WINTER IN GRINDELWALD
- 1 WINTER IN GRINDELWALD
- 2 IS GRINDELWALD WORTH VISITING IN WINTER?
- 3 Winter Travel Tips Grindelwald
- 4 BEST WINTER ACTIVITIES IN GRINDELWALD
- 4.1 Visit the Village of Grindelwald
- 4.2 Discover Grindelwald–First – “Top of Adventure”
- 4.3 Feel the Adrenaline on Grindelwald–First
- 4.4 Ride the Unique “Velo Gemel” Bike – Only in Grindelwald!
- 4.5 Night Sledding at Eiger Run
- 4.6 Have a Traditional Swiss Dinner
- 4.7 Jungfraujoch
- 4.8 Eiger Glacier to Kleine Scheidegg Hike
- 4.9 Enjoy Winter Sports
- 4.10 Mannlichen Mountain Excursion
- 4.11 Enjoy Spa Time
- 5 FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE BEST WINTER ACTIVITIES
Grindelwald in winter is magical – a real winter wonderland.
As soon as you start planning your Switzerland trip, Grindelwald will pop up in your research. And with good reason: Grindelwald is one of the best places to visit in Switzerland in the winter months!
IS GRINDELWALD WORTH VISITING IN WINTER?
In Grindelwald, you’ll be able to practice winter sports, do some great winter hikes, enjoy unique and adventurous activities, and go on fun day trips without much effort. All of this, surrounded by the stunning Swiss Skyline (which consists of the three impressive mountains of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau). So, yes Grindelwald in winter is very worth visiting!
- DISCLAIMER: This post was written in collaboration with Jungfrau Tourism and MySwitzerland. Views and opinions are my own.
Winter Travel Tips Grindelwald
In this post, I will share my tips for an unforgettable winter trip to Grindelwald. Keep reading to find out useful information, practical travel tips, and the best things to do in Grindelwald.
Grindelwald is a beautiful, traditional Swiss village – it is a real Swiss postcard.
- The town of Grindelwald is located in the region of Jungfrau, in the Bernese Oberland.
- It is more or less in the center of Switzerland, closer to the Alps in the south: approximately 70 km (1 hour) southeast of Bern and just 20 km (20 minutes) southeast of Interlaken.
- Grindelwald lies at 1034 meters above sea level and has less than 4000 inhabitants.
- Here you have some of the best views of the Swiss Skyline: the peaks of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. As a matter of fact, Grindelwald is at the foot of the impressive north face of the Eiger mountain: it is so famous that Grindelwald is also known as Eiger Village.
How to Get to Grindelwald
- Grindelwald is easily accessible via train, but also by car.
- From Interlaken Ost station, it is just a scenic 20-minute train ride to Grindelwald.
- It takes about the same to get there by car.
How to Get Around Grindelwald
The village center of Grindelwald is small and you can walk to the Grindelwald Frist cable car station.
However, there are also buses you can use to get around in and to nearby places. If you stay at a hotel in Grindelwald, you will get a Guest Card and can ride these buses for free.
You will need the train for a couple of activities mentioned here. Trains in Switzerland are amazing – quite reliable, punctual, and all that comes with great window views.
Jungfrau Pass VS Swiss Travel Pass
The Swiss Travel Pass is amazing for getting around in Switzerland. It includes a couple of mountain excursions and amazing boat cruises. You get a 50% discount on many other mountain excursions (including some mentioned here).
However, in the region of Jungfrau, you might want to consider getting a Jungfrau Winter Pass because you can actually use the Jungfrau Pass for mountain trips.
You can buy one either as a pedestrian or for skiers/snowboarders. You can use all of the trains of the Jungfraubahn (which will get you to places like Interlaken Ost, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Jungfraujoch, etc., as well as up mountain peaks without any extra surcharge, including Männlichen, and Grindelwald First. You can choose between two different tickets – one includes a trip to Jungfraujoch, one does not. I recommend getting the specific ticket including Jungfraujoch. a
- Check out the Jungfrau Winter Pass here, which is available as a 2 to 8-day pass or season pass.
BEST WINTER ACTIVITIES IN GRINDELWALD
Adventures! This is what you will find in Grindelwald. Winter adventures in the snow – surrounded by wonderful mountains. But, no worries, you can also find relaxing things to do.
Visit the Village of Grindelwald
The center of Grindelwald is pretty small and very beautiful. Along the Dorfstrasse, there are quite a lot of restaurants, hotels, shops, and many traditional Swiss chalets. Going for a stroll and having a coffee or a cup of hot cocoa on one of the terraces while admiring the panorama is definitely a must.
The special thing about Grindelwald is that the village center is very open, so you can enjoy the views of the mountains directly from lots of places around town. The view of the north face of Eiger is particularly impressive.
Also, because of the high altitude, it is very likely you‘ll find it covered in snow normally between December and February, sometimes even in March! Just the perfect Switzerland winter experience.
Discover Grindelwald–First – “Top of Adventure”
I know, the name is confusing, so let’s start with that.
With its 2184 meters above sea level, First is a summit located north of Grindelwald. It’s common to call it “Grindelwald-First” because the two destinations are closely connected and it is easily reachable from Grindelwald town center.
It’s known as the “Top of Adventure” because there are so many exciting things to do here (and it’s also the same region as the Jungfraujoch, the “Top of Europe”).
Of course, needless to say, the views from First are incredible, so it’s a great place even if you only have a snack outside, or a meal at the restaurant while admiring the panorama. The Bernese Alps, including the famous Eiger Mountain, make the view pretty perfect.
In winter, First is one of the best areas for skiing and snowboarding. There are 56 km of pistes in what is probably the sunniest resort in the whole region. Snowboarders in particular should check out the snowpark to practice and show off their skills.
If you want to be active, but are not into winter sports, you can hike from First to Bachalpsee. It takes about 1 hour to reach this small, gorgeous lake with a wonderful panorama.
There are also some adventures to experience on Grindewald-First, which I will talk about further below.
You can reach the top of Grindelwald First by gondola in 25 minutes from Grindelwald station, in the center of the town. Just hop on the cable car – there are two stops in between, but to get to Grindelwald, stay until you reach the top.
- Included in your Jungfrau Pass – you get a 50% discount with a Swiss Travel Pass.
Feel the Adrenaline on Grindelwald–First
There are so many exciting activities on Grindelwald-First.
You can have a taste of adrenaline by walking on the platforms of the First Cliff Walk by Tissot, which is a high walkway suspended from a rocky mountainside, with peak and valley views.
The gridded floor allows you to look down – making it more fun. Yet it is not really scary and suitable for people of all ages.
- The Cliff Walk is free.
You can speed down an 800-meter-long cable at 84 km/hour with the First Flieger or with the eagle-shaped First Glider.
Up to four passengers float through the mountain landscape at high speeds: The First Glider is pulled backward from Schreckfeld towards First at 72 km/h. Then, on the way back, the eagle really takes off with a speed of up to 84 km/h.
Some of these experiences are available all year round – depending on the weather. The First Flieger was closed due to wind and storm when I visited, but the Glider was open.
It is quite a unique experience, but I probably would have enjoyed the First Flieger more because you can sit upright and have better views of the scenery. But the Glider was still fun.
- You need extra tickets for the Glider and Flieger
Ride the Unique “Velo Gemel” Bike – Only in Grindelwald!
It looks quite unbelievable, but I’m telling you it’s real: A Velo Gemel.
People in Grindelwald have been riding a snow bike since 1911: it’s made of wood, you can steer it, but it has no pedals and no wheels! It looks like a bike frame placed on two wooden skates, similar to a sled.
It is really fun to “bike” down a ski slope on such a weird and special bike.
Whether you use the veto gemel to ride down the Eiger Run or from Eigergletscher to Kleine Scheidegg, you will have plenty of options to try out your new favorite vehicle.
You can rent these Velo gemels at the rental stations throughout Grindelwald or at the tourism office at the train station. And if you decide to take one of these special bikes home, you can actually buy one for around 600 CHF. Renting is apparently much cheaper :).
Night Sledding at Eiger Run
Sledding during the day is fun – but night sledding is next-level fun. There are a couple of places to do so in the region of Jungfrau, but the best piste is probably at Eiger Run, which is a great sledding run.
Between Alpiglen and Brandegg – a 3.5-kilometer long stretch – the steepest section has a gradient of up to 36 percent. Depending on the weather – and the snow conditions – you can head down all the way to Grindelwald at a more leisurely pace. This is an amazing place for sledding but also for you velo gemel.
The views of Grindelwald Village by night are great, by the way.
There are special night trains running every 30 minutes from Grindelwald Grund up to Alpiglen, with a stop in Brandegg.
- You need an additional ticket for using the “night” train (the regular Jungfrau Pass / Jungfrau Ticket is not valid at night).
Have a Traditional Swiss Dinner
Before sledding down all the way to Grindelwald Grund, have a stop at the Restaurant Brandegg.
This popular alpine mountain restaurant, nestled in the Swiss Alps, just opened in 2021 and now you can get delicious local dishes there, such as various kinds of Rösti or cheese fondue.
As you might know, I do not consume a lot of animal products and thus Swiss food has always been a red flag to me. Believe it or not, I just tried Swiss cheese fondue at Restaurant Brandegg for the first time.
It was good. Swiss milk cows have a good life, so eating traditional Swiss food (apart from chocolate) was an exception I was happy to make.
I might switch back to vegan food again next time, but if you have traditional Swiss food, then do it in the mountains in Grindelwald.
Oh, one of the most unique travel experiences is going up Jungfraujoch – also known as the “Top of Europe.“
At the highest train station in Europe – at around 3500 meters above sea level – you will have some fantastic views and can enjoy some unique activities.
After enjoying the views from the Sphinx Observatory (one of the highest observatories in the world), walk the Ice Palace and learn about the history of the Jungfraujoch at the Alpine Sensation.
Several restaurants offer plenty of different cuisines, and those with a sweet tooth can get chocolate at the Lindt Shop at Jungfraujoch.
I have been to Jungfraujoch in summer and winter – and winter is the best time to enjoy the panorama! The views of the snow-capped mountains, the Aletsch Glacier (the longest glacier in the Alps), and the many activities you can do up there are worth the trip.
The Jungfraujoch is especially popular as a day trip from Grindelwald – take the gondola from Grindelwald Terminal for the quickest way to go up.
When you get back to Grindelwald, you can include a beautiful winter hike in your itinerary (more on that later).
However, this trip is quite expensive and can cost about 200 CHF (yep). If you buy a winter Jungfrau Pass, make sure it has the Jungfraujoch trip included. This is the cheapest option to enjoy a wonderful trip to the top of Europe.
- Activities here are all included in the Jungfraujoch Ticket. With a Swiss Travel Pass, you can take the train up to Wengen for free and then get a 25% for the ride to Jungfraujoch.
Eiger Glacier to Kleine Scheidegg Hike
From Jungfraujoch, take the train to Eigergletscher (you cannot hike this section and have to take the train) and then start a wonderful and easy winter hike to Kleine Scheidegg.
The downhill hike takes about an hour (about 2 km) and you have fantastic views all around. Make sure to also turn around for a view of the Swiss Skyline – a winter hike can be this easy and rewarding!
While this part is also popular amongst skiers and snowboarders, there are paths specifically for pedestrians – the winter hiking trails are marked with pink signposts and well maintained.
The Kleine Scheidegg is a mountain pass at an elevation of 2,061 meters – situated below and between the Eiger and Lauberhorn peaks. Sit down in one of the restaurants here or continue your journey to Grindelwald by train.
Enjoy Winter Sports
Skiing and snowboarding, but also cross-country skiing and sledding, and even snowshoe hiking – you can do all this in Grindelwald in winter if you know where to go.
The main locations are First, the mountain north of Grindelwald; Mannlichen, the mountain west of Grindelwald (and on the other side, there are Wengen and Lauterbrunnen); and the Jungfraujoch (or better, Eigergletscher/Kleine Scheidegg).
As we mentioned already, Grindelwald-First is an excellent area for skiing and snowboarding. Experienced skiers should also explore the slopes on Mannlichen, as well as those leading to the nearby town of Kleine Scheidegg.
Sledding is available at First and at Mannlichen, too – both during the day and night.
But the most amazing one is the Big Pintenfritz, the longest sledding run in the world! The adventure starts at the First gondola station: hike to Bachalpsee Lake and then to the Faulhorn panoramic point, and from there, you descend 15 km and 1600 meters of altitude to reach Bussalp and Grindelwald. This whole hiking and sledding experience takes more than 3 hours.
If you would rather practice a winter sport with gorgeous views but no adrenaline rushes, try out cross-country skiing. The beautiful, flat track that departs from the golf course leads through forests and open areas so that you can enjoy the peace and admire the stunning panorama.
A few winter hikes worth considering are the hike from First gondola station to Bachalpsee Lake, from Mannlichen station to Kleine Schiedegg, and from Mannlichen gondola station up to the Mannlichen summit.
Mannlichen Mountain Excursion
The summit of Mannlichen is the other main destination in Grindelwald for skiing and hiking. The hikes on Mannlichen (or Männlichen in German) offer incredible views.
In particular, the Royal Walk leads from the Mannlichen gondola station, at 2221 meters, to the summit of Mannlichen, at 2343 meters of altitude. In approximately 1 hour (round trip), you can admire a 360-degree panorama, including the village of Wengen and Grindelwald, Lauberhorn Mountain, the Swiss Skyline with the iconic north face of Eiger, and north to even Interlaken and Lake Thun!
Another very easy hike is the downhill trail from Mannlichen gondola station to Kleine Scheidegg, on the Panorama Trail. You walk straight towards Mönch, Eiger, and Jungfrau, so the views are always incredible. It takes only an hour and a half.
With approximately 103 km of pistes, sports enthusiasts can spend all their winter days here. Many slopes require advanced skills – there is even the famous Lauberhorn World Cup run.
This very beautiful mountain peak west of Grindelwald can be reached from Grindelwald Terminal gondola station, or from the other side, too, where the town of Wengen is.
- This trip is also included in the Jungfrau Pass – you get a 50% discount with the Swiss Travel Pass.
Enjoy Spa Time
After all that time outdoors, it is time to relax and come down. Grindelwald might not be best known as a wellness destination, but after a day (or several days) in the snow, you will enjoy some time in a sauna, with a massage, or in a pool. And if the pool comes with views of the Eiger Mountain, then you are in Grindelwald.
At the luxurious Romantic Hotel Schweizerhof, you have a nice wellness area. The best thing about the spa area is probably the indoor pool with views!
What else can you ask for after some busy days in the cold?
Grindelwald has only one 5-star hotel, but you will find several hotels that have nice wellness areas with saunas and more! If you book a hotel in Grindelwald, check out their amenities and facilities.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE BEST WINTER ACTIVITIES
Winter in Grindelwald is an amazing time to visit. Whether you are into winter sports or not, Grindelwald has enough to offer anyone and is a perfect winter destination in Switzerland.
There is a reason why it is one of the top destinations in winter and once you visit, you will see why!