Meadow, wildflowers, and view of the Eiger, Monch, and Jungrau in Switzerland

The Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau, the "north face of the Alps"

These three formidable peaks in the Bernese Alps, with their sheer granite walls, are among the most sought-after prizes in European mountaineering.

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Switzerland: The Via Alpina route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $6595  
Length: 11 days
Arrive: Lucerne, Switzerland
Depart: Kandersteg, Switzerland
Lodging: 10 nights hotels and mountain inns
Meals: All meals included except 2 lunches and 2 dinners
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.


  • Feast your eyes on stunning views of the North Face of the Alps, including the mighty Eiger
  • Enjoy delicious Swiss specialties, from chocolate to artisan cheeses (yummy Vacherin!)
  • Cozy hotels, including the historic “base camp” inn for Victorian-era climbers attempting to scale the Eiger

An outstanding trip with excellent hikes and incredible scenery.Michelle J.—Irvine, CA

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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.


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.

The Via Alpina, Europe’s first trans-Alps trail, links a network of ancient footpaths through seven countries along the backbone of Europe’s greatest mountain range. We’ve chosen the most spectacular section—a 75-mile stretch across Switzerland’s legendary mountain landscapes, a true “hiker’s hike” that brings you from lovely lakeside Lucerne to the alpine village of Kandersteg, set in an amphitheater of snowy mountains. You’ll follow airy balcony trails below ice-crowned peaks, cross a series of gorgeous passes, stay in welcoming inns in historic mountain hamlets, enjoy hearty meals (raclette, anyone?), and enjoy up-close views of the major massifs of the Alps including the Eiger (13,025'), the Monch (13,401'), and the Jungfrau (11,401')—the venerated North Face of the Alps.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-4
Lucerne / Meiringen From

Lucerne, we hike across passes with views of icy mountains, then down to Engelberg, set beneath Mt. Titlis and surrounded by a huge sweep of craggy peaks. Heading through isolated valleys, follow a scenic trail through alpine meadows that leads to Meiringen, with its Reichenbach Falls of Sherlock Holmes fame, and an ideal spot for a rest day or optional hikes.

Days 5-6
Grosse Scheidegg Pass / Grindelwald / Kleine Scheidegg

Head to Grosse Scheidegg Pass (6,500'), with its marvelous views of a wall of glaciated mountains, then along a dramatic trail lined with waterfalls close to the infamous North Face of the Eiger.

Days 7-8
Lauterbrunnen / Murren

A gorgeous hike brings you to the Lauterbrunnen Valley (2,640'), graced by some 72 cascading waterfalls including thundering, glacier-fed Trummelbach Falls. In car-free Murren (5,413'), enjoy a day to explore, with optional hikes including a route into a beautiful hanging valley dotted with hay barns and chalets.

Days 9-11
Sefinenfurke Pass / Kandersteg

The dramatic Sefinenfurke Pass (8,600') is a highlight of the Via Alpina, with a magnificent panorama of the giants of the Alps. From the Hohturli Pass (9,120'), descend past icefalls and glaciers to Oeschinensee (5,250'), a glacial lake of impossibly turquoise hue set in an amphitheater of snowy peaks. Depart on Day 11 via Kandersteg.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

What the Trip is Like

This trip is Level 5+, Strenuous, and good hiking experience is essential (no climbing or mountaineering experience is necessary). Most hiking is between 4,000 and 9,100 feet, with a good bit of up-and-down hiking (often 3,000- to 4,500-foot gain or loss in elevation) during the 5-8 hours on the trail each day. Our support vehicle will transport the group’s luggage, so you only need to carry a daypack for items you need for the day (rain gear, sweater, camera, water bottle).

At lower elevations the trails are usually packed dirt, but at higher elevations they are often much rockier and steeper, with occasional sections of glacial snow, loose scree, and large boulders. On some days you will encounter short sections of narrow trails with exposure. Your experienced mountain guides are very safety conscious and are there to assist you if needed on the few tricky parts that you will come across on the trail.

We strongly urge you to “train up” for your trip. These are challenging hikes, so you must be in top physical condition. (Of course, you are always free to skip a day’s hike and travel to the next destination in the support vehicle, which transports the group’s luggage from day to day.) The best training for hiking is hiking, especially over hills or rough terrain. Next best are running, swimming, bicycling or other sports exercise (stair-climbing machines are excellent preparation for hiking uphill). It’s important to take time to build up muscle and endurance prior to your trip. Try to incorporate exercise into your daily schedule at least a couple of months before departure. Your feet should also be well prepared—make sure your hiking boots are sturdy and thoroughly broken-in.

We spend our nights in a mix of comfortable small and larger hotels, many of them historic. 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. Lunches will be in mountain huts, restaurants, or will be carried as picnic meals, and most evenings we have dinner at our hotel. Vegetarians please note: we will try to 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 US. 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

Jul 25-Aug 4, 2016

Aug 21-31, 2016

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2016
$6595 (11-14 members)
$7095 (6-10 members)
Single supplement: $890
Forced single supplement: $690
more on pricing

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $600
90 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

Up to 91 days prior to departure: No charge!
61-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
46-60 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of at least two Wilderness Travel Trip Leaders (and sometimes three, depending on group size)
  • Accommodations in hotels and inns
  • All meals included except 2 lunches and 2 dinners
  • A glass of wine or beer with dinner
  • Ground transportation throughout the trip
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees on group tours
  • Cable cars, chairlifts, gondolas 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, 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:
Lucerne, Switzerland
Date: Day 1

Suggested Arrival Airport:
Zurich, Switzerland (airport code ZRH) or Geneva, Switzerland (airport code GVA)
Suggested Flight Arrival Time: anytime prior to Day 1
Kandersteg, Switzerland
Date: Day 11

Suggested Airport for Departure:
Zurich, Switzerland (airport code ZRH) or Geneva, Switzerland (airport code GVA)
Suggested Flight Departure Time: No earlier than 10:30 am if flying from Zurich. No earlier than 11:30 am if flying from Geneva

Hotel des Balances

Hotel des Balances

Day 1 (1 night), Lucerne, Switzerland

The Hotel des Balances is, hands down, the place to stay in Lucerne. Set right on the waterfront and in the heart of Lucerne’s Old ...
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Hotel Bellevue Terminus

Hotel Bellevue Terminus

Day 2 (1 night), Engelberg, Switzerland

At this traditional Victorian-era hotel, we stay in spacious, newly renovated rooms that offer fantastic views and spiffy modern touches. Relax on ...
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Hotel Victoria

Hotel Victoria

Days 3 to 4 (2 nights), Meiringen, Switzerland

This boutique-style hotel is conveniently located in the center of Meiringen, right across the street from the Sherlock Holmes Museum. The 18 guest ...
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Sunstar Hotel

Sunstar Hotel

Day 5 (1 night), Grindelwald, Switzerland

The views can’t get any better than those from the Sunstar Hotel, with its knock-‘em-dead vistas of the Eiger, First, and the ...
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Hotel Bellevue des Alpes

Hotel Bellevue des Alpes

Day 6 (1 night), Kleine Scheidegg, Switzerland

This historic, family-run hotel is set right on the Kleine Scheidegg pass, and was once the “home base” of climbers attempting the ...
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Hotel Bellevue

Hotel Bellevue

Days 7 to 8 (2 nights), Murren, Switzerland

Centrally located in the quiet little village of Murren, the Hotel Bellevue is an absolutely charming place to stay, with great chalet-style decor, ...
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Griesalp Hotel

Griesalp Hotel

Day 9 (1 night), Kiental, Switzerland

In Griesalp we stay at a resort-like hotel complex at the foot of the Blumlisalp that offers welcoming and cozy accommodations in the midst of a ...
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Waldhotel Doldenhorn

Waldhotel Doldenhorn

Day 10 (1 night), Kandersteg, Switzerland

Situated in a quiet garden-like setting just outside the village of Kandersteg, the Waldhotel Doldenhorn is a great place to relax after our ...
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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: August 21-31, 2016

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 ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Nicos Caravellas

Nicos Caravellas, born and raised in Greece, gained his love of nature early on family outings in northern Greece's mountainous countryside. During his university years, while earning his degree in teaching, he developed his mountaineering skills and decided to become a professional guide."I ...
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Marian Gibert

Departure Dates: August 21-31, 2016

Marian Gibert has been a world traveler from a young age. She was born in Bilbao, Spain, grew up in Venezuela, and later lived in Britain, where she studied Business Administration at Cambridge. She also lived and worked in Engelberg, a resort in the Swiss Alps, picking up the Swiss-German and ...
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Tania Masi

Departure Dates: July 25-August 4, 2016

Born in Florence, Italy, of an American mother and proud Florentine father, Tania Masi was raised with an appreciation for both American and European cultures. With nine languages and a Master of Geography under her belt—not to mention a career as a journalist and documentary film director ...
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Sean Morrissey

Sean Morrissey was born and raised in London, spent time in Ireland growing up, and now lives in Bend, Oregon, with his wife, Leila, who also guides for Wilderness Travel (he holds USA, UK, and Irish passports). He moved to Australia at age 20, worked there for two years, then heeded the call of ...
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Clive Roberts

Departure Dates: July 25-August 4, 2016

“My biggest passion in life is the mountains,” says Clive Roberts. “Climbing them, traveling through them, working in them, living in them.” Since 1995, Clive has led groups on every continent, and often brings his guitar along on the hikes, for impromptu sing-alongs with ...
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Client Comments

An outstanding trip with excellent hikes and incredible scenery. Michelle J., Irvine, CA Great trip, with an excellent variety of experiences. Hikes were all interesting, challenging enough and beautiful. Hotels varied nicely from simple to more luxurious, each appropriate for the time and place. GREAT trail snacks and the meals were delicious. Marilyn H., Barnstable, MA
Well seasoned trip leaders, great company, and a excellent Swiss experience. Jorge A., Council Rocks, IA The trip exceeded my expectations, and I was able to see the Alps for the third time and be in awe of the mountains. The food and accommodations overall have to be some of the best on any of my trips. Terrell N., Los Angeles, CA