Lauterbrunnen named the most heavenly village in Europe
A Belgian newspaper has given the Swiss ski resort of Lauterbrunnen the title of "most heavenly village in Europe" for its landscape and mountains. However, while the town does deserve praise, many in the Swiss media - including some locals - aren’t convinced they made the right choice.
Lauterbrunnen named the most stunning village in Europe
“A waterfall flowing over a rock wall almost 300 meters high, green spaces and mountains as far as the eye can see, houses full of charm, welcome to Lauterbrunnen," the newspaper Le Soir stated in its article. The town in Canton Bern was described as “heavenly”, with the author noting that the resort is less than two hours drive from the nearest airport, making it a perfect destination for tourists.
Of particular note for Le Soir were the mountains and the waterfalls, explaining that travellers can see no less than 72 different waterfalls in the Lauterbrunnen Valley alone. “Johann von Goethe was so captivated by this setting that he composed his poem Gesang der Geister über den Wassern during his stay in 1799. The writer JRR Tolkien... settled there in 1919 at just 19 years old. There is no doubt that he too was inspired by this unique place,” the newspaper added.
The town was also praised for having around 200 kilometres of ski runs, which it shares with the neighbouring resorts of Grindelwald and Wengen. In the summer, Lauterbrunnen won the heart of the Belgian writer with the stunning hikes you can start from the town.
Swiss media and Lauterbrunnen locals aren't as impressed
So what’s the problem? Well according to Watson writer and Lauterbrunnen local Marine Brunner, instead of picking one of the better villages to visit in Switzerland during the winter, Le Soir had picked a “tiny, stuck at the bottom of a hole [town] between two steep cliffs in the canton of Bern.” “You who may have been seduced by the slide show of green meadows, grazing cows and bluish lakes, make no mistake: Lauterbrunnen is a dangerous tourist lure," she added.
Brunner noted that despite the hype, the weather makes Lauterbrunnen a wholly unattractive place to go. Snow is only occasional in the town itself, while the high mountains around the location make sunshine rare and rain common. “Add in a few sad terraces, fickle weather, dangling geraniums, a moody / depressing waterfall and a lake in Interlaken (15 mins by car) and you've got Paris disappointment syndrome in its own right.”
“Without an Instagram filter or a Swiss Tourism-sponsored water bottle, “heaven without a beach or coconut palms” might seem as heavenly as the suburbs of Charleroi in mid-January…If the most heavenly village in Switzerland is in Switzerland, it is certainly not in Lauterbrunnen," she concluded.