From the verdant green valleys of Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland to the glacier-clad giants that ring Zermatt, this deluxe tour is a superb and varied introduction to the Swiss Alps. We’ll stay in 3 different villages over our 5 night stay – Kandersteg, Leukerbad and Zermatt – as we make our way from north to south across the Alps. With numerous options for daily activities, it’s a great trip for hikers and non-hikers alike. Our hikes can be easy or hard, depending on your desires, while at night we have will bask in luxury in 4-5 star hotels with spas and gourmet meals. This tour includes a 1st class rail pass for your convenience that you can use to travel to and from the airport.
Our first stop will be Kandersteg, a bit off-the-beaten-path in a quiet corner of the lush Bernese Alps, with a stunning nearby lake and waterfalls galore. From here we’ll cross the historic Gemmi pass, on a centuries-old mule trail that winds its way improbably over the huge cliffs that separate Kandersteg from Leukerbad in the south. Leukerbad itself is a pleasant surprise, a charming low-key resort famed for their thermal spas. Then we’ll spend 2 nights in Zermatt, Switzerland’s famous mountain village at the foot of the powerful Matterhorn, surrounded by the highest peaks in the country. This deluxe tour will stay in a beautiful 4-star hotel in Kandersteg, a 5-star spa resort in Leukerbad, and high above Zermatt in the world-class 5-star Riffelalp Resort, just above treeline with views in every direction.
A typical day starts with a continental buffet breakfast at your hotel – a bounty of delicious fresh baked bread and croissants, local meats and cheeses, eggs made to order, cereal, fruit, coffee and juice – which gives us the energy needed for the day ahead. Soon we’ll be out on the trail, where you’ll get to choose between an easier 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 at the hotel, visit the pool and spa, or perhaps do a bit of shopping in town. All of our hotels on this tour have great facilities and gorgeous pool and spa areas, so we’ll look forward to having time each day to enjoy those. Later, we’ll enjoy dinner together at our hotel or another local restaurant. These are true gourmet, multi-course feasts, sometimes centered on local specialties, prepared by some of the finest chefs in the Alps. Our hotels all serve fabulous food, and our dinners will be exquisite, memorable affairs.
Kandersteg – The Gemmi to the Matterhorn Tour starts with your arrival in Zürich or Geneva and a train ride to Kandersteg.
The trip takes about 3 hours and will be covered by your first-class railpass. Kandersteg is a quiet and scenic village surrounded by mountains, lakes, waterfalls and miles of hiking trails. We’ll stay in the 4-star Hotel Doldenhorn, a lovely chalet-style hotel on the outskirts of the village with a new pool and spa and gourmet meals.
Kandersteg – One of the must-see hikes in the region starts with a gondola ride up to the Oeschinensee lake, an emerald-green jewel of a lake, surrounded on three sides by mountains.
Cowbells jingle and waterfalls plunge over dramatic cliffs into the lake below. Hike up above the lake for bird’s-eye views through meadows and forest on a scenic loop back to Kandersteg, where we return to our hotel for a second night.
Leukerbad – Hike over the historic Gemmi pass on a mellow approach trail beneath the pyramidal Balmhorn and Altels peaks.
Views of the Valaisian Alps to the south spur us on as we wind our way down the serpentine mule-path to the village of Leukerbad, where we stay in an elegant 3-star hotel and enjoy a relaxing soak in one of the town’s thermal baths. Convenient cable cars can be utilized for an easy hike.
Zermatt – After breakfast, we’ll say good-bye to Leukerbad, and travel a few hours to nearby Zermatt. You’ll have a chance to check out the atmospheric village center, and perhaps a visit to the Matterhorn museum, before transferring by historic cogwheel train to Riffelalp.
Enjoy wonderful views of the Matterhorn before settling in for dinner at the luxurious 5-star Riffelalp Resort, one of Switzerland’s finest hotels.
Zermatt – Taking quiet trails through fields and forest, we have a range of choices up to the wide ridge of Gornergrat, past marmots and small glacial lakes, to unforgettable viewpoints along the Gorner ridge.
The jumbled mass of the Gorner glacier stretches out before us, and behind that, Monte Rosa, Lyskamm, the Breithorn, and the Matterhorn form a spectacular backdrop.
Depart – After breakfast at our hotel, we’ll say our good-byes and leave for our post-trip destinations.
Check out our Grand Tour, staying in 4 and 5-star hotels and traveling by 1st class train between Mürren, Zermatt and Pontresina.Learn more ›
This 6 night guided tour takes us off-the-beaten-path to some of the wonderful hidden treasures of Switzerland’s Valais region.Learn more ›