About 70km southeast of Bern lays the valley of Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland. Regarded as one of the most beautiful valleys in Europe, it is tucked away in the Bernese Oberland of the Swiss Alps. The German word Lauterbrunnen means “Many Springs” or more accurately: “Loud Springs” and the name comes from 72 thundering waterfalls that gush down into the valley from the vertical cliff faces, some of which are several hundred meters high.
About a kilometre in width, the Lauterbrunnen Valley is one of the deepest in the Alpine chain; especially when compared with the height of the mountains that rise directly on either side. The valley lies between gigantic rock faces and mountain peaks, which sometimes rise perpendicularly to heights of 300 meters. Besides its waterfalls, the Lauterbrunnen valley is perfect for hikes, paragliding or skydiving.
Also Read: The Best Things in Switzerland Are Free
At the bottom, you’ll find the village of Lauterbrunnen, nestled between towering limestone precipices and surrounded on three sides by the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau Mountains. The valley extends south and then turns south-westwards from the village to form a U shape and is comprised of the small towns of Wengen, Mürren, Gimmelwald, Stechelberg, and Isenfluh. The villages Mürren, Gimmelwald and Wengen are only accessible by gondola or by foot creating this magical rural countryside feeling.
The Wonderful Waterfalls of Lauterbrunnen
This perfect combo of majestic water wonders, the towering steep rock walls and the Alps’ magical charm is the reason why Lauterbrunnen became a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in 2001. The village’s dramatic cliffs and thunderous falls have inspired many musicians, writers and poets.
For example, Johann Goethe’s poem, “Song of the Spirit of the Waterfalls”, was inspired by his memories of Staubach. The poem was later set to music by Franz Schubert, and also inspired J.R.R. Tolkien’s Misty Mountains of “The Hobbit”. Adding to that, it is said that Tolkien got the idea for Rivendell during a hike from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen. And let’s not forget the James Bond 1969 classic On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was also shot in Lauterbrunnen.
Anywhere you go in the valley, you’ll always hear the hypnotizing sound of water rushing down the rocks. Just like after heavy rainfall, the air here is also moist and fresh.
Some of the waterfalls you must visit are:
The landmark of Lauterbrunnen, Staubbach Fall is situated less than a kilometre from the village of Lauterbrunnen. It is one of Europe’s highest free-falling waterfalls as the height of the cascade is between 800 and 900 feet (240 and 270 m) formed of a single unbroken fall.
Hidden behind a mountain consisting of a series of ten glacier-fed waterfalls, Trümmelbach Falls is another spectacular natural phenomenon. On hot summer days and after heavy thunderstorms, it carries up to 20,000 litres of water per second through the narrow gorge.
Just outside Lauterbrunnen, you will find the Mürrenbach falls in Stechelberg. From a height of 417 meters above Mürrenfluh, the water falls in five cascades. It is also one of the tallest falls in Switzerland and is uninterrupted throughout the year. However, it is at its best after the snow melt in the spring.
For Sherlock fans, a visit to the nearby Reichenbach waterfalls is a must, as this is where the confrontation between Holmes and his archenemy Professor Moriarty took place. The falls are located near Meiringen in the Bernese Oberland region, on the Reichenbach stream. They have a total drop of 250 meters.
At the right side of the Lauterbrunnen valley, you will find Staldenbachfall. Fed by the river Staldenbach, and the Silberhorn glacier, it cascades down over multiple stages. Its total height is between 300-500 meters. Also near it is Mattenbachfall.
This powerful waterfall lies at the end of the Lauterbrunnen valley, near Stechelberg. A wonderful hidden gem, the water from the River Tschingel Lütschine shoots through the hard rock and plunges below.
Also near the village Lauterbrunnen, you will find the Spissbachfall. Fed with melted snow from the mountains, it falls from a height of 290 meters in a single leap.
Brace yourselves for this thrilling experience where you are surrounded by the most glorious glacial valley in the Swiss Alps, discover these plunging waterfalls at close quarters and marvel at exhilarating picturesque of this spectacular valley of 72 waterfalls!