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The Alps in Switzerland in the Bern Canton.
Grindelwald is one of the best hiking destinations in the Swiss Alps but it is a popular tourist and tour bus destination so gets crowded. It is very popular with Japanese tourists and is a Japanese wedding destination. You leave the crowds behind once you are out on the trails.

Where: Grindelwald in canton Bern, in the Bernese Oberland south of Interlaken.

Tourist Office: Grindelwald Tourist Office
The Grindelwald Tourist Office website has a lot of information, including descriptions of the hikes, and maps showing hiking trails. You can order brochures from the tourist office website to be mailed to you or pick them up at the tourist office when you are there. They have a good map (updated yearly) showing all the hiking trails, with descriptions of the popular trails. This map is all you need to do the hiking there because the trails are very well signed.

When to go: Hiking in the Swiss Alps is best from June to September. Many mountain rides do not run at other times (except in winter for skiing). Wildflowers are at their best in July.

Transportation: You do not need a car in Grindelwald. Trains, buses and mountain rides take you everywhere. But if you do have a car, you can drive it right into town. (Some towns in Switzerland do not allow cars.) The train arrives from Interlaken in the center of town and continues to Wengen and Lauterbrunnen.

Where to Stay: Book your vacation rental on the Grindelwald Tourist Office website or with Interhome who has a lot of properties in Switzerland and offices in most towns. Note that the town sprawls along the valley and some rentals can be far away from the center, which might mean a long walk to the mountain rides/buses and train station.

About the Hiking

Grindelwald sits in a large valley at the foot of the Eiger. There are several mountain rides that take you up both sides of the valley. You are close to other hiking areas - Wengen, Lauterbrunnen, Murren - and can reach them by train. The mountain rides in Grindelwald are expensive. Spend time on the website looking at prices and compare them to the cost of a mountain ride pass. If you are taking the train around Switzerland, consider a half-fare pass which will give you a discount on most mountain rides. You have to spend a bit of time figuring out how to get the best prices for your week of hiking here.

Visit the Jungfraujock, maybe
The most popular day trip from Grindelwald is to the Jungfraujock to walk on the glacier. This train ride is very expensive and I think is not worth it. I would rather spend the day hiking and looking at the glacier from afar, but, of course, we did this ride on our first trip there. In December 2020 a new gondola started that takes you from town almost to the glacier. This might be a faster alternative to the train.

alpine-flowers-switzerland-2.jpg

Hiking from the top of the First Gondola to Grosse Scheidegg, where we took the bus back to town.

The Hikes in Grindelwald

From the center of town there are four gondolas, a mountain train line and several bus routes up into the mountains. This makes for a great variety of hiking trails.
  • On the south side of the valley, the Mannlichen gondola goes up one side and the mountain train goes up the other. The gondola has a middle station, a stop half way up the valley, as does the train. Trails go from one side to the other so you can take the gondola up, walk across the mountain side (1 - 2 hours), then take the train back to town.
  • On the north side of the valley, the First gondola goes up the middle, with buses going up either side. Trails here go across the top and middle of the mountain, or back into the mountains. There are a lot of hiking options.
Below I have listed some of the hikes.

Gondola: Grindelwald to Mannlichen
South side of valley - middle station Holenstein
From Mannlichen you can walk the Panoramaweg to Kleine Scheidegg. This is a 1 1/2 hour easy walk with a slight downhill on a wide trail. You could also take another gondola down to Wengen. From the middle station Holenstein you can walk to Brandegg, where you take the train back to Grindelwald. This is an easy hike. The trail is called the "Apfelkuchleinweg" - because the restaurant in Brandegg makes a dessert called "Apfelkuchlein".

Mountain Train: Grindelwald to Kliene Schidegg
South side of valley - several stops along the way

Gondola: Grindelwald to First
North side of valley - middle station Bort
The First gondola takes 40 minutes to reach the top of the mountain. From there you can do long or short hikes. It is an easy walk is to Bachalpsee (1 hour). From there you can climb to Faulhorn, a peak with a mountain restaurant and exceptional views (from First 2 1/2 hours uphill and 2 hours back). Or you can walk to Busalp and take the bus back to town.

Bus: Grindelwald to Grosse Scheidegg
North side of valley
It is an easy walk from here to the First gondola station.

Bus: Grindelwald to Waldspitz and Busalp
North side of valley
Use this bus to get back to town after hiking from First.

Gondola: Pfingstegg
At the end of the valley
This gondola leaves from town and does not go as high as the others. It is a nice walk back to town or to Hotel Wetterhorn, where you can get a bus to town.

switzerland-grindelwald-map.jpg

Overview of the towns and mountain rides (gondolas, trains, buses) in the Grindelwald area. It is hard to read here but you can get a better version from the tourist office website. Interlaken is the larger town, at the bottom of the map, between the lakes. Two valleys go north. The one on the left to Grindelwald. The one on the right to Lauterbrunnen. From there you get to Wengen or Murren.

Photos - Hiking in Grindelwald


Photos - Alpine flowers in Grindelwald, June - July 2015

 
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