When traveling to Interlaken there is an unlimited choice of amazing mountain adventures and scenic views. However the Lauterbrunnen valley is something special and a must see. A valley flanked on both sides by huge cliffs with 72 waterfalls as a backdrop literally makes this valley one of the most breathtaking spots in Switzerland. It is for good reason that this valley got used for a good amount of well-known Hollywood movies and served as Tolkien’s inspiration for bot the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy!
Lauterbrunnen the valley of 72 waterfalls
The moment you arrive in Lauterbrunnen you know you have arrived at a very special place: the cliffs tower above you and immediately above the village the Staubbach waterfall comes thundering down. From the train station a short walk through the cute mountain town brings you to the bottom of that waterfall which you subsequently can approach through a tunnelled staircase. At the end of the tunnel you reappear right behind the waterfall which is a refreshing and stunning experience.
After having come down from the Staubbach waterfall your next stop should be the Trümmelbach waterfall. This is a caved in waterfall that funnels down most of the water deposits from the Jungfrau glacier through a very narrow gorge and cave.
You can reach the Trümmelbach waterfall by an easy, flat 30 minute stroll through the Lauterbrunnen valley following the river upstream. Alternatively you can take the yellow Postbus in the direction Stechelberg for 5 minutes.
Next on the Lauterbrunnen exploration to do list is Stechelberg, the town at the end of the valley, and the start of one of the most spectacular cable cars in the Alps. While following the river upstream towards Stechelberg you will see plenty of other waterfalls left and right. On a good day you will even see basejumpers coming down the sheer cliff walls. If you hear a ‘whooffff’, no need to be surprised or scared, that was just a basejumper opening his parachute!
The walk from Trümmelbach to Stechelberg will take around 30 minutes or a short bus ride.
Most spectacular cable car of the Alps, Stechelberg to Mürren
You have to see this cable car to believe it. It literally goes veritcally up a 400+m cliff with a waterfall right next to it! It is a fantastic experience and the ride up makes the snow-capped mountains become ever more visible. The first stop of the cable car ride is in the cute mountain town of Gimmelwald, which is worth a little stroll around in.
From Gimmelwald you can hike up to Mürren (approximately 1 hour uphill) or you can continue on the cable car.
In Mürren, which is build, precariously, right on top of the cliffs of the Lauterbrunnen valley, you can then go further up to the Schilthorn (from James Bond movie fame) or continue your loop of the Lauterbrunnen valley back to Lauterbrunnen with a nice gradual downhill hike or a train ride via Winteregg and Grütschalp.
Having seen all that natural beauty it is not hard to imagine that the Lauterbrunnen valley served as a founding inspiration for Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy when he visited this place in 1911!!
So go out and explore this amazing valley, just like Tolkien =)