Not counting its sheer Alpine beauty (3,393 feet), this town remains among the most popular in the Berner Oberland for the simple reason that it is one of the most accessible of the region's mountaintop resorts. Strung along a mountain roadway with one main train station (and another used mainly for excursions to and from the mountains), it makes an excellent base for skiing, shopping, and dining—if you don't mind a little traffic. Once you get off the main road, there are gorgeous Alpine hikes in all directions.

Grindelwald may be surrounded by the peaks of the Wetterhorn, Schreckhorn, Mönch, and Jungfrau, but it is best known as the "Eiger village"—it faces the terrifying north face of the peak that has claimed so many mountain climbers' lives that some call it the "death wall." In the summer of 2006 the Eiger almost claimed Grindelwald itself as its newest victim: headlines around the world described the large chunk of rock face that broke off (because of unseasonably warm temperatures) and plummeted down the mountainside, covering Grindelwald in dust for several days.

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