Lauterbrunnen with its fabulous waterfalls immortalized by Goethe in one of his poems during his visit in 1779, is probably one of the most enchanted place in the Jungfrau mountainous region. A very laid back place, the charming village nestled in a lovely valley surrounded by evergreen forest is truly a hiker’s paradise, preferred choice for nature lovers as well as thrill seeking BASE jumpers and a popular destination for para gliders. With its 72 waterfalls flowing flawlessly among rocky cliffs, Lauterbrunnen may boast of its most famous Staubbach as one of the highest free falling waterfall in Europe. Great walks are on the menu and actually have that feel of being in Grimm’s fairy land – explore the banks of the Weisse Lütschine river and browse through the village surrounded by charming wooden chalets and their well manicured gardens. Walk past the lovely church, stop by the Tal Valley museum to get a glimpse of regional traditions, and follow the main road towards Staubbach to get a closer look at the waterfalls. Cross the river and walk along the green meadows (panoramaweg) till the train junction just up the hill to get a stunning overall view of the valley with snow capped mountains.
To get an even more fabulous view of the entire valley with snow peaked mountains is to visit Wengen, the small typical mountain village just above Lauterbrunnen. The village may be reached by train or by foot. The region is a hiker paradise, so there is plenty of exercise to do while enjoying some stunning views of the Alps. Great walks to the surrounding area are very well signposted and this is certainly a a fabulous treat for mountain hikers If time is short, take a walk just around the village to get some amazing views either from the church and that from the Mendelssohn memorial where the German musician sketched his water colour picture of the Jungfrau in 1842 or the Mönchslick walk to where are wooden benches to sit while enjoying the superb view of snow capped Mönch mountains. As a ski resort town, Wengen is also known to host the world championship Lauberhorn ski races. Founded by Ernst Gertsch, the Lauberhorn alpine ski race was first held in 1930.
It is midday and time for lunch at Wengen mountain style Eiger restaurant. Here it is my delicious potato rösti, a popular mountain dish and a hearty one too ….
Another must visit mountain village is Mûrren located along the mountain tops of Lauterbrunnen valley. Unreachable by car, the traditional village of Mürren maybe reached by car or for the more sportive by hiking a two an a half hours trail through the mountains and woodlands. But when time is not on your side, the best would be a quick ride with the cable car operational since 2006 (the Mürren Bahn cable car replaces the funicular opened in 1891) and can be taken from Lauterbrunnen, located just opposite the train station. The ride up to Mürren is quite an adventure, with first, cable car ride up to Grütschalp then change to for a short ride with the mountain train to Mürren via Winteregg. In good weather Winteregg with its terrace restaurant overlooking a lovely view of the valley and the Alps is a nice stop over before Mürren. The car free traditional small village of Mürren at an altitude of 1650m overlooks some spectacular views of Jungfrau, Mönch and Eiger mountains. Staying the night is another option to enjoy a real tranquil romantic stay in the heart of the Swiss Alps. The Jungfrau region, cradle of winter sports is home to Switzerland’s most stunning ski races with Mürren as one of the biggest hosting the white style open for freeskiers and snowboarders showing off their spectacular jumps and mesmerizing acrobatic stunts as well as the amazing Inferno ski race which begins at nearly 15km distance from the summit of Schilthorn all the way down to Lauterbrunnen. First held in the steep slopes along the ridges of Schilthorn by a group of British ski daredevils displaying their prowess in slalom and downhill skiing, the adventurous alpine race was founded by Sir Arnold Lunn the alpine ski pioneer in 1928, also founder of Austria’s Arlberg-Kandahar race and is one of the oldest surviving alpine ski race. His statue stands just next to Mürren railway station. So, for those crazy skiers out there Mürren is definitely the place to be for the next hellish winter Inferno race !
The adventure continues with a visit to the James Bond icy retreat – the Piz Gloria Schilthorn at 2971m made famous by George Lazenby 1969 James Bond film which for the most part was shot here. The cable car from Mürren will take you up to Schilthorn via Birg.
From Piz Gloria Schilthorn one can get a spectacular overall view of the Alps providing the weather is clear. Unfortunately I was not lucky as the weather was too cloudy.
Para gliding seems to be quite popular in the region and here is one in action taken during my trip down to Stechelberg via Gimmelwald by cable car from Mürren.
The mountain village of Gimmelwald is another interesting stop over. It was in Gimmelwald that Nietzsche composed his “After a Nocturnal Thunderstorm” poem inspired by Albrecht Dürer’s Melancolia while vacationing with his sister in 1871. From Gimmelwald a short bus ride will take you to Trümmelbach Falls. One of the most stunning ten glacier waterfalls displaying the melting down of glacier walls and following heavy rain bringing down a spectacular 20.000 litres of water per second from Mônch, Eiger and Jungfrau mountains through the many narrow gorges of the rocky cavern. Entering the cave is quite an adventure, first up towards the rocky cavern through a tunnel lift before exploring a labyrinth of passages with subterranean rivers. The very loud sound of the water which seems to engulf you in its intensity, gushes through naturally shaped gorges is truly spectacular – a must visit !
The thundering roaring sound of water crashing down from all corners of the narrow gorges … an impressive sight.
And here is the “heart” of the waterfall where you can get an idea of the enormity and powerful energy driven by the water.
My visit to one of the world most spectacular waterfalls was indeed an unforgettable trip and by the time I left the rocky cavern the sun was setting and I hurried down the dimly lit passages with more beautiful naturally formed water canals to be back to the real world and hiked all the way from Stechelberg along the Weisse Lütschine river back to Lauterbrunnen. A lovely stroll with some views of fairy tale decorated wooden chalets, cows adorned with huge bells grazing the green meadows and trains come and go from the village – my most enjoyable and memorable stay in the Lauterbrunnen Jungfrau region in Bernese Oberland.
For more information:
The Jungfrau region
Categories: Jungfrau region