In the valley of the 72 waterfalls
In 1911, the then 19-year-old J.R.R. Tolkien was travelling in the Jungfrau Region. Hardly anyone knows that the successful British author drew his inspiration for the landscapes of "The Lord of the Rings" in the Lauterbrunnen Valley. And indeed: anyone familiar with the books and film adaptations will feel transported to Middle Earth here every now and then. In particular, the 72 (!) waterfalls characterise the image of the Lauterbrunnen Valley. These are our top 5.
This 297-metre waterfall is the key landmark of Lauterbrunnen and the highest free-falling waterfall in Switzerland. Because of the frequent thermals, the water is sprayed in all directions like dust, which is how the waterfall got its name (Staub means dust). The Staubbach Waterfall is illuminated during the peak season. In summer, you can view it from behind thanks to a specially designed viewing gallery. Entry is free of charge. Even the world-famous poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was inspired by the impressive waterfall and wrote the poem «Song of the Spirits over the Waters».
There’s high, and then there's the Mürrenbach Waterfall. At Stechelberg, the water of the Mürrenbach Waterfall thunders 417 metres down into Lauterbrunnen Valley. This is Switzerland’s highest waterfall and it is at its most spectacular after the snow melts each spring and following heavy thunderstorms in summer. At other times, the Staubbach Waterfall steals the show. Although it isn't as high, it falls in a much more decorative way than the Mürrenbach Waterfall, which is hidden between rocks.
The ten glacier waterfalls inside the mountain here, which are made accessible by a tunnel lift, make the Trümmelbach Waterfalls unique. They are the largest underground waterfalls in Europe. The power of the water and the deafening noise here will astound you. The Trümmelbach drains the huge glacier walls of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau at a rate of up to 20,000 litres of water per second.
You will find the Sprutz Waterfall between Mürren and Gimmelwald. The descent to the waterfall is steep and often a little slippery. Since the path takes you behind the waterfall, many people stop to freshen up with a quick splash, to enhance the experience.
When you have almost reached the end of the Lauterbrunnen Valley, you will see another impressive waterfall, the Schmadribach Waterfall. It originates from the Breithorn Glacier and the Schmadrigletscher - and plunges over limestone banks down into the farthest Lauterbrunnen Valley. The total height of the Schmadribach Waterfall is 270 metres over several steps.