Discover the best things to do in Lauterbrunnen and plan your trip to one of the most beautiful places in Switzerland!
Here you can collect ideas and tips that will inspire and help you to make your trip to this small Swiss village a memorable experience.
Table of Contents
🗺️ Where is Lauterbrunnen?
The village is located about 8 miles (ca. 13 kilometers), 30 minutes by train or 20 minutes by car from Interlaken, a city on the Brienzersee lake.
The valley is also called Lauterbrunnen valley and other villages are located in the valley or on the 1000-foot-high (ca. 300 meters high) cliffs.
The hamlet is known to be one of the most beautiful, fairy-tale-like, villages in the world because of the waterfall falling from the cliffs into the village. It’s a picture-perfect town!
The Lauterbrunnen scenery, in fact, inspired the fantastic Rivendell scenery in the Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien.
Visiting Lauterbrunnen should definitely be on your must-do list when in Switzerland. Here are some of the most important things to do there.
🏡 Discover the Lauterbrunnen Village
The village of Lauterbrunnen is a small hamlet on the main road, you can’t really miss it! It’s also the busy center of everything else in this area.
Take a relaxed stroll through the town and discover local stores and true Swiss vibes.
Look out for Swiss cheese and cured meats, Swiss chocolates and handmade socks or house shoes. The locals are great in handwork in the alps.
There are also several view points in the village to the waterfall for a perfect photo of this charming alpine village.
Visit the Talmuseum near the church to learn more about the history of this Swiss valley. It’s one of the oldest buildings too!
We enjoyed a proper Swiss cheese fondue during our stay in Lauterbrunnen and I strongly recommend adding this to your bucket list.
You can park the car at the south side, at the Parkhaus Lauterbrunnen, located next to the Wengeneralpbahn, the Lauterbrunnen train station. Another option closer to the center is a parking right next to the church.
🥾 Hike up to the Waterfall
The most prominent and most unmissable landmark in Lauterbrunnen is the waterfall coming down the 1000 feet (ca. 305 m) high overhanging cliff behind the village.
The waterfall is known as the Staubbach falls, and you can actually hike up the short passage to get closer behind the fall.
A steep 30-minute-long hike with semi stairs, narrow passages and tunnel await you. This trail is considered easy, but it’s uneven, so it’s inaccessible for wheelchairs and strollers.
This adventures walk is a must if you want to see the valley and village from a different view. You get a spectacular picture standing behind the waterfall.
The trail is semi railed but can be slippery especially close to the fall, so wear good hiking shoes and bring along a raincoat. Besides, it’s only accessible during the summer months!
Yet, if you are not up to it or short on time, you can skip that walk and just enjoy the view of the waterfall from the several viewpoints scattered in the Lauterbrunnen village.
We visited in summer during an extended dry period, so the Staubbach fall wasn’t as powerful as usual. Keep that in mind when you visit in the hot summer months.
🌊 Drop by the Trümmelbach Falls
The Trümmelbach falls are the largest subterranean waterfalls in Europe, and the underground path is open to the public! The Lauterbrunnen valley is known as the valley of 72 waterfalls.
Melted glacier waters from the Mönch, Jungfrau and Eiger swiss alps come together in this canyon and caves natural wonder.
Yet, from outside you don’t see the waterfall, but you hear them clashing.
This adventure will take you with a funicular ride to the 1.2 miles (ca. 2 km) long round trip, which will take you from one spectacular chute to another.
Technically, it feels like you are in a cave, so you are always walking between oddly formed rocks and various types of falls.
From inside the Trümmelbach falls, you get spectacular views of the other falls in the valley including the Staubbach fall in Lauterbrunnen.
Park at the bottom of the Trümmelbach falls for free, located near Stechelberg, or take the public bus transport and get out at the Trümmelbach bus station.
I recommend wearing good hiking shoes because the terrain is slippery and very uneven. Bring some warm clothes too and a raincoat because it can get cool in there and wet with all the splashing water and spraying mist.
The round trip takes about 1 to 1 1/2 hours and the best time to visit is in the morning when it’s less crowded.
You can visit the Trümmelbach falls from April up to November from 9 am to 6 pm. The hour may be extended in the busier summer months to 8:30 am to 7 pm.
The entry price was CHF 14 per adult and CHF per child in 2022, but this may be suggested to changes.
🐄 Visit Mürren and Gimmelwald
Mürren and Gimmelwald are two villages located on the western side of the cliffs. They can only be accessed by cable car or mountain train.
Gimmelwald is a tad smaller and not that well known. Mürren is more popular among the two because it’s easier to access it from both sides.
Mürren and Gimmelwald offer a spectacular view of the Lauterbrunnen valley from the top. Besides, the sun reaches there earlier in the morning hours.
The village of Mürren is also known to be the departing point to Allmendhubel, the village’s own mountain peak. The area is also known for spectacular hiking trails, and you will find plenty of trails between the two villages.
Adventurous people will want to take a guided tour through the via ferrata, a special adventure hike with some climbing and spectacular views
Take the Schilthornbahn cable car from Stechelberg in the Lauterbrunnen valley, up to Gimmelwald. You can continue a station further up to Mürren. The trip to Gimmelwald takes 5 minutes and further up to Mürren in total 10 minutes.
Another way is to take a cable car from Lauterbrunnen (located next to the Wengeneralpbahn station) up to Grütschalp, a transit station, and continue onwards to Mürren with the mountain train. The journey takes 20 minutes but is included in the Swiss Pass.
🚡 Head up to the Schilthorn Summit
The same Schilthornbahn that takes you up to Mürren is the cable car that will take you to the famous Schilthorn mountain summit.
The James Bond Movie “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” was filmed up there. In the movie it was called Piz Gloria and the name somehow stuck until now.
Travel from Stechelberg in the Lauterbrunnen valley up to the Schilthorn. The stations to the peak are as follows:
- Stechelberg (valley station)
- Gimmelwald (village)
- Mürren (village)
- Birg (thrill walk)
- Schilthorn (summit)
The cable car ride up is stunning and you can see alpine meadows, cows, rough rocks and epic landscapes.
On top, you will find an observation deck to the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountain peaks, and you will be able to see as far as to Interlaken and lake Brienz.
There is also a revolving Restaurant and a James Bond museum.
The Birg station, further below, has even a fun thrill walk. Adult and children alike love it!
Dress for the cold in winter clothes because it’s freezing up there, even in summer!
🚞 Travel to Wengen
Wengen is a famous ski resort in the Lauterbrunnen valley. The town is also known for its wooden chalets and Belle Époque style buildings.
The only way to get to Wengen is with the iconic bright yellow and green cogwheel train. Wengen, just like Mürren and Gimmelwald is another car-free village.
Take the train at the Lauterbrunnen railway station platforms, Wengernalpbahn, and enjoy a scenic adventurous railway trip up to Wengen.
The ride takes about 21 minutes up to the mountain and runs every 30 minutes, starting in the early morning hours around 6 am, with up to the last train at 12 am.
We paid about CHF 14 per adult for a two-way 2nd Class trip, bought at the train station before our ride. You can take any train with this ticket, no particular train number is allotted to the billet (as the Swiss call the ticket).
Get out at the second station in Wengen (the first is Wengwald). The train also continues further over the mountains to the Kleine Scheidegg, from where you can travel further up to the Top of Europe, the highest railway in Europe, the Jungfraujoch.
The cog wheel train route is known to be very scenic and ends on the other side in Grindelwald, another famous fairy-tale village. You can get around with the unlimited Swiss Travel Pass.
Wengen itself is a relaxed place to be with plenty of shopping opportunities and charming views. We recommend going to the church, and finding the benches overlooking the Lauterbrunnen valley for the best views.
🗻 Experience the Top of Europe Jungfraujoch
The top of Europe, as the name suggests it, is the highest railway station and station in Europe.
This particular ride is an experience in itself and one that comes with a steep price! Yet, it should be on your bucket list if you have come to see Switzerland.
From the top of the Sphinx Observatory you can see the UNESCO world heritage protected 13.7 miles (ca. 22 km) long Aletsch Glacier and the Jungfraujoch saddle.
Take the Eiger Express from Grindelwald to the Eigergletscher or the cogwheel train from Lauterbrunnen to the Kleine Scheidegg station.
From there change to the Jungfraubahn train and take the spectacular 50-minute-long ride up to the Top of Europe train station. A 5-minute stop on the way will give you a chance to take memorable pictures. The ride back is just 35 minutes compared.
The train up is open to the public 360 days a year and snow is guaranteed all year round. There is also an ice castle up there with ice sculpture, which you shouldn’t miss!
Plan a whole day for this trip alone and dress appropriately for the ice-cold minus degrees up there. Get winter jackets, winter shoes, gloves, and a cap.
A ticket per adult costs about CHF 200 from Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald. Children tickets are about CHF 20 and kids below the age of 5 are free.
A seat reservation can be purchased separately, which is advised in peak season and sunny days. These are the prices in 2022, and they are subjected to changes.
For the best bang for your buck, get the Top of Europe pass.
It covers all the destinations—except the Schilthornbahn and summit of Schilthorn—including the Grindelwald valley, the Lauterbrunnen valley and the trip from Interlaken town by train to the two valleys. The ticket price can be reduced with a discount card.
🚲 More Activities
The Swiss alps are known for extreme sports and also just regular fun sport activities. Here are some of the most prominent summer and winter activities for the Lauterbrunnen valley.
- climbing/via ferrata
- mountain biking or e-bike cycling
- mini Golf
- helicopter ride
- skiing and snowboarding (also for beginners!)
- snowshoe walking
- speedriding tandem
- day or night sledding (but there is no dog sledding in Lauterbrunnen!)
- Hot balloon ride (also in summer)
- The weather can change quickly in the mountains. The higher you get, the more fresh and colder it feels. Bring enough layers of clothes, even during the summer months.
- Most places accept credit cards, but many smaller businesses take only cash in the valley. Bring enough cash because ATMs are not always easily found.
- Most businesses tend not to take American Express Credit Cards.
- Try to avoid tourist traps, look out for off the beaten path restaurants and local stores instead. The prices and quality of products are different.
- If you have only a day in the Lauterbrunnen valley, enjoy a trip up the Schilthorn and Mürren in the morning or an excursion to Wengen in the morning and enjoy the rest of the day in the Lauterbrunnen village.
How expensive is Lauterbrunnen?
The region is one of the most expensive areas in Switzerland and the world. Expect to pay a premium price for everything.
What languages are spoken?
The locals speak Schwizertitsch (Swiss German) and German. They also understand English well enough.
Where to stay in Lauterbrunnen?
When is the best time to visit?
Lauterbrunnen is beautiful all year round. Peak seasons in summer and winter are of course always very busy times. If you are looking for fewer tourists, then spring and fall are a great time to visit. Just keep in mind that many attractions tend to open only after April/May and are accessible only up to November/October.