Mürren ski holidays…
Mürren is a classic ski resort in the spectacular Jungfrau region of the Swiss Alps. It is part of a large ski region shared with the neighbouring resorts of Wengen and Grindelwald.
Many people who ski in the region regularly believe Mürren has the best atmosphere, the most stunning mountain views of mountains like the Monch and Eiger which tower above, and the best snow of the three. The village has one of the longest histories as an Alpine ski destination of any in the world and has remained relatively unspoilt, whilst making sure it maintains a modern lift network and provides all the attractions expected of a modern ski area.
Among its many claims to fame the resort was the main filming location for the 1969 James Bond 007 film ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’. Mürren, perhaps like no other resort, still exudes the true spirit of skiing and snow sports, that excited the first generation of downhill Alpine skiers more than a century ago.
SKIING IN MÜRREN
What to expect…
There are 54 km of marked piste along with extensive off-piste and heli-skiing options to explore with local guides and a variety of freestyle attractions. The nearly 2,200 metres of lift-served skiable verticals is one of the biggest in the entire world resulting in some sublime, long descents through some of the planet’s most magnificent mountain scenery. The resort is part of the larger Jungfrau region which more-or-less quadruples the amount of terrain available by including the slopes of neighbouring Wengen and Grindelwald and the mountain railways, cable cars and ski lifts that connect them.
"Combining big skiing and cutting-edge facilities with the charm of a small resort, Mürren continues to punch well above its weight for skiers."
LOCAL SKI AREA - MÜRREN
Mürren’s ski slopes, which include the highest pistes in the Jungfrau region which many believe also has the highest quality and most reliable snow cover in the region, can be divided into three main areas.
Best known is the Schilthorn, tough at the top but with superb terrain for intermediates from the cable-car/tram's mid-station at Birg downwards. Next, the Schiltgrat has a mixture of runs whilst finally, the Allmendhubel, reached by funicular train from the village, has easier runs suited to beginners. For families, the Kidsslope, a new ski run designed for young children, opened for winter 2019-20. Kids love skiing over the humps and bumps, through tunnels, around banked turns and past obstacles. Located close to a restaurant for breaks it runs parallel to the existing Allmendhubel ski slope, already popular with novices. It's also possible to head down to Winteregg where there are lovely runs down through the forest.
A new snowsure beginners area on the Schilthorn at Birg has recently opened for novice skiers featuring a nursery ski slope with two 'magic carpet' conveyor belts to transport users from the bottom to the top with ski equipment and ski clothing available to hire on-site and of course ski tuition available too.
For advanced skiers there are several infamous tough runs, as well as plenty of off-piste and even heli-skiing opportunities with a local guide; in the former category try the famous Kandahar slope on Schiltgrat.
For those looking for more freestyle fun, there's now a permanent ski cross piste at Winteregg which complements an existing timed slalom course and the attractions of the resort’s Skyline Snowpark. Spread between the pistes served by the Kandahar chair-lift this park is divided into sections for different abilities and offers keen freestylers everything they need for all-day excitement and sharpening of aerial skills. There are jumps for all abilities, boxes, kickers and tubes in the beginner and intermediate sections, rails for more advanced tricks and extra-large kickers in the advanced section.
Whenever you visit Mürren a run everyone of reasonable ability and stamina should try to ski is essentially the route of the famed Inferno race run here in January since 1924 and some 16km (10m miles) long and with nearly 2,200 metres of vertical descent – one of the longest runs in the world (a short chairlift ride on the route down is required when the race route isn’t open, and the lower sections are snow dependent which is less likely at the ends of the season it being down below 1,000 metres above sea level).
WIDER SKI AREA - JUNGFRAU
The Jungfrau ski region is one of the largest ski areas in Switzerland.
With about 206km of slopes divided into three main parts - Mürren’s own slopes, which make up about a quarter of the area, Grindelwald’s First ski area at the far side from Mürren, which, very approximately again, takes up another quarter, then between the two the largest single part, lying between Wengen and Grindelwald, known as Männlichen.
This big ski area has very varied terrain with a great mix of runs above and below the treeline with everything from protected, gentle beginner areas, through classic winding intermediate cruisers to steep drops and mogul fields for the most accomplished skiers and boarders. One route most in the latter category will want to ski is the route of the famed Lauberhorn World Cup run.
A few smaller ski areas such as Meiringen Hasliberg are also included on the area pass, along with rail travel to and from, them.
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Approximate transfer times:
- ZURICH: 3¾ Hrs
- Geneva: 3¾ Hrs
Surrounded by some of the world's most spectacular scenery, Mürren is a small, charming and largely unspoilt resort.
It is wrong to think of the resort as tiny, it’s about a kilometre long from end to end and whilst it perhaps has a smaller choice of restaurants and shops than most resorts of its stature, there’s still plenty of choice for your ski holiday.
Mürren has a reputation like no other in the history of downhill skiing. The first slalom race was staged here and the inclusion of skiing in the Winter Olympics can be directly traced to that, but it also hosted the first Alpine Ski World Championships in 1931, three years before the first Inferno race, still going today and still the longest downhill race in the world, was first run.
The revolving restaurant perched on top of the Schilthorn mountain, also known as 'Piz Gloria' at 2970m (9,750ft) is one of the resort’s greatest assets. The story goes that the village had begun work on the new restaurant but had run out of money when scouts for the film crew seeking locations for the next film in the franchise in the late 1960s happened upon it. The building became a key part of the film and money from the film company was then used to complete the construction and open the restaurant now 50 years ago.
There are incredible views all around as the restaurant slowly revolves through 360 degrees over 45 minutes. The panorama from here takes in more than 200 peaks including Mont Blanc on the French - Italian border, the German Black Forest as well as the local peaks of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. All in all, Mürren is usually a very peaceful place, it's car-free and ever the motors that enable the Schilthorn mountain restaurant to revolve are now solar-powered. Very James Bond.
RESTAURANTS & BARS
Given its size, it's no surprise that there's not a huge selection of restaurants in the village.
The 20 or so establishments there are to choose from a focus primarily on the traditional favourites like fondue, and are located within the resort's hotels. The Hotel Eiger’s restaurant gets the highest review scores for both the food and the view – which is spectacular - of the Eiger. It serves mostly traditional cuisine to a very high standard with chateaubriand a popular speciality but its vegetarian options also highly commended.
The Restaurant La Grotte in the Hotel Blumental is one of the best in the village for the ubiquitous cheese fondue, although it has an extensive menu besides. For a lighter bite in a lower price bracket, the Eiger Guesthouse Restaurant has a reputation for great Italian cuisine, including pizza, pasta and risotto. It’s not all Alpine and European food though. Asian cuisine is eternally popular in Switzerland and the Tham Restaurant, which serves Chinese and Singaporean cuisine is one of the most popular in the village with chef Tham Kok Keong and his wife Yek Len Chew (also known as Ruth) delivering fantastic food.
No visit to Mürren is complete without a visit to 360°Restaurant Piz Gloria.
Restaurant Piz Gloria was a star of the Bond movie 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' and remains heavily themed on 007. You can buy James Bond spaghetti here or have the 007 logo seared into your burger bun and you can, of course, opt for a leisurely lunch whilst the restaurant revolves through 360 degrees in one of the most scenically spectacular locations on earth. There are several other mountain restaurant choices of the more conventional, wooden Swiss chalet design. The Bergrestaurant Winteregg and the Panorama Restaurant Allmendhubel are among the more popular.
Mürren is too small to be an apres-ski Mecca but there are quite a few nice options for a jolly night out.
The Gondelbar run by the Hotel Jungfrau is open from 12.30 pm and you can ski in directly from the Palace Run. A converted cable car cabin there’s space for 20 inside (seated and standing) with the crowd normally spilling out on to the terrace. The rustic Tächi Bar in the Hotel Eiger has a wide-ranging drinks selection including both classic and alcohol-free cocktails, a great whisky menu and local Jungfraubräu beer. It’s open daily with a DJ set later in the evening that continues through to 2am.
Another dancing option is the Bliemlichäller disco in the basement of Hotel Blumental which is open from 9.30pm to 2.30 am and for something different, there's occasionally the unusual apres-ski option of an ice disco organised at the rink.
Mürren has been working to expand the number of alternative options it has available on its slopes.
The recently opened new Skyline Snow Experience high on the Schilthorn at Birg (2677m) rolls multiple attractions into the one-stop location. The area, directly accessible on foot from the Birg cable car station, includes an Igloo Village (with igloo bar and restaurant), 350m zip-wire, snow-tubing and toboggan runs all at the same location against a backdrop of breath-taking scenery. The ‘Thrill Walk’ a nerve-jangling steel, glass and wire walkway attached to the Birg cliff-face can also be accessed from here.
RESORT ACTIVITIES & NON-SKIERS
Mürren is not an obvious choice for non-skiers unless they're happy just to enjoy being in such a beautiful place, taking in the view from a mountain terrace, in which case it's perfect.
There’s limited shopping and not too many non-sports attractions, although it’s easy to hop on a train and go somewhere on a day trip. Mürren’s indoor sports centre is a major attraction. There’s an indoor sports hall, fitness room, pool, and outdoor ice rink where skating, curling and hockey can all be enjoyed. Badminton and tennis can be played within the sports hall with bookings available by the hour.
The centre has a 25m public swimming pool, a Jacuzzi with a mountain view and a small children's pool too. On the floor above there’s a spa area complete with two saunas, a Turkish bath and a Kneipp area plus there’s a team of therapists offering various massage treatments. The Hotel Eiger also has a panoramic indoor swimming pool with hot tub and a spa with sauna, samarium, rainfall shower and a solarium which are open to the public.
In terms of outdoor, non-ski activities it is possible to go paragliding on a tandem flight for still more breathtaking views; snowshoeing; there's a toboggan run (the same one that featured in the Bond film more than 50 years ago) and there’s also cleared winter hiking routes, marked by purple signposts. Of course, up at Piz Gloria, there's the 'Bond World' exhibition and the 'Bond Walk of Fame' attraction too.
You can also make use of the Jungfrau regional pass to access Europe's highest railway station at the Jungfraujoch which is a major year-round attraction with the visitor centre, museum, chocolate shop and glacier ice palace. Or travel down rather than up and visit the beautiful lakeside town of Interlaken, which has great shopping, wonderful cafes and restaurants and plenty of other attractions to enjoy.
WHO IS MÜRREN SUITABLE FOR?
Here are the highlights...
EXPERTS & OFF-PISTE
Mürren is right up there with Chamonix, Jackson Hole, St Anton and a handful of others ass a bucket-list must ski destination for serious skiers.
Although some expert skiers criticise the amount of advanced terrain available on and off-piste at Mürren, the village holds incredible prestige in the skiing world thanks to it being where modern downhill ski racing was pioneered and where those early pioneers of downhill skiing pushed the envelope in to what was then entirely off-piste terrain to discover what were then new ways to descend steep slopes on snow. Of course, the world-famous Lauberhorn race is still staged here, the very epitome of the spirit of fast, adventurous skiing.
The descents to make when you visit Mürren, include, of course, the route of the Inferno race. There are several classic descents on the marked pistes including the infamous Kanonenrohr (gun barrel) which the Mürren old guard complain is not as challenging as it once was but is still fairly alarming for many. Then there are the numerous off-piste options guides can lead you to from Schiltgrat and Birg as well as down from the Schilthorn top station
Mürren is an excellent choice for families of all ages.
To begin with, there is the resort's car-free nature and stunning location, making it a comparatively safe and magical place in which to spend that south after "quality time" together. Then there are the excellent facilities on and off the slopes for younger children – the non-ski care in the sports centre and the lovely Snowly’s Kids Village ski kindergarten run by the Swiss Ski School which features themed characters, fun terrain, private carpet lifts, a weekly ski race and multi-lingual instructors all tasked with making learning fun. The snow bungy is a particular highlight! If you visit in high season you’ll also find additional activities laid on each week including children’s disco and face painting.
Off the slopes, the atmosphere in the village is very family-oriented and there are some great facilities – including a kids-only pool in the sports centre. Then behind all that there's the added excitement of the James Bond connection, skiing the slopes Bond skied, visiting the revolving restaurant that was the star of the film.
Mürren has a reputation for having some of the highest slopes, and best snow conditions, in the entire Jungfrau ski region.
The village does provide access to one of the biggest lift-served verticals on the planet and it’s true that the lower 500 metres of this are quite low and, despite snowmaking cover, can have problems if it’s unseasonably warm. However Mürren itself sits 1,638m above sea level and lifts climb another 1,330 vertical metres above that to near 3,000m altitude, and the resort has a reputation for good snow cover from below the resort right to the top of the slopes from the very start top the very end of the season. And that end is later than most other ski resorts, usually in early May.
Most of the resort's slopes are located above 1,600m altitude. On top of a good natural snowfall record there are about 125 Snow cannons which cover around two-thirds of the slopes, including all the main runs, so combined with the low temperatures common on higher slopes there's also a snowmaking arsenal ready to build the base and top up the natural cover as needed.
Keep an eye on the weather conditions...
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MAP OF MÜRREN
Find your way…
Here's our map of Mürren showing you the key hotels and apartments as well as some of the main points of interest.