One of the Great Hikes of the World

Overview

The Via Alpina, Europe’s first trans-Alps trail, links a network of age-old footpaths along the backbone of Europe’s greatest mountain range. We’ve chosen the most spectacular section—a 75-mile stretch across Switzerland’s legendary mountains—for a true “hiker’s hike” from lakeside Lucerne to the alpine village of Kandersteg. You’ll follow airy balcony trails below ice-crowned peaks, stay in welcoming inns in historic hamlets, savor hearty meals (raclette, anyone?), and enjoy up-close views of the big massifs of the Swiss Alps, including the Eiger (13,025'), the Monch (13,401'), and the Jungfrau (11,401')—the celebrated North Face of the Alps.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-6
Lucerne / Meiringen / Grindelwald / Kleine Scheidegg

Beginning in lakeside Lucerne, our trails explore classic Swiss Alps as we hike the slopes of Mt. Rigi and ice-crowned Mt. Titlis (10,684') and into the picturesque village of Engelberg. We follow a balcony trail along the Gental Valley and descend to lovely Meiringen, home to Reichenbach Falls of Sherlock Holmes fame. From Grindelwald, set beneath the Eiger, we head up to the dramatic Eiger Nordwand trail for amazing views of the Eiger’s sheer North Face.

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Days 7-8
Lauterbrunnen / Murren

Our riverside hike in the otherworldly Lauterbrunnen Valley, inspiration for Tolkien’s Middle Earth outpost of Rivendell, takes us past dozens of lacy waterfalls. In the mountain village of 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

Views of the rocky ramparts of the Swiss Alps from Sefinenfurke (8,600'), the highest pass on the Via Alpina, are breathtaking, and we make a spectacular descent into the hamlet of Griesalp. From Hohturli Pass (9,120'), hike past icefalls and glaciers to mountain-ringed Lake Oeschinensee. Depart on Day 11.

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Highlights

Highlights

Feast your eyes on stunning views of the North Face of the Alps, including the mighty Eiger
Hike In the sheer-sided Lauterbrunnen (“Many Fountains”) Valley, with its 72 cascades
Explore mountain-ringed Swiss villages, from Engelberg and Murren to Kandersteg
Enjoy ancient Swiss mountain culture and beautiful chalet architecture
Overnights in lovely hotels, including a historic inn set right on the pass in Kleine Scheidegg

Details

Length: 11 days
Cost From: $6695  
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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