The "glacier village" of Grindelwald, one of the most popular health and winter sports resorts in the Bernese Oberland and a favorite base for climbers, straggles over a considerable expanse of Alpine meadows on the slopes of the Schwarze Lütschine valley. Three towering mountains enclose the valley on the south: the Eiger (3,970 m/13,026ft), with its sheer north face, the most dangerous mountain wall in the Alps (first climbed in 1938 by Heckmair, Vörg, Kasparek and Harrer, taking four days), on which the lights in the windows of the Eigerwand station of the Jungfraubahn can be seen twinkling after dark; to the left of the Eiger the Mettenberg (3,104 m/10,184ft), one of the subsidiary peaks of the Schreckhorn; and the Wetterhorn (3,701 m/12,143ft), the most characteristic landmark of the Grindelwald valley. Between the three mountains are the two Grindelwald glaciers.
The best general view in Grindelwald is to be had from the Terrassenweg, which branches off the road 20 minutes' walk above the church, just before the Mühlbach bridge, and runs along the mountainside above Alpine meadows and through patches of forest to the hamlet of Duftbach (30minutes), from which it is a 20-minute walk down to Grindelwald.
Mountain railroads (cableway, lifts)
Wengernalpbahn and Jungfraubahn to Jungfraujoch (18km/11mi;) via the Kleine Scheidegg. Cableway (1,046 m/3,432ft long to Pfingstegg (upper station 1,387 m/4,551ft; restaurant). Chairlift (4,354 m/14,285ft in four stages) via Oberhaus, Bort and Egg in 30 minutes to First (2,168 m/7,113ft; inn), with magnificent views and excellent skiing country (ski-lifts) on the Grindelalp, on the slopes of the Widderfeldgrätli, the ridge between the Faulhorn and the Schwarzhorn. The longest cableway in Europe is to the Männlichen (2,343 m/7,690ft), a height difference of 1,284 m/4,214ft in 30 minutes.
Skiing at Grindelwald and on the First, Kleine Scheidegg and Lauberhorn; tobogganing; ice-rinks (indoor and outdoor); curling.
Favorite walks in Grindelwald include the Panorama Way to the First (round trip), Grosse Scheidegg-Schwarzwaldalp-Rosenlaui and the walk Pfingstegg-Marmorbruch-Gletscherschlucht and Pfingstegg-Oberergletscher.The Grindelwald Mountain Guides Association organizes guided climbs of the surrounding mountains over 4,000 m/13,128ft from the climbing center, opened in 1985.
To the Upper Glacier (1.5 hours): from the Grindelwald church take road (closed to cars) to the turn-off of the road to the Grosse Scheidegg, and continue to the end of the glacier, which has recently been advancing again, with an artificial cave hewn from the ice. There are eight walks providing geological information about the area: Pfingstegg-Milchbach, Pfingstegg-Stieregg, Milchbach-Sulz, Rubiweid-Sulz, Pfingstegg-Sulz, Pfingstegg-Uf der Halten, Pfingstegg-Fielewald-Uf der Halten, Pfingstegg-Marmorbruch.
Lower Glacier (Lütschine Gorge)
To Grindelwald's Lower Glacier (1.5-2 hours); from the church go down to the bridge over the Lütschine (990 m/3,248ft), and from there either turn right and continue through the hamlet of Mettenberg to the entrance to the impressive Lütschine gorge (accessible through a gulley cut through the rock) and so to the end of the glacier; or turn left into a steep path leading up to the Lower Glacier or Unteres Eismeer (1,650 m/5,413ft), a large expanse of ice covered with rock debris.
Faulhorn (outstanding viewpoint)
Up the Faulhorn (2,681 m/8,796ft), one of the most renowned viewpoints in Switzerland, from which the giant peaks of the Bernese Oberland can be seen in all their magnificence: either by the chair-lift (30 minutes) to the First station and from there an hour's walk north to the Bachsee or Bachalpsee (2,264 m/7,428ft), or a 3.5 hours' walk from Grindelwald to the Bachalpsee; then 1.5 hours' climb to the summit (Berghotel, summer only).
A climb of 2.5-3 hours up the slopes above the Checklibach leads to the Grosse Scheidegg (1,961 m/6,434ft).