After nearly two months spent at home in Salzburg, I was excited to be heading off for an adventure in the mountains. Switzerland in mid-August seemed like the perfect choice - which is exactly where Connor invited me to spend a couple of days exploring, before we were due to hike the epic Tour du Mont Blanc the following week.
Unfortunately, things didn't go quite according to plan as I was hit by a bad bout of food poisoning and had to delay the trip by 2 days, spending those 48 hours either sleeping or bent over my toilet.
I missed out on the pre-hike Connor and I had planned in Zermatt, but managed to buy a new train ticket and reroute my journey to travel 11 hours from Salzburg in Austria (home) to Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland on multiple trains, each more beautiful than the last.
Lauterbrunnen is a famous little mountain town in central Switzerland, nestled in the middle of the Swiss Alps and home to some of the world's most photogenic view points. The village itself is quaint to wander, and it's the perfect base for loads of hiking trails in the near vicinity. With our schedule needing us to be in southern France the next day to start our TMB hike, we didn't get to do any hiking in this part of Switzerland... but I'll be back!
Here's my guide to spending 24 hours in Lauterbrunnen, fueled by raclette and overpriced coffee:
How to Get to Lauterbrunnen
I arrived in Lauterbrunnen by train, traveling from Salzburg, Austria via Zurich, Bern, Interlaken and then on to my final stop. You can arrive in Lauterbrunnen by train or with your own car, or there are many tour companies running guided trips up here.
If you can, avoid the guided trip - you just don't really need it. Plus, the guided trips tend to start showing up mid-morning and then the little touristy town and all of its most Instagrammable spots are really busy. If you travel on your own time by train or car, you can wander the streets when they're peaceful and the daytrippers are gone.
The closest airport to Lauterbrunnen is Bern, but the main international airport you'll probably choose is in the capital of Zurich. From there, you can take the train to Lauterbrunnen likely via Bern and Interlaken.
Where to Stay in Lauterbrunnen
Depending on the trip, I stay in all sorts of acommodations when I'm traveling. For this particular trip, with just one night in Lauterbrunnen before we were embarking on our hut-to-hut hike around the Tour du Mont Blanc, we booked to stay in a hostel right on the main street of the idyllic little mountain town with panoramic views over the valley.
With Lauterbrunnen being a super touristy place, you're going to find any style of accommodation, but it's going to be more expensive because firstly, this is Switzerland (where we spent $70 CAD on breakfast...) and secondly because these little touristy Instagram towns are always hiked up in prices, especially if you want to be central.
We stayed at the Valley Hostel during our night in Lauterbrunnen. It was clean, exceptionally central and had hot water and great views. No breakfast, but good wifi. And, all things considered, for quite a reasonable price of 30 francs (~30 euros) per night!
Best Photo Spots in Lauterbrunnen
Of course, as with many places in Switzerland, you come here for the exquisite views that make for some of the most idyllic photos. We spent our morning running around the little town, taking as many pictures as we could, our jaws dropping around every corner. I remember getting off the train in Lauterbrunnen and just being absolutely in awe of the view - it felt like stepping into a little postcard, especially with the famous waterfall tumbling down the cliffside.