There are few places on earth with such a striking and beautiful setting as Grindelwald in the Swiss Alps. Situated just a short drive or train ride from Interlaken, Grindelwald is a small town at the foot of the magnificent Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains and is blessed with some of the finest hiking trails on the planet. There is an excellent network of railways and cable cars to get you to and from the trails with glorious views all around you. Here are some of the great walks in the Grindelwald area.
First to Schynige Platte
Quite possibly the finest walk in all of Europe this one is an all day affair requiring an early start. Take the gondola from the town centre to First and then set out on your wonderful journey beginning with two hours of largely up-hill walking past the wondrous Bachalpsee, across the spine of the mountains with continual views of the North Face of the Eiger and the Jungfrau. There are few really steep ascents in this section of the hike but it is relatively arduous and you have a long way left to go! The final five hours of the trail are slightly downhill and traverse mountain meadows and rocky outcrops with stunning vistas all the way until you finally arrive at Schynige Platte. Before descending take a quick walk to the north side of the summit for magnificent views over Interlaken and the lakes before catching the train to Wilderswill from where you can connect to Grindelwald. This hike takes around 7 to 8 hours for the averagely fit and should definitely be experienced on a clear day. This one is all about those views!
The Männlichen gondola takes you on the third longest cableway ride in the world. Once at the summit enjoy the views of the Lauberhorn and down into the Lauterbrunnen valley before taking one of the beautiful trails on offer. Keine Scheidegg is an easy 90 minute walk away with incredible views of the Eiger all the way. You can take the train from Kleine Scheidegg back to Grindelwald or walk down for a longer hike. Alternatively walk back to Grindelwald from Männlichen through stunning alpine terrain. The upper slopes are home to hundreds of marmots and it is great to stop for a while to watch these fascinating creatures. The hike will take you about 3 hours and is downhill all the way.
The Eiger Trail
No trip to Grindelwald would be complete without getting up close and personal with the North Face of the Eiger. This hike starts from the Eigergletscher station on the historic Jungfraubahn and passes directly beneath the towering rock face famed throughout the world. You will be able to see the climbing routes taken by brave alpinists and if you are lucky you may catch site of some climbers on the mountain. Take your binoculars just in case. There are magnificent views of the valley and the Wetterhorn before descending to Alpiglen from where you can catch the train back to town.
There are too many fine hikes in the region to mention here but these are three highlights that should not be missed. Invest in one of the local travel cards to help you with the costs of the cable cars and trains as they are not cheap! After the rigours of your walks take a little time to enjoy the town itself. It is a little touristy but has a fine selection of restaurants and bars and is a lovely place to do some souvenir shopping or to treat yourself to a Swiss speciality like an authentic army knife or swiss timepiece. You will never forget your trip to Grindelwald and will surely wish to return to do it all again!
Article by Sally Stacey who is a frequent visitor to Grindelwald and great fan of the hike from First. Don’t miss it!