Hike or ski around Grindelwald, Switzerland

Serious hikers and skiers know Grindelwald, the largest town in the Jungfrau region of Switzerland, well. Grindelwald is also called “Eiger Village” or “glacier village” because one of the most famous routes up the North Face of Eiger Mountain (more than 13,000 feet altitude) starts in Grindelwald. It becomes a headquarters of sorts for well-conditioned athletes seeking the challenge of rigorous skiing in winter.

Lunch in Grindelwald

If you’re not up for such excitement, visit the area during spring, as we did, when fields around town are filled with gorgeous yellow, white, and purple wildflowers. Cows and sheep graze on hill sides, with bells ringing constantly as they wander—allowing owners to know their whereabouts. Yes, it’s a truly bucolic scene.

Cows graze in fields of spring flowers

Grindelwald was on on our way from Lauterbrunnen to Interlaken, so we stopped there for lunch. Although we walked on the main street a while, most of the shops were closed because it was Sunday. But we enjoyed sitting on the outside deck at a cozy restaurant called Ronde-vous, enjoying spectacular mountain vistas while dining on a generous spread of cheeses, bread, and salad.

Just outside of town is a three star hotel and restaurant called Wetterhorn, conveniently located at the Grindelwald Glacier site. An easy hike down a dirt path leads to a better viewing of the upper glacier, one of two valley glaciers south of Grindelwald, located on the northern side of the Bernese Alps. Along the way we passed wood logs chopped from surrounding trees, neatly stacked and ready for transportation to other areas. A log ladder and cable up the side of the mountain appeared to be more for maintenance purposes than for casual climbing, so we took pictures of the glacier from the ground.

Grindelwald Glacier

After this interlude (a welcome opportunity to get out of the car and walk a bit), we continued on to Interlaken, driving through several small towns such as Breinz instead of taking the expressway. We couldn’t get to our hotel at Interlaken because a parade was in progress, so we headed back out of town and ended up in Wildersville, where an ice cream break helped pass the time until we could return to Interlaken. That’s the beauty of travel in Switzerland–so many lovely villages to claim your attention.

Photos by Beverly Burmeier

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