WHAT TO DO IN GRINDELWALD + TRAVEL TIPS
Grindelwald is one of Switzerland´s top destinations. This cute village might be small but there are many things to do in Grindelwald. And if you are planning your Grindelwald trip and are wondering what to do, then this post is for you.
This Swiss destination offers many activities: exciting adventures in the snow, beautiful hikes in the mountains, and relaxing activities in the town. It makes a perfect stop on any Switzerland itinerary.
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PLANNING A TRIP TO GRINDELWALD
Before we get to the best things to do in Grindelwald, you’ll need some basic information and a few tips.
FACTS – GRINDELWALD
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 (3392 feet) 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 (43 miles) southeast of Bern (1 hour) and just 20 km (12 miles) 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 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.
Fun fact: This picturesque Swiss village started to be a tourist destination during the late 18th century, and became popular for English climbers in the 19th century. The first winter resort opened in 1888! So, this village has quite a long history of winter sports (similar to St.Moritz).
Planning to visit Grindelwald in the summer (spring/fall)? Then consider this:
- The “summer season” starts in mid-April and finishes in mid-October. During this time all cable cars/funiculars should operate. However, some hiking trails might still be closed in April as there can be snow until June.
- Most of the crowds come in July and August when there are also sports events like bike races and the famous Inferno Race.
- The weather can still be cold in April (it might even snow!) and will get chilly quickly in September. Instead, in July and August it can reach above 27°C (80°F) but on average around 20°C (60°F).
- However, the chance of rain is also high – even in summer. In general, the weather is quite unreliable in all of Switzerland, so it is hard to predict what kind of weather you will have in Grindelwald.
- Make sure to check the weather forecast a few days before you go and pack accordingly (though even these forecasts might change) and pack layers! When outdoors, it will feel warm in the sun, but refreshing in the shadow or in the wind. Bring a pullover or a light jacket for the evenings.
Will you travel to Grindelwald in the winter? Keep in mind this:
- The winter season starts in mid-December and ends in mid-April.
- It can start snowing even in November, and it may snow still in April.
- The busiest period is New Year’s Eve, but because of the excellent ski slopes, it’s actually pretty busy all the time.
- It gets really cold! Temperatures will easily go below 0°C, even when it’s sunny, even in November or March.
- Make sure you pack all your warmest clothes, thermals, scarves, hats and gloves, and shoes suitable for the snow.
- Check out my detailed Grindelwald in winter post for more travel tips.
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.
☑️ The Swiss Travel Pass 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 a 25% discount on the Jungfraujoch ride.
☑️ You´ll also get a 50% discount on the Grindelwald First gondola and most other mountain excursions.
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.
For me, it usually makes sense as I am very active and use public transportation/mountain rides often. I also love boat rides – which means many, many boat cruises for me whenever I have a Swiss Travel Pass. Check out prices for a Swiss Travel Pass here.
- The Swiss Travel Pass is only for non-Swiss residents.
- Check out my review of the Swiss Travel Pass.
Where to Stay in Grindelwald
Grindelwald makes a great base – to explore the village itself but also to see the regions of Interlaken and Jungfrau.
Romantik Hotel Schweizerhof: 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 it was quiet! It offers a spa area (what a treat after a long active day) and the breakfast is great. Check out rates here.
Hotel Caprice: This 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.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN GRINDELWALD
There are plenty of things to do in Grindelwald in summer but also at any other time of the year: hikes for all levels of expertise, thrilling activities, winter and summer sports, and also some relaxation.
Visit the Village of Grindelwald
Don’t miss the center of Grindelwald, which is very beautiful and quite compact. The main street Dorfstrasse is lined with restaurants, hotels, shops, and many traditional Swiss chalets. Stroll among the pretty houses, relax, have a coffee on one of the terraces, and admire the panorama all around you.
Because the town center is very “open”, you can appreciate the views of the mountains from lots of places around town. As you already know, the north face of Eiger is particularly impressive. Why? The North Face is the largest north-facing rock wall in the Alps and the most challenging route up Eiger Mountain.
Just above the shopping mall “Eiger Plus“ (a few meters next to the train station) is a square with benches from where you can enjoy some fantastic views.
Grindelwald First is a summit located at 2,184 meters (7.165 feet) above sea level, also nicknamed “Top of Adventure”, as you’ll find so many exciting things to do here.
In winter, First is one of the best places in Switzerland for skiing and snowboarding. There are 56 km (35 miles) of pistes in what is probably the sunniest resort in the whole region.
In the summer, there are lots of thrilling activities to do, as well as hikes for all levels of fitness.
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.
How can I get to Grindelwald First?
- Grindelwald First is easily reachable from Grindelwald train station. Walk for about 15-20 minutes to the Grindelwald-First station (or take a local bus).
- Then get on the gondola. In 25 minutes you will reach the top station – there are a few intermediate stations, but I suggest you get to the top straight away. No need to change gondolas, you can just enjoy the views and relax (if you are not scared of heights)!
Where can I buy tickets for Grindelwald First?
- You can buy tickets either online or at the ticket center. You get a 50% discount with your Swiss Travel Pass and it is free with your Jungfrau Pass.
Feel the Adrenaline on Grindelwald-First
Okay, now that you are at Grindelwald-First, you can do one of the many exciting activities.
If you want a taste of adrenaline at your own pace, start by walking on the platforms of the First Cliff Walk by Tissot. It is a high walkway suspended on the rocky side of the mountain, which leads to a viewing platform. Because of its gridded floor, you can admire the incredible views all around you and even under you! It is fun and not as scary as it looks.
- The First Cliff Walk is free of charge, and it is suitable for people of all ages.
Those looking for a more powerful thrill should consider the First Flieger (Flyer) and the First Glider. These two zip lines let you speed down an 800-meter-long cable at 84 km/hour (52 miles)!
With the First Flieger, up to 4 people can fly separately in a sitting position, from First Station to Schreckfeld Station. Instead, the eagle-shaped First Glider joins up to 4 people together on horizontal harnesses: it is pulled up to First Station, and then glides back down to Schreckfeld Station in an exhilarating run.
- There is a weight restriction for the First Flyer – minimum 35 kg (77 lbs), max 125 kg (275 lbs), as well as a minimum height for the First Glider (minimum 130 cm/ 4,2 feet).
- Tickets cost 31 CHF for each activity. Discounts are available for holders of local passes, such as the Jungfrau Travel Pass or the Grindelwald Adventure Package.
In summer, you can also do other activities like the First Mountain Cart which is fun for kids and adults alike. These go-carts have big rubber tires and good brakes, so they are perfect to drive down a 3-km-long track until Bort. They aren’t too difficult to drive, but each has its own, so you are “forced” to learn!
- The minimum height is 135 cm.
- Tickets cost 21 CHF.
Otherwise, try the “trottibike” scooter bike. You can rent this scooter bike without a seat or pedals, to ride from Bort all the way down to Grindelwald. It requires a bit more skill than the cart because some parts of the ride are a bit steep.
- The minimum height is 125 cm (1,41 feet), but it can be hard for kids to brake and steer well.
- Tickets cost 21 CHF.
As you can see, there are plenty of exciting things to do at the Top of Adventure. Here are a few more tips: Some of these experiences may be closed if the weather is very bad. In high season, start your trip to Grindelwald First early in the morning, as it gets crowded and queues can be long.
- You can buy tickets in advance and also on the spot for these activities.
Here is my even more detailed post on “A day trip to Grindelwald First” where you will find much more info.
Go Hiking – Grindelwald First to Bachalpse
The best way to appreciate the Swiss landscape is by hiking! Oh seriously, these Swiss Alps want to be hiked! And First is one of the best places to hike in Grindelwald.
The most popular trail is the beautiful hike from First to Bachalpsee (Lake Bachalp) which is a small, gorgeous lake with a wonderful backdrop of snow-capped mountains. Even though they are far away, they reflect in the blue waters in a magical illusion!
Lake Bachalp is at 2,265 meters (7,431 feet) and Grindelwald-First gondola station is at 2,168 meters (7,112 feet). The first part is a bit steep, but it is worth it.
- It takes approximately 1 hour to reach the lake from the top gondola station. Add some time for pictures, some rest, and a snack: consider 3-4 hours for this hike, going and coming back. The path is made of gravel, wide and well-kept. It is one of the most popular hikes in Switzerland, so expect a lot of people.
HIKING TIP: If you are interested in a longer hike, consider continuing from Bachalpsee to Faulhorn, which is a mountain, located between Lake Brienz and Grindelwald at 2,681 meters above sea level (8,796 feet) It is quite an uphill climb, but you can have lunch at the mountain hut on top, and it’s a round-trip hike.
Also, there are many easy and scenic trails going downhill to Bussalp or Bort, with wonderful views of the mountains of the Jungfrau Region.
One of the most beautiful hikes from Bachalpsee to Bort is the Flower Trail. During this 90-minute hike, you walk among alpine meadows and flowers, along mountain streams, with amazing scenery around you, and even cows!
Männlichen Mountain Top and Royal Walk
The summit of Mannlichen ar 2,343 meters (7,687 feet)is the other main destination in Grindelwald for hiking. As you can expect, the hikes on Mannlichen offer incredible views.
Two hikes that are very easy but also rewarding are the Royal Walk and the Panorama Trail. The Royal Walk starts at the Mannlichen gondola station, at 2,221 meters (7,268 feet) above sea level, and leads to the summit of Mannlichen, at 2,343 meters (7,687 feet). The hike takes approximately 1 hour (round trip).
The 360 panorama from the crown-shaped terrace on top includes the village of Wengen and Lauterbrunnen Valley, Lauberhorn mountain, the Swiss Skyline with the iconic north face of Eiger, and even Interlaken and Lake Thun!
This is also a beautiful and easy winter hike! I did this hike in February and thus, there was still plenty of snow, in the summer months there will be no snow.
The Panorama Trail is a downhill trail from Mannlichen gondola station until Kleine Scheidegg. All along, you walk straight towards the impressive Mönch, Eiger, and Jungfrau mountains: the views are simply incredible. It takes just 1 hour and a half which makes it a perfect choice if you are looking for a simple and short hike.
How to get to Männlichen Mountain?
- You can reach Mannlichen from Grindelwald Terminal Station station, or the town of Wengen on the other side.
Where can I buy tickets for Männlichen Mountain?
- You can buy tickets on the spot or online – you get a 50% discount with your Swiss Travel Pass and it is included in your Jungfrau Pass.
Hike From Grindelwald to Schynige Platte (or Get up Via Funicular)
The Schynige Platte (2,099 meters/6886 feet) is another popular place to visit from Grindelwald – it is a small mountain ridge that offers great views. Pro hikers should spend a day hiking from First to Schynige Platte, the mountain between Grindelwald and Interlaken. It takes a whole day, with more or less 800 meters of ascent and 600 meters of descent.
With its high, rocky ridges and rolling, green meadows, the views from this hike to the lakes and nearby valleys are absolutely worth the effort.
It is called “the Hike of the Six Pearls” because of the six gorgeous natural sights you will admire. The “blue jewel” Bachalp Lake right at the beginning; the incredible view from the Faulhorn mountain, which embraces beautiful Lake Brienz, and the massive Jungfrau summit; Lake Sagistalsee that you will admire from above; the Güw Area; and finally, the flowers at the Alpine Garden and the flora on the Matten, close to the railway station of Schynige Platte.
However, you can also get to Schynige Platte the easy way. If you get via funicular then you will have some amazing views without much effort. The funicular brings you up to almost the top – when you jump off the funicular you have some stunning views of the Swiss Alps, and the Swiss Skyline om particular. Walk further up (and through the Alpine Garden) to enjoy a completely different panorama – the views of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz!
Keep in mind:
- You can do this hike only from mid-June to mid-October.
- From Grindelwald, take a train to Wilderswil (10 minutes). There you can take the funicular that takes you up all the way to Schynige Platte (from mid-April to mid-October). That is also the same way you can get back to Grindelwald.
Grindelwald Glacier Canyon
A fascinating place near Grindelwald is the Glacier Canyon or Grindelwald Gorge (Gletscherschlucht in German). This unique 300-meter-deep ravine was carved by the river flowing from the mountains over millions of years.
An elevated wooden walkway leads for almost 900 meters into the gorge: you walk through short tunnels, near a few waterfalls that sprinkle misty water in the air, above the rushing waters of the river.
There isn’t anything special at the end of the path, but it’s still quite magical to walk along it. On Friday nights, there is a show of colorful lights that make it even more impressive.
Daring people (and children) will enjoy walking on the huge “spiderweb” net, stretched from one side of the canyon to the other! An even more thrilling experience is the “canyon swing”, a 90-meter freefall with a rope from a platform above the gorge, followed by a swing in the gorge that can reach the speed of 120 km/hour.
- Open daily from May to mid-November
- Prices for adults are CHF 19 – discounts for people under 16 years, groups, etc.
Enjoy Winter Sports in Grindelwald
If you happen to visit Grindelwald in the winter months, there are tons of winter activities. Of course, for winter sports enthusiasts but even for non-skiers. The main locations for winter sports 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.
At all these locations you can ski, snowboard, go on winter hikes, and sled on long panoramic runs. One unique experience in Grindelwald is riding a Velo Gemel! This wooden snow bike has been used by people in Grindelwald since 1911: it looks like a bike frame placed on two wooden skates, similar to a sled. Rent one out and enjoy the slopes in this fun and weird way!
Paragliding in Grindelwald
As with many other gorgeous valleys in Switzerland, paragliding in Grindelwald offers a panorama simply unachievable from anywhere else.
Flights usually start near the First gondola station, at more than 2,100 meters (6,889 feet) of altitude, because it’s the best starting place to admire the view of Eiger and the other peaks of the Jungfrau Region, above the village of Grindelwald. Even though it’s an expensive experience, it’s one of the most memorable things to do in Switzerland, and possibly in your life!
Flights usually last 15-20 minutes. It seems short, but it’s definitely enough, especially if it’s your first time paragliding. Companies usually offer a photo and video service for an extra fee: those memories are fantastic, so take advantage of it!
Visit “The Top of Europe“ – Jungfraujoch From Grindelwald
Going to “the Top of Europe” is definitely a unique experience in Switzerland and one of the top day trips from Grindelwald.
At the highest train station in Europe, at almost 3,500 meters (11,482 feet) there are plenty of things to do – besides gaping at the glaciers that guarantee a day in the snow even in the summer.
You can walk through the Ice Palace, visit the Alpine Sensation to learn about the history of the Jungfraujoch, and enjoy the views at the Sphinx Observatory. Of course, there are restaurants and a Lindt Shop – it is Switzerland!
Check out my detailed Jungfraujoch guide for more info – or check out tickets and prices here. You have to choose the right place from where you want to start (in your case Grindelwald) and whether you have a Swiss Travel Pass or not for the day of your trip to your Jungfraujoch.
- P.S. Keep in mind, that there is a discount with a Swiss Travel Pass/Jungfraujoch.
Head to the Große Scheidegg
The mountain pass of Grosse Scheidegg, which is situated close to Grindelwald, reaches a height of 1.962 meters. It is an amazing destination for hikers and cyclists alike, as the stunning Wetterhorn, Eiger, and Engelhörner mountains provide a breathtaking backdrop, and the road is mostly free of traffic.
To get to Grosse Scheidegg from Grindelwald, you can take the bus. There is a bus that runs from Grindelwald to Schwarzwaldalp, which is located near the pass. The bus journey takes around 30 minutes. There is a surcharge for taking the pass, even with a Swiss Travel Pass, but it has been one of the most scenic bus rides I have ever taken, so I would say it is worth every Swiss Franc.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also hike to Grosse Scheidegg from Grindelwald. The hike is around 10.5 kilometers (6.5 miles) long and takes around 3-4 hours, depending on your fitness level. The trail is well-marked and takes you through alpine meadows and forests, offering breathtaking views along the way.
This is the perfect summer activity in Grindelwald and not possible in the winter.
Discover Gorgeous Rosenlaui Valley and Glacier
Do not stop at Grosse Scheidegg – I highly suggest continuing your journey to Rosenlaui Valley on foot.
To reach the Rosenlaui Valley and the Glacier Gorge from Grosse Scheidegg, you can follow the trail that descends towards the valley. The hike is around 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) long and takes around 2-3 hours, depending on your pace.
The trail takes you through beautiful alpine meadows, forests, and cascading waterfalls, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains. As you descend towards the valley, you’ll pass by the Rosenlaui Glacier, which is a popular attraction in the area.
After exploring the gorge, you can continue hiking along the valley and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. There are several mountain huts and restaurants in the area where you can stop for a break and enjoy some traditional Swiss cuisine.
Then you can either get back to the Grosse Scheidegg by bus or hike or you can take the bus from Rosenlaui and get to Meiringen and from there back to Grindelwald.
- The gorge is not open all year round, so check times before visiting, but it should be open from 9th May to 20th October in 2024.
- There is also an entrance fee for the gorge, but it is actually my favorite gorge in Switzerland, so I would say, it is worth the entrance fee if you are not on a very tight budget.
Explore the Cute Village of Lauterbrunnen
Just one valley away from Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen offers a special combination of a cute Swiss town surrounded by alpine peaks and a unique signature: 72 waterfalls.
The Staubbach Waterfall is the most famous and iconic one: with 297 meters of height, it is the 3rd highest waterfall in Switzerland.
Another impressive waterfall is the Trümmelbachfälle: they are unique because they are 10 underground glacier waterfalls, accessible through lifts, tunnels, paths, and platforms. Absolutely fascinating!
- The Trümmelbachfälle is open only from April to October
- There is a 12 CHF entrance fee for adults.
A very relaxing walk in Lauterbrunnen is the water trail walk. It goes from Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg (or the other way round, if you are coming back from the next attraction, the village of Mürren), along a relaxing mountain stream.
Head to Pretty Mürren
From Lauterbrunnen, continue to the picturesque town of Mürren, a car-free village that is a true Swiss postcard. You’ll find cute Swiss cottages, pretty cafés and restaurants with terraces, and of course, really stunning scenery all around.
The views from there are seriously spectacular and getting there is an experience in itself!
First, take the gondola from Lauterbrunnen to Alpgrütsch which is nice! But the train ride from there to Mürren is one of the most impressive train rides in Switzerland you can take. It, unfortunately, just takes 20 minutes but the views of the Swiss Skyline – on a clear day – and the scenery is really just top-notch!
Follow James Bond – Schilthorn Mountain
Schilthorn is the highest mountain in the range lying north of the Sefinenfurgge Pass. It is 2,970 meters (9,744 feet) above sea level and lies above the village of Mürren, from where a cable car leads to its summit.
Many people actually know Schilthorn and Piz Gloria because it was the filming location of the 007 movie “On Her Majesty’s Secret Services“ in 1969.
From Mürren, take a gondola to Birg station (2,677 meters – 8,783 feet)- here is the Thrill Walk. This 200-meter-long walk leads down into the vertical walls of the imposing rock massif. You will also find a restaurant and toilets at Birg Station.
Then take another gondola and head to Schilthorn.
The main attraction is the incredible, incredible view of the Swiss Skyline, which consists of the three mountain peaks of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. Wow, what a breathtaking view.
Some might argue the best thing about Schilthorn is the famous Piz Gloria restaurant. Piz Gloria is a 360°revolving restaurant that rotates around its own axis in 45 minutes– offering great views and of course, food and drinks. Inside Piz Gloria, you will find an interactive exhibition that is all about James Bond and the film.
Check out my more detailed Schilthorn guide for more information.
MORE THINGS TO DO IN GRINDELWALD
Here are a few more activities to do in and around Grindelwald.
Discover the Many, Many Activities in Interlaken
The one thing Grindelwald doesn’t have is a lake. Luckily, nearby there is a town between two lakes which makes for a great day trip: Interlaken.
Interlaken is located between Lake Brienz and Lake Thun. It might be difficult to choose what to do in and around Interlaken, there are so many places to see! However, I strongly recommend cruising on the mesmerizing Lake Brienz, and/or taking the Brienz Rothorn steam locomotive ride up to the top of Brienzer Rothorn mountain. The views are among the best in all of Switzerland.
Alternatively, explore the town of Interlaken with the stunning park area of Höhenmatte and then head on Harder Kulm mountain (by funicular or hike) which offers great views of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. This is also a nice place to watch the sunset.
- Check out my post on Interlaken with many suggestions on what to do there.
Day Trip from Grindelwald to Bern
If you had your fill of Swiss natural landscapes, then why not spend a day in the city? The nearest one happens to be Switzerland’s capital, Bern.
Although sometimes overlooked, Bern is a very beautiful city. Actually, it is the prettiest Swiss city – and perfect to visit at any time of the year! The gorgeous old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site: it’s full of attractions, like the Cathedral, the Clock Tower, the Parliament, the Town Hall, and many more.
You can enjoy nice views from Rosengarten Park, and then you could pass by Baren Park to say hello to the bears that live there (which are hibernating in the winter): Also, consider strolling along the Aare river, a beautiful area to relax and enjoy the panorama. Here are more things to do in Bern.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON SUMMER ACTIVITIES IN GRINDELWALD
Stay safe and have great travels.