I have had two trips down to Lauterbrunnen and then up the other side of the valley.
The first was by cable car from Lauterbrunnen straight up, then a train along to Murren. This route is under valued, as it does not have the romance of the other route to Murren further up the valley.
I last did this route over 35 years ago! The train is the same, but the cable car is new, having been replaced only last year. As this side of the valley is usually in shadow at this time of year, and as some bright spark decided to paint the cable car black, it isn’t easy to get photos…
The valley has very, very steep sides, often sheer, and the train wends its way along the relatively flat ledge between the drop and the slopes above. It goes mainly through trees, so again very pretty but not conducive to good pix!
There is more snow on this side than in Wengen. Murren is also traffic free, but has a very different character to Wengen – not sure why – perhaps it is because there is not one centre to the village, which is a long string of houses and hotels, with the train station at one end.
At the other end is the dramatic route up and down. The Schilthorn cableway. Which starts at the valley floor and makes its way over 4 stages to Piz Gloria, the revolving restaurant right on the summit of the Schilthorn – and made famous in the James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. I did this route in fantastic weather at the end of last week.
Once in Lauterbrunnen, you get a bus along the valley floor for about 20 minutes. You then take the first cable car up to Gimmelwald. At this point the valley sides are sheer rock, and the ride is spectacular (read petrifying if you happen to be afraid of heights!!). Then there is another car to Murren – very pretty with the snow sparkling in the sun.
On the third stage things really start to get interesting. This one goes high over the ski runs up to Birg, with that station being set on the very top of a pinnacle of rock, with stupendous views down the valley and over to the Wengen side and the Jungfrau range.
But the thrills are not over yet, as the fourth and final car takes you higher still to the very top of the Schilthorn.
This is high enough to make you adjust your breathing. Here, as well as that restaurant, there is a viewing platform where you can see right over many of the lower mountains to Bern and on to the Black Forest in Germany. I spent ages just standing and looking….
But having got this far, one must visit the restaurant! It revolves a full circle in about 45 mins – exactly the time it takes to order and enjoy a chicken ‘sandwich’ and a hot chocolate. This place is hyped up a lot, and I must admit I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was painted – but I was wrong – it was even better!