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Bernese Oberland is one of Switzerland’s most popular tourist destinations. The famous trio of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau along with waterfalls, mountains, lakes, castles, and other scenic landmarks are just some of the reasons this area is so loved. The people who want to visit this area would have to decide where to stay eventually. Two of the most popular choices are Grindelwald and Mürren. In this article, we will explore the question – is it better to stay in Grindelwald or in Mürren? Let’s find out.
Visitors from all over the world might wonder: Is it better to stay in Grindelwald or Mürren? Other than being able to bring your car with you, what are the advantages? Or is it better to stay in Mürren instead? You might have a hard time deciding between the two.
Both villages are famous in their own way. Grindelwald looks up to a lot of tall mountain peaks, and Mürren looks way down into the Lauterbrunnen valley and across other peaks. They’re both great options, but one might be better for you.
In this article, we’ll compare Grindelwald, which is a little lower down the valley, with Mürren, which is a little higher up. Grindelwald or Mürren? Here’s how they compare.
Key Differences: Grindelwald vs. Mürren
The key differences between Grindelwald and Mürren are as follows:
|Population: approx. 3,800
|Population: approx. 450
|Total Area: 171.28 km2
|Total Area: 10.5 km²
|Elevation: 1,034 meters
|Elevation: 1,638 meters
|Accessible by car and train
|Accessible by train and cable car
|Highlights: Grindelwald First, Bachalpsee Lake,
Grindelwald Glaciers, Grosse Scheidegg, First Cliff Walk, Pfingstegg, Männlichen, Eiger Glacier, Jungfraujoch
|Highlights: Schilthorn, Gimmelwald, Stechelberg, Allmendhubel
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.
On the other hand, Mürren is positioned a bit higher than Grindelwald, at 1,645 meters above sea level. There are also spectacular views of the bottom of the valley, and the town is quiet and car-free. It is smaller than Grindelwald.
Mürren, on the other hand, also has its own charm. Those who choose it over Grindelwald prefer something more quiet and understated.
Mürren also has well-known tourist spots near it, though probably not as well-known as Jungfraujoch. From Mürren, you have easier access to Schilthorn (Piz Gloria) as well as quieter villages such as Gimmelwald, Allmendhubel, and Stechelberg.
Accessibility: Grindelwald or Mürren
Grindelwald is definitely easier to reach by car and by train compared to Mürren. Since Mürren is car-free, you will have to park either at the Lauterbrunnen Valley Car Park or at the Schilthorn Car Park first. From either one of those, you will have to take public transport to reach the village of Mürren.
Traveling to Grindelwald
Grindelwald allows all cars into the town, making it easy for visitors to reach their hotel by car. Trains can also be taken directly from Interlaken Ost train station.
If you would like to learn more about the way to get from Interlaken to Grindelwald, you can check out our article How to Travel From Interlaken to Grindelwald.
Traveling to Mürren
Visitors to Mürren need to take the cable car leading to Grütschalp in Lauterbrunnen. When visitors arrive in Grütschalp, they must change to the train that will take them to Mürren.
Another option is to go via Gimmelwald and Stechelberg. In Stechelberg, visitors can park their cars in the valley station of Schilthorn. After this, they will have to ride the cable car to Gimmelwald, then the cable car to Mürren.
If you would like to learn more about the way to get from Interlaken to Mürren, you can check out our article How to Get From Interlaken to Mürren.
Places to Visit near Grindelwald and Mürren
Places to Visit near Grindelwald and Mürren
Lauterbrunnen is within easy reach of both Grindelwald and Murren. Lauterbrunnen village is situated at the valley bottom of this magnificent U-shaped valley in Switzerland surrounded by numerous waterfalls.
In contrast, Grindelwald is more convenient if you want to access Jungfraujoch. When you want to discover Schilthorn, Mürren is the better choice.
Places to Visit Near Grindelwald
- 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.
Places to Visit Near Mürren
- Staubbach Waterfall – The Staubbach Waterfall is a waterfall in Switzerland located just west of Lauterbrunnen in the Bernese Highlands. It falls 297 meters from a valley overhanging the Weisse Lütschine, before the end of the overhanging cliff.
- Trümmelbach Waterfalls – There are ten glacier-fed waterfalls in Switzerland’s Trümmelbach Falls. It is accessible by a tunnel-funicular built back in 1913.
- Schilthorn – This is the summit above the village of Mürren and the highest mountain north of Sefinenfurgge Pass. It is around 2,970 meters above sea level.
- Stechelberg – Stechelberg is a small village located at the base of the Schwarzmönch mountain in the Bernese Alps.
- Mürrenbach Waterfall – In five cascades, Mürrenbach Waterfall drops 417 meters to the ground, making it Switzerland’s highest waterfall.
- Gimmelwald – A small car-free village, Gimmelwald is located between Stechelberg and Mürren. It is 1,363 meters above sea level.
- Allmendhubel – At 1,907 meters above sea level, Allmendhubel is a hill above Mürren that has a large playground called Flower Park for families with children.
Advantages: Grindelwald or Mürren
Advantages of Staying in Grindelwald
- Grindelwald is not car-free. Choose Grindelwald over Mürren if you prefer to come by car.
- Grindelwald is larger than Mürren. There are more restaurants, hotels, and facilities there.
- The village of Grindelwald offers a 5-star hotel and several 4- and 3-star hotels.
- The mountains around Grindelwald offer some more adventurous activities – First Flyer, First Glider, Tobogganing on Pfingstegg, and Fly Line of Pfingstegg.
- Grindelwald is closer to Pfingstegg and Grosse Scheidegg.
- Grindelwald’s fast and modern Eiger Express only takes 20 minutes to reach the Eiger Glacier.
Advantages of Staying in Mürren
- Mürren is car-free. Stay here if you prefer to stay in a traditional Swiss mountain village that is car-free.
- Mürren is smaller than Grindelwald. You’ll find fewer restaurants, hotels, and facilities there. Choose it over Grindelwald if you want to stay somewhere more peaceful.
- The mountains around Mürren offer more traditional activities such as hiking, biking, and skiing.
- Mürren is closer to Stechelberg, Allmend, and Schilthorn.
- Mürren is a traditional mountain village with Walser roots. Cable cars or scenic trains can take you there. The valley will also be visible from the top, unlike Grindelwald where you will be at the bottom.
Hotels: Grindelwald or Mürren
Grindelwald indeed offers a lot more options for accommodation than Mürren, but there are still several decent choices over in Mürren. These are our recommendations for both places.
Hotels in Grindelwald
- 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).
Hotels in Mürren
- Eiger Mürren Swiss Quality (4-star) – With fantastic mountain views, a modern spa, an indoor pool, and friendly staff, this hotel is just a few steps from the Mürren train station.
- Hotel Edelweiss Superior (3-star superior) – Three minutes from the Mürren Train Station, this 3-star superior hotel offers panoramic views of the Bernese Alps and Lauterbrunnen Valley. Comfortable and pleasant, this hotel is a great place to stay.
- Hotel Bellevue (3-star) – With gorgeous mountain views, a great breakfast, and a spa, this family-run hotel is a great place to stay in Mürren.
You can find more hotels and apartments in Mürren via Booking.com.
Final Thoughts: Grindelwald or Mürren
There are many things to do in the Bernese Oberland region. The choice of where to stay depends on your itinerary. It might be helpful to ask yourself, would you prefer to stay in a village without cars or not? If you have a clear preference about taking a car or not, then you have your answer.
Nevertheless, if you’re ambivalent about cars, there are other factors to consider. In Mürren, you’ll find a typical Swiss car-free mountain village with skiing and hiking. Grindelwald is better if you’re looking to try adventurous activities or you’ve got fun-loving kids or teens with you.
Both places are great to me, so it’s hard to choose. I don’t have a preference here. Both locations aren’t that far apart, so you can easily visit the other one.
No matter what you choose, you won’t regret it. They’re both gorgeous, with majestic mountains and natural landscapes.
TIP: If you are staying for a couple of days in the Jungfrau Region, consider buying an unlimited transportation ticket so you can travel by train, boat, bus, gondola, and gondola on all the valid routes. You can get your ticket from GetYourGuide here – Jungfrau Travel Pass: Unlimited Transportation Ticket. The ticket covers Interlaken Ost, Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald, Kleine Scheidegg, Grütschalp, Winteregg, and Mürren. Jungfraujoch tickets aren’t included, but you can get them at a special price.
- Stiftung UNESCO Welterbe Schweizer Alpen Jungfrau-Aletsch. Gentle and wild – the valley of Grindelwald, 1. Ausgabe 2011.
- Where Is Eiger Express? Here Is an Overview
- Zurich to Grindelwald Train: All You Need To Know
- Geneva to Grindelwald Train: All You Need To Know
- Zurich to Mürren Train: All You Need To Know
- Geneva to Mürren Train: All You Need To Know
- Jungfraujoch – When is the Best Time to Visit?
- First Cliff Walk – One of Grindelwald’s Most Beautiful Viewpoints
- Grosse Scheidegg and How to Get There
- Top 10 Car-Free Ski Resorts in the Swiss Alps
- 12 Charming Car-Free Villages in Switzerland
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.