As we hike through the landscape of the Swiss Alps, it feels as if we have entered a fairytale. Imposing mountains surround the slopes dotted with pretty little chalets as cowbells chime in the distance. Welcome to Grindelwald, Switzerland.
I don’t think I have witnessed a more magical place on earth. Every turn offers one incredible view after another. Add fun and quirky adventures to the spectacular scenery and you have the perfect vacation destination. We’ve been lucky enough to visit the Jungfrau Region of Switzerland three times, but it wasn’t until this past trip where we had four glorious days that we really had the chance to take advantage of all it has to offer.
Things to do in Grindelwald – 4 Day Itinerary
Grindelwald may be one of Switzerland’s most popular ski resort but there are plenty of things that make Grindelwald the country’s ultimate summer destination as well. This picture-perfect town is nestled within the Swiss Alps surrounded by the famed ski areas of Switzerland of Grindelwald First, the Männlichen, and the Kleine Scheidegg with the mighty Eiger standing proud overhead. This three-day itinerary will let you see the best of Grindelwald in an easy-to-follow schedule.
Day 1 – Arrive Grindelwald
Where to Stay in Grindelwald
Arriving at the picturesque town of Grindelwald, we checked into the Romantik Hotel Schweizerhof Grindelwald. It is the perfect location for exploring the Jungfrau region as it is located close to the Grindelwald train station and is within walking distance to downtown. It also has magnificent views of the surrounding mountains with a beautiful spa and restaurant on sight.
Afternoon: Glacier Canyon Grindelwald – Gletscherschlucht
After checking into our room, we drove up to the Gletscherschlucht (Glacier Canyon Grindelwald) to explore. You can also catch bus 122 from Grindelwald directly to Gletscherschlucht. Glacier Canyon is located only 5 minutes from downtown Grindelwald.
Gletscherschlucht is one of the coolest attractions in Grindelwald and you don’t want to miss seeing it. Take a walk through a series of tunnels, walkways, and rocky outcrops as the Lütschine River roars through the 250 million-year-old canyon. This 870-meter long path is an extraordinary walk through high cliffs stretching up from the canyon floor.
There is also a 170 square meter spiderweb trampoline where you can bounce above the rushing water and stair directly down the centre of the canyon.
If you want to be truly adventurous, there is a gorge swing where you can leap off the 300-meter high cliff plunging into the canyon below. For more information on Glacier Canyon visit the Grindelwald website.
Evening Day 1
After exploring the canyon, head back to Romantik Hotel Schweizerhof Grindelwald for dinner. We had the half board package which means breakfast and dinner were included. This is a great way to save money. The restaurant has an outdoor terrace with beautiful views of the mountains and sunset making it the perfect choice for day 1 in Grindelwald.
After dinner, take advantage of its luxurious spa. There are plenty of spas in Grindelwald as going to the spa is as Swiss as Gruyere Cheese. The spa at Romantik Hotel Schweizerhof was fabulous. There’s an indoor pool and a series of hot saunas and cold baths and ice foot baths and ice rubs to soothe your muscles.
The icy cold foot bath spa was perfect to ease our aching feet each day after the long beautiful hikes in Grindelwald. When visiting Grindelwald in the summer, there is a lot of hiking involved, so the spa is a great way to unwind after each day.
Day 2 – Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe
A buffet breakfast is included with a half-board stay at Romantic Hotel Schweizerhof Grindelwald and we filled up on an array of delicious Swiss cheese and pastries before catching the train to Grindelwald Terminal just outside the hotel.
Morning: Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe
With a Jungfrau Railways pass in hand, we hopped on the three-minute train journey from Grindelwald train station to Grindelwald Terminal. Grindelwald Terminal is a state-of-the-art ski terminal with a shopping center and restaurants. It is also the place where you catch the Gondola up to Eigergletscher before heading on to Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe. Read our full guide to Spectacular Switzerland, a Visit to Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe
From Grindelwald Terminal, take the Eiger Express to Eiger Glacier station. The Eiger Express is the newest gondola in the region. The ultra-modern tri-cable gondola has taken 47 minutes off the ride to Jungfraujoch with its high-speed efficiency. It can also take up to 4000 guests per hour up the mountain. Once you reach the Eigergletscher train station in a speedy 15 minutes, it is time to transfer to the historic cog railway that takes you the rest of the way up to Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe.
This train journey is a must when visiting Grindelwald. The Jungfrau Railway has been operating since 1912 and it cuts through the Eiger and Mönch mountains taking you out at Europe’s highest railway station. The 35-minute journey is an experience unto itself as you climb through history to the world’s highest train station at 3,454 meters (7723 feet). For tickets and reservations, visit the website for more details.
Before you reach the top, there is a five-minute scenic stop at the Aletsch glacier – The Longest Glacier in Europe. Partway through the 7 kilometers (4.3 mi) long tunnel. This is an excellent view of the 23 km-long (14miles) glacier. After a short 5 minute stop, it is back on the train for the premier attraction. Don’t worry, you will see the glacier again from above.
Sphinx Observation Deck
Our first stop at Jungfraujoch was the Sphinx Observation Deck where we boarded a high-speed elevator taking us up 108 metres (354 feet) in 25 seconds. Emerging outside, we felt the cold wind hit our faces as the most extraordinary view unfolded before our eyes. Jungfraujoch is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In fact, Jungfrau-Aletsch was the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the alpine region.
From up here, you’ll see views of Italy, France, and Germany with four thousand meter peaks and Jungfrau Mountain on one side and the Lauterbrunnen Valley and glaciers on the other. We spent quite a while enjoying the 360-degree panoramic views.
After you’ve had your fill at the Sphinx Observation Deck, it’s time to go inside for the interactive displays. Step on the moving sidewalk that takes you through the history and the making of the Jungfrau Railway. See photographs lining the walls depicting the construction of the railway and honoring those who died making this feat of engineering. It leads to a multimedia display with a massive snowglobe as its centerpiece showcasing everything Swiss.
It is then time to enter the Ice Palace. The Ice Palace begins with a walk through an ice tunnel under a tributary of the Aletsch Glacier, Jungfraufirn. The halls of ice were made in the 1930 and are constantly maintained. Inside there are ice sculptures scattered throughout the 1000 square meters of tunnels.
Once you emerge from the Ice Palace, it is a chance to walk outside in the snow at 3451 meters. Looking up at the Sphinx Terrace, the Glacier Plateau gives you another vantage point of the views spanning out below. This is where you can line up to take that selfie photo of you with the Swiss flag at the top of the Alps!
Afternoon: Hike the Eiger Trail
After you have had your fill of the altitude, make your way back down to Eigergletscher Train Station to begin the most iconic hike in Grindelwald, the Eiger Trail.
The Eiger Trail begins at Eigergletscher Train Station and ends in Alpigen and takes about two hours to hike. (if you are like us stopping at every turn, expect 3 hours) This mostly downhill hike offers jaw-dropping views of the Lauterbrunnen Valley as you follow the North Face of the Eiger Mountain. This massive wall is a popular spot for rock climbers so if you look closely, you may see someone scaling the wall.
Search for the Grindelwald Cows
We have hiked this trail twice in our lives and both times we’ve been treated to seeing the cute Grindelwald Cows that hang out on the mountain in the summer months. When hiking the trail, listen for the cowbells echoing through the valley and you just may come across a herd basking in the sun. They are friendly and photogenic so don’t be afraid to stop for a picture.
Continue walking to Alpigen where you’ll take the train back to Grindelwald.
Evening – Explore Grindelwald and have a spa
When you are finished with your hike 2-3 hours later, take a walk through the town of Grindelwald. There are plenty of shops and restaurants to either stock up on your hiking gear or grab a beer while taking in the views. We made our way back to Romantik Hotel Schweizerhof Grindelwald since we were on their half-board package which included dinner. (water, soft drinks, and alcohol are extra)
Tonight, pack an overnight bag for the next day of adventures. You are going to be spending the night at Grindelwald First.
What to pack for Grindelwald First:
- Warm clothes and layers as you will be hiking up to 2,265m (7,431 ft) altitude and staying overnight at 2166 meters.
- It can be wet and rainy, so a waterproof shell is a good idea. Even a small umbrella can come in handy.
- Hiking boots, wool socks, wool hat and gloves.
- Refillable water bottles
- Credit card or cash for the restaurant and bar.
- pack your toiletries and a change of clothes for the next day.
- It is casual dining at the top, so you can eat in your hiking clothes.
- There is free WiFi at Grindelwald First.
Day 3 – Grindelwald First
Day 3 is a day you will never forget taking you to one of the premier scenic lookouts in all of Grindelwald. (Perhaps all of Switzerland) . Today you will check out of your hotel in Grindelwald, store your extra luggage at the hotel, and make your way to the First Gondola (Grindelwald Firstbahn) located in the heart of the village. Grindelwald-First is your ticket to adventure in Grindelwald. Read our full guide to The Complete Guide to Grindelwald-First in Switzerland
Where to Stay on Grindelwald-First
You will be staying at Berggasthaus First where there are dorm rooms, double rooms and family rooms available. Make sure to book in advance. Dinner and breakfast is included when on the half board package.
Lake Balchap Hike (Bachalpsee)
After taking the gondola up first thing in the morning, start hiking directly to Bachalpsee (Lake Balchap). From the top of the Gondola, it is a 3km hike (one way to Bachalpsee) and takes about an hour. It is a fairly easy hike that is a gentle slope with only about a 150 meter (500 feet) elevation gain. If the weather is good, take your time to really enjoy the views from all vantage points.
Walk to the back of the second lake to sit on the bench. There is a journal sitting in a box where you can leave your impressions of Lake Bachalp and the mountain vista view. It is also our favorite spot for a photograph. If the weather is overcast, you won’t be able to see the mountains so you might as well, walk back because you will have another chance tomorrow as you will be staying overnight. So instead, get on with the adventures!
Before you begin your adventures, Restaurant First is a great place to grab some lunch. We had a raclette here and it was nice and filling. You can also fill up your water bottles at the fountain in front of the washrooms downstairs. So now that your bellies and bottles are full, it’s time for afternoon adventures.
Grindelwald First Adventures
Grindelwald has done an amazing job making things fun and easy for those hiking up to Lake Bachalp. One thing Dave and I always say after a hike is, “I wish I didn’t have to hike back.” Well, with the Grindelwald First Adventure Package, you can go down the mountain in style.
First Flyer – First to Schreckfeld
The First Flyer is a thrill ride starting at First Station and whizzing up to 84 km per hour to Schreckfeld Station. This zip line looks intimidating when you start, but once the shoot opens, it’s so much fun. I will admit, I was nervous, but my exact words when flying down the mountain were “it’s not so bad!”
Sadly, the weather had turned the day we were there for First Glider and we didn’t get a chance to do this, but man it looks like fun! From Schreckfeld, the glider is pulled 800 meters backward at 72 km. You are then let go to glide up to 83 km per hour back to where you started on a bird of prey flying headfirst.
First Mountain Cart
Described as a cross between go-cart and winter sled, a mountain cart takes you from Schreckfeld to Bort Station. Ride the path down the mountain as you take in the Grindelwald Valley and the Bernese Alps. With a low center of gravity, you’ll feel safe and secure as you twist and turn your way down.
If you have kids, you may want to stick around Bort Station so they can let loose in the Bort station playground. How many people can say they’ve been on an jungle gym on the side of a mountain?
First Trottibike Scooter
Now that you’ve gained your confidence on the mountain cart, it’s time for the highlight of your downhill excursion, riding a Trotti bike. What is a trotti bike? Well, it is a souped-up scooter with large tires and tough tread. Racing down the mountain is one of the coolest thrills you can do. The Trotti bike takes you from Bort all the way to Grindelwald.
Back up the First Gondola
There’s no time to relax in Grindelwald though because as you turn in your trotti bike you are heading back up the gondola to spend the night at First. As the crowds catch the last gondolas down you’ll be heading back up to enjoy first in solitude.
Berggasthaus First is a guest house that offers dorm rooms (40 people) family rooms, double private rooms and multi bedrooms where you can have the mountain nearly all to yourself. Half board includes dinner and breakfast. There’s a beautiful outdoor terrace, bar, there are games and access to First Cliffwalk by Tisson. For more information visit the Berggasthaus First website.
Grindelwald First Tissot Cliffwalk
If you didn’t do the First Cliffwalk by Tissot already, now is the time. Sunset is a beautiful time to be out on this steel walkway that reaches 45 metres (147 feet) out over the valley plunging 2000 meters to the depths below. This heartpounding walk is one of the top attractions in all of Grindelwald and is not to be missed. The great thing about staying overnight at First is that you won’t have to fight the crowds on the walkway. You start along the catwalk clinging to the side of the mountain and then walk up the circling spiral out to the platform leading out to the abyss. It is truly a spectacle.
Day 4 – Mannlichen Hike and Harder Kulm Interlaken
After a quiet night’s sleep at Berggastaus First, it is time for day 4 in Grindelwald. First thing in the morning, make your way out to Bachalpsee (Lake Balchap) again but this time for sunrise. We suggest staying the night here because Bachalpsee is an extraordinary view and you’ll want multiple chances to see it. Being in the mountains, the weather can be unpredictable, so it’s a good idea to give yourself two chances. We have been three times and only had good weather once.
Besides, it is a very busy climb, so if you hike to it at sunrise, you will have it all to yourself free from crowds. After your hike back, enjoy a delicious breakfast included in your stay before taking the gondola back down. You now have about two hours to get to your next hike.
Mannlichen Hike to Klein Scheidegg
From Firstbahn, make your way to the Grindelwald train station where you’ll use your Jungfrau pass to board the train to Grindelwald Terminal. This may seem familiar and that is because it is! The terminal is the jumping-off point for both Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe and for today’s hike, Mannlichen to Klein Scheidegg. Hope on the Grindelwald – Männlichen gondola cable car. Spanning 6.2 km, the ride itself is worth the trip. The 10 seater cable car gets you up to the summit in 19 minutes.
Lunch at Berghaus Männlichen hotel and restaurant
Männlichen has a restaurant with a terrace that serves lunch, breakfast, and dinner. It’s a great atmosphere and as it is everywhere in Grindelwald, a spectacular view.
The Männlichen Hike to Klein Scheidegg
From here the hike from Männlichen to Klein Scheidegg begins. This easy mostly downhill hike is one of the most popular hikes in Grindelwald. As you make your way down the 5km hike, views of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains are constantly in view. The hike is only about 90 minutes, but we tend to stop a lot for photos and video, so allow for 2 hours.
Every hike in Grindelwald is postcard perfect, and the Männlichen Klein Scheidegg hike is no exception with striking mountain vistas surrounding you at each turn. The hike takes you to the Klein Scheidegg train station where you can board it back to Grindelwald Terminal for your next stop on the itinerary.
Harder Kulm Lookout in Interlaken
Interlaken is the largest town in the Grindelwald region and today you are going to get your chance to see it. From Grindelwald Terminal, board the train to Interlaken for the incredible views of Harder Kulm. Located at 1322 m above sea level, Harder Kulm is the towering mountain over Interlaken. The 100-year-old funicular railway is a treat to ride up the mountain. Make sure you take a seat right at the back of the funicular for views looking down all the way up. (take the front on the way down).
At Harder Kulm, there is a hiking and a scenic lookout platform that overlooks Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. You’ll also have a great view of the twin lakes of Interlaken, Lake Brienz, plus Lake Thun. While you are up there, have your dinner at the Panorama Restaurant. If you haven’t done so yet in Switzerland, now is the time for that genuine Swiss fondue. For more information on Harder Kulm, visit their website.
After you have taken in the views and have had a hearty cheese-filled dinner, spend the evening in Interlaken where you can stroll the waterfront of the Aare River. From here you can make your way back to the Romantik Hotel Schweizerhof where you left your bags two days earlier to check-in for your final night in Grindelwald.
How To Get Around Grindelwald
The best way to get around Grindelwald is by train. Purchase a Top of Europe Pass. With the Top of Europe Pass you can move freely between Grindelwald, Interlaken, Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe, Grindelwald First and Männlichen. Having the freedom to hop on and off the public transportation system, gondolas and trains makes travel through Grindelwald fast and efficient. You can purchase in advance at Jungfrau Railways. We highly recommend a Top of Europe Pass to allow flexibility for the weather. Passes start at 3 days for 239 CHF ($260 USD)
If you are traveling throughout Switzerland, A Swiss Travel Pass is also highly recommended.
- A Swiss Travel Pass includes:
- Unlimited travel by train, bus, and boat
- Public transportation in more than 90 cities and towns
- Including mountain excursions: Rigi, Schilthorn, Stanserhorn, and Stoos
- Free admission to more than 500 museums throughout Switzerland
- Get your Swiss Travel Pass Here.
- Two free informative apps to help plan your Switzerland journey are: Grand Train Tour of Switzerland app and the Swiss Travel Guide app
You can purchase tickets from Grindelwald or Interlaken to Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe
How to Dress for Grindelwald in Summer
Even though the weather is warm and balmy in Bern or Zurich, be prepared for cold weather in Grindelwald. You’ll be going up above 3000 meters and you can expect snow and cold.
Dress in layers and pack winter clothing.
We saw people in shorts up at the top of Jungfraujoch and their trip was cut very short because it was too cold for them to stand outside. Even inside the ice palace is cold so wear at least a mid fleece layer and outer shell. You can always add or take away more layers as you go.
- We also had wool hats, sunglasses, and sturdy hiking boots.
- Wool socks are the best for hiking as even as you make your way down to warmer altitudes, wool whisks away moisture keeping your feet warm at the top, and cool and dry at the bottom.
- Pack refillable water bottles, lip balm, and sunscreen.
- A peaked hat is a good idea as well.
You have completed your four days in Grindelwald. If you follow this Grindelwald itinerary, you really will see the best of Grindelwald. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to Switzerland today!
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