Things To Do Lauterbrunnen 14


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There are not many places in the world that I return to in my travels (there are just too many places to explore in this world!) However, the Lauterbrunnen Valley area has created some strange Siren Call and has a hold on me.  That’s right, I’ve not only returned to the Lauterbrunnen Valley, but have done so NUMEROUS times.  Few places in the world have created such a magical hold for me and just reminiscing on previous trips gets me aching for a return to “The Land of 1000 Waterfalls.”

While many other “Things To Do in Lauterbrunnen” articles focus mostly on the surrounding sides of the valley (for example Gimmelwald and Grindelwald), in this article, I’m going to focus specifically on what there is to do in the Valley itself.  There is SO much and people often skip right over it to get up to the mountain peaks.  However, spending time down below is well worth it as well.  In this article, you’ll see what to do in Lauterbrunnen, how to get around, where to stay, how to get to the nearby mountain towns (for example, Grindelwald to Lauterbrunnen) and more.

Lauterbrunnen Valley: Skip it or check it out?

^Planning Your Switzerland Trip? Pin It For Inspiration!^

Where is Lauterbrunnen Switzerland

The Switzerland Lauterbrunnen Valley is located smack dab in the middle of the beautiful country and sits at the feet of the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfraujoch in the Jungfrau Region.  If you haven’t heard of these, just know they are some of the most beautiful Alpine peaks I have ever seen.

Sitting in one of the deepest valleys of the Alps, you have impressive Grindelwald on one side and quiet Gimmelwald on the other where countless waterfalls are around every corner falling from massive sheer cliffs.

No blog and no words can truly describe the power, beauty, serenity, and pure awesomeness of this valley.  Even “Picturesque” doesn’t do it justice.

However, as beautiful as Lauterbrunnen is, it really is the towns looming up above the valley that are the show stoppers.  So, it is easy to see why people skip right over Lauterbrunnen and head up into the mountains.  But, by doing so, you are really missing out on some true gems.  If you have even several days to spend in the Jungfrau region, I would add Lauterbrunnen to your wishlist, for sure!

Who Should Visit Lauterbrunnen?

switzerland valley lauterbrunnen

 

1) If  You POSSIBLY Want to Save Money

Man is traveling in Switzerland expensive!  However, Lauterbrunnen accommodation tends to be cheaper than up in the mountain towns.  Granted, if you are planning on spending several days on just one side of the valley (IE: Planning on 2 days in Grindelwald), then the cost of the cable car and transportation up and down daily may not balance it out.

On the other hand, if you are planning on spending 1 Day in Grindelwald and 1 Day in Gimmelwald, then it’s a really great base since you have to come down to the valley to get to the other side anyway.

2) If You Want To See Both Sides of the Valley

You can easily use Lauterbrunnen as a base for your excursions for day trips.  In fact, one year, we did just this as we camped in the valley and one day went to the Grindelwald side, returned to the campsite in the evening, and then did the Gimmelwald side the following day.

3) Do More in the Area Other than Mountains

While I would argue that you want to go to this area BECAUSE of the mountains, there are actually still a surprising amount of Lauterbrunnen attractions to do right on the valley floor (see below)

How To Get To Lauterbrunnen

lauterbrunnen valley switzerland

By Plane

There are no actual Lauterbrunnen flights into the valley.  Therefore, the closest airport to Lauterbrunnen is Bern (approx 1 hour), other popular airports to arrive into are Zurich (approx 2 hours Zurich to Lauterbrunnen), and even Milan (approx 3.5 hours).  From these locations, you can either take a train (see the next option) or rent a car.

By Train

Getting To Lauterbrunnen by train is actually extremely easy.  Switzerland is a very train-friendly country, with routes to just about anywhere you would want to go.  From your origin (for example, Zurich), you’ll get an SBB ticket to Interlaken Ost, where you will change to then go to Lauterbrunnen.
Pro Tip:  Depending on the train you caught, they might announce a “Interlaken West” stop.  DO NOT GET OFF! This is the stop one before Interlaken Ost (East).

Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen Train

From Interlaken, it’s incredibly easy to get to Lauterbrunnen in about 20 minutes. But there are a few things to note.  Depending on the train that you get on, it may have two sections and may split at a prior destination!  Therefore, double-check and if your train is one of these, you’ll want to be in the front half and ensure that it says “Lauterbrunnen” on the marquee.  (The Swiss people are extremely helpful- if you are unsure, just ask a friendly face!)

By Car

Driving around Switzerland is an absolutely stunning adventure and surprisingly easy.  If you are going in the spring, summer, or early fall months, you don’t have to worry about winter driving conditions and it gives you a lot of flexibility in your travels. (Note that even if you’ll drive, it’s best/your only option to get up to the mountains via trains and cable cars)

However, most people will vehemently swear that you having a car in the area is a horrible choice.  We have never found driving to Lauterbrunnen (3 times on separate occasions, from where we live) to be as bad as some of the forums make it sound.  However, I will say that there really is no NEED for cars in the area.

Pro Tip: In order to drive on the Swiss Motorways (their interstate/ Autobahn system) a Vignette is required.  It is not cheap and note that it is only good for the calendar year (not one whole year from purchase).  For example, if you buy a Swiss Vignette in November, it will be invalid in January.

Parking In Lauterbrunnen

If you chose to drive, there is plenty of parking in Lauterbrunnen:

  • At your hotel: If you are spending the night at a hotel in the Valley, ask what their parking situation is (many are included in the hotel price)
  • ParkHaus Zuben 479 3822 Lauterbrunnen: This public garage is right in town (reserve ahead of time) and does have a minimum of 3 nights (summer) and 5 nights (winter) reservation policy (17 CHF Per Day)
  • Parkplatz Lauterbrunnen 3822 Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland: You still have to pay a fee to park at the outdoor parking lot, but it is still right in town, accessible to everything you need
  • Stechlberg Parking: If you are planning on camping (see below) or are just doing the Gimmelwald side, you can also park at the Stechlberg Cable Car (8-11 CHF for a day)

Tips for Saving Money On Swiss Train Tickets

Switzerland is an amazingly eco-conscious country.  It is often highly encouraged to use public transportation rather than cars.  If you are looking at using the fantastic trains in Switzerland but are also budget conscious, here are a few ways to save some money:

  • Book Early:  Tickets open up about 3 months in advance.  You’ll often find the cheapest fares as soon as they become available.
  • Supersaver Tickets: These tickets can be up to 70% off! But, they go FAST! So, book early!
  • Children: Children under 6 are free (Note: You have to request a “Family Pass” when booking) and kids 6-16 are eligible for a Junior Card (add 30 CHF to your adult SwissPass)
  • Half Fare Card: If you are planning on doing a lot of train travel in Switzerland, you can save a lot of money (especially in the Lauterbrunnen area) by having the Swiss Half Fare.
  • Take the Slower Trains: Often the high speed trains cost more.  Taking the slow trains can give you a good discount
  • Don’t Travel at Peak Times: You might find a trend that train prices are more expensive during commuter times

Note: The cable cars to get you up in the Valleys are typically not covered by your train ticket.  You can get discounts by using a Swiss Fare or if you have a Eurail Pass.

Things To Do in Lauterbrunnen Switzerland (Valley)

While most lists are going to quickly get you into the mountains, there are still a lot of fun things to do in Lauterbrunnen.  You could easily spend a day or two just in the valley alone.  Here are my favorite things to do in Lauterbrunnen Valley

1) Hiking in Lauterbrunnen- Take the Waterfall Hike

lauterbrunnen waterfalls

While the hikes up in the mountains are out of this world, I have to admit that I LOOVED the Lauterbrunnen Valley Waterfall Hike!  Did you know that Lauterbrunnen is home to over 70 waterfalls!  INSANE!

I also love this walk because some of the hikes up in Grindelwald and Gimmelwald can be intimidating, but this hike is super easy, since it is on the flat valley floor.  You can start the hike really anywhere in town, but basically, just start following the one and only road to the Stechlberg Cable Car Station (where you would get on for Gimmelwald and the Schilthorn)

Lauterbrunnen Hike

It is about 4.3km and is all paved or packed dirt, meaning most people (even strollers!) can do this walk.  You can also combine it with other “to do” item on this list, like the Trummelbach and Staubbach Falls.  Just don’t be surprised if you start to lose count of all the beautiful waterfalls!

2) Go Inside A Waterfall Cave: Trummelbach Falls

trummelbach falls lauterbrunnen

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to see a glacier (melted) carving its way through anything in its path?  That is what the Trummelbach Falls (Nicknamed, “The Lauterbrunnen Waterfall Cave”) are and it is amazing to see the waterfall INSIDE a cave with all its might and power.  The waterfall twists and carves out the cave and you can view it from numerous vantage points.  While it’s difficult to say what my favorite thing to do in Lauterbrunnen is, this is at the top of the list simply because it is pretty unique!

inside trümmelbach lauterbrunnen

3) Go Behind a Waterfall: Staubbach Falls

staubbach falls lauterbrunnen

If you are doing the Waterfall Hike, I recommend starting at Staubbach Falls (located across from Camping Jungfrau), which is one of the highest (and most impressive) waterfalls in all of Switzerland.  As the roaring river plummets from the cliffside, the water begins to spray and scatter from the sheer heights!

While it seems like you can’t see a picture of Lauterbrunnen and not see the Staubbach Falls, it’s not just it’s height that has people loving this waterfall.

You can also go right up and behind this gorgeous fall!! It’s a bit of a steep, wet, and slippery trek, but well worth it.

4) Bike the Valley

If you don’t want to walk the valley, you can also choose to bike it!  There are a few places that you can rent a bike in Lauterbrunnen, but another really fantastic option is to rent a bike in Interlaken.  It only adds 13km to your trip and is beautiful!

5) Become a Photographer

lauterbrunnen blog on the valley walk

It is hard to take a BAD photo in the valley!  Whether you are hanging out with the grazing cows or peering up at the monolithic cliffs, there is so much beauty at every turn, you’ll be thinking you are an amateur photographer in no time!  (I can’t tell you how many photos and wall hangings in my home are from this area)

5) Go Paragliding

paragliding lauterbrunnen

It was in Lauterbrunnen that I put “Go Paragliding in the Alps” on my Bucketlist (which by the way, I DID check off– but in Germany, over the “Cinderella Castle” in the Bavarian Alps).

Nothing looks more terrifying (and amazing!!!!) than flinging yourself off a cliff 3000 feet in the air!

6) Watch Base Jumpers

Since most people aren’t experienced base jumpers themselves, it can be thrilling just watching these daredevils.  This video will probably make your stomach roll just watching these base jumpers in Lauterbrunnen and also shows off the insane cliffs these people free fall from.

7) Go Camping

We absolutely LOVED camping in Lauterbrunnen.  Falling asleep to pummelling waterfalls all around you is pure magic!
I’ll go into a ton of detail on Lauterbrunnen camping below under “Camping In Lauterbrunnen”

8) Skiing In Lauterbrunnen

skiing in switerland

If you are lucky enough to be in Lauterbrunnen in January or February, you might just find enough snow to make it from the pistes all the way down to Lauterbrunnen by ski (one of the world’s longest vertical descents)!

You’ll most likely get the Jungrfrau Lift Pass.  This gives you access to not only both sides of the valley for endless ski and snowboard options but also Interlaken as well!

Money Saving Tip For Skiing on the Jungfrau Lift Pass: If you ski more than three days, the cable car ride down is included in your fares (less than three days and you will have to pay to take the cable car back down into the valley if that is where you are staying).

You should be able to find excellent ski and snowboarding conditions in Lauterbrunnen between mid November and Mid April.

Things To Do NEAR Lauterbrunnen

Many people use Lauterbrunnen as a base location for getting up into the mountains.  There are SO many great things to do, so most of the details are outlined in separate posts, but here are the top things to do in the Lauterbrunnen Area

Cogwheel Train To Grindelwald

This just might be the most beautiful public transportation ride I have ever taken in my life.  Grindelwald to Lauterbrunnen is just about 20-30 minutes and while there are plenty of things to do in Grindelwald, it is also a great jumping-off place to get to a few other jaw-dropping locations near Lauterbrunnen.

You can read all about how to get to Grindelwald, what to do, and more Here in my Grindelwald Post.

(Many people ask if they should stay in Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen.  This will vary on what you are wanting to do during your time in the area.  If you want to see both sides of the Valley, I think Lauterbrunnen is a better option.  I also find Grindelwald more pricey than what we prefer to spend, but if you want to be IN the mountains, you can’t beat those hotel views!)

Wengen and Jungfraujoch

Which one should you go to? Grindelwald or wengen

From Grindelwald, most people make their way to stunning Wengen.  In fact, I often recommend spending time and Wengen (and further onto Männlichen and Kleine Schiedegg) as an alternative to the very expensive Jungfraujoch (still, on past Kleine Schiedegg) which is considered “The Top of Europe.”

Schilthorn

gimmelwald to schilthorn

Crossing over to the other side of the valley, is the “James Bond” Mountain(where they filmed) – The Schilthorn.  I love this side of the Valley and it’s numerous peaceful towns including Murren and Gimmelwald.

I go into immense detail on how to get to Murren from Lauterbrunnen in my Gimmelwald Post here.

Checkout Interlaken

Again, not a TON to do in the actual town itself, it is fun to walk around the village, grab a bite to eat, etc.  If you’ve got time to spare on your trip, I do think it’s a worthwhile stop.  However, if you are limited, I personally prefer to spend my time in Lauterbrunnen.

In Interlaken, you can find companies to do canyoning, tubing and river rafting and several other “extreme” sports.  If wanting to take it a bit slower, you can even learn to make true Swiss Chocolates at the Funky Chocolate Club.

Alternatively, many people just use Interlaken as their base (instead of Lauterbrunnen) to get to Grindelwald, Wengen, the Junfraujoch, and the Schilthorn.

Lake Thun

Lake thun to lauterbrunnen

There is just something spectacular about Swiss lakes.  They are the most stunning color of turquoise I have ever seen in water!  I did a day of hiking near Lake Thun when I went to  live on a farm for a month to learn to make cheese and I LOVED the views!

Camping Lauterbrunnen

To recap, Lauterbrunnen is essentially a flat valley and on either side are your picture perfect Swiss Alps- making this one of the most idyllic and perfect places to camp!

We wanted to explore both sides of the valley on our most recent trip to Lauterbrunnen, so we rented a tent space and set up camp.  (Side note:  it was the 4th of July the night we arrived.  Anyone who knows me knows that this is my favorite holiday!  So, naturally, I had to be in my red, white and blue colors and insisted on having grilled hot dogs for dinner.  I was also easily persuaded to drink a cold beer.  While there were no fireworks or parades, I’d say if I had to spend the 4th not in the States, this wasn’t too shabby of a deal).

 

camping breithorn stechelberg

Camping in Lauterbrunnen Valley at Camp Breithorn

Camping In Europe

Coming from Nebraska, we camped A LOT!  So it took me quite a bit of adjusting to camping in Europe!

If you have never camped in Europe, it might seem a bit odd (and pricey) compared to what you are used to from the states

For example, you will pay a fee:

  • Per person
  • For the tent site/lot (may vary depending on tent size)
  • Per car
  • Electricity (if needed/ wanted)
  • Per pet (if applicable)

All of those fees can add up quickly. However, if you are looking to save money while traveling in Switzerland, this was a fantastic way!

You won’t find bonfire pits and even camping grills are sometimes looked down upon or even prohibited.

Pro Tip: What kind of camping trip is complete without a S’more!? So, if you find yourself getting disapproving looks at your grill, just offer them a S’more!!  Most Europeans don’t understand them and have never even had one before.  They are often completely perplexed (and delighted with!) such a unique treat.  Suddenly, all is right in the world again, and they let you go about your grillin’ business!  Plus, it’s always a different kind of treat to connect with other travelers on your adventures!

Breithorn Camping

We personally have stayed in the teensy tiny town of Stechelberg and camped at the Breithorn Campingplatz.  We found it to be “cheaper” than other hotels, hostels and campgrounds (at the time, for just the two of us, our car and our tent, we paid 24 CHF a night).  There really isn’t much here besides a few lovely walks on the valley floor, the waterfalls surrounding you, and magnificent views up to the cliffs towering above you.

The facility was bare but completely sufficient for our personal camping needs.  After all, we wanted to enjoy camping in addition to not spending an arm and a leg.  So, all we needed was a place to pitch a tent, enjoy the scenery, and we were good! The bathrooms were the cleanest camping restrooms I’ve ever been in! There is a VERY small little convenient store that sells things like overpriced chips, but don’t expect to get a meal.

It didn’t hurt that there are almost no big towns (and therefore light and pollution) nearby, so the night skies looked liked millions of diamonds twinkling against the blackest canvas.  Combine that with the fact that we could get fresh, raw milk just down the road from a tiny little farmhouse and I’m sold.  Granted, it doesn’t take much to please us in life, but we loved the simplicity (and cost) of this campsite!!!

You can find the (German) contact information (they replied back in perfect English in the email) HERE

Camping Jungfrau Holiday Park

Your other option for camping in Lauterbrunnen is to stay at the Camping Jungfrau Lauterbrunnen, located just across from the Staubbach Falls.

This is a more traditional European camping site, so you will find it to be quite large and with a lot of amenities.  You’ll find a nice sized store on site, a kids playground, free wifi, and a restaurant.

There are cabins available for rent (most come with a minimum number of nights, and again, aren’t exactly budget-friendly) as well as tent and motorhome sites available. Cabins and bungalows can get pricey, but if you plan on tent camping, for 2 adults, 1 car, and 1 tent, you should be looking around CHF 30 per night.

And even if you aren’t staying here, you can always stop in for one of the cheapest dinners in Lauterbrunnen!

Food and Eating in Lauterbrunnen

If you are camping in the valley, you can easily grab food at the grocery store in Interlaken.  We enjoyed stopping at the Metzgerei (butcher shop) in town and getting some delicious sausages and meats to grill up!  Of course, if you want to save money and are coming from outside of Switzerland, it isn’t a bad idea to just bring food with you.  Especially if you are driving, I recommend bringing a cooler with the majority of your foods.  Again, Switzerland is EXPENSIVE, so finding any way to save a few bucks was worth it to us!

There are also a lot of really delicious restaurants right in town with a wide variety of offerings from Italian to the obvious swiss favorites.  Of course, if you haven’t had a chance to get some fondues and röstis in Switzerland yet, go find a place in Lauterbrunnen with a terrace.  Delicious cheese with out of this world Alpine views? Can it get any more Swiss than this!?

Where to Stay in Lauterbrunnen



Booking.com

While I clearly am partial to camping (both for the experience and for the price!) if sleeping under the stars isn’t your thing, there are plenty of surprisingly affordable Lauterbrunnen hotels.

Valley Hostel

This hostel in Lauterbrunnen is a popular choice for budget travelers.  They have the traditional dorm rooms that you can get a single bunk, but also have private rooms as well, where you can get just a queen bed, and there are even family rooms available.
Expert Tip: This hostel books up way in advance! Book as soon as possible to ensure you get a room/ bed!  See Current Availability Here

Hotel Hornerhub

Another decently affordable hotel (for Switzerland) is the Hornerhub.  See if you can get a waterfall view room and you won’t be disappointed!  For the price, cleanliness, and location, this is a great find. Click Here to See Current Prices

Hotel Silberhorn and Hotel Staubbach

You can see from the price jump that we are clearly still looking for hotels in Switzerland.  These hotels aren’t considered luxury, but are some of the best rated hotels in Lauterbrunnen and ALWAYS book very far in advance (again, book early!!)

Both of these hotels have fantastic reviews and are in a great location in town.

Click Here To See Current Prices for Hotel Silberhorn

Book Early Here for Hotel Staubbach

As you can tell, Lauterbrunnen and the surrounding Swiss Alp towns completely stole my heart, not just once, but multiple times!!  And you know, even though I rarely go back to the same place, Lauterbrunnen will ALWAYS be on my “repeat” list!!!

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LeAnna Brown

Author and Creator at Economical Excursionists
Former teacher turned blogger turned mom turned full time travel addict, LeAnna has never been one to live life by the rules. Whether she is moving to a farm in Switzerland to learn to make cheese (Yes, CHEESE), jumping off a mountain to paraglide over Cinderella castles, or taking her baby all over the world with nothing but a backpack on their backs, LeAnna designs and defines her OWN life. LeAnna, her husband Andy, and kiddo, "Lil B" love to live a minimal lifestyle, not only for the "thrill" of pinching pennies but in order to save for traveling the world. Considering over 40 countries and 90+ cities have been explored, we'd say they are doing something right!

About LeAnna Brown

Former teacher turned blogger turned mom turned full time travel addict, LeAnna has never been one to live life by the rules. Whether she is moving to a farm in Switzerland to learn to make cheese (Yes, CHEESE), jumping off a mountain to paraglide over Cinderella castles, or taking her baby all over the world with nothing but a backpack on their backs, LeAnna designs and defines her OWN life. LeAnna, her husband Andy, and kiddo, "Lil B" love to live a minimal lifestyle, not only for the "thrill" of pinching pennies but in order to save for traveling the world. Considering over 40 countries and 90+ cities have been explored, we'd say they are doing something right!

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14 thoughts on “Things To Do Lauterbrunnen

  • Laura

    Camping with that view looks so great! I’ve not heard of that area before so this is a great introduction. I’d like to check out the cute little town instead of skipping it.

  • chrysoula

    The place looks amazing. I once drove through Switzerland and the Alps looked amazing. I wish I had more time exploring and I would love to see the place with the 1000 waterfalls

  • Kathrin

    I’ve heard of Lauterbrunnen but never actually visited the place. However, the alps are always worth a visit, aren’t they? I’ve been to Interlacken and just love, love, love it! it’s so beautiful and the swiss mountains are just breathtaking! definitely recommend going there once in your lifetime 🙂

  • Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

    I love this area of Switzerland! we went in winter, though, for skiing. camping out under the mountain sky would be amazing for sure! I’d love to go back and experience and hike in the Swiss Alps in summer! I absolutely want to skydive in Interlaken, too!

    • LeAnna Post author

      Skydiving there would be phenomenal!!! I looked into paragliding one year we went, but it was just too expensive (So I did it over the Neuschwanstein castle in Germany instead) but gliding over the Swiss Alps surely would have been something else!

  • Lotte

    I love the pictures, what an amazing valley. Yes, Switzerland is expensive but it is gorgeous as well… I went camping there lots of times and love hiking in the Alps. Thanks for the detailed advice about Lauterbrunnen, haven’t been there but would love to go because of this article!

    • LeAnna Post author

      It’s truly breath taking, right? I don’t know if there are any “walking tours” but we love to hike, so we just find a map and make our own 🙂

    • LeAnna Post author

      We did the super-easy Waterfall Hike in the Valley floor on our own. We also just mapped out countless hikes for up in the mountains themselves. I’ve got specific recommendations in my Gimmelwald and Grindelwald posts 🙂