Mürren is one of the prettiest ski resorts in the Alps. The breath-taking scenery includes Jungfrau Region’s three most famous peaks and fantastic views of the Bernese Oberland from the rotating Piz Gloria restaurant at the summit of the Schilthorn.
Perched on the edge of a cliff, Mürren (in English, without the umlaut, the name is usually simplified to "Murren" although "Muerren" is more grammatically correct) is accessed by cable car, so just getting to the resort is quite an experience. The reward is an incredible view of the cliffs and peaks of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau mountains which dominant the landscape.
Murren shares the medium-sized Jungfrau ski area with Wengen and Grindelwald on the other side of the valley, but it takes about an hour to make the crossing (descend on skis or by cable car from Murren to Lauterbrunnen then take the cog railway up to Wengen). Fortunately, Murren's own ski area, whilst very small, has something for everyone, including challenging black runs and off-piste for advanced skiers and freeriders. The top lift reaches an impressive 2970m, and the resort itself is at 1650m, so snow conditions are usually good, at least higher up. The run down to Lauterbrunnen at 795m is not always skiable, but when it is, it's the final leg of a continuous 2000m vertical descent.
But judging Murren by the size and height of its ski area rather misses the point. No statistic can measure the beauty of its mountain scenery, the charm of its wooden chalets, and the sense of tradition that permeates its narrow car-free streets. This is one of the cradles of Alpine skiing. Slalom racing was invented in Murren in 1922 by Arnold Lunn who campaigned for it to be recognised as an international sport in the days when downhill skiing was considered suitable only for those too feeble to ski cross-country! Murren has had a long association with the British ever since and attracts a discerning clientele who come year after year to ski and socialise. The highlight of the season is the Inferno race in late January.
Sir Arnold's Lunn's son Peter came to Murren every winter and continued skiing until the ripe old age of 96. He died on 30 November 2011, but his description of Murren's ski area lives on. "Our runs are quite challenging, and they make you think. Murren always gives you a game."
Many families come to Murren year after year and from one generation to the next because of the ambience of the village, which is normally blanketed by snow, and to enjoy skiing uncrowded pistes. There's also some fine tobogganing and winter walking paths, which wind their way down the mountain through pretty wooden huts amid some of the best mountain scenery in Switzerland.
Murren is best for confident intermediates and above and can easily be skied in two or three days, which makes it ideal for weekends and short breaks in perfect conditions, and romantic winter holidays, but if skiing is your main aim the ski area in Murren is too small for a week long holiday.
The ski area offers an interesting and exciting combination of long downhill runs, some impressive cable cars and fantastic views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau peaks, glaciers and cliff faces on the opposite side of the Lauterbrunnen valley. The terrain is limited but varied including easy off-piste terrain beneath chairlifts and between marked runs as well as significantly more challenging off-piste for experts.
A dozen ski lifts provide access to 24 pistes totalling 54km including five black runs, 11 red runs and eight blue runs, a few of which include short variants to the same end point and raise the total number of runs to 28. Murren has a wide variety of ski lifts including impressive cable cars, a funicular, six chairlifts, a T-bar and the electric mountain railway between Winteregg (1,578m) and Murren (1,638m), but no gondolas.
The cable car connections from Stechelberg (922m) to Murren (1,638m) and the Schilthorn (2,970m) and the famous Piz Gloria rotating restaurant was opened in 1967. The summit of the Schilthorn is the site of the Piz Gloria rotating restaurant, which was largely financed to create a suitable location for the James Bond film "On Her Majesty's Secret Service". The Piz Gloria restaurant is internationally renowned because of its James Bond connection and for spectacular views of the Bernese Oberland, but the gastronomy is by no means as good as the location.
The ski area between Murren and Schilthorn is the highest in the Bernese Oberland and almost invariably offers good snow conditions until late April. The vertical elevation from the summit of the Schilthorn down to Murren is 1,300m and the Inferno race route from Schilthorn to Lauterbrunnen is is a whopping 22km from start to finish and 2,100m vertical, but the lower sections between Winteregg (1,578m) and Lauterbrunnen (796m) are unexciting (except at race speed) and snow conditions lower down are not reliable.
A quaint funicular railway situated close to the centre of the village leads to Allmendhubel which features a popular panoramic restaurant with a large sun terrace and is the preferred location for beginners and for winter walking, tobogganing and snow shoeing. There's also a first time beginner area next to the ski school in the centre of the village, which is an ideal place for toddlers to learn to ski and have fun in the snow while parents relax on the Hotel Jungfrau's sun terrace next to the nursery slopes.
The skiing includes steep pistes in the Murren-Schilthorn area from 2,970m down to 1,638m and some impressive off-piste including 30 to 45 degree slopes, which attract plenty of freeriders. The Murren-Schilthorn is one of three main ski areas in the Jungfrau Region along with the Kleine Scheidegg between Grindelwald and Wengen and Grindelwald-First. The Jungfrau Region as a whole has over 200km of slopes served by 45 ski lifts all covered by the same Sportpass Jungfrau lift pass. The Kleine Scheidegg-Mannlichen ski area is the largest of the three ski areas with 110km of ski slopes served by 19 ski lifts dominated by the world-famous Eiger north face.
The train station at Kleine-Scheidegg (2,061m) is reached by Alpine railway from Lauterbrunnen (796m) in 45 minutes, as well as from Grindelwald and Wengen, which also makes it accessible for day trippers from Murren, but it's a two hour round trip from Murren, which takes a big chunk out of your ski day so best advice would be to spend a few days in Murren followed by two or three days in Wengen or Grindelwald, which offers easier access to another 50km of skiing in the Grindelwald-First region as well as Kleine Scheidegg and more off-mountain activities.
There is a new chairlift from Allmiboden, at the bottom of Maulerhubel which leads up to the top of Allmendhubel and connects the two ski areas Winteregg with Schiltgrat and Gimmeln.
The wide variety of lifts is part of the experience of your skiing holiday in Murren and includes impressive cable car engineering, a funicular railway, half a dozen chairlifts, three drag lifts and an electric railway that runs along the cliff top between Grutschalp, Winteregg and Murren.
The Sonnenberg offers typical Swiss dishes and has a popular snowbar with relaxing deckchairs in the winter season.
The cable cars provide most of the uplift and the chairlifts, some of which are quite old, are gradually being updated and now include a new high-speed chairlift from Winteregg to Maulerhubel. Although you might have to queue for the cable car from Murren (1,638m) to Birg (2,676m) and Schilthorn (2,970m) at peak periods, the views on the way up and from the Piz Gloria rotating restaurant at 2,970m are absolutely stunning. If skiing in Murren in the low season, you could find yourself riding a cable car alone and one of the attractions of Murren is that even in busy periods it is too small for mass market tourism or to suffer from lift queues and overcrowded pistes.
The main lift pass is the Sportpass Jungfrau, which can be purchased for continous periods of 2-7 days or 14 days and covers all Jungfrau ski lifts including Murren-Schilthorn. The Personal Choice Sportpass is valid on Jungfrau lifts for any 3 days within 7 consecutive day period and a Sportpass is available for those who want just half a day or a full day access to Murren-Schilthorn or Grindelwald or Wengen ski lifts only. The Sportpass Jungfrau also covers the cog mountain railway between Lauterbrunnen Wengen, Wengernalp and Kleine Scheidegg, and rail journeys between Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald.
Special passes for 2-7 days are also available to non-skiers for walking and tobogganing. Ski lift pass prices allow reductions of 10% for seniors (62 and over), 20% for youths (16-19 years) and 50% for children (6-15 years) and the special passes for non-skiers are available at a 50% reduction from the Sportpass Jungfrau.
Murren-Schilthorn Lift Company
Tel: +41 (0) 33 826 0007
Jungfrau Lift Company
Tel: +41 (0) 33 828 72 33
The wide open nursery slope and Snowli Kids Centre is conveniently located in the centre of Murren, right next to the ski school and immediately behind the Hotel Jungfrau. The hotel has a small sun terrace where parents can enjoy a drink and take it easy while watching their kids take their first steps on snow.
When ready to move from the nursery slopes to the ski area proper, the funicular lift next to the nursery slope provides easy access to Allmenhubel where there is a popular mountain restaurant with sun terrace and another learning area where beginners can gain confidence. A long scenic blue run (6) winds its way from the top of the funicular down to Murren and beginners can ski a few laps to warm up before skiing the blue run (20) from Allmendhubel to the base of the Schiltgrat chairlift next to the Taverne Restaurant.
The blue run (23) from the top of Schiltgrat chairlift (2,145m) offers more stunning views and easy skiing down to Gimmeln (1,813m), followed by a long T-bar ride back up to Schiltgrat then the long blue run (20) down to Murren (1,638m). A choice of three blue runs offer more beginner skiing below Maulerhunel (1,930m), access to which involves skiing down the easy red run (5) from Allmendhubel then riding the Maulerhubel chairlift. Alternatively, take the train from Murren to Winteregg then ride the high-speed chairlift from Winteregg (1,578m) to Maulerubel.
From a beginner perspective, Murren's blue runs don't link up as well as in many other Swiss ski resorts and the ski area is a mix of "can do" and "no go" areas, but the views and uncrowded slopes help compensate for any short comings. For example, good snow and easy skiing at higher altitude in the Engetal is easily reached by riding the Murren-Schilthorn cable car between Murren and Birg (2,676m) (in both directions), which is one of the "must do" experiences of Murren.
Beginners can ski blue runs 11 and 12, part of the famous Inferno race route, from Birg as far as Oberhubel (2,439m) then blue run 13 and catch the Riggli chairlift back up to Birg and repeat laps. The cliff top sun terrace at the Birg mountain restaurant is a magnificent spot for lunch after which you can catch the final stage of the cable car from Birg to Schilthorn (2,970m) to visit the Piz Gloria mountain restaurant and heli-pad.
The Piz Gloria restaurant on the summit of the Schilthorn which featured in the James Bond Film "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" is a "must do" highlight of a skiing holiday in Murren for spectacular views of the Bernese Oberland and to enjoy a drink in the world's first rotating restaurant. Bond fans can also visit the James Bond museum beneath the restaurant before returning to Murren by cable car.
Murren offers a choice of 11 red runs as well as eight blue runs and five black runs. Most if not all of the pistes can be skied by competent intermediate skiers and boarders and snow conditions generally are excellent, but watch out for icy patches early in the morning especially when skiing steeper slopes which have a more southerly aspect.
There's good intermediate skiing on Schiltgrat and Allmendhubel with a choice of easy blue and red runs between 1,638m and 2,145m served by two lifts on Schiltgrat and the Allmendhubel funicular. These lower slopes are an ideal place to warm up first thing and to enjoy the skiing and have time to admire the exceptional views of the Jungfrau peaks across the valley.
Most of Murren's more challenging skiing is to be found higher up and is reached by riding the Murren-Schilthorn cable car to Birg (2,676m) and then the smaller cable car to the summit of the Schilthorn (2,970m). Home to the Piz Gloria mountain restaurant made famous by the James Bond Film "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" the Schilthorn offers dramatic views of the Bernese Oberland and is the starting point for the equally famous Inferno Race.
While there are exceptional views throughout the ski area, you will need to pay attention also to the ground beneath your feet as some steep sections higher up are narrow and bumpy and require concentration. The steep black run from the top of the Schilthorn is groomed more often than not nowadays, but sometimes features big moguls and then is quite tricky. The route down from the Schilthorn is a mixture of black, blue and red pistes with a vertical elevation of over 1,300m from the summit to Murren and more than 2,000m vertical from the Schilthorn to Lauterbrunnen (796m) in the valley if when snow conditions are good enough to ski the lower section below Winteregg (1,578m).
Murren appeals to traditionalists and skiers who enjoy taking it easy and mixing good skiing with leisurely lunches, laid back après ski and other winter holiday activities including walking, tobogganing and ice skating. There's plenty more skiing nearby in Wengen and Grindelwald, but getting there is quite a journey, a minimum of 46 minutes each way by cable car and train, even if you time it perfectly, and takes at least one and a half hours out of your ski day, which is not recommended.
The long winding run from the top of the Schilthorn (2,970m) is a thrilling 1,300m vertical and surely one of the most scenic descents in the Alps with sensational views of the cliff faces and the majestic Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau peaks on the far side of the valley. This extra long run offers a mix of black, blue and red sections including a steep upper section from the top of the Schilthorn down to Birg, which used to be heavily mogulled but nowadays is often groomed, followed by a long flat schuss on blue runs through the Engetal then a long descent to Murren via the narrow Kanonenrohr (gun barrel) with a solid rock face skiers right and a steep drop (and safety nets) to the left then the "hogs back" below Allmendhubel on the run down to the village.
While on-piste skiing for advanced skiers in Murren is limited to a handful of black runs there's plenty of challenging terrain including steep slopes, moguls together with good off-piste on relatively easy powder pitches between marked runs and beneath some chairlifts on lower runs. Murren also offers demanding off-piste skiing on avalanche-prone slopes into the Blumental including Blumliloke off Schiltgrat and Tschingelchrachen from Birg, which involves difficult skiing above a cliff band and no margin for error. There are big mountain descents off the back of the Schilthorn, which are for experts only and not to be attempted without a guide as the difference between choosing the right and wrong route off the back of the Schilthorn could prove fatal.
Murren's ski area and mountain restaurants are blessed with some of the best views in the Alps. The choice on offer, from the top down, includes the famous Piz Gloria with its magnificent rotating restaurant, the splendid sun terrace at Birg and a selection of cosy traditional Swiss mountain huts lower down for home cooking and good service such as the Sonnenberg, Suppenalp and Allmendhubel and other options close to the ski lift base stations.
The Piz Gloria restaurant is perched on the summit of the Schilthorn (2,970m) and rotates through 360° once every hour. Largely completed in 1967 it had a starring role in the James Bond film "On Her Majesty's Secret Service", which provided the additional funding needed to create the world's first rotating mountain restaurant and for a heliport on the roof. There's not much atmosphere and the food is nothing special, but you can enjoy a tasty and reasonably good value meal here if you have time to take your gaze can avert the stupendous views long enough to study the menu. Tel: +41 (0) 33 856 21 56.
The Pasteria Birg restaurant in the cable car station at Birg (2,676m) is Murren's second highest restaurant and includes a large sun terrace where you can enjoy stunning views of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau peaks and a varied lunch menu including Swiss specialities and a variety of pasta dishes; or just stop by for a coffee or a drink and admire the views. Open in winter season only. Tel: +41 (0) 33856 21 41.
The Schilthornhutte (2,432m) is a cosy rustic mountain hut by the Stellifluh and Muttleren pistes which is easily reached from the top of the Muttleren and Kandahar chairlifts. It's well worth visiting for excellent food including raclette and homemade soups and splendid views in Murren. It's also a good place for pit-stops and to try the Schilthornhutte's Kaffee Fertig - coffee with schnapps. Tel: + 41 (0) 33 855 50 53
The Schiltgrathusi (2,100m) is good for pit stops, tasty homemade burgers and to enjoy splendid views.
The Sonnenberg (1,870m) offers a choice of local and international dishes with a Swiss-Californian theme, delicious homemade cakes and hot chocolate with rum. Tel: +41 (0) 33 855 11 27
The Suppenalp (1,850m) is a cosy traditional Swiss mountain hut with an extensive but reasonably priced menu including delicious toasties. Located lower down the mountain beneath the cliff bands of the Blumental and at the bottom of the Hindenburg run, access is from the top of the Schiltgrat chair or the Allendhubelbahn funicular. The outdoor terrace gets no sun in December or January so get there early to be sure of a table inside in the Gaststube. Tel: +41 (0) 33 855 17 26
The Allmendhubel (1,907m) at the top of the funicular is a popular mountain restaurant serving homemade Swiss dishes which is also open in the evening for fondue and raclette then a toboggan run down to Murren. There's also a large sun terrace which fills up quickly on warm sunny days. Tel: +41 (0) 33 855 25 12
Gimmeln (1,813m) is a self-service restaurant with a large terrace, best known for its apple cake. Tel: +41 (0) 33 855 13 66
The traditional Taverne restaurant in the Murren-Schilthorn base station (1,638m) serves traditional Swiss dishes and is a popular meeting place for an après ski drink and an easy option for lunch if planning on riding the cable car to Schilthorn in the afternoon. Tel. +41 (0) 33 856 88 00
The family friendly restaurant at Winteregg (1,578m) has seating indoors for 150, a sun terrace for 210 people and serves hot food from 10:00-16:00 daily. It's a convenient place to pause after skiing the runs down from the Maaulerhubel (1,930m), but there are better restaurants higher in the ski area and in Murren. Tel: +41 (0) 33 828 70 90
Inaccessible by car and perched high above the Lauterbrunnen valley and on the edge of a cliff-top favoured by base jumpers, Murren is the highest, permanently inhabited village community in the canton of Berne. A favourite destination of the British since Arnold Lunn invented slalom racing here in 1928, Murren is a favourit choice of families seeking a relaxing winter holiday and for whom winter walking, tobogganing, socialising and unrivalled scenery is as important as the skiing and snowboarding.
A community first and ski resort second, Murren's charming village is totally unspoiled and features a delightful collection of Swiss chalets and chalet style hotels, with dark sun-burned wood and shuttered windows. Almost everything in Murren is presented in the most charming way possible including the local fire station, which is a reminder of the risks run by a village built almost entirely from wood, and it's hard to imagine a prettier place; one where you might choose to abandon your skis and go for a walk instead.
Shops include the local butcher (with a useful sideline selling sheepskin rugs and slippers), the village baker, a Co-op, a small selection of snowsports shops, the local Photo shop capitalising on those amazing views of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau, and the trendy Exile on Main Street selling an interesting assortment of cool clothing, accessories and gadgets. The village also includes a bank, post office, doctor, tourist office, ski school and amenities for locals and visitors which include the Alpine Sports Centre and outdoor ice rink with nine curling lanes in the centre of the village, a handful of cafes, restaurants and bars, private chalets, holiday apartments and 15 hotels in the 2-star to 4-star categories and mostly family owned.
The newly renovated cosy Stubli restaurant at the 4-star Hotel Eiger and the hotel restaurants at the Eiger Guesthouse, the Alpenruh, the Edelweiss and the Jungfrau are all recommended. For eating out the cosy Stagerstubli serves excellent rosti, raclette, lamb and other meat dishes as well as vegetarian options and is one of the most popular restaurants and also popular with locals.
The Tachi Bar at Hotel Eiger is a pleasant place to relax for drinks before or after dinner and the Eiger Guesthouse Bar which serves pints of Guiness, Swiss draft beer, fine wines, coffee and cake is another popular venue for après ski and well-frequented by friendly locals. The Hotel Jungfrau also has a cosy bar which is also open to non-residents.
In fine weather, especially late season, there are sun terraces outside many hotels where you can enjoy a drink and splendid views of the Jungfrau peaks. The sun terrace at the Hotel Jungfrau is a popular place for afternoon drinks, next to which is one of the carriages from the old Schilthorn cable car which has been converted into the Jungfrau's Gondel bar where drinks are served from mid-day onwards.
For light snacks after skiing try the Cafe Bistro at the Sports Centre,
Tel: +41 33 856 88 00
Hotel Edelweiss Portrait Restaurant
Tel: +41 33 856 56 00
Eiger Stubli Restaurant
Tel: +41 33 856 54 54
Eiger Guesthouse Restaurant & Bar
Tel: +41 33 856 54 60
Hotel Jungfrau Gruebi Restaurant & Bar
Tel: +41 33 856 64 64
The Alpine Sports Centre has been renovated in 2012 and offers now a splendid alpine spa on the first floor with two saunas, hot and cold footbath, Turkish bath, cold basin and relaxing room as well as modern wardrobes and shower facilities. Professional therapists offer massage, qi gong, yoga and facial treatments in three therapy rooms. The workout gym is spacious and so is the children's paradise for child care with its numerous toys and games.
The Alpine Sports Centre also has a meeting room seating up to 15 persons which can be rented. No changes have been made in the indoor swimming pool (free entrance for holiday guests staying inn Mürren hotels or apartments) and the large sports hall with its numerous possibilities. A modern cafeteria with a large sundeck completes the new meeting place of the village. (see more detailed information on the flyer attached).
Murren's large outdoor ice rink is located in front of the Alpine Sports Centre in the middle of the village. Ice skates can be hired at Stager Sports in the Alpine Centre. Guests can also try their hand at curling and ice stick shooting on Wednesday afternoons (4-6pm) from early January until late February. Instruction in curling is also available for individuals or small groups. For more information contact the curling office at the Sports Centre. Tel: +41 (0) 33 856 86 81.
Enjoy a one hour walking tour through the village, free of charge, with a local guide who will tell you all about the village, historic houses, the lives of local people and, of course, the landscape. Tours are offered on Mondays only, from mid December to late April, and start from Murren Tourist Office at 5pm, and for a minimum of four people.
Murren is a delightful place for a walking holiday in winter and summer. Walking paths are well-maintained and clearly signposted and also used for tobogganing. The Bobrun from Allmendhubel to Murren (3km) is perfect for families and is also open for toboggan rides at night after a cosy cheese fondue at the Allmendhubel mountain restaurant.
The Allmendhubel mountain restaurant hosts a fondue evening with live music each Thursday evening from mid December until late March. You have the option to travel up and down by funicular or return to make a torch-lit ski descent (using your own skis) to Murren. Phone Restaurant Allmendhubel Tel: +41 (0) 33 855 25 12 for more information and to book a table (minimum of four people) and register with Murren Ski School Tel: +41 (0) 33 855 12 47 for the torch-lit descent.
Murren is perched on the edge of a cliff with a ski area between 1,638m and 2,970m, which is mostly quite steep so there are no opportunities for cross-country skiing in Murren. The nearest cross-country skiing is down in the valley, but not near enough to be convenient.
Only one of Murren's hotels, the 4-star Hotel Eiger, has an indoor swimming pool. The Alpine Sports Centre in the village includes a public swimming pool and a Jacuzzi and most hotels offer their guests free access to the sports centre and the swimming pool, but if you're looking for superior hotels with luxurious spa and wellness facilities you'll not find them in Murren.
A sign at the cable car station in Lauterbrunnen warns that there are no official downhill trails for mountain biking in the community of Lauterbrunnen and when you see the cliff-face that separates Murren from Lauterbrunnen you might wonder what unofficial downhill routes exist. There are, however, marked biking routes down in the valley and bikes can be rented in summer only at Stager Sport or at the Imboden Bike shop in Lauterbrunnen Tel: +41 (0) 33 855 21 14.
For more information contact the Tourist Office in Murren:
Murren Tourist Office
Tel: +41 (0) 33 856 86 86