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Glacier Express route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $4895  
Length: 8 days
Arrive: Zermatt, Switzerland
Depart: Guarda or Ardez, Switzerland
Lodging: 7 nights hotels
Meals: All meals included except 2 dinners
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!
  • Enchanting Zermatt and the picture-perfect mountain towns of 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


Six days of hiking in spectacular Alpine settings, staying in beautiful, family-run hotels, extraordinary food, and experienced trip leaders who offered different hiking options and adjusted seemlessly to every challenge presented by the weather, all combined to create a great experience for us—just what we've come to expect from WT!Niles and Linda B.—Madison, WI

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 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 town of Zermatt, home to Switzerland’s most famous icon, the Matterhorn, to the Upper Engadine, a storybook setting of mountains, lakes, and jewel-box villages, our exclusive itinerary offers incredible day hikes in a magical realm of mountains, glaciers, and sun-splashed 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 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 a ring of 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 are welcomed like family at the wonderful 4-star Hotel Walther, a Belle Epoque hotel in the historic resort town of Pontresina.

Days 4-6
Pontresina

From Pontresina, hike on panoramic trails and explore the Engadine’s timeless villages, where sturdy stone-built houses are adorned with colorful floral designs called 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

Set on a sunny terrace above the valley of the Inn River, Guarda is our base for a hike past lovely hamlets, farmhouses, and meadows grazed by cattle to Tarasp, graced by a picture-book medieval castle. 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. Some 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

2016
Jul 12-19, 2016
Aug 6-13, 2016
Sep 1- 8, 2016

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2016
$4895 (10-14 members)
$5395 (6-9 members)
Single supplement: $700
Forced single supplement: $450
Swiss transportation pass: $420 (subject to change)
more on pricing

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!
90-46 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of two Wilderness Travel Trip Leaders
  • Accommodations in hotels and comfortable inns
  • All meals included except 2 dinners
  • A glass of wine or beer with 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.).

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.

2016 Departures

Meeting Place:
Zermatt, Switzerland
Date: Day 1

Suggested Arrival Airport:
Zurich (airport code ZRH)
Suggested Arrival Time: One day before the start of the trip
Departure:
Guarda or Ardez, Switzerland
Date: Day 8

Suggested Airport for Departure:
Zurich (airport code ZRH)
Suggested Departure Time: No earlier than than 1:00 pm if going to the airport directly from Guarda

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).

Stefano Baldi

Departure Dates:

Stefano Baldi, of Tuscany, has led hiking trips in Europe for us for nearly 15 years. He has spent most of his life living in the beautiful rural countryside of Tuscany, except for a few years in Florence as a student. His love for nature led him to found an agricultural co-op with friends in the ...
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Richard Bell

Departure Dates:

For a man who has traveled to more than 100 countries, been a trip leader for Wilderness Travel for more than 20 years, and has an ever expanding palate to cook exquisite dishes with global infusion (ask him about his infamous slow-cooked lamb with pomegranates), Richard Bell still takes as much ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Mike Browder

Departure Dates:

Mike Browder leads WT adventures from Corsica to the Alps and northward to the fjords of Norway. He has worked in outdoor settings all his life, directing parks and recreation programs in Bend, Oregon, coaching ski teams, and mountain climbing in North America and Asia, including a 2003 ascent of ...
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Tim Burford

Departure Dates:

With a big smile on his face and hiking poles in hand, Tim’s jovial persistence to explore the ends of the world, which led him to write hiking guidebooks for such destinations as Chile and Alaska, is only matched by his contagious passion to lead hiking adventures closer to his native ...
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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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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 ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips