Murren is a charming and picturesque alpine village located in the Swiss Alps that offers a unique winter holiday experience for Singaporeans seeking adventure, relaxation, and breathtaking mountain views.
Stay in Murren as a base and you can easily travel to the 2,970-metre Schilthorn summit by cable car that offers 360-degree panoramic views of the Eiger, Monch, Jungfrau and more than 200 other peaks.
The small village has a population of fewer than 450 people. Everyone knows everyone in Murren and therein lies the charm of Murren, making me fall in love with it during my 3D2N stay.
Here’s why you should consider visiting Murren for your winter vacation, along with some details on how to get there and what to do once you arrive.
Getting to Murren from Zurich or Interlaken
The most convenient way to get to Murren from Zurich is by taking a train to Lauterbrunnen, which takes approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes. From there, you can take a cable car up to Murren, which takes about 15 minutes. The cable car ride itself is an experience, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Alternatively, if you are spending a longer time in Switzerland, consider making a visit to Interlaken first to explore first, Jungfrau, Top of Europe, the highest summit in the whole of Europe and the UNESCO heritage site, Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsc. Thereafter, you can transfer via train and bus from Interlaken to Stechelberg (about 42 minutes, R 62 bus from Interlaken to Interlaken Ost, then take the train to Lauterbrunnen, Bahnhof, followed by the B 141 bus to Stechelberg, Shilthornbahn), followed by a 12 minutes cable car ride from Stechelberg to Murren. This was the itinerary I was on.
Be sure to get the Swiss Travel Pass to enjoy cost savings for unlimited train, bus, cable cars and even ferry rides around the whole of Switzerland.
Attractions in Murren:
1. Skiing and Snowboarding
Murren is a paradise for skiers and snowboarders, with over 200 km of well-groomed slopes suitable for all skill levels. There are a variety of ski lifts and cable cars that will take you to the different ski areas, including the famous Schilthorn, which offers an incredible view of the surrounding mountains.
In the village itself, you can head over to the Swiss Ski School Mürren-Schilthorn, to attend a group or private ski or snowboarding class. For equipment, you can rent them over at the nearby Intersport Murren-Schilthorn sports store.
1. Winter Hiking
If skiing is not your thing, Murren offers plenty of winter hiking opportunities. The village has a network of well-maintained winter hiking trails that take you through the stunning winter landscape, with beautiful views of the mountains and valleys. Just look at how beautiful the area is, even when everything is coated in winter white:
If you are heading up to Schilthorn or Pia Gloria, the Skyline Walk at the Birg middle station lets you stare into the abyss below. For those who are more adventurous, you can also consider going on the Thrill Walk, a 200-metre long rocky path down among the vertical walls of the rock massif:
2. Ice Skating
Murren has an outdoor ice rink where you can enjoy a fun-filled day of ice skating with your family and friends.
3. Alpine Spa
After a day of skiing or winter hiking, treat yourself to some relaxation at the Alpine Spa in Murren. The spa offers a variety of treatments and facilities, including a sauna, steam room, and hot tub, all with stunning views of the mountains. The locals seem to enjoy this a lot and we spotted a bunch of teens enjoying an outdoor spa when we passed by.
4. James Bond World
If you’re a fan of James Bond, be sure to visit the James Bond World in Murren. You will need to take a short cable car ride up from Murren to Schilthron.
The Schilthorn became famous as a location for the 1969 James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
The revolving restaurant at the summit, which rotates around its own axis once every 45 minutes, owes its current name Piz Gloria to the film production. Visitors can follow in James Bond’s footsteps in the interactive Bond World exhibition or on the 007 Walk of Fame.
While you are up at Pia Gloria, consider completing the full 007 experience by enjoying the signature James Bond Brunch at the 360-degree revolving restaurant:
Prices start from CHF 20 and CHF 35 for kids and adults respectively. The brunch features a buffet spread of Swiss delicacies and regional products which you get to enjoy against a magnificent mountain backdrop that was used during the filming of the James Bond movie.
Be sure to check out the outdoor area for some photo opportunities:
5. Tham Singapore Restaurant
Even though there are just 450 people residing in Murren, I was still able to locate one Singaporean, Chef Tham, who relocated to Murren from Singapore several decades back. The locals affectionately crowned him as the ‘exotic chef’ to consult if they want to sample any Asian cuisine. Chef Tham would then research and serve it to them in his restaurant if it catches his fancy!
Chef Tham first earned his culinary chop in Singapore, working his way up to the Executive Sous Chef position at 5-star hotels like Rendezvous Hotel before he was headhunted to work in Switzerland, whereby he eventually opened his own restaurant, Tham Singapore Restaurant in Murren.
In his own words, he ended up living in Murren because he likes skiing.
Nearing his retirement, Chef Tham currently runs the restaurant with just his wife and only serves a limited number of covers each night, preferring to take things slow to enjoy what he is cooking and serving.
We sampled his fried rice and found it to be of the same high standard you would expect from Chinese restaurants in Singapore and the Asia regions. In other words, it was authentic and not westernised Chinese food. If you are in Murren, do pop by Tham to enjoy an authentic Singapore-style Asian meal if you are feeling homesick or have a craving for local food.
6. Excrusion to Allmendhubel
Mürren’s home mountain is just four minutes away by cable car. You can go up to Allmenduhubel to enjoy a scenic meal or for skiing or sledding, right back down to Murren.
The food at the restaurant is simple, and reasonably priced by Swiss standards. There is nothing touristy about it and you will be enjoying the same kind of comfort food as the locals do, at the same price.
7. Chill and Relax
I have always loved staying in small villages when I travel. It is the best way to live like a local and get to know everyone intimately who lives there. Murren is small enough for you to get to know everyone in a couple of days. During my 3 days there, I got to know the guy who operates the cable car that lugs supplies up to Murren, the store manager at the ski rental shop who happens to be an avid trail runner, among many others.
There are not that many shops around and the locals are extremely friendly, always happy to have a chat to share more about Murren or listen to what you have to share about where you come from.
Did I mention there is a small library in Murren? It is so small it is just slightly bigger than a telephone booth:
8. Good Comfort Food
Aside from Tham, there are several other cosy restaurants in Murren that serve home-style comfort food. The kind that make you feel so at home.
I really like the cheese from this little kiosk, made locally in one of the last standing cheese farm in the area. You can boost that you got your cheese from a farm at one of the highest summits in Switzerland!
You would expect the prices to be jacked up for tourists at the hotel restaurants, but this is not the case in Murren as they cater to the locals as well. Prices by reasonable by Swiss standards and you can expect warm service with cosy, comfort food to fill up your belly.
Where to stay in Murren
There are a mix of modern as well as more traditional lodgings in Murren. I stayed at the Hotel Alpenruh, a chalet-style holiday hotel which is just one minute away from the Murren cable car station.
In summary, Murren is a winter wonderland that offers a unique and unforgettable vacation experience for Singaporeans. The journey to Murren itself is breathtaking, and once you arrive, you will be surrounded by stunning alpine scenery, with plenty of activities to keep you busy.
Whether you’re a skier, hiker, or simply looking for some relaxation, Murren has something for everyone. So, book your tickets today and enjoy an unforgettable winter vacation in Murren.