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Self-Guided Classic Bernese Oberland Traverse

Our signature tour, this superb trip covers the most scenic and challenging sections of the Alpine Pass Route across the Bernese Oberland region.

Self-Guided Classic Bernese Oberland Traverse

Our signature tour, this superb trip covers the most scenic and challenging sections of the Alpine Pass Route across the Bernese Oberland region.

  • Self-Guided,
  • Inn-To-Inn,
    Activity Level
  • Moderate to Challenging,

The Bernese Oberland Traverse is our signature tour, an itinerary we’ve offered since year one, and continues to be one of our best.

This is the land of fairytales, with enormous mountains, meadows filled with wildflowers, waterfalls, car-free villages and remote inns. It’s everything you hoped for in an alpine hike, and if you don’t know where to start, start here. Our tour differs from most tours of the Bernese Oberland by adding memorable detours to areas that should not be missed, such as Obersteinberg and Gasterntal. You’ll be glad you came. You may not want to leave.

This is a great inn-to-inn tour for accomplished hikers and beginners alike, with beautiful and enjoyable easier options most days, but plenty of strenuous trails over high passes if you want a big day. It’s the best hiking region of the Alps. Period.


See our guided version

  • 11 days, 10 nights
  • Jun 20-Sep 30, 2024
  • $3690 Per Person
  • $850 Single Room

Itinerary At a Glance

Days 1-3

Schwarzwaldalp to Wengen

You know you’ve arrived in the Alps when you hear the cowbells. This is the heart of the Alps. Hike from a country inn surrounded by mountains and farms to the Eiger-filled views of Grindelwald, under the North Face to car-free Wengen. They don’t make mountains more stunning than this.

Days 4-6

Obersteinberg to Murren

Our favorite stop is worth working for. Obersteinberg is a rustic inn and working farm hidden at the far end of the unforgettable Lauterbrunnen valley. It seems time forgot about this place. With waterfalls and views like this, you definitely won’t. Then it’s on to car-free Murren, an absolute paradise for hikers. Stunning views of the Eiger and Jungfrau are a little hard to believe, but they’re real.

Days 7-8

Murren to Kandersteg

The crux of the trip, you’ll hike over two high, steep passes away from the Jungfrau and through the traditional valley of Kiental. One night in a cozy remote inn, countless waterfalls and one stunning blue lake later, arrive in quiet Kandersteg.

Days 9-11


The cozy little valley of Gasterntal is one of our special finds. Absent from most Bernese Oberland itineraries, we love to finish with a detour into this Yosemite-like, with plunging waterfalls, bucolic alpine farms and big-time mountains. Depart for your post-tour destinations after breakfast.


Your tour includes 5 nights in village hotels and 5 nights in mountain inns, with all breakfasts and 8 dinners. Luggage transfers between villages (not to Obersteinberg or Griesalp) are included. You will also receive topo maps, detailed route descriptions, and sightseeing suggestions. We are always available by phone if you have questions during your tour.

Train travel to and from the region is not included. You can buy tickets when you arrive, or ask about adding a rail pass to your tour.

Full Itinerary

Day 1


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.

Arrival: Zürich or Geneva. Plan to arrive by the day your tour starts. There is a train station in both the Zürich and Geneva airports, with hourly departures for this region. Travel time, 3:45 hrs (Zürich) or 4:30 hrs (Geneva).

The last bus to the inn departs Meiringen for Schwarzwaldalp at 16:20. Your flight should arrive by 12:00 (Zürich) or 10:30 (Geneva) to expect to make it on time.  Otherwise, plan to come a day early.

Schwarzwaldalp Inn
  • Dinner

Day 2


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.

HIKE: 6-8 hours, 11 miles; Elevation: 3060 ft up, 2720 ft down

3-Star Hotel Gletschergarten or similar
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 3


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.

HIKE: 6-8 hours, 12 miles; Elevation: 2960 ft up, 4100 ft down

3-Star Hotel Schonegg, Alpine or similar
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 4


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!”

HIKE: 6-8 hours, 10 miles; Elevation: 3230 ft up, 1600 ft down

Obersteinberg Inn
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 5


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 will be on your own in Mürren.

HIKE: 4-6 hours, 5 miles; Elevation: 2100 ft up, 2580 ft down

3-Star Hotel Jungfrau, Edelweiss or similar
  • Breakfast

Day 6


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. Dinner is on your own in Mürren tonight.

HIKE: 5-7 hours, 8.5 miles; Elevation: 2040 ft up, 2040 ft down

3-Star Hotel Jungfrau, Edelweiss or similar
  • Breakfast

Day 7


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.

HIKE: 7-9 hours, 10 miles; Elevation: 3200 ft up, 3910 ft down

Waldrand Inn
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 8


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.

HIKE: 8-10 hours, 10 miles; Elevation: 4850 ft up, 5580 ft down

3-star Hotel Bernerhof or similar
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 9


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.

HIKE: 5-7 hours, 10 miles; Elevation: 1970 ft up, 740 ft down

Steinbock Inn
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 10


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.

HIKE: 7-9 hours, 7 miles; Elevation: 4060 ft up, 4060 ft down

Steinbock Inn
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 11


Today you say good-bye to the Bernese Oberland and depart for Kandersteg and your post-tour destinations.

Departure: Zürich or Geneva. You will take a small local bus to the train station in Kandersteg.  It is a 4 hr journey to either Zürich or Geneva airports, and it is not possible to arrive before 12:00 at either. Plan for an afternoon flight, or to spend a night closer to the airport before departing the next day.

  • Breakfast

Tour Options

Self-guided Classic Bernese Oberland Traverse


  • Great options for both harder and easier days
  • A moderate inn-to-inn with 8 stops in 10 nights
  • Private rooms all nights and luggage 8 of the 10 nights
  • Enchanting remote finds like Obersteinberg and Gasterntal
  • Wildflowers, mountains, waterfalls, cows, cheese, chocolate!
  • Our top choice for a first trip to the Alps
  • $3690Per Person
  • $850Single Room

Self-guided Best of the Bernese Oberland


  • Great options for easier days – our most flexible tour
  • A moderate inn-to-inn with 5 stops in 6 nights
  • Private rooms all nights and luggage 5 of the 6 nights
  • Enchanting stops like Obersteinberg, and epic mountains daily
  • Everything… this is fairytale Alps
  • Also the best choice for early season (late May – June)
  • $2790Per Person
  • $650Single Room

Self-guided Deluxe Bernese Oberland Traverse


  • Great options for easier and harder days
  • A moderate inn-to-inn with 4 stops in 8 nights
  • Waterfalls, flowers, epic mountains, fairytale Alps
  • 4-star hotels, 1st class rail, luggage every night
  • The most luxurious tour to our favorite region
  • $4990Per Person
  • $1250Single Room

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