Alpine villages don’t get much more fairy tale than Murren, Switzerland, which has aptly been described as “Yosemite with a Swiss village on top.” This tiny town of just 300 year-round residents looms over Switzerland’s Lauterbrunnen Valley from atop a 3,000-foot cliff, and it’s only accessible by foot or funicular. In the summer, it’s something of a hiker’s paradise, and a gateway to trails at even higher elevations. The unconquerable Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau (“Ogre, Monk, and Maiden”) peaks tower over Murren and provide a fascinating backdrop of jagged shapes and shadows.
Where is it? About four hours by train and funicular from either Zurich or Geneva, the two major international airports in Switzerland.
Where to stay? The Eiger Guesthouse is the top-ranked hotel in Murren by TripAdvisor members, earning a perfect five-star rating. Average per-night prices range from $98 to $198 per room.
What else should I know? Murren is a car-free town, but you can reach it via a vertigo-inducing cable car ride to nearby Gimmelwald followed by a steep hike (my preferred method) or a rickety old funicular directly into Murren from Interlaken. You have to really want to get there, though, which is part of what keeps the village and its hiking trails relatively free of crowds.
Who’s it for? Hikers, Trekkers, Backpackers, Adventurers, Landscape Photographers, Fondue Lovers, and Fairy Tale Seekers.