Gimmelwald

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Gimmelwald

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Gimmelwald is a small mountain town in Switzerland.

The view of the Eiger & Jungfrau from Gimmelwald.

Get in

Sunset over the Mountain Hostel.
The first leg of the Oberhornsee hike.
A glacial river along the trail.
One of countless amazing views.
Alpenkase from the cheese shack.

By Train

  1. Catch the Lauterbrunnen-bound train from the Interlaken Ost Station, and get off at Lauterbrunnen. Make sure you board the correct car, the back few go elsewhere. Eurail/Inter-rail passes are only valid for a discount on this line, so be sure you have an actual ticket before boarding the train. You can buy a ticket valid all the way to Gimmelwald, with the bus & gondola fare for the second leg of the journey included.
  2. At Lauterbrunnen, cross the street and board the yellow postal bus heading for the Stechelberg gondola station, and get off there.
  3. Ride the gondola up one station to Gimmelwald. Alternatively, you can take an hour-long hike up to Gimmelwald and save money on the gondola fare.
Alternate Route via Murren:

This route gives you a chance to stop at Murren's grocery store first, as Gimmelwald doesn't have one.

  1. Catch the Lauterbrunnen-bound train from Interlaken Ost. Same as step #1 above.
  2. Ride the Lauterbrunnen>Grutshalp funicular (entrance across from the Lauter. train station) to Grutshalp.
  3. Catch the Grutshalp>Murren train from the same station, get off at Murren. Make sure to sit on the left side for the best view.
  4. Buy groceries, if needed.
  5. Either walk 30 minutes to Gimmelwald on the road downhill, or ride the gondola down the mountain one stop.

By Car

Cars, especially tourist cars, are forbidden in this area. You can take the motorway as far as the Lauterbrunnen car park (get off at Wilderswil exit), and from then on you'll have to use either your feet or the mass transit.

By Walk Only

The Lauterbrunnen>Stechelberg walk isn't enjoyable enough to justify not taking the bus, but if you must:

  1. From the main road in Lauterbrunnen, walk straight down the length of the valley to Stechelberg.
  2. Hike up the clearly marked trail to Gimmelwald and take in the beautiful views along the way. As mentioned before, this will take about an hour with luggage.

Get around

The village itself is tiny. Your legs are all you'll need. If you get caught unprepared in bad weather on the 30ish minute hike up to the neighboring village of Murren, however, you can usually catch a ride with a farmer passing in his truck. They're more than happy to help.

See

Mountains!!!

Do

  • Gimmelwald is a quaint pedestrian town. It offers beautiful views for those willing to take the train, bus, and gondola. The town itself can be explored in 30 minutes, but the real allure is in the peaceful setting and quiet layed back attitude.
  • Hike! There are tons of hiking trails leaving from Gimmelwald. Pass by Esther's Guesthouse for a guide to these trails. The views are breathtaking.
    • The main hike everyone must do at least part of the way (and catch a gondola for the rest if tired) is the one to Schilthorn, aka Blofeld's hideout in the James Bond movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service. This trail is absolutely spectacular. Rick Steves' guide recommends that you hike down from the Schilthorn, but I suggest walking up to the more adventurous crowd. It is an intensive trail for non-hikers(but very do-able). It will take at least 5 hours for most people to get to the top of the Schilthorn from Gimmelwald, so pack lunch and leave early. Bring warm clothes because up high there is snow nearly year round, and the weather can change very quickly while you are underway. The gondola ride down is 41 CHF.
    • Another particularly incredible (and particularly intense) trail, and a personal favorite, is the 7-hour round trip hike from Gimmelwald to Oberhornsee. The first 40 minutes or so is up one of the steepest inclines in the area, but it soon gives way to the most amazing series of flower-filled Alpine meadows, cow pastures, and waterfalls you'll ever see. Highly recommended, if you can brave the initial brutalness.
    • Those seeking a more relaxing walk for the whole family can take a stroll to Allmendhubel[1] (where you can hear Alphorns being played every weekend) and/or Winteregg (a random restaurant at the end of the walk). Along the way you'll enjoy a near-constant view of the valley below without the huffing and puffing a rugged mountain trail involves.

Buy

Fresh dairy & other farm products from the locals.

The nearest chain grocery store, sports, and souvenir shops are in Murren.

Eat

  • Try delicious Alpenkase (Alpine Cheese) at the local cheese shack.
  • Buy some freshly made, deliciously sweet Alpine yogurt from Esther's Guesthouse.
  • Snack on Gimmelwalder Horse-Sh*t Balls, a yummy chocolate-dumping type thing at The Pension.
  • Excellent authentic cheese or chocolate fondue served at the Mountain Hostel.

Drink

The air at this altitude can be somewhat dry, be sure to stay hydrated.

Sleep

  • Mountain Hostel 28-30 Rue Rothschild, tel: +41 (0) 33 855 17 04, fax: +41 (0) 33 855 17 04, email: [email protected], [2]. A delightfully rustic hostel just a few meters from the gondola station. Has a hot tub, a great staff, and a positively awe-inspiring view of the valley below, all for relatively cheap.
  • Esther's Guesthouse [3]. Sleep in a barn for cheap, with a nice breakfast, with homemade cheese, the following day. You sleep on straw, blankets are provided. Not much of a social scene, so just head over to the hostel for a beer.

Get out

  • The Schilthornbahn gondola line runs between Gimmelwald and Murren, Birg, the Piz Gloria, and Stechelberg in the valley below. From Stechelberg you can catch a bus that connects with other gondolas and the Lauterbrunnen train station, from which you can branch out and travel to Wengen, Grindelwald, Interlaken, etc.
  • Alternatively, you can take the relaxed hike back to Lauterbrunnen (or just to Stechelberg). Down to Stechelberg is nice, but walking to Lauterbrunnen can be somewhat boring. Enjoy the hikes and save a few francs too.
  • The Jungfraujoch: Also known as the "roof of Europe," this peak is home to the highest train station on the continent, 11000ft up. The station is built into the mountain, and is attached to a large recreational complex. From here you can shop and dine while looking out onto the Aletsch Glacier, or go sledding and walking on the glacier itself. You can also ride a high-tech elevator up even further to the Sphinx observatory, where you will behold a once-in-a-lifetime view of the surrounding Alps (provided the weather is good). To get here, first take the train from Lauterbrunnen back to Interlaken Ost. At Interlaken Ost, transfer to the Jungfraujoch train and ride it to the top (switching once or twice in clearly marked places). Fare information can be found here. Due to the high cost of the ticket, and fact that the view isn't that much better than the one from the Schilthorn (see the Do section above) across the valley, it is recommended that budget travelers skip this & go there instead.
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