Murren

Switzerland

This wonderfully quaint and charming village is home to a ski resort with some great terrain and epic mountain views. Scout votes Murren as the most charming of the large ski resorts, in the world.

Scout Loves

  • The charming car free village that could be on the cover of a chocolate box
  • Incredible scenery every direction you look
  • Advanced skiers will find some fantastic off-piste freeriding terrain to explore (with a guide)
  • Secluded beginner terrain for children at the Allmendhubel area with some fun bumps and obstacles
  • Some great on-mountain restaurants to enjoy local food – and the views of course
  • Get an adrenaline rush on the 88 deg steep “Direttissima” ski run

Scout Tips

  • From Murren you can do day trips to explore the ski areas on the other side of the valley on the same ski pass, though it does take about an hour to get to Wengen.
  • There is very limited nightlife and après scene
  • The extent of the groomed slopes is limited – solid intermediate skiers would tap out after couple of days.
  • There are a few terrain park facilities and a ski cross run
  • Star in your own ski movie – after scanning your pass on the set course, the cameras record your run and can then be viewed online.

Scout Review

Murren has to be one of the most charming and peaceful ski villages in Switzerland, or even perhaps the world. Perched on a mountain shelf 1650m above sea level and high up above the Lauterbrunnen Valley floor, this tiny Swiss village (with only 410 inhabitants) is set against the spectacular backdrop of the famous Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau mountains. The views are simply breathtaking. Fortunately for us skiers, it also has some great skiing. While not a huge resort, it certainly has sufficient enough terrain for a few days and as part of the larger Jungfrau region one could easily stay here for a week and still be discovering new runs.

The village of Murren is completely car free and getting there is part of the experience. You will arrive at either end of the village using one of two methods; via cable car from Lauterbrunnen and then taking the gorgeous little Murrenbahn train (straight out of a Wes Anderson movie) to the northern end of the village, or by the Stelchberg cable car to the southern end. On arrival it’s just a short walk to one of 10 hotels nestled in the village. Unlike many other “car free” villages in Switzerland where electric carts hectically whizz around, Murren is much more peaceful with only a few delivery vehicles in the village. Most of the buildings (bar a few modern ones) are gorgeous old wooden chalets blanketed by snow. The village has just a few little shops, restaurants and hotels but it is like stepping back in time to a slower and simpler life.

Speaking of which, when talking about Murren it’s appropriate to have a little history lesson as it is one of the most important locations for the sport of skiing. Following the introduction of skis and the sport of skiing in Norway, Murren was the birth-place of Alpine ski racing in 1922. Soon after, in 1931, the first ever FIS World Championships in downhill, slalom and combination skiing were held in Murren. It is also the home to one of the most famous amateur ski races in the world – the 16km long thigh melting “Inferno” which was first raced in 1928 and is still held at the end of January every year. Some of you may be more familiar with Murren from more recent times when the 1969 James Bond movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, was filmed at Piz Gloria, located at the top of the 2970m Schilthorn cable car. In fact, the station was partly funded by the Bond movie and today you can enjoy a meal (and no doubt a Martini) at the revolving restaurant before hitting the slopes.

Murren is the perfect pick for anyone looking for a peaceful, easy skiing holiday in a village oozing with European charm and awe-inspiring mountain views.

Murren Skiing

Murren is part of the huge Jungfrau ski area and while the extent of terrain to explore is endless, it does take some schlepping (approx. 1 hour) to connect between the Murren side and the larger part of the area from either Wengen or Grindelwald. This review focuses on the Murren ski area. You can read more about the other side of the valley in our Wengen review.

Don’t let the trail map fool you – there is quite a lot of terrain to explore in Murren including 54km of pistes. There are four different areas which are connected with a series of cable cars, funiculars and chairlifts (a few old and slow, but most new and fast). The extent of the beginner terrain is adequate and nicely secluded in the Suppenalp area off the Allmendhubel funicular. It’s perfect for those looking to gain confidence without feeling intimidated by better skiers bashing down around them. Blue runs are featured throughout the rest of the resort so lower intermediates can pretty much explore the whole mountain (apart from the very top). Stronger intermediates will enjoy plenty of long runs an a few more challenging runs to push them out of their comfort zone. When the snow conditions allow, you can ski 16km and 2175m vertical – from the Schilthorn at the top all the way to the valley floor in Lauterbrunen - with just one short chairlift in the middle. A few days here would be enough for a good skier – beyond that you would want to start exploring the other side of the valley which has more extensive intermediate terrain.

It’s a bit of a secret, but Murren has some of the best expert free-ride terrain we have experienced in Switzerland – with long, steep powdery runs that aren’t overrun with hard core skiers. From the top of Piz Gloria you can find great off-piste runs all the way back to the base of the Shilthorn cable car without the need for any connecting lifts or hiking. Like any resort in Europe, the off-piste runs are best explored with a guide and carrying avalanche equipment is a must.

Murren has better than average snow reliability on its upper slopes (Piz Gloria is at 2970m) and it is the safest resort in the region for snow quality. It has some snow making in the beginner area and on a few of the blue runs. Murren has a few terrain park features on the lower slopes, as well as a permanent skier-cross run. Murren rarely has problems with lift lines or crowds, though you may have to wait for one or two trams to Schilthorn on a sunny weekend day.

As with the village, the views of the mountains in all directions from the ski slopes are magnificent. On a sunny day, sitting outside at lunch and enjoying the view is a must. Apart from the revolving restaurant at the top of Piz Gloria, Scout found the best views are from the sun deck of the tiny restaurant at the top of the Schiltgrat lift.

Murren For Families

Murren is great for families looking for a low-key ski village and a charming European experience. It is peaceful and the car-free village is perfectly safe for children to run around.  The beginner area is nicely secluded from the main ski runs and parents can watch children from the deck of the Suppenalp restaurant. There is also a nursery slope close to the center of the village. Murren has a decent ski school offering both private and group lessons. Day time child-care is available at the Sports center.

Murren does have some self-contained accommodation, along with some great family friendly hotels.  You will want to pick your location carefully to avoid a longer walk to the lifts in the morning.

There are a few non-skiing activities for families including a pool (free for Murren guests) and ice skating at the recently renovated Alpine Sports Center.

Murren Accommodation

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There are just 10 hotels in Murren ranging from the historic Eiger hotel with its traditional 4-star luxury, through to simple chalet style lodges. There are also private chalets and apartments available for rent. It is important to understand the location of your accommodation carefully since there is no public transport to get you around the village – by foot is the only option. If you aren’t staying at one of the hotels located right at the station you will need to arrange for your luggage to be transported to the hotel – dragging wheelie bags along the snowy streets can be punishing. Hotel Alpenruh at the southern end is the most conveniently located, just steps from the cable car coming up from the valley and heading on up to the ski slopes. Hotel Eiger is located at the other end of the village, next to the train station, but requires a bit of a walk to get to the closest ski run. Many people do ski down the village streets to get to the lifts in the morning.

Most hotel stays will be on a half-board basis. There are a few restaurants and bars in the village which are quiet – apart from during the week of the Inferno race when the village explodes.

It is also possible to stay in the even smaller, quieter village of Gimmelwald below Murren which has a few guesthouses.

Resort Activities

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There are a few non-ski activities in Murren - Snowshoeing, curling & ice skating at an outdoor rink, winter hiking, sledging (with 2 main runs), cross-country skiing and snow biking. The Alpine Sports Center was recently renovated and features a wellness area with saunas and steam room, massage treatments and gym. There is also an indoor swimming pool and child-care area.

A fun evening activity to enjoy is the fondue evening at the Allmendhubel mountain restaurant each Thursday evening. After dinner you can even ski back to the village with torches (or for those that prefer you can return by the funicular).

For down days it is possible to do a day trip to Interlarken and Bern for some sightseeing.

Getting There and Around

Getting to and from Murren is a big part of the experience. It’s not easy but the effort is rewarded with spectacular views and a more peaceful atmosphere.

The nearest major airports are Bern, Zurich and Basel which all take up to three hours by train with a few connections to Lauterbrunen train station. From there your options for getting to Murren will depend on where your hotel is located. For the northern end there’s the Grutschalp cable car, followed by a short train ride to Murren. For the southern end you will need to catch a bus from Lauterbrunen to Stechelberg and then a cable car via Gimmelwald to Murren. To make life easy, it’s worth using the very efficient Swiss Rail luggage forwarding service which will transport your bags all the way to/from your hotel in Murren to/from your train station destination (such as Zurich Airport). Alternatively, you can store large luggage at Lauterbrunen station and only take a small bag and your ski gear on to Murren.

Once established in Murren you can easily walk anywhere in the village. There are a few electric taxis, but they’re mostly used for arrival and departure days.

When To Go

Due to the higher altitude slopes Murren has fairly reliable snow throughout the season – at least on the higher part of the mountain. Unless you want to participate, it’s best to avoid the week surrounding the Inferno race as accommodation is difficult to book and the resort is busy.

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