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Located just about 30 minutes ride from the town of Grindelwald, the First Cliff Walk is a hidden gem of a place, far yet to close for the travelers to the wonderland called Switzerland.
The plan to visit Grindelwald was originally came from my friend and fellow travel blogger Shivya. We were eating lunch at Jungfrau when Shivya mentioned the name of the town; my eyes lit up immediately because I had seen some insane pictures of the Cliff Walk there on Instagram. So Diana and I decided to join her, and as always, the last minute plan was absolutely worth it!
A couple of train rides later we were in Grindelwald, with absolutely no idea on how to go about doing the trip to the top of the mountain. We did the obvious - visited the information center which was thankfully open, collected some brochures and information and within minutes we were on the gondola itself! Things are so predictably easy in Switzerland that it really surprises me - everything works with clockwork precision and if you follow the rules, things will work out easily. That's exactly what happened here as well!
There are a couple of stops on the way to the top during the half an hour gondola ride. Yes the ride indeed takes that long and is not boring at all because of the stunning views all around.
As you start going up the valley of Grindelwald opens up which slowly gets replaced with vast white vistas. It’s a treat to the eyes to see people ski from up there - almost like poetry in motion.
Once you get off the station follow the signboards and you will be at the start of the walk within ten minutes. The entire loop itself takes about 20 minutes, but if you are like me, even an hour there won’t be enough.
It’s quite a feeling to walk on the edge of a rocky cliff - literally a place where the eagles fly. It’s not something you can do at all on your own, but the cliff walk lets you experience nature from such close quarters.
The place is so much in harmony with nature that you really wonder which is peaceful coexistence is so difficult. Of course, there is more to the man-nature conflict across the world, but let me just feel the contentment that comes with this hard-to-find harmony.
To reach: as I mentioned earlier, the best and the fastest way to reach up is by a aerial gondola. The price for a return gondola ride is CHF 60. If you want, you can also hike down and pay only half the price to go up. Or you can hike both ways but it will take significantly more time. You also ski or use a snow cart.
Do check the time for the last gondola ride when you reach. During winters the last ride is at 4.45pm (just before sunrise) and if you miss this one, coming down could be very challenging.
Pro tip: do not miss the last gondola ride!
To eat: there is a lovely terrace restaurant up there which serves food and drinks. It’s self service kind of food place - so pick your food, pay for it and then enjoy it out on the sunny (if you are lucky) terrace. I just had a glass of gluwine (I am a huge fan of warm spicy red wines) on a sunny cold terrace, but eating lunch here would be a great experience too.
To stay: believe it or not, there is actually a guest house right on top at the end of the cliff walk. You can, of course, just walk from the last gondola station too.
It’s perfect for hikers, climbers, holiday guests, relaxation seekers and people on family or club outings. The first mountain lodge has restaurant seating for 750 people and 110 beds in 4-bed rooms and dormitory accommodation.