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Bernese Oberland is one of Switzerland’s most popular tourist destinations. The famous trio of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau along with waterfalls, mountains, lakes, castles, and other scenic landmarks are just some of the reasons this area is so loved. The people who want to visit this area would have to decide where to stay eventually. Two of the most scenic choices are Lauterbrunnen and Mürren. In this article, we will explore the question – is it better to stay in Lauterbrunnen or in Mürren? Let’s find out.
Visitors from all over the world might wonder: Is it better to stay in Lauterbrunnen or Mürren? Other than being able to bring your car with you, what are the advantages? Or is it better to stay in Mürren instead? You might have a hard time deciding between the two.
Each village has its unique claim to fame; Lauterbrunnen boasts towering mountain peaks and cascading waterfalls, while Mürren offers a bird’s-eye view of the Lauterbrunnen valley and surrounding peaks. They’re both great options, but one might be better for you.
Key Differences: Lauterbrunnen vs. Mürren
The key differences between Lauterbrunnen and Mürren are as follows:
|Population: approx. 2,300
|Population: approx. 450
|Total Area: 164.4 km2 (63.5 sq mi)
|Total Area: 10.5 km²
|Elevation: 802 m (2,631 ft)
|Elevation: 1,638 meters
|Comprises major Lauterbrunnen Valley
|Accessible by train and cable car
|Highlights: Staubbach Waterfall, Trümmelbach Waterfalls, Wengen, Schilthorn, Kleine Scheidegg, Jungfraujoch
|Highlights: Schilthorn, Gimmelwald, Stechelberg, Allmendhubel, Mürrenbach Waterfall
Lauterbrunnen is an idyllic village surrounded by waterfalls. The entire area is best described as a valley with 72 waterfalls. Lauterbrunnen is a great place to start exploring the Jungfrau Region. It is only around 10 kilometers away from Mürren.
Lauterbrunnen village is situated at the valley bottom of this magnificent U-shaped valley in Switzerland. Most of the residents of this valley are actually from Lötschental, the adjacent valley located in Valais. A road was said to have passed between the Eiger and Mönch on the way to Valais. It is said that the heights used to be much milder and more fertile.
By taking the train from Lauterbrunnen, you can reach the sunny car-free terrace of Wengen as well as Kleine Scheidegg. From Kleine Scheidegg, you can change trains to go to Jungfraujoch. You may access Mürren through Lauterbrunnen itself or via Stechelberg on the other side of Lauterbrunnen. In addition, if you keep ascending, you’ll reach Piz Gloria – the summit of Schilthorn at 2,971 meters above sea level.
Mürren is positioned a bit higher than Lauterbrunnen, at 1,645 meters above sea level. There are also spectacular views of the bottom of the valley, and the town is quiet and car-free. While Lauterbrunnen is also small, this village is even smaller compared to other destinations in the Jungfrau Region, such as Grindelwald and Wengen.
While Lauterbrunnen is situated in a valley surrounded by waterfalls, Mürren’s charm lies in its elevated position, offering visitors a stunning view from the top.
Mürren also has well-known tourist spots near it, though probably not as well-known as Jungfraujoch. From Mürren, you have easier access to Schilthorn (Piz Gloria) as well as quieter villages such as Gimmelwald, Allmendhubel, and Stechelberg. Down the valley, you can also reach Mürrenbach Waterfall.
Accessibility: Lauterbrunnen vs. Mürren
Lauterbrunnen is easier to reach by car and by train compared to Mürren. Since Mürren is car-free, you will have to park either at the Lauterbrunnen Valley Car Park or at the Schilthorn Car Park first. From either one of those, you will have to take public transport to reach the village of Mürren.
Traveling to Lauterbrunnen
Lauterbrunnen allows all cars into the town, making it easy for visitors to reach their hotel by car. Trains can also be taken directly from Interlaken Ost train station. Except for Schilthorn and Gimmelwald, which are closer to Mürren, Lauterbrunnen is generally more easily accessible from most locations in the Jungfrau region.
Traveling to Mürren
Visitors to Mürren need to take the cable car leading to Grütschalp in Lauterbrunnen. When visitors arrive in Grütschalp, they must change to the train that will take them to Mürren.
Another option is to go via Gimmelwald and Stechelberg. In Stechelberg, visitors can park their cars in the valley station of Schilthorn. After this, they will have to ride the cable car to Gimmelwald, and then the cable car to Mürren.
If you would like to learn more about the way to get from Interlaken to Mürren, you can check out our article How to Get From Interlaken to Mürren.
Places to Visit: Lauterbrunnen vs. Mürren
While Mürren and Lauterbrunnen are near each other (only 23 minutes apart), it’s worth noting that Mürren is further away from popular destinations like Jungfraujoch (2 hours) and Grindelwald (1 hour and 11 minutes).
If you plan on visiting Jungfraujoch or Grindelwald, then Lauterbrunnen may be the more favorable choice.
Places to Visit near Lauterbrunnen
- Staubbach Waterfall – The Staubbach Waterfall is a waterfall in Switzerland located just west of Lauterbrunnen in the Bernese Highlands. It falls 297 meters from a valley overhanging the Weisse Lütschine, before the end of the overhanging cliff.
- Trümmelbach Waterfalls – There are ten glacier-fed waterfalls in Switzerland’s Trümmelbach Falls. It is accessible by a tunnel-funicular built back in 1913.
- Wengen – Wengen is 1,274 meters above sea level. On a terrace with a spectacular panorama, Wengen offers views of both Lauterbrunnen village below and the surrounding high mountains above.
- Männlichen – Männlichen is a 2,343-metre mountain easily accessible from Wengen and Grindelwald. From Männlichen, you get a fantastic view of Mönch, Eiger, and Jungfrau.
- Kleine Scheidegg – Kleine Scheidegg is a mountain pass at an elevation of 2,061 meters. It is located between Eiger and Lauberhorn. Kleine Scheidegg makes a great starting point for excursions to Jungfraujoch and Lauberhorn. It is also the meeting point of two rack railways.
- Eiger Glacier – The Eiger Glacier lies on the northwest side of the Eiger Mountain.
- Jungfraujoch – The saddle between Jungfrau (at 4,158 m above sea level) and Mönch (at 4,110 m above sea level). It is also the location of the highest mountain railway in Europe at 3,454 meters above sea level.
- Grindelwald First – First is a minor summit on the slopes of the Schwarzhorn in the Bernese Oberland. Most people know it as a cable car station above Grindelwald. Aside from hikes, two activities that stand out in this area are the Grindelwald First Flyer and the Grindelwald First Glider. Both are available from July to October. For the safety of visitors, it is subject to weather conditions.
- Grindelwald First Flyer – The Grindelwald Flyer is an 800-meter zip line moving at 80 kilometers per hour. It starts in Scheckfeld and ends in Grindelwald.
- Grindelwald First Glider – This is another thrilling experience you should try. The strap is in the form of an eagle and is attached to a pulley. It also moves at a speed of 80 kph while offering spectacular views.
- Grindelwald First Cliff Walk – High walkway suspended from the side of the mountain offering fantastic valley views.
- Bachalpsee Lake – Walking there takes around 50 minutes from First. It’s so picturesque as you can see Schreckhorn reflecting in the lake.
- Upper Grindelwald Glacier – Between Schreckhorn and Wetterhorn, a vast snow field forms Upper Grindelwald Glacier (Oberer Grindelwaldgletscher in German). Its glacier tongue is at 1,400 meters and is one of the lowest glaciers in the Alps.
- Lower Grindelwald Glacier – Below Agassizhorn and Strahlegghörner lies the Lower Grindelwald Glacier (Unterer Grindelwaldgletscher in German). It is connected to the Finsteraar Glacier through the Finsteraarjoch.
- Pfingstegg – The starting point for hikes going to both glaciers in Grindelwald. You can reach Pfingstegg by cable car from Grindelwald. Additionally, there is a toboggan run and a fly line.
Places to Visit Near Mürren
- Schilthorn – This is the summit above the village of Mürren and the highest mountain north of Sefinenfurgge Pass. It is around 2,970 meters above sea level.
- Stechelberg – Stechelberg is a small village located at the base of the Schwarzmönch mountain in the Bernese Alps.
- Mürrenbach Waterfall – In five cascades, Mürrenbach Waterfall drops 417 meters to the ground, making it Switzerland’s highest waterfall.
- Gimmelwald – A small car-free village, Gimmelwald is located between Stechelberg and Mürren. It is 1,363 meters above sea level.
Advantages: Lauterbrunnen vs. Mürren
Advantages of Staying in Lauterbrunnen
- Opt for Lauterbrunnen over Mürren as it is more accessible from other parts of Switzerland, unlike the latter which is quite secluded and more difficult to reach.
- Lauterbrunnen is not car-free. Stay here if you prefer to bring your car.
- For those interested in discovering multiple locations in the Jungfrau region rather than staying in one area, Lauterbrunnen is the preferable option as it provides superior access to other sites.
- If you are seeking greater diversity in your activities, then Lauterbrunnen would be the better choice, as it offers more sightseeing options like waterfalls and scenic hikes, rather than just mountain sports such as skiing and hiking.
Advantages of Staying in Mürren
- Mürren is car-free. Stay here if you prefer to stay in a traditional Swiss mountain village that is car-free.
- Although both locations are relatively small, Mürren is notably more peaceful and secluded than Lauterbrunnen. You’ll find fewer restaurants, hotels, and facilities there. Choose it over Lauterbrunnen if you want to stay somewhere more peaceful.
- The mountains around Mürren offer more traditional activities such as hiking, biking, and skiing. If you plan to ski or hike a lot, Mürren is the better choice.
- Mürren is closer to Stechelberg, Allmend, and Schilthorn.
- Mürren is a traditional mountain village with Walser roots. Cable cars or scenic trains can take you there. The valley will also be visible from the top, unlike Lauterbrunnen where you will be at the bottom.
Hotels: Lauterbrunnen vs. Mürren
Lauterbrunnen has a larger selection of hotels due to its size and accessibility, while Mürren has a smaller selection of hotels because of its location. The hotels in Mürren may be more expensive due to their exclusive location and the added cost of transportation to the mountaintop.
Listed below are some recommended hotels in both places:
Hotels in Lauterbrunnen
- Hotel Silberhorn, Lauterbrunnen (3-star) – Enjoy the closeness to nature and a breathtaking view of the Staubbach Fall in the light-flooded winter garden of the Silberhorn Hotel. Only 150 meters from Lauterbrunnen’s train station, the Silberhorn Hotel is located off the main street. The Alpine-style restaurant offers Swiss specialties and a rich breakfast buffet. They serve 4-course dinners from December through April.
- Apartment Staubbach (Apartment) – This spacious apartment has three bedrooms and plenty of space for six people, making it a great choice for families or groups of friends. In addition to its impeccable views, the apartment has a fully equipped kitchen, flat-screen TV, and dining area outside.
- Chalet Chalet am Schärm (Chalet) – Chalet with six bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a fully equipped kitchen. Additionally, it is only a short walk from the cable car that runs from Lauterbrunnen to Grütschalp.
Hotels in Mürren
- Eiger Mürren Swiss Quality (4-star) – With fantastic mountain views, a modern spa, an indoor pool, and friendly staff, this hotel is just a few steps from the Mürren train station.
- Hotel Edelweiss Superior (3-star superior) – Three minutes from the Mürren Train Station, this 3-star superior hotel offers panoramic views of the Bernese Alps and Lauterbrunnen Valley. Comfortable and pleasant, this hotel is a great place to stay.
- Hotel Bellevue (3-star) – With gorgeous mountain views, a great breakfast, and a spa, this family-run hotel is a great place to stay in Mürren.
Final Thoughts: Lauterbrunnen vs. Mürren
Visiting the Bernese Oberland is such an enjoyable experience, and there is much literature and information about it. Your choice of a base will ultimately depend on your itinerary.
For travelers who want to be surrounded by the beauty of the mountains and have access to everything the area has to offer, Lauterbrunnen is the optimal location. But if you’re looking for a remote and peaceful escape, Mürren may be the better choice.
It’s important to note that although the two locations have their unique features, they are quite close to each other. You can’t go wrong with either one, as both are awe-inspiring places with stunning natural beauty and majestic mountains.
- Zurich To Lauterbrunnen Train: All You Need To Know
- Zurich to Mürren Train: All You Need To Know
- Geneva to Mürren Train: All You Need To Know
- Experience Trümmelbach Falls Once In Your Lifetime
- Top 10 Car-Free Ski Resorts in the Swiss Alps
- 12 Charming Car-Free Villages in Switzerland
- Most Beautiful Waterfalls in Switzerland
Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.
Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.