unique. varied.

Sister of Rivendell.

FICTION – New Zealand? Whatever. The true home of the Hobbit.
In 1911, the 19-year-old J.R.R. Tolkien hikes through the Swiss Alps – and of course through the Lauterbrunnen Valley with its steep rockfaces. Hardly anyone knows that he found his inspiration for the landscape in «Lord of the Rings» here. Yes, really: those who know the books and films immediately have the feeling they've been thrown into Middle-Earth.

Bernd Greisinger,
Founder of the Greisinger museum in Jenins

«You know that the ‹Hobbit› wouldn't have existed without Switzerland?»

That's how the artist Alan Lee imagined the famous Rivendell (deep valley of the cleft) in Middle-Earth to be after reading Tolkien's description. No worries. Obviously inspired by the Lauterbrunnen Valley. Here, directly compared with Rivendell from the film «Lord of the Rings».

Das Lauterbrunnental

There she is. The «sister of Rivendell».


The so-called «Bögli» on the Säumerweg...


...and the Hospiz on Grimsel Pass...

House of Elrond

...in the film, these become Elrond's property in the Misty Mountains.

The three peaks of Moria

The ring-bearers are defeated by the three peaks of Moria. So they venture their way through the mines. The terrible result of the decision is known to everyone.

Sheltered in the Jungfrau Railway train, the modern ring-bearers ride through Eiger and Mönch: Saruman is simply powerless. His attacks just rebound.

Today, the crossing would be quite a lot easier for Gandalf and his companions. Well, they could ride to the highest train station in Europe at 3,454 metres above sea level at least.


The Celebdil, also called Silvertine (Silberzinne), is a mountain in the Misty Mountain range, and along with Caradhras and Fanuidhol is one of the three mountains towering over the mines of Moria. The direct role model for the Celebdil is the Silberhorn, the Jungfrau's neighbouring peak. Tolkien calls this white pyramid «the Silvertine of my dreams».

The largest and most famous of all dwarf kingdoms has its source in the Jungfrau Region. The mines of Moria – also known among the dwarfs as: «Kazad-dûm».

There's no train driving up yet. And wading through this snow isn't a great idea. That's why the ring-bearers decided to take the route through the mines of Moria. Of course the Balrog who they awaken in his cave doesn't like this decision at all. Gandalf probably sees it differently.
The idea that the mountains in «Kazad-dûm», the kingdom of the dwarfs is pervaded by stone halls, steps and corridors, can be traced back to the Jungfrau Railway which was under construction in the summer of 1911. The project of the century definitely made its mark in Tolkien's memory.

kilometres and almost 1,400 metres altitude are covered by the Jungfrau Railway on its climb to the highest train station in Europe. Somewhat more than seven kilometres of the route are in the tunnel.
Relikt aus den Höllen von Moria

A relic from the caves of Moria?


A coat stand for Gimli and his dwarf friends?


It doesn't require much fantasy to imagine that you're in the middle of «Lord of the Rings» during a visit to the Trümmelbach Waterfalls. With its ten glacier waterfalls inside the mountain, made accessible by a tunnel lift, the Trümmelbach Waterfalls are unique to Europe.

Minenähnliche Gänge in Moria
Wasserfall in Moria
Felsspalte in Moria
Höhle in Moria

Bernd Greisinger,
Founder of the Greisinger museum in Jenins

«In the Lauterbrunnen Valley, fans of ‹Lord of the Rings› and ‹the Hobbit› experience the big picture.»

Instead of Nazgûls there are loads of parachutes in the sky.

First Glider

A heroic moment. The eagles are very welcome in the film. There are now giant birds on Grindelwald-First, too. One of the Jungfrau Railway's exciting attractions.


How would Tolkien have integrated these beings into his story?

Baumstümpfe im Fangornwald

Memories of the Fangorn forest are awakened...

The Ents won't have any luck there, it seems: I wonder whether Saruman was at work here and had the trees cut down in order to conjour up his powerful army?

Modern riders from Rohan in the Misty Mountains

The powerful army makes its way to Gondor. Via the Grimsel Pass. The role model for the pass in the Misty Mountains.

Fog drifts over the Grimsel Pass. The modern riders of Rohan don't allow themselves to be confused, they soldier on bravely on their high-tech stallions with sophisticated gears. At the end of the journey there's no battle in front of the walls of Gondor, but the modern riders' efforts are also visible. The best can manage five passes in a row. Impressive. The battle for Gondor is just a storm in a teacup in comparison.


On the search for the Elven bread «Lembas»...


...local bakery specialities catch the eye.

meals a day is what a Hobbit eats: breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, lunch, teatime, dinner and supper.

Nothing for halflings

A hard test for modern ring-bearers: the «Eiger Ultra Trail» is a real challenge with its 101 kilometres and 6,700 metres altitude – nothing for halflings.


Where the Hobbits among us can (t)rollick around a little.


There are trolls to be seen here, too. Sitting in front of a cafe in Mürren, among other places.


Magic wands must stay outside! Either Gandalf is shopping here or he's become a bit forgetful in his old age.


If Hobbits drove cars, these would be spacious delivery vans.

Bye-bye Middle-Earth

The day draws to a close, the story continues. The Lauterbrunnen Valley made a lasting impression on Tolkien. Centuries later, he still lets these impressions flow into his work.

Additional information

Jungfraujoch-Top of Europe

More information

First Glider

More information

Trümmelbach Waterfalls

More information

Photos: Jungfrau Region, Jungfraubahnen
Story: André Wellig, Thomas Wirth
Summer 2017


Lauterbrunnen Tourismus

Stutzli 460
Postfach 23
CH-3822 Lauterbrunnen

Tel. +41 33 856 85 68
Fax +41 33 856 85 69