The mountain town of Grindelwald is wreathed in the magic that only the Swiss Alps can provide. It’s the land where long-horned cows with giant brass bells lazily wander the slopes. Hollywood has tapped into the region’s natural beauty for films such as The Golden Compass and the James Bond movie, In Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Below are some tips to help guide you through Grindelwald, including information on its rail lines, cable cars, and gondolas.
Grindelwald is popular both in the summer and the winter. The famous mountain summits of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau make for terrific skiing, and the nearby ski areas of First Mountain and Kleine Scheidegg are family-oriented, composed mostly of beginner and intermediate trails. In the summer, the mountains are covered with wild flowers, and hiking and biking are exceptional.
At the end of the 19th century, a fire destroyed most of Grindelwald, and when the city was rebuilt the developers had one thing in mind: tourism. Today, accommodations of all sorts are provided, from hotel rooms with balconies to apartments and quaint chalets. And there’s a well equipped sports center that provides workout rooms, a swimming pool, sauna, tennis, and more.
The best way to get to Grindelwald is by train or car. The nearest airport is in Switzerland’s capital city, Berne. To get to the surrounding peaks you can travel by bus, cable car, or gondola. Cable cars run to the tops of Schilthorn, Pfingstegg, and First Mountain, all of which provide restaurants, hiking, skiing, bike trails, and fabulous panoramic views. Buses serve all other areas. Go to Schilthorn for memorable views of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau; while Pfingstegg has the best views of Grindelwald, and it is where many of the hikes into the nearby glaciers begin. For the most stunning views of the glaciers, head to First Mountain. The fact that these glaciers reach so far into the valley is a rarity.
A round-trip cable car ticket up First Mountain costs 60 CHF (Swiss Francs), but the adventuresome find their way down by First Flyer or toboggan. First Flyer is a zip line, and participants sit upright in a harness and soar down the mountain at speeds of 50 miles an hour. To toboggan, go to the nearby Bussalp area and ride straight to town.
There are 186 miles of hiking trails around Grindelwald. The Bachalpsee trail, which runs to Faulhorn Mountain and the Schynige Platte, is one of the best. The Gletscherschlucht trail takes you through a canyon of rock and ice. The Grosse Scheidegg pass is just a short bus ride away, and provides excellent bike trails as well as outstanding hiking.
One of the most important attractions in Europe is located near Grindelwald: the Jungfraujoch. The highest railway station in Europe, Jungfraujoch is known as “the top of Europe.” The viewing structure at the peak looks like a cross between a Star Wars battleship and an underwater observatory. The striking beauty of the surrounding landscape, as well as the immensely popular Ice Palace (complete with ice sculptures) make it well worth the trip. Just make sure the weather’s right: if it’s foggy the views simply disappear. The train ride up takes around three hours, so bring entertainment, snacks, and dress warmly!
Travel Tip: If you plan to travel around Grindelwald by train, cable car, boat, or bus, consider a Jungfraubahnen Pass . It costs 210-150 CHF depending on the region, and it can be purchased at all Jungfrau train stations. The pass will not work on all buses and gondolas, so make sure it covers those you’re interested in.
Noteworthy: Faulhorn Mountain, which is accessible from the top of First Mountain, is home to the longest toboggan run in Europe. Further, the longest gondola ride in Europe runs from Grindelwald Grund to the town of Männlichen.
Written by Mattie Bamman for EuropeUpClose.com