The Sweet Spot of Switzerland: Lauterbrunnen

by: Michelle Spens

Step into a real-life fairytale—snow-capped peaks, waterfalls tumbling from sheer cliffs, churches reminiscent of Rapunzel’s tower.  No matter what your pleasure, anything from casual hikes to thrill-seeking paragliding, Switzerland is truly awe-inspiring!

Often called the Valley of 72 Waterfalls, Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland is nestled in the hills of the Swiss Alps.  The rolling green hills jet up into some of the most magnificent mountain peaks on earth. As we were unpacking in our hotel, we were called to the balcony to see cows parading through the center of town making magical music with their clanging bells.

Our first adventure was to take a gondola up the steep slopes into the Alps.  We hiked along the mountain path revisiting the grazing cows we observed the previous day in town.  The views are spectacular! Everything is absolutely pristine. We entered into the mountain town of Murren, home of meticulously cared for gardens bursting with alpine flowers.  Even the wooden homes look like a fairytale with streams running nearby between lush green hills. Here in Murren, you can watch the paragliders, grab a bite to eat, and enjoy the quaint, ski-town-feel of the community.  We continued on the path that led us to the tram which safely took us down the cliff edge to the base of the mountain again. Time for our next adventure.

Loud thundering and roaring in the interior of the mountain—gurgling, foaming, and churning water: these are the Trümmelbach Falls.  They are Europe’s largest subterranean waterfalls and are located right here in the Lauterbrunnen Valley. The Trümmelbach Falls are the world’s only glacial waterfalls that are accessible underground by lift, galleries, tunnels, paths, and platforms.  They alone carry the meltwater of the glaciers from the Jungfrau down to the valley—up to 20,000 liters of water per second. Prepare to don a sweatshirt or rain jacket as it gets pretty chilly and wet inside the falls.

Something about the Trümmelbach Falls inspired us to tackle our next unforgettable exploit.  We were absolutely entranced by the paragliders up near Murren and decided to go for it ourselves.  Each of us were accompanied by a tandem paraglider. I was so nervous and excited at the same time as my guide hauled our huge pack up the hill.  But I barely had time to be afraid as he harnessed us together, and in no time we took a couple steps down the hill, and we were UP! What an amazing feeling as we soared over the cliff edge.  Talk about stunning views! We got up close and personal with numerous waterfalls and glaciers and had the most stunning view of the mountains and verdant valleys. Definitely, an amazing bucket list item crossed off there!

The whole time in Switzerland, you’ll have to restrain yourself from singing the Sound of Music soundtrack.  And what would a trip to the Alps be without yodeling?  We got to experience a traditional Swiss yodeler along with a Swiss Alphorn and accordion performance.  This unique music is an indelible part of this place.

To end our fantasy day in the Alps, of course, we had a lovely meal ending with decadent Swiss Chocolate… almost too good to be true!

Something about this place makes you truly feel like Rapunzel escaping from her tower and living life for the first time.  That is the fairytale and magic of Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland.