When we were planning our holiday to Switzerland this year, we had planned to stay in the car free town of Wengen, on the other side of the valley from Murren, which would in deed be closer to the very famous and much visited attraction of the Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in Europe, bringing you to the 'Top of Europe' as it is widely advertised as. What made us stay in Murren however were the reviews of a fabulous little chalet (Chalet Fontana) in Murren, which was very reasonable value in a very expensive country like Switzerland.
We were travelling by train, so getting to Murren wasn't particulalry troublesome for us, in terms of finding the right place to leave your car. There are two main ways of getting to the little town starting from Lauterbrunnen at the bottom of the valley. We opted for the BLM, the mountain railway system, which in fact is composed of two parts - a large cable car which takes you part of the way up, which then coordinates (time wise) with the train which takes you the rest of the way up. hte other way to get to Murren, is to take the train from Lauterbrunner across the valley floor to Stechelberg, and then get the cable car up to Murren. Both are very easy to use and regular. These cable cars are large in size, and if you are carrying luggage, you can simply wheel it on board. The two arrival points in Murren are at either ends of the town.
There are two main streets in Murren, an upper one and a lower one. Our hotel was on the lower street, which is the busier of the two. If you arrive by train, it will approx a 5 to 10 minute walk before you are really in the heart of the town, as it is quite spread out for such a little place. There are ample amounts of cafes offering rosti's (a large hash brown style dish) cheese fondues, as well as other cuisine (including a chinese) along the lower street, and most of the larger hotels have their own restaurants as well. Prices range from reasonable to expensive in terms of both lodgings and eateries.
There are also plenty of little shops in the town, most of them selling winter skiing gear, but also some small souvenir shops (a little tacky), as well as a COOP supermarket and bank.
It may be a car free town, but you still need to be careful as you walk around. There are plenty of little electric vehicles buzzing around, although you really do feel as if the air is so pure and clean in the town, especially being so high up in the mountains.
One of the best thigns about the town, are unsurprisingly, the views. Not matter where you are in the town you can't get away from the amazing views of three great peaks of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. Nowhere else in the world would you be able to either stay in reasonable priced lodings or have a reasonably priced dinner with those amazing views. You would usually be charged an arm and a leg for views like that on your doorstep. There are obviously therefore, numerous places in the town from which you can photograph these great views.
Murren is also a haven for walkers, nearly every other person in the summer season has a walking pole (or poles) in their hand. This is a big place for hikers, and understandably so. There are numerous trails to follow, all well signposted, depending on both yoru fitness, you available time, and what you would like to see. It is also worth asking the locals, as our accommodation host was able to tell us additional paths to take us past some other wonderful sights.
I suppose the difficulty with Murren comes when the weather isn't so good. We were incredibly lucky, and blessed with two hot, sunny days with pure blue skies, and so we could choose whatever we wanted. However, if you arrive in cloudy, wet weather, you won't get the views, so it is hardly worth paying to go the Jungfraujoch or schilthorn, and you might not want to walk as much, without the stunning scenery. There is a town swimming pool which you can use, and apart from a little bit of shopping, it may be a struggle to fill your days. There is little to be done however, and we read someone that the locals are very knowledgeable about the weather conditions because their livelihood depends on it, so it is worth asking them.
If you want to get away from everything, and be somewhere with complete peace and quiet, fresh clean air, spectacular views, walking trails and just relaxation, then you should head for Murren. It is really the image that many have of Switzerland and the Swiss Alps, and it comprises everything anyone who visits the Swiss Alps wants.