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 this inn-to-inn tour, you’ll move to a new location nearly every day, crossing many passes, and you’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. You’ll have one night without our luggage when you 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.
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, where often you’ll get to choose between an easier or more strenuous hike for the day as you explore the Alpine Pass Route.
You should finish your hike around 4 pm, giving you time to wash up, relax, 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 can easily cater to vegetarians, gluten-free or other dietary requirements. Dinners will be hearty, filling, well-earned and very delicious.
If you would like a longer self-guided tour for the full 10-night route from Meiringen to Gasterntal, see our Self-guided Bernese Oberland Traverse page. If you would like to hike the 2nd half of this trip, our Self-guided Bernese Oberland Traverse, Part B covers days 6-10 from Murren to Gasterntal, and is in general, more remote, rugged, and strenuous than the first half of the tour.
Schwarzwaldalp – Arrive in Switzerland. There is a train station at the Zurich airport that allows a quick and scenic transfer by train to the quiet town of Meiringen to start the Bernese Oberland tour. After a short stop to pick up any last-minute supplies in town, you’ll take a bus even further into the mountains, to a mountain inn high above town.
Waterfalls and imposing mountains rise dramatically over you in this relaxing corner of the Alps. Schwarzwaldalp is a small, traditional inn surrounded by flower-filled meadows and contented cows, and makes a great introduction to inn-to-inn hiking in the Alps. You’ll have a private room and a warm welcome for your first night in the Swiss Alps.
Grindelwald – After a hearty farm breakfast, start hiking right from your inn, under the impressive Wetterhorn mountain and over the Grosse Scheidegg pass, where you enjoy your 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 you’ll detour via the postcard-perfect Bachsee lake before winding down to the glacier village of Grindelwald.
Wengen – Today you’ll explore the Grindelwald valley and hike to the famous Kleine Scheidegg pass under the shadow of the dramatic Eiger North Face.
The entire day is dominated by great close-up views of the Eiger’s North Face – perhaps the most notorious mountain wall in the Swiss Alps. You might take the higher Eiger trail directly below the Eiger’s main wall, or opt for off-the-beaten-path trails through dramatic meadows. We have you covered! Descend to the quiet village Wengen for a restful night.
Obersteinberg – Enjoy spectacular views of the Jungfrau and surrounding mountains on the way down from Wengen, or take a train to ease your morning. Your trail then winds through flowery meadows and past countless waterfalls along the lush Lauterbrunnen valley floor.
After a break for lunch, hike to a wild and isolated corner of the Lauterbrunnen valley for a memorable night in a remote mountain inn and working farm in one of the most spectacular corners of the Bernese Oberland. Obersteinberg is perhaps our favorite inn to send people to, and an authentic Swiss hiking experience that shouldn’t be missed.
Mürren – You 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 the little-known Sefinental valley, a quiet hanging valley steep peaks and dramatic waterfalls. Then you hike through the sleepy farming community of Gimmelwald to the car-free village of Mürren, with its unparalleled clifftop views of the surrounding mountains. Our home base in the Switzerland and one of the best hiking bases in the Alps.
depart – Today you say good-bye to the Bernese Oberland and depart for your post-tour destinations.
This self-guided hiking tour of the Jungfrau region in the Bernese Oberland is a perfect one-week introduction to Switzerland.Learn more ›
The Matterhorn is, quite simply, the most powerful mountain in the Alps and perhaps in the world.Learn more ›