17 days in Switzerland and Italy (8) - Lauterbrunnen and Wengen, Switzerland

Day 2 in Interlaken - Alps (cont.)


I have to say the cable ride down all the way to Lauterbrunnen was another surprise to me. I thoroughly enjoyed this part of ride. Viewing the valley from the cable car made me realize the height we were at at the moment. A must-try in my opinion.

The name of the town "Lauter Brunnen" means "many fountains". It lies in the Lauterbrunnen valley and is famous for waterfalls. Both Alex and I felt that the scene there looks kinda similar to the Yosemite National Park (the color of the rocks and waterfalls).

One of the most famous waterfalls in Lauterbrunnen is the Staubbach Falls. This is also the only place that we went to that didn't accept Swiss Pass. The entrance ticket is 12 SF per person. By staying in the local B&B, we received 1 SF off per ticket. The Staubbach Falls is composed of a series of 10 waterfalls. What made these waterfalls unique is that the water plunging almost 300 meters from an overhanging rock face, which made the fall swirling  and roaring down inside the mountain. Another thing I felt quite impressive was the tunnel elevator which takes the edge off an otherwise steep climb. The lift leads up to a platform from where people can visit the upper most waterfalls.

Since we were inside the mountains and were so close to the waterfalls, most of the time we were walking in a tunnel or climbing slippery stairs. To view the waterfalls, we needed to step out to the small look outs - The waterfalls hit the walls of the canyon, fall along the chutes, fall into foaming pools, and then disappear in darkness. What a spectacular view! Fortunately, we both wore water-proof jackets or otherwise, we will be wet from head to toes. Unfortunately, it's really dark inside the mountain, and it was really difficult for us to take nice pictures. Overall, magnificent! No wonder it's listed as a natural UNESCO world heritage site.

After visiting the Staubbach Falls, we caught the bus to return to the Lauterbrunnen train station. From here, we plan to try the other route to go to Wengen, which is on the way to Jungfraud.

Taking the small train to climb all the way up to Wengen was another first-time experience for us. I am always amazed by the train system in Switzerland, and this is no exception. The train was literally climbing up the mountains. Well, I am also amazed by how high Swiss people are willing to live. Places like Murren and Wengen are so high in the mountains that I would never want to live there (short stay should be fun, though).

It was a Sunday afternoon and all the stores were closed. Like Murren, we barely saw any local people in Wengen that day. I think it's partially because the peak season hasn't begin yet or maybe because it's a Sunday.

We only chose to ride to Wengen 'cos our Swiss Pass only covered our tickets to here. If we'd like to go further to Jungfraud we would be asked to pay about 135 SF per person even with the Swiss Pass ( think you get 25% off for this part of the route if I don't remember it wrong). Well, :) let's save some money and do something else.


With some extra time and two Swiss Passes in hand, we decided to take the train to visit another town which is a bit far away from Lauterbrunnen.

Hey, did I tell you that we kept bumping into people who we met earlier on the train? Apparently, tourists all visit the same places! In Ginderlwald, we met a group of people who were in the same morning train with us. It looks like they just came all the way back from Jundfraud. Oh, I also didn't say that Gindelwald is on the way back from or to Jungfraud, did I?

People who want to go visit Jundfraud usually have two routes to go there. Most people choose the Interlaken (or Interlaken West) - Lauterbrunnen - (Wengen on the way) - Kleine Scheldegg - Jungfraujoch and then come back from Jungfraujoch - Kleine Scheidegg - Grindelwald - Interlaken (or Interlaken West). So, what we really missed were the Kleine Scheidegg and Jungfraujoch part. :) I know you might be confused. I was VERY confused before I went there, but you will know what I am talking about by watching the map if you are interested in knowing more the locations/relationships of these stops.

Grindelwald is a bit bigger than the other towns we visited but everything's still within walking distance. Very typical Swiss town and typical Swiss view as you can see from the pictures below.

Finally, route recommendation time! I would highly recommend our visiting route: from Lauterbrunnen to Murren (by cable car + high mountain train); from Murren (Gimmelwad cable car station) to Schilthorn (by cable car); and then from Schilthorn to Gimmelwad and then to Lauterbruunen (by cable car). Of course, this is for people who'd like to visit Schilthorn. If you are interested in visiting Judfraud, then see the route I listed earlier.