Lauterbrunnen: Chasing Swiss Waterfalls

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It seems like every place we visit in Switzerland is even more beautiful than the last. I had to wait 10 hours to lay eyes on Lauterbrunnen — we arrived late Friday under the cover of so much darkness that we couldn’t even tell there were mountains around us — but when I stepped outside the next morning I could not put my camera down.

Three hours and two transfers by train from Geneva, Lauterbrunnen sits in the German-speaking canton of Bern, just outside of the more well-known mountain town of Interlaken. I saw a blurb about the valley’s 72 waterfalls in our Swiss guidebook last week and immediately decided we should spend the weekend there hiking and exploring. Gui and I booked a bunk bed room above Horner Pub on Wednesday night and, 48 hours later, were enjoying a couple of pints in the cozy taproom before heading up to bed.

On Saturday morning, we ordered a hearty porridge breakfast at the Airtime Cafe — so delicious; we ate there three times over the course of the weekend — and then set off for what we had read would be a three-hour hike. I guess that estimate doesn’t include climbing up the waterfalls, or stopping to take photos, because that “three hours” took us all day. Don’t get me wrong — it was fantastic — but if you like to wander like us then definitely bring snacks: We had eaten all of our granola bars by the time we reached the restaurant suggested for lunch at 4pm.

Neither words nor pictures can do Lauterbrunnen justice, but let me attempt to paint you a picture: Rustic Swiss chalets snuggled under mountain cliffs, the tinkling of bells from the necks of grazing cows and sheep, a patchwork of yellow and orange autumn foliage, crisp mountain air, majestic snowy peaks… It doesn’t get much more Swiss than Lauterbrunnen. We started by hiking up Staubbach Falls — the first waterfall in the photos, which was right behind our hotel — and then took our time soaking in the landscape as we made our way to Trümmelbach Falls, which powerfully gush through the inside of a mountain. We chose to climb up the stairs and really loved stopping at the 10 lookout points, which are equipped with safety rails. But if you’re feeling tired, another option would be to take the elevator to the upper landing and hike to the lookout points from there. At certain spots inside the mountain, the sound of the rushing water echoing off the rocky cliffs was deafening.

Gui and I wolfed down a very late lunch at the hotel/restaurant in Stechelberg before making our return to Lauterbrunnen, which, with a bit of encouragement from the fading daylight, was much speedier 🙂 Dinner that night was a tasty mix of Swiss specialties — hot soup, raclette, rösti and pints of Interlaken beer — at Hotel Silberhorn before I climbed back onto my top bunk.

I’ll put up a separate post about the next day’s adventure to the top of the Schilthorn, but these photos should keep you busy for now. And yes, I know they look fake, but they’re not, I promise… Enjoy!

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