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Farmhouse in Lauterbrunnen Valley, Switzerland

ABOVE: Farmhouse in Lauterbrunnen Valley, with waterfall in background.

Wengen and Mürren are more famous, Grindelwald hosts more tourists, Gimmelwald attracts more disciples of guidebook guru Rick Steves, and Interlaken offers grander hotels. But for hikers, skiers, and alpine sightseers with limited budgets, Lauterbrunnen has much to offer--including a valley location that makes it a convenient touring base for the Jungfrau Region, especially when traveling by car.

Mountain walls and waterfalls

Lauterbrunnen is tucked into a deep, long valley of rocky cliffs and green pastures. The valley has 72 waterfalls, including the Staubbach Falls and the equally famous Trümmelbach Falls, a series of 10 falls inside a mountain gorge that require a descent by undeground funicular. In Lauterbrunnen itself, the Talmuseum has exhibits on iron mining and other aspects of the valley's history.

Park and ride

Overlooking the valley are two famous alpine resorts: Wengen and Mürren. Both towns are car-free, and motorists are required to park their cars in the valley before ascending to the resorts by cogwheel train or cablecar. (If you're one of those motorists, follow the signs and park in an outdoor lot or garage.)

Once you've parked your car (or, better yet, arrived by train), you can enjoy any number of local excursions--among them, the Schilthorn cable car, which departs from nearby Stechelberg and pauses in Mürren on its way to the mountaintop restaurant that was disguised as a villain's headquarters in the James Bond movie, On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Getting to Lauterbrunnen

Lauterbrunnen is south of Interlaken, past Wilderswil and the turnoff for Grindelwald. If you're traveling by train, you can enjoy a circular tour of Interlaken-Grindelwald-Kleine Scheidegg-Wengen-Lauterbrunnen-Interlaken or vice versa. For train connections from any point in Switzerland, consult the Swiss Official Timetable or the Swiss Federal Railways electronic route planner.

Web links

For links to the village's official tourist site, hotels, a hostel, apartments, photos, and other Web sites about Lauterbrunnen, see page 2.

Continued on page 2 

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