Switzerland · Lauterbrunnen
Lauterbrunnen is a small unspoilt village in Switzerland nestled between the towering walls of a sheer-sided valley that is famed for its waterfalls. With its 72 thundering waterfalls, secluded valleys, colourful alpine meadows and lonely mountain inns, the Lauterbrunnen Valley is one of the biggest nature conservation areas in Switzerland.
Lauterbrunnen lies at the bottom of a U-shaped valley that extends south and then south-westwards from the village to meet the 8 kilometers Lauterbrunnen Wall. The Lauterbrunnen Valley (Lauterbrunnental) is one of the deepest in the Alpine chain when compared with the height of the mountains that rise directly on either side. It is a true cleft, rarely more than one kilometer in width, between limestone precipices, sometimes quite perpendicular, everywhere of extreme steepness. It is to this form of the valley that it owes the numerous waterfalls from which it derives its name. The streams descending from the adjoining mountains, on reaching the verge of the rocky walls of the valley, form cascades so high that they are almost lost in spray before they reach the level of the valley.
The very name ‘Lauter Brunnen’ (‘many fountains’) suggests the magnificence of this landscape. There are 72 waterfalls in the Lauterbrunnen Valley, the most famous being the Staubbach Falls. Plunging almost 300 meters from an overhanging rock face, they are one of the highest free-falling waterfalls in Europe. In 1779, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe visited the valley, and was inspired by the roaring waters to write his well-known poem ‘Spirit song over the waters’.
Another deafening natural phenomenon are the Trümmelbach Falls in the ‘Black Monk’ mountain, hidden behind mighty rock faces. Up to 20,000 litres of water per second cascade over the ten glacier falls from a total height of about 200 metres. This spectacle can only be reached in summer by tunnel lift.
The Lauterbrunnen area is famous for mountain biking. You can rent an Interlaken bike and ride to the end of the valley the place called Stechelberg.
During winter, the expansive ski regions of Wengen-Kleine Scheidegg and Mürren-Schilthorn are quickly reached by mountain railway. There are 45 transport facilities altogether in the Jungfrau region as well as 213 km of piste, fun parks, 100 km of winter hiking trails and 50 km of toboggan run. The Lauterbrunnen Valley also boasts plenty of cross-country ski trails.