switzerland hiking tour lake lucerne bernese alps montreux lake geneva

Hiking in Switzerland

Our hiking adventure allows us to discover a variety of Switzerland's beautiful environments, from serene Lake Lucerne to the magnificent peaks of the Bernese Oberland to Lake Geneva's Lavaux wine country.

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Heart of Switzerland

Lake Lucerne, the Bernese Oberland, and Lake Geneva’s Lavaux Wine Country

Heart of Switzerland route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $5695  
Length: 9 days
Arrive: Lucerne, Switzerland
Depart: Montreux, Switzerland
Lodging: 8 nights hotels
Meals: All meals included except 2 dinners
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level: 8 hiking days on moderate trails, 2-6 hours a day, altitudes up to 7,900 feet
3

Highlights

  • Cable cars and gondolas do the steep climbing—you enjoy the hiking and views!
  • Spectacular rock peaks and glaciers of the Bernese Oberland, heart of the Swiss Alps
  • Picturesque alpine villages of Grindelwald, Murren, and Kandersteg
  • Wine country of Lavaux above Lake Geneva, lively Montreux


The hikes exceeded our expectations every day. All seemed to agree that it was the most scenic WT trip experienced.Jack M.—Woodbridge, VA

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

In a land of fairytale mountain beauty, we’ve crafted a journey using the remarkable Swiss system of cable cars and cogwheel trains to whisk us high into the Alps for spectacular yet moderate hikes. Near enchanting Lucerne, we hike the flower-filled meadows of Mt. Rigi and Mt. Pilatus, and in the Bernese Oberland, stunning trails bring us to the thundering waterfalls at Lauterbrunnen and right beneath the regal peaks of the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau—the magnificent North Face of the Alps. Our grand finale is Montreux, where we hike through exquisite vineyards above Lake Geneva.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-4
Lucerne / Pilatus and Rigi / Grindelwald / Gimmelwald / Murren

After hiking the high trails of Pilatus and Rigi, with their sweeping views of lakes and peaks, we head to the Bernese Oberland, where the celebrated rock faces of the Eiger, Monch, and the Jungfrau create a jaw-dropping backdrop for our glorious hikes. One of our hikes brings us to the Lauberhorn (7,900') for stupendous views of this enormous massif, while another leads across a spectacular pass to the Rohstock Hut and on to the tiny village of Gimmelwald.

Days 5-6
Kandersteg / Lake Oeschinensee

From Kandersteg, we hike to turquoise-hued Lake Oeschinensee, nestled in an amphitheater of sheer cliffs and snow-clad peaks, and to the Gasterntal Valley, where feathery waterfalls spill from high precipices.

Days 7-9
Montreux

In the historic Lavaux wine region above Lake Geneva, we enjoy wine tastings, hike through terraced vineyards with great views, and dine at a Michelin-starred restaurant. Depart Montreux on Day 9.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

What the Trip is Like

This trip is rated Level 3, moderate, according to our trip grading system. Our journey showcases the best of this alpine realm, with cable cars, gondolas, and even cogwheel trains taking care of steep ascents. Most hiking is between 4,000 and 8,000 feet in elevation on good trails over mountainous terrain. Each day will include anywhere from three to six hours of hiking, with options that give us time for visiting small villages and other interesting places en route. Of course, you are always free to skip a day’s hike and travel to the next destination in the support vehicle. Our support vehicle will transport the group’s luggage, so you only need to carry a daypack for items you need for the day (sweater, camera, water bottle). Hiking experience is recommended (no climbing or mountaineering experience is necessary), and all participants must be in good physical condition. Each evening we return to our comfortable hotels to sample the culinary delights that the Swiss Alps have to offer.

On most days, breakfast will be around 7:30 am. You should bring your packed duffel or suitcase to the hotel lobby when you come down for breakfast on days when we are changing hotels. We usually leave the hotel at around 8:00 or 8:30 am. Lunch will usually be either in a small village, a mountain lodge, or a picnic spot amidst the beauty of the surrounding mountains.

Our accommodations are in comfortable town- and village-based hotels. Although rooms are not always of uniform or of international size, our leaders try their best to assign rooms in a fair way so that all participants experience an equal advantage throughout the trip as a whole. Single rooms can be requested but are not always available, due to the limited space in the hotels. If you require a single room, please make the request as early as possible.

Most meals are included in the trip cost (except when specified as “on your own”). Most evening meals will be taken at our hotels and will be hearty, nourishing mountain fare, often featuring cuisine the region is noted for. Vegetarians please note that we will accommodate dietary needs as best as possible, but it is a good idea to bring along protein bars and other supplements. Please note that in Europe, the dinner hour is considerably later than what it is in the U.S. We do our best to secure early reservations for our groups, but most often the evening meal will be at 7:30 pm.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

Departures & Leaders

2014
Jul 30-Aug 7, 2014

2015
Jul 2-10, 2015  Robert Sommer
Jul 29-Aug 6, 2015
Sep 2-10, 2015  Robert Sommer

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2014
$5695 (12-14 members)
$5995 (10-11 members)
$6195 (6-9 members)
Single supplement: $880
Forced single supplement: $680
Swiss transportation pass: $570 (subject to change)
more on pricing

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of at least two Wilderness Travel Trip Leaders (and sometimes three, depending on group size)
  • Accommodations in hotels
  • All meals included except 2 dinners
  • Van support and luggage transfer
  • All transport during the trip (trains, cable cars, gondolas, cogwheel trains)

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare, airport transfers, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, Swiss transportation pass (see separate cost above), airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights made necessary by airline schedule changes or other factors, pre-trip expenses such as immunizations (if any), travel insurance, or passports and visas; and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20%
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

More than 90 days prior to departure: No charge!
46-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

Hotel des Balances

Hotel des Balances

Days 1 to 2 (2 nights), Lucerne, Switzerland

The Hotel des Balances is, hands down, the place to stay in Lucerne. Set right on the waterfront and in the heart of Lucerne’s Old ...
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Hotel Bellevue

Hotel Bellevue

Days 3 to 4 (2 nights), Murren, Switzerland

Centrally located in the quiet little village of Murren, the Hotel Bellevue is an absolutely charming place to stay, with great chalet-style decor, ...
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Waldhotel Doldenhorn

Waldhotel Doldenhorn

Days 5 to 6 (2 nights), Kandersteg, Switzerland

Situated in a quiet garden-like setting just outside the village of Kandersteg, the Waldhotel Doldenhorn is a great place to relax after our ...
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Royal Plaza Montreux and Spa

Royal Plaza Montreux and Spa

Days 7 to 8 (2 nights), Montreux, Switzerland

The Royal Plaza is a large modern hotel right on the shore of Lake Geneva, with a pedestrian walking path right next to the hotel. The views here ...
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Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Our Trip Leaders

Here are the Trip Leaders scheduled for this journey (please note that leader assignments are subject to change).

Ingrid Crossland

Departure Dates: July 30-August 7, 2014

Ingrid Crossland is a global wanderer whose life has been shaped by travel, mountains, and rock climbing. During the 1990s, following a number of mountaineering and climbing expeditions in Asia and Africa, she changed paths from a business career to leading treks, making the outdoors and mountains ...
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Annie Hawkins

Departure Dates: July 29-August 6, 2015

Annie Hawkins, born and raised in a small village in Burgundy, is a passionate world traveler and one of our most enchanting Trip Leaders. After studying art history in Provence, Annie moved to California, where she led adventure tours in the American Southwest and realized that leading adventure ...
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Rob Noonan

Departure Dates: July 30-August 7, 2014

Rob Noonan came by his love of nature and the mountains early, adventuring throughout most of the Americas from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego and later earning a degree in Environmental Studies from Prescott College in Arizona. He has guided our Patagonia hiking journeys since 1994, but his love of ...
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Robert Sommer

Departure Dates: July 30-August 7, 2014, July 2-10, 2015, July 29-August 6, 2015, September 2-10, 2015

Robert Sommer, raised in East Berlin, Germany, studied American Literature at Humboldt University of Berlin and the Italian Renaissance at the University of Florence, Italy. He spent a year as a high school exchange student in Santa Cruz, California. Robert has a Masters in Cultural Studies and ...
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Client Comments

The hikes exceeded our expectations every day. All seemed to agree that it was the most scenic WT trip experienced. Jack M., Woodbridge, VA The trip was brilliantly planned and executed from start to finish, with memorable picnics, fantastic trip mates, brilliant guides, and the most fantastic mountains and valleys. Jane S., Santa Fe, NM I wanted a 'Heidi' experience...hiking, cowbells, high mountains, fantastic landscapes...We got all of that and so much more! This trip wasted no time getting us to hiking in the best areas, and the group leaders were beyond charming and accommodating. Just the best trip ever! Marcia Z., Clio, CA This was my first trip with Wilderness Travel and I thoroughly enjoyed it! The trip far exceeded my expectations. All three guides exhibited a love for travel that was contagious. They showed genuine respect and appreciation for the unique characteristics of the specific areas we visited. I am looking forward to signing up for more trips in the future. Sarah T., Mahtomedi, MN
A great adventure in a beautiful country! Sandra and Steven F., Carmichael, CA Our trio of guides kept us laughing up hill and down, plied us with delicious Swiss chocolates when the going got rough, and made the most amazing picnic spreads showcasing the local cheeses and fresh seasonal produce. There was even champagne and raspberries on one memorable train ride! Their enactment of Willam Tell and how Switzerland came to be was worthy of a crossbow purchase for next year's trip. Julie L., Harbour Island, Bahamas This trip struck the right balance between recreation (adventure/exercise/sense of accomplishment - the hiking), education (culture, history, stories), relaxation (nice hotels, fine dining, wine, no decisions except do I want duck or lamb), and relations (meeting and getting to know people on a personal level, sharing experiences, building friendships). First time in decades I didn't worry about work on a vacation. Alan S., Oakton, VA