|Area||Bernese Oberland, Jungfrau region|
|Property||Hotels, B&Bs, self-catered apartments|
|Segment||Carve your Niche, Family Affair, Soul Soothers|
|Style||Authentic Swiss village with classic traditional features|
A Swiss Alpine classic – outstanding natural beauty, activities galore; an outdoor paradise
Mürren (1650m), the highest ski resort in Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland, is a small car-free village spectacularly perched on a natural balcony above the Lauterbrunnen valley – Tolkien’s inspiration for Rivendell – facing the ascending mountain trio of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. The birthplace of Alpine ski racing in the 1920s now offers outstanding skiing from the Schilthorn (2970m) to Lauterbrunnen (800m), with stunning views, reliable snow and uncrowded pistes from the village nursery slope to the exciting black run from the Schilthorn summit. A terrific snowpark, sports centre and scenic ice rink complete the winter package. In summer, Mürren is a blissful Swiss Alpine retreat alive with cowbells, wild flowers, waterfalls, mushrooms in the forest and exhilarating hiking at altitude. Year-round attractions include the thrilling cable-car ride to the Schilthorn, whose role in the 007 film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is celebrated in Bond World, a fascinating tribute exhibition. The mountain-top revolving restaurant takes 45 minutes for a panoramic tour d’horizon from Mont Blanc to the Jura.
Home of Alpine ski racing
Host to The Inferno – the world’s longest downhill ski race
The Schilthorn black run – on every must-ski list
Adrenalin moments: paragliding, via ferrata, ski racing
Dramatic landscape: inspiration for Tolkien’s Rivendell
DISCOVER THE HOTEL
Up on the first cable-car to the Schilthorn; love the moment as we break through the clouds to reveal those sunny Alpine peaks.
First down the ever-thrilling Schilthorn run and as the clouds make way for a perfect blue-sky day I have fun carving my signature on as many newly-combed pistes as I can find.
Late morning back to the top for Bond World visit to feast on filmic trivia, play on the simulated helicopter and bob sled and use the Bond-themed loo. Next, the revolving Piz Gloria restaurant for a Bond Brunch (can’t resist the 007 burger bun) while more than 200 peaks from Mont Blanc to the Jura slide slowly by. Then off for the epic 10-mile Inferno run to Lauterbrunnen. Cable-car and train take me back to the slopes at Winteregg.
Head across the mountain via three chairlift rides to the Schiltgrat Hüsli to enjoy watching the colourful paragliders. Tackle the picturesque unpisted ski route to Gimmelwald and pause to enjoy birdsong in the woods.
Lift back to Birg for Zvieri – Mürren’s answer to afternoon tea (dried meats, cheeses and a glass of wine) in the sunshine, followed by an unhurried end-of-day ski cruise down to the village.
Hire a toboggan, take a muscle-relaxing swim in the Olympic pool, then five minutes in the al fresco hot tub and a snooze. Refreshed, I head out for the half-hour walk up to the Suppenalp, toboggan in tow, and dine on the best fondue in the Alps.
Head torch on, fly back to the village on the 3km Bob Run. Celebrate not falling off my sledge with a nightcap in the Hotel Eiger’s Tächi Bar. To bed, and dream of doing it all again tomorrow.
Breakfast at the Sports Centre’s organic Hugs & Cups in preparation for the via ferrata; a 3-hour nerve-jangling journey across the cliff face from Mürren to Gimmelwald, hundreds of metres above the Lauterbrunnen Valley: don’t look down.
After the Nepal bridge – no turning back – I need a drink! The local Schwarzmönch beer goes down fast on the sunny terrace of Pension Gimmelwald. Drink in the view of the iconic Alpine triptych – Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.
Cable-car to Birg to do the Thrill Walk – just for fun. Walk to Grauseeli – a stunning lake reflecting the surrounding peaks – for my picnic lunch and a spot of sunbathing.
Set off back to the village via the delightful Flower Trail at Allmendhubel; rolling meadows, gorgeous views and a pleasing sound of birdsong and cowbells in the distance. It doesn’t get more Swiss than this.
A lazy funicular ride down for afternoon tea on the perfectly-placed Alpenruh Terrace; wander through the village loving the old chalets, their tiny gardens and perfect log stacks. Edy Abegglen is the shop for kiddie-friendly souvenirs, Exile on Main Street for cool garments.
Squeeze in a swim and a rest. Time my pre-dinner aperitif on the Hotel Eiger’s lovely terrace, to coincide with sunset turning the mountains pink.
Supper in the Eiger Stübli for the best rösti in town. Chat with proprietors Adrian and Susanna – the fount of all knowledge on the best walking routes.
Head home. Instead of cars and fumes, palpable silence and touchable stars.
There is a choice of comfortable hotels and self-catered accommodation in Mürren. Choose between a classic Swiss-style lodge, traditional family-run three-star hotels or a four-star hotel with five-star facilities. Most hotels have rooms with stunning views, good dining options and ski/equipment storage rooms.
In addition to excellent hotel dining, there is a handful of standalone restaurants: elegant cuisine in stylish surroundings, traditional mountain fare in a chalet-style hut or al fresco with the mountains for wallpaper. There is also a Chinese takeaway, good cafés and a well-stocked supermarket with a wide selection of fresh, local produce for self-catering.
There is a wellness facility within the Sports Centre where sauna, swimming pool and treatment rooms are available for massages and therapies. The Hotel Eiger has its own wellness facility and pool; some other hotels offer a sauna-wellness zone.
In summer book a hike to the Schiltalp for breakfast with a farm visit (Mürren Tourism) where they make and smoke their local cheese; buy some to take home.
If it’s a big hike you are after, explore the Upper Lauterbrunnen valley to Obersteinberg and Oberhornsee lake, either from Stechelberg or better still via Gimmelwald and Tanzbödeli. It’s a long day’s walk – consider overnighting at Obersteinberg (head torch required).
July is a great month for wild flowers and hiking. Up here, snow cover lasts well into June.
Dorffest in early August is the village festival: music, drinking, and a parade of cows in flowery headdresses.
Even if you don’t enter the race, visit at Inferno time (late January), for the exciting atmosphere, the devil-burning procession (with crashing cowbells) and the after-party. Stay on for a few days afterwards – you’ll have the run of the place and the slopes.
When you do the via ferrata, pause at the base-jumping platform to watch the enthusiasts launch themselves into 500 metres of fresh air.
Have your photo taken on Mürren’s tree stump (on the lower road) with the Eiger in the background: be creative for IG likes.
At Piz Gloria, don’t imagine the door with a Bond girl on it is part of the exhibition. It’s the Ladies WC.
Always request a room with an Eiger view. You won’t regret it!
Breathtaking views; Alpine flora and fauna; reliable snow and uncrowded pistes – even at New Year and half term
Sunglasses giving a 100% guarantee of UV protection. If you plan to do the via ferrata, a pair of non-slip gloves are essential. In winter a balaclava keeps your face warm at the top of the Schilthorn (2,970m) and is especially welcome during the black run Schuss.
WHAT TO DO – ACTIVITIES
Take basic medical supplies with you: the nearest pharmacy is in Lauterbrunnen. A limited medical service is available at the Sport Centre in winter; defibrillators are at all lift stations and in other village locations.
Check cable car timings – frequency is limited in the evening, and the Lauterbrunnen cable car closes early.
Tourist tax is compulsory: hotels include the fee in their room rates but self-catered accommodation may not. Once it’s paid, the Mürren Goldencard provides complimentary access to village attractions (swimming pool, ice rink, sports centre) and discounts in some shops and on some organised activities.
Don’t put belongings (gloves, goggles, wallet …) on the windowsill in the revolving Piz Gloria Restaurant. Your floor revolves, the windows don’t!
A must-try is the local alpenrosentee – a Suppenalp concoction that tastes innocuous but packs a punch.
Liked the destination?
Located in the Jungfrau region of the Bernese Oberland, Switzerland. The only way to access Mürren is via cable car from Lauterbrunnen to Grütschalp and electric train from Grütschalp to Mürren BLM, or by cable car from Stechelberg (a short bus ride from Lauterbrunnen) changing at Gimmelwald.
Fly to Zurich, Geneva or Bern and use the Swiss rail network or drive (130km, 226km, 67km respectively). Leave the car in the public car parks – Lauterbrunnen or Stechelberg.