Lauterbrunnen is otherworldly. Walking through the valley, there is just something that makes you feel like you have just been dropped into a Peter Jackson film. Situated in one of the most impressive valleys in the Alps, and watched by the snow-capped peaks of Eiger, Mönch and Junfrau, this town is quaint, quiet and completely magical.
There are also an impressive 72 waterfalls within this valley, ranging from smaller cascades to gushing falls off the edges of the cliffs above. Located right in the heart of the Junfrau region, Lauterbrunnen is the perfect base to explore this stunning area.
How to get there:
How to get around:
Train, cable car
What & where to eat:
Airtime Cafe, BASE Cafe
Where to stay:
Budget for 1 day:
How long to stay:
What to see & do:
Explore Lauterbrunnen town, hike to nearby towns, Trummelbach Falls, Staubbach Falls.
How to get there:
Lauterbrunnen is connected to wider Switzerland by rail. Depending on where you are coming from, you will need to make at least one train change in Interlaken on to the regional train line to Lauterbrunnen – Swiss trains always link up so you won’t need to wait great lengths of time between connections. You can find schedules here.
How to get around:
Lauterbrunnen town centre is very small and easily walkable.
To reach the nearby towns in the valley and above you will need to catch the individual transport offered to that location:
Stechelberg: There is one Postbus which runs through Lauterbrunnen town through the valley (past Trumbel and to the town of Stechelberg at the end of the valley). Or, it's also an easy, nice walk through the valley to reach this town.
Grütschalp: Catch the Cable Car up from Lauterbrunnen.
Mürren: Cable Car from Stechelberg OR Cable Car from Lauterbrunnen to Grütschalp then train to Mürren.
Wengen: Train departing from Lauterbrunnen Banhoff (main train station).
Kleine Scheidegg: Same train as above, just stay on the train past Wengen on to Kleine Scheidegg.
Männlichen: Cable Car up from Wengen
Grindlewald: Train from Lauterbrunnen Banhoff (direction Interlaken) to Zweilütschinen, then change to train to Grindlewald.
First: Train from Lauterbrunnen Banhoff (direction Interlaken) to Zweilütschinen, then change to train to Grindlewald, then Cable Car to First.
Gross Scheidegg: Train from Lauterbrunnen Banhoff (direction Interlaken) to Zweilütschinen, change to train to Grindlewald, then local bus.
Schedules can be found here, and below are two maps which show the region and surrounding towns.
Where to eat:
Switzerland’s cost of living is generally expensive and it is unfortunately no different in Lauterbrunnen. A standard meal in a restaurant in town will cost between CHF 20 & 27 and beers are priced around CHF 5 – 7. I actually saw a Styrofoam cup of ramen noodles being sold in Kleine Scheidegg for CHF 7!! They cost 0.60c in Italian supermarkets.
This café serves up THE best coffee in Switzerland in a HUGE cup the size of my head. Their drinks selection is a dream come true on cold rainy days – chai, dirty chai, flat whites, americano, hot chocolate, maple & Nutella hot chocolate, and so much more. They also do affordable breakfast and lunches, ranging from their hearty soup of the day, a wide range of freshly made sandwiches, to waffles and pancakes dripping in maple syrup. They also have a great selection of vegan meals and treats – I cannot recommend them enough!
BASE also offers tasty meals including a bowl of delicious porridge for only CHF 5.50. Perfect to warm you up in the morning before the sun has peaked over into the valley.
Unfortunately, unless you plan to spend CHF 50 a day on food, you will need to do a bit of cooking.
Click to expand
Where to stay:
There are a number of great hostels in Lauterbrunnen, and Schutzenbach is one of them. It is offers dormitories, private rooms and a campground, and has a well-stocked kitchen, comfy beds and a bar. Showers and hotplates in the kitchen are coin operated (ie ½ franc for a 4 minute shower) but it is also one of the cheapest hostels in the area.
Example Daily Budget
CHF 65 per day -
🏡 Hostel: CHF 30 per night
🥣 Breakfast porridge at BASE Café: CHF 5
🥪 Home-made sandwich for lunch: CHF 7
🍎 Snacks (apple, dried fruit, chocolate bar): CHF 5
🍲 Hostel cooked dinner: CHF 10
🚉 Transport (train ticket to neighbouring town): CHF 8
If you're trying to watch your wallet, and struggling with prices in Switzerland, check out some tips on how to stick to €60 a day.
How long to spend here:
At least 4 nights – there’s so much to do and this is the kind of town you can happily get comfortable in and really unwind.
What to see and do:
In my mind, you cannot get anymore Swiss than this town. Dark timber houses with high pitched roofs, rolling green hills and icy streams running alongside fences, flower boxes on every window and taupe coloured cows chewing leisurely, their bells echoing through the valley… The centre of town is only one street, so take your time, window shop at souvenirs and ski attire, buy some Swiss chocolate to nibble on and stand in awe at the 297m waterfall that seems to tumble right into the centre of town…
Falling almost 300m, Staubbachfall is the third highest waterfall in Switzerland and Lauterbrunnen’s signature site. While it is impressive all year round, after heavy rain or in the spring with the surrounding glaciers are melting, the strength of the water dramatically increases and leaves a light mist across the valley. By following the staircase up towards the waterfall, you are able to walk through a manmade tunnel into the cliff which leads to a lookout area behind the waterfall. It’s very impressive but make sure you cover your phone or camera as it can get very wet behind there!
The 72 waterfalls in the valley are not all your run-of-the-mill cascades. Trümmelbachfälle is significantly different - a series of waterfalls nestled into a slot canyon inside the mountain, illuminated and accessible by a tunnel lift. Water from the above Jungfrau glaciers rushes into the heart of the mountain - 20,000 litres of water per second to be exact – and spill through the several pools casing the mountain to shudder and make a thundering noise. Entrance into the falls costs CHF 11, and you can walk here from the town - just follow the valley.
As you walk through the valley from Lauterbrunnen, even just for half an hour, you will see just how many incredible bucket-list-ticking actives there are to do in Lauterbrunnen. Paraglide or hang glide though the valley, base jump from the cliffs above, horseriding through the mountain paths, skydive between the alps… You can book these from your hostel or at cafés such as BASE or Airtime. Be aware, these can cost anywhere between CHF 80 & 250 depending on the activity.
Jungfrau, aka the Top of Europe proudly stands at 4158m above sea level and is the tallest mountain in Europe. While you cannot access the absolute peak (without professional mountain climbing tools and experience) the nearby Jungfraujoch station offers plenty to see and do including an ice palace and a Lindt chocolate .
You can reach Junfraujoch by train – From Lauterbrunnen Bahnoff to Kleine Scheidegg, then change at Kleine Scheidegg to reach Jungfraujoch. A full priced return ticket costs CHF 190.00.
Almost fall out of your chair? Reduced tickets for early birds cost CHF 135 if you travel at depart at 8.00am or 8.30am and return at 1.13pm. Alternatively, weigh up whether a Half-Price Travel Card or Swiss Pass would be a wise investment, depending on your budget and time in Switzerland. Take a read of my guide where I’ve listed all the offers and deals I’ve discovered in Switzerland so far, and included tonnes of tips on how to stretch your money in Switzerland.
This dreamy, hotel-lined town is set high above the Lauterbrunnen valley and looks out over the snowcapped peaks of the nearby alps, even to Jungfrau on a clear day.
The town is quiet, extremely clean and makes you want to forget the budget and splurge on a fancy hotel with a big buffet breakfast and view of the mountains from your bedroom window. Ruefully I kept some self control and just promised myself I’d return one day for my honeymoon or when I was rich & successful...
Wengen is a small town located on the east side of the valley, which can be seen from Lauterbrunnen. The main street offers a number of boutiques and restaurants, and it really comes alive during the winter season. The town is easily accessed by a regular train that runs up the mountainside, and it's worth heading to Wengen just to ride the train! The views are incredible.
Heading left once you leave the train station will eventually lead to a beautiful church which has a great view back down into the valley and Lauterbrunnen town.
Kleine Scheidegg is primarily a ski town, so in the off season it serves as more of a transit stop. As you need to change here from either Lauterbrunnen or Grindelward to reach Jungfrau, the railway station is quite busy and there are a number of cafes and bars. The real magic of Kleine Scheidegg is just outside the town on the hike up from Wengen or down to Grindelward where you are so close to the rock face of Eiger Mountain and the snow caps of the alps.
Grindelwald is the main town in the next valley over from Lauterbrunnen. It is the central location to reach the more eastern sights such as First, Gross Scheidegg and Waldspitz. There's a beautiful hiking train from Lauterbrunnen over to Grindelwald which I've detailed below, and when you cross over the peak you get this incredible view down into the valley - shown in the picture here.
Alternateively, a very well connected bus service runs from Lauterbrunnen through the town and on further to nearby destinations.
Don’t be confused by the name (like I was… First… First what?). First offers so many adrenaline-style activities, it’s hard to choose what to do. The First Flyer throws you across the valley at up to 80 km per hour, you can zoom down the hillside on Mountain Carts, or the First Cliff Walk gives you a new perspective as you walk over a glass suspension bridge. Note: Grindleward to First Cable Car is only open May – October. Prices and more information can be found here.
There are so many hiking trails in this region. Visit the information kiosk in the main street of Lauterbrunnen or ask at your hostel for a hard copy of this hiking guide; it lists the 76 trails through the region.
Hiking season is from May to October so if you are planning a visit during the winter months, be prepared for most trails to be closed. Maybe swap the hiking boots for snow boots and hit the slopes! Below are my two suggested hikes which cover both the east and west sides of the region and ticks off 10 of the surrounding towns.
Hiking Guide: West Side of Jungfrau
Lauterbrunnen – Stechelberg – Gimmelwald - Mürren – Winteregg – Grütschalp – Lauterbrunnen.
Starting and finishing in Lauterbrunnen, the total hike time is 3 – 5 hours depending on use of Cable Cars up the mountain.
Hiking Guide: East Side of Jungfrau
Lauterbrunnen – Wengen – Wengernalp – Kleine Scheidegg – Grindleward – Lauterbrunnen
If you start and finish in Lauterbrunnen, total hike time is 5 – 7 hours depending on use of Cable Cars.