Interlaken is a charming town in the heart of Switzerland, surrounded by the majestic peaks of the Bernese Alps that are the source of many waterfalls. But what makes Interlaken truly special is its abundance of waterfalls with over 100 big waterfalls (including Switzerland’s most famous and highest Waterfall) in its direct vicinity that offer a refreshing and exhilarating experience for nature lovers. In this post, So trying to find Switzerland’s best waterfalls you just need to start with visiting the Interlaken Waterfall Wonderland area!
Lauterbrunnen Valley: The Valley of 72 Waterfalls
The Lauterbrunnen Valley is a must-see destination for any waterfall enthusiast. This narrow valley, carved by glaciers, boasts 72 waterfalls of various shapes and sizes, creating a stunning contrast with the green meadows and the rocky cliffs. You can explore the valley by foot, bike, bus or train, and admire the waterfalls from different angles and distances. Some of the highlights include:
- Staubbach Falls: This is the most iconic and famous waterfall in Switzerland, and one of the highest free-falling waterfalls in Europe. It plunges 297 meters from a cliff edge, creating a fine spray that gives it its name (Staub means dust in German). You can walk up to a viewpoint behind the waterfall, or enjoy it from the village of Lauterbrunnen, where it creates a picturesque backdrop.
- Trümmelbach Falls: These are the largest subterranean waterfalls in Europe, and the only ones that are accessible to the public. They carry the meltwater of the Jungfrau glaciers, and fall about 140 meters into the depth. You can take a lift and a tunnel to reach the inside of the mountain, where you can see the waterfalls in their full glory. The sound, the power and the light effects are mesmerizing.
- Mürrenbach Falls: These are the highest waterfalls in Switzerland, with a total drop of 417 meters in five cascades. They are especially impressive in spring and summer, when the snow melts and the thunderstorms increase the water flow. They are located right next to the gondola station to Gimmelwald & Mürren in the village of Stechelberg.
Switzerland’s ultimate Waterfall Walk
These three waterfalls are located in the Lauterbrunnen valley over a 4km stretch that makes for a stunning waterfall hike. Take the train to Lauterbrunnen and the moment you get off the Staubbach waterfall will immediately catch your attention as it plunges down from above you. Walk towards it to start the hike. From there follow the yellow signposts firstly to the Trümmelbach Falls (2km, around 30min) and subsequently continue to the Mürrenbach Falls next to the village of Stechelberg (another 2km, around 25min).
PRO TIP: why not pick up a Fondue Backpack and enjoy a Swiss cheese fondue picnic in the middle of this waterfall wonderland!
Giessbach Falls: A Fairytale Waterfall
The Giessbach Falls are another stunning sight, located on the south shore of Lake Brienz. They consist of 14 steps, falling 400 meters in total, and passing by the historic Grandhotel Giessbach. You can reach the falls by boat, bus or car, and then take a funicular or a path to get closer to them. You can walk behind one of the cascades, or cross a wooden bridge for a panoramic view. At night, the falls are illuminated, creating a magical atmosphere.
Beatus Caves & Waterfall with a Legend
The Beatus Caves are a fascinating attraction, not only for their natural beauty, but also for their legend. According to the story, the caves were once inhabited by a fearsome dragon, until a monk named Beatus came and chased it away. The dragon fled through the waterfall that flows out of the cave, and into Lake Thun. You can visit the caves and see the impressive stalactites and stalagmites, as well as the waterfall that plunges into the lake. The caves are also home to a museum and a restaurant.
Aare Gorge Falls
The Aare Gorge is a spectacular natural wonder, where the river Aare has carved a deep and narrow passage through the limestone rock. The gorge is about 1.4 kilometers long, and varies in width from 1 to 30 meters. The walls are up to 200 meters high, and the water is crystal clear. You can walk through the gorge on a secured path, and admire the waterfalls, the rock formations and the colors. The gorge is also accessible by train, and has two entrances: one in Meiringen and one in Innertkirchen.
Rosenlaui Glacier Gorge: A Waterfall in a Glacier
The Rosenlaui Glacier Gorge is another amazing example of how water can shape the landscape. The gorge is formed by the meltwater of the Rosenlaui Glacier, which flows through a ravine and creates a series of waterfalls, grottos and pools. The gorge is about 500 meters long, and has a height difference of 80 meters. You can walk through the gorge on a wooden walkway, and feel the spray and the wind. The gorge is also surrounded by a beautiful forest, where you can enjoy a picnic or a hike.
Glacier Canyon Grindelwald: A Waterfall in a Canyon
The Glacier Canyon Grindelwald is a unique attraction, where you can experience the power and the beauty of water in a canyon. The canyon was formed by the lower Grindelwald glacier, which has retreated over time, leaving behind a 300-meter-deep gorge. You can walk through the canyon on a walkway, and see the waterfalls, the rock galleries and the tunnels. One of the highlights is the spider web, a 170-square-meter net that spans the canyon, and allows you to walk, crawl or jump on it, seven meters above the river.
Even more Waterfalls to Visit
There are many more waterfalls to discover in the Interlaken area, each with its own charm and character. Here are some of them:
- Reichenbach Falls: These are the famous waterfalls where Sherlock Holmes staged his death in the novel “The Final Problem” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. They are located near Meiringen, and have a single drop of 120 meters. You can take a funicular or a hike to reach the viewpoint above the falls, or admire them from below.
- Engstligen Falls: These are the second highest waterfalls in Switzerland, with a total drop of 600 meters in two stages basically making this two seperate waterfalls. They are located near Adelboden, and are best seen in spring and early summer, when the snow melts. You can hike to the base or the top of the falls, or take a cable car for a panoramic view.
- Handeck Falls: These are a series of three waterfalls, with a combined drop of 150 meters, near Innertkirchen. They are part of the Aare Gorge, and can be seen from a suspension bridge that crosses the gorge. The bridge is 70 meters long and 100 meters high, and offers a thrilling experience and a stunning view.
Tips for Visiting Switzerland’s best Waterfalls
- The best time to visit the waterfalls is in spring and early summer, when the snow melts and the water flow is at its peak. However, some waterfalls are also impressive in winter, when they freeze and create ice sculptures.
- The waterfalls are accessible by public transport or by car, but some of them require a short walk or a hike to reach them. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes and appropriate clothing for the weather and the terrain.
- The waterfalls are also popular tourist attractions, so expect some crowds and queues, especially in high season around the highly popular Lauterbrunnen area. Try to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon, or on weekdays, to avoid the crowds and get the best views all for yourself.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post about the waterfalls in the Interlaken area, and that it inspired you to plan your next trip to this beautiful region of Switzerland. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. Happy travels!