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Summer Hiking in Switzerland: Via Alpina Tour

Guide(s)
Emma Jack, Becki Penrose, Charlie Boscoe, Cloud 9 Adventure
Trip options

Booking for a group?
Reserve spots for 5 or more people, and get $57 off for each
People
1 Person
Date(s)
--
Duration
8 day
Guide(s)
Emma Jack, Becki Penrose, Charlie Boscoe, Cloud 9 Adventure
Reserve deposit ($640.00) $640
Second Payment Amount: $0
  • Embark on an 8-day trek through the Swiss Via Alpina Trail led by an experienced guide. Discover the alpine wonders of the Bernese Alps, with Oeschinen and Trübsee lakes, Reichenbach Falls, Grosse Scheidegg Pass, Grindelwald, and peaks like Eiger and Jungfrau. Enjoy comfortable stays in 2* and 3* hotels, with breakfasts and dinners included. Starting in Engelberg and concluding in Kandersteg, your journey encompasses some of the most iconic Swiss landscapes, with seamless transportation and luggage transfers enhancing your trekking experience.

    • As you arrive at the hotel in Engelberg, the charming town welcomes you to the heart of Central Switzerland. Meet your guide at 6pm for a trip briefing. Engelberg boasts the famous Benedictine monastery Kloster Engelberg, founded in 1120 and reconstructed in the 18th century after a fire. Monks still reside here, creating a timeless atmosphere. If you decide to arrive a day or two early, explore the largest summer and winter destination in Central Switzerland. Go for a Titlis Cliff Walk, a 100m-long suspension bridge offering breathtaking views, or venture into the Titlis Glacier Cave for an underground exploration.

      Meals: Breakfast and dinner
      Accommodation: Hotel in Engelberg
      Distance: 8.7 miles (14 km)
      Altitude gain/loss: +4,035 ft / -1,312 ft (+1,230 m / -400 m)
      Walking time: 5 hours

    • Your first day on the trail begins by departing Engelberg, one of Central Switzerland’s largest hiking regions. Navigate a steep forest trail leading to Trübsee lake at the base of Mount Titlis. Continue to the Jochpass, crossing into the canton of Bern. From this vantage point, relish views of the mighty Titlis standing at an impressive 9,934 feet (3,028m). Afterward, descend to the picturesque village of Engstlenalp, your base for the night. Engstlenalp, labeled by Professor John Tyndall in 1866 as ‘one of the most charming spots in the Alps,’ includes a designated nature reserve.

      Meals: Breakfast and dinner
      Accommodation: Hotel in Engstlenalp
      Distance: 12.4 miles (20 km)
      Altitude gain/loss: +2,100 ft / -6,135 ft (+640 m / -1,870 m)
      Walking time: 7 hours

      Trubsee, Swiss Alps.
    • Begin the day by ascending to Tannalp, encountering a charming lake. The path then leads to the Erzegg/Planplatten ridge, a highlight of the trek offering stunning views of the giants of the Bernese Oberland, including the Eiger (13,015 ft/3967m) and the Bernese Alps. Begin the descent, passing boards featuring cartoons of Hasli, a local character. As you reach Reuti, observe various beautiful wooden sculptures along the path to Meiringen, a historic town with a surviving parish church of St Michael, adorned with 14th-century frescoes and 15th-century paintings.

      Meals: Breakfast and dinner
      Accommodation: Hotel in Meiringen
      Distance: 14.3 miles (23 km)
      Altitude gain/loss: +4,625 ft / -3,215 ft (+1,410 m / -980 m)
      Walking time: 8 hours

      Planplatten mountain ridge, Via Alpina, Switzerland.
    • Today your group will embark on a relatively easy trek, despite being one of the longest, into the well-known areas of the Bernese Oberland. Traverse paths close to the Reichenbach Falls, famously associated with Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Ascend to the Grosse Scheidegg pass, walking between the peaks of Schwarzhorn and Wetterhorn. Enjoy the first close view of the magnificent Eiger. Conclude with a gentle descent to Grindelwald, a bustling and renowned resort surrounded by exceptional scenery.

      Meals: Breakfast and dinner
      Accommodation: Hotel in Grindelwald
      Distance: 11.8 miles (19 km)
      Altitude gain/loss: +3,609 ft / -4,364 ft (+1,100 m / -1,330 m)
      Walking time: 6 hours

      The resort town of Grindelwald in the Swiss Alps, with wooden houses, framed by lofty peaks.
    • Today the trek will be a bit busier. You’ll first ascend to the Kleine Scheidegg, where the steeper-than-it-looks hike provides an altitude gain of over 3,200 ft (1,000 m). Revel in the proximity to the Eiger’s north face and panoramic views of Mönch and Jungfrau. Pass Wengernalp, a beautiful alpine meadow described by Leslie Stephen as ‘the loveliest place in this world.’ After a steep descent, reach Lauterbrunnen, renowned for its strikingly beautiful U-shaped valley.

      Meals: Breakfast and dinner
      Accommodation: Hotel in Lauterbrunnen
      Distance: 14.9 miles (24 km)
      Altitude gain/loss: +6,069 ft / -4,068 ft (+1,850 m / -1,240 m)
      Walking time: 10 hours

      A bench beside a trail that is part of the Swiss portion of the Via Alpina trail.
    • The trek begins with the highest pass of the trip, Sefinenfurgge. Begin with a steep 490-foot (150 m) climb over shale, leaving Lauterbrunnen and crossing the Sefinenfurgge pass. Escape busier regions of the Bernese Oberland and enter a quieter, more remote area. Cross several streams, pass Staubbach Falls, and gain a magnificent view of the Jungfrau from base to peak. Reach Mürren, the highest permanently inhabited village and the birthplace of modern slalom. Conclude the ascent with a steep zigzag path over shale and scree, offering breathtaking views of the Mönch and Eiger. Descend into lush alpine meadows before arriving in Griesalp, your base for the night.

      Meals: Breakfast and dinner
      Accommodation: Hotel in Griesalp
      Distance: 11.5 miles (18.5 km)
      Altitude gain/loss: +4,757 ft / -5,512 ft (+1,450 m / -1,680 m)
      Walking time: 8 hours

      Reuti mountains in the Swiss Alps.
    • Experience a varied trek on the last day of your week-long Swiss Via Alpina adventure. Ascend through alpine forests and meadows, arriving at Bundalp before making the main ascent of the day. Encounter rugged and glacial terrain during the climb to the Hohtürli pass, offering unparalleled views of the untamed mountain landscape. Begin the descent, passing the turquoise waters of Oeschinen Lake, one of Switzerland’s most beautiful. Admire its oval shape and amphitheater-like surroundings protected by towering mountains. Pass several waterfalls and continue to descend to Kandersteg for the final evening and a celebratory group meal.

      Meals: Breakfast and dinner
      Accommodation: Hotel in Kandersteg
      Distance: 11.5 miles (18.5 km)
      Altitude gain/loss: +4,757 ft / -5,512 ft (+1,450 m / -1,680 m)
      Walking time: 8 hours

      A hiker at a highpoint observing the Oeschinen lake in the Swiss Alps.
    • Your fantastic week-long trek on the Swiss Via Alpina concludes after breakfast today. Say goodbye to your guide, fellow hikers, and to the Swiss Alps—or continue touring on your own.

      Meals: Breakfast

      The town of Kanderberg, the last stop of the Swiss portion of the Via Alpina Trail.
    • What you get on this adventure:

        • An experienced guide, International Mountain Leader, with extensive knowledge of the area
        • 8-day adventure with 6 days of trekking along the Swiss Via Alpina Trail
        • Accommodation in 2* and 3* hotels based on double occupancy (7 nights)
        • All transportation during the adventure as outlined in the itinerary
        • Breakfasts and dinners throughout the adventure
        • Luggage transfers throughout the adventure

      What’s not included:

        • Transportation to Engelberg
        • Lunches
        • Any personal expenses (drinks, souvenirs, snacks, etc.)
        • Travel and medical/rescue insurance — mandatory
        • Guide gratuities — optional
    • Even though the Swiss Via Alpina Trail is not technical, it is generally recommended only for advanced hikers in excellent physical shape due to long daily distances and big ascents. You can expect a 6,000ft ascent (1,850 m) on the hardest day and hiking between 9 and 15 miles (14-25 km) for 6 consecutive days. Keep in mind that hiking can be made difficult because of changing weather. However, you will be able to take many breaks and your guide will adjust the route if it gets too strenuous for your group. Due to some more exposed sections, the tour is not recommended for those with severe fear of heights.

      If you think you may not be ready for this trek at the moment, we suggest adopting a training regiment in the weeks leading up to the trip, with regular long daily hikes in hilly terrain, as well as activities like jogging, swimming, playing squash, or circuit training. By adequately preparing both physically and mentally for this adventure, all experienced hikers can fully enjoy the challenges and rewards that this remarkable trek has to offer.

    • Here’s a list of the equipment and clothes you need to bring:

        • Good, comfortable, waterproofed mountain hiking shoes with good tread
        • Comfortable rucksack (30 to 40L)
        • Kit bag or suitcase (for your main luggage)
        • Hiking poles
        • Waterproof jacket and waterproof hiking pants
        • Moisture-wicking T-shirts
        • Warm sweater or a fleece
        • Lightweight warm jacket and hat (in case of unexpected weather conditions)
        • 2 Pairs of lightweight hiking pants and shorts
        • Swimwear — optional
        • Cap and a sunhat
        • 2-3 Pairs of gloves (liner gloves, waterproof gloves, and warm gloves)
        • Hiking socks and underwear
        • Pair of outdoor shoes
        • Sheet or a sleeping bag liner
        • 2L water bottle
        • Swiss knife, compass, whistle, head torch
        • Plastic bags / dry sacks to keep essentials dry
        • Good sunglasses, sunscreen, and lip protection
        • Your toiletry bag and a mini first-aid kit
        • Other clothes and personal change
        • Travel bag or a small suitcase for the luggage transport
        • Camera — optional (but recommended)

      Typically, the weather along the route is warm and fairly stable, requiring minimal extra gear. However, it’s crucial to bring all the items from the list due to unseasonal conditions that can occasionally occur, especially at higher altitudes. At least once every summer hikers witness unseasonal snow and heavy rainfall, with temperatures plummeting from mid-30s°C (86°F) to below zero (0°C/32°F).

      For rain, waterproof jackets and trousers are essential, along with multiple pairs of gloves. In the event of snow, quality hiking boots, walking poles, warm clothing, and gloves are necessary. Sometimes hikers experience heatwaves, meaning that they need to be equipped with rehydration salts, 3-4L of water, and a sun hat.

      Don’t underestimate the importance of proper gear; be well-prepared for any situation. You’ll be able to discuss your packing list with your guide prior to your trip.

    • Group sizes and prices:

        • For this group adventure, the maximum client-to-guide ratio is 10:1.
        • It takes a minimum of 4 people for this tour to operate.

      Hiking the Via Alpina Trek in Switzerland can be arranged for private groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

      Min. age requirements:

        • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
        • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

      If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

    • To get to Engelberg, the starting point of the tour, most people fly into Zürich international Airport. From there, we suggest taking a shuttle to the main train station (Zürich Hauptbahnhof) and taking a 2-hour ride to Engelberg. Keep in mind that there is one change during the ride.

      You will meet your guide and fellow hikers at 6pm on Day 1 at your hotel for a trip briefing.

    • For this tour, you will have to cover all your bases with both emergency medical and travel insurance. With medical insurance, if you have an accident or medical emergency on or off the mountain, you’ll avoid paying out of pocket for costly expenses. This covers everything from hospital treatments to emergency air transportation and more.

      Travel insurance covers canceled flights, natural disasters and other scenarios that may interrupt your travel plans.

      We also expect you to respect local regulations and take measures to protect yourselves, your guides, and the communities you’re traveling to. For more information on travel recommendations and restrictions in Switzerland, please refer to Switzerland travel advice.

      If you need assistance selecting the right insurance for your group, let us know and we will be happy to help!

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