Self-guided Bernese Oberland Traverse (Inn-to-inn hiking tour)
Length: 11 days
Hike Rating: Strenuous
I consider this to be our signature tour, a superb trip that covers the most scenic and challenging sections of the Alpine Pass Route across the Bernese Oberland region. Our tour differs from most tours of the Bernese Oberland by adding a couple of memorable detours to areas that should not be missed, such as Obersteinberg and Gasterntal, and a layover day in Mürren to allow more time in the best hiking region of the Alps. The Bernese Oberland tour is a beautiful collection of supreme alpine scenery, remote inns, and quiet trails. On this inn-to-inn tour, you'll hike to a new location almost every day, crossing many passes, and will stay in a combination of 3-star village hotels and traditional country inns. The standard tour includes luggage transfers and stays in a mix of 3-star village hotels and remote mountain inns, while the budget version stays almost every night in simpler guesthouses and mountain inns. On either version, luggage can be transported separately from village to village, so you will have it with you most nights, and only need to carry a large daypack. This is a great inn-to-inn tour for experts and beginners alike, with plenty of strenuous trails along with great easier options most days.
Your typical day starts with a delicious buffet breakfast at our hotel - a feast of freshly baked bread and croissants, local meats and cheeses, cereal, fruit, eggs, coffee and juice - which gives you the energy needed for the day ahead. Before setting out on your hike, visit a bakery and market for lunch supplies, or bring some money for a stop in one of the alpine restaurants along your route. Soon, you'll be out on the trail for 6-8 hours, with many hiking options to choose from.
You should finish your hike around 4 pm, giving you time to wash up, relax, perhaps settle into the pool, or just gaze upon the outside panorama from your room balcony. After that, you'll enjoy dinner at your hotel restaurant most nights. These are multi-course feasts, often centered on local specialties like bratwurst, rösti, or cheese fondue. Our hotels all serve fabulous food, and dinners will be hearty, filling, well-earned and very delicious.
You'll have many hikes to choose from, but here are some of our favorites:
Day 1 Arrive in Switzerland, and transfer by train to the quiet town of Meiringen to start the Bernese Oberland tour. Waterfalls and imposing mountains watch over you in this relaxing corner of the Alps. Alternately, you can spend your first night in a quiet mountain inn above Meiringen. (Meiringen or Schwarzwaldalp)
Prefer a guided tour? Check out our guided Bernese Oberland Traverse or similar Bernese Oberland Highlights tours, or ask about a private guide for your family or group. If you'd prefer a village-based tour for easier hikes, check out our Murren and Grindelwald-based Jungfrau tour.
Read Herb Terns' account of his Obersteinberg hike on an Alpinehikers self-guided tour in 2011.
Self-guided Bernese Oberland, Parts A and B
Length: 6 days, 5 nights
Hike Rating: Moderate-Strenuous
For those without the time to devote to the full Bernese Oberland Tour, we can also arrange half the tour as a self-guided tour. Part A starts in Meiringen, and crosses two moderate passes on the way to Mürren. It's a beautiful route, passing many of Switzerland's most famous mountains and waterfalls, and is a good choice for early-season hikes, families, and people of varying abilities. Part B picks up in Mürren, with two strenuous passes on the way to the Gastern valley near Kandersteg. This stretch is more challenging, and generally shouldn't be hiked until July. For strong hikers, it offers quieter trails and more off-the-beaten-path destinations. Either half is a wonderful tour. Please ask if you have questions about which is right for you. We can also arrange a beautiful 5 night tour, from Wengen to Kandersteg, for the same price.
Self-guided Bernese Oberland Traverse, 8 day
Length: 8 days, 7 nights
Hike Rating: Strenuous, 5-8 hours/day, 2500'-4500' elevation gain/loss
Our favorite 8-day stretch of the Bernese Oberland Traverse is simply nights 2-8 of the full tour, starting in Grindelwald and finishing in Kandersteg. If you don't have time for the full 11-day tour, this is a great option.
Self-guided Bernese Oberland Traverse, details:
Our self-guided prices are per person, based on two people sharing a standard double room, and include:
All self-guided tours include hiking maps, detailed route descriptions (including longer, shorter, and rainy day options), train schedules, sightseeing suggestions, and lots of useful information to help ensure a successful trip. You'll also have a local contact to call if you have any questions or problems during your trip.
The standard tours include dinner all nights except in Meiringen and Kandersteg (nights 1 and 8 of the full tour). On the 8-day tour, Grindelwald to Kandersteg, we include dinner all nights except for your 2nd night in Murren. Standard tours include luggage transfers between villages. You will not have your luggage while at the mountain inns on nights 4 and 7 of the full tour. The budget tours include dinner only at Obersteinberg and Griesalp (nights 4 and 7 of the full tour), and while luggage transfers are not included in the budget tour, you can easily do this yourself by train (about $12 per bag per transfer).
Not included are lunches, drinks with dinners, extras (such as laundry, phone calls from the room, etc), or transportation to and from trailheads.
If you'd like to lengthen or shorten this tour, add destinations, or create a customized tour of Switzerland from scratch, let us know. We have extensive experience all over Switzerland, and will be happy to work with you to build the hiking vacation that best suits your needs.
For info on the Bernese Oberland and the rest of Switzerland,
call toll free: (888) 509-7810
or direct: (503) 459-3940
Or email: email@example.com
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