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Andermatt or Grindelwald: Which is Better?

Having trouble picking between Andermatt and Grindelwald for your Swiss getaway? Both are hotspots for skiing and hiking, offering stunning mountain views. Grindelwald has been a go-to destination for ages, boasting incredible views of the Eiger mountain and well-established infrastructure in the Jungfrau region. On the other hand, Andermatt is on the rise, with recent developments making it increasingly popular. Each spot has its unique perks, so let’s figure out which suits you best. If you’re torn between the two, this guide has got you covered.


Key Differences: Andermatt vs. Grindelwald

The key differences between Andermatt and Grindelwald are as follows:

AndermattGrindelwald
Population: approx. 1,538Population: approx. 3,800 
Total Area: 62.26 km2Total Area: 171.28 km2 
Elevation: 1,447 m (4,747 ft)Elevation: 1,034 meters (3,395 ft)
Valley: UrsernValley: Grindelwald
Highlights: Gemsstock, Nätschen, Schöllenen Gorge and Devil’s Bridge, Göscheneralp, Furka PassHighlights: Grindelwald First, Bachalpsee Lake,
Grindelwald Glaciers, Grosse Scheidegg, First Cliff Walk, Pfingstegg, Männlichen, Eiger Glacier, Jungfraujoch
Lake: NoneLake: Bachalpsee Lake
River: ReussRiver: Lütschine

Which is Better: Andermatt or Grindelwald?

Andermatt and Grindelwald are similar in many ways: lots of hotels, great places to ski, and many things to do, and they’re both high up in the mountains. But the big difference is where they are: Andermatt is in the middle of Switzerland, while Grindelwald is in the Bernese Oberland region.

  • Andermatt, nestled in the Urseren Valley and surrounded by the towering peaks of the Swiss Alps, offers an ideal starting point for exploring the pristine landscapes of central Switzerland. With an elevation of 1,447 meters, Andermatt is slightly higher than Grindelwald.
  • Grindelwald is an alpine resort town nestled in the middle of the Grindelwald Valley, near the famous trio Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. At 1,043 meters above sea level, it is not as high as Andermatt.

So it’s just a matter of preference. Both of them are awesome, so it won’t be easy to pick one. In this article, you’ll learn about all the places we can visit nearby as well as the advantages of staying at each of them.

My preference: If you want a stunning mountain vacation, I’d suggest picking Grindelwald over Andermatt. But it’s just my preference. Both places are great, but I really love the beautiful Jungfrau Region where Grindelwald is located.


Andermatt in Winter from Wikimedia

Andermatt is nicely situated at the heart of Switzerland, bordered by Hospental to the west, Göschenen and Gurtnellen to the north, Tujetsch in the Grisons canton to the east, and Airolo in the Ticino canton to the south. Andermatt’s position as a meeting point for these cantons is highlighted at the peak of Piz Alv, where a world icon marks the spot connecting Graubünden and Ticino, showcasing its geographical importance.

Andermatt is located at an altitude of 1,444 meters above sea level, and the surrounding peaks reach up to 3,000 meters. The Ursern Valley, home to Andermatt, is known as one of Switzerland’s stunning high valleys.

Andermatt is famous for its great skiing and snowboarding options. With the combined efforts of Andermatt+Sedrun+Disentis, which includes SkiArena Andermatt-Sedrun and the Disentis mountain railways, it has become a top-notch ski destination. It offers a whopping 180 kilometers of ski slopes and a network of 33 lifts that go up to 3,000 meters above sea level, making it the biggest ski area in Central Switzerland.

Image of Grindelwald by TouringSwitzerland.com

Grindelwald is a famous mountain village in the Bernese Oberland, located at the foot of the Eiger (3,970 meters) and Wetterhorn (3,701 meters). Grindelwald is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Bernese Oberland.

The seven areas of Grindelwald are Bach, Grindel, Scheidegg, Wärgistal, Itramen, Bussalp, and Holzmatten. Each local person belongs to one of the seven areas (called Bergschaften in German), which are represented separately in the municipality. 

Grindelwald Valley is characterized by soft green meadows and mountain forests on one side, and rocky walls and icy peaks of the Eiger, Schreckhorn, and Wetterhorn on the other. The alpine summer here is short, and as with many other alpine villages, they mow the grass and dry it for use as hay in winter. Due to rainfall, the north-facing slopes have abundant grass.

As recently as 1860, the Grindelwald Glacier reached the outskirts of the village. Between 1860 and 1914, glacier ice was mined and exported commercially. In this way, Grindelwald gained its second name “Glacier Village”. Unfortunately, millions of cubic meters of glacier ice have melted away in Grindelwald.

Grindelwald allows the same amount of livestock in winter and summer. A system like this is ecologically sound and prevents pastures from being overused. During the summer, a farmer can drive up the number of cows determined by the surface area. Cow rights are equal to one cow, four pigs, or eight goats. In Grindelwald, there are 2,174 cow rights and this number has remained constant for centuries.  

There are many places to visit in and around Grindelwald. Some of the highlights of the Grindelwald region include Grindelwald First, Bachalpsee Lake, Schynige Platte, Grindelwald Glaciers, Grosse Scheidegg, First Cliff Walk, Männlichen, Eiger Glacier, and Jungfraujoch.


Places to Visit: Andermatt vs. Grindelwald

  • Schöllenen Gorge – Schöllenen Gorge is a wild, yet beautiful natural gorge located between Göschenen and Andermatt. The Schöllenen Gorge is a narrow and winding passage characterized by the powerful flow of the Reuss River cascading over rocky terrain.
  • Göscheneralp – Göscheneralpsee is an incredibly picturesque place with high mountain peaks and the Damma Glacier.
  • Furka Pass – Drive through Furka Pass, a breathtaking mountain pass known for its winding roads and panoramic views.
  • Rhône Glacier – Explore Switzerland’s impressive Rhône Glacier and its captivating Ice Cave, an incredible tunnel sculpted within the glacier itself.
  • Lake Arnisee – Situated in the serene setting of Arnialp at an altitude of 1,368 meters, Lake Arnisee is perfect for those who want somewhere quiet. Nearby Chänzeli provides captivating views of the Uri Alps.
  • Glacier Express – The Glacier Express, an iconic scenic train journey, departs from Andermatt and offers a breathtaking ride through the Swiss Alps. From Andermatt, you can choose to go to either St. Moritz or Zermatt.
  • Disentis – Disentis, nestled in the Swiss Alps, is renowned for its charming town ambiance and is home to the historic Disentis Abbey, a centuries-old monastery known for its rich cultural heritage and stunning architectural beauty.
  • Lake Lucerne – Lake Lucerne is special due to its distinctive fjord-like features, including a narrow shape with numerous inlets and twists, pristine waters, and breathtaking natural scenery.
  • Grindelwald First – First is a minor summit on the slopes of the Schwarzhorn in the Bernese Oberland. Most people know it as a cable car station above Grindelwald. Aside from hikes, two activities that stand out in this area are the Grindelwald First Flyer and the Grindelwald First Glider. Both are available from July to October. For the safety of visitors, it is subject to weather conditions.
  • Grindelwald First Flyer – The Grindelwald Flyer is an 800-meter zip line moving at 80 kilometers per hour. ​It starts in Scheckfeld and ends in Grindelwald.
  • Grindelwald First Glider – This is another thrilling experience you should try. The strap is in the form of an eagle and is attached to a pulley. It also moves at a speed of 80 kph while offering spectacular views.
  • Grindelwald First Cliff Walk – High walkway suspended from the side of the mountain offering fantastic valley views.
  • Bachalpsee Lake – Walking there takes around 50 minutes from First. It’s so picturesque as you can see Schreckhorn reflecting in the lake. 
  • Upper Grindelwald Glacier – Between Schreckhorn and Wetterhorn, a vast snow field forms Upper Grindelwald Glacier (Oberer Grindelwaldgletscher in German). Its glacier tongue is at 1,400 meters, and is one of the lowest glaciers in the Alps. 
  • Lower Grindelwald Glacier – Below Agassizhorn and Strahlegghörner lies the Lower Grindelwald Glacier (Unterer Grindelwaldgletscher in German). It is connected to the Finsteraar Glacier through the Finsteraarjoch.
  • Grosse Scheidegg – At an altitude of 1,962 m, the Grosse Scheidegg passes across the col between Switzerland’s Schwarzhorn and Wetterhorn mountains. You can reach Grosse Scheidegg with the Grindelwald Bus in 25 minutes from Grindelwald.
  • Pfingstegg – The starting point for hikes going to both glaciers in Grindelwald. You can reach Pfingstegg by cable car from Grindelwald. Additionally, there is a toboggan run and a fly line.
  • Eiger Glacier – The Eiger Glacier lies on the northwest side of the Eiger mountain.
  • Jungfraujoch –  The saddle between Jungfrau (at 4,158 m above sea level) and Mönch (at 4,110 m above sea level). It is also the location of the highest mountain railway in Europe at 3,454 meters above sea level.
  • Lauterbrunnen – Lauterbrunnen is a magnificent U-shaped valley in Switzerland surrounded by numerous waterfalls.
  • Männlichen – Männlichen is a nearby mountain with fantastic views of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. You can reach it by cable car from Grindelwald.

Skiing: Andermatt or Grindelwald

Andermatt is famous for its great skiing and snowboarding options. With the combined efforts of Andermatt+Sedrun+Disentis, which includes SkiArena Andermatt-Sedrun and the Disentis mountain railways, it has become a top-notch ski destination. It offers a whopping 180 kilometers of ski slopes and a network of 33 lifts that go up to 3,000 meters above sea level, making it the biggest ski area in Central Switzerland.

Männlichen and Grindelwald First ski slopes are within easy reach of Grindelwald.

Below, we have a table comparing the slopes available in Andermatt and Grindelwald.

Pistes (in km)AndermattGrindelwald – Wengen
Easy47.564
Medium8473
Difficult3723
Freeride16.5
Total185160
Ski seasonMid-November to Mid-Aprilmid-December to mid-April
Pistes Comparison: Andermatt vs. Grindelwald – Wengen

Both ski areas are known for their diverse terrain, though Andermatt tends to be higher and more reliable for snow compared to Grindelwald-Wengen. Andermatt is preferred by advanced skiers and snowboarders for its challenging off-piste options and expert-level slopes. Meanwhile, Grindelwald-Wengen boasts a vast ski area with panoramic views of the Bernese Alps and a variety of slopes accessible via an efficient lift system.

While Andermatt caters more to experts, Grindelwald-Wengen offers something for skiers of all levels, set amidst stunning alpine scenery. Ultimately, the choice between Andermatt and Grindelwald depends on your preferences and skiing abilities


Hotels: Andermatt vs. Grindelwald

Both towns provide accommodation options catering to different budgets, including hotels and apartments. In recent years, Andermatt has seen more development than Grindelwald, resulting in a slightly more modern feel compared to Grindelwald.

Image of The Chedi Hotel in Andermatt by TouringSwitzerland.com
  • The Chedi Andermatt (5-star) – The Chedi Andermatt boasts Swiss hospitality merged with Asian elegance. With more than 200 fireplaces, luxurious amenities like pools, a spa, and diverse dining options, this hotel offers an exceptional stay. Guests enjoy spacious rooms adorned with alpine-style decor, while activities like skiing, hiking, and cycling await in the picturesque surroundings.
  • The Base Andermatt (4-star apartments) – The Base Andermatt, located in Andermatt’s Uri region, provides spacious apartments near the ski elevator, featuring fully equipped units, free WiFi, and private parking, with shared lounge areas for relaxation.
  • Radisson Blu Hotel Reussen, Andermatt (4-star) – The hotel boasts a restaurant, fitness center, indoor pool, sauna, concierge services, and private parking. Its rooms feature amenities like a flat-screen TV, safety deposit box, coffee machine, and private bathrooms with free toiletries, some even equipped with kitchens.
  • Hotel Bergidyll – Riders Haven (3-star) – Hotel Bergidyll – Riders Haven in Andermatt offers cozy rooms with private bathrooms, some boasting mountain views and balconies, alongside amenities like free WiFi and a restaurant; guests enjoy skiing, hiking, and the hotel’s convenience, with praise for its welcoming staff and delicious cuisine.
Image of Grindelwald by TouringSwitzerland.com
  • Hotel Fiescherblick – Managed by brothers Matthias and Lars Michel, Hotel Fiescherblick stands as one of the best hotels in Grindelwald, having reopened its doors in December 2022. Its restaurant is under the guidance of an accomplished chef. Grindelwald First Valley Station is just a short stroll away.
  • Romantik Hotel Schweizerhof Grindelwald (5-star) – A 100-meter walk from the train station, Romantik Hotel Schweizerhof Grindelwald boasts panoramic views of the Eiger, an indoor pool, and gourmet cuisine. The hotel also has a lounge bar and nicely furnished rooms. 
  • Belvedere Swiss Quality Hotel (4-star-superior) – A beautiful 4-star superior hotel located just a few minutes from the center of Grindelwald, Belvedere Swiss Quality Hotel is a great place to stay. Among its amenities are a gourmet restaurant, a piano bar, an indoor pool, and a spa. During the winter season, there is a private ski bus. 
  • Bergwelt Grindelwald – Alpine Design Resort (4-star) – Within a 2-minute walk of First Grindelwald, Bergwelt Grindelwald – Alpine Design Resort has a 24-hour front desk and room service. This 4-star hotel also offers concierge services, allergy-friendly rooms, a bar, and free WiFi throughout the hotel. Guests can enjoy its outdoor pool, indoor pool, fitness center, garden, and restaurant year-round.
  • Parkhotel Schoenegg (3-star) – The Parkhotel Schoenegg in Grindelwald offers a central location with serene surroundings, featuring a modern wellness area, indoor pool, and various room options showcasing mountain views. Guests can enjoy a 5-course dinner, a traditional English-style bar, a playroom for kids, and access to business facilities including free internet. The hotel has renovated rooms, breathtaking views, and exceptional service.
  • Hotel PINTE (3-star) – Hotel PINTE is a modern chalet-style hotel located 2 minutes from Grindelwald First. Grindelwald’s train station is also nearby. In addition to an indoor pool and a spa, the hotel offers a 24-hour front desk as well as a continental breakfast.
  • Hotel Caprice – Grindelwald (3-star) – This hotel is very conveniently located near the train station, making it a wonderful choice. It is only a few steps away from cable cars and buses. The hotel offers modern, clean, and comfortable rooms with fantastic views of the Eiger. Additionally, the hotel offers a spa. You can get breakfast and snacks here. You will need to go somewhere else for lunch and dinner, but they can offer you a discount on a 5-course meal at a nearby hotel (Hotel Alpina). 

Summary: Andermatt vs. Grindelwald

Deciding between both towns can be tricky because they have similar offerings. You’ll find enough restaurants, hotels, skiing opportunities, hiking trails, and shops in Andermatt and Grindelwald.

Here is a summary of the advantages of visiting Andermatt or Grindelwald.

Advantages of Visiting Andermatt

  • Because of where it is, Andermatt usually has more reliable snow compared to Grindelwald.
  • Andermatt-Sedrun-Disentis is part of the Epic Pass, providing certain pass holders access to the ski resort in winter, depending on their Epic Pass Access.
  • Andermatt, being at Switzerland’s center, is closer to cities like Lucerne and Zurich, and the Gotthard Pass leading to the Italian-speaking region of Ticino. Plus, mountain pass enthusiasts will love Andermatt as it’s the starting point for Furka and Grimsel passes, offering stunning views and picturesque drives.
  • Andermatt is right on the path of the Glacier Express, so if you’re looking to hop on this panoramic train, it’s the perfect spot to start your journey.

Advantages of Visiting Grindelwald

Views of Grindelwald from Grosse Scheidegg by TouringSwitzerland.com
  • Hiking trails in Grindelwald usually open before those in Andermatt due to its climate. However, the exact opening times can change depending on the weather and trail maintenance, so it’s best to confirm with tourist offices for the latest updates.
  • Grindelwald’s location in the Jungfrau region means it’s nearer to famous tourist spots like Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen Valley, and Jungfraujoch.
  • The mountains around Grindelwald offer some more adventurous activities – First Flyer, First Glider, Tobogganing on Pfingstegg, and Fly Line of Pfingstegg. 

Thanks for checking out our comparison between Andermatt and Grindelwald. No matter where you go, have fun! 

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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.

Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.

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