Grindelwald First Mountain Inn: A Swiss mountaintop chalet with Eiger views

by Jun 28, 2023Switzerland

Grindelwald First Mountain Inn From First Walk

Staying at Grindelwald First Mountain Inn in Switzerland feels a bit like staying in your own private chalet, one with spectacular views of the Eiger.

Heading to the Jungfrau region and Grindelwald Switzerland? Then don’t miss the opportunity to stay at the Grindelwald First Mountain Inn (Berggasthaus First), high above the village.

You will float above the bustle of Grindelwald with breathtaking views of the Eiger mountain. And once the gondola stops running, you’ll feel like a guest in a private mountain chalet, shared with a few friends.

A stay at Grindelwald First inn really is unforgettable. Of course, Grindelwald and the Jungfrau region have fancier places to stay, such as the remarkable Hotel Belvedere. But you’ll be hard-pressed to find rooms with a better eye-level view of not only the Eiger, but also the surrounding mountain peaks. And, the Grindelwald First Mountain Inn (as Berggasthaus First is known in English) is the perfect base to fully enjoy “Top of Adventure” fun at Grindelwald First – from a cliff walk to mountain carts — and not rush off the mountain at day’s end.

Berggasthaus First Sunset Alone On The Mountain

After day-trippers leave on the last gondola, you have the views, mountains, and sunset to yourself at Grindelwald’s Berggasthaus First mountain inn.

What is especially wonderful at the Grindelwald First Mountain Hotel, which was renovated in 2012, is the gemutlich familial feeling once all the day-trippers have departed – usually by 5 or 6 p.m. Suddenly, a hectic terrace quiets down; you can wander around the First Cliff Walk by Tissot and not jostle for position; you can take a peaceful evening stroll and watch the sun set, and you can order an evening beverage and hang out with just a few others staying for the night (assuming a large group hasn’t booked the separate hut).

Checking in at Grindelwald First Mountain Inn

We arrived via the gondola that climbs up the valley from Grindelwald (3,392 feet) to the summit station First (7,138 feet), just below the deck and entrance to the First Mountain Inn. Don’t believe claims on booking websites or in reviews of the inn that the gondola is the only way to get here. You can hike or even bike there from the valley – and people do just that on day trips or multi-day hiking and biking tours. You just can’t drive. And no car means relaxed freedom.

Grindelwald First Mountain Inn

View of the Grindelwald First Mountain Inn in Switzerland.

No matter how you choose to get to the mountaintop inn, checking in is done at a counter by the bar inside the main restaurant. The process was fairly efficient despite the bartender having to multitask serving drinks and getting us properly registered. In short order we received our key and were led down a veritable maze of stairs, through corridors, various doors, and ski storage rooms and, finally, to a locked door that could be opened only with a code for overnight guests.

Clean, comfortable, basic rooms

Behind the locked door were very comfortable and clean accommodations – eight rooms ranging from a double room to family rooms with double bed and bunks, to multi-bed rooms that can sleep up to eight, and a dormitory that can sleep up to 40.

Double Room At Berggasthaus First In Grindelwald

The double room at Berggasthaus First mountain inn high above Grindelwald in Switzerland.

Our double room was at the end of the short hallway and featured two single mattresses nestled together to make a double bed in typical Swiss fashion. Furnishings were simple but perfect, with two chairs, a small table, and an armoire. Even a reading light over each side of the bed, and cozy duvets to cuddle in. And the view out the large windows? Stunning! Which is why we were here – and why you too should go to Grindelwald First Mountain Hotel.

Window View At Grindelwald First Mountain Inn

View from our double room at the Grindelwald First Mountain Inn in Switzerland as paragliders make the leap.

In all cases, the showers and toilets are shared – there is a men’s and women’s shower and toilet room down the hall, both clean and with supplies.

We didn’t find it an issue at all to trundle down the hallway to the toilet when nature called at night (although one does have to plan for the trip with slippers and clothes to slip on). A sensor light flicks on a bit too brightly for sleepy eyes, but safety first, as they say.

Grindelwald First Inn Hostel Hallway

The Grindelwald First Inn guest hallway.

Showering was also easy, although Michael was rather surprised to discover that the lights in the showers are motion-activated. Unfortunately, they do not detect motion once you are IN the shower, so after a few minutes of happily showering away, the room went quite dark. So there he was waving his hands about outside the shower curtain to get the lights to come back on.

Meals at the mountaintop inn above Grindelwald

Berggasthaus Dining Room Restaurant

The dining room at Berggasthaus First.

Since there is nowhere else to eat once the day guests leave the mountain, you will want to book your room to include dinner – unless you bring your own to eat in your room or on the deck. A set three-course meal is served in the restaurant starting at 6:30 p.m. Of course, you can do as we did, and order a drink from the bar to walk around with or, if the weather is nice, to sit on the terrace and take in all the views, without the crowds. The feeling is so friendly and convivial that people actually talk to each other (no, really!), sharing the few power outlets available to charge up phones.

The restaurant at Berggasthaus First is very cozy with lovely views of the Eiger and the nearby mountain peaks. Our food was hot, basic, and delicious – as one would expect in a Swiss mountain inn. The place is a mecca for photographers with the views, as the clouds and light change. And then there is the local wildlife that comes out to scavenge scraps once things quiet down.

Red Fox At Berggasthaus First

A red fox walks onto the deck at Berggasthaus First above Grindelwald in Switzerland.

Around dinner time, a squall passed through the night we were there, leaving behind clouds splashed with golden light from a setting sun and a rainbow – could we have asked for more? We and the others apologize again to our server and the cook since we all kept leaping up from the table, exclaiming, “oh my!” and heading out to get photos of the breathtaking view.

Grindelwald First Rainbow Photo

When a rainbow forms and the sunset’s golden light reflects off the mountains and clouds, it’s time  to drop the fork and head out to the deck, despite dinner on the table.

The price of the room also includes breakfast which was, in classic European-style, very satisfying with variety of breads, cheese and cold cuts, cereals, juice and hot drinks. Breakfast is served between 7:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. (subject to change).

Berggasthaus First Grindelwald Breakfast Buffet

A plentiful breakfast buffet greets inn guests in the morning.

Of course, if you spend a couple of days there, you can also indulge in the hubbub of a busy lunchtime panoramic terrace, with a wide-range of meals for hungry hikers, or order up a lunchbox to go.

Grindelwald First Mountain Inn Lunch

Lunch, too? You an always arrive early or stay late, as Bernadette and Herr Widderstein did, to dig into a typical Swiss potato-based baked dish called Rösti.

The mountaintop to yourself as a guest at Berggasthaus First

As nice as the simple accommodations and meals are, too, the reason as mentioned to stay there is having the mountain to yourself before the first Firstbahn gondola arrives and after the last one leaves.

Berggasthaus First Terrace And View

View of the Grindelwald First Mountain Inn terrace in Switzerland from the First Cliff Walk by Tissot after the crowds have departed for the evening.

You can breathe in the mountain air, revel in the quiet, and are free to go wherever you please – except perhaps behind the bar!

Grindelwald First Mountain Inn Eiger Milky Way

Dark skies are a given, with a few lights twinkling in Grindelwald village below Berggasthaus First, meaning the Milky Way shines above the Eiger mountain.

And can we say dark skies? Although the hotel itself is illuminated, the lights are not overly bright or numerous. Therese spent several hours enjoying herself capturing photos of the Milky Way and stars over the Eiger.

Bachalpsee Lake Near Grindelwald First

Beautiful Bachalpsee lake, a popular and moderate hike from the Berggasthaus First Mountain Inn above Grindelwald.

And here’s a bonus tip: Because the first gondola full of day-trippers does not arrive from Grindelwald until around 8:30 a.m. it is possible to nab breakfast right when it is served and be on the trails before the crowds. Or you could get up early, take a scenic hike to the blue jewel of the Berner Oberland – the Bachalpsee lake – and be back in time for a late breakfast before they stop serving mid-morning.

Grindelwald First Cheesemaker Sales

The honor fridge outside of a nearby farmhouse where you can buy very fresh and delicious cheeses or meats.

No need to rush off the mountain, either. Once breakfast is over or you have checked out, there are lockers and other places to store your gear while you get in a few more runs on the First Flyer, purchase some cheese at the honor fridge at the cheesemaker’s honor fridge down the hill, or simply take another wander in the Swiss Alps before heading off to more Jungfrau Top of Europe experiences.

Just remember to verify when the last gondola departs down to Grindelwald village (seasonal differences) – or you’ll have to spend another night enjoying the splendor of Grindelwald First Mountain Inn. Oh darn!



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Rating the Berggasthaus First

90%

Rating Our hotel ratings will tell you what we think of an individual property and are not a comparison to other hotels in the area. They are valid at the time of our visit. We frequently pay for our hotel stays and will disclose whenever we receive discounts or comped room nights as a part of a hotel stay. Our ratings are a percent, with 100% being perfect and 0% someplace not even a rat would stay. We rate cleanliness/upkeep (e.g. dust on the windows, dirt under the beds, unclean bathroom fixtures, need of repairs/maintenance, etc.), comfort (e.g. taking into account quiet, how comfy the bed is, if there is a nice robe, a comfy chair, etc.), amenities (e.g. free parking, breakfast included and its quality, free Wi-Fi, free bikes, fitness gear, workout room, pool, etc. -- and we are not fans of hotels that say they include things, but then charge a facilities fee!), location (e.g. how easy is it to get around by foot, bike, and car or how perfectly situated a hotel is for a quiet getaway), and value (e.g. how much we feel we got in return for the amount charged).

Cleanliness/Upkeep
95%
Comfort
85%
Amenities
80%
Location
100%
Value
90%