||Berner Oberland and Valais Switzerland
||Moderate, Strenuous, Strenuous Plus
Jun 15, 2023 - Sep 30, 2023
|Single Supp Cost
Hiking Trip Summary
We offer self-guided walking trips in several different locations in Switzerland. Some areas offer easy and moderate hikes, other areas offer moderate and strenuous hiking. All are beautiful. While we feature the villages of Kandersteg, Wengen, Murren, Zermatt (Valais), and several other small villages in Switzerland, the possibilities are limitless. Call us with your ideas and we are certain we can plan a wonderful hiking vacation in Switzerland for you.
The Berner Oberland region is one of the great alpine gems of Switzerland. Classic wooden chalets, perfectly kept window boxes, grazing cows, high alpine meadows bursting with wildflowers, bold, imposing mountains with hanging glaciers, snowy peaks, and impressive waterfalls comprise an incredibly inspiring backdrop for these day hikes.
Long a destination for hikers and walkers, Kandersteg is a wonderful village of wooden chalets and old farms. Nestled in the Kander Valley, it is surrounded by impressive waterfalls, snow-capped peaks (many reaching to over 12,000 feet high), lush alpine meadows, rich forests and beautifully-preserved farms. Strikingly beautiful, and immediately welcoming, Kandersteg is a perfect area to begin a classic Swiss Alps hiking vacation.
Though not in the Berner Oberland, spending several days in Zermatt makes for a wonderful Swiss hiking vacation. Situated at the southernmost end of the Mattertal valley, closed to car traffic and dominated by the formidable Matterhorn (14,777′), Zermatt has for generations lured hikers and mountaineers from the world over. Ringed by more than fifty peaks (many topping 13,000′) and some thirty-two glaciers, its location at the confluence of three glaciers and two additional narrow valleys, combined with an extensive cable car and tram system, allow Zermatt (5,300′) to offer the best set of hikes anywhere in the Alps.
Though experiencing its share of expansion due to popularity, the center of Zermatt, comprised of narrow streets lined with dark wood chalets richly adorned by colorful window boxes, retains many of the vestiges of an old rustic Swiss village. Hiking in this area is renowned. From easy valley walks to strenuous high-level hikes, Zermatt will satisfy all levels of abilities.
Lauenen, Kandersteg, Wengen and Zermatt
- This itinerary just a sample, there are many options and variations, including a shorter trip.
Day 1: Individual travel to your hotel in Lauenen, Switzerland. Lauenen is a quiet Swiss Village, tucked at the end of a beautiful valley, aptly called the Lauenental.
Day 2: Day Hike in Lauenen to the Gelton Hut (6,569’). This hike offers a variety of landscape and expansive views of the Lauenen Valley. The route begins as a gentle walk with the peaks of the Wildhorn massif in the distance. Once you reach the Launensee, a small alpine lake, you will begin a steadier climb, and it is possible to see chamois in this area. There are many small waterfalls along the way, as well as the thunderous Geltenschuss, a waterfall over 600 feet high, it is a beautiful centerpiece of the valley. With the mountains as a backdrop, the hut sits up high in an alpine pasture.
Day 3 & 4: Travel to Kandersteg by train and check into your hotel. Time permitting, you might be able to hike around Lake Oeschinen (5,257′). The amazing lake is set on a small plateau above Kandersteg and fed by the glaciers of the Blumlisalp massif. Some say that this is the “most” spectacular hike in all the Alps as the rock faces emerge directly from the lake and rise to form the glaciated mountain peaks of the Doldenhorn, Frundenhorn, Oeschinenhorn and the Blumlisalphorn. Or, perhaps enjoy a hike in the Gastern Valley. This magnificent valley is surrounded on all sides with towering cliffs.
Day 5: Day hike in Kandersteg. Beginning with a cable car ride up the sheer valley wall, you'll be able to hike either the more strenuous route to the Bunderspitz (8,100′) or along the mountainside, looking across to the impressive Blumsialps, then descending back down into the Kandersteg Valley. You may also decide to ride the cable car and have lunch at the restaurant and watch hang gliders take off, then take the lift back down. A more strenuous day hike option includes a hike to the Doldenhorn hut: This is another beautiful hike, offering the opportunity to get up high in the mountains and enjoy lunch at the hut.
Day 6: After breakfast, train transfer to Wengen and a free afternoon. For those looking for impressive panoramas, a cog rail train ride up to the Schynige Platte offers a wonderful vista of the surrounding region, including the famous Eiger, Jungfrau, and Monch mountains.
Day 7 & 8: Hike southward from Wengen along the rim of the valley and up through Wengernalp and on to the Kleine Scheidegg. This is a wonderful hike ,with impressive views down to the Lauterbrunnen Valley, across to the village of Murren and up toward the peaks of the Schilthorn, Tschingelhorn, and Breithorn. Climbing up through the woods and into open meadows the views of the Jungfrau, Monch and Eiger are breathtaking and ever-changing.
A transfer to Lauterbrunnen and funicular up to Grutschalp affords a pleasant walk into the village of Murren. From Murren, it is possible to continue down through the hamlet of Gimmelwald and down to Stechelberg, the terminus of the Lauterbrunnen Valley.
Another option leads from Wengen to Leiterhorn and down into Burglauenen, lying in the valley of Lutschental, down stream from Grindelwald. This is a somewhat forested route, punctuated with outstanding views, especially those of the Wetterhorn.
Day 9: Depart Wengen for Zermatt; arrive in the mid-afternoon. The train ride to Zermatt is one of the classic train trips in the world. Depending on the schedule, you may have time to avail yourself of one of the many cable cars, such as the famous Gornergrat rack railway, whisking you high into these splendid mountains.
Day 10 and 11: There are many, many hikes to choose from. One of our favorites is up the Trift Valley. Following the “Edelweiss” path, you enter into amazing fields of flowers, views of the Matter Valley, and stunning views of the Mischabel Mountain range. Once at Trift you can continue to even higher elevations to Hohenbalmn, a quiet, high-alpine meadow reachable only on foot. Your efforts on this hike will be richly rewarded. Or for a shorter hike, we always like the hike to the Riffelsee, with its classic views of the Matterhorn and her reflection in the Riffel Lake and the inspiring view of the gigantic Gornergrat Glacier.
- There are many day hiking options. These represent only a few.
Day 12: Depart Zermatt.
Note that this may change depending on final itinerary:
- all accommodations in 3- and 4-star hotels
- all breakfasts buffets, most dinners (dinners are not included in Zermatt)
- detailed trail notes
- travel information
- hiking maps of the areas
- 2 hours of general consulting
This may change, depending on final itinerary: Airfare, lunches, dinners in Zermatt, lifts, trains and transfers or excursions, items not on set dinner menu, beverages (other than what is served at breakfast), insurance, items of a personal nature.
ACCOMMODATIONS AND MEALS
Hotels: The hotels we use are wonderful small 3- and 4-star hotels, all with private baths. They reflect the character of the area. They are family run and very welcoming and centrally located. We have been working with these hotels for years.
Meals: The food served at the hotel is very good and should you have any dietary needs or restrictions, the hotels are more than willing to accommodate. Each morning there is a wonderful breakfast buffet. Dinners are served at the hotels in Lauenen, Kandersteg, and Wengen. In Zermatt, you will be on your own to eat at any number of great restaurants.
Lunches can be picnic style on the trail or, depending on your hike, you may decide to eat at one of the many mountain restaurants.
Geneva and Zurich are the two main airports in Switzerland. By train, you can easily access any of the villages.
This will depend on your travel and itinerary. There are many villages from which you can start this hike.
This will depend on your travel and specific itinerary.
WHO WOULD LIKE THIS TRIP?
This trip is great for those who want to unpack their bags for several days at a time and really explore an area on foot. Some of our hikers spent one week at the same location, returning to their comfortable hotel at the end of each great hike. Each day you can decide which hike to try, graded from moderate to strenuous plus.
For more information, a more-detailed itinerary that includes elevation gains, loss, and distance, or to register, please contact us. We're happy to share a list of past participants willing to share insights into the self-guided Hikes in Switzerland experience.
Reserving This Trip
A non-refundable deposit of $500 along with your completed registration forms will reserve a space on your requested trip. We accept MasterCard, Visa, and American Express card as well as personal checks. To make a deposit, you may either follow one of the “Reserve a Trip” links below, give us a call at 1-888-845-5781, or include your payment information in the area provided when completing your registration forms.
Before registering for this, please read our Terms and Conditions in their entirety and then refer to our Self-Guided Trips page for specific information regarding the process.
The balance is due 90 days prior to departure for most of our trips. When applying less than 75 days prior to departure, full payment is due. For final payments, we accept MasterCard, Visa, and American Express, as well as personal checks.
As confirmation of receipt of your deposit, we will send you a comprehensive packet of information pertaining to your trip, an invoice for final payment and additional information including release agreement form, medical information form, travel information, and packing list. Upon receipt of final payment, you will receive trip
rendezvous information and a list of accommodations. Returning trip participants will receive a 5% discount on most trips.
Receipt of all forms will finalize your registration.