One of the Great Hikes of the World


Our fabulous “hiker’s hike” across the Swiss Alps brings us from lovely lakeside Lucerne to Oeschinensee, a glacial lake of impossibly turquoise hue set in an amphitheater of sheer cliffs and snowy peaks. We’ve chosen to follow the most spectacular section of the legendary Via Alpina, a trans-alpine trail that links a network of age-old footpaths along the backbone of Europe’s greatest mountain range. We’ll have a team of up to three Trip Leaders with us as we follow airy balcony trails below towering ice-crowned peaks, cross a series of majestic alpine passes—among the most dramatic of the Alps, stay in welcoming inns in historic hamlets, savor hearty meals (raclette, anyone?), and enjoy up-close views of the big massifs of the Swiss Alps, including the regal trio of the Eiger (13,025'), Mönch (13,401'), and Jungfrau (11,401')—the celebrated North Face of the Alps and a World Heritage Site. If you love a high mountain hike, it doesn’t get any better than this!

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-6
Lucerne / Meiringen / Grindelwald / Kleine Scheidegg

We get our first immersion into classic Swiss Alps landscapes as we hike winding trails to Engelberg (3,248'), a picturesque village set beneath ice-crowned Mt. Titlis. Following a balcony trail along the Gental Valley, we descend to beautiful Meiringen, site of Reichenbach Falls, where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved detective Sherlock Holmes plunged to his death in The Final Problem. From the village of Grindelwald, set beneath the Eiger, we head up to the dramatic Eiger Nordwand trail for amazing views of the Eiger’s sheer North Face.

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Days 7-8
Lauterbrunnen / Murren

Our riverside hike in the otherworldly Lauterbrunnen Valley, inspiration for Tolkien’s Middle Earth outpost of Rivendell, takes us past dozens of lacy waterfalls. From peaceful Murren (5,413'), the highest village in the Bernese Oberland, we enjoy a range of hiking options and our evenings include incredible sunset views of the world-famous trio of the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau.

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Days 9-11
Sefinenfurke Pass / Kandersteg

Views are stunning from the very start as we head through alpine pastures to the dramatic Sefinenfurke Pass (8,600'), and our spectacular descent brings us into the hamlet of Griesalp. From Hohturli Pass (9,120'), we hike past icefalls to mountain-ringed Oeschinensee (5,250'), a vast, turquoise-hued glacial lake set in an amphitheater of sheer cliffs and snow-clad peaks. Depart on Day 11.

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Challenging hikes and stunning views of the North Face of the Alps, including the mighty Eiger
Hike the sheer-sided Lauterbrunnen (“Many Fountains”) Valley, with its 72 cascades
Explore mountain-ringed Swiss villages, from Engelberg and Murren to Kandersteg
Enjoy ancient Swiss mountain culture and beautiful chalet architecture
Overnights in lovely hotels, including a historic inn set right on the pass in Kleine Scheidegg


Length: 11 days
Cost From: $6795  
Arrive: Lucerne, Switzerland
Depart: Kandersteg, Switzerland
Lodging: 10 nights hotels and mountain inns
Meals: All meals included except 2 lunches and 2 dinners (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level:

10 hiking days on moderate to steep trails, 5-8 hours a day, altitudes up to 9,120 feet, van support (for luggage or if you wish to skip a day’s hike). This is a strenuous hiking trip, read “What the Trip is Like” for more details.

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