People have written to me over the last months and years about their experiences in Gimmelwald. Almost all these emails are collected on this page.
Staying at Esther’s was in-expensive, paying for all the yogurt my wife and daughter ate every day was expensive. The BEST yogurt in the world. Never knew two people could eat that many containers of yogurt.
Love the place!!!
(and I am from Colorado too)
Thank you for the great Web site.
Last July, I had a great time staying in Gimmelwald (at the hostel). At 60 years of age, I was definitely the oldest person there! The hostel featured an international guest list, friendly staff, and there was plenty of hot water (you pay for how many minutes you want to shower).
I also stayed for a few night in Mürren (in a Zimmer Frei with a communal kitchen to share with a young couple who just happened to be from my hometown in California) with a view of the spectacular peaks–the Monk, the Monster, and the Maiden. We were given “tickets” for entrance to the terrific indoor pool at the town sports hall. Wonderful.
To save money and have fun hiking we rode up on various Sail-Bahns and simply walked down. It was gorgeous. Near the villages, people were “making hay” on the steep hillsides and out on the trails the flowers were in bloom. We could hear ice falling from glaciers across the valley. There was good signage on the trails. If you’re going to be out all day, wear good walking shoes or hiking boots, and bring a hat, a sweater and a waterproof jacket.
I’ve recommended staying in Gimmelwald. If you want more “services” or shops, it is an easy and a scenic ride up by Sail-Bahn; then simply walk back down to Gimmelwald.
Jane Palik — Stuttgart, Germany
Gimmelwald (Petra, Walter, Nicole and Michelle) ist mein Herz….karla
I started 1 month ago to send messages on the web. I still do a lot of mistakes. Today, the first time, I tried the web and started with the word “Gimmelwald”. If I miss anything of my country, besides my family, the it is my dear old sun-burned chalet up the cliff of the Lauterbrunnen Valley!
There are no words strong enough to express what I felt when I found so much material about Gimmelwald… I cried and laughed at the same time.
I used to go up to Gimmelwald from Grenchen (SO) where I used to live until 1979 and then from Lausanne, where I lived from 1979-1994 as often as possible: usually twice a year.
Now with my husband Freddy and our three little girls, we are evangelical missionaries and live and work near Lille, Northern France. It is so flat here, a swiss can only look at the horizon and hope for a miracle… mountains above the fog today? No, of course not.
Merci föumau für aues über Gimmuwaud, i ha so Fröid gha!!! Chumme glii wider
cho luege! Git’s Nöis?
With much love from
I have enjoyed both your very useful and up-to-date Cinque Terre and your Gimmelwald websites and they have made me want to go to both.
I do have two questions about Gimmelwald that I hope you can answer.
1/ Do you know of a camping site near Gimmelwald, or whether camping in the
country is allowed?
There is a camp site in Stechelberg, the village from where the cable car goes up to
Gimmelwald. It is called Camping Rütti. See their web site!
Wild camping is illegal, but if you pitch your tent at sunset and strike it at sunrise, there is an old law that allows that anywhere.
If you would like to stay cheaply and don’t mind hostels, I can suggest the mountain
Hostel in Gimmelwald
2/ Do you know where I can get information about good hikes? (I like long
and rewarding hikes)
That is a gap in my information that I would like to close, when I have the time.
I know lots of great hikes in the area. I suggest you hike from Gimmelwald up to the Sharkfinn plateau (wonderfull views) called Tanzbödeli on the signposts. Then go down the back of the valley to the lodge
at Obersteinberg, have a break and hike back to the valley floor. Takes about 8 hours with the breaks.
Also, have a look at
this little guide book is a bit out of date, but has some good hikes in the area.
Get you self a good hiking map when you get there and ask the locals about hikes and weather conditions.
You have a great web site. I spent all of June in Switzerland again this year (did it last year too) and have to say Gimmelwald is wonderful no matter where you stay there.
We rented Chalet Eschen last year: excellent; this year I was twice at the Mt Hostel: wonderful; and two nights at Esther’s: terrific.
I tell everyone I know: ‘Go, you’ll love it!’ Thanks for the memories via your website and links.
If it’s ok, I’m making a request: I’d love to hear from anyone who stayed at the hostel on or about the 22 & 23 of June, especially the girls from Nebraska.
Carol, from Missouri, USA
I recently viewed your wonderful website about Gimmelwald. I first visited Gimmelwald in 1992, with two college buddies escaping the heat and congestion of southern France. We stayed in the barn behind the Pension Gimmelwald and showered in one of the mountain streams up in the valley. We had dinners at the pension, in Mürren and at the hostel/B&B on the path on the way to Mürren. I need say nothing more about the hiking and the views
other than to say that I vowed to return.
In 1999, my wife and I spent our honeymoon in early June in the Lauterbrunnen valley. We stayed in Lauterbrunnen, as the season had not yet started in Mürren or Wengen. Gimmelwald, with its place in the valley, is the most beautiful place on earth and I have only seen a fraction of the trails that lead from it. It boasts the best walking/hiking trails that I have encountered. I only wish I was in better shape to readily tackle the alpine climbs. The valley reveals itself in so many special ways that there is no use in trying to optimize a travel itinerary: each and every thing that you do in the valley will surprise and please — even if it is simply doing nothing at all. I cannot wait to return.
Thank you for maintaining your website.
With respect to Walter’s.
It really depends what people are expecting that determines whether or not you can recommend it. (…)I mean, for me and my mom, this place was paradise!!! (…)
If your friends call to make reservations, tell them to request room #7 – beautiful balcony right out the front and the stars at night are unbelievable!!
Walter himself isn’t the most outgoing guy, but if you kid around with him a bit and be sure to be on time for the meals, he can be a really funny guy! A double room with breakfast incl. was 80 francs a night. He also has bunks in the loft.
I’m not sure how much of this you already know – but just thought I’d fill you in!
My name’s Christian Weiersmüller (right guess, I am from Switzerland, more exactly I’m from Ostermundigen) and I’m an exchange student in the USA.
When I was working on a project about Switzerland to present to my fellow students here in the USA I found your page and just wanted to say that you did a great job!! I really enjoyed your page, especially because I’ve been to Gimmelwald before.
Let me explain: Two years ago I went with my former class “i’s Schilager”!! [ski camp] Well, our teacher was telling us that we are going to go to Gimmelwald and stay in a certain “Mountain Hostel”! I’m not so sure if everybody liked that idea since we were first planning on going to Grindelwald and stay at a nice hotel.
But as it turned out, everybody enjoyed the “Schilager” at the lovely “Mountain Hostel” a great deal and we were long after our ski camp still talking about the cool village of Gimmelwald, the nice people there, and the lovely Mountain Hostel!!!
Caledonia, MN 55921
I visited Gimmelwald in the summer of 1987 as a college kid traveling the rails in Europe. We stayed at the hostel and drank at Walter’s hotel (the only one there at the time). I showered in a waterfall and wrote my last decent pre-law school prose.
Amazingly–your 2000 photos could have been those from my day. I always swore I would go back–but I was afraid it wouldn’t be the same (18 years is a long time!) Now I know I will. Thank you.
This is a response to an email I received.
WHAT I NEED TO KNOW NOW IS HOW DIFFICULT ARE THE HIKES;
It depends on what hikes you want to do. There are easy hikes on paved paths and gravel paths, or more difficult hikes on narrow trails in the high alps.
HOW LONG AND HOW STRENUOUS?
Again, it depends. I am not particularly fit, but I like the hike from Gimmelwald up to Tanzbödeli and down to Obersteinberg. 3 hours of solid climbing up a very steep path, 8 hours in total. That is what I call strenuous, but these are the most rewarding hikes, get away from people and see great scenery.
CAN WE WEAR SNEAKS OR DO WE NEED SPECIAL HIKING SHOES?
I always wear hiking boots which support my ankles, I consider anything else negligent.
If you only plan to do easy hikes you can get away with sneakers.
Also, bring a day pack to carry warm clothing, rain gear water and food.
Get a good map.
IS THE ALTITUDE ANY PROBLEM FOR PEOPLE WHO
LIVE AT SEA LEVEL?
No. The Alps are not that high, not like the Himalayas or something. Only very few trails to up that high, such as the trail up to Schilthorn. If you are reasonably fit you will have no problem.
Thanks Adrian for your site on Gimmelwald. I went there for the first time in 1984 and fell in love. It’s magical. I’ve been back, I think, three times since, but never stayed overnight. Have you stayed at Obersteinberg?
I believe there’s another mountain inn even higher than that with no electricity. I’m hoping to get back to Switzerland for a long distance hiking trip in October of 2001 and stay in Gimmelwald (maybe, the “Sleep in the Hayloft”) and one of the mountain inns high above Stechelberg. Any insights you have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. –
Susan Berryman in Devon, Pennsylvania (lover of the Berner Oberland).
The even higher hut is the Schmadrihütte, run by the Swiss Alpine Club SAC (I think)
Above Gimmelwald is the Spielboden Alp restaurant that has a so called “Massenlager”, a room with mattresses one next to the other.
Still higher is the Rotstockhütte, also with a Massenlager. That looks like a good place to stay to.
Very much enjoyed the site and thought I’d pass along my experiences from 1971. I was an American hitchhiker, running low on money, when I arrived at the hostel and met both Lina and her mother. The mother was a fabulous cook. Using the same basic ingredients, I don’t think she repeated a meal in the three weeks I was there.
I worked for room and board helping to bring in the hay harvest. I met Lina’s brother-in-law, Fritz, who badly cut his hand sharpening his scythe blade while cutting the hay. To this day the smell of freshly mown hay brings back memories of hauling haystacks into the barns.
Like Gary Armstrong, I too showered in the waterfall up at the head of the valley as the only shower available was in the school and cost 2 Francs. Don’t drink the water in that waterfall, there is a sheep meadow high above and I caught a Typhus infection from it.
Thanks for putting up this site. I really enjoyed seeing the improvements made at the Hostel.
I have traveled around the world twice with a backpack, hitch-hiking, trekking, back in the early ’70s. I rode the “Magic Bus” from Istanbul to Deli, India and took 3rd class trains and rickety buses to Katmandu, Nepal.
I’ve explored the dusty streets of Kabul, Afghanistan, languished in hole-in-the-wall hotels in Peshawar and trekked to “forbidden areas” of Nepal and the Himalayas.
In my mind, Gimmelwald is one of the most spectacular places in the world. I stayed in the Hostel for several days sometime in the early ’70s and won a contest one evening, after sharing several bottles of wine with some Kiwis, for having the flattest feet in the world. We all stood on the table, in our turn, and someone would try to push a piece of cardboard under the arch or our foot (no one could find a space under mine). I won! The next day, I hiked to the top of the Schilthorn and back down to Gimmelwald. The air was incredibly intoxicating, the scenery exquisitely perfect–a perfect moment that lasted for a day.
Today I am 55. I have the opportunity to return to Gimmelwald this May. I have dreamed of this for decades!
Bob Hooper (Lopaka)
I was just in Gimmelwald for about a week with my friend Jenna. We had stopped by there after a couple of months in Italy and were on our way to the Kunstmuseum in Berne (and just missed the opening of the August Macke/Klee exhibit). We took the cable car up by night, after arriving nearby by train and getting in some little blue van that wasn’t the big yellow postal bus we were told to look out for. But the next morning was the morning of that fatal snow crash that took the lives of all those people.
Jenna and I stayed at the Mountain Hostel, arriving at the birthday party taking place for the owner, Petra, and so we bought a bottle of wine and ended up making friends with 4 guys from Barcelona. The hostel is smack right off the trail from the cable car and right down the road (like 100 feet) from Sleep In the Hay, a place where you pay 20 SFr a night to sleep in the hay of some old barn. You get a blanket. I considered the possibility of sleeping there but ended up not, seeing as the Mountain Hostel was only 17 SFr the first night, and 16 every following. Plus the use of a kitchen and a delightful 3 minute shower. The clouds come in your window, waterfalls appear across the valley, there are red geraniums in the sill boxes. The cows sound like churches ringing their huge bells as big as laundry baskets. And for great homemade yogurt, bread, butter, spreads, and jams, go to Esther’s, another place you can stay. You’ll pass by it before you walk by the chicken pen on the way to Mürren. Make sure to sleep late every day, pay every morning, stay longer than you intend, talk to people, talk to no one, start hiking without knowing where you will end up, and be sure to walk to Mürren every day or so and buy your own food so you can cook whatever you want. Better yet, cook for other people too, which is what we did for our Barcelonian friends. They ended up getting stuck there because of the flooding and Xavier never did get to paraglide down the mountain like he wanted. We all stayed longer than we intended because traveling is often so fast paced, so filled up with sights and senses that this Gimmelwald was relaxing: high, cold, clear, and serene. Beautiful. I’d go back for sure next time I can.
Jenna and I never actually got around to going up to any of the points or hikes. We had been so full of the trains and cities and stuff of Italy that it was a pleasure to just sleep, look out the windows, watch the clouds (below us) and walk up to Murren every day. It was fun to cook too and our short stay kept streching into more days (which seems to be the story of the place.) So beautiful, calming. You can really put your thoughts in order.
I think we just wrote a lot and caught up on sleep without that feeling of Oh-man-we’ve gotta go see things…Because in Gimmelwald You Are There, there is nothing more to attain!
(…) I will just add that it seemed like some of the regular stayers there loved it so much they were practically permanent fixtures. One in particular seemed straight out of a Charlotte Bronte novel; he ought to have had a long cape and lived in a manor, riding around on his horse furiously at dusk. He looked like that anyhow, with lanky limbs and long dark hair, but I daresay he was very kind. Always kind to us when we appeared at midnight to eat our Mueslix. I hope you really appreciate the gift you have of great Meuslix in Switzerland, in the States it’s not nearly as good and much more costly. (The best was the kind with chocolate bits in it.)
The next time you are at the mountain hostel look in the guestbook! I drew a couple of pictures of mountain ranges in it and think I signed my name.Well, happy traveling to wherever you go next, enjoy it all, time is fleeting and life is swift, gather wisdom while you may!
Incidentally, because you are connected to the Cinque Terre sight, the kayaking in Riomaggiore is totally worth 10 lire an hour.
Enjoy Gimmelwald often!
From Brooke Schmidt
Hello, Adrian, and greetings from Minnesota, USA. My wife and I visited Switzerland the last 2 summers. In 1999 we stayed in Bern for 2 days (Hotel Goldener Schlussel)and Lugano(2 days), traveling by train.
This year we stayed in village Blatten, Lötschental (Hotel Edelweiss)for 2 days, Muerren (Hotel Alpenblick) for 4 days and Lucerne 2 days (Hotel des Alpes), traveling by train. We walked from Mürren to Gimmelwald and had dinner at the pension with, of course, the most awesome views. This year, while in Mürren, we took the cable car to the Schilthorn, train to Schydige Platte, day trip to Bern, cruise on Lake Brienz, train from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen, walk down the Lauterbrunnen Valley and did some other great hiking, of course.
Are you familiar with the American travel writer Rick Steves? [yes] He has heavily promoted Gimmelwald in his books and especially “Walter`s” hotel. In the last couple of years I believe he has written more of Mürren so that his “fans” will consider staying there rather than Gimmelwald! We saw many, many Americans in Gimmelwald, though. We also went to Italy for 5 days, visiting Venice and Lake Como. We certainly will return to Switzerland.
I love your transportation system and want to ride the trains, especially the Glacier and Bernina Express.
We spent three days in Gimmelwald last May in the middle of our 21 day trip through Germany Switzerland and Austria. We stayed at Walter’s Hotel Mittaghorn – – creaky but very hospitable. We absolutely loved Switzerland and would go back to Gimmelwald and the Lauterbrunnen valley in a heartbeat.
Next time we will probably go a little later in the spring (snow still covered many of the trails) and try to stay a whole week.
I loved my visit to Lauterbrunnen. Coming from New Zealand I felt very at home with all those beautiful mountains capped in snow, spectacular cliff faces, waterfalls and clean green image.
I will always remember my visit to Lauterbrunnen. The two days I was there (20 -21st July 2000) the weather was spectacular – hot, sunny and a soft breeze in the air. I went there on a Top Deck Tour of Europe and we stayed in the Camping Ground at the edge of the town where there was a huge waterfall that was lit up with lights in the evening.
My two other friends on the trip and I decided we would go for a mountain walk to explore the neighboring villages. To begin the walk we caught a cable car up the mountain to Grütschalp. We then found what we thought was the beginning of the walk, making our way through a closed gate into what appeared to be someone’s farm.
However, we continued up the path, but came to a screaming halt when we were confronted with an enormous cow with disturbingly long and sharp horns on it’s head.
The three of us squealed and clutched onto one another’s arms for safety whilst running at great speed down the track and through the closed gate back to the cable/train station platform. We managed to find someone to ask if we were in fact on the right track to the next village. This man who spoke very little English tried to assure us in the best possible way that yes we were on the right path and no the cow won’t hurt us. I’m sure he must have though we were yet another pack of mad tourists and it’s probably a site he sees many times a day. Still, it make us laugh all the same. So we continued our walk along to Mürren where we relaxed eating ice creams and escaped the heat by resting under a tree for a little while. There were a lot of tourists (like myself I guess) in Mürren, but I was so busy admiring the wonderful houses with the pretty flower boxes on the window ledges.
We were intending on taking the cable car from Mürren back down to the bottom of the mountain, however we were horrified to find the price to do that was going to be twice that of what we paid to get up in the first place. Being the broke traveler’s we were and after a short discussion together we decided to continue walking to the next village (as suggested by the at the ticket box) where we could then get down the mountain for less. I am so glad that we decided to do this because it was along this stretch of the walk that I saw some of the most beautiful scenery in these little villages along the mountain cliffs. I was really blown away by the sweet narrow cobbled roads that wind their way along and down the mountain. It was so peaceful…except for brief moments when the three of us would break into a yodel.
So I guess it was really by accident that we ended up in Gimmelwald because we weren’t exactly sure where we should be walking to, other than the man back in Mürren had just said “walk ‘that way’ for about 30 minutes”. When we reached this place we found our way to catch a cable down the mountain. After a terrific ride down the mountain in the cable we caught a yellow bus that took us to our next stop ‘Trümmelbach Falls’. Again some spectacular scenery awaited us. That evening we were treated to delicious Swiss Fondue followed by a traditional Swiss Meal
Some day I will return to this area although this time I will spend much more than two days. It’s one of my favorite places I have ever been to and will always remember it and talk about it to people forever.
have just found your site and like everyone else it has brought back a flood of memories! As as far as keeping this place quiet it’s no use – and anyway if a person is going to all the effort of getting there then they too deserve to enjoy what we have all enjoyed!! We stayed at Balmer’s (American Summer camp), so were glad to escape to such a wonderful place – it was May 1999. The hikes to the start of a glacier, the chocolate Heidi’s, the friends we still keep in contact with and the walk up to Murren – all very magical memories. We to only intended to stay two days, ended up spending 5
days at the fantastic mountain hostel. Bought fresh yogurt and sausage from just up the path and had beautiful sunny weather the whole week.
And now we are going back in 2001 – we have decided to pack-up & head back and this time we are going to stay a couple of weeks!! Those wonderful evenings enjoying a cold beer at the outside tables with fellow travelers with just the impressive alps before you. If heaven isn’t as good as Gimmelwald please send me back!!!
Patrick & Tammy Wilson
Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia
I stayed in Gimmelwald this August, at the mountain hostel. It was fine except that I wanted to go to sleep sooner than did other, louder people and the walls let sound though.
Gimmelwald is wonderful. I am very happy that it is in an ‘avalanche zone’ so that development is limited. I sure hope it stays that way because it is close to perfect.
North Carolina, USA
I was in Gimmelwald from the 12th to the 17th of July. And I have been torturing anyone who will listen (at the moment my family) with a continuous flow of gushing over it.
I stayed at the mountain hostel which I miss tremendously.
Gimmelwald is a new home for me, a place I will always be returning to.
on another note, I would like to get in touch with a few friends there: Johnny Garofalo, Dana, Heather, Marissa (I do not know some last names). These are just a few of the wonderful folks I spent (a very short) time with. If you know any of them (I believe some of them may still be at the hostel)or e-mails and such, please drop me a line.
I left without getting e-mails. (yes, I am a flake)
I was glad to see a website about Gimmelwald. I traveled there this summer and had a great experience there, having a picnic on a grassy hill with panoramic views of the Alps and hearing nothing but birds singing. I knew it wasn’t the most popular of tourist destinations, but I hadn’t found anyone else who’d even heard of it. And you’re right… in addition to Gimmelwald, I did love Cinque Terre. 🙂
On my European travels this summer I ran into some people who highly recommended Gimmelwald. And I have to say it was the best recommendation that I got. WOW! What a spectacular view and the amount of hiking is superb.
You have to check this great place out.
Our stay at the Mountain Hostel was another altogether great experiance.
I just got back from Gimmelwald yesterday. I took my 3 year old son. We both had a blast. You are right that the Hostel has undergone a really nice renovation and my son absolutely loved the slide near the cable car station. The weather was perfect and Gimmelwald was as great as always. I cannot believe I have waited 5 years to return.
It was interesting to see that the town seems to be a bit reinvigorated with the arrival of some younger families, more local kids running around, the school being refurbished, the great slide near the cable car station…all this without the negative side affect that growth has had on other places.
Although I took my son because I wanted to go to Gimmelwald and thought he might like it. However, seeing it through his eyes, I realized that it is also a great place for kids with the roosters, cows, sheep, ibex, spider-webs, slugs, i even found a frog pond in
the village itself + the great mountains/waterfalls etc.
These were my impressions…
I had found your website prior to my trip to Switzerland, and now after I returned (today) I can say like many others that I found my home away from home. I only stayed one week (had to fly out today), but the memories are so fresh in my mind that I had to check out your website again–this time reliving the great moments of my trip.
I took many pictures. (…)
I was in Gimmelwald the Summer of ’99 and stayed at the Mountain Hostel. What a dream! Anyways, the purpose of this e-mail is to ask you for help.
I met this incredibly nice guy named Tom Speaks and left without saying a proper good bye. We had a lot in common and had a great few days together.
I regret not saying a proper good bye and had hoped that you could post this
on your site. Maybe Tom will look here?
So, if Tom Speaks is out there…Stephanie is looking for you! Please
e-mail me at [email protected]
i just recently went got back (yesterday) from a 3 night stay in the mountain hostel and i had to write and say that i really appreciate the information you provide. i had first heard about it by some kid in the czech republic and later read about it in rick steves and then our your page and finally experienced it for myself. i will be in europe for a few more months (…)
take care and take it easy.
for all to know,
I was in Gimmelwald sept,1997 and still think about it every day.
It truly was the best experience ever. It will be in my heart always.
love to the mountains…
Thank you very much enlightening me to Gimmelwald. Ten minutes after visiting your site I was booked into the Pension Gimmelwald (now run by a lovely couple called Leisi and Mäni). My wife and I had a wonderful weekend there and will spend many more.
In a word – ‘Breathtaking’.
Here’s some shots I did on the weekend 15-16. [of January 2000], perhaps you may like to put them on your site.
I have got to say that Gimmelwald is the most beautiful place in the entire world.
I was just convincing a friend to drop by there during his honeymoon and thought I’d look it up on the web. Imagine my surprise at finding this site, complete with comments about Walter and all.
I can remember sitting downstairs with Walter one December evening, just before he closed, sipping on a very large bottle of beer and conversing with him, he in German, me in English, neither of us understanding a word the other was saying but still
having a nice conversation (it was a BIG bottle of beer). Also remember buying milk from the farmer in the middle of the village and drinking it while it was still warm from the cow. Having to ramble up to Mürren to buy food is really not such an inconvenience considering the scenery you get to look at on the way. If anyone reads this and goes, be sure to hike Shark’s Fin. The place is amazing… words can in no way describe it, no matter what language. I’ve traveled to about 40 countries, many outside of Europe and Gimmelwald is BY FAR the best place I’ve ever been.
Other than the hostel and the pension there is a nice B+B further on up the road on the left that is very charming. A bit pricey but the hosts speak good English and are very friendly; can’t remember the name of the place, or if it even had a name, but it’s great.
Great poetry on the walls of the mountain hostel. One of the ones that described the place the best was something like this:
“Stop at that place just this side of Heaven; Gimmelwald.” Not much of a poem but a perfect thought for the village.
Kris from NC
enjoyed your site, thought I would send you some photos from my trip. these are from the hike to Schilthorn, I can’t wait to get back.
I stayed at the pension. Nicole was a great host, and enjoyed the food and drink there. $25 roughly per night seemed like the deal of the century. I didn’t make it to shark’s fin. some of the people went on that trek the day we went to Schilthorn. we left that day at noon and reached the peak at 6:15, I saw the Swiss flag being taken down as I followed the ledge to the 007 museum / restaurant. when I got there it was locked tight and no gondola ride down. I waited 20 or so minutes for my friend to make it up and we had to hike all the way back down the other side. we ended up in Mürren, and back to the pension at 10 or 10:30 that night, my sister was really worried. that was the toughest hike I have ever gone on. I was in the best shape of my life, running 6 to 7 miles a few times a week and hiking on the Appalachian trail. that trek almost got the best of me. my friend really had a tough time, altitude and exhaustion I guess, made him sick, and I didn’t think he could make it back down. luckily he did.
I remember getting into the snow up top and how dangerous it got up there. when I got to the top I was a different person, I feel as though I could accomplish anything, and I think back to that day whenever I need a boost. I saw a mountain goat (an ibex or imex something like that) it had big horns, I kinda hid behind a big boulder and watch him cover ground like it was down an escalator. I couldn’t get a photo. I also saw two big fuzzy looking animals that came out of their den. [Marmots] they looked like beavers but bigger. they only were in sight for a quick look.
anyway hope to take my honey moon in Gimmelwald, my girlfriend has heard me go on and on about the place, seen the pictures.
sawyer davis, alabama
Your web page is superb! It really helped us when we visited Gimmelwald. We stayed at the Pension Gimmelwald and really recommend it!
Everyone is right on the money, of all of the places I have been in this world there is no doubt Gimmelwald is my favorite. We took our two kids there (boy 6 and girl 10) last summer and it was the highlight of our trip. It is a great place for a family to relax. We stayed at the Pension Gimmelwald right next to the Hostel for four days, what a great place. There is plenty to do for all… got to go now and get my picture book out and dream about when I can get back…
I visited Gimmelwald in the Spring of 1990 and have not experienced a time like it since. From all walks of life, from all corners of the world, people gathered to experience something which can’t be put into words. Mark, if you read this its Andy the crazy Australian with the goatee and long curly hair. You came and saw me in Aussie when you were out here in 1991. God love you man, you went back [to Gimmelwald] and made it your home!!
I truly envy you. Have you heard from the rest of the crowd from that year? I haven’t had a better time yet. You will all remain part of my extended family inside for life!! If you do read this please drop me a line at [email protected] It would be great to hear from anyone who was there that Spring; Maggie, Keith, Denise, and that crazy Canadian and that sweetheart from Tucson Arizona.
We are all very lucky to have visited such an amazing location. Its wonderful to know the tradition remains and that dear Lena is there too. I have photos of the Spring of 1990 and will send them shortly.
Hi, I just found your great website, My friend and I were in Gimmelwald in July of 96 and absolutely loved it there, we stayed at the mountain hostel for a couple of days, and I for sure will be heading back there. I remember the poem (hello hostel my old friend) and was wondering if you had any more of them.
I wish I had written down more of the poems on the bathroom walls. I was going to get a dictaphone and then never did. Now they are lost for ever.
An email I sent:
thanks for the feed back on my Gimmelwald page.
the snow was still around at “the end of the world” (where the trail ends into the base of the mountains) in May and by July it was gone.
I was there in October 1998, we climbed around in the ice caves, not very safe!
anyway my inquiry to you was how are conditions in the end of march early April? I’m trying to go out again just to spend time in Gimmelwald. Is the ski season still high? Is staying with Petra in the hostel a possibility? Reservations needed?
The hostel is booked solid January through April with ski groups. There are only one or two days a month with beds to spare, so calling ahead is essential.
Or perhaps the barn?
I don’t think the barn opens for business until the summer season in June. It would be too cold in April and the barn is full of cows.
What about hiking, tenting out, and accessibility?
Hiking on the lower trains should be possible, but subject to the weather. It can snow suddenly or rain heavily in March and April, and can be very cold at times. It is still very much winter then, the winter ski season ends at Easter. Bring snow boots and winter wear.
If you have a good winter tent you could pitch it in the valley that leads to the “end of the world”, but be gone in the early morning because camping in the wild is illegal.
As for alternative accommodations I can think of the Valley Hostel in Lauterbrunnen or the campsites in Lauterbrunnen and Stechelberg, I think one of them is open in winter.
Wow, I just happened along this web site and am ready to shut off my computer, leave my corporate job and pack my belongings on my back and return to Gimmelwald. I visited Mountain Hostel in the fall of 1994. I fondly remember Marc as well as the damn cold shower. I was traveling alone for a few weeks when I met two British girls in Belgium, Caroline and Emma. We became travel buddies and ended up in Gimmelwald for a few days. I can say without hesitation that Gimmelwald is my favorite place on Earth. I still have a prominently displayed photo of me, Caroline and Emma sitting on the porch with the unbelievable view in the background. I unfortunately had some things stolen from me later in my travels. Among them was my
address book. I lost everyone’s addresses but managed to reconnect with Caroline in London.
If you read this, Marc, Frank, Ivan, Fern or any other fabulous people who were there and remember me, please send me an email. Who knows, on one particularly stressful day at work I may just pack up and hit the road again.
I have loads of pictures from that trip including many drunken tequila camping pictures when we forgot a few things like tents and sleeping bags for everyone as well as many pictures that somehow Ivan managed to flash me in sometime between the time I raised my camera and the shutter released. (Thanks Ivan, that really wasn’t too embarrassing considering my CATHOLIC father developed the photos for me as a demonstration in his photography class!!!)
Anyway if anybody sees this and knows there whereabouts of the aforementioned, please drop me a line.
I don’t know who you are, I just found your page thru a search engine and 10 secs into it laughed aloud at the line about the page not guaranteeing any help even though that is its purpose. Humor is very powerful. It made me curious about your site and there I found a stream of useful info.
Thx and Good luck.
I hope you’ll excuse me if this note becomes lengthy. I tend to be *very* wordy. 🙂
Anyhow, I stumbled across your Gimmelwald site a while back, I can’t remember how long ago it was now. Probably over a year. I had been looking for Gimmelwald on the net, since I visited there over three years ago, in the summer of 1995. I hadn’t even planned to stop there during my two month visit to Europe. After a disastrous night at Balmer’s, I decided to follow my traveling companion to Gimmelwald.
A digression about her – I had met her in Paris, at the beginning of my trip. We had intended to travel together just to Belgium after time in Paris, but ended up spending almost two months together! She had heard of Gimmelwald (I think she had read Rick Steves’ book), and had planned to stop there for a few days all along.
Anyhow, we arrived one afternoon in July, were able to get beds without a reservation. We stayed four days, doing some short hikes, making the trek up to Mürren for food and to Walter’s for Heidi cocoas and beer. 🙂 We met some really cool people while we were there, and the night before we left, the bunch of us threw a party for Bastille Day, Simon’s (one of the people
staying there at the time) birthday, Blue’s (another traveler) half-birthday, and my and Christina’s one month anniversary of traveling together. 🙂 Although we had to leave the next day (Christina had to meet some people in Amsterdam), we decided to come back at our earliest opportunity, which was to be ten days later. We told Jonathan (yet another person staying at the hostel) to hold beds for us for July 25, as he intended to stay through at least till then.
We returned as promised ten days later, to find that Jonathan was indeed still there, along with Simon and a few others who had been there when we first arrived, as well as an entirely new crew of really cool people. I arrived intending to stay about five more days. After all, I still had to go to Italy, and the end of my trip was drawing near.
I stayed TWO WEEKS. I only left because I had to catch a plane home, and I was running low on cash.
I made some wonderful friendships during my entire trip, but the best ones were the ones I made in Gimmelwald. A few of us got together for Thanksgiving here in the States a few months after we returned. It was great to see all of them again. I visited Christina a few times (she’s from Vancouver, BC) and the aforementioned Jonathan, who is originally from Toronto, but is now in Australia, I think. (He’s become difficult to keep track of, although he reports on his status every few months.)
Now let me get back to why I’m writing. (I told you I could be long winded!) I’ve been keeping an eye on your site, especially interested in seeing pictures of the “new” hostel. (Petra and Walter came by one time while I was there, and we were all interested in their plans, not wanting our comfy, familiar place to be turned into another Balmer’s.) From what I can see from
your pictures and pages, although it may be a little shinier, it still has the same atmosphere it had before the renovations.
Today, things were slow at work, so I popped into your site to take a look at the pictures, take myself back to those carefree two weeks I spent in Gimmelwald. I clicked on some thumbnail images to see the details. Some of them I had seen before, others I hadn’t.
Imagine my surprise when I clicked on this one [on the patio] and saw my friend
Jonathan right in the middle of the picture! I knew he had been back (he sent me a postcard and made me VERY jealous!), but I didn’t expect to see him on the web! Funny what a small world it is, isn’t it? I was wondering if you had taken this picture, or if someone sent it to you.
[ I took it myself, in July 1998]
Anyhow, I just wanted to relate this story to you – it really made my day to see that picture! The whole site is wonderful.
Whenever I’m having a stressful day, I know that visiting a virtual Gimmelwald (the best I can do right now) will soothe me.
Just thought I’d let you know about my experience of Gimmelwald.
Firstly thanks for the great web pages – that inspired me to go there!
My wife and I were there on 6Nov this year, and spent the night in the Mountain Hostel. It had snowed a few days before, so the town was covered in snow! Very pretty place.
One tip for travelers, perhaps: The hostel does not serve dinner, and the only shop to get food is in Mürren, and it closes at 6:00. We expected the shops to be open later, so we had to make do with what we had!
Otherwise we found the place to be very charming, and want to return!
(From South Africa, currently living in London, UK)
It’s been a couple of weeks now since we’ve been back from Switzerland and wanted to write and say we had a wonderful trip. Got in a lot of hiking and was out on the trail even on cloudy or raining days.
We spent one night in Gimmelwald at the Pension and room was very nice with private bath at 55SF per person. We also spent two nights in Mürren and I found it rather interesting that Gimmelwald seemed to be more lively with Americans than
Mürren. We found only 3 or 4 hotels open in Mürren and the Americans preferred Gimmelwald, mostly due to Rick Steves the travel writer. Walter’s was closed because he did have one of Rick’s tour groups coming in.
As far coming to Switzerland in October, we loved not having a lot of people on the mountains with us, but I’d probably come a week or so earlier as a lot of hotels and restaurants were closing for a holiday. Although, our prime object was to hike and enjoy the mountains.
We walked down the road from Gimmelwald and then onto a trail that ran along side a beautiful river. I will never forget how clear the water ran through the rapids twisting through very smooth boulders and rocks. We stopped and had a picnic and just enjoyed the area.
All of the people we met were extremely friendly and eager to share a little of the Swiss culture with us.
I have been thinking about it for a few days now and I think I am going to make plans for a trip to Gimmelwald in April or May.
Thank you so much for your web site with the pictures and stories about the hostel in Gimmelwald. I stayed there for a few days in the Summer of 1974, (…) My friend and I found out about it from some other students who were traveling in Switzerland.
It was the most magical place. I still have pictures from the hostel on the walls in my house.
When I was at the hostel, somebody would make hot spiced wine in the evening, and we would all sit down and drink. There was a hotel that served fondue if you hiked up another mountain. What is the name of the hotel?
[That would be the Hotel Mittaghorn, “Walter’s”]
And during the day we hiked to a place called “The End of the World” (Do they still call it that?). It was a glacier that was at the dead end of the trail. I have many photographs from that hike. (…)
Thank you for all of the memories. I hope to visit Gimmelwald again some day.
You obviously realize that your page on ‘Gimmelwald’ captures the magic of the place for a lot of people (including myself)
Paul Ichilchik, Sydney, Aust.
I just happened to come across your web-site and it seems that my reaction to it has been like a lot of other people. It is fabulous and brought back many great memories of my time in Gimmelwald and at the Mountain Hostel. I was in Europe for two months in 1993 and my time in Gimmelwald still stands out as the highlight of my trip. Lena was still running the hostel then and it was still in its “classic” condition. A few hot plates in the kitchen run by putting in a Swiss franc (although I remember one of them was free!!) and low ceilings throughout. The showers were a little sparse and I don’t remember too much hot water but all of this added to the rustic beauty of the place.
Even the group of travelers that were there at the time were terrific. Everyone was relaxed. laid back, and were soaking up the amazing scenery and serenity of the place. We went on lots of hikes, had beers at Walters, and even had a great game of hockey in the school yard (they let us use their sticks and ball).
I could go on forever about the place but I’ll leave you with my most vivid memory. I arrived quite late in the evening and it was rainy and almost dark as I walked down the hill from Mürren. Because the clouds were hanging low on the mountains I could not see any of the surrounding peaks. I went to sleep that night in a top bunk by the window and in the morning could not
believe my eyes. I rolled over in bed and the three magnificent peaks across the valley were framed in the window with a few wispy clouds hovering just to make the view more beautiful!!! I reached over, grabbed my camera, and I still treasure that picture to this day!!!
Thanks for bringing back these memories with your web-site!!
A fellow Gimmelwald lover,
Thank you for posting this site. My cousin and I are going to Gimmelwald on the 13 of August and could not be more excited!
Your site has been totally helpful (locations, directions, all of it). The pictures are beautiful. I can’t wait to see the real thing.
By the way, I found out about Gimmelwald from [email protected] (…)
I was just looking at your web page and thought I would drop you a line to tell you that I agree with you about Gimmelwald.
(…) In the four months that I traveled Europe last year, Gimmelwald was my favorite place. I only left because I was running out of money and had to get back to London for my flight home to Australia. If I’d had more money, I’m sure I would have stayed a lot longer.
I don’t know what it is about Gimmelwald, but for most people who have been there, it was almost like a religious experience.
After I’ve settled back into my normal life now, the only place I sit here at work and dream of is Gimmelwald. But I know I’ll go back one day, and stay longer than the four days last time.
From a fellow Gimmelwald fan.
I think your page is great! I am studying German here in the United States and I worked in Basel last summer. One weekend I took off and headed for the Alps. I really couldn’t stand all the tourists after a few months in Europe, so I headed for Gimmelwald. There were few tourists (…) and it was rather relaxing. The hostel – you’re right on the money. The youth hostel was cheap (very nice) and the atmosphere was really cool. I recommend drinking down a ‘Heidi’ during a stay (schnapps and hot chocolate). Hiking up from behind the hostel through the valley and up to the smaller glaciers and waterfalls was wonderful and it provided great pictures. And no tourists, except for the group I took off with. I met three girls that morning (after staying at the hostel) and they took off with me. Put some more pictures up if you get a chance.
Keep it up!
Stacy and Kate where in Gimmelwald in March 1998.
We met in the train on the way to Interlaken.
Kate wrote home:
Dear Mom and Dad,
Hello from Switzerland! Dad, you were absolutely right. IT IS SOOOOO BEAUTIFUL HERE!!!!! I never even imagined that it could be so beautiful. (…)
We had the best time in Gimmelwald. We were there for a few days before we came here. Gimmelwald is a little tiny village in the mountains. There are no roads and the only way up there is by cable car or hiking trail in the summer time. There are maybe 120 people there at the most. It was so peaceful and tranquil. I can just picture “Heidi“ living in a place like this one. Directly from the hostel we had the most spectacular view of the Alps!
The night we arrived there, the moon was out and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, the stars were so bright and with the mountains in the background, I’d have sworn that we were in a postcard. I’ve never seen anything like it in my whole life. I’ve never seen such spectacular scenery in my whole life!!
PLUS I GOT TO GO SKIING!!!! Stacy had no interest in going and I figured that I could afford to go for half a day. It was so great! I’m spoiled for life now. Skiing at home will never be the same, never. I hated to leave this place, but the trip must go on, so I forced myself to leave.
It was very sad. I’m coming back, I swear it ! !
Stacy wrote home:
(…)That was in the mountain hostel in Gimmelwald.. that is the raddest place.. they have a web site that this guy Adrian made..
[this is it] he is neat…we met him on the train when we were leaving to come here he is friends with Marc .. [who used to run the hostel]
Adrian lives near Bern and speaks English with a wonderful Brit accent.. his mum is British (I think that is what he said) but he visited the hostel a while ago and now every year he goes back and updates the information of all the hostels in the area.
[just Gimmelwald actually]
I think all of them you will have to check out the site to find out..
Imagine my surprise and happiness at finding a site dedicated to my very favorite place in all of Europe! Came for one night and actually stayed 12…really this is not a line 🙂
I have a picture of myself at the hostel sitting in front of me right now at work to always remind me of my utter happiness there….
Ich mochte auf deutsch lesen auch…as you can see my Deutch could be better and I think your Gimmelwald site would benefit from some german additions **
The last thing I do is advertise the places I’ve found, because, once known, they’re never the same 🙁
From: george and grace
hello from florida!
I came across your web page this evening and it made me remember (not that I ever forgot) my girlfriend and I trip to europe, of which gimmelwald and Riomaggiore were our favorites. I just wanted to let you know you’ve done a great job on the web site!!!
I enjoyed the photos. we stayed in Riomaggiore and met good friends there at the bar centrale; Evo and his cousin Roberto. we also stayed at the mountain hostel in Gimmelwald – one of the best times in my life!!! Next time I go there i’m going to try and
get the guts to bunji jump! Well, once again great job and thanks.
hey buddy, what’s the big idea of telling everybody about this little slice of heaven?!
I only spent two days in gimmelwald (stayed at the mountain hostel) last august (arrived on Swiss independence day, August. 1st), but it was the highlight of my 6 week european trip. though gimmelwald is no longer a “secret” and has been pretty well publicized in the traveler’s press, it’s still relatively uncrowded, peaceful, and beautiful. i’d like it to remain that way until the next time I go back, so i’m not spreading the word… (…)
I took an incredible hike from the hostel to Kilchbalm (only about an hour and a half), the glacier/ice field at the end of the hanging valley. my friend and I found an ice cave, hid in caves (it rained on us), and frolicked in the alpine wonderland. the mountain hostel was the only place in Europe that I was sad to leave. one night was dreadfully short. the only people whose
addresses I took from my entire trip were from the mountain hostel (and I’ve heard from both since!). it’s truly a magical place, so try and keep a lid on it…
I was just there, and it exactly as you describe it !!!!
stayed with Walter at the Hotel Mittaghorn
I happened to come across your article on the internet regarding Gimmelwald. It certainly is the most delightful little village with stunning views of the Alps. I have visited Switzerland four times in the last seven years and always go back to the Lauterbrunnen area. I think Switzerland is THE most beautiful country and although my favorite place is actually
Lauterbrunnen – Mürren, Gimmelwald and Wengen are also absolutely gorgeous. I was last in Switzerland in July 1995 with my sister and 4 friends. We camped for about 6 days at Camping Schutzenbach in the Lauterbrunnen valley. We did much exploring in the area and stumbled across Gimmelwald which was fantastic. Very different from Mürren – a lot less tourists. We truly considered it an alpine paradise and would love to have ‘lost’ ourselves in the area for a while!! I would certainly recommend it to any traveler who is seeking a nice quiet retreat. The sound of cow bells and gurgling rivers was so peaceful and relaxing and we felt as if we had stepped into a fairy tale land!!
Durban, South Africa
I just returned from a 3 week trip to Europe. It was a short time to visit 8 countries, but we had a great time! It was almost a whirl-wind of memories and half of them blend together–but not the time I spent in Gimmelwald. I must agree with some of the other people that commented on the “secret” of Gimmelwald, we shouldn’t tell people about it! I would love to go back in a few years, I just hope that it is as untouched as when I left. It is by far the most beautiful and breath-taking place I have ever seen. I hiked up to the “Whale’s fin” known as Tanzboden, and once you reach the top there is a flat plateau that allows you to see for miles in every direction, it also over looks Gimmelwald. It is the most amazing hike, but very difficult! We also hiked up to Sprutz waterfall, but we hiked this one from Lauterbrunnen, it was a long hike but well worth it. We hiked to the glacier at Kilchbalm from Gimmelwald–it was absolutely amazing. I wish that there were words to describe the beauty of Switzerland, but there just isn’t. I guess if someone wants to know what it’s like they ought to go themselves, but most aren’t as fortunate as us. It was a wonderful experience for my cousin and I, but we by far recommend Gimmelwald, Switzerland! It is absolutely breathtaking!
What an absolutely great place!!! I was there June 7-9, (1997) and fell in love with the place. A friend told me about it, and it is
a must do for anyone. YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT.
I will be back to Gimmelwald!
Just returned from a whirlwind trip too, but the eye of the storm was Gimmelwald. All who read this – hush up. Walter’s better be exactly the same when I return for my honeymoon in 5 years or so. The highlight – the hike down from Berg through deep snow, then grassy hillsides, then wooded forests, then to a 5 min. shower at Walter’s. For the faint of heart – be prepared. You pay for hot water. To a certain someone – friendships made in Switzerland seem to be the lasting kind. To fond memories in
Emily H., North Carolina