When we were in the Bernese Oberland, we stayed in a night in Grindelwald (one option if you do Kleine Scheidegg or Jungfraujoch). We suspected that it might be a bit big and a bit touristy for our tastes. When you have views like these of the Eiger, who cares?
In the late 18th century, foreigners discovered the scenic town. The scenery is so photogenic that pictures of the vistas were widely reprinted. This made the village internationally famous (the Eiger is Switzerland’s second most famous mountain after the Matterhorn), which, in turn, brought more visitors.
In the 19th century, Englishmen came to the village to climb the alpine peaks around the valley, including:
- Finsteraarhorn (4,274 m/14,022 ft),
- the Wetterhorn (3,692 m/12,113 ft),
- the Eiger (3,970 m/13,020 ft),
- the Schreckhorn (4,078 m/13,379 ft), and
- the Gross Fiescherhorn (4,049 m/13,284 ft).
It’s in the heart of the Jungfrau region of the Bernese Oberland (the Bernese Alps). In the summer, it is a popular base for hikers and a ski town in the winter.
I think this is technically Wetterhorn. Until the Eiger became more famous, it was Grindelwald’s iconic symbol.
Improvements in transportation infrastructure, the Grindelwald road (built in 1860-72) and the Bernese Oberland railway (connected to the village in 1890), transformed the difficult trip into a simple one. As a result, tourists to flooded into the village and many hotels/resorts were built.
A rack railway was built to Kleine Scheidegg in 1893; it was expanded to the Jungfraujoch in 1912. It is still in use. We watched it wind up the mountain from the balcony of our hotel room. One of the great things about Switzerland is that the mountains are so accessible. In the late, 19th and early 20th centuries, numerous ski lifts, cable cars, hiking trails and alpine huts were built. Today, Grindelwald’s economy of is virtually entirely based on tourism. Like I said, it’s a bit touristy, but with beauty like this, who cares?
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