The Eiger and the Matterhorn are two of most historic and stunning mountains in Switzerland. The Eiger is in the Bernese Oberland, fairy-tale Swiss Alps, in an area filled with wildflowers, waterfalls, and quiet trails to remote alpine inns. The Eiger’s fearsome North Face was one of the last mountain walls to be conquered (in the 1930’s by a team that included Heinrich Harrar), and was the scene of many dramatic and unsuccessful attempts. Farther south, the Matterhorn also has a rich climbing history, the last of the main alpine peaks to be climbed by any route (in 1867 by a team that included Edward Whymper), it is one of the world’s defining mountains, and anchors a region filled with great hikes and memorable views. The stylish and fun mountain village of Zermatt makes a great base to explore this region. On this guided tour we’ll spend 4 nights inn-to-inn hiking in the Bernese Oberland region at the foot of the Eiger, followed by 3 nights taking dayhikes around Zermatt and the Matterhorn. We’ll stay in comfortable and classy 3 to 4-star hotels each night, with one night in a memorable mountain inn.
Our typical day starts with a continental buffet breakfast at our hotel – delicious fresh baked bread and croissants, local meats and cheeses, cereal, fruit, coffee and juice – which gives us the energy needed for the upcoming tours. Soon we’ll be out on the trail, where you’ll get to choose between an easier walk or more strenuous hike for the day. 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 pm, giving you time to wash up, relax, perhaps do a bit of shopping in town or indulge in the hotel pool and spa. After that, we’ll enjoy dinner together at our hotel or another local restaurant. These are usually multi-course feasts, featuring both local and international specialties like chicken, fish, or cheese fondue. Our hotels enjoy excellent reputations for their fine cuisine. We will leave one night in Zermatt free, so you will have a chance to explore on your own.
Grindelwald – Arrive in Switzerland, and transfer by train with your included rail pass to the Alpine village of Grindelwald, stunningly set at the base of the massive Eiger, one of the most famous and dramatic mountains in the world.
We’ll meet in the afternoon and will enjoy dinner together this first night as we talk about the trip to come.
Wengen – Today we’ll explore the Grindelwald valley and hike to the famous Kleine Scheidegg Pass. If conditions are right, we can take the Eiger Trail right to the base of the mountain, with countless waterfalls cascading off it’s vertical cliff faces.
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 via a favorite, little used trail to the car-free village Wengen for a restful night.
Tschingelhorn inn – Our trail winds through flowery meadows and dense woods to the lush Lauterbrunnen Valley floor. The Lauterbrunnen Valley is reminiscent of Yosemite Valley, with numerous waterfalls cascading down either side of the valley. Truly an unbelievable sight.
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. Tschingelhorn is a simple mountain inn set in a stunning location, looking across the valley at the Jungfrau Mountain, Rottal Glacier, and numerous impressive waterfalls. There is no luggage transport, but we’ll enjoy charming private rooms (bathroom and shower down the hall) and a filling and delicious meal… this is always a favorite stop!
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 Eiger, Jungfrau and other surrounding mountains. Stay in a comfortable 3-star hotel.
Zermatt – After breakfast, we’ll take a morning transfer to Zermatt, the lively village at the base of the Matterhorn. It’s nice to start with a walking tour of the village that takes you past 400 year-old houses and into the history of this fascinating town.
Afterwards, take a short hike above Zermatt for views of the surrounding mountains, perhaps to the centuries-old hamlets of Zum See and Zmutt, before returning to the wonderful spa and friendly reception at the Hotel Europe.
Zermatt – We like to get off the beaten path in Zermatt, and the Trift Valley is ideal for quiet trails and sweeping views.
Take a secret trail to a favorite viewpoint high above town, then enjoy a refreshing stop at the Trift inn, known for their homemade ice tea made from local alpine herbs. Dinner will be on your own tonight in Zermatt.
Zermatt – There are many peaceful trails criss-crossing the larch forests outside of Zermatt. We’ll take one that leads us to a suspended wooden walkway through a narrow river gorge.
After a thrilling walk through the gorge, we emerge and continue on high ridge above town. Perhaps we’ll make the strenuous climb 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. You’ll have the option to hike or take the gondola down. Afterwards, we’ll enjoy exquisite food and great Matterhorn views from our hotel on the outskirts of Zermatt.
depart – Today you say good-bye to the Matterhorn and depart for your post-tour destinations.
Our Bernese Oberland Highlights tour combines great dayhikes from comfortable village hotels with a short and spectacular inn-to-inn hike.Learn more ›
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