(Inn-to-inn hiking tour)
Length: 11 days, 10 nights
Hike Rating: Strenuous
|2014 Departures: || June 30-July 10 |
| July 21-31 |
| Aug 11-21 |
| Aug 24-Sept 3 |
| Sept 10-20|
|Tour Cost: ||$4295 per person |
|$400 single supplement |
|Included: ||5 nights 3-star hotels |
|5 nights mountain inns |
|all breakfasts and lunches, 9 dinners |
|guided hikes daily |
|all transfers to/from trailheads|
|luggage transfers between villages|
|2nd class Swiss Card rail pass |
This tour covers the most scenic and challenging sections of the Alpine Pass Route across the Bernese Oberland, our home region in Switzerland. This route, which is also known as the via alpina, was recently named the "World's best hike" by Backpacker magazine, and we agree! Our tour differs from other tours of the Bernese Oberland by adding a couple of memorable detours to areas that should not be missed. This tour is a beautiful collection of supreme alpine scenery, remote inns, and quiet trails. On our inn-to-inn tours we'll move to a new location nearly every day, crossing many passes, and we'll stay in a combination of 3-star village hotels and traditional country inns, where you'll have a private room with bathroom down the hall. We'll have two nights without our luggage when we will need to carry just a few extra things, and on other days we'll send the luggage ahead, so you can hike with the freedom of a small daypack.
Our typical day starts with a continental buffet breakfast at our inn - delicious fresh baked bread, local cheeses, cereal, fruit, coffee and juice - which gives us the energy needed for a full day of hut-to-hut hiking. Soon we'll be out on the trail for 6-8 hours, where often you'll get to choose between an easier or more strenuous hike for the day and we explore the Alpine Pass Route. Each morning, you'll be handed a lunch to carry, and at a mid-point along the way we'll choose a beautiful spot to stop and enjoy our picnic. We get a lot of compliments on our imaginative lunches - making them something to look forward to as well!
We should finish our hike around 4-5 pm, giving you time to wash up and relax. You'll have your own room every night, often with private bathroom. Each evening we'll enjoy dinner together at our inn. These are multi-course feasts, featuring local specialties like bratwurst, rösti, or cheese fondue, and will definitely be hearty, filling, well-earned and very delicious. We will leave one dinner in Murren free, so you will have a chance to explore on your own.
Day 1 Arrive in Switzerland, and transfer by train to the quiet town of Meiringen to start the Bernese Oberland tour. We'll meet in the afternoon and take a bus ride up to our remote inn to start the tour. Waterfalls and imposing mountains watch over us in this relaxing corner of the Alps. (Schwarzwaldalp Inn)
Day 2 After a hearty breakfast, we'll hike over the Grosse Scheidegg pass and enjoy our first views of the Eiger and of the Grindelwald valley. With 10,000 vertical feet separating valley from peak, Grindelwald sits at the base of one of the most impressive vertical mountain walls in the world. Perhaps we'll detour via the postcard-perfect Bachsee lake before winding down to the glacier village of Grindelwald and our lovely 3-star hotel. (Hotel Wolter or Derby)
Day 3 Today we'll explore the Grindelwald valley and hike to the famous Kleine Scheidegg pass. The entire day is dominated by great close-up views of the Eiger North Face - perhaps the most notorious climb in the Swiss Alps. We'll descend to the quiet village Wengen for a restful night. (Hotel Bären)
Day 4 We'll enjoy spectacular views of the Jungfrau and surrounding mountains on the way down from Wengen. Our trail winds through flowery meadows and dense woods to the lush Lauterbrunnen valley floor. After a break for lunch, we'll hike to a wild and isolated corner of the Lauterbrunnen valley for a memorable night in a remote mountain inn in one of the most spectacular corners of the Bernese Oberland. (Obersteinberg Inn)
Day 5 We have a couple of trail options today - the first, a panoramic climb over a high ridge with breathtaking views in every direction, the second, a beautiful wooded hike filled with waterfalls. Both lead through sleepy Gimmelwald to the car-free village of Mürren, with its unparalleled cliffside views of the surrounding mountains. This marks the end of Part A of the tour. Stay in a comfortable 3-star hotel. (Hotel Jungfrau or Edelweiss)
Day 6 There are numerous dayhike possibilities around Mürren. One beautiful trail leads up to the local peak, Birg, for superb all-around views, and past a small glacial tarn. Or feel free to just unwind in one of the most scenic and relaxing villages in the Alps. Dinner will be on your own tonight in Murren. (Hotel Jungfrau or Edelweiss)
Day 7 Our trail meanders back into the deep recesses of the Sefinen valley before crossing the first of two major passes, Sefinenfurke, into the tiny hamlet of Griesalp. A moderate but long climb past Rotstock hut and over the pass, followed by a very steep descent, is rewarded by a friendly welcome at our rustic but pretty inn. (Golderli Inn)
Day 8 We'll need an early start for our most challenging day of the tour. Crossing our second major pass, Hohturli, we'll hike past glaciers and high mountain peaks to the jewel-like Oeschinen lake - an emerald-green lake surrounded by cliffs which has to be seen to be believed. We stay in a 3-star hotel in the quiet village of Kandersteg for the night. (Hotel Adler or Alfa Soleil)
Day 9 We'll quickly escape town on a quiet path leading south towards the Klus gorge. The power of the Kander river is impressive as we climb through this narrow gorge into the hidden Gasterntal valley. This is a picture-perfect hideaway - a small, U-shaped valley, carpeted with wildflowers and guarded by savage cliffs. Waterfalls bursting from the sides of cliffs add to the scenery. Stay in a pleasant inn with great mountain and waterfall views. (Steinbock Inn)
Day 10 For our grand finale we'll choose from a couple great hikes. One of our favorites is a strenuous climb to the nearby Lötschen pass. Old Roman trails lead us through meadows and woods, with a short stretch across a glacier, to the small hut at the pass where the views to the south are superb! We'll return to the same inn at the bottom of the valley that night. A fitting way to end a great tour. (Steinbock Inn)
Day 11 Today we say good-bye to the Bernese Oberland and depart for Kandersteg and our post-tour destinations.
|Arrive:|| Plan to arrive the day your tour begins at the latest (flights from the US would depart the day before). The closest airport is Zurich, where there is a train station at the airport that will take you to Meiringen. This tour includes a Swiss rail pass that you can use for travel between the airport and the airport or border. |
|Depart:|| Plan departure for the day after your tour finishes at the earliest. Plan on one night at a hotel in your departure city if you have a morning flight (we can set this up if you like). |
See our Bernese Oberland photo gallery
Dates don't work? Check out our similar Bernese Oberland Highlights tour.
Read Herb Terns' account of his Obersteinberg hike on an Alpinehikers self-guided tour in 2011.
Length: 6 days, 5 nights
Hike Rating: Strenuous, 5-8 hours/day, 2500'-4500' elevation gain/loss
For those without the time to devote to the full Bernese Oberland Tour, you are welcome to join us for half the tour. Part A starts in Meiringen, and crosses two moderate passes on the way to Mürren. Part B picks up in Mürren, with two strenuous passes on the way to the Gastern valley near Kandersteg. Part A has more easier hiking options, with larger villages and more famous mountains. Part B is more challenging with quieter trails and destinations. Both stand alone as a beautiful tour in their own right, with plenty of great hiking, wonderful views, and pleasant surprises along the way.
|2014 Departures: || June 30-July 5 |
| July 21-26 |
| Aug 11-16 |
| Aug 24-29 |
| Sept 10-15|
|Tour Cost:|| $2795 per person |
|$200 single supplement |
|2014 Departures: || July 5-10 |
| July 26-31 |
| Aug 16-21 |
| Aug 29-Sept 3 |
| Sept 15-20|
|Tour Cost:|| $2795 per person |
|$200 single supplement |
If you're an independent hiker and prefer to go at your own pace, or have travel dates that don't match up with our guided tours, you may prefer to arrange the Bernese Oberland tour as a self-guided hiking tour.
This self-guided tour includes prepaid hotels with breakfast and dinner most nights (most dinners are not included on the budget versions of the tour), a Swiss Transfer Ticket rail pass for 2 free days of rail travel, hiking maps, detailed route descriptions, and lots of useful information that will help your trip run smoothly.
We offer 6-day, 8-day and 11-day versions of the Bernese Oberland Traverse, but this tour can be customized to fit your needs. If you'd like to lengthen or shorten the tour, upgrade hotels (or go rustic), or create a customized tour of Switzerland from scratch, let us know. We have extensive experience across the Alps, and will be happy to work with you to build the hiking vacation that best suits your needs.
See our self-guided Bernese Oberland Traverse page