At the foot of the mighty Eiger north face lies the picturesque mountain village of Grindelwald. Nestled in a breathtaking Alpine panorama, the village is an absolute outdoor paradise for families, adrenaline seekers or couples – in summer and winter alike.
In addition to the most popular activities, skiing and hiking, Grindelwald offers a wide range of other ways to enjoy the magnificent mountain world of the Bernese Oberland.
Which climber hasn’t dreamt of climbing the north face of the Eiger? The myth of the Eiger has always fascinated people. With the necessary equipment any experienced via ferrata and mountain hiker can climb the 2,600 metre high, vertically sloping Rotstock peak via the Eiger Trail and the medium-difficulty Eiger-Rotstock via ferrata. Although it is not the Eiger north face, it comes very close to the north face ambience. Only professional mountaineers should venture to one of the 30 interconnected routes on the Eiger north face, which are classified as the highest difficulty level 10.
The 2,343-metre-high Männlichen peak can also be climbed in around 30 minutes from the top station of the Grindelwald-Männlichen cable car via the steep Royal Walk summit path. Less thrills, but therefore no less natural beauty, can be expected by passionate hikers in the Grindelwald holiday region. Huge glacier gorges, wild mountain streams, theme and adventure trails of varying degrees of difficulty and fragrant alpine meadows are just a few examples.
As already briefly mentioned, several mountain railways start from Grindelwald to the peaks and to the alpine landscapes of the surrounding mountains. One of these is the Pfingsteggbahn, which takes visitors from the south-eastern outskirts of Grindelwald up to the 1,300-metre-high Pfingstegg-Alp in five minutes.
The Pfingstegg is not only an ideal starting point for walks through the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers a fantastic view over the valley of Grindelwald, but also offers a number of other highlights, such as the 763-metre-long summer toboggan run. In addition, the Pfingsteggbahn has been offering a unique activity since summer 2020: Fly Line.
You fly like a bird several metres above ground between the trees at speeds of up to 8-12km/h while enjoying nature.
Delta gliders and paragliders are attracted by the gondola lift from Grindelwald to the 2,160-metre high Grindlewald First, a natural plateau on the south-west ridge to the Widderfeldgrätli, where ideal wind conditions prevail for unforgettable flights through the imposing mountain scenery.
There are several tandem flight operators in the Grindelwald region, who also use the departure points on the Männlichen, which rises to the west of Grindelwald. From here you have a view of the ice giants Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. With the Grindelwald-Männlichen gondola lift, which at its opening was considered the longest gondola lift in the world at 6.2 kilometres, you can reach Männlichen’s 2,225-metre high mountain station in 19 minutes. From Grindelwald you walk for about four hours to reach the summit of Männlichen.
If you don’t want to miss out on the cool water during your holiday, you can take the Bernese Oberland Railway from Grindelwald to Interlaken in 35 minutes and stand directly on the shores of Lake Brienz and Lake Thun. By car it is not quite 30 minutes. If you don’t want to drive that far to go swimming, the Hellbach outdoor pool at the foot of the Eiger north face also offers the necessary cooling off.
Winter activities Grindelwald
In winter, the Swiss mountain world is transformed into a fairytale land of snow and ice. Skiers, snowboarders, tourers, cross-country skiers and sledgers have direct access to several top ski areas in the Jungfrau Region during a winter holiday in Grindelwald.
Directly from the valley station in Grindelwald, the Grindelwald-First cable car takes you to the ski area of the same name, a true freestyle Eldorado and one of the hippest après-ski locations in the Jungfrau Region.
In winter 2020 the new, ultra-modern 3S-Bahn Eiger Express will open, taking winter sports enthusiasts from the Grindelwald Terminal to the ice giant Eiger in no less than 15 minutes. With a view of the triumvirate of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, winter sports enthusiasts can look forward to the predominantly red slopes in the Grindelwald-Wengen ski area with the Kleine Scheidegg and Männlichen sub-ski areas.
The world’s longest ski slope, the Lauberhorn run, which has already accelerated ski professionals to 160km/h, is the venue for the famous world cup Lauberhorn race. Skiers, snowboarders and cross-country skiers have around 666 kilometres of piste at their disposal in the whole Jungfrau Region. With the Jungfrau Region’s Top 4 ski pass, the largest ski areas and lifts can be used at reduced prices.
In addition, the Grindelwald ski areas are equipped with modern children’s slopes, winter hiking trails, cross-country ski runs, creative snowboard parks and spectacular attractions such as the First Glider and the spectacular Eiger-Run sledge run.
After or during an eventful day in the wintry mountains, you can fortify yourself with a delicious cheese fondue and warm yourself with mulled wine in one of the rustic alpine huts on the sun terrace. Another opportunity to sample culinary specialities from the Bernese Oberland is the annual, atmospheric Advent market (Adväntsmärt) on Märthysi Bärplatz in the heart of Grindelwald, where you can also buy home-made handicrafts, handmade ointments, creams and schnapps as well as individual Christmas presents.
Family activities Grindelwald
Whether spring, summer, autumn or winter, sunshine or rain – the offspring can never get bored during a holiday in Grindelwald! This is ensured by the numerous attractions and excursion destinations in the Bernese Oberland region.
Several creative playgrounds have been created for the little ones, such as the adventurous, 700 square metre Alpine playground Bort am First and the BodmiARENA right on the edge of Grindelwald, where the youngsters can make their first turns on skis and snowboard, but also snow tubing and sledging. If parents need a break, there is the possibility of supervision in a crèche.
Children get to know the diverse flora and fauna on the marmot trail from First to Schilt, which is designed with interactive elements. Along the trail there is also an idyllic barbecue area, several marmot benches for a breather and numerous lookout points.
Children and adults can learn interesting things about the apple on the newly designed Öpfelchüechliweg on the Männlichen. During the hike across lush alpine meadows and through fragrant forests, the little explorers are accompanied by a radio play by Barry and Hans, the two animal actors from the Swiss Fruit Advertising Agency.
Adventure and action are promised by a speedy ride on the summer toboggan run at Pfingstegg Alp, which leads down the mountain from the top station of the aerial cableway at an altitude of 1,391 metres at 750 metres. For the very brave there is also the Fly Line, a steel cable construction on which you fly 350 metres through the air and over the treetops.
A little more comfortable is a family outing with a cross-country scooter bike (Trottibike), which you can hire including helmet at the valley station of the Grindelwald-First gondola lift.
On bad weather days children can let off steam in the Indoor Rope Park Grindelwald, the first indoor rope park in Switzerland and the largest indoor rope park in Europe. The 40 elements in 5 courses are also a challenge for big climbers. In about half an hour by car you can reach another rope park of superlatives: the Interlaken Rope Park. Over 120 challenges on 9 courses, which reach up to 20 metres into the treetops, offer the right adrenalin rush and at the same time sharpen your concentration, balance and coordination.
A visit to the Grindelwald Alpine Bird Park near Ischboden, which has become a home for rare bird species, is also a special nature experience. With a voluntary donation from visitors, capercaillies, buzzards, little owls, eagle owls and many more alpine birds are cared for and maintained.
Some places in the Bernese Oberland have even left their mark on the film and television world. James Bond “In Her Majesty’s Secret Service” on the Schilthorn delivered spectacular chases with sleds and on skis, the famous master detective Sherlock Holmes staged his own death in the 120-metre high Reichenbach Falls in the mighty Aare Gorge near Meiringen in front of his opponent Professor Moriaty, and the name Grindelwald is known above all to Harry Potter fans.
Gellert Grindelwald is the name of the dark magician who was considered the most feared sorcerer in the world before the no less dark Lord Voldemort appeared on the scene. Gellert Grindelwald was played by none other than the prominent Hollywood actor Johnny Depp.
However, Grindelwald does not yet have any contact points for Harry Potter fans, such as the 007 Walk of Fame and the interactive adventure exhibition Bond World 007 on the Schilthorn or the Sherlock Holmes Museum in Meiringen.
Nevertheless, Grindelwald naturally offers plenty of other opportunities for eventful activities and exciting excursions. By the way, not only the 007 Walk of Fame is an attraction, but also the Thrill Walk on the Birg, designed with wire ropes and glass floors, which starts at the middle station below the Schilthorn and runs along a steep rock face.
As a traditional holiday region, Grindelwald is naturally connected to an excellent transport network. From Interlaken, the Grindelwald Road Route 6 runs between the mountains to Grindelwald. If you want to arrive by car or motorbike from Meiringen, the pass road over the Grosse Scheidegg is an adventurous way to get there. In winter, however, you should expect the pass to be closed.
A more comfortable way to reach us is by train, as the historic Bernese Oberland Railway runs from Interlaken to Grindelwald. Every peak in the Jungfrau Region, however high, can be reached with the many modern mountain railways, which link the impressive mountain world of the Swiss Alps all year round.
Pleasure cyclists have the opportunity to reach all the desired destinations in the valley of the Black Lütschine, the Bärgelbach and the Horbach by bike. The Grindelwald Road also takes you to glamorous Interlaken on Lakes Brienz and Thun.
While the outward journey is almost entirely downhill, the return journey is a real calf biter, as there are 400 metres of altitude difference to overcome. You don’t have to bring your own bike to Grindelwald for your holiday, but you can rent one from the local bike rental Backdoor, which not only carries bikes of various models, but also offers ski and snowboard equipment for hire.
By the way, with the Bernese Oberland Regional Pass you save a lot of money when using public transport, mountain railways, ski resorts and numerous destinations and attractions. The Swiss Travel Pass also offers further reductions on mountain railways, excursions and leisure activities.
Guests have been coming to Grindelwald since the beginning of the 19th century to relax in the wild and romantic mountain world, to enjoy the fresh mountain breeze and to conquer the mountain giants. In 1820 the first guesthouse was opened with the Hotel Schwarzer Adler and in 1858 two Grindelwald mountain guides and their Irish guest made the first ascent of the 3,967 m high ice giant, the Eiger.
The difficult north face of the Eiger, also known as the “Murdwand”, was only conquered a century later by two Germans and two Austrians (including the famous mountaineer and Tibet traveller Heinrich Harrer). Shortly afterwards the Bernese Oberland railway was opened.
Even today the historic narrow-gauge railway still connects the towns of Grindelwald, Lauterbrunn, Zweilütschinen and Interlaken. Until the end of the 20th century, it was still possible to access the fantastic mountain world around Grindelwald by taking the Wengeneralpbahn rack railway over the 2,000-metre-high Kleine Scheidegg pass, the gondola lift up to the 2,600-metre-high First, the Pfingsteggbahn aerial tramway to Alp Pfingstegg and the Grindelwald-Männlichen gondola lift.
Whether summer or winter, the mountain railways take hikers, climbers, paragliders, skiers, snowboarders and nature lovers up to the highest peaks.