(Village-based walking/hiking tour)
Length: 13 days, 12 nights
Hike Rating: Moderate - Strenuous
|Budget Tour Cost: ||$2590 per person |
|$300 single supplement |
|Standard Tour Cost: ||$3790 per person |
|$400 single supplement |
|Deluxe Tour Cost: ||$5290 per person|
|$500 single supplement |
The Jungfrau + Matterhorn tour provides perhaps the perfect combination of pretty villages and premier hikes in Switzerland. Start in Mürren, and continue on to Grindelwald, Kandersteg and Zermatt, on one of our signature tours. You'll stay in comfortable and classy hotels in each village, enjoying some of the finest hiking in the Alps by day, returning to the same hotel each night, and will travel between villages on scenic train and bus rides. This tour encompasses most of the main sights that you won't want to miss, such as the Jungfrau, Eiger, and Matterhorn mountains, and many small, off-the-beaten-path places as well, such as the dramatic scenery of relatively-unknown Kandersteg.
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 freshly squeezed 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. These are multi-course feasts, often centered on local specialties like bratwurst, rösti, or cheese fondue, but may also feature chicken, fish, or other continental specialties. Our hotels all serve fabulous food, and dinners will be hearty, filling, well-earned and very delicious. Typically we leave one dinner in Mürren and one dinner in Kandersteg free, so you will have a chance to explore on your own.
You'll have many hikes to choose from, but here are some of our favorites:
Day 1 Arrive in Switzerland, and transfer by train Mürren. There is a train station in both the Zurich and Geneva airports, and transferring to Mürren will be an easy introduction to Swiss precision and friendliness. The trip itself is incredibly scenic, and takes about 4 hours. Mürren is an idyllic, car-free village, perched atop a sheer 3000ft. cliff above the waterfall-filled Lauterbrunnen valley (picture Yosemite with a Swiss village on top). You'll have a chance to breathe the fresh mountain air and listen to the tinkle of not-so-distant cowbells before dinner, and settling in to your hotel for the night. (Mürren)
Day 2 One of our favorite hikes starts in town, and gently meanders up the hills to the pastoral setting at Spielboden. Here you cross the Schiltbach stream, and start a steep and invigorating ascent to the local peak of Bryndli. Take your lunch enjoying birds-eye views of Mürren and the Lauterbrunnen valley, perhaps with a soaring golden eagle for company. From here the trail levels off, and becomes a relaxing stroll through flowery meadows to a quiet alpine hut at Bogangen. The trail back leads over a small ridge for more great views, before dropping back down to Mürren. (Mürren)
Day 3 The Upper Lauterbrunnen valley curls back beneath the white-capped Breithorn - considered by many to be the most perfect mountain in the region. It's also a nature preserve, and contains many wonderful hiking trails. One of our favorites takes you to the small farm at Obersteinberg, where the proprietors keep cows and make cheese by the same simple methods that have been used for centuries. This part of the valley also contains some of the area's prettiest waterfalls. (Mürren)
Day 4 Start with a morning stroll through the sleepy village of Gimmelwald. From here a wooded trail leads down past impressive waterfalls to the floor of the Lauterbrunnen valley. After a relaxing picnic lunch, a flat hike leads through the center of this amazing valley. 3000' cliffs tower on either side, bursting with some of Switzerland's most famous waterfalls. After arriving in the town of Lauterbrunnen, transfer by cablecar back to Mürren. (Mürren)
Day 5 Leaving Mürren, a 1 hour train ride brings you to the classic resort village of Grindelwald. Fronted by the impressive rock wall of the Bernese Alps, the ridge behind Grindelwald hosts some of the greatest panorama hiking in the Alps.
The Bachalpsee, a small glacial lake, provides the perfect mirror for enjoying the surrounding mountain scenery. Follow less traveled trails through rocky fields and old pine forests to this lake and other favorite viewpoints. (Grindelwald)
Day 6 Another energetic hike takes you right into the heart of the Grindelwald mountains. It starts with a densely wooded climb to the impressive Gletscherschlucht - a steep narrow gorge gouged out by the lower Grindelwald glacier. From here, your path continues up, out of the woods, along an airy trail to Bäregg. This sunny perch sits in a cirque among the mountains, and is a wonderful place to watch birds soar as avalanches crash onto the glacier far below. (Grindelwald)
Day 7 After breakfast together, say good-bye to Grindelwald, and board the train for the quiet village of Kandersteg, with time for a dayhike up to a spectacular emerald-green lake surrounded by cliffs, waterfalls, and glacier-clad peaks. Enjoy the peaceful ambiance of this quiet alpine village. (Kandersteg)
Day 8 Among the great dayhikes from Kandersteg is a quiet path leading south towards the Klus gorge. The power of the Kander river is impressive, as you 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. (Kandersteg)
Day 9 Leaving Kandersteg, take the train to Zermatt, the lively mountain village at the base of the Matterhorn. You'll have a chance to take a short hike, visit the alpine museum, or spend the rest of the day exploring town. Zermatt also hosts some of the best hotels in Switzerland, with luxurious pools and spas and world-class cuisine. (Zermatt)
Day 10 Walking through the village takes you past 400 year-old houses and into the history of this fascinating town. From there, one trail takes you up to the Findeln glacier, hiking through larch forests and passing numerous small lakes with the Matterhorn towering in the distance. Afterwards, enjoy exquisite food and great Matterhorn views from your hotel. (Zermatt)
Day 11 Taking quiet trails through fields and forest, you have a range of choices up to the wide ridge of Gornergrat, past marmots and small glacial lakes, to what has to be one of the finest viewpoints in Europe. Once you gain the ridge, the jumbled mass of the Gorner glacier stretches out before you, and behind that, Dom, Monte Rosa, the Breithorn, and the Matterhorn form a spectacular backdrop. (Zermatt)
Day 12 There are many peaceful trails criss-crossing the larch forests outside of Zermatt. One favorite leads across a suspended wooden walkway through a narrow river gorge. After a harrowing (but safe) walk through the gorge, you'll emerge and continue on to the enchanting, centuries-old hamlets of Zum See and Zmutt. Perhaps you'll make the strenuous climb to the Schwarzsee lake, or even up to the Hornli hut (a sort of Matterhorn base camp) to enjoy fabulous, close-up views of the Matterhorn and and a sweeping look back at the valley below. (Zermatt)
Day 13 After breakfast, you'll say adieu and leave for your post-trip destinations.
|Arrive:|| Plan to arrive the day the tour starts at the latest (flights from the US would depart the day before). The closest airport to Murren is Zurich, but Geneva is also a reasonable choice. There are train stations in each airport that will take you to Murren. The Swiss Card rail pass is definitely recommended for this tour.|
|Depart:|| Plan departure for the day after the tour finishes at the earliest. The closest airports to Zermatt are Geneva and Zurich, both of which are about 3 hours away. Plan on one night at a hotel in your departure city if you have a morning departure, which we can help arrange if you like.|
|Want a guided tour? Check out our guided Jungfrau + Matterhorn tour, or ask about a private guide for your family or group.|
Our self-guided prices are per person, based on two people sharing a standard double room, and include:
Budget tour: 12 nights prepaid hotels in Murren, Grindelwald, Kandersteg, Zermatt, private room with shared bathroom, 12 breakfasts, 2nd class 4-day Swiss Flexipass rail pass for 4 free days of rail travel plus 50% discounts on most other trains and cablecars.
Standard tour: 12 nights prepaid 3-star hotels with private room and bathrooom, 12 breakfasts, 10 dinners (3 in Murren, 2 in Grindelwald, 1 in Kandersteg, 4 in Zermatt), 2nd class 4-day Swiss Flexipass rail pass, and train tickets for Murren-Grindelwald.
Deluxe tour: 10 nights prepaid 4-star hotels, 2 nights 5-star hotel (Grindelwald), 12 breakfasts, 8 dinners (3 in Murren, 1 in Kandersteg, 4 in Zermatt), 1st class 4-day Swiss Flexipass rail pass, and train tickets for Murren-Grindelwald.
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.
Not included are lunches, drinks with dinners, extras (such as laundry, phone calls from the room, etc), or transportation outside this itinerary. The budget tour does not include any dinners, but they can be added optionally.
On our deluxe tour, other options include the superb 5-star Riffelalp Resort in the mountains above Zermatt, which would be a memorable upgrade. Or we can substitute a very nice 4-star hotel in Grindelwald for the 5-star hotel there. Ask if you're interested.
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.
Learn more about custom and self-guided tours