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. Our hotels all serve fabulous food, and can cater to vegetarians, gluten-free or other dietary requirements. Dinners will 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.
If you are interested in joining us for just half of the tour, you are welcome to join either the Bernese Oberland Traverse, Part A on days 1-5 from Meiringen to Murren, or the Bernese Oberland Traverse, Part B on days 6-10 from Murren to Gasterntal.
Schwarzwaldalp – 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)
Grindelwald – 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)
Today’s hike: 6-8 hours, 10 miles; Elevation: 2750 ft up, 2390 ft down. Please note there are longer and shorter options for most days.
Wengen – Today we’ll explore the Grindelwald valley and hike to the famous Kleine Scheidegg pass under the Eiger North Face.
The entire day is dominated by great close-up views of the Eiger North Face – perhaps the most notorious mountain wall in the Swiss Alps. We’ll descend to the quiet village Wengen for a restful night. (Hotel Bären)
Today’s hike: 6-8 hours, 10 miles; Elevation: 1720 ft up, 2840 ft down.
Obersteinberg – Enjoy spectacular views of the Jungfrau and surrounding mountains on the way to Obersteinberg, a remote mountain inn and working farm.
Our trail winds through flowery meadows and past countless waterfalls along 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 one of the most spectacular corners of the Bernese Oberland. (Obersteinberg Inn)
Today’s hike: 6-8 hours, 11 miles; Elevation: 3230 ft up, 1580 ft down.
Mürren – 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. Stay in a comfortable 3-star hotel. (Hotel Jungfrau or Bellevue)
Today’s hike: 5-7 hours, 9 miles; Elevation: 2880 ft up, 3350 ft down.
Mürren – 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 Bellevue)
Today’s hike: 5-7 hours, 8-10 miles; Elevation: 1850 ft up, 1850 ft down.
Griesalp – 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. (Waldrand or Golderli Inn)
Today’s hike: 6-8 hours, 10.5 miles; Elevation: 3320 ft up, 4180 ft down.
Kandersteg – We’ll need an early start for our most challenging day of the tour. Crossing the second major pass, Hohtürli, you’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.
For bad weather, or if you simply don’t feel like tackling the pass, you can take a bus around to Kandersteg and enjoy a mellow dayhike up to the lake instead. We stay in a 3-star hotel in the quiet village of Kandersteg for the night. (Hotel Victoria or Bernerhof)
Today’s hike: 7-9 hours, 10 miles; Elevation: 4590 ft up, 5350 ft down.
Gasterntal – We’ll quickly escape town on 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. Stay in a pleasant inn with great mountain and waterfall views. (Steinbock Inn)
Today’s hike: 5-7 hours, 10 miles; Elevation: 1840 ft up, 630 ft down.
Gasterntal – 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)
Today’s hike: 6-8 hours, 8 miles; Elevation: 3850 ft up, 3850 ft down.
depart – Today we say good-bye to the Bernese Oberland and depart for Kandersteg and our post-tour destinations.
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