Cycling Grindelwald – Switzerland

Meiringen – Grindelwald 40km

Quite possibly the best ride in the Swiss Alps is between Meiringen and Grindelwald. It is a very demanding ride along steep deserted roads and can be accomplished on either road bike or mountain bike

Riding Notes

From Meiringen the ride follows quiet country lanes up, up and up into real Heidi country. Early on in the ascent you pass the Reichenbach Falls, where Sherlock Holmes & Moriarty fell to their deaths.

The incline is tough, relentless and takes 2-3hrs of hard grind to get to the top. A cafe at the saddle of the Grosse Scheidegg marks the peak of the 1,545m vertical climb.  The 1,000m descent to Grindelwald is fast and fun. Buses are about the only vehicles on this upper road.

Planning Your Trip

There is excellent planning information on the Swiss  Mobility website covering access to and from the ride by public transport, accommodation and  places of interest.  For further details refer to Section 11 of Alpine Bike route 1, the route is also covered in Bernese Oberland ride 61.

The ride is well signed and map is not essential. The  Berner Oberland cycling map  is 1:60 000 and covers the route,

Berner Oberland Cycle Map

Our Experience

We set off from Meiringen and slogged our way up through the forest and heat to the relatively flat alpine pastures. The heat and humidity was relentless but the views were awesome. There was virtually no traffic along the route making a pleasant change from the Furka and Grimsel passes.

Our bikes aren’t geared for steep climbs and we struggled to stay in the saddle for much of the ride. The cool breeze up above the tree line was a massive relief. Arriving at the summit was a highlight however the solitude was spoilt by the realisation people had caught a bus up from the Grindelwald side.

The exhilarating 1,000m descent to Grindelwald was over in a few minutes. Our wheel rims were scorching hot and starting to melt the brakes so we stopped to spray them with water on the way down. The route passed near the Eiger and Jungfrau and the views to the overhanging were amazing. Undoubtedly the best scenic day ride of the trip.


2 responses to “Cycling Grindelwald – Switzerland

  1. I’ve biked the Grindelwald area many times. Favorite ride has been down to Interlaken from Grindelwald on the trail.

    Another favorite is to take the bus to Grosse Scheidegg (we’re not kids anymore) and ride to First for strudel and ice cream and cafe latte and to watch to hang gliders. The ride back down to Grindelwald is superb!

    And the ride to Meiringen from Grosse Scheidegg is wonderful … very steep at times, but so quiet and beautiful. It’s mandatory to have disc brakes for these rides (except for the ride to Interlaken) … the steep downhills EAT rim brake pads.

    For a long day’s ride that really includes it all, take bikes on gondolas to First and ride all the way down to Interlaken and train back. That’s almost all DOWNHILL!

    Or take the bus to Grosse, ride to First for lunch, then down the back side via Grosse to Meiringen for a snack, then around lake Brienz to Interlaken for dinner, then train back up to Grindelwald. This is a LONG, tough ride for us oldies, but worth every bit of it.

    I strongly recommend NOT to bike up or down on the trail to Kleine Scheidegg … too steep and rutty and too many hikers … not safe at all for bikers (or hikers they pass), and that includes you young hot shots.

    The ride from Grindelwald to Grosse is ALL uphill and quite tedious … if this is your idea of fun, go for it. The same goes for the ride from Meiringen to Grosse.

    When you’ve exhausted all the trails around Grindelwald, head for Zermatt, where there are just as many incredible rides, and all with the Matterhorn in view.

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