The “Staubbach Falls” are considered as the highest free-falling waterfall in Switzerland. We show you the 5 best photo spots. Even Goethe once dedicated a poem to this place of power in Lauterbrunnen Switzerland. Therefore, the Swiss mountain village is a must place to visit.
Text and Pictures by Marc Gottwald
The Lauterbrunnen Valley – once covered by glaciers
Where today the dreamlike Lauterbrunnen attracts masses of tourists, thousands of years ago there was still a mighty glacier stretching towards Interlaken. This polished the steep rock faces as we see them today. When the glacier retreated, sediments filled up the Lauterbrunnen valley. This is due to the shallow subsoil coming from the mountains.
The steep rocks as well as the snow covered mountains are the best conditions for breathtaking waterfalls. Because of the high mountains, snow often falls and secondly, there are still remnants of the glaciers. As soon as the snow or ice turns into melt water, the waterfalls are “fed”. Thus, the Lauterbrunnen Valley in the Bernese Highlands has a total of 72 waterfalls, several of which are visible all year round.
Hence, the rocks of the Lauterbrunnen Valley are made of limestone layers that are around 160 million years old.
The Staubbach Falls – one of the highest waterfalls in Europe
For a long time, the Staubbach Falls were considered the highest waterfall in Switzerland at 297 metres and one of the tallest in Europe. Thanks to a precise survey using the „Abseil“ method, however, it then became known that the Seerenbach Falls in the canton of St.Gallen are higher. The middle step of the three-tiered waterfall measures 305 metres. A little later, the title of “highest waterfall in Switzerland” went back to the Lauterbrunnen Valley. The Mürrenbach Falls is a full 417 metres high.
But that may not detract from the beauty, because the waterfall is definitely one of the most beautiful in the whole country. In 1779, Goethe visited the Staubbach waterfall and was so enthusiastic that he dedicated a poem to it. Furthermore, depending on the weather and the season, the waterfall looks differently beautiful.
We would like to show you the best photo spots in Lauterbrunnen for the Staubbach Falls on a leisurely walking route.
Breathtaking Staubbach Falls Walk with the 5 Best Photo Spots
Our one-hour walk begins in the village of Lauterbrunnen. Already during the stroll through the romantic village, you can enjoy the view of the impressive Staubbach Falls almost non-stop. Here is a first photo spot.
After that, please turn left to a path where you have a great view of the church. There is the world-famous photo spot with the green meadows, the church and the waterfall. It’s been seen on Instagram like a thousand times and is probably the most crowded place you’ll get to see during that easy walk.
Just a little further, the next photo spot on our walk is already waiting. Please cross the river and go to the fountain on the right side of the Weisse Lütschine (name of the river).
After taking beautiful pictures from that spot we are off to the fourth photo place with the Staubbach Falls. This is an absolute insider tip for photographing Lauterbrunnen with its impressive waterfall from a different angle. Namely along the road in the direction of the Wengeneralpbahn (see the map).
If you want, you can now extend the walk to reach the fifth place. You go along the river and then photograph the green meadow together with the impressive Staubbach Falls. This is a really great photo subject and one of my favourites.
With this short hike, which takes about 1h, you are guaranteed to have taken the perfect photos of Lauterbrunnen Switzerland and the Staubbach Falls.
Here you can find the whole map of the walk:
It is also worth going to the cemetery right next to the big parking at the church, as there are almost no people there and a particularly beautiful photo spot awaits you.
Best time to visit Staubbach Falls and Lauterbrunnen Valley
The Lauterbrunnen Valley and the Staubbach Falls are definitely a must on your bucket list. But there are big differences regarding the water masses. If you come to the Lauterbrunnen Valley in May, you are guaranteed to get your money’s worth. This is when the mountain spring has set in and the water masses in the heights are melting. In addition, flowers and tree blossoms are already in bloom in the valley, which is a very nice contrast.
Those who come in summer can also be lucky if it is a wet summer with lots of rain. If it is a dry summer, the Staubbach Falls may not have any water at all.
Winter is also not the ideal time to visit the falls. As it is often very cold, the Staubbach Falls are usually frozen. On warm winter days, however, it is possible that a lot of water is carried by the melting snow.
More great waterfalls in the region
If you are a waterfall lover, you will get your money’s worth in the Lauterbrunnen Valley as well as in the entire Bernese Highlands. For example, we have the Trümmelbach Falls, which are only a 5-minute drive from the Staubbach Falls. Depending on the season, water masses of up to 20,000 litres per second rush down into the valley.
It is also worth taking a trip through the „Valley of 72 Waterfalls”. Here you will also come across many more impressive waterfalls. The Mürrenbach Falls at the end of the Lauterbrunnen Valley is the highest waterfall in Switzerland.
Furthermore, the Giessbach Falls near Brienz are as well a highly recommandable waterfall. The water falls down 14 steps from Axalp into Lake Brienz. Admission is free, but if you travel by car, you pay 10CHF for a ticket.
Another attraction you shouldn’t miss are the Beatus Caves. Entrance to the caves costs, but the walk along the waterfall is free.