When the Life Bus took Todd and me to Switzerland, there was one place we had to see above all others – Lauterbrunnen. There aren’t enough adjectives to fully explain the beauty of this Swiss jewel. Lauterbrunnen, in the Bernese Oberland, is situated in one of the most beautiful glacial valleys in the world. This valley boasts more than 70 waterfalls, the most famous, Staubbach Falls, plunges more than 300 meters to the valley below. The valley itself is only about 1 kilometer wide and all around has imposing, granite walls rising straight out of the valley floor, at heights of thousands of feet. The valley floor is dotted with picturesque farms and their grazing cows, sheep, and goats. Many of these farms sell their own homemade dairy products. Running through the center of the valley is the glacially fed Weisse Luetschine river. The green of Lauterbrunnen valley is some of the most intense green you will ever see. [slideshow]
There is so much to do in this area. Todd and I enjoyed a beautiful run on a gravel footpath that runs most of the length of the valley. This gravel path hugs the river for quite a ways. It is a relatively short run but probably one of the most scenic I have ever done. The tiny, serene hamlet of Stechelberg lies at the end of the road in Lauterbrunnen valley. From here, you can access many hiking trails of all levels. The Swiss have hiking down to a fine art and have great trail signage. Look for the yellow and red plastic trail signs that are frequent and well placed. For those seeking even more adventure, there are via ferrata options in this area. BASE-jumping is also huge here. While we were on our run, we would hear the sounds of parachutes unfurling. Looking up we could see people in brightly-colored squirrel suits descending into the valley. Of course, Lauterbrunnen is also the gateway to some of the best known excursion destinations in the Jungfrau region. A railway links Lauterbrunnen with Wengen, perched high above Lauterbrunnen, and the Kleinen Scheidegg, the station where you change trains for the ride to the UNESCO Jungfrau-Aletsch-Bietschhorn region.
Todd and I ate outside at the Hotel Restaurant Stechelberg in the shadow of the Jungfrau. We had great typical Swiss food and great service. Hotel Restaurant Stechelberg We did not stay at the Alpenhof B&B in Stechelberg but it looked like a great, simple, peaceful place to try next time. From Stechelberg, you can also catch the cable car ride up to one of the area’s biggest attractions, the Schillthorn.
You definitely go to Lautrbrunnen for the scenery, not the lodging. We stayed at the Hotel Staubbach primarily for its proximity to the Staubbach falls and views of the valley. On that note it did not disappoint. We had a front-facing room with great views of the falls and some surrounding mountains. Do not expect any type of luxury, however from this hotel. It was basic and no-frills. We pretty much knew this going in and, therefore, weren’t unhappy with it. Given the Lauterbrunnen location, however, who wants to stay in their rooms anyway? Hotel Staubbach