Lauterbrunnen (+ more!)
As taxing as it may be to pronounce, Lauterbrunnen is a hauntingly beautiful village nestled in a picturesque valley in the Alps. Chances are, if you’ve been following Instagram accounts that showcase photos of Switzerland, you’ve probably seen that iconic Lauterbrunnen waterfall more than a dozen times. And for good reason—between the snow-capped peaks, high-altitude waterfalls and rough valley sides, there’s not a single place in this unspoiled hamlet that doesn’t look out of this world, perfect for professional and amateur photographers alike. Bring a drone to get the best shots of the valley and the iconic waterfall.
What to see?
There can’t be a better thing to do in Lauterbrunnen than to just bask in its natural beauty. So, take a train ride to the top of Europe, Jungfraujoch, and witness some of the most dramatic and beautiful sceneries in the world. Or take to the sky and look at the valley from above – only if you can handle all of that mesmerizing beauty!
If you’re staying in or around Lauterbrunnen, do yourself a favor and visit one of the many other quaint towns in the Bernese Highlands. Towns like Grindelwald, Wengen, Mürren and Adelboden are a must-visit. The towns of Mürren and Wengen are uniquely tucked atop the mountainside, and both are only accessible by cable-car, meaning there are no automobiles once you are up there. Wengen and Mürren are littered with cute chalets with views of adjacent waterfalls and nearby Eiger and Mönch peaks. In Mürren, you can take the Schilthorn-Piz Gloria tram that will take you up 9,744 feet in elevation to enjoy an impressive 360° panoramic view, where on a clear day you can see Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau (a UNESCO world heritage site) and more than 200 other mountain peaks. Enjoy lunch at the world’s first revolving mountain restaurant Piz Gloria, a restaurant that pays homage to James Bond, as several of the scenes in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service were shot there. On the clearest of days, you can even see as far as Mont Blanc in France or to the Black Forest in Germany. In fact, this mountain peak is so high that when I was flying into Zurich from Geneva, we could see the top of the mountain poking out above the clouds.
If you're headed toward Sion or Verbier--or just have a half day to spare while in Lauterbrunnen--make the trek to Kandersteg and hike up to Oeschinen Lake. To read more about that hike, head over to my Verbier page to read about how to get there and what to expect from the hike. The photos of the turquoise blue lake in the gallery above were taken at Oeschinensee.
Where to stay?
Surrounded by some of the world’s most spectacular scenery, the hotels in Lauterbrunnen promise a comfortable and memorable mountain stay. Don’t expect to find a Four Seasons or well-known hotel chain through—Lauterbrunnen has remained small and quaint and the available hotels reflect that. There aren’t many hotels and the ones that are there are not lavish by any means, but they will provide a good place to stay that will definitely make you feel like you are in the Swiss Alps. I’d recommend booking a room in one of Lauterbrunnen’s older, well-known establishments such as Hotel Crystal, Hotel Oberland, Hotel Silberhorn or Hotel Staubbach.
If you decide to stay outside of Lauterbrunnen, try The Cambrian, an Autograph Collection hotel in Adelboden that is famous for it’s instagram-worthy outdoor heated pool that overlooks the valley and the snow-capped mountains. Or for a more traditional option, try Hotel Belvedere in Grindelwald, which has a five star restaurant for dining, an exquisite spa and cozy Bernese-style rooms.
Where to eat?
When compared with Zurich and Lucerne, the restaurants in the postcard-perfect Lauterbrunnen are nothing to write home about but they are satisfactory. Here you will find truly Swiss fare—the perfect place to enjoy some fondue! Some of the finest places to eat in the village include Da Sina, Hotel Oberland Restaurant, Bergrestaurant Allmend, Restaurant La Grotte and Restaurant Baeren.
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