Picturesque does not even begin to describe the scene in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland. We agonized over where to have our homebase for a week in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland. Lauterbrunnen turned out to be a gem of a location. With glorious mountain and waterfall views, easy access to trains, lots of restaurants, and a vending machine full of cheese, how could you go wrong?? You really can’t. After spending a full week in Lauterbrunnen, here’s a list of our favorite things to see, do and eat.
Things to See
To get to Lauterbrunnen, you are most likely coming in from Interlaken. We came in on the Golden Pass route from Lucerne. This was an amazingly beautiful way to start our adventure in Lauterbrunnen; a happy harbinger of what was to come.
Lauterbrunnen is known for having 72 waterfalls. SEVENTY-TWO. We joked that every time it rained and the rain flowed down the mountain, was it 73? 74? But the ones in the Valley are magnificent.
Staubbach Falls hits you right in the face when you come into Lauterbrunnen. You can’t not see it. It imposes itself right at the edge of town.
It’s beautiful all day long as the light refracts off it. They even light it up at night.
You can actually walk up close to these falls if you want. We tried to at night, but unfortunately, it was pretty much closed (there’s a tunnel that is 100% pitch black at night).
A million other waterfalls!
A waterfall with a rainbow IN IT!
It is genuinely hard not to gaze up all the time finding all of the crazy waterfalls.
Cows and Goats
There are plenty of cows and goats and sheep and horses and other grazing animals in Switzerland. In Lauterbrunnen, you’re sure to get your fill of them.
It was really relaxing to just watch these critters go about their day. Unfortunately, you may also see, like we did, a cow that apparently died upon a mountaintop somewhere and was being airlifted to the ground. Sad to see it hang by its neck, even though it was obvious it was already dead 🙁
Another great thing about Lauterbrunnen is you are constantly confronted by mountain faces. In the valley of Lauterbrunnen, you can see Eiger, Mönch, Jungfrau, the Gletscherhorn, Mittaghorn, Grosshorn, Breithorn, Tschingelhorn, Gspaltenhorn and Schilthorn! It’s an impressive amount of mountainside to wake up to every morning!
Things to Do
Lauterbrunnen is a small town, but there’s still plenty to do! I’ll note that we did not do one of the adventure-type things such as hang gliding, canyoning or a via Ferrata. (Next time we go, we definitely will!)
Walk the Valley and Sit by the River Weisse Lutschine
One of the best, most relaxing things to do in Lauterbrunnen is to simply walk the long road through the valley.
You can actually walk the road one way down and walk by the river on the way back.
And why not take a minute to just enjoy the beautiful glacier water in the river as you go? I find these rivers so interesting because they honestly look fake. The watercolor is a distinctive ice blue. I’ve only seen water this color when the river is fed by a glacier. But I don’t think you can swim in it – or, well, I didn’t see anyone swimming in it. It’s pretty shallow, so the feet can go in, but it’s quite rapid, so keep those kiddos close…
Tour Trummelbach Falls
I know I’ve already talked a lot about waterfalls in Lauterbrunnen. As I said, it is the valley of 72 waterfalls! But not only can you gaze at them as you walk by, but you also can go INSIDE a waterfall! You can either walk the road/trail above all the way there (maybe a mile or so) or take the bus from the beginning of town to the Trummelbach Falls stop. It costs 11 Swiss Franc to go inside and there were no discounts I could find, but it’s cool enough that I think it was worth it. Also, it was 100 degrees outside the day we went and it’s cold enough to wear a jacket inside the falls! It was a much welcome reprieve.
You walk along the waterfall via a railing and stairs cutting into the mountainside.
Once you’re inside, the waterfall is moving FAST and there are areas where you will get splashed.
And you’ll see a ton of rainbows along the way.
Walk to Murren, Gimmelwald and Wengen
One of the nice things about being in the Valley is that you are in the middle of several tiny towns upon the mountainsides.
You can either take cable cars up to these towns to have dinner or hike or enjoy the view, or you can walk. If you want to walk (highly recommended), there are easy-to-read signs everywhere telling you how to get to the towns on foot.
We walked to both Gimmelwald and Murren. You can read more about our walk to Gimmelwald, which we did from Murren, here. To get to Murren, we took a narrow road behind our AirBnB to a dirt path up the mountainside.
The first hour and a half or so are all uphill, so we got very very tired, quickly! Eventually, it flattens out as you walk along the mountain ridge.
You walk past a BUNCH of cows and then along train tracks past Winteregg.
Then you finally reach Murren!
A beautiful little town that’s worth visiting. This hike took about 3hrs and it was tough, but it’s one of our fondest memories from Switzerland! If we had more time, we would have walked to Wengen as well!
Go to the Top of One of the Surrounding Mountains
As you can tell, you can see a lot of mountains from Lauterbrunnen. In fact, if you do the Northface Trail, you also can learn about all the people who have trekked up them! We’re not exactly fit enough to do that type of climb, but luckily, there’s a cable car up to all of them. The most popular or well-renowned is probably Jungfrau. But it is so expensive! I think it costs something like $200 to get to the top of. Our Swiss Pass covered 100% of the cost of Schilthorn, so we decided to do that one instead. What an incredible experience!
This mountaintop is home to some fancy 007 Bond fun, as well!
Things to Eat
Vacation is always the best time to eat anything and everything! As a vegetarian, I seek out places that have something good on the menu for the meatless among us. It was EASY in Switzerland to find stuff to eat. If you’re vegan – no. So.Much.Cheese. Here were some of our favorite dishes and places to eat in Lauterbrunnen.
Flavors Cafe was the very first place we went to in Lauterbrunnen. We had just gotten off the train from Lucerne and were waiting until our check-in time for our Airbnb. Hungry, we sat down to grab some lunch. The menu looked kind of meh, admittedly. But I ordered a veggie burger and MAN, it was good. I was so impressed! They also had this really fun world map that you can tack your name to:
Another place we really liked was Hornerpub. This place has it all: good food, good beer, a patio, and it’s open late! This was my first experience with Raclette in Switzerland and it was soooo good. We also had Älplermagronen, which is basically pasta with cheese, potatoes and onions with apple sauce on the side. Also quite tasty!
Pension Gimmelwald was one of our favorite places in all of Switzerland! You have to take the bus (or walk) to Stechelberg and then the cable car up to Gimmelwald to get there. You can make a reservation for dinner. As a vegetarian, I actually wasn’t able to eat their regular dinner menu, but they offer fondue if you ask. Yes, please! The fondue was fantastic and they have liters of beer to help it all go down. To top it off, you have an amazing view of the mountains from their patio.
(Yes, of course, there was a wedding happening while we sat there.)
Vending Machine Cheese
Okay, that heading needs some explanation! So on the road that goes through Lauterbrunnen, and in various other places in the area, there are farms with sheep and goats. These folks sell cheese they’ve apparently made from the milk of these animals in vending machines by the side of the road! Some of them opt instead to have a cooler you can go to to get the cheese and then leave the money. It’s a great way to get local cheese without having to intrude on people’s day-to-day! And the cheese is so yummy.
As you can see, it’s a lot of cheese. if you’re not a cheese person, well, that’s kind of a bummer! Switzerland won’t be so bad though, as there is meat everywhere as well. Neal got sausage from the same places we picked up roadside cheese.
So, after a week of using Lauterbrunnen for our home base in Switzerland, these were our favorite things to see, do and eat in town. We hope you enjoyed the story and go there yourself someday! And if you’re already planning a trip, these are some must-dos! We’ll also be drafting up a post on the best day trips from Lauterbrunnen, so watch out for that!