Grindelwald is a mountain village in the Bernese Oberland of Switzerland. It's in the valley from Interlaken up to the pass of Grosse Scheidegg, a traditional cattle trail, and in Old High German grintil walt meant "barrier forest". It became an Alpine tourist resort when it was reached by road in 1872 and by rail in 1890. The population in 2018 was 3801.
For inter-city routes, travel via Interlaken, which has trains every 30 min from Bern. Change at Interlaken Ost for the BOB train - the Berner Oberland-Bahn. Don't get off at Interlaken West, which is town centre.
You need to be in the rear portion of the BOB train. This runs every 30 min via Wilderswil, Zweilütschinen (where the front portion detaches for Lauterbrunnen), Schwendi and Grindelwald Terminal (for gondolas to Männlichen and Jungfraujoch), taking 30 min to Grindelwald main station. WAB trains ascend the mountain every 30 min from Grindelwald via Grund, Brandegg and Alpiglen to Kleine Scheidegg, taking 40 min. Eurail passes get you a 25% discount on the BOB and WAB trains but are not in themselves valid for travel beyond Interlaken. A Swiss Travel Pass is valid to Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen and Mürren and gets you 50% discount on the WAB trains.
The last train from Interlaken is at 23:00. Moonliner is an even later bus: it isn't running in 2022, but late evening train services are sometimes "bustitutions".
1 Grindelwald railway station is in the main village on the north slope of the valley.
Cars are permitted in Grindelwald but parking is limited. The Terminal car park has 1000 spaces - pre-booking is advised as it can be congested by day-trippers heading up to Jungfraujoch, or to Kleine Scheidegg which has no vehicle access. 5 to 24 hours cost Fr. 12 and the car park is open 24 hours.
2 Grindelwald Terminal is the station on the BOB line five min before you reach the main village. Change here for the gondola to Holenstein (1619 m) and Männlichen (2230 m, for the main skiing area on the ridge to the southwest) and for the Eiger Express gondola towards Jungfraujoch (see Kleine Scheidegg#Get around).
The WAB train (Wengernalpbahn) to Kleine Scheidegg initially descends to 3 Grund on the valley floor before climbing south. This is 500 m east of the Terminal gondola and Eiger Express, is at the foot of hiking trails, and might be more convenient for accommodation on the south slope of the valley.
4 First gondola is on Dorfstrasse 500 m east of the main railway station. This ascends via Bort and Schreckfeld (1955 m) to First (2168 m) and accesses all the north-side slopes.
The cable car to Pfingstegg is on Ribygässli 1 km east, Bus 122. This runs May to mid-Oct for the mountain restaurant and hiking trails.
Grindelwald Bus has half-a-dozen routes around the valley, varying by season. They're included in ski passes and all run from the main railway station. Bus 121 runs to Terminal and Schwendi, and Bus 123 runs by Terminal and Grund.
- Heimatmuseum, Dorfstrasse 204 (by Hotel Gletschergarten), ☏ . Tu-F, Su 15:00-18:00. Small but fascinating museum of the region. Adult Fr. 7, child Fr. 2.
- Churches: Reform Church is next to the museum, and the RC Church is by the Co-op near the station.
- 1 The Eiger (3967 m / 13,015 ft) is the great peak soaring to the south. Mönch and Jungfrau are hidden behind it as seen from the village but come into view as you ascend. See Kleine Scheidegg for hiking and climbing routes.
- Glaciers: two are visible southeast of the village. The Upper Glacier arises between the Schreckhorn and Wetterhorn. The Lower Glacier (pictured) is in the next valley south between Agassizhorn and Strahlegghörner, but in rapid retreat.
- Sportszentrum Grindelwald, Dorfstrasse 110 (200 m east of station), ☏ . Daily 10:00-22:00. This has ice-skating and curling rinks, pool, sauna and boulder-climbing. Ask your accommodation about deals on entry.
- Paragliding Jungfrau (+41 79 77 99 000) operate tandem flights year-round, though in winter the icy breeze will freeze your knees. They launch from First, Männlichen, Eigergletscher and Mürren. A flight in 2022 is about Fr. 200, which doesn't include your ride up the cable-car to the launch point.
The ski season is from mid-Dec to mid-April: Grindelwald and First have a somewhat shorter season, but there's easy access to the higher slopes of Kleine Scheidegg. The lifts run for a couple of weekends before main season, then daily. It gets a bit scratchy by late March.
The standard lift pass suitable for most skiers is the Grindelwald-Wengen pass. This grants access to all 27 lifts in the area covering 155 km, including Grindelwald, First, Kleine Scheidegg, and Wengen the far side of the ridge, as well as all public transport. In 2021 / 22 an adult pass is Fr. 69 for one day, for six is Fr. 324. The Mürren-Schilthorn area is a separate pass, or you can buy a Jungfrau Pass for the combined areas. The latter is valid down to Interlaken Ost, so you can use the BOB trains to link between areas.
No pass is valid above Eigergletscher on the train up to Jungfraujoch, but you can buy an add-on ticket for Fr. 49 return.
- Golf: Golf Grindelwald is a nine-hole course open May-Oct. It's above the village on Aspi, Bus 122.
- 1 First top station (2168 m) has ski trails, or ride the chairflift further to Oberjoch (2500 m) and Schildt. Gliders and paragliders launch from First and there's an 800 m zip wire. A popular hike from here is 3 km west to Bachsee, a lake set in Alpine meadows.
- Faulhorn (2681 m) is reached by continuing another 3 km west up the valley from Bachsee via Gassenboden. There's a mountain hotel and restaurant at the top. A choice of trails descend via Burg, Bira or Schynige Platte, which has a mountain railway from Wilderswil May-Oct.
- 2 Grosse Scheidegg is the pass at 1962 m at the head of the valley, between the Schwarzhorn north and the Wetterhorn south. The name means "great watershed" and it was the traditional cattle-droving route until the coming of the railways. There's a hotel here, and a summer road crosses into the valley towards Meiringen - this is closed to public traffic but has an hourly bus from Grindelwald. From here you hike north along the ridge then ascend along the shoulder of the Schwarzhorn to First top station, 6 km. Hike in this direction for the best mountain views and frequency of transport to the village.
- Schwarzhorn (2928 m) has superb views. It is just about within scope for experienced hikers without mountaineering skills, but the exposed final ridge needs care. Start on the trail from First towards Grosse Scheidegg then at Distelboden branch off up the southwest col. The standard route is straight onto the ridge, or there's a branch via ferrata route northwest via Grossi Chrinne. Reckon 2 hr 30 min to ascend from First.
- Eiger Ultra Trail is an ultra-marathon of 101 km. The circuit is from Grindelwald to Grosse Scheidegg, First, Bachalpsee, Faulhorn, Schynige Platte, down into the valley at Burglauenen then up again through Wengen and Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg, traversing the base of the Eiger North Face before descending into Grindelwald. The next starts at 04:00 on 16 July 2022 and will take almost 24 hours: there are 14 intermediate checkpoints where toiling competitors are removed for their own safety.
- Stores are along Dorfstrasse east of the railway station. The Co-op is open daily 08:00-19:00.
- Vogt's Corner near the Co-op sells Swiss Army knives and Swiss watches. They're open daily from 09:00, May-Sept to 22:00 and Oct-Apr to 19:00.
- Jasmine Garden has good Chinese food. It's within Hotel Grindelwalderhof at Dorfstrasse 155.
- C&M is a café-bar at Almisgässli 1 with a sun terrace. It's open W-F 11:00-23:00, Sa Su 09:30-23:00.
- Onkel Tom's is a snug pizzeria at Dorfstrasse 194, open F Su M 12:00-23:30, Tu Sa 16:00-23:30.
- Da Salvi is within Hotel Steinbock at Dorfstrasse 189, open daily 11:30-22:00.
- Mountain restaurants may be open in winter if they're in skiing areas (such as Jägerstübli), or summer only (such as Marmorbruch).
- Espressobar, Dorfstrasse 136 (within Hotel Spinne), ☏ . Daily 16:30-01:00. Bar with a fun atmosphere and friendly service.
- Avocado Bar at Dorfstrasse 158 is open daily 16:00-00:30.
- 1 Camping Eigernordwald, Bodenstrasse 4, ☏ . Campsite 5 min walk above Terminal, open mid-Dec - April and June-Sept. Reservations needed in winter but not in summer. Adult Fr. 11, caravan Fr. 19.
- 2 Camping Holdrio, Itramenstrasse (by Hotel Aspen, Bus 123), ☏ . Simple campsite open in summer, great views but limited facilities. Two adults and tent Fr. 20.
- 3 Camping Gletscherdorf, Locherbodenstrasse 29 (Bus 122), ☏ . Open all year, this place is clean and pleasant to those who abide by their rules, but most unpleasant to perceived transgressors. 2 adults and tent Fr. 50.
- Downtown Lodge, Dorfstrasse 152 (200 m west of First gondola), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Cabin lodges and basic rooms. Double room Fr. 70.
- 4 Youth Hostel, Geissstutzstrasse 12 (Bus 122), ☏ , email@example.com. Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 09:30. Clean efficient hostel with 4 and 6-bedded cabins. Dorm Fr. 50 ppn.
- Derby Hotel, Dorfstrasse 75 (at railway station), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Convenient central mid-price place. B&B double Fr. 180.
- Hotel Kreuz & Post, Dorfstrasse 85 (next to railway station), ☏ , email@example.com. Boxy modern place but very central. B&B double Fr. 250.
- Hotel Tschuggen, Dorfstrasse 134 (400 m east of railway station), ☏ . Well run, value for money place on main street. B&B double Fr. 120.
- Sunstar, Dorfstrasse 168 (Opposite First gondola), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Good convenient hotel, family-oriented. B&B double Fr. 200.
- Jungfrau Lodge, Dorfstrasse 49 (400 m west of railway station), ☏ . Two properties facing across the street: Swiss Mountain Hotel and Annexe Crystal. Comfy and convenient, often used by package tour groups. B&B double Fr. 150.
- 5 Hotel Gletschergarten, Obere Gletscherstrasse 1 (Buses 121 122 123 124), ☏ , email@example.com. A family run traditional hotel with great welcome and service. B&B double Fr. 200.
- 6 Das Bodmi, Terrassenweg 104 (Buses 122 & 124), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Pleasant hotel with ski in / out access. B&B double Fr. 250.
- 7 Hotel Kirchbühl, Kirchbühlstrasse 23 (Bus 124), ☏ , email@example.com. Trad chalet with great views. B&B double Fr. 250.
- Romantik Hotel Schweizerhof, Swiss Alp Resort 1 (50 m north of station), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Splendid Art Nouveau hotel founded in 1892 and with mostly glowing reviews. With an extensive spa and pool. The "resort" is their cluster of self-catering chalets, for families or groups of up to 21. B&B double Fr. 300.
- Belvedere, Dorfstrasse 53 (200 m west of station), ☏ , email@example.com. This traditional Alpine hotel gets great reviews for comfort, service and food. Outdoor salt water jacuzzi. B&B double Fr. 250.
As of Feb 2022, the town has 4G from Salt and Sunrise, and 5G from Swisscom. The signal is good approaching up the valley from Interlaken but patchy on the mountains.
- Kleine Scheidegg is the tiny resort at the top of the pass towards Wengen, with magnificent views of the Jungfrau. You can also reach Jungfraujoch from here, though it's quicker via the Eiger Express.
- Lauterbrunnen in the next valley is a short hike to Staubbach and Trümmelbach Falls.