To Choose a Side of the Valley – Wangen versus Murren

Wangen during the early afternoon

There are two mountain towns on either side of the Lauterbrunnen Valley in the Bernese Alps in Switzerland that attract people to them. They both offer amazing things to do in the wintertime and summertime and if you can’t decide which one would be the perfect place for you then maybe this post will help you make that decision for you.

To start off with, both of these towns are obviously tourist towns. They both have an extensive amount of hotels and restaurants to choose from, and it would really be hard to decide which one you wish to travel to based upon this. Also both of them offer skiing, snowboarding and sledding during the winter, and hiking, biking and base jumping during the summer, and it would be hard to decide which one does this better. They both sit at the base of a mountain peak (Jungfrau in Wangen and Schilthorn in Murren) that you can travel to the top to see amazing view of the valley, and even if you do not go up these peaks, you will still get spectacular views. So the idea really comes down to the feel of the town and how that matches your tastes.

The train station in Murren

Both towns can be reached with public transportation leaving from the valley town of Lauterbrunnen. Wangan has just a short fifteen minute train ride to get to the center of town; whereas, Murren requires a transfer to a gondola from either Lauterbrunnen or a little further up the valley in Stechelberg. Because of this, Murren has a more isolated feeling to it, and not as many people make the extra effort to stay there. Depending on whether you like those crowds or not, this is a big factor in deciding which one to stay at.

A full moon rising from the vantage point of Murren

It is important to decide if you enjoy the sunrise or the sunset more. Murren gets the sunrise and it is a little after noon during the winter where the town starts to get shrouded in shadow, but if you are a morning person, the sun warms up the town quickly and it has some spectacular sunrises.

The view of Wangen from the church that overlooks the town

Wangen nestles into the other side of the valley and experiences the sun in the afternoon on clear days, making it a really pleasant place to be. It also get the sunsets and they can be amazing if the clouds are situated in the right position. But this also cause a little bit of a problem with the snow. The Murren side definitely gets more snow and it sticks around a little longer because of this movement of the sun. It does not really affect the skiing because when you go high enough up, you will be able to find the snow needed for this activity, so it may make you think about things as you decide what life will be like while you wander around the town.

Murren at night

Overall, they are both great cities that have a lot to offer. I personally enjoyed Murren a little bit more but I like the quieter towns, and I no longer look for the night time that I did when I was younger. Both towns are close enough to each other that if you are out here, you can take a day and explore both towns completely. It is also one of the most beautiful areas in the world that still holds on to those traditional ideals, so it is worth scheduling time to visit, whether that is summer or winter.

Happy traveling, folks!

 

In a Valley in the Swiss Alps – Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

I woke up yesterday morning in the last area I am going to explore on this trip to Europe and it easily became my favorite. This is nothing to the holiday fun I had in the various German cities I visited or the cultural exploration I went on in Salzburg, but it was because of the dramatic landscape of the Swiss Alps is hard to beat.

This little town is none other than Lauterbrunnen, a ski town that finds itself tucked away in a valley between the impressive rocky peaks of the Bernese mountains of the Alps. It is often referred to the people who live here as the land of 72 waterfalls, and there are two with walking distance from the train station that will drop you off in this town.

Though these waterfalls are impressive to see, it is impossible to get close to them this time of the year because the paths leading up to them are closed down due to the dangers of winter weather. It does not mean that it is not a beautiful valley to take a hike through, and no matter which way I looked, there was always something to take a picture of. Many people come up here in throughout the year to enjoy the scenery, and to go biking, skiing, sledding, or paragliding. It is nature’s playground, and the sleepy town of Lauterbrunnen lives in harmony with this fact.

Tourism is basically the main industry out here, but that does not stop people from earning a living farming, ranching, and making homemade cheeses and sausages. The local brands are always for sale in the grocery stores, but there are many farm fronts that will sell these delicacies as well. My favorite was the farm house that had a vending machine in front of its house with hunks of cheese and sausage available along with tiny bottles of homemade wine.

Overall, it is a beautiful part of the world, and I am happy to have landed here for the last part of my Winter Break. Lauterbrunnen is in the center of a bunch of small mountains towns that all hold their own special charm which I am going to be able to explore over the next few days, and I am excited to see each and every one of them.