Europe

Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland Visitor Guide

With some of the most beautiful mountains and valleys in the world, Switzerland is one of the most scenic countries in all of Europe.  There are many places in Switzerland that exemplify this beauty, but perhaps none does so more than the town of Lauterbrunnen in central Switzerland.  In terms of scenic landscapes, it really does check all of the boxes that travelers are looking for in a beautiful mountain destination.

Not only is Lauterbrunnen near some of the most breathtaking mountains in the Swiss Alps, but the Lauterbrunnen Valley is also home to a staggering 72 different waterfalls that cascade over the granite cliffs that separate the valley from the Alps.  Inside the valley, the quaint town of Lauterbrunnen is a great place to get away from the hustle-and-bustle of Switzerland’s big cities and let life slow down.

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In this guide, I am going to outline all of the information that you need to plan your next trip to Lauterbrunnen.  In addition to highlighting some of the important visitor information that you will need to know to visit Switzerland, I also outline the top things to see in Lauterbrunnen and the surrounding area, how to get to Lauterbrunnen, the best places to stay while you are in the area, and which restaurants, tours, and excursions I recommend during your visit.

At A Glance
Top Things to See
How to Get There
Best Time to Visit
Where to Stay
Where to Eat
Recommended Tours and Excursions
Photo Gallery

At a Glance

Before you head off on your trip to Switzerland, you should make sure you have made all of the necessary travel preparations.  This includes making sure you have covered all of the necessary passports and VISA requirements, have had the necessary travel immunizations, and so forth.  To assist you in making sure you are prepared, I have included some important information about visiting Switzerland for you to review below.

Passport requirements exist. See below for details.
Immunizations recommendations are listed below.
The official language in Switzerland is German.
The official currency in Switzerland is the Swiss Franc.

Passport Requirements

A valid US passport with at least one blank page is required to get into Switzerland.  Currently, no VISA is required for American citizens to enter Switzerland and stay for 90-days or less, but the EU will be changing those requirements in the near future.  Starting in 2021, American citizens will be required to get a European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) authorization prior to visiting countries within the Schengen Area of Europe.

Switzerland Passport and VISA Requirements
PASSPORT VALIDITY: At least six months beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES: 1 Page Required
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED: Not required for stays of less than 90 days (changes in 2021)
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY: No restrictions; officers may question over 10,000 Swiss Francs (CHF)
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT: No restrictions; officers may question over 10,000 Swiss Francs (CHF)

Travel Immunizations

There are not any immunizations that are required by law to enter Switzerland and there aren’t any significant risks for contracting Malaria, Yellow Fever, Typhoid Fever, or other deadly diseases while in the country.  However, making sure you are up-to-date with your basic immunizations is always a good idea.

If you have questions on what immunizations you will need and what to look out for when you go to get them, below are some general guidelines I can pass on to you from experience.

  • Most specialized travel clinics will not accept insurance, so you will have to pay for your travel consultation and immunizations and then request reimbursement from your insurance company later.
  • Some immunizations aren’t accepted by every insurance company, so check with your insurance provider before getting your immunizations.
  • Check with your regular doctor first, as often they can do a travel consultation for you and write you the necessary prescriptions for your immunizations, even if they aren’t able to give them to you.  This way you can ensure that at least your travel consultation will be covered by your insurance up-front.
  • Check with Walgreens or other drug stores that give flu shots to see if they have any of the immunization shots that you require before going to a specialized clinic that doesn’t accept insurance to get them.  Walgreens is able to give you many of the immunizations necessary for international travel, and they accept insurance up-front.
  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website can be a great resource for answering any travel immunization questions that you have.

In case you are unsure of what travel vaccinations you might need, I have compiled a list below of some of what you might expect your physician to recommend.

  • Hepatitis A & B (if you haven’t had them).
  • Tetanus (if you aren’t current).
  • Rabies (if you are going to be working in close contact with animals).
  • Dukoral (gives you 3-month protection against travel diarrhea).
  • Flu Shot

Top Things to See and Do

Lauterbrunnen

The Lauterbrunnen area is full of amazing things to see and do.  If you are an outdoor enthusiast, then you will absolutely love your time in the area.  In order to give you a head start on planning your adventures in the area, I have compiled a list of my top things to see and do in Lauterbrunnen below.

Take a Train to Jungfraujoch

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The Jungfraujoch is the saddle between the Jungfrau and Mönch peaks, which are two of the tallest peaks in the Bernese Alps in the Lauterbrunnen area.  The saddle sits at an altitude of 11,371 feet (or roughly 3,466 meters), which is so high that the views will take your breath away.  No visit to Lauterbrunnen is complete without taking a train ride up to the Jungfraujoch to see the top of Europe.

Hike to Trümmelbach Falls

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The Trümmelbach Falls are a series of 10 glacier-fed waterfalls inside the mountainside that can be accessed by a tunnel-funicular.  They are Europe’s largest subterranean waterfalls and the only glacier-fed waterfalls in the world that are accessible by an underground lift.  Visitors will marvel at the 20,000 liters per second that pass thru these underground waterfalls every second.  It is definitely a must-see when in Lauterbrunnen.

Admire the Beauty of Staubbach Falls

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Perhaps the most visible and the most famous of the Lauterbrunnen Valley waterfalls is the mighty Staubach Falls.  At a height of roughly 984 feet (or 300 meters), the Staubbach Falls is Switzerland’s third highest waterfall.  The poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is said to have been so inspired by the waterfall that he wrote the poem “Song of the Spirits over the Waters”.

Take a Lift Up to the Schilthorn

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The Schilthorn is the highest mountain summit in the range lying north of the Sefinenfurgge Pass, just outside of the Lauterbrunnen Valley.  The viewpoint at Schilthorn is accessible from Lauterbrunnen by taking the cable car to Grutschalp, then the train to Mürren, and finally another cable car to the Schilthorn.  I have included a map below that details this route for you to review.

Please Note:  If you purchase the Swiss Rail Pass, the lift tickets and the train ticket are included in the cost of the Swiss Pass, which means they are free of charge to you.  For more information about the Swiss Rail Pass, please see the “How to Get There” section of this guide below.

Lauterbrunnen to Schilthorn Map

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Take a Train to Mürren

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On your way to the Schilthorn, I would recommend that you stop and check out the city of Mürren as it is absolutely beautiful.  Perched up on the mountainside overlooking the Lauterbrunnen Valley, the views from Mürren are breathtaking.  There are some great hotel options in Mürren if you are looking to stay in the Lauterbrunnen area, and the city also has a number of great restaurants and a lot of neat shops to check out.  You get to Mürren by taking the cable car to Grutschalp and then the train to Mürren.  I have included a map below for you to review if you are interested.

Please Note:  If you purchase the Swiss Rail Pass, the lift tickets and the train ticket are included in the cost of the Swiss Pass, which means they are free of charge to you.  For more information about the Swiss Rail Pass, please see the “How to Get There” section of this guide below.

Lauterbrunnen to Murren Map

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Take a Day Trip to Grindelwald

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One of the best parts about visiting Lauterbrunnen is that you are in very close proximity to a number of other very scenic and wonderful towns that you can visit.  One of my favorites is the town of Grindelwald, which is near a number of large mountains in the Burmese Alps of Switzerland.  Arguably the most famous of these is the Eiger, which towers above the town of Grindelwald.

If you are interested in taking a day trip to Grindelwald to do some sight-seeing, it is only a short 46-minute train ride that makes a short stop in Interlaken.  I have included a map below that outlines how to get to both Interlaken and Grindelwald from Lauterbrunnen for you to review.

Lauterbrunnen Area Train Map

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Take a Day Trip to Interlaken

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Another fun day trip from Lauterbrunnen is to the city of Interlaken.  Located between the crystal blue waters of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, Interlaken is a popular hub for touring the mountainous Bernese Oberland region of central Switzerland.  There are a lot of great restaurants and shops to explore in Interlaken and a lot of great hiking trails and outdoor activities nearby.  The best part is that it is only a short 20-minute train ride from Lauterbrunnen.

Go Paragliding

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If you are looking for a little adventure during your trip to Lauterbrunnen, one of the most popular adventure sports in the area is paragliding.  Soaring high above the valley, you will get a magnificent view of the mountains and the lakes in the area, which are breathtaking.  There are a number of different tour operators that offer tandem paragliding with an instructor in the area.  If you are interested, I have some suggestions for you within the tours and excursions section of this guide below.

Take a Boat Ride on Lake Brienz

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Lake Brienz is one of the major lakes and popular tourist attractions in the area.  If you are looking for a relaxing tour to change the pace from hiking and exploring, then a boat cruise on Lake Brienz may be just what you are looking for.  If you are interested, I have included some recommendations for you within the tours and excursions section of this guide below.

Please Note:  If you purchase the Swiss Rail Pass, the boat cruise is included in the cost of the Swiss Pass, which means it is free of charge to you.  For more information about the Swiss Rail Pass, please see the “How to Get There” section of this guide below.

Hike Thru the Beautiful Lauterbrunnen Valley

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The Lauterbrunnen Valley is one of the most scenic spots in all of Switzerland.  Seriously, it is so pretty that you really need to see it first-hand to appreciate how gorgeous this landscape really is.  For that reason, you shouldn’t leave Lauterbrunnen without taking a walk thru the valley to appreciate its beauty.  There are trails that take you past the waterfalls, beautiful houses, and jaw-dropping mountain cliffs.

How to Get There

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Lauterbrunnen is located in South Central Switzerland in the heart of the Burmese Alps.  If you are planning on visiting Switzerland, it can be accessed by both railway and by car.  I lay out both options for you below, but I would strongly recommend that you look into purchasing a Swiss Rail pass.

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Of all the rail passes I have purchased in Europe, the Swiss Rail Pass provided the most value by far.  Not only does it allow you to ride any train you want for the duration of your pass, but it also allows you to ride any gondola, lift, boat, and even buses for free for the duration of your pass.  You can find more information on the Swiss Rail Pass on the Swiss Travel Pass website.

Lauterbrunnen Map

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By Train

By far, the easiest way to get to Lauterbrunnen, and to travel within Switzerland for that matter, is by train.  As I mentioned above, the Swiss Rail Pass is, in my humble opinion, the best rail pass available in Europe.  Not only is it reasonably priced, but it provides more benefits than any other rail pass I have used in Europe.  Not only does the rail pass allow you to take most trains within Switzerland, but it also gets you on most gondolas, lifts, boats, and buses within the country as well.

Lauterbrunnen is accessible in a reasonably short amount of time from a number of other cities within Switzerland if you are planning on staying in other cities during your trip.  The only major city I highlighted below that takes a longer amount of time to travel to Lauterbrunnen from is Saint Moritz.  The rest of the cities I highlight are less than a 3-hour train ride away from Lauterbrunnen.

Lauterbrunnen Train Map

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By Car

If you want the flexibility of being able to travel when and where you want, then traveling by car in Switzerland is also an option.  Before you commit to renting a car, I would be aware that some of the roads in the Swiss Alps can become dangerous or even closed during winter storms, so traveling by car may not give you the flexibility that you think it will.

Lauterbrunnen is accessible from all of the major cities that I highlight below by car.  However, you should be aware that the city of Zermatt is not accessible by car, so if you are planning on also visiting Zermatt, I would check out my Zermatt, Switzerland Travel Guide for more information on how to access that city if you have rented a car.

From Geneva From Bern From Zermatt
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From Lucern From Zürich From Saint Moritz
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Best Time to Visit

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As you can probably imagine, the country of Switzerland is an amazing place to visit year-round.  Whether you are visiting in the winter months to do some skiing or in the summer months to do some hiking or to get out on one of the country’s many beautiful lakes, it is a breathtaking country.

To assist you in deciding when it would be best for you to visit Lauterbrunnen, I have put together some information below on the average temperature and the average amount of precipitation throughout the year.

Average Temperature (°F)

However, generally speaking, the Summer months of fairly mild with somewhat warm daytime temperatures.  If you are visiting to do some hiking in the region, these months are probably your best bet.  If you are visiting to do some skiing in the area, the shoulder months of November and March may be the ideal times to visit because you will miss most of the winter skiing crowds.

Average Precipitation (Inches)

Lauterbrunnen gets most of its precipitation during the spring and summer months, with the wettest months being July and August.  If you are planning on doing some hiking in the area or plan to spend most of your time outside, then you will want to take this into account.  The fall and winter months are typically much dryer, so planning a trip in early spring or late fall might be your best bet for finding a good weather window with moderate temperatures.

Where to Stay

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Lauterbrunnen is a big tourist area, so there are quite a few hotels and hostels in the Lauterbrunnen, Interlaken, and Mürren are in which to stay.  The town of Grindelwald is relatively close by train as well, so don’t be afraid to book accommodations there if you find something you like.  To give you a head start on your search for accommodations, I have listed a number of different hostels and hotels at different price points that are highly recommended for you to review below.

Lauterbrunnen Hotel Map

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Balmers Hostel ($)
Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof – Hostel ($)
Sportchalet Mürren ($$)
Schützen ($$)
Hotel Oberland ($$$)
Alpenblick ($$$)
Hotel Eiger ($$$$)
Alpenruh Mürren ($$$$)
Hotel Wengener Hof ($$$$$)
Hotel Silberhorn ($$$$$)

Where to Eat

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With all of the beautiful scenery in the Lauterbrunnen area, it is really easy to overlook the great quality of restaurants the region has.  Most restaurants in the area serve Swiss and Central European cuisine, which includes French, German, and Italian influences.  If you are looking for some recommended restaurants to visit during your trip, I have included a number for you to review below.

Lauterbrunnen Restaurant Recommendations
Restaurant Cuisine Type Cost
Airtime Coffee & Tea, Cafe $$ – $$$
Swiss Restaurant Weidstuebli Swiss, International $$ – $$$
Restaurant Baeren Swiss, Central European $$ – $$$
Hotel Oberland Restaurant Swiss, European $$ – $$$
Hotel Restaurant Silberhorn Swiss, Central European $$ – $$$
Flavours Cafe, International $$ – $$$
Staeger Stuebli Swiss, European $$ – $$$

 

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Lauterbrunnen is an absolutely stunning region that has no shortage of amazing things to see and do.  Whether you are looking for an adventure or a fun cultural tour, there is something for everyone.  I have included a list of my favorite tours and excursions in the Lauterbrunnen area below for you to review.

Tandem Paragliding Experience from Interlaken
6-Hour Guided e-bike tour to Lauterbrunnen Valley and Swiss Picnic
Jungfraujoch day tour with private tourguide – starts from Interlaken
Kayak Tour of the Turquoise Lake Brienz
1-Hour Boat Cruise on Lake Brienz
Helicopter Skydiving in Interlaken
Grimsel Canyoning Experience from Interlaken
Private Swiss Cheese and Chocolate Tour from Interlaken
Waterfalls, Lake Thun, and Lake Brienz Private Tour from Interlaken
Jetboat Scenic Ride in Interlaken

The beauty of Lauterbrunnen really speaks for itself.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time photographing the area and cannot wait to go back and capture some additional shots.  Below is a gallery of just some of my favorite shots from Lauterbrunnen.

Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

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11 replies »

    • Thank you so much! It is one of my favorite countries I have visited. So beautiful. And the train system, and rail pass especially, is fantastic!

  1. I love this post. Very comprehensive. May I ask in what month you visited here? I’m planning to go this July or August but as you mentioned, these months are the rainy months. Now, I’m thinking whether to go in October instead. I want to see Lauterbrunnen when it’s the greenest. What do you think? 🙂

    • Thank you so much!! The beginning of October is when we visited and the weather was perfect. 👍

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