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5
challenging

Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • self guided walk
Accommodation
  • 11 nights in 2-3 stars hotels
  • 2 nights in mountain huts in basic private room
Meals
  • 8 Dinners
  • 13 Breakfasts

14 Days£2380GBP

Overview

Trip Code: JAP

Alpine Pass Route Trip highlights


  • Take in some of the very best mountain scenery Switzerland has to offer, including little-used paths
  • Challenging walk with breathtaking panoramic vistas that will more than make up for it
  • Variety of passes to cross, from easy to challenging
  • Conveniently located accommodation full of Swiss charm and character
  • 3 Free days set aside for optional day walks, relaxing or sightseeing
  • Option to shorten some long days using lifts and cablecars
  • Spectacular alternative walking holiday to the Tour de Mont Blanc
  • Crossing the Grosse Scheidegg & the Hohturli, and impressive peaks of the Jungfrau, Monch and Eiger
  • Start in Engelberg, finish in Saanen

This two-week walking holiday easily ranks in quality with the popular Tour de Mont Blanc, following the most impressive section of one of Switzerland’s most classic alpine routes.

Crossing through alpine regions such as the incomparable Bernese Oberland, the walk will take you over many passes, some a leisurely stroll, others a tougher proposition, but all offering their own spectacular visual rewards. Lush valleys with thickly wooded hillsides, unspoilt farming villages, deep-blue lakes and flower-decked chalets are among the classic Swiss scenes that you will come across.

Although there are some long days, lifts and cablecars can be used to shorten some of the walks. Overnight locations can all be reached by public transport in case of bad weather and, on three separate occasions, you have ‘free’ days to pursue optional walks or take in other attractions such as the famed Jungfraujoch.

This truly is Switzerland at its very best.

Countries:

Switzerland

Starting Point:

Engelberg

Finishing Point:

Saanen


Engelberg (1002m) is a beautifully situated mountain resort with a 12th century Benedictine monastery, which has the largest organ in Switzerland. If you arrive early in the day, there are possible walks using lifts to Brunni or Furenalp. Accommodation: Hotel Banklialp - a comfortable 3* hotel close to this Alpine village and right at the start of our walk.

Meals:  D

The hiking route starts steeply from the hotel climbing up past the Trubsee (1764m). From the lake, climb on to the Jochpass (2207m), with views of the Titlus peak before descending past the Engstelsee lake to overnight in Engstlenalp (1834m). Accommodation: Hotel Engstlenalp is a mountain inn offering basic accommodation in twin-bedded rooms.

Meals:  B,D

Follow a little-used path, descending through flower bejewelled pastures and forest, along the enchanting Gental Valley to Reuti before a final steep descent through beech forest to Meiringen (595m). Near Meiringen are the Reichenbach Falls, scene of Sherlock Holmes' final struggle with Moriarty, and the Aareschlucht gorge. You may wish to visit the falls this afternoon. Accommodation: Hotel Meiringen, a small 3* hotel offering ensuite rooms, approx. a 10-minute walk from the centre. It is possible to upgrade to the 4* Hotel Alpbach for an additional cost.

Meals:  B,D

A long hard ascent which can be eased by taking the bus for part of the way up to Schwarzwaldalp (1454m). Towering above on your left is the massive peak of the Wetterhorn (3704m). You descend to Grindelwald (1034m), the “village of Glaciers” nestling below an amphitheatre of impressive peaks, the Wetterhorn, Schreckhorn, Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. Accommodation: Stay two nights at the cosy 2* chalet-style Hotel Lauberhorn with a spectacular view of the Eiger and the surrounding peaks. The hotel is a short walk from train stations and the Firstbahn gondola station. It is possible to upgrade to the 3* Hotel Hirschen for an additional cost.

Meals:  B

Grindelwald is a resort town overlooked by the towering Eigerwand (North Face of the Eiger), scene of many dramatic climbing exploits. A trip on the Jungfrau railway (highest in Europe and 3rd highest in the world) is well worthwhile. You will be treated to a magnificent view from the Jungfraujoch station (3454m) if it the weather is clear, so it is worth checking the forecast. An optional gondola (mini-cable car) trip up to First gives access to a delightful walk to the Faulhorn Peak (2681m), a tremendous viewpoint in clear weather. There are numerous other fine day walks at all altitudes around Grindelwald that we include in your route notes.

Meals:  B

A short descent to Grund (943m) and then a steady ascent along a steep forest track to the day's high point at the famous pass of Kleine Scheidegg (2061m). From there walk down via the beautifully located village of Wengen to Lauterbrunnen (797m) deep down in the Loetschinen Valley. Accommodation: Stay two nights at the centrally located 3* Hotel Silberhorn. The rooms are tastefully furnished and decorated. The hotel has various rooms so you can upgrade (subject to availability).

Meals:  B

Lauterbrunnen lies in a spectacular narrow valley and is one of the major attractions of the Bernese Oberland. Use today as a rest day or choose from a selection of walks. One option is to anticipate tomorrow's long climb by walking the first part up to Murren. From Murren you can walk back by a scenic route via Gimmelwald down to Stechelberg, from where there is an hourly bus back along the valley to Lauterbrunnen. Another possibility is to take the cable car up from Stechelberg or Murren to the Schilthorn. If you haven't done so already, you have another chance to take the train to the Jungfraujoch.

Meals:  B

It is a very long climb up from Lauterbrunnen to the Sefinenfurke Pass (2612m) - your highest point for today. If you have followed our suggestion of walking up to Murren on Day 7, it is possible to shorten this without missing out any of the walk by taking the cable car and railway up to Murren (1665m) (16km/10 miles, 7 h). The climb on from Murren via Brunli (2127m) is straightforward. Your exertions are rewarded by stunning views of the Eiger (3970m), Monch (4099m) and Jungfrau (4158m). From the Sefinenfurke Pass it is a steep and impressive descent into the Durenberg valley and down to Griesalp/Goldreli (1408m), for your night’s accommodation. Accommodation: Berggasthaus Golderli offers basic mountain inn accommodation in twin-bedded rooms or possibly the dormitory (we will inform you if this is the case).

Meals:  B,D

Today is probably the hardest day of the Alpine Pass Route with you reaching the highest point on the tour: Hohturli Pass (2778m). You are however rewarded with some of the finest scenery of your alpine walking holiday. The last section of the ascent from Griesalp to Hohturli is steep and aided by some stair cases with wire handrail. The hut near the Hohturli, Blumlisalphutte (2837m), is just a few minutes’ climb away and offers welcome refreshments. Then a beautiful descent past the large Oeschinensee alpine lake to Kandersteg (1180m). Accommodation: The 3* Hotel Bernerhof is centrally located with convenient access to the hiking trails, cablecars and lifts, shops and the railway station. All rooms have a balcony, bath/shower, WC, hair-dryer, cable-TV, radio and direct-dial telephone.

Meals:  B,D

A beautiful walk can be made into the hidden gem of a valley called Gasteretal, surprisingly few hikers venture here, and it is a valley full of beautiful waterfalls. Alternatively, we recommend taking the Sunbuel cable car and trekking up to the famous Gemmi Pass with great views down to Leukerbad in Valais. For those preferring a rest day, Kandersteg has several museums, wellness options, and lots of outdoor activities.

Meals:  B

A long ascent with beautiful views back to the Blumlisalp Massif and the Oeschinensee. After traversing the high point of the day, Bundechrinde Pass (2380m) with some scree slopes, take the long descent to Adelboden (1356m). Accommodation: A friendly welcome awaits you at the chalet-style 3* Adler Adelboden hotel. An excellent small pool, whirlpool baths and sauna can be used.

Meals:  B,D

Overall a fairly gentle day of walking. From Adelboden you climb through a mixture of woods and meadows to the Hahnenmoospass (1956m). After a level section there is a final steep descent to the village of Lenk (1068m), which lies below the Simmenfalle (waterfalls). Accommodation: Stay in the 3* Hotel Krone, located in a quiet and central location directly in the village square.

Meals:  B,D

A long but easy walk up from Lenk to the Truttlisberg Pass (2038m). From the pass there are outstanding views of the Wildstrubel peak (3243m) and surrounding snowy peaks and glaciers. A short ascent brings you to a delightful picnic spot among mountain gentians. You then descend to the Turbach Valley and take the bus from Lauenen (1241m) down to Gstaad and a walk or short train ride to Saanen. Accommodation: Built in 1907 on the site of the former town hall, the 3* Hotel Landhaus has comfortable guest rooms in the traditional style of the region.

Meals:  B,D

After breakfast, make your way to the train station for your onward journey.

Meals:  B


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


Inclusions

  • 13 breakfasts, 8 dinners
  • 11 nights accommodation in 2* & 3* hotels on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities & 2 nights in mountain huts (dormitory style if the private rooms are already full when you book)
  • Luggage transfer (1 bag per person not weighing anymore than 20kg).
  • Information pack including route notes & maps (1 pack per room booked)
  • Via Alpina hiking passbook
  • Emergency hotline
  • GPX files

  • 5 dinners, all lunches & beverages
  • Entrance fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Travel to the start and from the end point of the trip
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
  • Unscheduled transfers required during the trip
  • Excess Luggage
  • A supplement will apply if you are travelling solo or book a single room
  • Guide - this is a self guided holiday

Other Challenging Swiss Alps Hiking Holidays


Accommodation


Suitability

challenging

5

Challenging. This is a trek, which involves much daily uphill and downhill walking. It is only suitable for fit walkers who can readily manage days with more than 1000m ascent and descent. Those in good physical condition who take regular exercise and who have recent hill-walking experience, will find this a trip whose exciting challenges are equally matched by its rewards. The longest day (Lauterbrunnen to Griesalp) can be shortened by using a cable car and mountain railway for the first part of the route. The highest point on the Alpine Pass Route is 2778m (Hohturli on Day 9 of this tour); but many walkers also visit the Blumlisalp Hut, which lies a little way above the Hohturli at 2837m.


Departure dates

Daily from 13 Jul to 15 Sep

Priceper person from

£2380GBP

Options & Supplements*
  • Single SupplementGBP£410
  • Solo Traveller SupplementGBP£810
*Prices listed are per person

Frequently Asked Questions

Exposure is a very subjective thing, if you suffer from severe vertigo you will not enjoy this walk in the Alps. The two most exposed sections are descending from the Sefinenfurke Pass (2612m) - a steep wooden ladder and scree slope, and from the Hohturli Pass (2778m), steps on the way up, steep scree and rocky sections on the way down. The paths are good but poles are recommended as ascents and descents are long and tough on the knees.

Swiss food is expensive in restaurants. Traditional menus can set you back some, but often pizzerias offer reasonably priced meals. Supermarkets such as Migros and Spar can be used for reasonably priced lunch items and snacks.

Although you cannot travel with the baggage transfers that we have arranged for you, it is possible to travel on public transport, post bus and/or trains between the overnight stops on this walk.

The weather can do anything in the summer with nice long stable periods, punctuated with rainy fronts. This is why the area is so green! Convectional rainfall associated with thunderstorms can occur, for example in the afternoons. Please carry good waterproofs and cold weather clothing as well as clothes for sunny conditions.

Yes. Anywhere along the route we can arrange extra nights for you. You do already have a couple of nights in Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen and Kandersteg, which gives you the opportunity for more walking options on classic trails, sightseeing or to relax.

Ideally you'll fly into Zurich from where you can take the hourly train to Engelberg. You can also fly into Geneva, but the onward travel then takes longer. Return from either Geneva or Zurich airports at the end.


Alpine Pass Route Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Personal Experience

We've been walking and cycling the planet for over four decades and are passionate about delivering exceptional service. Combined, we’ve travelled to virtually every corner of Europe, and are eager to share the many benefits of travelling on foot or by bike.

Great Value & Quality

Our well priced trips offer great value for money. Included in your package are comprehensive route notes, maps & guide books along with bag transfers and locally run accommodation. We take the stress out of organising your holiday.

Self-Guided Specialists

We have been operating active self guided holidays since 1973. We handle all the necessary logistics so that you can relax and explore your destination at your own pace. Many of our tours depart daily, giving you even greater flexibility.

Alpine Pass Route Videos

Via Alpina - long-distance hiking in Switzerland | Switzerland Tourism