The town of Grindelwald in the heart of the picturesque Jungfrau Region of Switzerland might feel small, but it’s one of the best destinations in Switzerland for travelers looking for a fun-filled trip. Offering visitors everything from adrenaline-pumping adventure sports to relaxing spa days and world-class cuisine, Grindelwald is like no mountain village you’ve ever experienced.
In this ultimate guide to the best things to do in Grindelwald, you’ll find the Grindelwald activities we enjoyed most on our trip, as well as the local recommendations we didn’t stop hearing about. Whether you’re visiting Grindelwald in the summer or winter, these memorable things to do will help you enjoy the best Grindelwald has to offer.
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Things To Do in Grindelwald, Switzerland
1. Take In the Views
The stunning mountain views of Grindelwald will smack you the second you get off the train. Soaring mountains surround the entire city, meaning that every street and corner you explore in Grindelwald offers mountain vistas even more impressive than the last.
Part of the joy of staying in Grindelwald is simply wandering through town on a sunny afternoon, camera in hand, and taking in the views. To try to make a list of the best viewpoints in Grindelwald is futile – they’re everywhere – though the mountain views from the peaceful cemetery of the old church known as Reformierte Kirche are particularly stunning and nearly unobstructed.
For dinner with a view, consider heading up the hillside to the Aspen Hotel Restaurant, which has views overlooking the entire town. Alternatively, the Michelin-star restaurant at Boutique Hotel Glacier, much closer to town, has a beautiful patio with unobstructed views of the Eiger for the perfect ambiance to accompany an unforgettable meal.
2. Visit Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe
The incomparable Jungfraujoch is one of the most famous places to visit in Switzerland. Also known as the Top of Europe, this must-visit destination perched above Grindelwald lives up to all the expectations and then some. For jaw-dropping mountain views, kitschy wintery experiences, and even a little bit of adrenaline, it’s one of the best things to do in Grindelwald.
Jungfraujoch is known as the Top of Europe because it is the highest-elevation train station in all of Europe. The views from this snowy summit are spectacular, allowing visitors to take in views of the Aletsch Glacier – the longest in the Alps! – surrounded by famous Swiss peaks.
Spend time at Jungfraujoch exploring the Ice Palace, an interactive, ice-filled space packed with ice sculptures, tunnels, and exhibits that tell the history of this unique destination. Visitors can also walk the glacier in several areas before taking in the views from the top of the glass-domed Sphinx Observatory.
Adrenaline junkies will love ziplining or inner-tubing on snowy slopes, and those looking for a little less adventure can sip hot chocolate from a beach chair with a panoramic vista.
Tickets to visit Jungfraujoch are pricey – 190 CHF for adults – but are offered at a significant discount for visitors holding the Jungfrau Travel Pass. This all-access pass to trains, cable cars, and funiculars is a must if you’re going to spend any amount of time in the area, and is a top travel recommendation for anyone visiting Grindelwald or the rest of the Jungfrau Region of Switzerland.
Looking for a Jungfraujoch day trip, transportation included? We recommend one of these:
- Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe Day Trip from Zurich
- Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe Day Trip from Interlaken
- Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe Day Trip from Lucerne
3. Enjoy Local Festivals and Swiss Traditions
Grindelwald is home to numerous events and activities year-round that help travelers get up close and personal with Swiss tradition. These are some of the most important local festivals to add to your Grindelwald itinerary.
World Snow Festival
One of Grindelwald’s biggest and most famous celebrations is the perfect way to kick off the new year in the Swiss Alps. The World Snow Festival welcomes artists from around the world who travel to Grindelwald to carve incredible works of art from giant blocks of snow all around town. This five-day event in mid-January is free for visitors and marked by plenty of celebration.
This mid-September tradition is one that is seen throughout the Swiss mountain villages in the Jungfrau and beyond. Alpabfahrt marks the day when thousands of cows that have roamed the green hillsides above Grindelwald descend into the valley in preparation for winter – but not before parading merrily through the town with crowns of flowers and colorful adornments.
It’s a truly charming spectacle, marked by cheering crowds, music, and markets. It’s a must!
Grindelwald Christmas Celebrations
There’s no more magical time to visit Grindelwald than Christmas. Grindelwald has a small but festive Christmas market held just one day of the year, though many of the surrounding towns also have their own markets worth exploring. While the festive season in Grindelwald isn’t a specific celebration or event per se, it certainly makes for a charming time to visit Grindelwald and experience local traditions.
4. Get an Adrenaline Rush at Grindelwald First
Once you’ve checked Jungfraujoch off your list of things to do in Grindelwald, head straight to Grindelwald First (pronounced “fear-st”). Not only is this minor summit of the Schwarzhorn a stunning destination, but it’s also home to some of the most thrilling activities in Grindelwald.
Take the cable car up to its final stop; even just the views from the cable car and the summit are wealth worth the visit! However, there is plenty more to see and do. This is the start of a short and easy but beautiful hike to Lake Bachalpsee and is where you’ll disembark for all of First’s thrills.
First Cliff Walk
Free to all visitors, the First Cliff Walk is one of the best things to do in Grindelwald First and a great way to begin your day at First. This transparent walkway allows visitors to see all the way to the valley floor below while getting around the mountain for some of the most spectacular views of Grindelwald below and the surrounding mountains.
A dramatic overhang hangs perilously over the side of the mountain and is perfect for pictures. You’ll likely need to wait in line to get your shot, but the payoff is impressive!
There’s no better way to experience the views in First than on a zipline. This zipline is a seated zipline and was one that felt much more secure than any other zipline I’ve experienced before. I’d recommend it even to those who are a bit nervous about the experience – the views were well worth the rush of nerves you feel just before you get started.
First Mountain Glider
Similar to the zipline, the mountain glider lets adrenaline junkies whizz above the mountainside, though this time face down! After strapping in, participants are first pulled backward up the mountain before being released to fly back down. This was a true thrill and was well worth the wait!
First Mountain Carts
Take the First mountain carts for a ride down the mountainside. These non-motorized mountain carts are similar to go-carts, though they go whizzing down the mountainside using solely the pull of gravity. These get going fast – very fast! – and can be quite perilous if you let them lose. Don’t underestimate the mountain carts at First – this was a real adrenaline rush and one of my favorite activities here.
First Trotti Bikes
I’ll be honest – I underestimated the so-called “trotti bikes” at Grindelwald First. The name doesn’t quite imply how fast these bikes, which are part bike and part scooter, get you zipping down the mountainside. These provide the ultimate thrill as you speed down winding roads all the way down the hillside, but be aware that the ride can be a bit perilous!
End your day at Grindelwald First by taking the trotti bikes the rest of the way down the mountain. Take care on your ride, especially at the end, as you’ll need to navigate along some sidewalks and roadways before returning your trotti bike, where you first caught the Grindewald First cable car.
5. Hit the Slopes
Grindelwald is becoming an increasingly popular destination in the summer, but its original claim to travel destination fame was as a ski resort town.
For travelers looking to hit the slopes, Grindelwald is an excellent destination in the Swiss Alps, with thirty different ski lifts that serve 51 different pistes, meaning there are nearly 100 miles (157 km) of skiing available to downhill ski enthusiasts. 12 miles (20 km) of cross-country ski trails as well as a terrain park add to the ski experience.
Whether you head to more challenging slopes like Männlichen and Schilthorn or stick with Grindelwald’s more intermediate hills, skiing is undeniably one of the best things to do in Grindelwald in the winter season.
Read More: 17+ Best Towns and Cities in Switzerland
6. Hit the Spa
For those who aren’t the skiing, snowboarding, or adrenaline-seeking type, Grindelwald still has plenty to offer. How does kicking back and relaxing at the spa sound instead?
Bergwelt Grindelwald Design Resort has one of the most impressive spas in town. The Fire & Ice Spa has multiple saunas, an ice fountain, a steam bath, and multiple treatment rooms where guests can enjoy a full menu of treatments. Guests need to make a reservation for a time to use the spa, but spa use is included in a stay.
Hotel Belvedere also has an impressive spa complex, including an indoor swimming pool, Finnish sauna and glacier steam bath, an experience shower, a heat mine gallery, and much more.
7. Visit Nearby Swiss Mountain Towns
Grindelwald is considered one of the most beautiful towns in the Swiss Alps, but if you’re looking to experience even more of the beautiful destinations nearby, head to some of the neighboring towns in the Jungfrau Region.
While the options nearby are seemingly endless, these are some of the most beautiful Swiss mountain towns near Grindelwald. They’re all easily accessible from Grindelwald by train – just make sure you get the Jungfrau Travel Pass before embarking to save on the cost!
Nestled in a green valley, Lauterbrunnen is a picturesque Swiss town – considered by many to be among one of the most idyllic spots in Switzerland. This small town, easily accessible from Grindelwald by train, is known for its stunning waterfalls, including the famous Staubbach Falls, and its dramatic sheer mountain faces. It’s also a popular hiking spot in the area.
Perched on a sun-drenched plateau with magnificent views of iconic Swiss mountains like the Jungfrau, Eiger, and Monch, this famously car-free village feels like the perfect dose of Swiss tradition. It’s an equally easy journey to reach Wengen from Grindelwald via a train through Lauterbrunnen.
The tiny mountain town of Mürren offers dramatic views of the Lauterbrunnen Valley, making it another popular stop on a mountain town tour through the Jungfrau Region. This town is known as the highest-altitude ski resort in the Jungfrau, though it’s equally as appealing in the summer with plenty of hiking trails and adventure sports.
8. Explore Interlaken
Grindelwald’s proximity to Interlaken makes it a great destination for a day trip to explore Interlaken, one of Switzerland’s most visited cities. While Interlaken’s larger size makes it an attractive choice for travelers looking for a base in the Jungfrau Region, Grindelwald’s proximity to all the best things to do in the region, as well as its great connectivity and undeniable charm, make Grindelwald an even better choice.
Popular things to do in Interlaken include visiting some of the city’s historic monuments, paragliding, and strolling along the lakeside. Make sure to take the funicular up the hillside to Harder Klum for breathtaking views overlooking Interlaken – they’re unlike any other!
Best Places to Stay in Interlaken
- Hotel Artos Interlaken ($ – $$)
- Hotel Interlaken ($$ – $$$)
- Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa ($$$)
9. Take the Cable Car to Männlichen
Even if you’ve already ridden the Eiger Express to Jungfraujoch and the cable car to Grindelwald First, hop on the cable car to Männlichen – trust us, it’s worth it!
This mountain summit feels minor beside the towering Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau but boasts incredible panoramic vistas of peaks and valleys. The new cable car that transports visitors directly from the Grindelwald Terminal makes it easier to access than ever.
Männlichen is the start of many great hikes in the area, yet another reason that a visit to Männlichen is one of the best things to do in Grindelwald. The Männlichen Panorama Trail to Kleine Scheidegg is a favorite, only moderately challenging at best, while the short Royal Walk is easy and perfect for an excursion with kids.
10. Go Paragliding
You’ll spot paragliders soaring and swooping through mountain air the second you look to the hillsides in Switzerland. While paragliding is popular throughout Switzerland, it’s a particularly beloved activity in the mountainous Jungfrau Region, where the views are more spectacular than anywhere else.
Interlaken is well known for paragliding excursions, with many travelers booking paragliding experiences in Interlaken that become the center of their Switzerland itinerary. However, Grindelwald is an equally great choice for paragliding; even better, in my opinion, because of the unbeatable mountain views and smaller, more intimate excursions.
Book an experience in advance with Paragliding Jungfrau, the most respected and well-established paragliding operation in Grindelwald. Alternatively, paragliding over the neighboring Lauterbrunnen Valley is another popular choice with equally impressive views.
11. Rent a Bike
If the trotti bikes at Grindelwald First just won’t cut it, rent a bike and take to the miles and miles of bike paths and trails that cut across the valley for one of the best ways to explore Grindelwald. Mountainbike Grindelwald offers mountain bike and mountain e-bike rentals, which can be rented independently or as part of a small group or private tour of the area.
Local guides do a fantastic job of showing off the best of Grindelwald while taking participants on paths and trails that match their goals and ability level for the experience.
Alternatively, join an e-bike tour of the Lauterbrunnen Valley – it’s an easy way to explore one of the most picturesque areas near Grindelwald without having to worry about all the ups and downs of this hilly destination.
12. Take in the View from Schynige Platte
For some of the most stunning views in the Jungfrau Region, head to Schynige Platte. An easy train ride from Grindelwald makes this half-day excursion one of the best things to do in Grindelwald, rewarding visitors with views of Alpine lakes, soaring snow-capped mountains, and green valleys.
Part of the fun of visiting Schynige Platte is taking the vintage Schnyige Platte Railway up to the top of the mountain. This vintage train is steeped in nostalgia and history, having run this route since the 1800s.
Schynige Platte is a great spot for families traveling with kids who are looking to enjoy a little hiking but nothing too strenuous. Kids will love the vintage train ride, the Alpine garden, and the playground, while adults will appreciate the stunning views from every turn along well-marked, easy trails.
More experienced hikers will love Schynige Platte as well and can tackle the beloved hike from Schynige Platte to Grindelwald First. This trek takes between six to seven hours to complete but is a favorite with locals and visitors alike.
Read More: 24+ Best Places To Visit in Switzerland
13. Hike to Lake Bachalpsee
The thrilling activities and the spectacular cliff walk at Grindelwald First might steal the spotlight, but the hike to Lake Bachalpsee is one of the best things to do in Grindelwald – hands down! In fact, it was the hike that locals recommended to us again and again throughout our trip.
This relatively easy 1-hour hike starts at the top of the cable car to Grindelwald First, meaning it’s an easy add-on to your day spent here. Despite being at a relatively high elevation – 7,341 feet / 2168 meters – it’s quite doable, mostly flat, and well-marked. It’s a hike we’d recommend for families and has a huge payoff of views, both once you arrive at the lake and along the way.
Enjoy lunch at the restaurant at First after your hike – it’s a delicious reward and a great way to get the energy you need to enjoy the rest of the activities at First.
14. Hike Off The Beaten Path
If you’re looking for a hiking experience a bit more off the beaten path – which the stunning but popular Lake Bachalpsee hike certainly is not – don’t worry, you’ll have endless options in Grindelwald.
A favorite hiking spot for hiking is Männlichen, where you’ll find trails to easy, popular hikes that families can enjoy or more challenging routes that few attempt. More experienced hikers will love trekking to Kleine Scheidegg, though there are plenty of great options at Männlichen to choose from.
For a longer trek, hike from Schynige Platte all the way to Grindelwald First. This hike takes between 6-7 hours but offers some of the most spectacular views imaginable. Locals recommend considering staying at one of the mountain huts along the way, though the excursion is doable in a day.
Alternatively, consider giving Via Ferrata a try at Rotstock Via Ferrata along the Eiger for a thrilling new way to enjoy the mountains.
15. Visit Grindelwald’s Reformierte Kirche Church
The small and unassuming Reformierte Kirche church in the eastern part of Grindelwald is one of the historic buildings in town worth a visit. As you explore Grindelwald, make sure to stop by – the church is simple and quaint but beautiful, while the gardens on the church’s south lawn boast some of the most beautiful, uninterrupted views of the mountains from within the town.
The church occasionally hosts small concerts and activities. Make sure to respect other visitors and worshippers during your visit by maintaining silence and respect for others.
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16. Take the Grindelwald Glacier Canyon Walk
Changing climates around the world have led to receding glaciers everywhere, including in Grindelwald. Glaciers used to be accessible almost directly outside of town but are now only found higher up in the mountains; however, the canyons they carved out in their place are now some of the most impressive attractions in Grindelwald.
Grindelwald’s Glacier Canyon Walk is now a unique sensory experience tracing a path through tunnels and galleries carved out by millions of years of glacial activity. This family-friendly activity includes an easy 1km walk and ropes course and also includes access to the Crystal Museum.
Adventurous travelers can also opt to do the canyon swing, leaping hundreds of feet into the canyon below before swinging to safety. This is definitely among the best things to do in Grindelwald for the adrenaline-seeking traveler!
Reviews and Bookings: Grindelwald Glacier Canyon Walk Experience
17. Shop, Eat, and Explore Town
While Grindelwald is by no means a shopping capital, a few shops along the town’s main road are worth a visit as you explore. You’ll mostly find stores selling gear for hiking and other adventure excursions, as well as a few small clothing stores and a handful of souvenir shops with both the requisite items and some beautiful, locally-made treasures.
Buri Sport has a great selection of sporting equipment and gear if you’re looking for the necessities before embarking on a hike or day on the slopes. Another must-visit store in town is Molkerei Gertsch; this quaint cheese shop is worth a visit if you’re looking to taste-test your way through the mountains.
Meanwhile, Ringgenberg is a charming yet unassuming bakery with delicious and relatively affordable treats and coffee. Next door, modern Qraftwerk has delicious chocolates and pastries with beautiful indoor and outdoor seating.
18. Try Grindelwald’s Best Restaurants
If there was one thing about Grindelwald that surprised me, it was the impressive culinary scene of this tiny mountain town! From Michelin-star restaurants to historic, traditional Swiss kitchens, Grindelwald is practically a culinary capital among the mountains of the Jungfrau Region. These are some of the best restaurants in Grindelwald.
The Michelin-star restaurant at the Boutique Hotel Glacier, Glacier is the best spot in Grindelwald for elevated Swiss cuisine. An obsession with using local and seasonally appropriate ingredients makes meals memorable; tasting menus are a highlight, though there’s something on the menu for everyone.
The sleek, modern dining room at the Fiescherblick Hotel & Restaurant and its adjoining patio space make Restaurant Fiescherblick one of the most stylish places to eat in town. A chef’s choice menu makes the most of local ingredients while drawing inspiration from distinct culinary traditions.
Aspen Hotel Restaurant
The Aspen Hotel Restaurant is located on the hillside just outside of town, but it’s worth the five-minute drive to reach it. Fresh, inventive dishes make the seasonal menu shine, with favorites including venison and memorable vegetarian dishes.
19. Ride a Toboggan at Pfingstegg
Take the cable car over the valley from Grindelwald to reach Alp Pfingstegg, a notoriously beautiful starting point for countless treks in Grindelwald and beyond. Enjoy a peaceful day on the cable car and at the mountain restaurant enjoying panoramic views, or get your adrenaline pumping by racing down the hillside on a summertime tobaggan.
The toboggan run takes passengers down a nearly 2,500-foot (735-meter) run down the cliffside. Tickets are affordably priced, though they’re so popular that they’re also sold in multi-packs so you can enjoy the experience again and again. Alp Pfingstegg also has a 350-meter fly line that is sure to impress!
20. Try Sledging
One of the most thrilling wintertime things to do in Grindelwald is undoubtedly sledging. Not familiar with this Swiss tradition? Sledging is essentially the same as sledding but is practiced on serious mountain courses rather than simple hills.
Grindelwald is considered one of the best places for sledging in all of Switzerland, with over 50 kilometers of sledging runs in the area, running the gamut from more beginner-friendly courses to quite technical ones. Between Grindelwald First and Faulhorn, sledgers can even enjoy the longest sledging descent in the world.
Another memorable sledging experience in Grindelwald is the Jungfrau Eiger run, a 13-kilometer route that runs from the Eigergletscher station all the way to Grindelwald. This run is open during the day and is illuminated at night for a one-of-a-kind experience.
Whether you’re looking for a serious dose of adventure or just hoping to take in the views from one of Switzerland’s most beautiful mountain towns, Grindelwald will exceed your every expectation. From the perfect base for exploring the enchanting region of Jungfrau, the best of Swiss tradition and thrill awaits amidst beautiful scenery you’re not soon to forget.
Carley Rojas Avila is a bilingual New York-based travel writer, editor, content marketer, and the founder of the digital travel publications Explorers Away and Home to Havana. Carley is an expert on all things Latin America, the Caribbean, and Cuba, having lived and worked in four different countries in the region. Her writing has appeared on the Associated Press wires and in Travel + Leisure, Yahoo, MSN, Euronews, The Weather Channel, and more. When she's not writing about her travels, find her front row at a Bad Bunny concert, befriending street cats, and taste-testing every pizza in Havana.