Grindelwald has long been famous as a tourist destination, nestled in a wide bowl at the very base of the North Face of the Eiger. Less famous, but nearly as impressive from town, are the nearby Wetterhorn and Mättenberg/Schreckhorn mountains. The mountain views from town are simply hard to beat. Grindelwald’s main attractions (besides the Eiger of course) used to be the two long glaciers that extended nearly to town, giving rise to the name “the glacier village.” The glaciers have been retreating at an astonishing rate in recent years, and they no longer reach the village, but the mountains remain, and the glaciers still provide a couple of nice day hikes for those spending a few days in town.
There are plenty of other attractions as well. From above town, the panorama of the bulk of the Bernese chain has to be one of the most impressive sights in the Alps. There are also small Alpine lakes, thick spruce forests, narrow gorges, and picturesque Alpine farms nearby. Grindelwald has a number of great mountain transport options that take you high up the hillsides for views, often with easy walks or relaxing restaurant terraces to add to the vistas.
Grindelwald itself is a somewhat busy village, with one narrow main road that gets a fair amount of bus and car traffic. The shops are all clustered together within a 10-minute stretch along the road, but the chalets and development extend out for quite a ways from the center. It’s not quite as compact as Zermatt or as peaceful as Mürren. But still…wow! You won’t find mountains like this in many places. Grindelwald is quick and easy to get to, and offers a variety of great activities for families, adventure seekers, train enthusiasts, big hikes into the mountains, and for people seeking easy 1-3 hour walks with spectacular views.
If you prefer quiet, relaxing places, Mürren is probably a better choice for a few days in the Bernese Oberland, and on our hiking tours, our clients consistently prefer Mürren to Grindelwald. Mürren has a more peaceful rhythm, and an enviable variety of big, varied, impressive hikes. But if you’re spending 5 or more days in the region, I like to vary my home base with some days in Mürren and a couple days in Grindelwald. Grindelwald is 2,000 feet lower than Mürren, so is a little warmer. It has more family activities (like zip lines, summer luges, downhill scooter bikes, outdoor pools, to name a few), it’s closer to Jungfraujoch, and has a better variety of moderate, mellow walks. It has a lot going for it, and is definitely a great choice for a lot of people.