Culturally the Alps are beyond charming. Around every corner, there is another farmstead, where farmers still practice historic farming techniques and cows frolic in the pastoral beauty of the alpine meadows. Here the food is rich and the beer flows freely, everything between fondue and weissbier graces the tables of these high altitude hotels and restaurants. The Alps offer access to the wonderful combination of epic adventures along mountainous trails and the promise of curling up under a down comforter after a decadent meal at night. Our hiking tours in the Alps connect the most recognizable villages and mountains in the region while also offering opportunities to explore and hike the Alps more forgotten valleys.
The ultimate hiking tour in the Alps is the Tour du Mont Blanc. Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in western Europe and the Tour du Mont Blanc, which circumnavigates the peak, is among the world’s most renowned hiking tours. The Tour du Mont Blanc takes you, the intrepid hiker, through three countries: France, Italy, and Switzerland. Originally the tour was envisioned as sister tour to the Hiker’s Haute Route, a high alpine hiking or skiing tour between the alpinist meccas of the Swiss town of Zermatt and the French town of Chamonix. The Tour du Mont Blanc is a well-established route that leads multitudes of hikers around some of the most awe-inspiring peaks in the world while still enjoying access to the comforts of the well-appointed tourist centers that have developed around this dramatic massif. If the rigor of circumnavigating the Mont Blanc feels excessive, we also offer Mont Blanc: The Softer Side. This tour, instead, follows the banks of the Isere river connecting the bustling village of Bourg St. Maurice with the charming villages of the Val d’Isere, all while offering stunning vistas of the titular Mont Blanc.
The Hiker’s Haute Route, on the other hand, remains the more dramatic approach to exploring this mountain range. Defined still by the series of high mountain huts that were originally developed to connect a route through the precipitous mountains, the Hiker’s Haute Route is one of the premier hiking goals in the world. It connects multiple of the Alps most dramatic passes with both the metropolitan Rhone Valley and the more secret Swiss valleys such as the Aosta. Magnificently, this classic trail also skirts the flanks of the most massive and recognizable mountains in the region, Mont Blanc, the Grand Combin, and the Matterhorn. Ryder Walker’s modern day interpretation stays entirely in excellent inns in atmospheric mountain towns and hamlets as it winds its way to Zermatt.
The Engadine is the eastern region of the Swiss Alps bordering Italy and Austria. This region is among the most charming you will ever visit. Connected by the impeccable Swiss rail and bus systems, the hiking in the lower and upper Engadine regions is adaptable to all ambitions and abilities as well as being incredibly welcoming. Dotted with ancient villages and riddled with accessible and well-established trails, the Engadine is one of the most luxurious alpine regions in the world. The characteristic castles and Roman roads in this region provide a historic backdrop to the natural environment. Some highlights of the Engadine include the magic alpine lakes surrounding Sils Maria and the medieval village of Soglio, which retains its medieval street structure and is entirely inaccessible to the public outside of a single bus route and hiking trails. The options for this region are flexible and the Engadine Summit Series offers a more intrepid route through the Engadine valley, with multiple summits and hiking days that will satisfy both a thirst for rustic luxury and the challenge of ascending some of the rugged peaks and trails that skirt the high alpine Engadine.
Located in the heart of Switzerland is the dramatic high alpine Berner Oberland. The Berner Oberland is the region of Swiss Alps that looms above the Swiss Capitol of Bern. Famous for its stunning tryptic of mountains, the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau, the Berner Oberland is among the most recognizable alpine regions in the world. Characterized by isolated villages perched on the edge of massive cliffs, the Berner Oberland feels almost too beautiful to be true. This region is also famous for drawing the attention of extreme athletes with the valley of Lauterbrunnen serving as a hub for both base jumpers and the most visionary alpinists.
The Alps are the most significant mountains of Western Europe and are the inspiration of Ryder Walker’s birth as a founder of the Adventure Travel industry. There is nowhere quite like hiking in the Alps that combines both the majesty of massive glaciated peaks with some of the most comfortable and legendary accommodations. The Alps to have been the muse of many great poets and artists, such as Percy Shelley and Rambaud to name a couple. In history, climbing and hiking the Alps has been a near necessity for understanding the true beauty that the world has to offer and that sense still remains a drive for vacationers and hikers from around the world. Visiting this region is a life-changing experience.
Everything from meeting the farmers who have lived in these isolated valleys for their generation after generation to climbing above sparkling glaciers and walking through quintessential Alpine meadows of the region offers a meaningful experience of the deeply historic yet still wild region.