Grimsel Pass is resting at 2164 m elevation and is one of the most beautiful mountain passes in Switzerland. Would you like to visit it?
Here’s everything you need to know about Grimsel Pass, so let’s dive straight into it.
Where is Grimsel Pass
Grimsel Pass is situated in a very nice place in the Swiss Alps and actually is very close to three more picturesque mountain passes: Furka Pass, Oberalp Pass, and Gotthard Pass, so if you want to have a Swiss Alps mountain passes road trip – Grimsel Pass is the best place to start. You would have simply to go down from Grimsel Pass and right when you are down in Gletsch – go up to Furka Pass, then follow the road to Gotthard Pass, hit back to Andermatt, and drive up to Oberalp pass – that’s the ultimate adventure.
But I think I would have to write a different blog post about this road trip.
Now, let’s concentrate on Grimsel Pass. Grimsel pass is right between the canton of Bern and the canton of Valais.
Grimsel pass is not that far from Basel (181 km), from Zürich (133 km), and a bit further from Geneva (275 km).
The closest settlement to Grimsel Pass is called Guttannen (it has a small shop, restaurant, and bus station). So basically you can get stuff you need from there if you wish. There are a couple of restaurants going from Guttannen to Grimsel Pass, but they are not always open, so Guttannen would be a safe place to get food or water if you are missing it. On the other side, the closest settlement is called Obergoms which is a very similar in size to Guttannen.
How to Get to Grimsel Pass
If you do not have a car, you can get pretty close to Grimsel Pass by train. Probably the last train station for you is going to be Meiringen. From Meiringen you will need to take a bus going to the direction: Grimsel Passhöhe (direction Oberwald, just know this city name if there’s nothing indicating Grimsel Pass on the bus and the driver is not speaking English).
Before going to Grimsel Pass by train and bus, check all the possible connections between the city you are now (Zürich, Interlaken, Geneva, or any other) and Grimsel Passhöhe as the trip is not very short. All the schedules are here: Swiss train and bus connections. From Zürich, the whole trip can take you 4 hours. Do not miss the bus from Meiringen as they do not go up that often. Once on the top, check the bus schedule back or to Oberwald as you don’t want to spend the night alone high up.
The easiest and fast way to reach Grimsel Pass is by car. The drive is very pleasant, not dangerous, the road is mostly very clean and dry. Of course, don’t go crazy on the turns and you will have no problems. From Guttannen is just 20 minutes by car up to the top, but you shouldn’t go just straight to the Grimsel Pass, there are a couple of places to visit before.
The first place to visit would be Gelmerbahn. Simply put it on your Google Maps as you can easily miss it. There are a couple of nice things: there’s a very long monkey bridge which you are really going to enjoy and make some nice pictures and as well there is a cable car which can take you up the mountain. It’s a pretty steep railway, but very nice. Check for all the information about tickets, prices, operation times here: Gelmerbahn.
Second place is the Grimsel Pass dam. It is HUUUUGE. Very huge. You won’t miss it. Once you go up with a car, the big wall will open up in front of your eyes. It is the dam. Just park next to it, jump out of the car, and climb to it. It’s very nice. If you wish, you can even hike around the lake the dam formed, just be aware if there’s no snow on the path, it can be hard to walk over it and it’s very slippery.
The third and most important point of the stop is the Grimsel Pass Hotel.
You can not miss it (unless it is very foggy, and actually I missed it the first time I was there). If you see that the weather is very foggy, put Grimsel Pass Hospiz on your GPS.
Just before the hotel, you will have to cross a pretty cool-looking old stone bridge. It is a picturesque narrow bridge crossing over the big lake.
Once you get into the parking lot, go and visit the hotel: there’s a restaurant inside, so you can have dinner there if you wish, but there’s actually more to see around. Just next to the hotel is a huge dam (I really suggest to go there) and the path there leads to the mountains and a path next to the lake. As well, you can’t miss the waterfall which is seen from the hotel, you can hike there (I did it once, it’s really nice).
The waterfall itself is pretty big and loud, you don’t expect when you see it from far away. The hike actually is very very nice and easy. Once you are on a dam, the feeling is a bit unnerving, but don’t worry, it’s robust.
Next to the hotel as well is a very nice chapel which you can visit at any time. The Grimsel Pass Hospiz is a must stop if you are going up to the top.
If you wish to stay there and spend a night in the middle of the Swiss Alps, do it, you won’t regret it, all information is here – Grimsel Pass Hotel. It has electric car charging as well!
Once you leave the hotel, Grimsel Pass is not that far, 5 minutes by car and voila! you are on the top.
What to Do in Grimsel Pass
Actually, there’s a lot to do: there are restaurants, a beautiful lake, hotels and a lot of hiking routes. A lot of.
You can go to the lake direction and hike there, but what I really recommend is the Panoramastrasse. Once you park in the pass, the Panoramastrasse is on the opposite side of the restaurant, there’s a paved normal road going there, it’s just not allowed for cars to go there unless you pay.
Once you hit the Panoramastrasse, the hike leads you to another big mountain hotel called Berghaus Oberaar. The hike from the pass to this hotel is about 6 km, so more than one hour, but ALL the time you are mostly on the same level at 2200 – 2300 m elevation and the view is to a huge valley on your right. It’s very nice. From my experience, I can say that it’s quite hard to find such a panorama hike with no big inclines and declines.
If you wish, you can spend a night in Berghaus Oberaar and reach it by car, but it costs, all the information is here: Berghaus Oberaar. It is situated next to one more big dam and a lake. This place is very very isolated, nothing around, just nature and mountains. I think it’s a very cool destination to spend a night.
When I hiked there, I went down to the lake, walked next to it to the end of the lake (there was snow in the middle of summer) and went back to Grimsel Pass, the whole thing took me around 4 hours. So be aware if you have time to do it. But I really recommend it as it’s a very easy hike.
What are Grimsel Pass Opening Dates
As most of the mountain passes in Switzerland is not open all year round.
The best time to visit it would be summer, as there’s no chance it is going to be closed then (unless something terrible happens), but in Spring and Autumn, it can be difficult.
Mostly the pass is open from May till October (but October can be tricky), so it’s always best to check the open status online here. Check the Grimsel pass and travel there accordingly. But if you ask me, I think the best time is Summer, as on the top in Autumn and Spring, it can get very chilly and once you make a couple of pictures, you will want to run back to the car. Better to go there in the best weather conditions and enjoy it.
Grimsel Pass Weather
Being that high weather conditions can change pretty fast. You don’t really want to visit the pass once it’s very foggy, you won’t see anything, literally anything. Once it was so foggy that I didn’t see the Hotel right next to me and the driving was pretty stressful. The best way to check weather conditions is to check out the webcams which are situated in different places of Grimsel pass: Grimsel Pass webcam.
As well, Google weather services provide pretty correct information. Avoid rain, snow, and fog. Mostly fog. Fog will kill all the good vibes.
Grimsel Pass to Furka Pass
Once you are in Grimsel Pass, most people just head straight to Furka Pass as it’s very close. Furka Pass is a very very popular mountain pass in Switzerland and it’s really worth visiting. You can actually go by car to Furka Pass just in under 30 minutes.
Furka Pass as well have great road and is very easily reachable by car. No problem at all.
I really recommend going to Grimsel Pass by car as you can enjoy more things, stop where you want, spend as much time as you want there. And spending time is really worth it: the views are majestic, the lake on the top is crystal clear and the hike around are worthy your time.
It’s a great one-day destination point as you can spend several hours there and quite a few hours driving up there while enjoying the views around.
If you have any questions about Grimsel Pass, please let me know, I will do my best to help you.