenge, you won’t be disappointed.
Grindelwald is quite similar to Lauterbrunnen in that it lies in a valley surrounded by tall mountain peaks. The village is very popular with both Swiss nationals and tourists, especially during the winter months when the ski season opens.
Grindelwald is also the base for most ascents on the Eiger mountain – if you are into Alpine climbing, you do not want to miss out on a trip to this village. The climb takes some five or six hours, and it’s definitely not suitable for beginners as it requires quite a lot of technical climbing over various rocks and ice.
Another thing adrenaline junkies can enjoy here is a large scale Alpine zipline that goes on for 800 meters, and reaches speeds of 84 km/h at certain points. You can either hike all the way to the zipline, or you could opt for the cable car ride – both offer scenic views along the way, but only one lets you enjoy true mountain hiking.
Grindelwald is a very popular tourist spot in Switzerland, and I’ve only scratched the surface with these interesting activities. If you want even more ideas on how to spend your time in this charming Swiss village, check out our detailed guide on the top things to do in Grindelwald.
Anna is the co-owner of expert world travel and can't wait to share her travel experience with the world. With over 54 countries under her belt she has a lot to write about! Including those insane encounters with black bears in Canada.