The Grimsel World in the Bernese Oberland is a very special excursion destination, where everything revolves around water, the phenomenal Swiss mountain world with its natural treasures and technical masterpieces. The Grimsel World, which is managed by Kraftwerke Oberhasli AG (KWO), covers a vast area of the Bernese Alps.
Starting from Meiringen and Innertkirchen in the Haslital, the Grimsel World includes parts of the Haslital, the Gadmertal, the Trift Glacier, the Winterberg, the Rhone Glacier up to the Aargrat, the Unteraar Glacier, the Gauligletscher and the Urbachtal.
The special thing about the Grimselwelt is the way you can explore the Alps here: Spectacular hanging rope bridges, such as the 170-metre-long Trift Bridge and the 70-metre-long Handeckfall Bridge, lead across dramatic gorges, across turquoise reservoirs and metre-high waterfalls; kilometre-long footbridges carry you off into the underground crystal chasms that have grown over millions of years, glittering seductively through up to 20-metre-high crystals of various types, and the adventurous mountain railways that take you to undreamt-of heights are just a few examples.
In addition, the 5 giant hydroelectric power stations of the KWO are open to visitors both summer and winter. During the tours, visitors can admire oversized tunnels with pumps, turbines and generators of unimaginable dimensions as well as the inner workings of a dam.
In the Visitor Centre at the Historic Alpine Hotel Grimsel Hospice, the permanent exhibition of the Grimselwelt shows everything worth knowing about electricity generation by hydroelectric power. The Grimselwelt is not called the moated castle of Switzerland for nothing, as it is home to 8 reservoirs, including Lake Grimsel, Lake Oberaar and Lake Gelmer, which are used by the KWO to generate energy.
Only one of the reservoirs, the Engstlensee, is a natural lake, which serves as a reservoir by means of an underground lake gate, all others were artificially created. The highest reservoir in the Grimselwelt is the Trübtensee at 2,365 metres above sea level.
Technical masterpieces are not only the power stations built in several sections, but also the 6 mountain railways with which you can reach every corner of the Bernese Alps and the Grimselwelt to conquer the mountains on hiking trails, over bridges, underground and while climbing. Unforgettable is a ride on the Gelmerbahn, a former factory railway, which is considered the steepest funicular in Europe with a gradient of 106%.
You won’t forget a ride on the Trift cable car across the Triftschlucht gorge and into the ice world of the Trift glacier. If you come to the Grimselwelt for climbing, take the Tällibahn, which takes visitors up to an altitude of 1,700 metres within 10 minutes, where the famous Tälli Klettersteig begins – the first via ferrata to be developed in Switzerland.
The Meiringen-Innertkirchen Railway, which links Meiringen, Innertkirchen and the Aare Gorge, the Reichenbachfallbahn, which runs along the waterfall of the same name, and the Sidelhornbahn, which leads into the beautiful Oberaar region, are also among the mountain railways in the Grimselwelt. Several gastronomic establishments, hotels and alpine huts provide the appropriate refreshment, which includes an incredible mountain panorama in the price.
In 2010, the operators of the Grimselwelt were awarded the most important Swiss tourism prize, the Milestone. You can buy tickets for a tour of the power plants and the mountain railways online on the Grimselwelt homepage or on site at the Grimseltor Tourism Centre in Innertkirchen, the entrance to the Grimselwelt, where you can also buy regional handicrafts – a nice souvenir to take home.