This is the express version of our signature Bernese Oberland Traverse, a superb trip that covers the heart of region in just one week. The Bernese Oberland is tour we’ve offered since year 1, and continues to be our favorite. 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 Schwarzwaldalp and Obersteinberg, to allow a more intimate visit to 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 every day, crossing many passes, and will stay in a combination of 3-star village hotels and traditional mountain inns. You will have luggage transfers most nights, with 2 nights away from your bags where you will need to carry a few extra clothes and supplies. There is great variety to the trails, with plenty of strenuous options along with great easier hikes 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, and our hotels can easily cater to vegetarians, gluten-free or other dietary requirements. Dinners will be hearty, filling, well-earned and very delicious. We leave dinner in Mürren free for you to explore on your own.
If you have a bit more time for the full tour, check out our slightly longer Classic Bernese Oberland Traverse, which adds an extra day in Murren and a two nights in the hidden Gasterntal valley outside of Kandersteg.
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.
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.
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!”
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. Dinner is on your own in Murren tonight.
Griesalp – The trail climbs 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.
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.
depart – Today you say good-bye to the Bernese Oberland and depart Kandersteg for your post-tour destinations.
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