Gimmelwald: A Tour of the Alps
My friends and I decided to do our Alpine exploring in the Berner Oberland, using Gimmelwald as our base. Traveling via Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen. From Luzern to Interlaken, it was about 2 hours on the train and then from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen, another 20 minutes. We didn't complain about the views from the train:
Lauterbrunnen, the city in the valley, has more services than the small village of Gimmelwald in which we were staying. My favorite spot for snacks, picnic supplies, and breakfasts is the Co-op grocery store.
Right across from the train station is a cable car station. We decided to follow Rick Steves guidebook instructions for the most scenic route to Gimmelwald, taking a cable car up to Grutschalp, followed by aa train along the cliff to Murren (which would take about 10 minutes), concluding with a 30 minute stroll to Gimmelwald. Obviously, this isn't the easiest route for those with lots of luggage, but with our backpacks we were set to embark on this scenic route.
Since Gimmelwald is such a small, farming village. There were only a few options for lodging. If I went back now, I'd probably choose something different...but for a backpacker on a budget, the Mountain Hostel was an economical choice (www.mountainhostel.com) We ended up eating at the small restaurant in the hostel that first evening.
The next morning we were off early to do some hiking. Wanting to explore the East side of the valley near the famous Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau mountains, we made our way back down to Lauterbrunnen to take the train to Kleine Scheidegg.
We took our time with the easy hike, stopping for a picnic lunch at what felt to be the top of Europe. While you can take a cable car back down to the valley, we opted to save some money and enjoy some more views by walking down. It was steep, so we were definitely sore the next day.
After a little rest back in Gimmelwald, we took off again to see if we could find the glacier valley in Kilchbalm. The hike was full of entertaining moments involving Swiss cows, getting stuck in the mud, and then realizing we were hiking on top of the glacier. Be careful!
This was a beautiful area of the country, and I'd love to go back again someday.