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Lauterbrunnen at 796m (rather low for ski slopes) sits at the base of the mountain railway up to Wengen on one side and Murrren on the other. It is a pretty little village set in some of the world's most spectacular scenery. It's world famous landmark is the sparkling Staubbach Waterfall but for most the main attraction in winter is some of the most affordable lodging in Switzerland in a small, relaxed village.

Located on the valley floor between Murren and Wengen this is the ideal resort for those wanting real choice with their Jungfrau Region Pass, especially as it includes Interlaken further down the valley.

Mountain

In an average winter adequate snow down to Lauterbrunnen only happens in January and February, when skiers can make one of the world's biggest vertical descents down the route of the Inferno race, over 2,200 metres from the Schilthorn, the famous revolving restaurant above Murren which featured in the James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service (and indeed was only completed thanks to cash from the film company). There are no ski lifts in the valley itself so each morning guests normally decide whether to go up to the Wengen/Grindelwald side, or the Murren side, or indeed take the day off and head down to Interlaken - all are included on the Jungfrau lift pass. On the Mürren side the most famous runs for advanced skiers are down from the Schilthorn, the main one 6km (4 miles) back down to Mürren. If you're staying for less than three days be aware you have to pay to descend in the cable car from here, those who ski save the fare! Longer stayers get the descent included in their pass. Another good run is the Happy Valley - smooth and fast and easily reached from the cable car. An off piste and heli-ski paradise surrounds you in Lauterbrunnen. The Mountaineering Centre (offices in the mountain ski centres and Interlaken) and the ski schools offer guiding to the various off piste powder snow and glacier descents, whilst a heliski operator based in Interlaken (see Interlaken entry) can take you to mind-numbiungly wonderful descents of between a world beating 2-3000 metres when conditions are good.

Eating Out

No visit to Lauterbrunnen is complete without a visit to the remarkable revolving restaurant perched on top of the Schilthorn mountain, also known as 'Piz Gloria' (2970m / 9750ft) with incredible views all around. The panorama from here includes Mont Blanc on the French - Italian border, the German Black Forest as well as the local peaks of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. Solar powered and seating up to 340 diners it revolves once per hour, giving you enough time to knock back a martini (shaken not stirred) with your plate of James Bond Spaghetti. In resort the choice is more limited with restaurants in hotels such as the Oberland and Schutzen amongst the best choices.

Apres

There are a few hotel bars in Lauterbrunnen but you have the option of popping down to sample the huge choice in Interlaken or staying on the mountain after the lifts close in Wengen or Murren and getting a late train down (but be sure you catch the last one, Cinderella, or it's a long, cold walk). If you opt for Murren the Eiger Bar is popular and the Palace Hotel has an up market cocktail bar and disco. The Tachi disco (do not mis-pronounce) is more laid back.

// HIGHLIGHTS //
Vertical drop
2176m
Ski area
213
Resort height
796m
Airport
Zürich
Train station
Lauterbrunnen
beginner
20%
intermediate
60%
expert
20%