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up in the Berner Oberland
Facing the Eiger, Mönch and the Jungfrau in the central Alps: no better place to be for mid-summer hiking...Stock up on bread and cheese (Swiss, of course) in Mürren, and head out on the trails above the Lauterbrunnen Valley; cowbells will be your soundtrack and wildflowers the foreground...
Every serious skier dreams about gliding down virgin powder snow and unblemished mountain sides, and depending on snow fall, Switzerland has ample opportunity for just that. Mürren is blessed with hike-friendly mountains and powder-packed bowls which maintain fresh snow days after a big fall. A cable car up to Schilthorn’s peak opens up various opportunities for challenging off-piste skiing, although a guide is recommended. Resorts at Verbier and Grindelwald are among the most popular for off-piste skiing and also offer expert guides on powder skiing such as Verbier’s Powder and Freeride camps, or PowderZone—a three-day powder skiing course exclusive to Grindelwald.
Verbier remains one of the most popular resorts in Switzerland, and nothing encapsulates its chic, trendy image more than La Vache (The Cow). This converted ski-lift station was opened by pop star James Blunt, former England rugby international Lawrence Dallaglio and the most successful World’s superbike champion Karl Fogarty. The three celebs put together a menu, with the help of experimental chef Heston Blumenthal, of simple and inexpensive food such as home-made soup, pizzas and burgers.
In Mürren, multiple cable-car rides take you to Schilthorn Mountain and its famous Piz Gloria revolving restaurant (pictured), where the James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was filmed.
My best friend came to visit me in Switzerland, and I decided to take her to a place I hadn't visited yet and was at the top of my list: Mürren. Mürren is a tiny town situated above Lauterbrunnen Valley 15 minutes by train from Interlaken. We were staying in a beautiful hostel in Lauterbrunnen, which is in the valley, and not until we got up to Mürren did we realize we surrounded by mountains. We ate lunch with our legs dangling over the valley observing sheep and cows, it was a great day.
By AFAR Traveler
Jungfrau Moutain Range from Murren
I have never understood people who go back to the same vacation spot year after year. Timeshares and cruises make no sense to me either. Maybe we, as human creatures of habit, are supposed to look for comfort in predictable and familiar places, but who made that rule? My opinion leans towards the idea that travel should be to new places, not familiar ones, and only the brave have the best experiences. Staying in the remote town of Murren in the Jungrau Mountains was once such experience (and was where this photo was taken). This tiny village is perched high on a ridge above the Lauterbrunnen Valley and afforded us this amazing view of the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau mountains on a snowy February morning. While most people will go to Grindelwald or Interlaken when they visit the Swiss Bernese Alps, I would suggest (to those brave few) that they venture beyond the overpriced Swiss watch/Swiss army knife shops, and the $50 per person fondue restaurants and try a town like Gimmelwald or Murren. At the very least, give Wengen a shot. You'll be rewarded with a car-free experience that still feels like the Switzerland of legend, and the prices for services can approach the "reasonable" rate. Yes, nothing is cheap in Switzerland, but at least give yourself the experience you deserve without feeling like part of a human lemming line in the ridiculously over-crowded Interlaken or Grindelwald.