On our recent family adventure through the Alps of Switzerland and Austria, we visited the Swiss towns of Murren and Lauterbrunnen. It was absolutely one of the highlights of our trip, and is not to be missed if you’re planning to visit Switzerland. Basing ourselves at a hotel in Murren, we spent several days in the valley exploring, hiking, playing, eating, and relaxing. While the costs were fairly high, it was worth every penny. So, if you’re looking to plan a family-friendly and kid-friendly trip to this area, read on for advice about things to do with kids in the Lauterbrunnen Valley, and Murren in particular.
Where is Murren?
Just outside of Interlaken is the gorgeous and inspiring Lauterbrunnen Valley, part of the Jungfrau region of the Alps. Here the mountains rise high above the valley floor and are topped with glaciers. The sides of the mountains are lined with open fields scattered with Swiss chalets. Cow bells ring in the distance and the occasional waterfall cascades down the mountainside. This is the essence of the quintessential vision that most people have of the Swiss Alps, and it’s all right here in this valley. This is Switzerland!
The town of Lauterbrunnen sits in the heart of the valley. Up higher in the mountains lie a few other towns, most notably Murren, Grimmelwald, and Wengen. These towns are perched up on the cliffs overlooking the valley below with stunning views of the nearby peaks.
How to get to Murren
The journey is part of the fun! And yes, kids will love it, too.
From the Interlaken Ost station (or any station in Switzerland), you can buy a ticket that will let you make all of the following connections together as one ticket. Tickets are sold from machines as well as from ticket counters, but the machines are faster.
Make sure you get a Swiss Travel Pass and a Junior Pass for the kids, too. Then you free rides for all of the Swiss trains, as well as half-price for many of the private gondolas, and half price entry into many of the peak and mountaintop areas. The Junior Passes for kids are 30 Euros for a year, and give free train rides and free entry into attractions!
To get to Murren – first, you take the train from the Interlaken Ost (“East”) station to the town of Lauterbrunnen (train R62). This train takes about 25 minutes and leaves every hour or so depending on the time of day and the season. Along the way you’ll see amazing views of mountains, villages, and alpine streams.
Next, from the Lauterbrunnen train station, you walk over to the Gondola station. You can cross the street, or take the underground tunnel. It’s about a 2 minute walk.
Take the Gondola up to the Grutschalp station. Enjoy the 3 minute ride, the views are amazing!
At the top, you will immediately get on the train to Murren, as this station is really just a transfer point to the next leg of the journey. Take this fun, old-fashioned train to the Murren BLM station. The ride lasts about 15 minutes and makes 1 stop along the way. Sit on the left side of the train for the best views looking out into the valley.
You have arrived! Now you get to enjoy the views as you walk to your hotel in this car-less (mostly) town. Some hotels will arrange pickup at the station in a cart if you have lots of luggage.
Looking for a place to stay in Murren? We have some suggestions at the end of this article.
Kid-Friendly Activities in Murren in the Summer
Murren, Lauterbrunnen, Grimmelwald, and the surrounding towns have plenty of fun activities for the whole family. Some are more thrilling, while others are more relaxing. Either way, you’ll enjoy the views and the atmosphere.
The peak of the mountain above Murren is Schilthorn, and during the warmer months the gondola can take you all the way to the top for the fantastic views. (Either this peak or the Jungfrau peak is a must-see.) The views of the surrounding mountain range combined with the overview of the valley’s landscapes are jaw dropping.
On the gondola up to Schilthorn are two stops: the very top, and a slightly lower peak known as Birg. Schilthorn has a restaurant (Plz Gloria) and a James Bond museum (this is where one of the movies was filmed).
At Birg, you’ll find even more fantastic views and another restaurant, but the best part for kids is the Thrill Walk. This safe but scary walkway along the cliffside features stunning views mixed with obstacles that will leave you breathless. For example, the first obstacle is a cable bridge. Don’t worry, all of these obstacles can be bypassed if you’re terrified of heights, and they are extremely well-built.
Just up the mountain from Murren is a small area with an amazing playground, a restaurant, a wildflower area, and some hiking trails.
Getting here is half the fun, as you can either take the funicular cog-railway (about 8 minutes) or walk on the hiking trails. With younger kids, it might be best to take the railway up and walk down (that’s what we did). You can catch the funicular from the center of town in Murren – just look for the bottom end of the stone railway bridge that goes up the hill. If you want to hike, the shortest route is from the southern end of the town near the Gondola station, but there’s also a scenic route that leaves from the northern end of town.
The playground is amazing! Kids will find a neat water maze, short ziplines, a sand play zone, underground tunnels, and various climbing structures with slides. Plenty of relaxed seating is also found up here so you can enjoy the views while watching the kids play. Or, take a break at the restaurant which has some delicious apple strudel.
If your family is up for some longer walks with amazing views, you’re in for a treat. Various hiking trails leave from Murren and head up into the hills. Some trails are very easy, safe, and not steep, while others are for experienced hikers with a death wish. And there are plenty of medium and moderate trails, too. Keep a lookout for the native wildlife, especially the Chamoix Mountain Goats with their large curved horns. Also, Golden Eagles frequent the valley as well.
Most hotels will give you a map of the nearby hiking trails.
On the subject of hiking, the nearby town of Grimmelwald makes for a fun hike from Murren (not to be confused with Grindelwald). It’s actually downhill from Murren, so it’s not too difficult, and there are multiple routes. You can hike along the paved road (virtually no cars), or the more difficult hiking trails. Or, do the Cliff Walk described below. If you’re not up for a hike, you can also take the gondola down or back up after hiking (or both ways). On the way you’ll see amazing views, farms and gardens, plenty of cows, and rustic Swiss mountain homes dotting the mountainside. Keep a look out for the educational signs explaining how avalanches are prevented, and bring some cash to buy goodies from the locals who sell stuff out of their homes along the way.
Grimmelwald has a few restaurants and shops if you want to grab lunch. There’s also a small playground by the gondola station. But generally this town is where the locals live a rustic and rural Swiss lifestyle. Plenty of farm animals can be seen, as well as local homes with gorgeous gardens and even more spectacular views.
From here, you can take the gondola back up to Murren, or all the way down to the valley. From the station in the valley, you can take a bus back to the town of Lauterbrunnen if you’re planning a longer trip around the valley for the day.
Cliff Walk / Kletterseig / Via Ferrata
If you’re up for a thrill, the via ferrata (iron road) cliff walk is a route from Murren to Grimmelwald that takes you through a variety of obstacles such as metal rungs along a cliff face, several tightropes, ziplines, and more. You’ll need equipment to participate, and several outfitters in town can lead you on a guided trip or provide the needed equipment on this 3-hour journey. It’s a one-way route along the mountain edge down to Grimmelwald, and you can take the gondola back up (or hike) when finished. It starts at the center of Murren.
Down in the Lauterbrunnen valley, a few kilometers south of Lauterbrunnen, the Trummelbach falls cascade through a narrow slot canyon. Here you can walk into the canyon on some very safe walking paths to admire the falls, the canyon, and the views out into the valley.
To get here, you can take the bus that runs through the valley, either from the town of Lauterbrunnen or from the Schilthornbahn/Murren gondola station at the southern end of the valley.
Jungfrau advertises itself as “the top of Europe.” From the Lauterbrunnen station, take several train rides up the mountain (and into the mountain) to arrive at this fantastic mountain-top building. You’ll be able to walk through an ice cave, see terrific views, and have a meal.
It’s not cheap, as entry tickets are a bit pricey, and so are the train tickets (get that Half-Fare card). But if the weather is good and you have a day to do it, then it’s worth the experience.
This is one of the towns that you can visit on the way up to Jungfrau, as it’s on the eastern slope of the valley. In some ways, this town is similar to Murren as it is mostly car-free and offers beautiful views, restaurants, and hiking trails. A number of resorts and hotels can be found here, too. This is also the base for some scenic gondola rides, as you can get all the way over to the town of Grindelwald (not to be confused with Grimmelwald which we described above).
If your kids are old enough (usually 14 and up), then they qualify for paragliding. This valley is one of the premier paragliding spots in Switzerland because of the steep valley and gorgeous views. On most warm days you can see the paragliders starting high up above Murren and cruising through the valley like the native Golden Eagles. Generally, they land near the Schilthorn gondola station at the southern end of the valley. Various outfitters in Murren, Lauterbrunnen, and other towns can hook you up if you’ve got the guts to do it.
Where to Stay in Murren & Lauterbrunnen
There’s no shortage of hotels in the valley. While we suggest staying in Murren on the west side for the amazing views, you can also find accommodation in the town of Lauterbrunnen on the valley floor, or up in Wengen on the east side.
We stayed at the Hotel Edelweiss, and it was amazing!
Of course, during the winter months, the area is known for snow skiing, but plenty of visitors come in the summer. So, you’ll need to book ahead for these two peak seasons. Fall and Spring are a little less expensive and less crowded.
Have a great trip, and eat some apple strudel!
Bryan has visited exactly one more country than his wife, and she won’t let him forget it! Also an avid photographer, he enjoys entrenching himself within the local culture in order to learn more about the people of a place. He is the co-founder of Budget Your Trip and loves a good adventure, an exotic meal, or a passionate conversation about global events.