We spent one night in the unimaginably beautiful village of Grindelwald. Why? Because we found that hunkering down in our motorhome and illegally “camping” in the Grindelwald Grund rail station for only 6 CHF/24 hours was easy, despite all the “Camping Prohibited” signs displayed throughout the entire valley.
The mountain scenery from the parking lot was also incredible. Yep, this suited us just fine.
Oh, and the hikes in and around Grindelwald were lovely too, especially when they involve Switzerland’s most famous aerial cable car, Grindelwald to First.
From the Grindelwald Gund rail station to the aerial cable car was a 25-minute walk uphill, and from Grindelwald to First was a 30-minute cable car ride through spectacular mountain scenery. We probably could have hiked the two hours to First, but our desire to sightsee the surrounding mountains via cable car for 30 minutes surpassed our interest to hike up yet another long slope. To save money on ½ the fare, we each paid 29 CHF for a one-way ride to First (as opposed to 58 CHF roundtrip!); our return to Grindelwald was completely on foot.
At the summit of First Station, several tourist attractions such as the zip line, scooter bikes, and a cliff walk kept the tourists and non-hikers entertained. Fortunately the cliff walk was free!
Plenty of tourists, families with small children, and walkers “hiked” from First to Bachalpsee Lake, an undemanding trail that only took 50 minutes one way. It was no wonder why this walk saw numerous people; its views were breathtaking.
Sadly, the clouds blocked the gorgeous mountain views at Bachalpsee Lake.
Beyond Bachalpsee Lake to the Faulhorn summit, the number of hikers dropped dramatically. This hike was only for the committed. However, it did only take us under an hour from Bachalpsee Lake to Faulhorn.
Unfortunately the stubborn clouds refused to part, allowing us only a glimpse into the valley below. Looking toward Interlaken:
We chose not to hike to the popular Schynige Platte due to the costs (64 CHF each) and logistics associated with the cog railway down to Winderswil and a regular train back to Grindelwald, and we ended up hiking down to Bussalp instead. While I’ve heard that the hike from Schynige Platte to Faulhorn to First is arguably Switzerland’s most stunning hike, I have no regrets taking the trail to Bussalp. This section of our hike saw the fewest hikers, and the views were still rewarding.
I couldn’t get over the Swiss landscape with the happy cows and their intricate cowbells.
A quaint Swiss farm decorated with gorgeous cow bells:
By the time we reached Bussalp, it became evident that most hikers returned to Grindelwald by bus. It just so happened that the hourly bus arrived within 5 minutes of our arrival, but we continued down to Grindelwald. Doing so saved us 23 CHF each—as with all Swiss private transportation, that’s an expensive bus ride!
To our surprise, we didn’t find the hike down to Grindelwald as steep as we expected it to be. We definitely preferred the hike over taking the pricy bus.
Looking down into Grindelwald from the mountains:
We found the hike to not be as arduous or long as most hikers make it seem; for our next Swiss trip (whenever that may be) we hope to take the cog railway to Schynige Platte, hike to Faulhorn, to First, and then back down to Grindelwald. Regardless of what hike we pick or anyone picks, we at least know that any hike in Grindelwald will be memorable.