Grindelwald is a very pretty, historic, year-round resort, in a stunningly spectacular setting with the backdrop of awe-inspiring mountains including the Eiger. Grindelwald is also the largest base in the Jungfrau region, which includes Wengen and Mürren. Famous for its breathtaking views of the Eiger and spectacular scenery, the first person to ski here was Englishman Gerald Fox who put his skis on in his hotel bedroom in 1881 and walked out through the hotel bar to the slopes wearing them – then followed the great and the good from around the world. Indeed, the resort is busy year-round with skiers, climbers, walkers and hikers and has a distinctly cosmopolitan air, attracting guests from all over the world giving a diverse ethnic mix in clientele rarely found in other resorts. As with Chamonix, Grindelwald’s history as a climbing village predates that of its skiing fame and its mountaineering heritage remains strong, with the North Face of the Eiger still being one of the hardest mountain challenges in the world.
Grindelwald shares its own ski area (called the First ski area) with Wengen – the Kleine Scheidegg and Mannlichen which is accessed by a unique and historic cog railway from Grindelwald or a 4-person gondola from the ‘suburb’ of Grund. This “First” ski area has about a quarter of the Jungfrau’s skiing – five lifts serving 50km of runs, whilst the joint area with Wengen is the Jungfrau’s largest having 20 lifts serving 100km of pistes. The third sector, Mürren’s Schilthorn, slightly smaller than the First ski area, is also included on the pass but is not ski linked – it’s either a long – if spectacular – rail or bus link.
Beginners and children are likely to spend their first few days at the Bodmi Nursery slopes which are home to Grindelwald’s ski school and easily reached by ski bus from the village centre. There are two beginners’ lifts and magic carpet lifts here. Intermediates will find the most to attract them above Grindelwald and in the Jungfrau as a whole. One of the best runs is the long 8km descent from Oberjoch back to Grindelwald. The powder slopes from the Eiger’s glacier are also wonderful if you reach them first! There are fewer runs for experts but the legendary Lauberhorn World cup downhill in Wengen has to be ticked off your ‘to see and ski’ list, although the Black Rock and ‘near vertical’ Kanonenrohr are arguably more intimidating. Grindelwald Sports, the snow sports and mountaineering school offer guiding to the various off piste, powder snow and glacier descents. Cross-country skiers will find 20km of cross-country tracks in the Grindelwald Valley, starting at Grund.
Grindelwald is a very good choice for families (and non-skiers too)because children will be as awe inspired as the adults by the incredible scenery, be enraptured by the historic mountain trains and Swiss village ambiance and be well entertained by the rich variety of activities available on and off the slopes. The Kinderhort Murmeli at First and the Sunshine Crèche at Männlichen are happy to look after children from babies upwards on an hourly basis or for the whole day. The Swiss Ski School organises lessons for children from as young as 3 up to 14. The younger ones are welcome in the Club Snowli between 9am and 4pm from Monday to Friday. Here they can enjoy sledging, painting and generally having fun in their own nursery area.
Grindelwald has a good selection of restaurants, mostly hotel based, serving Chinese, French, Italian, and Japanese meals as well as Swiss. The Hotel Spinne is the place to find Italian and French restaurants – all recommended whilst the popular Hotel Derby is known for its fondues. The Belvedere serves French cuisine whilst vegetarians will find a great selection, by Swiss standards, at the Kirchbuhl. High calibre establishments include the Schweizerhof, whilst The Memory restaurant at the Hotel Eiger is well known for its cheese and potato specialities and offers affordable, quickly prepared food as well as having a great apres ski bar. The C&M cafe has a small fresh menu changing daily and homemade pastries.
With so much going on in the evenings in Grindelwald, the action in the bars fails to dominate the resort’s reputation. However, there is plenty happening – initially at establishments such as the Challi – which has live music, as does the up-market hotel Regina – or the Expresso. Late night action continues at the Mescalero discothèque and the Plaza Club. Don’t miss a full moon or torchlit descent, complete with fondue, organised by Grindelwald Sports..
Grindelwald boasts a superb terrain park with kickers, rails and boxes in the First area. There’s also an excellent half pipe. The resort has hosted Skicross World Cup Races. Tuition is available from three schools, underlying the resort’s significance in the ‘boarding world, let be the Private Ski and Snowboardschool or the Ski and Snowboardschule Grindelwald. Another choice is the Burisport School. The high ratio of chairs, gondolas, funiculars and cable cars (trams) to drag lifts and the varied natural terrain also make Grindelwald a good choice for those seeking easy uplift and exciting downhill. All in all a fantastic resort for ANY type of holiday, whether you ski or not and we have some great accommodation options here too.