Gimmelwald, Switzerland


Hi! Thanks for stopping by. Whether you are a backpacker on your way to Europe, a Rick Steves follower, or an outdoor enthusiast, I'm sure you had heard about this village high in Swiss Alps. Prior to my first trip to Switzerland, I had heard and read about it too. But hearing and reading, or even looking at pictures is one thing, seeing with one's own eyes and experiencing Gimmelwald is another.

Many Alp-aholics say, "If Heaven isn't what it's cracked up to be, send me back to Gimmelwald." I couldn't agree more. At first sight I fell in love with this sleepy mountain village of about 130 people. No cars, no TV, no newspapers, not even a food store, but many cows and plenty of cheese. The only way to get there is by hiking or taking a cable car. It's a different world--a million-dollar view, great people at the Mountain Hostel, friendly locals, the perfect atmosphere, no worries. It is extremely hard to leave.

Over the years, I have made many friends in Gimmelwald. The place attracts the very best people from all corners of the globe. The memories last forever.

The Mountain Hostel is hands down the friendliest hostel in Europe with breathtaking views. Hiking in the mountains, communal dinners (amazing meals and great company!), waking up in the morning to the "Muh!" song, listening to people playing guitars in the evening, local yodelling -- a true Swiss entertainment, raking hay with local farmers, and simply breathing the air of the Alps -- these are a few of my favorite things. Looking at the photos on this website one can understand what brings me (and many others) back to Gimmelwald year after year.

I first came to Gimmelwald in July of 2000 planning to spend one or two days and ended up staying a week (perhaps this sounds familiar). I only left because I had to catch a flight back home to New York. If I had found this place in the beginning of my trip, there is a good chance that my four-country tour would have turned out to be a one-country tour. Once I got back home, I couldn't stop thinking about the Alps, and three weeks later I was back in Gimmelwald for two more weeks.
The Music of the Mountains

Sometime in the winter of 2000-01 I decided to create this website. Surprisingly, the domain was available.

Fast forward to 2009...I have been returning to Gimmelwald for many years, and it always remains the way I remember it from a year (or a decade) before -- beautiful and peaceful. Sometimes the status quo is a great thing. The Mountain Hostel is always full of new interesting people, and people from previous seasons returning back, or in some cases, never leaving. It's always an unforgettable experience -- joy, laughs, happiness -- what life should be all about.

And even though my stay in Gimmelwald is never long enough, I have always felt that I truly lived there, not just stayed there. Coming back to Gimmelwald feels like coming home. There is something magical about that place which is impossible to explain in words to someone who has never been there. It is the place I long to return to. Until then I'll see it in my dreams...

Those of us who have been lucky to discover this heaven on earth all share the same four words of goodbye--I WILL BE BACK!

Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau

Last updated: May 25, 2009

by Alex Galitsky