The gorgeous town of Grindelwald in Switzerland is a place where charm and tranquillity meet adventure and adrenaline. It combines the fairytale features of a traditional Swiss town with the thrill-seeking activities of a cosmopolitan mountain resort.
As you wander through the town, discover cobbled streets which are lined with colourful geranium-clad wooden chalets. You may as well be meandering through the pages of a storybook. Look up and you’ll see the breathtaking mountain vistas which surround Grindelwald. These mountains have stolen the hearts of many an alpine adventurer, from hikers and climbers to skiers and snowboarders.
Grindelwald is an enchanting Swiss destination with plenty to do during all seasons. My Grindelwald travel guide outlines everything you need to know about visiting this picturesque place. From how to get there and when to visit, to the best things to do in and around the town. Also detailed are the best places to stay, eat and drink in this beguiling Alpine resort, as well as some of the most frequently asked questions visitors have.
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How to get to Grindelwald
Those planning to visit Grindelwald can choose between driving and taking the train. Though the closest airport is Bern, this airport mainly offers domestic flights. Zurich is thus the best choice for visitors flying in from overseas, and it takes about two to three hours to reach Grindelwald by car or train.
Wherever in Switzerland you’re coming from, you need to travel via Interlaken if taking the train. The train trip between Interlaken and Grindelwald takes just over half an hour, and there are generally two trains per hour.
Anyone planning to travel by train in Switzerland should check out the Jungfrau Travel Pass and Regional Pass Berner Oberland, as holders of these passes benefit from free or discounted travel by public transport as well as admission to local attractions.
Parking in Grindelwald can be found at the multi-storey Eiger Centre car park in the heart of town. Once you arrive, however, getting around is often easiest by local transport such as cable car or rail services, as many areas are traffic-free.
Best time of year to visit Grindelwald
Visiting Grindelwald in winter is just as popular as during summer – if not more so. Skiing is of course popular during the coldest months, when there is plenty of powdery snow ideal for winter sports.
If you’re more interested in Grindelwald things to do in summer, then June to September sees the warmest temperatures. During these months daytime highs may reach between 15 and 17°C, while overnight temperatures tend to remain in double figures.
12 best things to do in Grindelwald
1. Gletscherschlucht gorge
Also known as the Grindelwald Glacier Gorge, Gletscherschlucht gorge is one of the top things to do in Grindelwald. To reach it, take a bus from town to the Gletscherschlucht stop, or it’s around half an hour’s walk from town.
Once you’re there, marvel at the 300 metre walls, rock galleries, whirlpools and even waterfalls. The elevated walkway is easy to follow, though it can be challenging to those afraid of heights.
2. Skiing in Grindelwald
Skiing in Switzerland’s Grindelwald is ideal for all abilities. The biggest beginner’s area in the Jungfrau region can be found here. Almost 100 miles of runs mean that more advanced skiers should also be satisfied with the thrills that skiing in Grindelwald can provide.
Snow tubing and sled rides are also popular in this Swiss winter sports destination.
3. Canyon Swing
The canyon swing in Grindelwald is open between April and November and is perfect for thrill seekers. If you can face up to travelling at 75 miles per hour while free-falling for 50 metres, this is an essential experience!
Leaping into the narrow gorge as the river flows beneath isn’t for the faint-hearted. But it certainly supplies an adrenaline rush for adventurous types.
4. Jungfraujoch peak
Often referred to as the ‘Top of Europe’, taking a trip to the mountain peak almost 3,500 metres above sea level is one of the reasons many people visit.
It doesn’t matter if you go to Grindelwald in Switzerland at Christmas or in summer, as trains operate all year round. At the summit there are restaurants, shops and an ice palace, as well as the Sphinx Observatory to discover.
5. Hire Trotti Bikes
Hiring a Trotti bike scooter is fun for visitors of all ages. You can set off from Bort station for your descent, which can be reached via the local First cable car.
It’s around three miles from Bort to the bottom. En route you can see pretty Alpine meadows and traditional Swiss chalets in addition to experiencing the thrill of the ride.
6. First Mountain
Taking a trip up First mountain is also a popular pastime when visiting Grindelwald. It can be reached by cable car, and keen walkers often hop off at one of the stops along the way to hike up or down.
Other things to do once you reach the summit include the Cliff Walk with spectacular views and dining at the restaurant, which also offers incredible Alpine panoramas.
7. First Flyer
The First Flyer offers another adrenaline-inducing experience for thrill seekers. You can travel at over 50 miles per hour along the half-mile long track.
Up to four people can travel this thrilling zip line together after being secured into a harness. The ride will take you from the summit of First to the Schreckfeld station on the mountainside.
8. First Glider
As with the First Flyer, up to four passengers (aged ten or over) can take the half-mile flight up to the summit at high speed.
The First Glider is shaped just like an eagle. Those taking a ride can soar over the landscape while enjoying bird’s eye views over the surrounding area.
9. First Mountain Carts
Another fun way to see Grindelwald and the mountains is to take a First Mountain Cart ride. The route is a couple of miles, with lots of lush Alpine meadows and stunning mountain peaks to see along the way.
It’s a little like taking a ride on a sledge, but this Grindelwald activity is available all year round.
10. Lake Bachalp at Bachalpsee
Lake Baccalp is an attractive mirror lake near Grindelwald that reflects the surrounding peaks in its still waters. It’s accessed by hiking there from the summit of First, and the trek takes under an hour.
It’s well worth the effort to see for yourself the mountains reflected in the shimmering waters of the lake’s surface, as no pictures really do this place justice.
11. Männlichen peak
Positioned at 2,343 metres above sea level, Männlichen is another popular mountain summit in the Grindelwald area. It can be reached via gondola or aerial cable car, plus a short walk of around 15 minutes to reach the top.
There are breathtaking views over the Lauterbrunnen Valley as well as the Eiger, Jungfrau and Mönch – from both the cable car and the mountain path.
12. Summer Tobogganing at Pfinstegg
If you visit during summer, taking a toboggan ride from behind the Pfingstegg gondola station offers a fun way to see the magnificent scenery of the Grindelwald area.
This downhill ride is suitable for children aged four and over when accompanied by an adult.
Best hotels in Grindelwald
1. Sunstar Hotel & SPA
It’s worth booking into the Sunstar Hotel and Spa for the uninterrupted views of the Eiger’s North Face alone. This centrally located hotel also offers a swimming pool, bar and spacious wellness centre.
The First cable car stop is directly opposite the hotel, and some double rooms and suites offer Eiger views from private, furnished balconies.
2. Hotel Spinne
Hotel Spinne can also be found in the heart of Grindelwald. The decor is rustic yet stylish, and amenities include a mountain-view restaurant with terrace. There is also a steam bath, sauna and hot tub on site, plus a heated outdoor infinity pool.
The second restaurant serves up Swiss specialities served rotisserie style. There is also a lounge with piano and an espresso bar at the property.
3. Boutique Hotel Glacier
The Boutique Hotel Glacier is one of the finest Grindelwald Switzerland hotels for discerning guests. It is also positioned in view of the Eiger’s iconic North Face. There is a spa, a restaurant with a terrace and a cocktail bar here.
Once used as a sheep stable, this property now makes use of features like full length glass walls and sparkling decorative features set against a subtle, contemporary backdrop to reflect the location perfectly.
4. Hotel Cabana
The family-run Hotel Cabana offers guests from all over the world a warm welcome. Plus, a special guest card gives complimentary access to the ski bus, ice skating rink and indoor swimming pool.
Hotel Cabana has an on-site gym and sauna, as well as some attractive outdoor spaces. These include an al fresco kitchen, a kids’ play park and a garden furnished with comfortable deck chairs.
5. Hotel Grindelwalderhof
Housed in a traditional Swiss chalet, Hotel Grindelwalderhof combines the classic and the contemporary to offer superb three star accommodation in Grindelwald.
The village centre and train station are close by and many of the Swiss-style rooms have private balconies. There is a sauna and restaurant with terrace at Hotel Grindelwalderhof.
For more options, browse the full range of hotels in and around Grindelwald.
Best bars, cafés & restaurants in Grindelwald
1. Restaurant Belvedere
Centrally located on Dorfstrasse, Restaurant Belvedere in Grindelwald is an elegant eatery serving a range of Swiss and modern European dishes.
Food, service and the views at Restaurant Belvedere are all highly rated by happy diners. Vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian options are also available.
2. Cafe 3692
The charming Cafe 3692 is also one of the most highly regarded Grindelwald restaurants in Switzerland. It offers local and European cuisine, with gluten-free and vegan options available.
This is a great place for a cake and coffee pitstop during the day or a full-on evening dining experience. The eclectic decor provides visitors with some interesting photo opportunities too.
The restaurant at Hotel Glacier is also a firm favourite on the Grindelwald foodie scene. This eatery has 15 GaultMillau points to its name. All-day dining is offered here, from a relaxed buffet breakfast to a sumptuous, multi-course evening feast.
The outdoor terrace is a highlight during summer and the perfect place to sample some of the chef’s own homemade ice cream.
4. C und M
Dining experiences don’t come much more Swiss than at C und M. The restaurant is housed in a wooden Swiss chalet, and offers fantastic views of the Eiger. From delicious cakes to full evening meals, the food is pretty fabulous too.
Again vegan and gluten-free options are offered and guests can pick from a range of Swiss and European specialities.
5. Avocado Bar
If you’ve come to Grindelwald in search of the apres-ski scene, then Avocado Bar is the place to be after dark. With live music and outdoor seating, this friendly bar offers a laid-back atmosphere and homemade snacks and sandwiches in addition to drinks.
Avocado Bar can be found on Dorfstrasse in the centre of the village and is something of a local hub for those who wish to socialise after a day of skiing or sightseeing.
Grindelwald travel guide FAQs
Are there any good day trips from Grindelwald?
There are some great day trips to take from the Swiss resort of Grindelwald. Visiting Jungfraujoch, aka the Top of Europe, is a must for many visitors. You can also go to the summit of the First or Männlichen mountains.
Other popular day trips include Lake Bachalp, which you can hike to from First, or Gletscherschlucht gorge. Various destinations also offer activities like trotti bikes, the canyon swing, toboggan rides, thrilling zip lines and the First mountain carts.
For more ideas, have a read of my guide to the best fairytale towns in Switzerland.
Is Grindelwald expensive?
As with many locations across Switzerland, Grindelwald can be an expensive place to be. The best approach is to be prepared, budgeting what you need in order to make the most of your visit.
Not everything needs to be costly, however. Once you’ve booked and paid for your accommodation, those stunning Alpine views are thrown in for free. Hiking the trails is a low-cost activity many enjoy, and you can save money by purchasing the right Swiss travel passes for your trip.
Is Grindelwald a good place to visit at Christmas?
With its wintry setting dotted with traditional Swiss chalets, Grindelwald provides the perfect backdrop for a pre or post Christmas break. This is during ski season, so it’s a favourite among winter sports fans as well as those who love all things festive.