Charming glimpses of the active Bernese pastoral culture, villages of Swiss perfection, and high mountain passes beneath ice blue glaciers all conspire to make a route that epitomizes Swiss trekking and justify the fame of the mountain scenery of the Jungfrau region.
Our self-guided traverse through Switzerland's most classic terrain, the Berner Oberland Traverse, is a fabulous introduction to hiking the Alps for those with a good level of fitness. From chalet style inns and grand, art deco hotels in such renowned destinations as Grindelwald, the carless villages of Wengen and Murren, the tiny settlement of Griesalp in the remote Kiental, the quiet resort village of Kandersteg and the alpine villages of Adelboden and Lenk in the pastoral Saanenland, this trek gives the hiker the opportunity to see the very heart of the Alps.
Day 1 Transfer to the bucolic little village of Wilderswil. Wilderswil lies just 6 minutes by train from Interlaken, a bustling alpine center at the gateway of the Berner Oberland. Interlaken is lively, with horse drawn carriges, folk evenings, lake steamers, numerous shops and restaurants, and mountain excursions, all vying for the tourist’s attention. Overnight in a cozy inn located on the village square. This particular inn started welcoming travelers over 300 years ago.
Day 2 A ride on a historic cog railway takes the sting out of the morning’s ascent. You'll spend the day walking on an undulating ridge that separates Interlaken and the lakes of Thun and Brienz from the spectacular massif of the Eiger Monch and Jungfrau. Finish your hike in the cosmopolitan mountain village of Grindelwald. Overnight in a small three star inn that has preserved much of the charm and simplicity of days past. Wood paneled coziness and down comforters make for a very welcoming experience. The proprietors and staff bend over backwards to make our guests feel comfortable in this excellent hotel.
Day 3 Hike under the imposing north face of the Eiger to Kleine Scheidegg, then descend, on quiet footpaths through forest and meadow, to the carless village of Wengen. It is possible to shorten this hike with an optional ride on a cog railway.
Day 4 Today’s hike takes you along the floor of the Lauterbrunnen valley. Seventy-two stunning waterfalls cascade from the towering cliffs that form the walls of this valley. The hike offers a gentle, flexible outing filled with interesting sights and glimpses of the pastoral culture of the region. Enjoy lunch at a tranquil mountain house built in 1730, making it the oldest holiday cottage in the Lauterbrunnen valley. Overnight in a family run three star inn in the quaint carless village of Murren. This inn offers spectacular views across the Lauterbrunnen valley, traditional Swiss cuisine, and a unique alpine flavor.
Day 5 A high pass presents a challenging hike. From Murren, traverse through fields and forest to an alpine club hut before the final push to a high and rocky pass with spectacular views in all directions. Picnic at the pass. Descend first through rocky alpine terriain, then by herding settlements into a valley that time forgot. (No luggage access on this night).
Day 6 Prepare for a challenging hike as you climb to a remote alpine hut dramatically situated in high mountain terrain. Have lunch at the hut and then descend past the Oeschinensee, a cobalt blue lake beneath towering cliffs and glaciated peaks. A gentle descent after the lake delivers you to the quiet village of Kandersteg. Overnight in a superior chalet style inn with every amenity and boasting more than 200 years of expert service and tradition.
Day 7 Ascend to a remote summit with expansive views over the Oberland. You'll have the option to descend by cable car to the pastoral village of Adelboden, or to overnight in a tranquil mountain refuge. (No luggage access on this night).
Day 8 Climb to a spectacular hanging valley, cross a remote pass and descend by the headwaters of the Simme into Lenk and the comforts of a traditional Swiss country inn.
Day 9 Depart.
*A shorter version of this tour ending at Kandersteg is also available with departure on day 7.
Click here to request an expanded itinerary (including distance and elevation gains).