This inn-to-inn hike is our signature tour, a superb trip that covers the most scenic and challenging sections of the Alpine Pass Route across the Bernese Oberland region. It’s an itinerary we’ve offered since year 1, and continues to be one of our best. Our tour differs from most tours of the Bernese Oberland by adding a couple of memorable detours to areas that should not be missed, such as Obersteinberg and Gasterntal, and a layover day in Mürren to allow more time in the best hiking region of the Alps. The Bernese Oberland tour is a beautiful collection of supreme alpine scenery, remote inns, and quiet trails. On this tour, you’ll hike to a new location almost every day, crossing many passes, and will stay in a combination of 3-star village hotels and traditional country inns. The standard tour stays in a mix of 3-star village hotels and remote mountain inns and includes luggage transfers, so you will have it with you most nights and only need to carry a large daypack. This is a great inn-to-inn tour for experts and beginners alike, with plenty of strenuous trails along with great easier options most days.
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, with many hiking options to choose from.
You should finish your hike around 4-5 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. We normally leave dinner in Meiringen and one dinner in Mürren free for you to explore on your own.
If you don’t have time for the full tour, we can also arrange for you to do just half of the tour, or any number of days in between. The Bernese Oberland Traverse, Part A covers days 1-5 from Meiringen to Murren, goes through a more populated area with the most famous mountains and very good options for long and short hikes both. The 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, and transfer by train to the quiet town of Meiringen to start the Bernese Oberland tour. In Meiringen, you might make a quick stop to pick up any last-minute supplies in town, then 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. You’ll have a private room and a warm welcome for your first night in the Swiss Alps.
Grindelwald – After a hearty breakfast, you’ll start hiking right from quiet meadows around Schwarzwaldalp, where you’ll hike over the Grosse Scheidegg pass and 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, anchored by the mighty North Wall of the Eiger. Perhaps you’ll detour via the postcard-perfect Bachsee lake before winding down to the glacier village of Grindelwald to your hotel.
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 you’ll explore the Grindelwald valley and hike to the famous Kleine Scheidegg pass under the Eiger North Face. You’ll have the option of taking the high, rocky Eiger trail directly under the North Face, or spend more time lower down, on quiet trails that we’ll point out to you through dazzling landscapes.
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. Descend to the quiet car-free village Wengen for a restful night.
Today’s hike: 6-8 hours, 10 miles; Elevation: 1720 ft up, 2840 ft down.
Obersteinberg – You’ll enjoy spectacular views of the Jungfrau and surrounding mountains on the way to a memorable night in a remote mountain inn at Obersteinberg. Obersteinberg is a rustic inn and working dairy farm, and one of the most authentic Swiss experiences we know.
Your trail winds through flowery meadows and past countless waterfalls along the lush Lauterbrunnen valley floor. After a break for lunch, continue hiking to Obersteinberg, a wild and isolated corner of the Lauterbrunnen valley, for a rustic night in one of the most spectacular corners of the Bernese Oberland. When people come back for a second trip after the Bernese Oberland, we often hear, “We want more Obersteinbergs!”
Today’s hike: 6-8 hours, 11 miles; Elevation: 3230 ft up, 1580 ft down.
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 routes bring you through sleepy Gimmelwald to the car-free village of Mürren, with its unparalleled clifftop views of the surrounding mountains.
Today’s hike: 5-7 hours, 9 miles; Elevation: 2880 ft up, 3350 ft down.
Mürren – There are numerous dayhike possibilities around Mürren. The Lobhorn hut is a favorite dayhike, with beautiful views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains across the valley.
Some people use this day to take the cable car above Mürren to the Schilthorn, with it’s James Bond-themed revolving restaurant and 360 degree views. Or you can take the train across the valley to Jungfraujoch, an amazing trip that tunnels through the Eiger, and brings you to a massive glacier viewpoint at 11,388 ft. Feel free also to just unwind in one of the most scenic and relaxing villages in the Alps.
Today’s hike: 5-7 hours, 8-10 miles; Elevation: 1850 ft up, 1850 ft down.
Griesalp – The trail meanders up into the deep recesses of the Sefinen valley before crossing the first of two major passes, Sefinenfurke, into the tiny hamlet of Griesalp.
A long climb past Rotstock hut brings you to the pass, a rocky notch separating two valleys, followed by a very steep descent. You’ll reach Griesalp, a collection of farms and summer homes with just a couple simple and rustic inns.
Today’s hike: 6-8 hours, 10.5 miles; Elevation: 3320 ft up, 4180 ft down.
Kandersteg – You’ll need an early start for your most challenging day of the tour. Crossing the second major pass, Hohtürli, you’ll hike relentlessly uphill to the pass, where the Blümlisalp hut offers welcome refuge and a hote meal, then down 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. Stay in the quiet village of Kandersteg for the night. Dinner on your own in Kandersteg tonight.
Today’s hike: 7-9 hours, 10 miles; Elevation: 4590 ft up, 5350 ft down.
Gasterntal – You’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.
Today’s hike: 5-7 hours, 10 miles; Elevation: 1840 ft up, 630 ft down.
Gasterntal – For your grand finale, one of our favorite hikes is a strenuous climb to the nearby Lötschen pass.
Old Roman trails lead through meadows and woods, past a couple of hanging valleys, with a short stretch across a glacier, to the small hut at the pass where the views to the south are superb! Return to the same inn at the bottom of the valley that night. A fitting way to end a great tour.
Today’s hike: 6-8 hours, 8 miles; Elevation: 3850 ft up, 3850 ft down.
depart – Today you say good-bye to the Bernese Oberland and depart for Kandersteg and your post-tour destinations.
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