How I found this village tucked in the alps of Switzerland was a miracle. I remember the minute we arrived into town by train, thinking to myself this is a special place. The train line ends here in this small town of Lauterbrunnen located in the canton of Bern. The valley is like one long hallway with a few villages on the bottom and a few surrounding the mountainside. Lauterbrunnen Valley is comprised of the small towns of Wengen, Mürren, Gimmelwald, Stechelberg, and Isenfluh. Mürren, Gimmelwald and Wengen are only accessible by gondola or by foot creating this magical rural countryside feeling.
The Valley of 72 Waterfalls: Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
We arrived in the middle of summer so there was no snow but plenty to do. This is the ultimate outdoor haven. Every ten minutes there are people base jumping off the side of the mountain and people hang gliding through the valley. It truly is a location for adventure. The hiking trails are endless going up and down the steep elevation of the mountainside. Nearby is the famous Jungfrau (also known as the top of Europe), the highest peak, where you can go visit and see miles of alps (also very pricey/ 250 chf pp). Above the town of Mürren is the famous Schilthorn Peak at 10,000 feet high where they filmed the old James Bond movie.
The valley is known for a very specific number, 72 to be exact. This is the amount of waterfalls flowing at any given time during the year. When I say flowing, I really do mean it. When you hike, you bring a water bottle and you can refill it almost every 1/2 mile from some fresh source off the mountainside. It got to the point where I would just lean up against the waterfall and take a drink. The high elevation creates an almost year around snow on the peaks which gives the whole valley fresh water.
Enough of the numbers, here’s what we decided to do with our time. We had 2 nights in this magical town, so the first day we arrived around mid day and checked into Hotel Staubbach. That afternoon we spent walking the valley floor and going to the famous Staubbach Falls which we could see from our hotel. The town is very small and there are only around five restaurants (located at the hotels) to choose from so I would suggest making reservations. We ate at the same restaurant Hotel Oberland both nights indulging in our new favorite dish called Rösti. We had an early night because we knew our full day was going to be a long day of adventure. After spending time talking to the locals, we devised the best plan to see the whole valley by gondola and foot.
We woke up very early and took the first gondola ride up to Mürren (reason being the earlier times to go all the way to Schilthorn were only 80 chf pp versus 130). After the gondola, you take a train across the mountainside to the actual town of Mürren, from here you take two more gondolas all the way to the top of Schilthorn. These gondola rides were the most exciting yet scary rides I have ever taken in my life. You scaled the entire mountainside about 1,000 feet up and climbing the 10,000 feet of elevation. As you get to the top, I guarantee your mouth will drop. You are so high you can see into Italy and even more. We spent about an hour or so up there looking at the James Bond exhibit and took a cappuccino which was decorated appropriately. (make sure to check weather reports before going, if it is cloudy the view is no good)
After Schilthorn, we took the gondola back down to Mürren and grabbed a quick bite from the only grocery store, packed a few snacks and headed out on our journey down the mountain. We started in Mürren and made our way across the mountainside and headed down to Grimmelwald. As we came down from Grimmelwald we turn the backside of the valley and landed into Stechelberg. The hike was beautiful, there were green fields everywhere, cows roaming and little houses people lived in. How these houses stay up is something as they are on the side of a mountain almost 6000 feet up. As we came back through the valley floor we stopped and watched people base jump for about an hour. After we made our way back through the valley floor and back into Lauterbrunnen. This hike is doable but make sure to have good shoes as you are climbing down a huge mountain. (head to the tourism office for a map and they will show you the appropriate trail).
Overall this valley will always have a special place in my heart. There is something magical about being in the middle of nature where nothing else really matters. The views are breathtaking, the air is clean, and the area feels untouched. I would of spent another week here if I could. I remember as we left in the train the last morning, my husband and I looked at each other and said, “we’ll be coming back here.”
For some extra fun watch this