Grindelwald town is situated in the Bernese Alps at 1,034 m (3,392 ft) above sea level. Grindelwald and its neighboring villages, Wengen and Murren, come closer to the mythical notion of an alpine ski paradise than maybe anyplace else in Europe.
The Swiss Ski Resort of Grindelwald is part of the Jungfrau Region ski region, which offers 378 kilometers of downhill skiing on 131 different pistes supported by 66 ski lifts. The relevant ski Lift Pass will enable you to ski or snowboard in the neighboring Jungfrau Region ski resorts of Lauterbrunnen, Mürren, and Wengen, in addition to the skiing in Grindelwald (213km of pisted ski lines). The ski areas of Wengen are readily accessible from Grindelwald via the Ski Lift.
Skiing and snowboarding are guaranteed all season long thanks to pistes over 2500 meters.
Grindelwald info card
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Best time to visit Grindelwald
The ski season lasts from December to April, although the best months to go skiing are January, February, and March. On good years, there is exceptional late-season snowfall, and you may ski until the end of April, particularly on the north-facing slopes down from Kleine Scheidegg. If skiing this late in the season, it’s wise to check the snow prediction. Since the resort upgraded its snowmaking capabilities, more than half of the slopes can be prepared with artificial snow, so even the slopes down to town are normally in good shape throughout the summer months. Fortunately, Grindelwald has access to the First area, which is ideal for colder days early in the season due to its abundance of south-facing slopes that catch the sun.
Grindelwald is a traditional Swiss alpine village surrounded by traditional Alpine farms and houses. The main road is lined with hotels, shops, and restaurants in the village center, while smaller traditional chalets and hotels stretch up the hill to the north of town.
The free ski bus is crucial for getting to and from the lift stations or up the slope. In the lack of a buzzing nightlife district, and with a short daily ride to the lifts from practically everywhere, the ideal way to enjoy Grindelwald is in evocative accommodations somewhat outside of town that optimize your experience of the picturesque valley. In line with Grindelwald’s appeal as a non-skiing winter destination, the village features a walkable mix of shops, tea houses, and restaurants, easy access to vast winter hiking, and, of course, spectacular views from every area of town.
Grindelwald Ski Resort
Grindelwald, the biggest and liveliest resort in the Jungfrau ski area, was named one of the 12 ‘Best of the Alps’ destinations with good cause. Aside from the breathtaking vistas of some of the world’s most famous mountains, which are a lure in and of themselves, there is a plethora of exciting things to keep you engaged, including, of course, world-class skiing.
The town has kept much of its natural mountain beauty due to its laid-back environment and typical alpine structures. From lovely ancient churches to the appealing spa at the Grindelwald Sports Centre, the resort achieves the right mix between its provincial flavor and contemporary facilities. Another significant advantage is the fast airport transfer times and excellent train links.
The gondola up to Grindelwald’s own ski resort, ‘First,’ is located on the eastern side of town, while the Grund railway station and gondola, which connects to Männlichen, is located on the western side. Visitors may also take a lovely journey up to the Kleine Scheidegg region on the remarkable cog-railway. From here, the railway continues up the north face of the Eiger, into the mountain (!) until it reaches the Jungfraujoch. At 3454m, this is Europe’s tallest railway station and, predictably, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The rotating restaurant on top of the Schilthorn, which you may recognize from the James Bond film ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,’ is located on the opposite side of the valley, above Mürren, and offers spectacular panoramic views of more than 200 peaks.
It’s no wonder that the renowned Jungfrau area has long drawn British visitors – going back to 1881, when Englishman Gerald Fox, the first person to ski here, slipped his skis on in his hotel bedroom and strolled out through the hotel bar to the slopes wearing them! Wagner, the great composer, notably drew inspiration for his work in the grandeur of the surrounding scenery, and stayed in the town for the most of his life.
Skiing in Grindelwald
With three separate lifts leaving from the town center: the Firstbahn gondola, the old funicular, and the Grund-Männlichenbahn gondola, Grindelwald is well located to make the most of the enormous Jungfrau ski region.
A short shuttle bus ride away, Bodmi boasts excellent nursery slopes with drag lifts and magic carpets, and the local ski school is based there. With a large bunny mascot and a selection of little igloos to play in, the area is excellent for youngsters. On terrible snow days or during the warmer months, take the cog-railway up the mountain to Kleine Scheidegg, where there are more snow-sure novice slopes.
Once you’ve learned the fundamentals, you may go to the new ‘Slow Slopes,’ a series of defined blue pistes in First and Männlichen that are restricted to 30km/h. These are ideal for youngsters, students, and individuals who want a more relaxed pace.
Miles of nicely groomed blue and red lines, many of which lead back to town, appeal to more experienced skiers and boarders – one of our favorites is the red #21 which starts up on Kleine Scheidegg. Another nice, lengthy piste is the mellow blue #22 that follows the railway all the way down to town. Those looking for a challenge should not miss the famed Lauberhorn World Cup black run, which isn’t as tough as it seems. If you truly want to put yourself to the test, go to Mürren’s legendary dark, nearly vertical ‘Kanonenrohr’ run.
Pros may work on their tricks in the super pipe in Schreckfeld, or catch some serious air on the massive kickers in the ‘White Elements’ snow park at Bärgelegg in the First region, where they can also play on the rails, boxes, and wallslide.
Powder junkies will discover some great off-piste by travelling below the Eiger north face, and it is here that you can ski the famous ‘White Hair,’ which is best done under the guidance of a guide – try Altitude Ski School, who also provide heli-skiing.
Grindelwald Apres Ski
This is the region’s biggest and busiest resort, boasting a diverse choice of eateries. Enjoy superb French/Swiss cuisine at La Pendule d’Or, or keep things simple with a great pizza at Onkel Tom’s Cabin. After you’ve finished skiing, refuel with a hot drink and cake at Ringgenberg Tea Room or a toasty at C&M Café. Up in the mountains, you’ll find some fantastic lunch choices, such as fondue at Berghaus Alpiglen and schnapps coffee at Kleine Scheidegg’s Tipi bar. Avocado Bar attracts boarders and a youthful population in the nights. If you missed dinner, don’t worry: the Mescalero Club at Hotel Spinne provides Mexican cuisine until 10 p.m. in peak season, after which you may stay and tear up the dance floor. The Challi Bar and the Plaza Club at the Hotel Sunstar are very enjoyable.
Non-skiers and families will appreciate the variety of activities available, which includes a natural ice rink at Bärplatz and the well-equipped Grindelwald Sports Centre with a pool. You may also try the odd ‘Velogemel’ sledges, which have been used by the locals for almost a century to travel about. They look like scooters on skis and are available for hire at the railway station. Take on the longest sledge run in the world, the ‘Big Pintenfritz’ on the Faulhorn (15km long!).
The ‘First Flieger,’ another unusual activity included in your lift ticket, is essentially a large 800m zip wire extending from First to Schreckfeld. Groups of up to four zip down at speeds of up to 84 km/h, providing a thrilling and picturesque experience. Visit the Bernerhof Cinema for something a little more low-key, or learn about the area’s history at the Museum Grindelwald.
The spinning, solar-powered Piz Gloria restaurant, which appeared in the James Bond film ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,’ is a fantastic half or full-day excursion that is included in the region lift ticket. Enjoy amazing 360-degree views of the surrounding peaks while sipping a martini at the summit of the Schilthorn (shaken, not stirred, of course).
Families in Grindelwald
Grindelwald is a lovely and pleasant resort for family vacations. Introduce your children to a classic ski destination with a fascinating history – they will never forget their first ride on the UNESCO World Heritage cog-railway up to the Jungfraujoch, or their first sight of the infamous Eiger north face. The town features outstanding family facilities, such as several family-friendly restaurants and motels. Stay at Hotel Belvedere for breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, or Grand Hotel Regina for a convenient position near the major lifts and town center.