The Lauterbrunnen region is full of amazing and beautiful hikes. Keep reading to discover which hikes offer the most promising views.
We flew into Geneva and before I go any further, I just want to strongly suggest that you absolutely do NOT rent a car from Enterprise/Alamo/Helvetic Motion in Geneva or Zurich. Go on Yelp and google and trustpilot and read the reviews of people who've been charged exorbitant fees for supposed 'damages'. The email they sent me included 'damage' photos that were incredibly blurry and showed nothing. Even my credit card company was like 'WTF?'. When I asked them for actually non-blurry pictures of the damages I was charged almost $1300 for, they said: "we will now cease all communications with you." I kid you not. Their customer service is the worst thing imaginable. As of the writing of this blog, I am in the process of filing a claim with my credit card company to either pay or dispute the charge. My only saving grace is that I booked the car through my chase sapphire reserve card which supposedly covers all damage claims put to $75,000. I was thinking maybe I made a mistake by not getting the car rental's insurance that they offer at booking until I read more reviews of individuals who did purchase the insurance saying that they still got charged regardless. Anyway, consider yourself warned. If renting a car in Switzerland, rent a car from ANYONE ELSE but Enterprise which also goes by Alamo and Helvetic Motion. Please, save yourself this heartache. We spent about an hour in Geneva mostly due to traffic - the city has really bad traffic and then we were finally on our way to our Airbnb in Thun. Thun is a nice, affordable city to stay at if you'd like to go hiking in the areas surrounding Lauterbrunnen - a place in Switzerland that has some of the most beautiful hikes in the country.
Day One - Murren Panorama
This 3 hour easy walk begins in the Grutschalp and ends in Murren. Along the journey you'll see spectacular snow-capped mountains, rolling hills, and breathe in crisp forest and mountain air. This hike is easy enough for children, in fact, there were a couple school children who were apparently on holiday excursions walking along the path. Elderly people and people with slight walking disabiilties might find this hike one of the most doable in this region as well. Once you get to Murren you have the option of turning around and hiking back to Grutschalp, or instead taking the cable car for the return journey. In Grutschalp, there are shops wihch sell snacks so fear not if you forgot to bring anything to eat during the hike. This hike makes you feel like you're walking in a post card with excellent views around every corner. Definitely a must-do.
Day 2 - Brienzer Rothorn
Full disclosure: I got very sick on our first day in Switzerland so I was unable to go on this hike which broke my lil heart. But my boyfriend went and took some amazing pictures which I completely stole from him so that you could view this majesty. If you want to see and perhaps purchase his actual professional edits of these beautiful pictures, visit his website and Etsy stores. This hike provides panoramic views of the absolutely breathtaking blue waters of Brienzer lake. I mean, just look how gorgeous it is!
This hike requires a 1 hour train ride up to Brienzer Rothorn, after which you begin the at times scary trail that includes steep drops on either side. But the views are so worth it. I would suggest going very early in the morning to beat the potential crowds and get some amazing pictures without people in it.
Tips for drone fliers - I suggest you research the most up to date drone regulations in that area before flying your drone. You're currently not allowed to fly on the side where the lake is because there are military aircrafts which train in that area. The right side of the mountain however, was drone approved (at the time of this trip).
Day 3 - Lombachalp - Augstmatthorn
It had started raining by day 3 but I was desperate to not spend another entire day in freaking Switzerland in bed! I had a choice between Oeschinensee (a UNESCO world heritage site) and the Augstmatthorn (scroll to the end to see pictures of these sites on a clear day). Getting to Oeschinensee was more expensive due to having to pay for a cable car, so I convinced my boyfriend set out for the 1 hour long drive to Habkern from Thun for the Augstmatthorn hike. This hike promised another stunning view of lake Brienzer. Upon reaching Habkern, we parked at the parking lot at Jugerstubli restaurant in Lombachalp and paid about 8 CHF. The entrance to the Augstmatthorn hike is literally right next to the parking lot and so we began what turned out to be a very wet, muddy, and slippery hike that we most likely should've skipped.
The hike up to the ridge is supposed to take approximately 1.5 hours. It took us 3 hours! Seriously, this was by far the hardest hike of our trip, made so simply because of how wet the ground was. Our boots were completely caked with mud and lost most of their thread.
Every few steps, I found myself contemplating the folly of my decision...yet I pressed on for 3 hours, determined to reach the summit and just maybe, be graced with this view:
What we got was...you guessed it: fog and nothing but fog
So, after hours of side-stepping cow and mountain goat dung while trying not to slip and die going up hill, we began the even more treacherous journey downhill. We definitely fell a few times and felt very demoralized overall. Moral of the story: on a rainy day, it's sometimes better to curl up with a book or Netflix, than to almost lose your life doing a hike that should not be attempted in less than stellar weather conditions. Seriously folks, learn from our suffering and skip this hike if there are no clear skies on your day or this next picture is all you'll get for your hard labor.
However, on the way back to the Airbnb, we were blessed by the most beautiful double rainbow that we'd ever seen! I totally channeled the 'double rainbow' dude from the twilight days of YouTube. It was so beautiful and perfect. It wasn't the view I set out to see that day, but it was the perfect pick me up after a very disappointing day.
Where to stay: AirBnbs in Thun are cheaper than the ones closer to the village of Lauterbrunnen and within driving distance of most of the hikes. Where to eat: Switzerland is ridiculously expensive and any restaurant dinner you order will most likely cost you double what you thought you ought to pay. I would suggest buying groceries and cooking your own food and preparing sandwiches for your hikes.
Places to see/hike:
Brienzer Rothorn - seriously, I can't get enough of these pictures
Murren Panorama - especially if hiking is just not your thing
Augstmatthorn - on a non-rainy, muddy, and generally awful day
Oeschinensee - again, on a non-rainy day
The village of Lauterbrunnen
I really wanted to spend time walking this village, but alas, my lungs clocked out early after the Murren walk as my cold returned in full force so I retreated to my bed.