Grindelwald is an idyllic little village in the Jungfrau region. In winter and spring, this town is a winter wonderland. In the summer, it is bursting with color of emerald green pastures and wild flowers. Its location under the North Face of the Eiger mountain and at the base of Jungfraujoch makes it a gateway to one of the best destinations in the country. From Gindelwald, it’s an easy trip to other popular villages in the region that makes for a truly memorable and adventurous Swiss holiday.
There are many ways you can spend your days (or weeks) in Grindelwald. To make it a little easier, here are 15 things to do to let you make the most out of Grindelwald and the entire Jungfrau region.
Snowy adventures are best done at Grindelwald First. It’s a summit that can be reached via cable car and is filled with different kinds of activities for any traveler. It’s also prime location for hiking.
The first thing anyone does upon reaching the summit is the First Cliff Walk. It’s a metal walkway jutting out of a cliff and projecting over 45 meters of sheer drop. While looking down might be harrowing, looking above and beyond the valley is breathtaking. From this walkway, views of rocky slopes, Alpine peaks and pastures, and distant lakes are stunning.
For those who have no problem with heights at all, the First Flyer is a thrill. It’s an 800-meter zip line that flies rider above the valley up to speeds of 84 kph.
If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, then take one of the many hiking trails in the area. The most popular one is the 3-kilometer hike to Bachalpsee. The trail is easy but uphill and marked by a wide gravel road, perfect for families and people of all ages. The approximately one-hour hike rewards hikers with an 8.06-hectare lake split by a natural dam. The surrounding grounds are great for picnics with an Alpine backdrop. From here, it’s possible to continue on with different hiking trails.
Given the fairly forgiving landscape of the First, you can also rent mountain carts and ride down the tracks for mountainous views.
The North Face of the Eiger is a monumental wall of rock that stands as a landmark for Grindelwald. It attracts hundreds of climbers every year, but the trek to the foot of the Eiger is also worth the effort.
The journey starts at the Eigergletscher station. From here, you can take the gorgeous mountain trail that takes you through views of the Lauberhorn, Kleine Scheidegg and the Grindelwald valley. The trail takes you directly to the foot of the Eiger north face. Every now and then, you’ll see climbers attempting to conquer the monumental slab of rock. If you continue on the trail, you’ll pass by streams and waterfalls and end up at the Alpiglen train station.
You can’t pay a visit to Grindelwald and not spend time at Jungfraujoch.
Fondly dubbed as “Top of Europe”, this destination stands at an altitude of 3,545 meters. Getting there is already half the fun through the Jungfrau Railway, taking passengers from Klein Schiedegg and through tunnels and breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks. The railway also makes short stops at Eigerwand and Eismeer. From here, you can get a close look at the Eiger through observation windows. The rail ends at Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in Europe.
There are observation platforms for you to take in the incredible views of nearby peaks such as the Eiger and Monch. From here you can also see Europe’s longest glacier, the Aletsch – a 24-km glacier that runs from the back of the Jungfrau.
There are several activities you can enjoy at the Jungfraujoch that are also ideal for families. The Ice Palace is a popular exhibit through an ice cave with beautifully carved out sculptures. The Jungfrau Panorama Film shows a 360-view of the region. If you prefer a view of the stars, then head to the Sphinx Observatory. Another must-visit is the Lindt Chocolate Experience that shows visitors how the chocolate recipe was discovered. Outdoorsy folks will also enjoy year-round snow at the Snow Fun Park or a hike on the Aletsch Glacier and The Monchjochhutte (Moch Alpine Hut).
Grosse Scheidegg is a car-free mountain pass that connects Grindelwald and Meiringen.
At an elevation of 1,962 meters, it grants views of Grindelwald, Eiger, and Kleine Scheidegg amidst flowery meadows and snowy mountains. It’s also at the foot of the Wetterhorn, a 3,692-meter peak first conquered in 1854.
Grosse Scheidegg is a bit of a climb from Grindelwald, taking approximately 3 hours and up 1,000 meters and over 10 kilometers. It’s a good way to take in the environment, and also makes for a good biking trail. You can cut the walk in half by taking the gondola to the First and starting from there.
Since Grindelwald is the gateway to the Jungfrau region, it will be a shame if you don’t venture further out into the neighboring town. First stop is Lauterbrunnen, a mere 25 minutes from Grindelwald via Grindelwaldstrasse.
Lauterbrunnen is set in a valley of rocky cliffs and stunning waterfalls. In fact, it’s called the valley of the 72 waterfalls and nestled at the foot of the Jungfrau, Eiger, and Monch.
You probably won’t have time to see all 72 waterfalls, but make sure not to miss Staubbach Falls. This 300-meter cascade of water is the highest in Switzerland. It’s just outside the town and you can even admire its grandeur from afar. However, it’s fairly easy to take a closer look. With just a short walk up the valley, you can experience the power of the falls from behind the cascading water. The path is clearly marked but can be very slippery. If you decide to take this walk, make sure to borrow some hiking poles at the start of the pathway to avoid any accidents.
One of the more unique waterfalls in Lauterbrunnen is Trummelbach Falls. It’s Europe’s only subterranean falls, which is actually a series of 10 falls hidden inside the mountain. It’s a strange and stunning sight and rightly deserves its recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This beautiful and powerful cascade of water comes from meltwater from the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau. It’s been raging through for thousands of years, resulting in beautiful formations carved out of the solid rock. A lift from the edge brings visitors down the first set of falls. There are pathways, rails, and viewing points throughout the falls. Raging water is deafening and sometimes freezing, and comes from above and below. The last part of the trek is quite difficult with steep and slippery steps to see the last two of the ten chutes tumble into the Trümmelbach River. However, the experience is rewarding and the views of Lauterbrunnen at the end of the trek are stunning.
BASE Jumping is a pretty popular sport around Lauterbrunnen. BASE Jumpers jump of a cliff, attempt to glide through the air, then pull open a parachute to land safely on the ground. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but the surrounding cliffs of Lauterbrunnen make it an ideal location for this extreme sport.
There are several exit points around the valley, and the hike up to these points are challenging in themselves. If you’re interested in doing this, the Horner Pub is a local haunt for many BASE Jumpers you can tag along with.
If you’re not too much of a thrill seeker, watching them fly through the air is also exciting. A trail from the Stechelburg and towards the Trummelbach Falls places you in view of several exit points in the area. On sunny days or in the summer, you’ll catch several BASE Jumpers taking a leap of faith over the valley.
For breathtaking views and the best spot to watch the sunset, take a trip to the Schilthorn. It became very popular after it was featured in the 1969 Bond movie “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”. Even without blockbuster exposure, however, the Schilthorn remains a must-do for the dramatic observatory at an elevation of 2,600 meters. It’s a good hike to make with immensely satisfying rewards at the top. Otherwise, you can easily take a gondola up to the observatory.
A quick excursion to do is a trip to Murren. It’s a small car-free village on a plateau 850 meters above Lauterbrunnen. It’s highly popular in winter for its beautiful resorts and views, but summer holidays are great to spend here, too.
From Lauterbrunnen, you can ride a gondola to Grutschalp and then a train to Murren. It takes all of 30 minutes, and you arrive at the village of stunning views, quaint shops, and local eateries. The population is around 350, but the houses are spread out and creates a feeling of wide open space.
From the village, you can also take a frunicular to Allmendhubel (1,907m). Here you will get the best views of the Alps and spend time at the Skyline Chill relaxation zone or the Flower Park adventure playground. There are also numerous trails you can start in Murren as well, the most popular of which is towards Winteregg.
After reveling in the peace and quiet of Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald, it’s high time for some action and adventure. The nearby town of Interlaken is also just a 30-minute train ride from Gridelwald. It’s a resort town in the Jungfrau region, built on a narrow stretch of valley between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.
With dense forests, alpine meadows, glaciers and mountains all around it, Interlaken has become a big hit with adventure-seekers and holiday-makers of all kinds.
Paragliding is a popular activity in Switzerland. Its mountainous views and Alpine climate are great for catching wind. One of the most famous places to do it is Interlaken.
Interlaken provides good altitude for take-off and many unobstructed places that give great views and safer landings. There are several operators in the area, but the routes are all pretty similar. The most flown route is the Beatenberg-Interlaken Route, immersing the rider with panoramic views of the Bernese Oberland.
Taking up the airborne adventure another notch is skydiving. There are several options and prices available, but this is another popular activity in the town.
The trip always starts with a van ride from the town to a small hangar where orientation is done. A tandem dive with a skilled professional lets you soar through the skies for unparalleled views of the region. The landing may be turbulent, but the dive always ends in the best possible place to land – the Swiss Alps. Some packages also include picnics at the landing site to help you prolong the thrill.
The Town Center of Interlaken is immensely charming. Most houses are made of old timber and, against the Alpine backdrop, it’s a very serene environment to be in.
The Main Streets are the busiest ones, mostly catering to tourists. There are many shops and cafes and, while some are overpriced, don’t be too quick to pass up on these “tourist traps”. A walk down these streets is enjoyable in itself, and here is where you’ll find some local souvenirs and tasty Swiss chocolates.
Towards the north of the town is a section of small streets that lead to the river. It gets a little more traditional here, and the houses are simply charming.
Swiss chocolate is one the country’s most iconic products, and the Funky Chocolate Club offers a great experience for it.
Aside from offering a wide range of different kinds of Swiss chocolates, they offer hour-long workshops on making your own delicious Swiss chocolate. The workshop includes taste-testing of their bestsellers, followed by a fun session of mixing and molding your own creations. A few hours later, you can return to the store and pick up your masterpiece.
The St. Beatus Caves is one of Switzerland’s most unique attractions. It’s a 800-meter system of tunnels and caves punctuated by shining stalactites and stalagmites formed over millions of years. According to legend, St. Beat, a 6th-century monk, was a hunting a dragon that took refuge in these caves.
The caves are located right beside the lakes of Interlaken and Thun. The underground journey is marked with well-lit pathways with endless panoramas of this geological wonder. The system is massive and built by nature like a maze. Only 14 kilometers have been fully-explored, with more discoveries being unearthed all the time. More information is housed in the St. Beatus Museum.
The castle is enchanting, especially since it’s surrounding by clear turquoise waters. Within the castle is an exhibit of life in the region from the 16th to the 19th century. There are several rooms in the castle you can walk through, as well as a history museum, an English-style garden along the riverbank, an extensive park, and a lakeside turret. The chapel within the castle is still in use for baptisms and weddings.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!