Oh, magical Lauterbrunnen. This sleepy village town nestled in the valleys of the Swiss Alps boasts snow-capped mountains, dramatic cliffs and 72 cascading waterfalls. It inspired J.R.R. Tolkien’s Rivendall and set the scene for James Bond movie in 1969. Take a look and you will understand why!To be honest, I didn’t expect to fall in love with Switzerland. I don’t particularly fancy the snow and cold. But as soon as I set eyes on Lauterbrunnen, I was mesmerized by her beauty.At only one kilometer in width, Lauterbrunnen is a walkable town. Why would you want to do anything else with scenery like this? At 297 meters and the second tallest waterfall in Switzerland, the spectacular Staubbach falls puts on quite a show. In the summer warm winds swirl the waters around, so that the Falls spray in all directions. In 1779, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe visited the valley, and was inspired by the roaring waters to write his poem ‘Spirit song over the waters’ Once you have spent a day exploring the village, its time to take the Jungfrau railway to the Top of Europe! From the peak of the Jungfraujoch – the highest altitude railway station on the continent at 3,454 meters – you will be greeted with views of Aletsch Glacier and visibility over 10 miles in every direction. On a clear day you can even see bits of the Black Forest in France and Germany.At the Glacier Plateau, a Swiss Flag stands proud since 1912. For another panoramic view of the glaciers, head out to the Sphinx Terrace Observatory. Good news! Jungfraujoch is open 365 days a year and always has snow to enjoy. I recommend allowing a full day for this experience and at least three hours at the top. (Or longer if you plan to hike)A return ticket to Jungfrau from Lauterbrunnen is a bit steep at 183.60 CHF (about 186 USD) but so worth it! If you are on a budget, consider a shorter ride to Schilthorn at 102 CHF for equally beautiful views, but often minimal snow. Jungfraujoch is also accessible by train from Interlaken, Grindelwald, and Kleine Scheidegg.
Prepare for the 9 km train ride to take 2 hours each way, leading through Eiger and Mönch. But you will be blessed with amazing views the whole way (outside of the tunnels). At the Eismeer and Eigerwand intermediate stations, feel free to hop out and snap some photos!
Once you reach the top, you will enter into a high-Alpine wonderland of ice and snow. Feeling adventurous? Go Snow tubing, Sledging, Skiing, or Snowboarding, Ziplining, or Skydiving in the Snow Fun Park. Channel your inner child with a snowball fight or hike one hour across the glacier to the Mönchsjoch hut.Enter into the glacier of Jungfraufirn and find yourself in an Ice Palace. In 1932, two mountain guides began carving this huge 1,000 meter hall from the glacier ice by axe and saw. The cave is constantly moving at 15 cm/yr and must be artificially cooled to minus three degrees to keep frozen.Get lost in the winding passageways to find shimmering sculptures of animals and crystals. Next stop is for indulging your senses. Lindt Swiss Chocolate Heaven is an experience unlike any other. From cocoa extraction to the production of the world-famous Lindor truffle, enjoy six interactive exhibits. There is even a virtual Lindt Maître de Chocolatier to show you how a chocolate bar is created. Enter the Chocolate Shop at your own risk! There is temptation abound as sweet seduction lingers on the shelves. I can assure you won’t walk out empty handed.For Jungfrau Railway’s 100 year anniversary, a 250-metre long adventure tour, Alpine Sensation was created. Through murals, lights and music, the tour tells the story of tourism past and present in the Jungfrau. Be sure to check the weather forecast before booking your tickets. You can also follow the 360° live Jungfraujoch webcam. I visited in the beginning of May and it snowed heavily at the top of the mountain.Dress in warm layers, the temperature will change as you ascend the mountain. It will be warmer in the valleys, but it gradually gets colder the higher you go. The average temperature is -7.9 degrees Celsius at the top! Bring sunglasses, the snow glare can be intense.
As you can see, Lauterbrunnen is nothing short of a majestic slice of heaven on Earth.
Where is the most magical place you’ve ever been?