In this Lauterbrunnen travel guide, you’ll learn about the BEST things to do in Lauterbrunnen Switzerland, such as mountain excursions, visiting waterfalls, picnicking in alpine pastures, adventure activities and so much more.
I’ve also got tips for Lauterbrunnen hotels, weather, where to hike, and transportation.
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Visiting Lauterbrunnen Valley
On my first trip to Europe many years ago, my boyfriend (now husband) and I did the obligatory Contiki tour. The second destination on this whirlwind tour was Lauterbrunnen, a tiny village in the heart of the Swiss Alps.
From this brief visit a real love affair with the village has developed and we have returned on numerous occasions. It’s easily our favourite holiday destination in Europe.
Situated about an hour from Switzerland’s capital city of Bern, Lauterbrunnen village and the entire Lauterbrunnen Valley in Switzerland offers an abundance of things to do for both the active and more passive visitor.
Although located on the valley floor at just 795 metres above sea level, its position in the heart of the Alps makes Lauterbrunnen Switzerland the ideal spot for enjoying a long list of alpine activities and natural beauty in both winter and summer.
Here are 13 of my favorite things to do in Lauterbrunnen.
1. Explore Lauterbrunnen Village
When it comes to quintessential alpine villages in Switzerland, Lauterbrunnen really hits the mark.
Dotted with chalet-style houses and surrounded by green fields and towering, snow-capped mountains, there is surely no village in Switzerland that is more picturesque.
On arrival in the village, one of the first things you will notice are the huge rock faces surrounding the town. Nestled in a valley, the village sits surrounded by these huge cliff faces from which 72 waterfalls spill over. Each morning you wake to the soothing sounds of water rushing over the rocks.
The Lauterbrunnen waterfalls are a real feature of the town and are a tourist attraction in their own right.
The Staubbach waterfall, right at the end of the main street, is Europe’s highest free-falling waterfall. A hiking trail leads up underneath the falls where you can get an up-close view from behind the waterfall on a specially built rock gallery.
The Staubbach Falls path and viewing gallery are open from June to October. They are illuminated each night during the high season.
The region’s three well-known mountains – Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau – can all be seen from the village, with Lauterbrunnen the main gateway to the Jungfrau.
There are spectacular views everywhere you look.
The village’s main street is lined with hotels, restaurants, cafes, shops, and a supermarket. It’s easy enough to spend an hour or two browsing. (You’ll find further details on the town’s shops and services below.)
If you’re wondering what to do in Lauterbrunnen away from the main street, there’s a swimming pool and a mini-golf course – two of the most popular things to do in Lauterbrunnen in summer.
You’ll also find tennis courts and the Talmuseum (Valley Museum) which houses historical and artistic objects from the Lauterbrunnen Valley.
Surrounded as it is by such stunning scenery, it’s worth taking a hike along one of the well marked paths around town.
The lovely Lutschine Promenade ambles along beside the Lutschine River out of the village and then between alpine meadows before taking you back into town.
Other trails, including the award-winning Panoramaweg (Panorama Trail), take you up onto the hillsides past chalets and farms where the views are just as impressive.
After a stroll in the crisp mountain air, there’s nothing better than rewarding yourself with a typical Swiss meal or a coffee at a sunny outdoor café looking out at the massive mountain peaks.
2. Trummelbach Falls
Another famous Lauterbrunnen waterfall is Trummelbach Falls. Located inside Europe’s largest subterranean caves, you can reach them via an easy 30-minute stroll from town or catch a bus from the railway station towards Stechelberg.
Consisting of a series of ten glacier waterfalls, these thunderous falls have carved corkscrew channels through the valley walls over millions of years.
A stepped walkway leads you over and around the enclosed, foaming cauldrons of rushing water (up to 20,000 litres a second), which throw up plenty of spray and have gradually eroded the rock into weird and wonderful shapes.
You’ll be amazed at the power and volume of water.
Trummelbach Falls are open daily from April until November. An entry fee applies.
Getting to Trummelbach Falls: Walking paths are clearly signposted from Lauterbrunnen. You can also access the falls by car (travel towards Stechelberg) or Postbus from Lauterbrunnen train station.
3. Discover the Hamlet of Isenfluh
The quaint and quiet village of Isenfluh sits on a plateau 400 metres above Lauterbrunnen. It’s not on the regular tourist trail but is definitely worth a visit.
Just getting to Isenfluh is exciting!
After turning off the main road two kilometres from Lauterbrunnen, the twisty mountain road passes through a 1.2 kilometre loop tunnel and then winds its way up the hillside.
This is not a drive for the faint of heart! It includes plenty of hairpin turns and sheer drops beside the road. But once you reach the village you are well rewarded with incredible views.
Most visitors come to Isenfluh for the year-round hiking, and tobogganing in winter. The hamlet is the starting and finishing point for numerous beautiful walks.
From Isenfluh you can hop aboard a nostalgic cable car – maximum eight people or one cow!! – for the short ride to Sulwald for more stunning alpine panoramas.
Then, why not ride a Monster Scooter back down to Isenfluh? Scooters are available to hire from June to October.
During the winter months, Isenfluh offers tobogganing, snowshoe trails and ice climbing.
After your day’s activities, you’ll be pleased to know that the Hotel Restaurant Waldrand is ready to welcome you.
Getting from Lauterbrunnen to Isenfluh: If you don’t have your own vehicle, you can reach Isenfluh by postal bus. The bus departs Lauterbrunnen railway station at least every two hours during the day. Journey time is 14 minutes.
4. Visit Mürren
Mürren is an easy and enjoyable day trip from Lauterbrunnen. A traffic-free village which sits on a plateau 850 metres above Lauterbrunnen, Mürren is a popular winter resort but also offers plenty for the summer tourist.
Without a doubt one of the most popular things to do in Murren, Switzerland is to take the cable car to Birg and the Schilthorn (full details below) but there are plenty of other attractions, too.
The village, which has a population of around 350, is quite spread out and boasts a few hotels, eateries, souvenir shops, a small supermarket – and stunning views!
To get the best views of the Alps, take the funicular (mountain train) to Allmendhubel (1907m). Here you can take in the gorgeous alpine scenery from the Skyline Chill relaxation zone, walk the Flower Trail amongst over 150 different species of mountain flowers, and enjoy refreshments on the sunny terrace of the Panorama Restaurant.
There’s also an adventure playground, called Flower Park, especially for kids.
Numerous walking trails – for all levels of fitness – start in Mürren, too. An easy and enjoyable path meanders from Mürren to Winteregg and then down to Grütschalp.
TIP: Stop at Alpkaserei Staubbach, right by the train station at Winteregg, to buy farm-fresh yoghurt direct from the farmer. It’s the most delicious yoghurt you’ll ever taste.
Getting to Mürren: You can either take a cable car from Lauterbrunnen to Grütschalp and then a train (via Winteregg) to Mürren, or you can take the direct cable car from Stechelberg, a few minutes drive past Lauterbrunnen (and home to Trummelbach Falls).
A large parking lot is available at the Schilthorn Cableway station at Stechelberg. Charges apply.
TIP: Transport between Lauterbrunnen and Murren via Grütschalp is included in the Jungfrau Travel Pass.
5. Take an Excursion to Mount Schilthorn
At 2960 metres above sea level, the Schilthorn is by no means the highest mountain in the region, but it is well worth a visit.
On previous visits to Lauterbrunnen I had declined all offers of visiting the Schilthorn as I’m not a cable car fan. On my most recent visit, I was determined to overcome my fears and see what all the fuss was about.
You can read more about visiting the Schilthorn in my ‘How to plan a Schilthorn excursion’ article.
The Schilthorn was made famous when it was featured as the location for the 1969 James Bond movie “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” Today visitors can enjoy numerous Bond-themed activities.
At Bond World 007 visitors can watch scenes from the movie, and take part in lots of interactive exhibitions including being filmed ‘riding’ a bobsled down a mountain and ‘flying’ a helicopter.
The 007 Walk of Fame showcases the cast and crew of the movie on an outside walking trail, whilst the Skyline View platform, which appeared in the movie, offers 360° views.
The Skyline View platform is outside the Piz Gloria revolving restaurant, where you can enjoy meals and snacks all day – including Bond’s preferred champagne!
For me, the platform is the main reason to visit the Schilthorn. On a clear day you have views as far as Mont Blanc and the Black Forest, and an unrivaled view of snow-capped mountains wherever you look.
This is known as the Swiss Skyline – and for very good reason. It was, without doubt, the highlight of my visit. The views took my breath away and are something I will never forget.
Getting to the Schilthorn: The Schilthorn can be reached by two cable cars from Mürren via Birg.
TIP: If you are holder of a Swiss Travel Pass you’ll receive free travel to Murren and a 50% reduction on the Murren to Schilthorn cableway.
6. Enjoy Activities at Birg
If you are making the journey to the Schilthorn, it’s worth stopping off at Birg (2677m), especially if you are the adventurous type.
Right next to the sunny outdoor terrace, Skyline Walk is a platform with a clear floor built over a vertical drop, whilst Thrill Walk is a 200-metre long cliff pathway built into the side of the rock massif.
Walking on a wire, mesh (albeit, reinforced) walkway with a sheer drop below is not for the faint-hearted.
The viewing platform at Birg faces the ‘big three’ – Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau – and offers spectacular views both of the mountains and the valley below.
7. Take the Train to Wengen Village
Another nearby village that’s worth a visit is Wengen. Like Murren, it is a car-free village that sits on a sunny terrace above Lauterbrunnen.
Wengen is a popular winter ski resort and summer hiking destination.
If you are travelling to Jungfraujoch from Lauterbrunnen, you need to change trains at Wengen so it makes a pleasant place to stop on your way to or from the mountain.
Read more about winter activities in Wengen Village.
8. Go Paragliding in Lauterbrunnen
With such stunning scenery all around, it’s no surprise that Lauterbrunnen is a popular destination for paragliders.
Each morning (weather permitting) you’ll see dozens of colourful parachutes in the sky as they make their descent into Lauterbrunnen.
It’s not only the professionals that can enjoy paragliding in Lauterbrunnen. If you’re adventurous and are happy to jump out of a helicopter, you too can go paragliding over the Swiss Alps.
9. Take the Train Ride to the Jungfraujoch
Another popular day trip from Lauterbrunnen is the train excursion to the Jungfraujoch.
At 3454 metres, the Jungfraujoch is nicknamed ‘Top of Europe.’ Here you’ll find Europe’s highest railway station and post office.
The trip to the Jungfraujoch involves a train from Lauterbrunnen to Kleine Scheidegg (where you change trains) via Wengen, and then on to the Jungfraujoch. The journey takes around 90 minutes with the last part of the trip going through a tunnel carved through the mountain.
Once at Jungfraujoch, there’s plenty to see and do. The Ice Palace, featuring ice sculptures, Jungfrau Panorama, an iMax-style cinema and Lindt Swiss Chocolate Heaven are just a few of the indoor activities to keep you entertained.
At the Sphinx Observatory, an international research station, visitors can enjoy magnificent views of the Aletsch Glacier and the surrounding Alps.
Outdoors is the real attraction, though. At the Snow Fun Park, visitors can try snow tubing, sledding, skiing and snowboarding, and even fly through the air on the zipline (May to October only).
There’s also a sun terrace with an outdoor bar where you can soak up the sun’s rays and breathe in the crisp mountain air.
Getting to the Jungfraujoch: Trains depart regularly from Lauterbrunnen railway station for Jungfraujoch. Check prices on day trips to Jungfraujoch.
TIP: If you are planning on doing other mountain excursions in the region, I highly recommend you check out what’s included in the Jungfrau Travel Pass. This multi-day pass also includes excursions to Harder Kulm, Schynige Platte, Grindelwald-First and more.
10. Ride the Rack Railway to Schynige Platte
For garden or nature lovers, an excursion to the Alpine Garden at Schynige Platte is highly recommended.
The journey is made by open-sided cogwheel train from Wilderswil, about 10 minutes from Lauterbrunnen, and takes around 45 minutes.
Winding its way up the side of the mountain, the train journey provides magnificent views of the Swiss Alps, Lake Thun and Lake Brienz far below.
The Alpine Garden, which is open from late May to late October each year, is a nature reserve consisting of around 600 species of alpine plants.
The actual ‘garden’ has each plant identified and gives visitors the opportunity to get up close to some rare plant species, including the Swiss icon, the edelweiss.
There’s also a small museum, a daily performance by alphorn players, and an easy panorama trail.
Getting to Schynige Platte: The bahn (train) departs every 40 minutes (late May to late October) from Wilderswil station. Connections are available from Lauterbrunnen and Interlaken.
Fares on the Schynige Platte bahn are included with the Jungfrau Travel Pass that I mentioned above.
11. Explore the Town of Grindelwald
Another easy day trip from Lauterbrunnen is Grindelwald. I’ve written a separate post on things to do in Grindelwald and let me assure you, there is something for everyone.
Amongst the favourite activities available are the First Flyer, First Glider and First Cliff Walk which can all be reached via the cableway from Grindelwald to First.
Two other popular activities our family have enjoyed in Grindelwald are the luge (toboggan) track at Pfingstegg and the Trottibikes.
Getting to Grindelwald: You can reach Grindelwald by car (about 20 minutes) or by train – change at Zweilütschinen. Journey time is around 40 minutes.
TIP: Transport between Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald by train is included in the Jungfrau Travel Pass.
12. Visit Interlaken
At some point during your stay in Lauterbrunnen you will probably visit Interlaken. One of the most popular holiday resorts in Switzerland, things to do in Interlaken are plentiful.
In fact, there’s so much to do here that I’ve written a separate post dedicated to things to do in Interlaken.
This is the place to come for more shopping amenities (there’s at least three large supermarkets in town), a casino, and to join cruises on beautiful Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.
The town’s own ‘little mountain’, Harder Kulm, can be reached by funicular railway from the town centre and is a great spot for views over Lake Thun.
Getting to Interlaken: Interlaken is only 12 kilometres from Lauterbrunnen and can be reached by car or frequent train services.
TIP: Transport between Lauterbrunnen and Interlaken is included in the Jungfrau Travel Pass.
13. Lauterbrunnen Hiking
Hiking and mountain bike trails criss-cross the Swiss Alps and the Lauterbrunnen hiking trails provide plenty of opportunities to enjoy the incredible mountain panoramas.
If you plan on doing any hiking in Lauterbrunnen or enjoying one of the mountain excursions mentioned above, you’ll need a daypack to carry your essentials like water and snacks.
Over 500 kilometres of well marked trails cover mountains and valleys, cross alpine pastures and meander past lakes and streams in the Jungfrau region.
You’ll often find a mountain hut or guesthouse offering refreshments along the way and in many cases, the trails start or finish near a cable car station, making the return journey faster.
You can pick up detailed maps and path information from the Tourist Office in Lauterbrunnen, as well as at train and cable car stations.
For all mountain trips (including excursions to the Schilthorn and Jungfraujoch), it is best to check the weather forecast before departure. It may be fine and sunny in the valley, but could easily be a white-out on the mountain!
The cable car and railway stations have TVs showing live footage from the Alps, so you can check the current weather before you go to avoid disappointment.
TIP: Once again, if you plan on doing a few different mountain excursions, I highly recommend the Jungfrau Travel Pass. The Pass can be purchased for different durations and includes excursions to the Jungfraujoch, Schynige Platte, Grindelwald and the Harder Kulm funicular in Interlaken (amongst others). It is valid for travel from mid April to late October each year. Click here for pass validity dates and current prices.
Note: A supplement must be paid for the final leg of the journey to the Jungfraujoch as this is not included in the Jungfrau Travel Pass. For travel in 2022, the supplement will be between CHF 61 and CHF 74 return, depending on the month of travel.
For more information, read my comprehensive guide to the Jungfrau Travel Pass.
Why I Love Lauterbrunnen
For me, the attraction of Lauterbrunnen is not only the gorgeous scenery of which I never tire, but the feeling of tranquility and of being at one with nature, whenever I am in the region.
Whilst we have mostly been blessed with beautiful Lauterbrunnen weather during our summer visits, I am certain that the feeling of peacefulness would remain throughout the seasons.
If you plan on visiting during winter, check out these tips for a winter holiday in the Jungfrau Region.
Where is Lauterbrunnen?
Lauterbrunnen is situated in the Swiss canton of Bern in an area known as the Jungfrau Region. Its location in relation to other well-known Swiss towns is as follows:
- Bern to Lauterbrunnen – 67 kilometres
- Zurich to Lauterbrunnen – 167 kilometres
- Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen – 13 kilometres
Shops and Services in Lauterbrunnen
You will find the following shops and services in Lauterbrunnen:
- Self-service laundry
- Post Office
- Sports shops
- Coop Supermarket (closed on Sundays)
- Butcher (closed on Sundays)
- Chemist (closed Saturday/Sunday)
- Souvenir and electrical shops
- Internet cafes
- Petrol pump
- Supermarket/kiosk at Camping Jungfrau (open 7 days per week)
Where to Stay and Eat in Lauterbrunnen
There are a variety of restaurants and cafes in Lauterbrunnen and most offer outdoor dining in summer. Restaurant Weidstubbli at Camping Jungfrau Holiday Park is one of my favourites.
There are a range of Lauterbrunnen accommodation options. From camping grounds and hostels to hotels and apartments, there is something to suit every budget.
Hotels in Lauterbrunnen
The following Lauterbrunnen hotels are popular with visitors.
You can also read my more detailed guide to the best hotels in Lauterbrunnen (as well as apartments, hostels and camping).
Hotel Oberland Lauterbrunnen: Located in a prime position in the main street, the family-owned and managed Hotel Oberland is a non-smoking hotel. All 24 rooms have private bathrooms and many have a balcony. The restaurant is rated as one of the best in town.
Hotel Steinbock Lauterbrunnen: This centrally located basic hotel is a traditional Swiss-style property. Various room types are available, all with private bathrooms and TVs. The on-site restaurant serves Swiss specialities as well as pizza.
Hotel Silberhorn Lauterbrunnen: Just 200 metres from the railway station and off the main street, Hotel Silberhorn provides stunning views of the surrounding alpine landscape. This family-run hotel features a garden with terrace, restaurant, free parking and friendly staff.
If you are staying more than a couple of nights in Lauterbrunnen, you might enjoy the convenience of self-catering accommodation. There are quite a few apartments in Lauterbrunnen available for holiday rentals.
On my visits to Lauterbrunnen in 2017 and 2018, I chose to stay in this beautiful chalet-style apartment in the part of town known as Luterbach.
Camping in Lauterbrunnen
On five of my visits to Lauterbrunnen I have stayed in a self-contained cabin in the Camping Jungfrau holiday park.
Whilst I’m not a fan of camping in tents, the mobile homes available at Camping Jungfrau mean you can save on accommodation costs without sacrificing comfort.
Camping Jungfrau holiday park is beautifully maintained and is situated at the base of the Staubbach Falls. It has its own on-site mini supermarket and restaurant.
The Valley Hostel in Lauterbrunnen is centrally located just 200 metres from the train station. Most rooms have a balcony and include W-LAN. There are laundry facilities, a luggage room and garden.
If you are considering staying at Valley Hostel Lauterbrunnen, Tripadvisor reviews are very good.
How to get to Lauterbrunnen
Getting to Lauterbrunnen by Train
Regular train services operate every day from Lauterbrunnen to Interlaken (and vice versa) with connections to other towns and cities in Europe.
- Train from Bern to Lauterbrunnen – 1h:37 via Interlaken
- Train from Geneva to Lauterbrunnen – 3h:49 via Bern and Interlaken
- Train from Zurich to Lauterbrunnen – 2h:44 via Bern and Interlaken
- Train from Lucerne to Lauterbrunnen – 2h:21 via Interlaken
Lauterbrunnen train station can provide timetables and help with reservations or you can search on the Swiss Railways website.
Getting to Lauterbrunnen by Car
For visitors arriving by car, street parking in Lauterbrunnen is very limited. However, a large multi-deck undercover car park is located next to the Lauterbrunnen train station.
Lauterbrunnen parking charges start from CHF3 for up to two hours with a maximum daily fee of CHF17. Reductions apply for each additional day.
Lauterbrunnen really is a year-round holiday destination. In summer, long days are perfect for hiking and mountain excursions. Lauterbrunnen in winter is a great base for both cross country and downhill skiing.
During autumn (fall), you can enjoy the glorious colours of the changing leaves and spring is the ideal time to see the bloom of the alpine flowers.
You can see the average temperatures for Lauterbrunnen in the table below.
|January||3C / 38F|
|March||10C / 51F|
|May||18C / 65F|
|July||24C / 76F|
|September||19C / 67F|
|November||8C / 47F|
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This article was first published in 2009 and has been updated and republished.
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