Although it was truly our “first” cliff walk, it’s actually pronounced Feerst and is the name of a mountain near Grindelwald in the Berner-Oberland region of Switzerland.
The First Cliff Walk is a 300 meter long, extremely high elevated walkway that sometimes hugs the cliffs of the mountain and sometimes crosses into the great wide open. It’s pretty exciting although probably not for people who are afraid of heights. But frankly, nothing could be scarier than the (handwoven?) canopy walk over Malaysia’s Taman Negara rainforest. That’s a story for another day.
The views from the Cliff Walk are amazing (duh)! But even if you’re not afraid of heights, walking along a piece of metal bolted to a mountain is still pretty disconcerting.
You can start on either end of the walk and if you want, you can walk it both directions. It’s actually really nice to walk both ways because you’ll get to experience the different views. The walk itself is only about 15 minutes. It’s definitely doable to walk to the end, turn around, and walk back.
We went toward the end of the day, about an hour before closing during September and it wasn’t too crowded. We had plenty of time to walk both directions and enough space to accommodate the occasional tourist coming the other way.
At one end of the walk there is a rest area. There is a place to buy beverages and a seating area to enjoy the views without the vertigo.
Getting to the First Cliff Walk
To get here, take the gondola from Grindelwald to the Grindelwald-First stop. It’s a pretty long ride, about 30 minutes. You won’t be bored though because…those views!
How Much Does the First Cliff Walk Cost?
It’s free, yahoo! However, the round trip gondola ride is about $70 without a travel pass or half fare card. But a 30 minute gondola ride over the Grindelwald valley is practically an attraction unto itself. (And I’d be a little sketched out if it was super cheap – like what is this, a handwoven gondola?)
Although the walk is free, it does have specific hours of operation. Definitely check out the First Cliff Walk website before heading over. The First Cliff Walk experience itself shouldn’t take more than about 45 minutes to an hour; longer if you linger over a drink and views at the rest area. However, don’t forget to account for time to take the gondola to and from Grindelwald which adds about an hour to the trip.
All the First Activities…From the Top Down
First Cliff Walk is as high as you can go, but there is a veritable wonderland of attractions along the mountainside. Here are some of the other things you can try out, if you want to spend more time (and money) here. These are mostly summer/fall activities from about June to October. The winter season brings snow and other things to do.
The First Glider lets you fly down the mountain strapped into a contraption belly down, as if you were a bird. We didn’t do this one but it looked fun if not a bit frightening, heading face first down the mountain. To get to the First Glider you start at Schreckfeld, the waypoint further down the mountain, and get pulled up to First, before being released. Kind of like a giant slingshot.
If you’re more into vertical jaunts down the mountain you can do the First Flyer which is a zipline from First down to Schreckfeld.
From Schreckfeld you can rent mountain carts and take them along a path down to the next lower waypoint, Bort.
From Bort you can rent Trotti bikes, which are a sort of scooter that can be taken down the path all the way back to Grindelwald. Bort has a restaurant and a playground also.
We didn’t know about any of these other activities and got to First with just about an hour before the lifts closed so unfortunately didn’t have time for any extra fun. However, the First Cliff Walk and views are reason enough to make the trek up here. The rest is just icing on the cliff.