This post is a continuation of a long drawn out series documenting our travels to a beautiful corner of the spectacularly scenic country of Switzerland in the European summer of 2022. We were on our last day in the Swiss Alps. We had just completed the highly recommended Panorama trail in the morning (The Royal walk , the Panorama trail & Wengen – Swiss Sojourn, Part 9) but we still had the evening left & we didn’t want to waste any minute of our time left here. I asked the better half if she still had energy left for the valley walk in Lauterbrunnen. The trooper that she is, she readily agreed. So when we returned down to Lauterbrunnen from Wengen we decided to do the 5 kilometre long Lauterbrunnen valley walk before returning back to our hotel in Murren.
Lauterbrunnen is the most popular base in the Berner Oberlander region and it showed! I was prepared for Lauterbrunnen to be busier than Murren but the sheer number of people & trailer parks filled with parked vehicles we saw in Lauterbrunnen while passing through it surprised me. It far outnumbered the number of people we had seen in the past 3 days in Murren & Murren has 0 cars! Never a fan of crowded towns, being a resident of one all my life we quickly walked past the bustling part of town without lingering around and started towards the much more quieter pedestrian path that went through the valley towards Stechelberg from where we would take the other cable car up to Murren. It’s really surprising how the crowds thin out when you leave town and enter the trail / walking paths – I certainly wasn’t complaining!
Packed Lauterbrunnen in peak summer season
Lauterbrunnen Trailer park / parking yard filled with vehicles
The walk from Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg is on a flat paved path for most of the way and has the famous limestone cliffs on either side. We had planned to stop at the Staubbach falls as the better half was keen on going up to the waterfall. But as we walked towards the region where the falls were supposed to be roaring down the limestone cliffs we could hardly see anything. We could see a small trickle gently falling down the cliffs on close observation – the harsh summer had tamed the famed Staubbach falls. The better half was disappointed at the sorry sight and we decided to move on without going up to the falls base itself. (There was still a crowd of people there, I wonder why!)
The disappointing trickle of Staubbach falls in the background
The cemetery right opposite the falls were more photogenic than the falls themselves . And if you think it’s weird to call a cemetery photogenic you have never been to a beautiful European one. I have been always blown away by the carefully maintained and always colourful cemeteries everywhere I have been in Europe, the one in Lauterbrunnen was no different.
The scenic Freidhof cemetery in Lauterbrunnen
You really have to strain to see the falls themselves!
As the path led away from Lauterbrunnen the thinner the crowds became & prettier the scenery got. The Alpine wooden chalets were less frequent now and there were just green meadows all around. We walked at a leisurely pace since we were in no hurry to get anywhere and there were still plenty of daylight hours left to spare.
The last of the cluster of Wooden Chalets in Lauterbrunnen
The Green meadows in the Lauterbrunnen valley with the cliffs in the background
We then walked to where the next falls were supposed to be, the Buchenbach falls and it was yet another trickle. We were expecting it this time and had a hearty laugh when we actually came up to the site of the falls itself. At least the surroundings were more scenic than the Staubbach, with a beautiful meadow and Alpine forest patch into which the falls were coming down into.
The equally tricky but more scenic Buchenbach falls
I’m sure the falls are much more spectacular when the region gets a normal winter and spring but for us they were a major disappointment. But even without the waterfalls the valley walk is a beautiful leisurely walk with spectacular scenery all around, so we certainly weren’t complaining too much. The falls would have just been an added bonus.
Happy us on the Lauterbrunnen valley walk
The sheer limestone cliffs make for some pretty photos
As the path moved towards Stechelberg cable car station it got narrower and there were some chalets with pretty flowering gardens where we stopped for some photos.
Chalets with beautiful flowering gardens
A timber depot with the cliffs on the other side
We had some feline company on the track too!
Then the valley opened up and gave me one of my most memorable photos on the trip – The cliffs on the side, the snow covered peaks in the distance & a path winding down some pristine green meadows.
A beautiful photo op on the Lauterbrunnen valley walk
The view on the other side
As the cable car station approached we moved closer to the river that had till now been further away to the path itself. The path then crossed over the river to the other side and we were at the cable car station. We had successfully done two trails in a day – one a high altitude Panorama trail & the other a valley walk in Lauterbrunnen. It was more than 15 kms walked but it had all been spectacular but the legs had started complaining now.
The path moves closer to the river before we reach the cable car station
The last part of the valley walk before we reach the cable car station at Stechelberg
We then boarded the next cable car up to Gimmelwald and took the connecting cable car straight up to Murren. The walk across Murren seemed longer than usual to our tired legs but it was still bright outside when we reached our hotel.
Taking the cable car up from Stechelberg
On our way back to the Alpenblick hotel after a long day
We booked a table for ourselves for dinner and went to the room to rest our poor tired legs for a while. We returned to the restaurant with rested legs & I was in for a treat. I had ordered their recommended pork belly & it turned out to be the best slow cooked pork belly I have ever eaten.(I’m salivating again as I reminisce about it melting in my mouth!) The better half had her Rosti with vegetables and we ordered the home made ice cream again but this time with some added whipped cream on top. We had certainly earned it today!
The best slow cooked pork belly I have ever eaten
Home made ice cream with whipped cream to top it off!
That was the perfect way to end yet another perfect day in the Swiss Alps, sadly our last day here. We slept soundly after packing our bags since we would be leaving the next morning for the last stop on our trip – the town of Montreux, on the shores of Lake Geneva.
We woke up to yet another sunny morning and enjoyed our last breakfast at the place we had enjoyed for the last 3 days. The Alpenblick had turned out to be the best hotel on the trip and we were sad to say goodbye to the ever smiling owners and take the train out of Murren.
The Hotel Alpenblick – A great choice in Murren
Enjoying our last morning on the balcony of the Alpenblick
Enjoying our breakfast on yet another sunny day in the Swiss Alps
We reached Lauterbrunnen and took the next train out from there towards Interlaken. We had to change a couple of trains to reach Zweisimmen. Why Zweisimmen you might ask, it was because it was the starting point for the panorama train known as the Golden Pass Express which ran to Montreux. I had reserved seats on this special train as it came with glowing reviews from multiple sources.
Taking the cable car down to Lauterbrunnen
At the Lauterbrunnen station – saying goodbye to the Swiss Alps
On the regular train out from Lauterbrunnen
We reached Zweisimmen early and killed time outside the station by taking photos with the quirky cow wood sculpture outside the station. We bought a few refreshments from the supermarket just outside the station and had a picnic lunch.
Killing time outside the Zweisimmen railway station
Soon our train arrived and we got to our reserved seats to see what all the fuss was about. While it’s true that the windows in the “Panorama train” were much bigger than the usual trains I don’t think it made much difference to the travel experience. The Swiss landscape is so beautiful that you don’t need a special train to enjoy it.
The Swiss landscape from the Golden Pass express
In the panorama coaches of the Golden Pass express
The scenery was gorgeous all around as the train went through one picture postcard meadow after another. The next 2 hours were spent oohing and aahing at the view all around. But sadly our luck with the weather had finally run out! What had started as a sunny morning in Murren started to get cloudier & cloudier as we moved down from the Alps towards Lake Geneva.
The pretty Swiss scenery with cloudy skies from the Golden Pass Express
The better half enjoys the views
Finally we reached Lake Geneva and the skies were looking ominous here. We would finally get the rain that we were dreading since the start of the trip. We thanked the Gods that we had enjoyed the good weather where we needed it the most, out hiking in the Alps!
Ominous grey skies greet us as we reach lake Geneva
Taking a few selfies before our Golden Pass train ride ends!
We reached Montreux train station and walked to our lake side Golf Hotel which was a 4 star hotel I had decided to splurge on as a relaxing end to the trip. We checked in and went to our beautiful lake view room and it was fully worth it just for the view from the balcony itself!
The amazing view from our lake view room at the Golf Hotel in Montreux
We had thoroughly enjoyed our almost week long stay in the Swiss Alps – both in Zermatt and in Murren. Both resort towns were very different from each other, but it would be very hard for me to choose one over the other. For me they are both equally spectacular and have their own unique charm.
We had a full 24 hours to explore Montreux and the nearby Chateau de Chillon. The weather certainly didn’t look to be cooperating but we hoped that it would blow over. Whether it did or not is the topic for another post, some other time, some other day.
Such a lovely walk and amazing pictures. The Swiss countryside is too pretty for words. Loved this post and the super cute cow. Thanks for the ride
Great blog and photos as usual. Delight reading it!
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