“If heaven isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, send me back to Gimmelwald.” (Rick Steves)
Gimmelwald is a beautiful mountain village located in Bernese Highlands region of Switzerland, on the western side of Weisse Lutschine valley just above Stechelberg. It’s a perfect place for Alp-aholics because it offers incredible views with majestic cliffs, colorful mountains and impressive peaks. Aside from the picturesque surroundings, the travelers are drawn by the peaceful setting and quiet laid back attitude.
Gimmelwald can be explored in 30 minutes and has a population of about 130. The main occupations of the inhabitants are farming and tourism. An interesting detail about this place is that it was saved from development as a ski resort by having it falsely declared an avalanche zone. In time, the village kept its old traditions and independence from the modern tourism. It is a place where most of the houses have preserved their original character in spite of conversions and renovations that had taken place over the years. There are no shops or food stores, the only specialties you will find can be directly achieved from the producers.
Getting here is possible by car ride from Interlaken (half an hour) or Bern (one hour). Be sure to stop at Murren’s grocery store first, as Gimmelwald doesn’t have one.
According to wikitravel, there are lots of things to do in the area: whether is a hiking tour or a ski ride, a climbing session on a though wall or a paragliding experience. All you need is your spirit of adventure! The main hike everyone must do at least part of the way (and catch a gondola for the rest if tired) is the one to the Schilthorn, aka Blofeld’s hideout in the James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Another particularly incredible trail is the 7-hour round trip hike from Gimmelwald to Oberhornsee. The first 40 minutes or so is up one of the steepest inclines in the area, but it soon gives way to the most amazing series of flower-filled Alpine meadows, cow pastures, and waterfalls you’ll ever see. A more relaxing walk is to Allmendhubel and along the way you’ll enjoy a near-constant view of the beautiful valley. If you choose to go at Gimmelwald in the winter, for skiing or other winter sports, an excellent track can be found in Murren, at about 30 minutes walk.” You can find more information on Gimmewald (including accommodation, hiking tours and other activities) here.