Glacier Express route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $4695  
Length: 8 days
Arrive: Zermatt, Switzerland
Depart: Guarda or Ardez, Switzerland
Lodging: 7 nights hotels
Meals: All meals included except 5 lunches and 1 dinner
Activity: Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level: 6 hiking days on moderate to steep trails, 2-6 hours a day (depending on trail option), van support (for luggage or tired feet)
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Highlights

  • Easy to moderate hiking options each day—your choice!
  • The picture-perfect Swiss mountain towns of Zermatt and the Engadine
  • Ride Switzerland’s Glacier Express through an incredible mountain panorama, take the Gornergrat Railway for absolutely stunning views of the Alps
  • Wonderfully atmospheric hotels and terrific food, from rösti to Engadiner Torte

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.

Want to get the perfect taste of Switzerland? We’ve crafted a superb adventure with easy or moderate hiking options each day (take your pick!) in two of the country’s most enchanting regions—and a gorgeous journey on the famed Glacier Express links the two. From the captivating mountain town of Zermatt, home to Switzerland’s most famous icon, the Matterhorn, to the Upper Engadine, a storybook setting of mountains, lakes, and antique jewel-box villages, our exclusive itinerary offers incredible day hikes in a magical realm of mountains, glaciers, sun-splashed valleys, and alpine meadows full of wildflowers. We use Switzerland’s ingenious transportation system to get you high into the mountains for exhilarating hikes and unbelievable views, while cozy hotels with Old World ambiance are your wonderful reward at the end of each thrilling day.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-2
Zermatt

From Zermatt, the quintessential and pedestrian-friendly (no cars!) mountain town, our hikes bring you to an alpine plateau with iconic views of the Matterhorn and its reflection in the deep blue alpine lake at its base, and to a ridge overlooking the five-mile-long Findel Glacier. From the top station of the historic Gornergrat Railway, our trail offers surpassing views of a glistening sea of ice and some 50 peaks including the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa.

Day 3
Glacier Express / Pontresina

Our ride (and fun champagne lunch) on the Glacier Express is an exhilarating journey past tumbling waterfalls, deep forests, and green pastures surrounding tiny villages with steepled churches. In the Engadine Valley, with its string of alpine lakes set amid the magnificent Bernina Alps, we overnight at the wonderful 4-star Hotel Walther, a Belle Epoque hotel in the historic resort town of Pontresina, where we are welcomed like family.

Days 4-6
Pontresina

From Pontresina, hike on panoramic trails and explore the Engadine’s timeless villages, where sturdy stone-built houses are adorned by colorful sgraffitti. One moderate hike brings you along the lateral moraine of the Morteratsch Glacier to the Boval Hut, where you can sample classic Engadine specialties and soak up absolutely stupendous views of glacier fields, ice cliffs, and snowy summits. An easier hiking option leads to Alp Languard (7,421’), with its spectacular views of the entire Engadine Valley, while another follows the Via Engadina, a long-distance footpath through the charming towns of Zernez, Susch, and Lavin.

Days 7-8
Guarda

Guarda, set on a sunny terrace above the valley of the Inn River, is our base for a hike past lovely hamlets, farmhouses, and meadows grazed by cattle to Tarasp, graced by a picture-book medieval castle that’s the perfect backdrop for our delightful farewell picnic lunch. Depart on Day 8.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

What the Trip is Like

This trip is Level 2 and 3, Easy to Moderate. We enjoy two hiking choices each day—easy to moderate—so you can choose a hike that suits your interests for the day. Our day hikes vary from 2-6 hours in length, with cable cars, gondolas, and cog and funicular railways taking care of many of the steep ascents and descents. 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), and you are always free to skip a day’s hike and travel to the next destination in the support vehicle. 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 Switzerland has to offer.

We spend our nights in comfortable small hotels. Although the rooms in our alpine hotels and inns are not always of uniform or 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. Most lunches will be in mountain huts or restaurants, and most evenings we have dinner at our hotel. 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. Luggage space is limited in our van, so we ask that you restrict your luggage to one piece, plus your daypack. 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
Aug 30-Sep 6, 2014

2015
Jul 11-18, 2015  Tim Burford
Aug 14-21, 2015  Ingrid Crossland
Sep 12-19, 2015  Mike Browder

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2015
$4695 (12-14 members)
$4995 (9-11 members)
$5295 (6-8 members)
Single supplement: $830
Forced single supplement: $630
Swiss transportation pass: $480 (subject to change)
more on pricing

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of two Wilderness Travel Trip Leaders
  • Accommodations in hotels and comfortable inns
  • All meals included except 5 lunches and 1 dinner
  • Ground transportation throughout the trip
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees on group tours
  • Cable cars, funiculars, and cog rails to and from trailheads for scheduled hikes

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare, airport transfers, any meals not specified, airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights made necessary by airline schedule changes or other factors, Swiss Rail Pass (see separate cost above), 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

Parkhotel Beau Site Zermatt

Parkhotel Beau Site Zermatt

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

We enjoy famous Swiss hospitality at this traditional century-old hotel, with its understated old world elegance and wonderful views of the ...
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Hotel Walther

Hotel Walther

Days 3 to 5 (3 nights), Pontresina, Switzerland

There’s stellar service at this family-owned Relais & Chateaux property, along with beautifully appointed rooms, full spa services, and a ...
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Hotel Meisser

Hotel Meisser

Days 6 to 7 (2 nights), Guarda, Switzerland

In the gorgeous little mountain village of Guarda, the Meisser is a historic family-owned inn now run by the fifth generation of the same Swiss ...
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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).

Mike Browder

Departure Dates: September 12-19, 2015

Mike Browder has worked in outdoor settings all his life, from directing parks and recreation programs in Bend, Oregon, to mountain climbing in North America and Asia (including an ascent of Everest!) to coaching school ski programs. He spent much of the 1990s in Central Asia, guiding, teaching ...
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Tim Burford

Departure Dates: August 30-September 6, 2014, July 11-18, 2015

Tim Burford has written hiking guidebooks to many regions, from Romania to Chile to Alaska, and is the author of the authoritative Travel Guide to Georgia (the former Soviet Union), published by Bradt, UK. Tim’s great passion is for the mountains, trails, and cultures of Central ...
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Ingrid Crossland

Departure Dates: August 14-21, 2015

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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James Fuss

Departure Dates: August 30-September 6, 2014

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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