My Lonely Planet had less than half a page of information on Lauterbrunnen: just a small town in the Swiss Alps, just somewhere to rest your legs it says. While planning my trip through Switzerland, I had only planned two days stay in this region in the fear that I would get bored. I was pleasantly surprised, when I arrived from a long bus journey through Germany, at the beauty of the valley and the absolutely picturesque scenery surrounding the campsite that I ended up staying for a week.
The Lauterbrunnen Valley, a small town in the Mt Jungfrau region, isn’t as much as a town. It consists of one main street with fairytale like houses, small wooden structures with red flowers on its window sills, complete with pretty little gardens, and a town centre lined with boutique stores selling Swiss army knives. Cows with their decorative bells on their neck, dotted the fields of the valley, chiming along as they follow my stride slowly, before settling down for some fresh young grass. I could easily mistaken this to be a dream, where I had stepped into the world of folk fables, and expecting Goldie Locks to be greeting me from around the corner.
The Jungfrau region is famous for its waterfalls, with Lauterbrunnen the main gateway to many of these wonders. The most impressive, is the easily reached enclosed waterfall in this region, Trummelbach Falls.
Trummelbach is hidden within the rocks of the mountains accessible by a man-made lift from the outside, with a bit of trek along the trails within the rock face. Sculpted over time by the force of the gushing glacial water, Trummelbach drains the glacier defiles of Eiger (3970 m), Monk (4099 m) and Jungfrau (4158 m) peaks and in every second carries 20,000 litres of water through its rocky tunnel.
From the Trummelbach as well as other waterfalls in this area, the waters join forces on the mountain floors forming a river that runs through the valley with icy cold glacier water. The rapid can be heard from afar, as I trek to explore the surrounding regions. There is much to do in this area. For hikers, there are so many trails to follow up the mountains or into other towns nearby. For serious adventurers, there are white water rafting, sky diving, paragliding and other fun stuff that, if you have the money, you’ll be able to do them all.
If there is one thing that must be done, it is to catch a series of cable cars up the mountain to the Shilthorn peak for a view of the surrounds. The cable trip takes about 20 mins from the bottom up to the peak, and the view from the top is incredible. At 2971 meters above sea level, it is constantly 15 degrees Celsius cooler than down in the valley. I survey my surrounds and I could see the peaks of other mountains, as well as look down to the base of the mountains with the panoramic view. One could also go up the Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe peak at 3454 meters above sea level, where in the middle of summer snow has not stopped to top the peaks, it is certainly is a magical place to be.
Days spent in Lauterbrunnen valley, or should I say the Jungfrau region, was great. Not only did it give me the opportunity to get close to nature and see things I’ve always wanted to see, it was also a relaxing time for me, for each day was spent walking around aimlessly looking out for wildlife and amuse myself with the beautiful landscapes. People here are friendly and hospitable. If you like hiking, you could follow the train trail into the town of Interlaken, a small town wedged between two glacial lakes that ooze charm and serenity. Visit some of the boutique shops or dine in one of the specialty cafes, it doesn’t matter if you cannot make the return journey by foot, as bed is just a quick train ride back.
The town of Interlaken, and the valley of Lauterbrunnen is easily reached by the ever so punctual Swiss train links. Camping Jungfrau in Lauterbrunnen is an excellent base for exploring the surrounds, and offer quality tent sites and cabins to cater for all travel styles and budgets.