Grindelwald – a name known by millions of Harry Potter fans the world over thanks to its use by J.K. Rowling – is in fact a small town nestled in the mountains above Interlaken, in the Jungfrau Region of central Switzerland. The town is a magnet for winter sports and hiking aficionados as it is surrounded on all sides by mountains: the Männlichen ridge and the slopes down from First provide sledge runs, ski pistes and good hiking trails. The main alpine chain – including the world-famous Eiger North Wall – seals off the southern side of the valley and provides a huge challenge for many climbers.
The only main access point to the town is from the north, via a narrow road and a partially-cogged railway winding up the Lütschine valley from Interlaken. This affords little hindrance to the thousands of tourists who come to admire the landscape, cover the slopes and stroll amongst the tourist shops along the main street in search of a suitably Swiss trinket to take home. The town is best visited between seasons, when the cablecars and public transport continue to run, but the crowds are greatly lessened and one can get up above the town to admire the views and revel in the majestic silence.