Thanks to its magnificent vista and the glacier which once reached right into the basin, Grindelwald attracted its first guests – primarily the English – from the end of the 18th century onwards. The actual breakthrough of Alpinism occurred in the mid 19th century, and local mountain guides climbed the peaks of the region with English tourists. The first ascent of the Eiger, the most difficult of Alpine mountains took place in 1858 (the north face only in 1938).
Road and railway construction made Grindelwald much more accessible towards the end of the 19th century, which in turn also heralded the onset of winter tourism. The first cableway in the Alps was built here in 1908 on the Wetterhorn. And in 1912, a railway reached the Jungfraujoch via Kleine Scheidegg; today the «Top of Europe» still remains Europe’s highest railway station and a world-renowned excursion destination within permanent snow and ice.
There are 300 km of walking trails around Grindelwald. The high-altitude walk from Grindelwald-First along the Bachalpsee to the Faulhorn mountain hotel and then on to the Schynige Platte ranks among the most beautiful hikes of the region. An easy walk with fantastic views of the three, world-famous mountains of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau leads from the Männlichen up onto the Kleine Scheidegg.
The two ski regions of First and Kleine Scheidegg – Männlichen – Wengen offer 160 kilometres of pistes with around 30 lifts reaching up to an altitude of 2500 m. The Schilthorn near Mürren, also part of the Jungfrau region ski arena, even reaches 2971 metres. But the most spectacular piste of the region is without doubt the Lauberhorn piste near Wengen, popularised by the World Cup circus.
Choose from 80 kilometres of winter walking trails with views across seven four-thousand-metre peaks and majestic glaciers, as well as 60 km of toboggan runs, including, at 15 km, one of the longest toboggan runs in the Alps from the Faulhorn into the valley. Naturally Grindelwald also has many further winter sports on offer.
- Hiking along the «Öpfelchüechliwäg» high-altitude trail from Holenstein to Brandegg is an unforgettable experience. The trail leads through lush pastures, flower-filled meadows and inviting woodlands. Test how much you know about fruit and learn even more on the six information panels along the way. At the end of the hike you will want to reward yourself at the Brandegg mountain restaurant with its famous «Öpfelchüechli» (apple fritters).
- Jungfraujoch – snow and ice are guaranteed on the «Top of Europe» at 3454 m, the ultimate excursion destination in the Bernese Oberland.
- Eiger north face – one of the most spectacular and difficult faces to climb in the world; successfully climbed for the first time in 1938.
- Eiger Trail – mountain tour imparting an ‘Alpinist’ feel: starting from the Eiger glacier station, the route sticks closely to the rock along the foot of the Eiger north face and leads down to Alpiglen.
- Gletscherschlucht (Glacier Gorge) – at the village end of Grindelwald lies the wildly romantic, thunderous glacier gorge with its glacial mills and striations as well as the pink and green marble blocks, through which a path leads over man-made footbridges and through rock galleries and tunnels.
- First (2168 m) – over 100 km of hiking trails as well as 50 km of ski pistes and a toboggan run can be found on the south-facing, not overly steep First slope.
- Männlichen (2229 m) – gentle walking and winter sports terrain with a link to the nearby Kleine Scheidegg and with the perfect panorama across the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.
- Pfingstegg – at 1391m is the lookout post of Grindelwald and offers a unique vista across the valley floor.
- World Snow Festival – during the course of a week, Swiss and international teams of artists hew and construct figures and sculptures from metre-high snow blocks that have been provided (January).
- “Velogemel” World Championship – every year a world championship on snow bikes takes place in Grindelwald, a speciality to Grindelwald (February).
- Snowpenair – Snow Openair, always held at the end of the winter season on the Kleine Scheidegg (March).
- Spring Mountain Festival – held annually on the Männlichen near Berghaus, with dances in traditional costumes, folk music and flag throwers (June/July).