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.

display information about this photo

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: $5995  
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, van support, team of up to 3 Trip Leaders
3

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, 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 fantastic hiking journey using the remarkable Swiss system of cable cars and cogwheel trains to bring you high into the Alps for spectacular—yet moderate—hikes. Near enchanting Lucerne, you’ll hike the flower-filled meadows of Mt. Rigi and craggy Mt. Pilatus, with their sweeping 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 sunny Montreux, 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 the waterfalls across the valley.

Days 5-6
Kandersteg / Lake Oeschinensee

Based in the mountain-ringed town of Kandersteg, 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 near Montreux, terraced vineyards—cultivated by seven generations of families—rise high above Lake Geneva, producing one of Switzerland’s most distinctive wines. Here you’ll 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

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

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2015
$5995 (13-14 members)
$6295 (10-12 members)
$6595 (6-9 members)
Single supplement: $870
Forced single supplement: $670
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% of trip cost
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 ...
Click here for full description and more photos

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, ...
Click here for full description and more photos

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 ...
Click here for full description and more photos

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 ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Robert Sommer

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 Anthropology and a PhD, with a dissertation on Germany’s concentration camps. He recently worked as a consultant on a BBC documentary about Auschwitz. Robert is a veteran leader of many WT trips in Europe. “As a Trip Leader, I try to make trip members see the magic of a country and its uniqueness, whether it's a visual image, an artifact, or even the recipe of a local dish–something that stays with you, gives you fond memories, and contributes to your life back home.” When not guiding trips, Robert enjoys hiking, biking, cooking, and playing bass guitar. He speaks Russian, Polish, Spanish, and French, and is fluent in English, German, and Italian. He makes his home in both Berlin and Florence.

Upcoming Trips:

Heart of Switzerland, July 2-10, 2015
Heart of Switzerland, July 29-August 6, 2015
Heart of Switzerland, September 2-10, 2015

Client Testimonials:


Robert went out of his way to make the trip enjoyable. He has a good sense of humor, was fun, informative and helpful. Linda Miller, Sacramento, CA
Tuscan Trails
Robert's knowledge of so much of Europe is amazing. He added so much personality and that ‘little something special' to the trip. Dawn Myers, Playa del Rey, CA
Tuscan Hilltowns
Robert was an excellent leader. He was always amusing and energetic. He prepared the picnics with a flair and brought a unique cultural perspective to the trip. Julie Hibben, Lincoln, MA
Tuscan Trails
Charming, organized, thoughtful, and interesting. Robert is very interesting and encouraging. A thoroughly delightful human being to share the trail with...or anywhere really. Marcia Z., Clio, CA
Heart of Switzerland
Robert is beyond fabulous in all categories. His command of trip logistics was complete and precise. His wealth of knowledge and warm, enthusiastic interaction with everyone made this trip truly special.
Suzi & Brian S., Ross, CA
Heart of Switzerland
Robert was outstanding—we assumed he'd be quite good, but he really exceeded our expectations. Miriam S., Stillwater, MN
Bavaria to Berlin
Robert was a terrific trip leader. He clearly communicated what each day would bring, and kept everyone laughing. Greg G., Acton, MA
Heart of Switzerland
Robert was extremely high-energy, friendly, knowledgeable, fun, and wanted to ensure everyone had a good time. Brady and Suzanne M., Friendswood, TX
Heart of Switzerland
Robert is a very thoughtful, considerate, and highly competent leader who has the added bonus of being a very warm and engaging person. Barry S., Belmont, CA
Heart of Switzerland

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