MOST EPIC DAY TOURS FROM GRINDELWALD – PLACES TO VISIT FROM THE EIGER VILLAGE
Are you planning a trip to Switzerland and want to make beautiful Grindelwald your base so you can explore some of the surroundings? Then this post is for you as I am sharing the best day trips from Grindelwald.
Nestled in Switzerland’s Bernese Alps, you’ll find the stunning village of Grindelwald which is one of the best places to visit in Switzerland. It’s a sought-after location for ski enthusiasts in the winter, as it’s close to various ski trails. As the largest ski resort in the Jungfrau region, it’s a popular choice for holidaymakers in Switzerland and many around Europe. Its offering is not just limited to winter though. In summer, Grindelwald is perfect for hiking and rock climbing due to the incredible beauty of its natural surroundings, with many impressive waterfalls, glaciers, and expansive views.
Another brilliant thing about Grindelwald is its proximity to several beautiful lakes in Switzerland, and iconic Swiss destinations, such as Interlaken, Thun, Brienz, and the Swiss capital Bern.
And these great excursions are the topic for today – this post is perfect if you’re looking for Grindelwald day tours, so keep reading to find out more. In addition to the best day excursions – in winter or summer – I also have a few more tips that help you plan your Grindelwald trip better.
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TIPS FOR GRINDELWALD EXCURSIONS
The village of Grindelwald is located in the canton (state) of Bernese Oberland, in the region of Jungfrau, just north of the Alps, at 1034 meters above sea level.
- You can get there easily by train or car. There are paid parking spots (which might fill up quickly in the summer) and the train station is just conveniently located at the beginning of the village center.
- It is approximately 70 km southeast of Bern (1 hour) and just 20 km southeast of Interlaken (20 minutes). Less than 4000 people live in Grindelwald, but there are hundreds of hotel rooms and apartments available. It gets crowded in the high season – which is in July and August and December and at the end of February!
- Grindelwald is close to the peaks of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, also known as the Swiss Skyline. To be precise, Grindelwald is at the feet of the north face of the Eiger mountain: it is so famous that Grindelwald is also known as the Eiger village.
- Planning a winter wonderland trip to this pristine ski destination? Check out these brilliant things to do in Grindelwald in winter.
WHERE TO STAY FOR GRINDELWALD DAY TOURS
- Though Grindelwald is a top destination in Switzerland, there is only one 5-star hotel – this is the beautiful Romantik Hotel Schweizerhof. It is located behind the train station (however, I did not hear any trains in my room) and offers a spa area and a great breakfast. Check out rates here.
- Hotel Caprice is a family-run 3-star hotel that also has a spa area and is centrally located. I enjoyed the room views the most when I stayed there during my first Grindelwald trip. Find out more about the hotel and the rates.
SWISS TRAVEL PASS
If you use public transportation in Switzerland, I recommend getting a Swiss Travel Pass. I visit Switzerland often, and most of the time I get one – even if it’s a road trip.
- It allows you to use trains and buses without any extra costs.
- You can also do boat cruises without additional costs – and you can cruise Lake Thun and Lake Brienz which are close by with the regular boats to get around.
- It also gives you a 50% discount on most mountain rides (you can get up via cable car/funicular for half of the price, and if you follow my tips, you will need it twice) and will also get a 25% discount on the Jungfraujoch ride.
The initial prices for a Swiss Travel Pass are quite high – but it pays for itself if you get around via public transportation and are active in Switzerland for more than three or four days. So, check out prices for boats and trains and then calculate if it is a good option for you. Check out prices for a Swiss Travel Pass here.
- The Swiss Travel Pass is only for non-Swiss residents though.
- Check out my review of the Swiss Travel Pass.
BEST GRINDELWALD DAY TOURS
Without further ado, here are the top excursions from Grindelwald.
A fantastic thing about staying in Grindelwald is that beautiful Swiss mountains surround you. At roughly 3,400 feet above sea level, Grindelwald is close to various peaks, one of which is Männlichen Mountain.
Männlichen Mountain is a popular destination for hikers due to the incredible 360-degree views you’ll get at the summit. In winter, it is one of the most popular places to ski in the region, and in summer, it offers great hiking opportunities.
One easy hike you can do all year round on Männlichen Mountain is The Royal Walk – it starts at the Männlichen Gondola Station at 7,200 feet (2200 meters) until the peak at around 7,700 feet (2350 meters). It’s also not a challenging route to climb, even for beginners, and will take around one hour to complete. At the top, you then have stunning views of Grindelwald, Wengen, the Alps, and more.
To get to Männlichen Mountain, you’ll ride up a gondola from Grindelwald Terminal station. This is a terrific way to get some of the best mountain views in Switzerland as you sit back and relax on the ride. In summer and early fall, you can also hike up.
- This trip is amazing almost all year-round – the gondola operates from mid-December until mid-April and then from late May until late October. So, there are just a few weeks, the gondola does not operate.
Lauterbrunnen + Muerren + Schilthorn
After only a 25-minute drive (one hour by public transportation) from Grindelwald, you’ll find the Lauterbrunnen Valley, home to exquisite landscapes and the villages of Lauterbrunnen, Mürren (or Muerren), and Stechelberg.
Lauterbrunnen gets its name from the natural beauty that surrounds it. It means “Many Fountains” as the town has 72 waterfalls near it, some of which are the best waterfalls in Switzerland. These include the Trümmelbach Waterfalls and Staubbach Falls.
I’d recommend getting up Mürren first which is a quaint little village located at the foot of Schilthorn. This town is full of cozy cafés and terraced restaurants, which is a perfect pitstop for the walk. Getting up there from Lauterbrunnen includes one of the most scenic cable car and train rides in Switzerland and (unfortunately short train ride).
A must-do activity is going up the cable car to Schilthorn, especially for movie lovers. This is because a James Bond movie – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, was filmed here in parts in 1969. At the top, you’ll be blown away by the incredible Swiss alpine views, which include views of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains (known as the Swiss Skyline).
Head back to Mürren and then take the gondola to Stechelberg – from there you can explore the rest of Lauterbrunnen valley and Lauterbrunnen by walking the water trail to Lauterbrunnen.
Lauterbrunnen and Mürren (as well as Schilthorn) are one of the best day trips from Grindelwald in summer or winter – or anytime between as the gondola/train operates year-round. Check out my Lauterbrunnen or Murren guides for more info on what to do there, and my Schilthorn post for more details on the James Bond mountain.
HOW TO GET TO LAUTERBRUNNEN / MURREN / SCHILTHORN:
Take the train to Lauterbrunnen, then hop on a gondola from Lauterbrunnen to Grütschap, there change to a train, and enjoy a scenic train ride to Muerren (a total travel time of less than two hours, but it is so worth it). This is all included in the Swiss Travel Pass. In Murren, you can take 2 more gondolas to get to the top of Schilthorn mountain (50% discount with a Swiss Travel Pass).
From Mürren to Schilthorn, you will need an extra ticket. This ticket is not cheap – but you get a 50% off with your Swiss Travel Pass. So, without a Swiss Travel Pass, the trip from Lauterbrunnen to Schilthorn is about 110 CH, with a Swiss Travel Pass it is about 44 CHF. You can buy tickets in advance here (just make sure to buy the right ticket – whether you have a Swiss Travel Pass or not).
- These activities are available almost all year round, with just very few days when the gondola does not operate.
Interlaken + Harder Kulm
It only takes a 30-minute drive or a 50-minute scenic train ride to get to Interlaken from Grindelwald. This makes it another excellent day trip from Grindelwald. There are also many things to do in Interlaken, from paragliding above the Alps to getting up Harder Kulm.
You can hike up or take a funicular to get up to Harder Kulm. The hike is a bit steep, but it shouldn’t take you longer than two hours to get to the viewpoint.
Once at the top, you’ll have a breathtaking panorama, including Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, with Interlaken in between. Interestingly that’s how Interlaken got its name, as it means “between lakes.” Another fantastic thing to do near Interlaken is this canyoning trip, which is perfect for adrenaline junkies.
- Harder Kulm funicular does not operate in the winter season – it is closed from the end of November until early April.
HOW TO GET TO INTERLAKEN / HARDER KULM:
There is a direct train connection from Grindelwald to Interlaken. This short (about 40 minutes) train ride is scenic, so perfect to enjoy some nice window views. The Harder Kulm funicular station is located at Interlaken Ost station.
Schynige Platte is home to some of the best views in the Jungfrau Region. Only 40 minutes from Grindelwald, this is one of the best ways to see the area’s famed natural attractions, from Lake Thun and Lake Brienz to the Eiger, Jungfrau, and Mönch mountains.
There are multiple ways to get here: hiking from Grindelwald to First and then to Schynige Platte is the first way. This hike takes around five to six hours, 800 meters of ascent, and 600 meters of descent.
So, I don’t recommend it if you’re unfit or don’t like hiking. It’s a brilliant hike to experience the true beauty of Swiss nature, such as green meadows, wildflowers, and overhead views of various opal-colored lakes. If you want an easier route, you can drive to Wilderswil and get a funicular up to Schynige Platte.
- It’s worth mentioning that the funicular is only open from 01.07.23 – 22.10.23.
HOW TO GET TO SCHYNIGE PLATTE:
There is a direct train connection from Grindelwald to Wilderswil (about 40 minutes). There the funicular to Schynige Platte is waiting for you (which takes another 50 minutes, but it is absolutely scenic).
No Switzerland road trip is complete without a visit to Bern, the beautiful Swiss capital. The trip might be longer (almost 2 hours by public transportation, or 75 minutes by car) but it is still with it.
Bern is gorgeous and full of history. The city dates back to the 12th century, and a unique way to see how it originated is by visiting the Aldstadt or Old Town. I recommend exploring this area on a 90-minute guided stroll through the Old Town, a UNESCO heritage site. You’ll walk through the Old Town, and see attractions, such as the Gothic Cathedral, Zytglogge (a 13-century clock tower), and the Parliament Building.
For a more in-depth look at the Zytglogge, I’d recommend going on a tour through the Clock Tower. You’ll be able to see how the clock operates and admire a view of the city and the Alps from the top of the tower. Check out this post for more brilliant things to do in Bern.
HOW TO GET TO BERN:
You have to get to Interlaken Ost station first, there change trains and take a direct train to Bern (it takes about 1 hour 45 minutes).
Thun and Lake Thun Boat Cruise
Visiting Thun is another great thing to do on a day trip from Grindelwald, as it’s only an hour’s drive away (90 minutes by public transportation). What’s more, there are many great things in Thun.
Many castles are in and around the town, including Thun Castle, Schadau Castle, and Oberhofen Castle. It’s a brilliant spot to visit in summer, as you can swim, kayak, and even surf on Lake Thun.
Another terrific way to explore the lake is aboard a boat cruise – boats on Lake Thun operate all year long – thus Tun and a Lake Thun boat cruise are some of the most fantastic day trips to take in summer and winter.
I recommend using this boat day pass (if you do not have a Swiss Travel Pass) as a fun way to explore the surrounding regions and towns, including Interlaken and Spiez.
Many fantastic attractions surround Lake Thun, including the St. Beatus Caves. It is full of stalactites and stalagmites and is a limestone cave system. This cave is also great for lovers of myths and fantasy. In fact, this area inspired JRR Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings. The myth is that around 100 AD, a dragon lived in the cave. This was until St. Beatus arrived at the cave and defeated the dragon.
- The caves are not open daily during the shoulder season.
HOW TO GET TO THUN/INTERLAKEN WEST:
You could either get to Thun directly (about 90 minutes) or to Interlaken West station (about 50 minutes). At Interlaken West station you can catch the boat to Thun.
Brienz and Lake Brienz Boat Tour
Not far from Grindelwald is the village of Brienz which sits on the northeastern shore of the splendid Lake Brienz. It’s a 45-minute drive away (or 90 minutes by train) and is close to Interlaken and Thun, so it’s perfect for a day trip.
This lake, also known as Brienzersee, has a vivid turquoise color caused by the sediment of glacial waters. These particles come from the Aare and Lütschine.
This is definitely one of the best places to visit in Switzerland – especially on a sunny day when the lake shows its best colors – it is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world! You can enjoy a Lake Brienz boat cruise for most time of the year (not in the winter months) and see sights like the Giessbach Waterfalls along the way.
A fantastic way to experience the beauty of the area is by taking a jet boat ride on Lake Brienz. It’s full of fun and a memorable way to learn more about the region. You can also take a kayak tour if you’re looking for a more relaxed way to explore Brienzersee – this is also possible in the winter months.
Besides the lake, there are still a lot of things to do in Brienz, such as the Ballenberg Museum. Here you can talk a walk through time, seeing over 100 traditional buildings from the 16th to the 19th century. It’s undoubtedly an incredible way to see the progress of Swiss architecture and design.
HOW TO GET TO BRIENZ/INTERLAKEN OST:
If you do this trip, you can also start your boat trip in Interlaken Ost (40 minutes) and get to Brienz by boat. This will save you some time. Or, take public transportation from Grindelwald to Brienz (about 70 minutes) via Interlaken Ost.
Grosse Scheidegg and Hike to Rosenlaui Gorge
Amongst the Schwarzhorn and Wetterhorn mountains is the twisty Grosse Scheidegg Mountain Pass. At an elevation of around 6.400 feet (1.950 meters), it offers unparalleled views of the Eiger’s infamous north face, as well as various glaciers.
You won’t be able to drive on this pass unless you’re on board one of the area’s yellow PostBuses or cycling up. If you’re an enthusiastic cyclist, this should definitely be on your to-ride list, as it has a 4800-foot ascent and a zippy descent that’s not for the faint-hearted.
From Grindelwald, take the Postauto (there is a surcharge – around 7 CHF – for this mountain bus tour and it is not completely covered by the Swiss Travel Pass) and get out at the Grosse Scheidegg Pass. Then continue to walk towards Rosenlaui Valley.
Another brilliant activity to do after visiting the pass is the hike down to Rosenlaui Glacier Gorge or take the Postauto to get to this beautiful valley. This hike is relatively easy, as it is downhill and not steep. Once you get to the Rosenlaui Gorge, you’ll be impressed by how incredibly picturesque it is and how powerful the water is.
Be advised that the gorge is only open from May to October, and tickets are 10 CHF for adults and 5 CHF for children (6-16), even with a Swiss Travel Pass this fee is still applicable.
- The Grosse Scheidegg pass is not open all year round – it normally closes at the end of October (depending on the weather conditions) and reopens somewhere in May/June.
HOW TO GET TO THE GROSSE SCHEIDEGG:
In spring, summer, and early fall, take the yellow bus (Postauto) from Grindelwald to Grosse Scheidegg, If you hike down to Rosenlaui, take the yellow bus to Meiringen and then take trains to Interlaken Ost, before changing to the train to Grindelwald.
Of course, one of the most famous and popular day trips in all of Switzerland is the trip to Jungfraujoch. And it is also easily accessible from Grindelwald village.
The Jungfraujoch is a pass in the Bernese Alps, connecting the two mountain peaks of Jungfrau Mountain and Mönch Mountain. The highest train station in Europe lies in the heart of the Jungfrau-Aletsch-Bietschhorn – a UNESCO World Heritage Site
On the one side, you have the view of the Swiss Mittelland towards the Vosges, and on the other, the Aletsch Glacier (the longest glacier in the Alps), lined with 4000-meter peaks. Standing on the Jungfraujoch at 11332,02 feet above sea level (3,454 meters), you have some of the most impressive panoramas.
On top of that, this is the place to come if you want to spend time in the snow. Yes, even in the summer months, there is snow on the “Top of Europe”.
In addition to the great views, you have an Ice Palace, an Alpine Sensation museum, and more. This all makes the Jungfraujoch one of the best day trips from Grindelwald. Even despite the prices which are quite high. Check out my detailed Jungfraujoch guide and find all the info you need.
HOW TO GET TO JUNGFRAUJOCH FROM GRINDELWALD
Get to Grindelwald Terminal Station. It is just 2 minutes by train from Grindelwald station. Then take the Eiger Express Gondola which takes you all the way up to Eigergletscher station. From there, take a cogwheel to get up.
The Eiger Express just opened in 2021, before that – and even now – there is another route via Grindelwald – Kleine Scheidegg – Eigergletscher and then Jungfraujoch. The second option takes a bit longer but is more scenic in my opinion. You can check out tickets here. If you get a ticket, choose whether you have a Swiss Travel Pass (there is a discount) and the right starting destination
Of course, THE best Grindelwald day trip is from Grindelwald to Grindelwald First. That is a must-see! It is just a few minute’s walk from the village center/train station to the Gondola station that will get you on top of First mountain.
Grindelwald First is a summit located 2,184 meters above sea level – nicknamed “Top of Adventure”, as you’ll find so many exciting things to do here.
In winter, Grindelwald First is the best area for skiing and snowboarding. There are 56 km of pistes in what is probably the sunniest resort in the whole region.
In the summer, there are lots of thrilling activities – like First Cliff Walk or the First Flyer – to do, as well as hikes for all levels of fitness. The easy hike to the Bachalpsee is another reason to make Grindelwald First a top priority when planning day tours from Grindelwald.
Most of all, the views from First are just incredible. It’s a great place to visit in Grindelwald even to have just a snack outside or a meal at the restaurant while admiring the panorama. Check out my Grindelwald post for more information.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON BEST DAY TOURS FROM GRINDELWALD
As you can see, Grindelwald´s location makes it a perfect place to explore the stunning scenery – mostly the Bernese Oberland. There is so much to do and see near Grindelwald, that you can stay there for a few days (or even weeks) and discover the towns, villages, lakes, and mountain peaks close by.
Hopefully, this list of the best day trips from Grindewald has helped you plan your Switzerland itinerary.