Self-guided Great Alpine Classics

Switzerland, France Village-based

For a dream trip to Alps, why not take in all of the grandest destinations, scenic train rides, and mountain vistas?

Self-Guided Tour

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  • Length
  • 13 days, 12 nights
  • Departure Dates
  • Jun 08 – Sep 20, 2015
  • Tour Cost
  • Standard: $4590 per person
    $400 single supplement

    Deluxe: $5790 per person
    $600 single supplement
Reserve this Tour


This tour covers 4 classic mountain destinations – hike beneath the Jungfrau, Mont Blanc and Matterhorn mountains, and ride the Glacier Express to the peaceful Engadine region. All four areas contain numerous unforgettable hikes and vistas that make this tour a classic in every sense! Our welcoming hotels, walkable villages, and beautiful locations make this a perfect choice for non-hikers as well.

Your tour starts in Chamonix, France, the stylish and historic village at the base of Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps. After 3 nights there you continue on to Mürren, a gorgeous car-free village perched dramatically atop a cliff surrounded by beautiful mountains and peaceful scenery. Then you’ll transfer by train to Zermatt, another hiker’s paradise, nestled beneath the incomparable Matterhorn. Finally you’re off on the Glacier Express train to Pontresina, the scenic and serene jewel of the St. Moritz lakes region. Along the way, you’ll stay in absolute comfort in traditional, exquisite 3 and 4-star hotels. If you don’t have enough time for the full tour, we offer shorter versions of either half of the Alpine Classics tour, West or East.

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 freshly squeezed 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 pm, giving you time to wash up, relax, perhaps settle into the pool, 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, but may also feature chicken, fish, or other continental specialties. Our hotels all serve fabulous food, and dinners will be hearty, filling, well-earned and very delicious. Typically we leave off all dinners in Chamonix and one dinner at each of the other locations, so you will have a chance to explore on your own.

Map of Self-guided Great Alpine Classics

Itinerary More +

Day 1

Chamonix - The Alpine Classics tour starts with arrival in Geneva or Zurich, and transfer by shuttle or train to Chamonix, France – the world-famous resort and mountaineering center at the base of Mont Blanc. 

Day 2

Chamonix - One of the classic hikes in the region takes you to Lac Blanc, high above the village. 

Day 3

Chamonix - Another favorite dayhike in the region rises up to Mer de Glace, a long glacier slicing down in an elegant S-curve toward the valley floor. 

Day 4

Mürren - A scenic 5 hour train ride takes you past alpine lakes, through the vineyards of the Rhone valley, and into Mürren, our home away from home in Switzerland. 

Day 5

Mürren - One of our favorite hikes starts in town, and gently meanders up the hills to the pastoral setting at Spielboden. 

Day 6

Mürren - The Upper Lauterbrunnen valley curls back beneath the white-capped Breithorn – considered by many to be the most perfect mountain in the region. 

Day 7

Zermatt - After breakfast, say good-bye to Mürren, and board the train for Zermatt, the lively alpine village at the base of the Matterhorn. 

Day 8

Zermatt - Taking quiet trails through fields and forest, you have a range of choices as you gain the wide ridge of Gornergrat, past marmots and small glacial lakes, to what has to be one of the finest viewpoints in Europe. 

Day 9

Zermatt - There are many peaceful trails criss-crossing the larch forests outside of Zermatt. You might take one that leads along a suspended wooden walkway through a narrow river gorge.

Day 10

Pontresina - You’ll spend the day crossing Switzerland on the famous Glacier Express train, an all-day journey that brings you to St. Moritz before a short transfer to the pretty town of Pontresina. 

Day 11

Pontresina - In Pontresina, the mighty Morteratsch glacier is an impressive destination. 

Day 12

Pontresina - From Pontresina, one of our favorite hikes anywhere is the panoramic Muragl traverse above Pontresina. 

Day 13

depart - After breakfast at your hotel, say good-bye and leave for your post-trip destinations. 

Included Standard tour:
12 nights prepaid 3-star hotels
12 breakfasts, 6 dinners
Geneva-Chamonix airport transfer
1st class 4-day Swiss Flex rail pass
Glacier Express reservations
Glacier Express lunch

Deluxe tour:
12 nights prepaid 4-star hotels
12 breakfasts, 6 dinners
Geneva-Chamonix private airport transfer
1st class 4-day Swiss Flex rail pass
Glacier Express reservations
Glacier Express lunch

also included:
one month Half-fare card
topo maps
detailed route descriptions
sightseeing suggestions
train schedules
local contact for questions

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