Grindelwald is one of the most popular and stunning locations in Switzerland. This typical mountain town is also surrounded by some of the country’s highest and most famous mountains – the Eiger, Jungfrau, and Monch. And in all likelihood, you are going up to the Jungfraujoch at some point on your trip here!
However, one of the best and most memorable things you can do while in the Berner Oberland, and specifically in Grindelwald is to go for a hike. The hiking trails are almost endless, the views jaw-dropping and many of them are actually quite short and easy, unlike many other more challenging hikes in the Alps.
This post will give you a mix of the most popular and famous hikes in Grindelwald, as well as a few lesser-known and even more challenging options. Something for everyone as it were!
For those wanting a little extra during your Grindelwald hikes, these tours are just the ticket!
One of the best hiking trails to start your experience in Grindelwald is the Eiger Trail. It is a short 2-hour hike that runs directly below the legendary Eiger North Face.
This mountain and the North Face climb, in particular, is infamous in the climbing world. It has probably killed more climbers than any other climb in the Alps, and might even rival Everest for its deadliness. And by doing this hike, you not only get great views, you also get up close and personal with the mountain.
This popular trail starts at the Eigergletscher (German for Eiger Glacier) train and gondola station and winds its way down to another train stop at Alpiglen. It is more or less all downhill, so not very strenuous and can also be combined with a trip up to the Jungfraujoch – get off and walk on your way back.
You can also continue along the trail a further hour or more to Grindelwald itself and also cut the train journey out on the return. Saving you a little cash too.
If you take the new Eiger Express gondola from Grindelwald Terminal to Eigergletscher, the full walk is an Eigergletscher to Grindelwald hike (see trail here). Otherwise, you can take a slight shortcut from Kleine Scheidegg.
Directly on the other side of the Grindelwald valley to the Eiger is First. A ski resort in winter, and a great launching point for hikes in summer.
Perhaps the most popular hiking trails is from First to Bachalpsee, and it starts at the very top of the First cable car station. This is also a relatively short walk, at 2 hours return. It is also one of the easy hikes in Grindelwald, so can be done in normal shoes and with the whole family.
The beauty of this Grindelwald hike is the reflection of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau mountains you get, especially early in the morning when the air is very still.
Those wanting a little more challenge can continue another hour up to the Faulhorn hut where you can overnight or just stop for a drink and a bite to eat. You get rewarded here with views over to the other side of the Grindelwald valley, with mountains running all the way along – East to West.
Grindelwald Glacier Canyon - Gletscherschlucht
The last of the short hiking trails on this list is another easy hike from Grindelwald into the stunning canyon created by the run-off from the glaciers on the Eiger. The Grindelwald Glacier Gorge walk is an easy jaunt into the canyon, often hanging from the canyon walls itself.
This walk can also be combined with the Eiger Trail above as you can continue down from Alipglen and connect to it quite easily. Or you can hike here from Grindelwald directly – 30min from the central train station
Another bonus of this walk is the recent addition of the Spiderweb at the mid-point of the walk which includes a fun hanging net in the middle of the canyon. Something the kids will love!
To get to this walk you can either catch the bus 122 to the hotel at the start of the walk or make it a short hike from Grindelwald, mostly downhill.
Another great hike near Grindelwald is this mind-blowing 6-hour alpine vista hike.
This is the first hike I ever did in Switzerland, many moons ago, and it is one of my favorite hikes to this day. It can either be done in one long day from Schynige Platte to First or split up over two days with an overnight stop in the Faulhorn hut. That is what I did back in the day.
The reason this hike is so stunning is that you have unbroken views of the Bernese Alps for the whole hike. More specifically, the famous – Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. The jewels of the Jungfrau region.
Although it is more or less the same view all of the way, it slowly and subtly changes as you hike along. And once you get to First, you can see over to the Northern side too.
It can be done in either direction actually, but the highlight, aside from the views, is the reflection in the Bachalpsee lake as you near the First cable car station (this is a separate short hike mentioned above).
If you want to extend the hike as we did, you can also continue on from First and connect with the road near Grosse Scheidegg where the bus comes down from Meiringen into Grindelwald. Of course, as with any hike in Switzerland, there are adjoining trails and options along the way and at either end!
This is another hike I have done a number of times over the years, but it is perhaps a little tougher and scarier, especially if you are not very sure-footed. So, it is definitely something for experienced hikers.
The Glecksteinhütte hike starts at the Abzweigung Gleckstein bus stop outside of Grindelwald, downhill from Grosse Scheidegg. So, you can reach it on foot, but the hike is not that exciting. It then quickly climbs the wall of the gorge, and doesn’t stop from there until you reach the hut at 2316m!
There are a couple of “tricker” parts along the way which are worth noting. The first is a small waterfall you pass under (fun but slippery, so be careful) the second is some chains you need to hold to cross some less simple parts of the ascent/descent. None of these is “that” difficult, but this hike is no walk in the park and you should be aware of that.
The views from there are stunning, and watching the sunset or rise while you are there is one of the highlights. The other is the large numbers of long-horned Ibexes (Steinböcke) that assemble outside the hut every night to get their fix of salt!
Note: This hike can also be connected with the Glacier Gorge hike.
Image courtest of Kosala Bandara
Back on the Eiger side of the valley, this is another easy walk that takes you from the Lauterbrunnen valley, or Mänllichen, towards the Eiger. It can actually be walked in either direction, however, you get far better views starting at Männlichen, as you are looking on the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau almost all the way!
It is also a pleasant walk because there is not so much up and down, and it involves a cable car. It is also easy to combine with many other walks because it ends in Kleine Scheidegg (the Eiger Trail starts just above).
So, those of you who are fit can also make this far longer by adding hikes on either end.
Either way, it is yet another gem of a hiking trail in the Grindelwald region!
Grindelwald makes for a great base while you are hiking your way around the Jungfrau Region. It offers so many hiking options and easy access to all the highlights of the area.
Here are my recommendations for some beautiful places to stay in this authentic Swiss village:
The Romantik Hotel Schweizerhof is not only 5 stars, sustainably managed and 2 minutes from the train, it also boasts panoramic views, a Finnish sauna and delectable Swiss cuisine.
The four-star Eiger Selfness Hotel is also worth checking out as it is quite new, also has a spa and is right in the heart of town.
Hotel Gletscherblick has a view of First Mountain, a continental breakfast and a lovely in-house restaurant.
Hotel Bodmi is another wonderful 3-star option in town, right next the First gondola and also has a spa so you can relax after a big hike.