Lauterbrunnen is a picturesque town in Switzerland, located in a valley in the Alps surrounded by impressive mountains and green scenery. The whole region, Jungfrau, is quite popular for its ski resorts and winter activities. However, Lauterbrunnen in summer is an amazing destination to enjoy the landscape, outdoor activities and the refreshing breeze of nature.
Lauterbrunnen is also located very close to Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe. Jungfraujoch is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the whole country. It also has the highest train station in Europe. For their proximity, many put a day or two aside to visit the region, usually including Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen.
We spent a week in Lauterbrunnen in summer and combined time in the valley with other activities in the surroundings. So, in this post you can expect to find a little bit of both – the raw nature in the region of Jungfrau and the main cities and activities around. There is also information on the many (many!) Travel Passes you can buy.
- General information
- How to arrive
- Travel Passes in the region
- Main activities to do in Lauterbrunnen in summer
- Outside the valley
Although it is located in the center of Europe, Switzerland is not part of the European Union and therefore does not have euros but swiss franks (CHF). Depending on your nationality you might also need to apply for a visa, and only in some cases you can do that online. Check the detailed instructions per country in this website here.
It is also worth noting that Switzerland is one if the most expensive countries you can visit, so prepare your wallet for your trip to Lauterbrunnen in summer. For example, simple meals start at CHF 25 and you can expect to pay around CHF 100 or 150 per night (double room).
Regarding internet connection, mostly all restaurants, hotels and bars have free WiFi, although buying a SIM card can help you when you are exploring outside. Several companies have interesting options such as prepaid SIM cards or electronic SIM cards (eSIM), so check which one is more convenient for you. Keep in mind that, as I mentioned before, Switzerland is not part of the European Union. This means that EU roaming does not apply. So, if you have a EU SIM card you will still need a Switzerland one for competitive prices. And also, your Switzerland SIM card will not be useful outside the country.
How to arrive
Lauterbrunnen is connected with Interlaken through a road, so it is easily accessible by car. However, another good option is to get there by train. Switzerland trains are among the most reliable in the world.
Interlaken is a main destination and therefore it is connected with the principal cities in Switzerland. From there, there is a direct train leaving every 30 minutes that connects Interlaken with Lauterbrunnen. The journey lasts 20 minutes.
If you are traveling by train, you can combine the journey to Lauterbrunnen with some side visit. For example, leaving early from Zurich, spending the day at Luzern and arriving to Interlaken/Lauterbrunnen at evening.
You can easily purchase your tickets online through the SBB website (link here). If you want to add some side visit to your journey to Lauterbrunnen in summer, just select the option “+Add via”. Also, keep in mind that if you have some Travel Pass (more on that on the next section) some discounts might apply.
Travel Passes in the region
There are several Travel Passes that you can purchase to enjoy Lauterbrunnen in summer. Some of them include just the cable cars of a specific area while others are more global and encompass other ways of public transport and accesses or discounts to tourist attractions. You can generally purchase these Travel Passes starting from 3 days (consecutive) and up to 10 days. Or even a month!
Most tourist information points in the area are happy to assist you on choosing the best pass for you. They provide you a lot (and I do mean a lot) of information on what to do in the area and encourage you to prepare a list of what activities you would like to include in your itinerary, and to return there to go over that list and decide which pass to buy.
There are also some other passes that are way cheaper than the tourist ones, and are not advertised anywhere. I will tell you about the one on the Lauterbrunnen area. If you will explore other areas too, be sure to do some research!
Note that all prices listed below are 2023 prices.
Jungfrau Travel Pass
Unlimited travel for 3 to 8 days in the Jungfrau area, as well as a special price for the trip to the Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe. This trip usually costs CHF 227.60 and with Jungfrau Travel Pass it is CHF 75.- (the cheapest you can get). There is also a discount to access Schilthorn (Piz Gloria) – usually CHF 108.- off to CHF 85.60.
The three-days Jungfrau Travel Pass costs CHF 190.-, while the eight-days one CHF 310.-.
Unlimited Jungfrau Summer Pass
Only attractive if you will spend several weeks or months in the region, the most complete option to explore Lauterbrunnen in summer. The Unlimited Jungfrau Summer Pass lasts from sometime in April to sometime in November. Exact dates may vary depending on the year. It costs CHF 499.- and includes unlimited numbers in the area. The range is the same than the Jungfrau Travel Pass, however, this one does include the trip to Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe.
Schilthorn Holiday Pass
It provides unlimited rides on cable cars operated by Schilthornbahn (Stechelberg, Mürren, Birg, Schilthorn and Allmendhubel as well as Isenfluh-Sulwald). You have two options available: 4 days for CHF 150.- or 6 days for CHF 170.-.
Berner Oberland Pass
This is one of the most global Travel Passes you can buy. It encompasses all public transportation in the Berner Oberland Region, which roughly constitutes Bern, Luzern, Interlaken (including Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald), Göschenen or Adelboden. Several cable cars and entrances to attractions are also included. Also, you can find discounts for other activities.
Prices start at CHF 230.- for a three-day pass, up to 420.- for a ten-day pass (the longest one available).
Note that although this is a pretty extensive pass, Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn (Piz Gloria) are not included. However, discounts are offered if you hold the Berner Oberland Pass.
Swiss Travel Pass
This one includes all public transportation in Switzerland, discounts on most attractions and with family tickets, children can travel for free. Cable cars are not included. However, if you have the STP you can purchase those Travel Passes (or individual rides) with a discount. For example, the 3-days Jungfrau Travel Pass would be CHF 145.- per person instead of the CHF 190.- regular fare; or CHF 113.80 for the round trip to Jungfraujoch instead of CHF 227.60.
If you are traveling through Switzerland by car, this is probably not the best option for you.
With a price of CHF 120.- per month, it offers 50% off all public transportation and 50% off most attractions in Switzerland. In my opinion, this option is attractive if you plan to spend a long time in the country.
Lauterbrunnen pass for locals
For CHF 73.- you can buy a monthly pass that will allow you to use some of the cable cars in the Lauterbrunnen valley. It is a great pass if you want to go up and hike around. For example, it includes cable cars or trains from Lauterbrunnen or Stechelberg to Wengwald and Wengen (but not higher than Wengen), to Grütschalp, Winteregg and Mürren (but not higher than Mürren) or to Gimmelwald. The bus from Stechelberg to Lauterbrunnen is also included.
This is definitely the best option if you plan to explore Lauterbrunnen in summer in-depth. Also, if you practice some sport in the area, such as paragliding, mountain biking or base jumping.
Although I don’t know the specifics about them, other spots, such as Grindelwald, also have something similar available.
Note that the place to buy this specific pass is the train station in Lauterbrunnen, located here.
Main activities to do in Lauterbrunnen in summer
Wander around the Lauterbrunnen valley
Lauterbrunnen is fairy tale inspiration material at its finest. In fact, it did inspire Tolkien to write The Hobbit!
Right when you arrive, the first sight that receives you is the majestic Gryffenbach waterfall. Then, dark-wooden houses with colorful flowers in their windows are spread along the bright green fields of the valley. Surrounded by impossibly-high mountains and powerful waterfalls everywhere.
Lauterbrunnen in summer is a pretty popular destination but particularly for one-day visits. You can expect it to be a little crowded during the central hours of the day.
Visit the main town, with its church and tidy graveyard. Walk behind the Staubbach waterfall. Wander around the valley towards Stechelberg (or take the bus). Buy local products in the cheese-vending machines. Whatever you do, do not forget to keep your sight up to enjoy the colorful mountains around, with their grey, green, yellow and white patterns.
While looking up, you might see someone falling from the sky. And that’s because Lauterbrunnen is a very popular destination for basejumpers and wingsuiters that make the valley their playground and amaze us with their jumps.
Having seen both, I would say that however beautiful the views from the valley are, they are even more impressive from the top of the surrounding mountains. So, when you explore Lauterbrunnen in summer, do not limit yourself with visiting only the valley and take the trains or cable cars up there!
The Trümmelbach Falls is a complex of ten glacial waterfalls in the Lauterbrunnen Valley. The highest waterfalls are located inside the mountain, while the lower ones have carved their way outside. It is part of UNESCO World Natural Heritage.
The access to the top is made by a tunnel-lift for the first (and highest) part, and a collection of stairs and tunnels inside the mountain where you can see the upper waterfalls. The descend, and visit to the rest of waterfalls, goes by a stairway that slowly arrives to the base of the complex.
The strength and sound of the water falling against the rocks is astonishing. You can see how this strength has melted the mountain, with its now flat rounded surfaces. It is also cold, particularly inside the mountain, so maybe you can take a light jacket. Also, expect to get a little wet because of the splashes, but I wouldn’t say a raincoat is necessary.
A few important things to keep in mind is that babies and children under 4 (and dogs) are not allowed. Also, it is very common for Travel Passes or even your accommodation in the valley to provide discounts, so be sure to check if you have some.
Visit and hike around Mürren
Mürren is a car-free town with impressive views over the valley of Lauterbrunnen. Besides the charm of its streets and the typical Swiss cottages, it is a gate to many activities, including the visit to Piz Gloria.
To arrive, take the cable car from Lauterbrunnen to Grütschalp, and then a train to Mürren.
To return, you can either repeat the route up or go from Mürren to Gimmelwald (also a charming and car-free village) by cable car. From Gimmelwald, you take a second one down to Stechelberg, and the bus to Lauterbrunnen.
In 2023, we paid CHF 22.40 for the round tickets from Lauterbrunnen to Mürren, although the route is included in the Travel Passes.
PRO TIP: if you are among the lasts passengers to enter the cable car at Lauterbrunnen, you will be located at the left side of the cabin and will enjoy the best views over the valley on the way up. To return, in the first cable car try to locate yourself in the front left, and the front right on the second. You will see the long bridge of the Klettersteig Via Ferrata, and also the descend again to the valley.
What to do
We decided to explore the region by taking a light hike – the Northface Trail. It lasts for about 2 hours and has an altitude gain of ~300m (round trip), so it is not extremely challenging. It allows you to visit Schiltalp, Spielboadenalp and have a closer look at Birg and Schilthorn (Piz Gloria). The Northface Trail has amazing views over the valley and the mountains on the other side – Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.
Another hike you can take is the Mountain View Trail from Mürren to Grütschalp. In this direction you can take the cable car up to Allmendhubel and miss 200m of altitude gain (not possible in the other direction). Some lighter and family-friendly alternatives in this side of the valley are the Flower Trail (from Allmendhubel) or the Blumental Panorama Trail (starting at Mürren). If you want a higher challenge, explore the Birg – Grauseeli – Birg route from the Birg station (2 hours) or the Gimmelwald – Tanzboden – Oberhornsee – Stechelberg one from Gimmelwald (8 hours and only for experienced hikers!).
Mountain biking is also a very popular activity from Mürren. The town is also the starting point for the Klettersteig Via Ferrata.
Schilthorn (Piz Gloria)
One of the most popular destinations to discover Lauterbrunnen in summer, the Schilthorn. It is a 2970m peak located in the Swiss alps and accessible from Mürren or Stechelberg. With its 360º views over the surrounding mountains, you can bet that the landscape is breathtaking.
Schilthorn is also the location where the James Bond movie ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ was filmed. It has surely contributed to the fame of the place – and to some of the activities you can do up there.
So, besides enjoying the skyline, here’s a list of what you can do:
- Hike, hike, hike! Either to arrive to Schilthorn from Birg, or just to explore the area around.
- 360 Piz Gloria restaurant, which rotates around its own axis in 45 minutes allowing you to see over 200 peaks. There is a special James Bond brunch every day until 2pm, and the branded 007 burger.
- Spy world: interactive exhibition around the James Bond movie.
- Walk of Fame: portraits and information about the cast and behind-the-scenes.
- Touch the snow: area with snow all year round. However, due to some construction work it is closed until 2025.
- Just enjoy the views for some more time! Seriously, could you get tired of seeing the mounts Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau?
It is only accessible by hiking or cable car and it is not cheap, with a cost of CHF 108. However, some travel passes offer discounts (such as Jungfrau Travel Pass).
Klettersteig Via Ferrata
It is a descending via ferrata that takes you from Mürren to Gimmelwald. It has a difficulty of K3 (over K6) so it is quite intense physically, and mentally demanding because the constant view of your feet walking over the valley. Its major attraction is the 80 meters bridge almost at the end.
If you don’t have your own, you can rent the equipment in the Intersport shop in Mürren for CHF 30.-. You can also hire a mountain guide if you are not experienced or prefer to go accompanied.
It should go without saying, but if you have vertigo or are afraid of heighs this is not the best activity for you.
Grindelwald and surroundings
The alpine village of Grindelwald is located at the foot of the Eiger north face and one of the starting points for several excursions to the Jungfrau region, such as Jungfraujoch, First, Kleine Scheidegg or Männlichen. The town is a picturesque location that offers hiking activities, adrenaline experiences, scenic views, relaxing spas or wonderful food and wine. Honestly, it has so many options that your trip to ‘Lauterbrunnen in summer’ could easily be ‘Grindelwald in summer’.
Also, if you are a Harry Potter fan you have double reason to visit the town of Grindelwald!
One of the most popular activities (or rather, range of activities) to do from Grindelwald is to arrive to First, a highest location from where you have several adventure options to spend your day:
- First Flyer: a 800 meters long steel cable car that reaches up to 84 kilometers per hour.
- First Glider: Fly like an eagle. Similar to the First Flyer, only in this one the experience is shared among four passengers. The maximum speed is 83 kilometers per hour.
- First Mountain Cart to descend the mountain (suitable for children).
- First Trottibike: an activity for the whole family and an alternative to carts to descend to Grindelwald.
- Hiking activities such as Cliff Walk by Tissot, Lake Bachalpsee or Schynige Platte.
Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe is one of the biggest attractions in the whole country and of course one of the top tours for your visit to Lauterbrunnen in summer. Located at 3,454 meters above sea level, this UNESCO World Natural Heritage features the highest railway station in Europe and has incredible views at the several four thousand meters peaks that surround it.
The transportation there is only included in the Unlimited Jungfrau Summer Pass, although some other passes offer some discount. Without it, the cost is a little over CHF 200.
The activities to do once there are mainly the following ones:
- Observe the Jungfrau-Aletsch, the longest glacier in the Alps, from the Sphinx Terrace.
- Visit the Ice Palace for enchanting ice sculptures.
- Get to know the 100 years of history of the Jungfrau Railway.
- Enjoy your meal in one of the self-service or à la carte restaurants of Jungfraujoch.
- Of course, enjoy the mountain views on your way up and down!
If all of this is not enough to entertain you for your time in Lauterbrunnen in summer, or you are seeking more adventurous or varied activities, check this list of other things you might try. It is truly endless!
- Tandem flight by paragliding from the Mürren area (you can book at the Tourist Center).
- Skydive from an helicopter into the valley of Interlaken.
- Helicopter flight in Lauterbrunnen.
- Seilpark Interlaken: forest adventure of rope bridges.
- River rafting in Lütschine: continuous rapids from the Eiger North Face to the Interlaken valley and the Lake of Brienz.
- Canyoning in Interlaken: half day adventure in narrow gorges.
- Canyon swing in Grindelwald: jump 90m above the canyon, reaching a speed of 120km/h between the canyon walls.
- Fondue backpack: at Wengen Tourism, you can book a fondue to go for the following day, to combine the taste of Swiss cheeses in the breathtaking mountain scenery.
Outside the valley
Bern is the 5th most populated city in Switzerland and its federal city (where the Swiss parliament and government sit). Its historic old town is surrounded by the river Aare and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Historical old town
There are two main routes to visit the historic old town and enjoy its more popular attractions. The first one covers 4.6km while the second shortest one is accessible for wheelchairs and strollers and covers 3.8km.
When you visit, do not miss the Clock Tower, with its clock going every 5 minutes to the hour. Next, in the street Kramgasse you fill find a collection of picturesque fountains and statues in the surrounding buildings.
The most beautiful buildings in the area are the Cathedral of Bern and the Parliament Building. In the other side of the river, you can also visit the Botanical Garden or the Bear Park.
Something that surprised us a little is the amount of popular shops that are located there, as if the commercial street and the historical old town coexisted. Also, that some other shops such as souvenir places and restaurants are underground, accessible through wooden doors in the floor and steep stairways.
Enjoy the river
Besides visiting the old town, some surprising and funny activities that you can do involve water. Did you know that the river can transport you around the city? Yes, that’s right, its current is constant enough but not that strong so that you can just jump in the river until you arrive where you want to be, and then just go out. Of course this involves some planning, like wearing a swimsuit and appropriate shoes, and having a waterproof bag to protect your belongings. Although you can buy this one at the tourist information center.
Alternatively, if you want to experience being carried away by the Aare river but using it as a taxi is a bit too much, you can access the Freibad Marzili (link to Google Maps location here). A free-entrance recreational center with swimming pools, restaurants and relaxing areas that has direct access to the river. It also has lockers, where for a fee of CHF 5.- per day (plus a deposit of CHF 20.-), you can leave your belongings and just enjoy the current of Aare.
Located on the shores of Lake Lucerne, with the river Reuss crossing the old town and views over the surrounding mountains such as Mount Pilatus and Rigi, Lucerne has for long been a popular travel destination.
The historical old town is small enough that you can easily explore it by walking. It is also car-free, so it is a very pleasing peaceful walk. You cannot miss Chapel Bridge over the river Reuss, with its iconic paintings that some of them were consumed in a fire and have not yet been restored. Similarly, Spreuer Bridge is often missed but equally beautiful.
The Lion Sculpture, an homage to some Swiss Guards that were killed on a French revolution, is also a must. Very close by you can find the Glacier Garden, a complex with natural formations from ancient times.
For a bird’s view over the city and river, do not miss Musegg Wall, the City Wall of Lucerne historic old town. Four of the remaining towers (including Clock Tower) are free of access.
As of churches and cathedrals, very close to the Chapel Bridge you will find Jesuitenkirche, an impressive white church. Not as impressive but also worth a visit, there is Hofkirche St. Leodegar, closer to Lion Sculpture.
However, if you have the time and also want to discover the area around, there are some other activities you can do:
- Ascend to Mount Pilatus, either hiking or by cable car. The views from the top over the city, the Lake Lucerne and the surrounding mountains are breathtaking.
- Visit Lake Lucerne with its four arms, for example by taking a boat ride.
- Just enjoy the road to arrive! From Interlaken, you will encounter some of the most beautiful lakes we have ever seen, with their pure turquoise color and endless extension.
Lindt Home of Chocolate in Zurich
I’ll give you that this one is a little weird, but it is both entertaining and delicious. It is a museum dedicated to Lindt chocolates with two differentiated sectors. The first one explains the history of chocolate and how it is obtained. Interesting but nothing out of the ordinary for a musuem. However, in the second sector you can sample a wide variety of Lindt chocolates, including hot chocolates, different chocolate bars and flavours of their different chocolates. Mind you, it is not an unlimited buffet, but you still get plenty to last for a while.
Another thing about the museum that is worth visiting is the ginormous chocolate fountain in its entrance. Unfortunately, this chocolate is not for tasting!
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