Grindelwald First is a spectacular viewpoint in the Swiss Jungfrau region. How to get there? You’ll read all about it in this article.
Where is Grindelwald?
Grindelwald is a village in the Jungfrau region in Switzerland, not far from Interlaken. It is a picturesque village in a valley and is surrounded by many high mountains with steep cliffs. The village paints a perfect Swiss picture, with wooden houses on the green hills surrounded by snowcapped mountains.
One of the highlights in Grindelwald is a visit to Grindelwald First, a viewpoint on a mountain of 2,167 meters. From here you can see Grindelwald in the valley and you have a good view of the enormous mountains that surround the village.
How do you get to Grindelwald?
Grindelwald is easily accessible from the city of Interlaken. You can come to Grindelwald by car or by train. A return train from Interlaken to Grindelwald costs approximately € 20 (September 2020). Check prices and buy tickets on the Rail Europe website. By car you can park in one of the parking lots around the station, there are costs involved.
Take the cable car to Grindelwald First
The easiest and fastest way to get to Grindelwald First is with the gondola lift. This is also the most expensive, a return ticket costs about € 60 (September 2020), and a single ticket costs € 30. You are in a small six-person gondola and the ride takes about 25 minutes (one way).
If you are planning to take multiple rides on the cable cars and gondolas in the Jungfrau region, it may be cheaper to purchase a multi-day pass.
Hiking to Grindelwald First
Do you have a full day to explore Grindelwald and do you want to go hiking? You can also hike from Grindelwald to Grindelwald First. The route is fairly easy to follow and starts at the station. There is a sign with an arrow to ‘First’ and the expected walking time. According to the sign, it takes 3 hours and 40 minutes to walk from the station to Grindelwald First.
A description of the walk:
Steep climb to Bort
You walk out of the village from the station via a few steep streets. Keep following the ‘First’ signs. The path is steep, but because the majority is asphalt, it is doable. Don’t forget to look back every now and then, because the view is getting better and better!
Not much later you will see the gondola that goes to First. You will follow this for almost the entire walk to Grindelwald First. After a beautiful lake, you come to the first station where the lift stops: Bort. Here is also a restaurant where you can eat or drink something.
Between the cows to Schreckfeld
Don’t pause for too long, because we still have a long climb to go! Through many switchbacks and a path with a gradient of 20%, you come to a farm. Here you can fill your water bottle. Don’t be alarmed, because you might need to share the roads with some Swiss cows. They have a bell, so you can hear them from afar.
From here you keep following the asphalt road up. You’ll see fewer trees and the view becomes more beautiful. After a few final switchbacks, you can already see your final destination from Schreckfeld station.
Grindelwald First with an exciting Cliff Walk
Just a couple more steps before you reach Grindelwald First! It’s probably busy at Grindelwald First (much busier than on the hiking trail). You can use the toilet here and refill your bottle. There is also a restaurant with a wonderful panoramic terrace.
For the daredevils there is another great challenge: walk the First Cliff Walk. This is a metal path (you can see the abyss below you) that runs right along the cliff. There is also a bridge that hangs over the abyss. Scary, but super cool! At the end of the Cliff Walk, you can take pictures on the viewing platform (which has undoubtedly a long queue). Walking on the First Cliff Walk is free.
How do you get back down to Grindelwald?
You can go back down in different ways. I will mention three different options here:
Option 1: You walk back on the same road, this is the easiest route because there are many asphalt roads (less chance of slipping).
Option 2: Extend the route via the Bachalpsee (a beautiful mountain lake), this is about three to four kilometers extra. You walk around the lake to walk down again.
Option 3: Down the other side of Grindelwald First. This is the path on which I take you further.
Hike back down past the waterfall
The path down starts just after the First Cliff Walk. There you will see a yellow sign with ‘Grindelwald 2 St. 30 Min’. There is a white-red marking, this means it is a difficult path. It is therefore quite a steep climb down.
You can relax for a while at a few houses and a waterfall. Take a look around you and see how beautiful it is here!
Through the forest back to the station
Continue to follow the signs to Grindelwald. The lower you go, the more trees you see and at a certain point, you even walk in a forest. It’s quite scenic and there is regularly a bench where you can take a break.
Closer to Grindelwald you come back on the same path that you took the way up to walk up and continue until you reach the station.
Length of the walk
The total hike to Grindelwald First is about 17 kilometers long (return trip) and takes about six to seven hours (longer if you often take long breaks).
A few tips for the hike to Grindelwald First
Before you go on this beautiful hike there are a few things to keep in mind:
– It is a steep climb (and descent) and you are on the road for a while, so a good walking condition is required.
– There are a number of points along the way where you can get water, so you don’t have to bring too much. I myself had 1 liter of water with me on a hot day and that was enough.
– It is advisable to walk with a pair of good trekking poles. They provide extra support when ascending, but also when descending (and your knees will thank you). I myself have a pair of Black Diamond trekking poles and I absolutely love them.
– The hiking trails are marked with yellow arrows in Switzerland. Sometimes you see a white with a red flag here, this means that it is a difficult path. Often there are many loose pebbles or it is very steep.
– The walking time is indicated on some of the yellow signs. This is never exactly right, it really depends on your hiking pace and if you are used to hiking in the mountains. I walked to Grindelwald First in three hours (the sign said 3 hours and 40 minutes), but down it took me at least two and a half hours (which was also on the sign). I have heard from some other people that it takes them longer than stated on the plate. So it is an average.
Where to stay in Grindelwald
Did you know that there are no less than 300 kilometers of hiking trails in Grindelwald? It is therefore a beautiful region to stay for hiking enthusiasts. There are more than enough hotels in Grindelwald where you can sleep a night (or more). Check out Booking.com for all the options.
Do you think the hotels in Grindelwald are too expensive? You can also choose to have Interlaken as your base during your visit to Grindelwald and the other beautiful places in this region. I myself slept in Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof – Hostel Interlaken and I really liked that. Not only backpackers sleep here, but also families with children. Suitable for everyone! The advantage is that this hostel has a large kitchen where you can cook your own meals.
Want to read more about Switzerland?
These were my tips for a visit to Grindelwald First! Would you like to read more about this region or a vacation in Switzerland?
Get one of these amazing guidebooks:
Walking in Switzerland’s Berner Oberland: Easy Hikes in the Jungfrau Region
Or check out these articles:
- Tips & the best places to visit in Interlaken
- The most beautiful places in Switzerland
- The perfect day hike in Lauterbrunnen
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