One of the Great Hikes of the World

Overview

The Via Alpina, Europe’s first trans-Alps trail, links a network of ancient footpaths through seven countries along the backbone of Europe’s greatest mountain range. We’ve chosen the most spectacular section—a 75-mile stretch across Switzerland’s legendary mountain landscapes, a true “hiker’s hike” that brings you from lovely lakeside Lucerne to the alpine village of Kandersteg, set in an amphitheater of snowy mountains. You’ll follow airy balcony trails below ice-crowned peaks, cross a series of gorgeous passes, stay in welcoming inns in historic mountain hamlets, enjoy hearty meals (raclette, anyone?), and enjoy up-close views of the major massifs of the Alps including the Eiger (13,025'), the Monch (13,401'), and the Jungfrau (11,401')—the venerated North Face of the Alps.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-4
Lucerne / Meiringen From

Lucerne, we hike across passes with views of icy mountains, then down to Engelberg, set beneath Mt. Titlis and surrounded by a huge sweep of craggy peaks. Heading through isolated valleys, follow a scenic trail through alpine meadows that leads to Meiringen, with its Reichenbach Falls of Sherlock Holmes fame, and an ideal spot for a rest day or optional hikes.

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Days 5-6
Grosse Scheidegg Pass / Grindelwald / Kleine Scheidegg

Head to Grosse Scheidegg Pass (6,500'), with its marvelous views of a wall of glaciated mountains, then along a dramatic trail lined with waterfalls close to the infamous North Face of the Eiger.

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Days 7-8
Lauterbrunnen / Murren

A gorgeous hike brings you to the Lauterbrunnen Valley (2,640'), graced by some 72 cascading waterfalls including thundering, glacier-fed Trummelbach Falls. In car-free Murren (5,413'), enjoy a day to explore, with optional hikes including a route into a beautiful hanging valley dotted with hay barns and chalets.

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Days 9-11
Sefinenfurke Pass / Kandersteg

The dramatic Sefinenfurke Pass (8,600') is a highlight of the Via Alpina, with a magnificent panorama of the giants of the Alps. From the Hohturli Pass (9,120'), descend past icefalls and glaciers to Oeschinensee (5,250'), a glacial lake of impossibly turquoise hue set in an amphitheater of snowy peaks. Depart on Day 11 via Kandersteg.

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Highlights

Highlights

Feast your eyes on stunning views of the North Face of the Alps, including the mighty Eiger
Enjoy delicious Swiss specialties, from chocolate to artisan cheeses (yummy Vacherin!)
Cozy hotels, including the historic “base camp” inn for Victorian-era climbers attempting to scale the Eiger

Details

Length: 11 days
Cost From: $6595  
Arrive: Lucerne, Switzerland
Depart: Kandersteg, Switzerland
Lodging: 10 nights hotels and mountain inns
Meals: All meals included except 2 lunches and 2 dinners
Activity: Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level:

10 hiking days on moderate to steep trails, 5-8 hours a day, altitudes up to 9,120 feet, van support (for luggage or if you wish to skip a day's hike). This is a strenuous hiking trip, read “What the Trip is Like” for more details.

Recent Photo Blog Posts

On the Trail With Tania

Recent Photo Blog Posts

On the Trail With Tania

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