Nestled between mountains and towering rock faces, the valley of Lauterbrunnen is one of the most attractive in the Swiss Alps.
A pristine natural area featuring no less than 72 waterfalls, pretty valleys, and lush alpine meadows, Lauterbrunnen has plenty to offer even the most discerning traveller.
The weather in Lauterbrunnen is ideal for all types of activities.
Summer visitors can explore the surrounding area, joining excursions from Lauterbrunnen valley to visit the many towns and villages in the Jungfrau region.
There’s a railway connecting Lauterbrunnen with Wengen, where you can take it easy and rest on the sunny terraces. Alternatively, visitors can sample the delights of Mürren or visit the tranquil hamlet of Isenfluh.
And for those who like to get active, there are more than 75 different hiking trails in the region with varying degrees of difficulty.
Winter brings with it a flurry of snowy fun, with ample opportunities to toboggan, hike and ski. Lauterbrunnen visitors can make use of the mountain railway to reach the resorts of Wengen-Kleine Scheidegg and Mürren-Schilthorn.
Toboggan runs, downhill skiing and cross-country trails provide entertainment for thrill-seekers or those who prefer a gentler run.
Whatever the season, you’ll never be puzzling over what to do in Lauterbrunnen. Grab a Lauterbrunnen map from your hotel or the tourist office and explore this amazing area and all it has to offer.
This guide has plenty of ideas to get you started.
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Before you travel to the Jungfrau Region
All visitors to Interlaken and the Jungfrau Region who don’t have a Swiss Travel Pass or Swiss Half Fare Card should consider purchasing a Jungfrau Travel Pass or a Regional Pass Berner Oberland.
These two passes offer free and discounted transport on trains, buses, boats, cable cars and funiculars in the region. The Regional Pass Berner Oberland also offers free and discounted admission to a number of other attractions.
Read more about the passes and what they cover on the links below:
Top things to do in Lauterbrunnen
Connecting the two peaks of Mönch and Jungfrau, the Jungfraujoch mountain pass sits in the Bernese Alps, at an 3,464 metres above sea level. You’ll need a head for heights on this excursion, however, if you’re after spectacular alpine views, you won’t be disappointed.
The excursion starts at Lauterbrunnen station when you board the train for Wengen. It’s then on to Kleine Scheidegg where you’ll board the Jungfraubahn (a cogwheel train) for the final ascent to Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe.
If the train ride to Jungfraujoch wasn’t spectacular enough, once you reach Europe’s highest railway station, your journey through a magical land of ice and snow begins. Gaze in awe at the 22-kilometre-long Aletsch Glacier and view the towering peaks of Jungfrau, Eiger, and Mönch.
You can visit the outdoor terrace of the Sphinx Observatory for incredible views, stroll through the Ice Cave, shop at Europe’s highest Lindt chocolate shop, or have some fun at the Snow Park (summer only) where you can try snow tubing and sledding and ride on a zipline.
The train journey from Lauterbrunnen to Jungfraujoch takes one hour and 35 minutes each way and you should allow at least two hours at the summit.
Due to the popularity of the Jungfraujoch excursion it is highly recommended that you pre-book your trip. > Click here to check prices and book your ticket.
If spectacular views and mountainous landscapes appeal, you should not pass up the chance to visit the Schilthorn. The summit, at 2,970 metres, provides an exquisite vista of what is referred to as the Swiss Skyline.
Getting to the summit involves riding a succession of cable cars, or a combination of train and cable car, and this provides ample opportunity to get a close-up view of cascading waterfalls and steep rock faces.
The Schilthorn provides the perfect opportunity to see the entire Jungfrau area in all its glory as you view the mountainous peaks of Jungfrau, Eiger, and Mönch, among others (there are more than 200 peaks to see here).
On a clear day you can also see as far as Mont Blanc in France and the Black Forest in Germany!
This spectacular location also boasts the honour of being featured in the blockbuster 1969 Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Bond fans might be interested to learn that arch-villain Blofeld’s “allergy laboratory” now serves as a revolving restaurant called Piz Gloria!
There are numerous Bond-themed attractions on the summit, as well as a thrill walk and glass-floored viewing platform at the Birg intermediate station, making a visit to the Schilthorn a fantastic excursion. > Click here to check prices and buy your Schilthorn Piz Gloria tickets.
Staub translates to the word ‘dust’ and this goes some way to explaining the name of this awe-inspiring waterfall. The spray from Staubbach Falls, Lauterbrunnen is carried in all directions, and the warm summer breeze pushes the water droplets further, dusting the surrounding area with a fine mist.
One of 72 waterfalls in the Lauterbrunnen Valley, and described by many as the signature waterfall of the region, Staubbach has impressive credentials. At an imposing 300 metres, the waterfall is the third-highest in Switzerland and among the highest free-falling waterfalls in all of Europe.
The backdrop is arguably as impressive as the waterfall itself: you can’t fail to notice the sheer, glaciated valley walls.
Visitors can get up close to the falls thanks to a viewing platform that has been built into the rockface. After a steep, 15-minute walk, you can stand behind the falls and feel the spray of the water. The viewing gallery is open from June to October.
Each night during high season, Staubbach Falls are illuminated, creating a magical effect.
Another outstanding natural wonder of the ‘Valley of the 72 waterfalls’ (which Lauterbrunnen Valley is often called), Trümmelbach Falls is the largest subterranean waterfall in Europe.
Trümmelbach is both powerful and stirring, gushing from the rock face and carrying with it tons of boulders and scree. Its ten glacial waterfalls inside the mountain carry up to 20,000 litres of water per second. In fact, Trümmelbach is so mighty that it often causes the mountain to tremble, producing a rumble reminiscent of thunder.
Accessible via a network of underground tunnels, walkways, elevators and platforms, you can see the illuminated glacier waterfalls up close. An entry fee applies.
Paragliding and skydiving in Lauterbrunnen
This activity is not for the faint-hearted, but for a true birds-eye view of the Lauterbrunnen Valley and surrounding areas, you can take to the skies for a spot of paragliding or skydiving. Admire the impressive mountainous scenery as you fly high above the alpine landscapes.
If you fancy trying your hand at paragliding, Lauterbrunnen is the perfect place. Paragliding involves flying tandem with a skilled pilot at the helm (so you don’t need to have any experience). You can simply strap yourself in and enjoy the ride of a lifetime as you soar above Lauterbrunnen and the surrounding mountains.
Alternatively, you can opt for an adrenaline-charged skydive. Lauterbrunnen provides a stunning setting for this type of experience. Skydiving involves climbing on board a helicopter which will take you high above the Bernese Oberland.
At a height of around 4,000 metres, you will leap (securely strapped to a professional and experienced instructor, of course) from the helicopter and float back down to base in Lauterbrunnen.
Hiking in Lauterbrunnen
Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy a leisurely (or not so leisurely, depending on your hiking style) Lauterbrunnen hike. Lauterbrunnen boasts over 500 kilometres of hiking trails and paths, perfect for seasoned walkers and beginners alike.
Below you’ll find some of the top, easy hikes in Lauterbrunnen and the surrounding region:
> Alpweg – a 45-minute walk that crosses under the Grütschalp cable car line twice and passes by Gryffenbach Falls before returning to Lauterbrunnen
> Panoramaweg – this 1-hour walk meanders through the village and beside the Weisse Lütschine on the Lütschine Promenade
> Wasserweg – a 2-hour round trip hike from Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg past magnificent waterfalls
> Mürren to Allmendhubel Flower Trail (1-hour) – a relatively easy route through the Blumental (flower valley) where you will see more than 150 species of flower
> Murren to Grütschalp – a pleasant trail meandering through alpine pastures
More experienced hikers are also spoilt for choice with the iconic Eiger Trail one of the most popular. It connects the Eiger Glacier Railway station to Grindelwald, passing the renowned Eiger Nordwand en-route.
Towns and villages to visit near Lauterbrunnen
There are plenty of towns and villages in and around the Lauterbrunnen Valley, so why not do a spot of exploring?
Grindelwald is situated around 10km from Lauterbrunnen. The Eiger village sits in a pretty green concave, bordered by the north face of the Eiger and the Wetterhorn.
Grindelwald is a renowned ski-resort and has numerous vantage points, ensuring it is a popular destination for those seeking a well-earned break and stunning vistas.
If you prefer somewhere off the beaten track, head to Gimmelwald. This charming, traffic-free village sits high above Lauterbrunnen on the edge of a cliff.
There are a few places to stay, including a hostel that provides a haven for those seeking evening entertainment. However, on the whole, this is a sleepy village – perfect for a day’s escape to soak up the alpine air.
A traditional Bernese Oberland town, it is approximately 11 km from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen. The town sits between Lake Brienz and Lake Thun and features pretty timber-clad houses and lush parkland.
An authentic Swiss village located at the base of Schilthorn mountain, Mürren can be reached via cable car and train from Lauterbrunnen.
Another Swiss alpine village which is car-free, Wengen has cute timber chalets and traditional hotels. The only way to get from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen is by train with frequent services covering the 12-minute journey. Winter sports lovers will adore the skiing on offer, and in the summer, the village is a mecca for hikers of all abilities.
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Lauterbrunnen: Things to Do in Winter
Lauterbrunnen comes alive in winter, with sledding runs, Lauterbrunnen ski tours, and winter hikes for hardy walkers. Options for skiing in Lauterbrunnen and the surrounding region are plentiful as the valley forms part of the Jungfrau Region ski area.
This provides access to plenty of downhill ski runs (591 kilometres, to be exact) and there are over 130 marked pistes and more than 60 ski lifts. You can buy a pass that provides access to the nearby Jungfrau ski resorts too – including Murren, Wengen and Grindelwald.
Suggested Lauterbrunnen itineraries
As you can see from the numerous things to do in Lauterbrunnen that we’ve mentioned above, the biggest dilemma you have when visiting Lauterbrunnen is how to fit everything in!
To help you make the most of your time, we’ve put together the following suggested itineraries for two-, three-, and five-day visits to Lauterbrunnen.
We recommend you check the weather forecast for the coming days on arrival in Lauterbrunnen as you may need to change the order of the daily activities to suit the weather conditions.
2 days in Lauterbrunnen
Day 1: Excursion to Jungfraujoch with a visit to Wengen and/or Grindelwald en route
Day 2: Visit Staubbach Falls and Trummelbach Falls, wander around the village, take an excursion to Schilthorn
3 days in Lauterbrunnen
Day 1 & 2: as above
Day 3: Visit Lake Brienz and Giessbach Falls OR visit Lake Thun and Spiez; then make a late afternoon/evening visit to Harder Kulm – why not stay for dinner and watch the sun set over the Bernese Alps?
5 days in Lauterbrunnen
Days 1, 2 & 3: as above
Day 4: Excursion to Schynige Platte, then visit Interlaken
Day 5: Visit Wengen and Mannlichen with an easy hike OR visit Murren and Gimmelwald with an easy hike OR try an adrenaline activity (paragliding, skydiving, canyoning, rafting, etc.)
Purchasing a regional transport pass such as the Jungfrau Travel Pass or Regional Pass Berner Oberland is a great option when visiting Lauterbrunnen for two days or more. These passes include free travel on public transport in the region. Some of the mountain excursions mentioned in this itinerary are also included, and substantial discounts are available for other excursions.
How to get to Lauterbrunnen
Arriving in Lauterbrunnen by train
Passengers arriving in Lauterbrunnen by train should first travel to Interlaken Ost where they can connect with a regional train to Lauterbrunnen. Services operate every 30 minutes between Lauterbrunnen and Interlaken Ost, and the journey time is 20 minutes.
Travel times from further afield are:
- By train from Bern to Lauterbrunnen – 1h:37 via Interlaken
- By train from Lucerne to Lauterbrunnen – 2h:21 via Interlaken
- By train from Zurich to Lauterbrunnen – 2h:44 via Bern and Interlaken
- By train from Geneva to Lauterbrunnen – 3h:49 via Bern and Interlaken
Arriving in Lauterbrunnen by car
To reach Lauterbrunnen by car, you’ll need to drive towards Interlaken on the A8. Near Wilderswil, you leave the motorway and travel for 11 kilometres until you reach Lauterbrunnen.
Parking spaces on the street are very limited in Lauterbrunnen so most visitors will need to use the multi-deck undercover parking garage that is located next to the Lauterbrunnen train station.
Parking charges apply – rates range from CHF 3 for up to two hours to a maximum fee of CHF 17 per day. Reductions apply for each additional day.
Where to stay in Lauterbrunnen
Lauterbrunnen accommodation options include a good selection of hotels and apartments, as well as two camping grounds and a hostel.
You can refer to our detailed guide to the top Lauterbrunnen hotels and accommodation options for more information.
For a truly memorable break, whatever the season, a visit to Lauterbrunnen will make for a wonderful stay. Take a map of Lauterbrunnen with you and get ready to make the most of the many things to see and do.