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An Expat's Guide to Living In Grindelwald, Switzerland

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Imagine waking up every morning, opening a window, and seeing lush green meadows full of mowing cows, crystal-clear rivers, and breathtaking mountains with glaciers. This is exactly how it feels living in Grindelwald, one of the most picturesque places in Switzerland.

I was happy to live and work in Grindelwald as an expat for a year and it improved my life. So, in this article, I’ll share with you how it feels to live in a small Swiss mountain town, its pros and cons, and how you can also score a job in such a dreamy location.

So let’s move to Grindelwald in Switzerland!

What Is It Like Living in Grindelwald?

Our daily view in Grindelwald

Grindelwald is a tiny mountainous town located in the Jungfrau region in the Swiss Alps. It's just a 30-minute drive from Interlaken, the adventure capital, 2.5 hours by train from Lucerne, and 3.5 hours from Zurich.

After traveling through the entire Switzerland, I can say that the Jungfrau region is truly the most beautiful place in the country. It offers everything you picture Switzerland to be. So if you're considering moving here or just spending a holiday in the country, look no further.

Grindelwald has just about 3,700 inhabitants (as of the last census in 2022), a few shops, and many hotels. It might not be for everyone as it's slightly isolated from big cities such as Geneva, Zurich, or Lucerne.

But you'll love the place if you're more introverted and like spending time in nature.

It's the perfect location for all adventure and nature lovers. You can enjoy everything from skiing, snowboarding, and sledding in the winter to hiking, paragliding, mountain biking, and exciting mountain excursions in the summer.

And that's exactly what I loved the most about living in Grindelwald. After work, you'll enjoy the beauty and all the exciting activities it offers.

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Job Opportunities in Grindelwald

If you were considering moving to Grindelwald and working here, you can work in multiple locations.

The main industry employing people is the hospitality industry since Grindelwald is mainly an adventure and relaxing spot where many travelers come for holidays.

Working in the Hotel Industry

I worked at the front desk as a receptionist in one of the best hotels in Grindelwald. Generally speaking, the hospitality industry offers the highest number of jobs. So, if you want to work in a hotel, you have a high chance of finding work in Grindelwald.

An advantage of working in a hotel is getting a seasonal job. So if you don’t like it or want more locations, you can only work there for 6 months up to a year, and then leave.

Considering the hotel industry, you can get a job as a:

  • hotel receptionist
  • manager
  • barman
  • waiter
  • massage therapist
  • maintenance person

PRO TIP: Search all the hotels in Grindelwald and look at their website to see their available positions. I also email the hotels I like, even if they don’t have job listings. You never know; they might still be looking for someone. So, just send multiple emails.

Other Job Positions in Grindelwald

You can get a job in another area if you don’t want to work in a hotel. Popular job positions in Grindelwald are:

  • Salesperson in a shop
  • Driver
  • Summer Guide
  • Guide for adventure sports (paragliding, canyon swing, rafting, via ferrata climbing)
  • Skiing instructor
  • Cable car operation
  • Marketing Manager
  • Software developer/engineer - you can work for a hotel

Skills Required For Working in Grindelwald

Suppose you want to work in Grindelwald (or Switzerland generally). In that case, the main skill you need is to speak German, French, or Italian, depending on where you work. Need to brush up on your language skills? Mondly is a great app for speaking, listening, reading, and writing practice.

In Grindelwald, you must speak German and English and understand at least a bit of Swiss German.

There are also many jobs where you don’t need to speak German. These can be in the hotel industry (maintenance guy, marketing), basically, any job in which you won’t contact a customer.

Further, you can get along only with English as a guide, operate cable cars, or work closely with English-speaking guests.

It’s a holiday resort town, so many English-speaking people are welcome, and employers often leave you some extra time to learn German.

Cost of Living in Grindelwald

It might come as a surprise, but living in Grindelwald is fairly cheap compared to other locations in Switzerland.

I must admit, Switzerland is expensive, but if you know how to go about finding the best deals, you'll be fine.

Cost of Rent in Grindelwald

A rent in Grindelwald can cost anywhere between 600 CHF and 2000 CHF per month. For reference, at the time of writing this article $1 USD = 1.18 CHF.

If you’re single, you can pay as low as 600 CHF per month for a small single room. If you’re lucky, you might get a tiny kitchen, but most single rooms don’t have one.

I spent 1 year living in Grindelwald with my partner; we had a small studio with a nice kitchen and paid 800 CHF. That’s fairly cheap for Switzerland, not to mention the stunning view we enjoyed from our balcony (see the picture below).

Most of the time, if you work in the hospitality industry, you can get such small apartments for a good price, like we did.

The living situation in Grindelwald is tricky as there are few accommodation options. So, I recommend making contacts before trying to rent something. Or contact hotels if they have any spare apartments for a long rental.

If you want a bigger apartment with multiple rooms (3 rooms), you can pay between 1500 CHF and 2000 CHF. If it’s too much for you, you can always share the apartment with your friends and colleagues to lower the rent cost.

The great thing about living in Grindelwald is that all additional costs, such as water and electricity, are already included in the price. So you don’t have to pay anything extra.

Other expenses you might have when living in Grindelwald are food, going out, transportation, and activity costs.

Cost of Food & Going Out in Grindelwald

Food and going out are as expensive as in other areas of Switzerland. A pizza costs around 20 CHF, and a bigger meal can cost around 35 CHF per person. A beer costs approximately 10 CHF.

If you want to save on food, grocery shopping is a great and affordable option. Grindelwald has 2 grocery shops: Coop and Migros. And you can buy everything you need.

Cost of Transportation & Activities in Grindelwald

One of the best things about living in Grindelwald is that you can save a lot on transportation and activities. You can purchase a seasonal card (summer or winter pass) as a resident. With this pass, you can travel on all cable cars and trains within the region, including Interlaken. 

In the summer months, you pay around 350 CHF for half a year once and have no other expenses.

Similarly, in the winter months, you pay about 500 CHF for a 6-month ski pass and can do the same.

This way, you’ll enjoy all the incredible activities the place offers.

Advantages of Living in Grindelwald

Hiking incredible trails is one of the many perks

One of the main advantages of living in Grindelwald is that you'll enjoy Switzerland's most beautiful natural surroundings.

Grindelwald and the entire Jungfrau region offer various activities, from hiking to incredible mountain excursions via ferratas. Even if you don't like hiking, you can just take various cable cars, enjoy the stunning views, and have a delicious lunch in a mountain hut.

Similarly, in the winter, you can enjoy one of the best skiing resorts in the country. When you buy a seasonal pass, you can get to Interlaken for free for an unlimited number of times.

Not only will it help you to see every corner of the region, but you'll also save a lot.

Disadvantages of Living in Grindelwald

The main disadvantage of living in Grindelwald is the town's remoteness. It's definitely not for you if you enjoy a bigger city and need to be surrounded by many people or participate in many events.

Grindelwald is a small, rather quiet town, and I loved the place. But sometimes, you can need the city hassle in your life. So if you can't survive without a disco every day, are an art and museum lover, or need more activity options rather than hiking, Grindelwald is probably not the best place to live for you.

Getting a Visa & Work Permit to Live in Grindelwald, Switzerland

If you want to move to Grindelwald, Switzerland, and get a visa as a foreigner outside of the EU, the easiest way is to get a job first. Your employer can help you get a long-term Visa for a year. 

He needs to renew it every year, though, and some employers find it difficult, so they rather employ EU residents. It’s just the harsh truth.

Long-Term Visa for Grindelwald

My tip is to make some contacts first and try to get a job. Then, your employer can get a long-term visa for you.

It might be even more difficult as a digital nomad, as you can only stay in Switzerland for 90 days. After these 3 months, you must leave the country and stay outside for 180 days. Then you can return to Switzerland, but can again stay only 90 stays. So you would have to leave the country every 3 months. If you plan on staying here without a visa for just 90 days of less, I recommend SafetyWing as great travel insurance.

Getting a Work Permit as EU Citizen

If you’re an EU citizen, it’s much easier for you to move to Switzerland. What you’ll apply for is a work permit. Again, the first step is to apply for a job. Once you have the job and move to Grindelwald, you can start getting the work permit once you’re already there.

It’s fairly easy as you only have to go to the local town hall office, fill in a few papers, and after a month or so, you’ll get the work permit.

The work permit is issued based on your job contract. If you’re a seasonal worker, meaning your contract stays a starting date and finish date of your employment, you’ll get a work permit L. It’s a temporary work permit.

You can get a new work permit after you move jobs or your contract is prolonged.

If you have an unlimited contract, you’ll get work permit B. This means you can stay in Switzerland as long as you want and work there.

There is also an option to get a work permit C, which you can only get after 5 or 10 years of living in Switzerland as a foreign national.

As an EU resident, you can also spend 3 months in Switzerland without a work permit (as a digital nomad or a traveler). After that, you’ll have to get a work permit.

Best Things To Do in Grindelwald & The Jungfrau Region

Hero & this photo by depositphotos.com

As I mentioned above, Grindelwald and the entire Jungfrau region are some of the most beautiful places in Switzerland (if not the most beautiful).

It’s not only a great place to live, but also to come for a holiday here. The Jungfrau region comprises many small towns, including:

  • Grindelwald
  • Lauterbrunnen
  • Wengen
  • Murren

Grindelwald is the biggest, offering some of the best excursions.You can also stay in Interlaken and make day trips to the Jungfrau region.

I suggest you visit Grindelwald before moving here, just to familiarize yourself with the place and see if you can imagine living here. When planning your visit, I highly recommend checking the weather forecast first. Choosing the best time to visit Switzerland is key, as the weather might significantly worsen your first visit.

There are so many outdoor activities to enjoy in the area all year round. You can get to the famous Jungfraujoch (the highest train station in Europe) by taking the fast Eiger Express cable car. Or you can head to the other side and ride up to Grindelwald First, where you can enjoy various adventure activities like a cliff walk, First Glider, or First Flyer.

Take a train or a cable car to the other side of the valley. You can enjoy multiple waterfalls from Lauterbrunnen. Or head up to Schilthorn Mountain and enjoy breathtaking views.

The Jungfrau region offers some of the best hiking trails in Switzerland, too. The best are the Eiger Trail, Bachalpsee Lake - Faulhorn - Schynige Platte, Panorama Trail, Via Alpina, or Via Ferrata in Murren. 

And as a resident, you’ll get to enjoy all of it whenever you want to.

Will You Move to Grindelwald?

This is how living in Grindelwald feels like. Of course, it comes with some disadvantages, but let’s be honest; there is no perfect place to live. Grindelwald is, however, perfect for those who want to live surrounded by beautiful nature and enjoy more quiet places.

I’m sure you’ll love living in Grindelwald if you decide to make it home for two months (or longer). 

Happy Living!

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