Grindelwald, Switerland: The top of Europe 16


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With its cute little wooden homes with gorgeous flowers draping from the balconies as cows quietly roam under the looming peaks above, Grindelwald, Swizterland looks like it has been plucked straight from a postcard.

Grindelwald, Switerland: Can't get much closer to nature than that!

 

If you are looking for a place to go in the Swiss Alps, Grindelwald just might be your answer.  

 

If you are a Rick-aholic, like me,

“Hi Everyone.  My name is LeAnna and I love Rick Steves”

“Hi LeAnna….”

then you probably have skipped Grindelwald for the supposedly more charming Gimmelwald just across the Lauterbrunnen Valley.

 

However, Grindelwald shouldn’t be crossed off your list quite yet.  Sure, there are more tourists here (although Gimmelwald is quickly catching up with this trend as well), is much busier and is considered a resort town.  But, with these also comes the potential for more to do and believe me, if you are wanting to hike, you won’t be disappointed!  So, which side should you go to?

 

Should I go to Grindelwald or Gimmelwald?

Like I said, there are two sides of the valley, both with spectacular views and hiking.  On one side, the main stop you’ll find is Grindelwald and the other will be Gimmelwald

Pros and Cons

I can’t really distinguish the pros and cons of each side of the valley, because what some people consider a pro, others will view it as a con.  So, take each one with a grain of salt

  • Grindelwald is more easily accessible that Gimmelwald (you can drive up to Grindelwald instead of having relying on trains or cable cars…or hiking)
  • Grindelwald is a “resort” town: meaning there are more amenities but also means it is more expensive and there are way more people

(Stay tuned until the end.  While you can’t completely ESCAPE high prices in Switerland all together, I give several tips on how to at least save a few bucks)

  • With a family there are more things to do on the Grindelwald side, especially depending on what hotel you stay at (swimming pools and tennis courts at hotels, the FirstFlyer Zipline, an adorable train car that winds you around the mountain and more)
  • Gimmelwald is a tiny little village that is only accessible by cable car or by hiking
  • Gimmelwald doesn’t have much in terms of amenities (a few expensive hotels and 1 nice hostel).  To get groceries, you’ll have to walk about 40 minutes to the nearby village or Murren.

Again, no matter which side of the Lauterbrunnen Valley you choose to go to, there is about zero chance that you will be disappointed.  Plus, as my friend, Rick, (I can call him a friend if his books have come on just about every European adventure, right?)  would say, “You can always come back!”

So, if you are absolutely torn on which side to go to, look at it from that stand point and decide to come back at another time in your life and do the other side.  And I promise…  you will want to!!!

Alternatively, if you have more than just a few days, nothing says you can’t do a bit of both!  However, I do highly recommend fully exploring each side as they are both a world of tranquility and nature at it’s finest!

 

How to Get to Grindelwald

Getting to Grindelwald is actually much easier than getting to Gimmelwald.

By Car: 

Unlike Gimmelwald, you can actually drive up to Grindelwald.  However, do note that the very popular (and beautiful) nearby village of Wengen is car free, so your vehicle only takes you so far.

Note: To drive in Switzerland, you will need the year-long Vignette.  This is quite pricey coming in at around $40! This is good for a calendar year (not a year from when you purchase).  You can purchase it at any gas station as you enter the country.

Train:

Even if you have a car, I recommend simply parking it in Interlaken and taking the iconic train ride up.  Most people would argue that this is one of their most enjoyable experiences of Grindelwald.

  • You’ll get on the BOB train to Grindelwald from Interlaken-Ost, which will take about 35 minutes and cost 11 CHF per way (at current time of writing).  However, do note that if you want to take other trains or cable cars further (for example: to the Jungfraujoch, it is MUCH more expensive and will vary on where you want to go).  If wanting to go to Jungfrau, here is some amazing info on how to get around and what to do at the top!
Grindelwald Train Ride

Train Ride Up to Grindelwald

 

Hikes to Take From Grindelwald

Hiking In Switzerland

From Grindelwald, one of the best things you can do is just take a look at any of the giant maps posted around town and figure out what hikes or walks look best depending on your ability level and time.  Alternatively, check out the Wikiloc website, where you can filter out hikes based on your time, ability and more.

Other great sites that give fantastic options for hikes are http://www.slowtrav.com/switzerland/hiking/grindelwald.html  and here’s a map with even more routes

 

Depending on what you want, you can also take a variation of cable cars or the train to another starting point.  These are also in Grindelwald at the same station you just got off from the train.

 

The beauty of all this (besides the actual scenery) is that you have tons of options on what you can do!

Grindelwald Wildflowers ; This is real life!? How beautiful!

 

Männlichen – Kleine Scheidegg

A popular route to take for all ages (even stroller friendly) is the Männlichen – Kleine Scheidegg route and only takes a little over 1 hour (1 way).  This one is highly recommended even for families to really take in the fresh Alpine air and postcard images that surround you.

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Heading to Grindelwald?

Don’t forget to research cheap things to do on TripAdvisor and book affordable Hotels at Booking.com

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Even if you aren’t hikers, you really can’t skip this one.  You’ll find yourself channeling your inner Julie Andrews and start singing “The Hills Are Alive”

 

No? That’s only me? Hmmm….

 

Hiking in Grindelwald Switerland

 

Jungfraujoch

Many people that head to Grindelwald do so with the intention of going to the Jungfraujoch, the tallest mountain in Europe.  However, just be ready to spend a pretty penny…or Frank.

One way alone from Lauterbrunnen to Junfrau is over 100 CHF (PER PERSON!)   Of course, there are “cheaper options,” but nothing that is “Budget Friendly,” especially with a family.

To Get to the Junfraujoch (the shortest, fastest route):

1) You must first get to Kleine Sheidegg (take the Interlaken>Zweilütschinen>Grindelwald train)

2) From Grindelwald, take the train to the Jungfrau

 

Tips to Save Money

Like most things in Switzerland, transportation around Gimmelwald and the surrounding areas are not cheap.

1) In Lauterbrunnen, stop at a store and pack a lunch.  Bringing your own food is not only smart if hiking, but won’t cost you an arm and a leg at a restaurant up in the mountains

2) The Jungfraujoch:

2a) Take the earliest morning train, as this is often the cheapest since many tour buses can’t make it to that one in time

2b) If you are staying in Grindelwald at a hotel, ask for any packages, which may include the ride as well.

2c) Do a combo of hiking (for those that can) and cable cars/ trains

  •  Hike from Mannlichen to Kleine Schiedegg (Recommended hike regardless of wanting to go to Jungfrau) and the only way to get from one town to the other
  • In Kleine Scheidegg take the train up to the Jungfraujoch or
  • Hike to Eigergletscher (short, but very steep and difficult) and take the train the rest of the way from there

– If you want, hike from Kleine Schiedegg to Wengen upon return (2 hours-ish) then finish with the cable car from Wengen to Lauterbrunnen

3) Stay in Lauterbrunnen or Interlaken.  Grindelwald lodging can be extremely pricey.  One way to skip those costs is to camp in the valley.  On the other hand, depending on how many days you are spending in the area, you might have to pay just as much in cable cars and trains than what you saved to camp.  However, if you want to see both sides of the valley and head over to the Gimmelwald side after a day, then camping in Lauterbrunnen is a decent option as well.

Looking for great family tent options for your next camping trip?  I loved this breakdown!

 

No matter what side of the valley you choose, what paths you take to walk and what little villages you pass high up in the mountains, heading to the Bernese Oberland is one of the most beautiful, breathtaking and memorable experiences you will have!  While it is not an unknown gem of Europe, it surely is an overlooked option by so many, making it the perfect choice to get in touch with nature and see the world from a vantage point you’ve only seen in postcards.

Grindelwald, Switerzerland

 

 

 

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LeAnna

Author and Creator at Economical Excursionists
Former teacher turned blogger turned mom turned full time travel addict, LeAnna has never been one to live life by the rules. Whether she is moving to a farm in Switzerland to learn to make cheese (Yes, CHEESE), jumping off a mountain to paraglide over Cinderella castles, or taking her baby all over the world with nothing but a backpack on their backs, LeAnna designs and defines her OWN life. LeAnna, her husband Andy, and kiddo, "Lil B" love to live a minimal lifestyle, not only for the "thrill" of pinching pennies but in order to save for traveling the world. Considering over 40 countries and 90+ cities have been explored, we'd say they are doing something right!

About LeAnna

Former teacher turned blogger turned mom turned full time travel addict, LeAnna has never been one to live life by the rules. Whether she is moving to a farm in Switzerland to learn to make cheese (Yes, CHEESE), jumping off a mountain to paraglide over Cinderella castles, or taking her baby all over the world with nothing but a backpack on their backs, LeAnna designs and defines her OWN life. LeAnna, her husband Andy, and kiddo, "Lil B" love to live a minimal lifestyle, not only for the "thrill" of pinching pennies but in order to save for traveling the world. Considering over 40 countries and 90+ cities have been explored, we'd say they are doing something right!


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16 thoughts on “Grindelwald, Switerland: The top of Europe

  • Lisa

    I love all the information about hikes. My family and I will be traveling to Grindelwald this summer and I will be bringing your information with me as a guide! I did have a question though. According to my maps, Grindelwald is in a separate valley from Gimmelwald, Lauterbrunnen, and Wengen. You mention that Gimmelwald and Grindelwald are on opposite sides of the Lauterbrunnen valley but Grindelwald seems to be further away.

    • LeAnna Post author

      Thanks, Lisa! It is a stunning area!!! Yes, Grindelwald and Gimmelwald are on two separate sides of the valley, but both in the same general area and not far from one another (if that makes sense?) If you have a car, I recommend driving to the cable car for Gimmelwald (in Stechelberg)- more info can be found about all that in my post here: http://www.economicalexcursionists.com/gimmelwald
      I wouldn’t say they are both do-able in one day, but you could definitely do both over a weekend. ENJOY!

  • anna

    Ahhh! We’ve been here. ABSOLUTELY beautiful! The waterfalls in that valley was stunning. We opted to hike and walk through it instead and loved our time!

  • Nisha

    We have done both … Grindelwald and then Jungfraujoch … by train. But that was long back. It costed us a bomb. We had food up there in restaurant, posted some postcards from the top of Europe and so on. And we enjoyed the whole experience very much.

    I wish I knew about these tips back then to save some money. :)

  • Megan

    Looks absolutely beautiful and sounds like it’s even worth visiting both towns. Will have to add it to my list of places to visit. Thanks for sharing.

  • Laura

    Hey, why not visit them both? I think I’d have a hard time deciding because they both sound great. And if they’re so close together, then why not experience both and decide for yourself.

  • Jenna

    It really does look like the area is straight out of a postcard! I would love to visit both cities–they both sound like they have some great things to offer. I’d love to do some hiking in the area! Thanks for the tips on saving a bit of money, too–would definitely be a huge help in Switzerland!

  • Anna @ shenANNAgans

    I’d totes visit them both. Cause… When in…. Switerland, right? Especially as they are both so close together. Looks very Heidi of the high country, can picture myself chilling after a hike in that gorgeous greenery too.

    • LeAnna Post author

      Yes! You could totally channel your inner Heidi! I personally loved grabbing a Radler (half beer/half sprite) at any of the lodges and just taking in all the beauty around me. We may have made many pit stops for just this reason :)

  • Amr Ali

    LeAnna can u help me with some info about wwoof switzerland ?! as i tried to look up the website of it but i couldnt find any usefull information about how to join them !!
    if so u can send me the details at the email
    thanks