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: $6195  
Length: 9 days
Arrive: Lucerne, Switzerland
Depart: Vevey, Switzerland
Lodging: 8 nights hotels
Meals: All meals included except 3 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, van support, team of up to 3 Trip Leaders
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Highlights

  • Cable cars and gondolas do the steep climbing—you enjoy the hiking and top-of-the-world 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, charming Vevey, with its tiny but exquisite Old Town


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 fantastic journey using the remarkable Swiss system of cable cars and cogwheel trains to bring you high into the Alps for spectacular—yet moderate—hiking adventures. Near enchanting Lucerne, you’ll hike the flower-filled meadows of Mt. Rigi and craggy Mt. Pilatus, with their wide panoramas of lakes and peaks, and in the Bernese Oberland, stunning trails bring you to the thundering waterfalls of the Lauterbrunnen Valley and right beneath the regal peaks of the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau—the magnificent North Face of the Alps. Our grand finale is in charming Vevey, where you’ll hike through exquisite terraced vineyards above Lake Geneva with the fabulous backdrop of the Savoy Alps.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-4
Lucerne / Pilatus and Rigi / Murren

After hiking the high trails of Pilatus and Rigi, head to the Bernese Oberland, where the celebrated rock faces of the Eiger, Monch, and the Jungfrau create a jaw-dropping setting for our glorious hikes. One of our hikes brings you to the summit of Männlichen (7,687') for stupendous views of this enormous massif, while another leads across a spectacular pass to the Rotstock Hut. Our base is the quiet, car-free village of Murren, where the only sounds are of cowbells and waterfalls.

Days 5-6
Kandersteg / Lake Oeschinensee

Based in the mountain-ringed town of 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
Vevey / Lake Geneva

In the historic Lavaux wine region on Lake Geneva, terraced vineyards cultivated by seven generations of families rise high above the lake, producing one of Switzerland’s most distinctive wines. Here we enjoy wine tastings, vineyard hikes with great views of the Savoy Alps, and dine at a Michelin-starred restaurant. Depart 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

2016
Jul 2-10, 2016  Robert Sommer
Jul 20-28, 2016  Robert Sommer
Sep 3-11, 2016  Robert Sommer

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2016
$6195 (11-14 members)
$6695 (6-10 members)
Single supplement: $810
Forced single supplement: $610
Swiss transportation pass: $550 (subject to change)
more on pricing

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $600
90 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

Up to 91 days prior to departure: No charge!
61-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
46-60 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

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 3 dinners
  • A glass of wine or beer with dinner
  • 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.).

Arrival & Departure Information

You are responsible for your own transportation to the arrival and from the departure cities listed below. For more detailed information, including transfers, please download the Detailed Itinerary.

Please do not purchase your tickets until you are confirmed on the trip. Once your tickets have been purchased, please send us a copy of your airline schedule.

2015 Departures

Meeting Place:
Lucerne, Switzerland
Date: Day 1

Suggested Arrival Airport:
Zurich, Switzerland (airport code ZRH) or Geneva, Switzerland (airport code GVA)
Suggested Flight Arrival Time: No later than 10:00 am if flying into Zurich. No later than 8:00 am if flying into Geneva
Departure:
Montreux, Switzerland
Date: Day 9

Suggested Airport for Departure:
Zurich, Switzerland (airport code ZRH) or Geneva, Switzerland (airport code GVA)
Suggested Flight Departure Time: No earlier than 10:30 am if flying from Zurich. No earlier than 8:30 am if flying from Geneva

2016 Departures

Meeting Place:
Lucerne, Switzerland
Date: Day 1

Suggested Arrival Airport:
Zurich, Switzerland (airport code ZRH) or Geneva, Switzerland (airport code GVA)
Suggested Flight Arrival Time: No later than 10:00 am if flying into Zurich. No later than 8:00 am if flying into Geneva
Departure:
Vevey, Switzerland
Date: Day 9

Suggested Airport for Departure:
Zurich, Switzerland (airport code ZRH) or Geneva, Switzerland (airport code GVA)
Suggested Flight Departure Time: No earlier than 10:30 am if flying from Zurich. No earlier than 8:30 am if flying from Geneva

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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Hotels in the Montreux area

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

In the Montreux area, we stay at one of the following properties:

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).

Hayden Buck

Departure Dates:

From the forested trails and snow-capped peaks of Canada to the mountains of Japan and the majestic Alps, Hayden Buck lives and breathes the outdoor lifestyle. In his youth, he grew up mountain biking and snowboarding on Canada’s west coast and later became a ski patroller before traveling ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Tony Farina

Departure Dates:

Tony Farina, a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, earned his degree in Outdoor Experiential Education, with a minor in Liberal Arts, from Prescott College in Arizona, a school known for its programs in environmental studies and adventure education. His passion for travel, mountains, and sea ...
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James Fuss

Departure Dates:

James Fuss is a trekking guide, photographer, cyclist, and chef extraordinaire. Born and raised in South Australia, James found his wanderlust early on family camping trips across Australia. His love of the culinary arts is deep-rooted as well, and as a young chef, he headed off to Europe to ...
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Annie Hawkins

Departure Dates:

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:

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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Francesco Selvaggio

Departure Dates:

Francesco Selvaggio, born and raised in Palermo, has a degree in architecture with a concentration on historic restoration and a thesis dedicated to the Sicilian landscape. Francesco loves the life of a Trip Leader because it allows him to pursue passions such as hiking in the Sicilian countryside ...
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Robert Sommer

Departure Dates: July 2-10, 2016, July 20-28, 2016, September 3-11, 2016

As a veteran Trip Leader for many WT trips in Europe, Robert Summer brings a wealth of knowledge to every journey he guides. With a Masters in Cultural Studies and a PhD, including a dissertation on Nazi concentration camps, he has worked as an independent historian for various museums and ...
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Stewart Wheelhouse

Departure Dates:

Stewart Wheelhouse, a Welshman by birth, has spent the past 23 years leading adventures and expeditions throughout the world. He has traveled the length of Africa, written guidebooks on cycling through Europe, and led expeditions in Asia and Australia. A wonderful storyteller and traveling ...
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Daniel Windham

Departure Dates:

Daniel Windham, born in Georgia's foothills, discovered his passion for the mountains at an early age while backpacking on the Appalachian Trail. After moving to northern Italy, becoming a mountain guide, and running a mountain hut with his Italian wife, he returned (via a couple of years in Costa ...
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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 Of our many WT trips, this may be our favorite, with great leaders, spectacular scenery, fantastic hikes, wonderful hotels and food, and a view of the heart of Switzerland that will remain with us forever. Joe M., San Antonio, TX