Self-Guided Hiking Tours

Switzerland | Berner Oberland Trek

Interlaken to Kandersteg in seven days.

Switzerland flag
  • Obersteinberg in Switzerland's famed Berner Oberland
  • Berner Oberland
  • "Just want Ryder-Walker to know how very much we enjoyed our trip! We are calling it our best family trip ever. The itinerary and routes were great - with incredible views everywhere. The Inns were all wonderful -- our hands down favorite was Hotel Victoria Ritter in Kandersteg. The information and commentary you provided were invaluable and we were all well prepared for a lot of hiking. I am going out of my way to recommend Ryder Walker to everyone!"- The Blue Family

Trip Highlights:

  • The best of the Berner Oberland in a week of hiking.
  • Accommodations in charming Swiss hotels and inns.
  • Hiking across big mountain passes and tranquil mountain meadows.

The Berner Oberland is maybe the most visually arresting region in Switzerland. The magnificent summits of the Eiger, Jungfrau, Mönch, and Breithorn all tower high above pastoral valleys. In the heart of the Berner Oberland is the Lauterbrunnen Valley – meaning valley of many fountains in English, a reference to the hundreds of waterfalls cascading towards the valley floor. The region is populated by a series of charming villages of varying sizes, from the larger, resort town of Interlaken to the farmer’s hamlet of Griesalp, visitors get to experience the diversity of Swiss alpine lifestyle.

Ryder-Walker’s Berner Oberland Trek begins in Interlaken, the touristic heart of the Berner Oberland, where everyone from climbers to businessmen gather to begin their adventures in the mountains above. While the great peaks of the range are still largely out of view at this point, the true majesty of the Berner Oberland is about to be revealed when we hike into Grindelwald. Grindelwald was one of the original tourist destinations, established as such in the 1800s, due to its proximity to the legendary north wall of the Eiger. From here you spend a couple of days exploring the Lauterbrunnen Valley, staying overnight in both of its mirrored cliff-top villages, Mürren and Wengen. Past the Lauterbrunnen is where the true hiking begins – over the next couple of days you ascend some of the most impressive passes in the Alps, including the Seffinefurke and Hohtürli, (high little door). The next night is spent in the sleepy hamlet of Griesalp, where you’ll experience the rare sight of truly undisturbed Swiss wilderness, before finally finishing the trek in the spa village of Kandersteg.

Hiking in the Berner Oberland is varied and flexible, with many days naturally assisted by trains, cable cars, and lifts that all combine to create a veritable wonderland of Swiss transportation. The second half of the trek, however, involves some more committed hiking – with the last two days involving pass ascents that even the most dedicated hikers would consider full days. The region is rarely too rough underfoot, however, with an excellently maintained and signed trail system linking all the villages together. The true magic of hiking through the region is expressed in the natural transformation, where the sunny pastures of the valleys give way to deep pine and larch forests, and finally, break into the rocky high mountain landscapes that the Oberland is famous for.

Culturally the Berner Oberland is Switzerland at its purest, herds of cows gather in high pastures, visitors feast on local meats and cheese, and chalet-style buildings dot the idyllic countryside. The villages in this region are all extremely charming, with the Swiss architectural stylings both protected and expressed in the high mountains and the more urban areas. The true highlights of this trek are in Mürren and Wengen, which both sit thousands of feet above the valley floor, offering the most breathtaking views of a lifetime. While hiking through the Lauterbrunnen, keen-eyed visitors may also notice daring base jumpers and paragliders soaring through the skies – this area is one of the most welcoming and desired for the adventurous risk takers of these high-octane sports.

Trip Itinerary

Choose from our standard itinerary or customize the trek by adding or subtracting days.

Travel to Interlaken. Overnight in a well-appointed and well-located Victorian era hotel not far from the train station.

From Interlaken, connect by train to Wilderswil and hop onto the cog railway to Schynige Platte. From there, hike along a ridge with unsurpassed views of both the Interlaken lakes and the Eiger, Mönch, Jungfrau, Wetterhorn, and the remote Finsteraarhorn.

Distance: 9 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 2690/1900 ft.

A most classic ramble lies before you today as you cross the Kleine Scheidegg, the saddle beneath the infamous Eiger Nordwand, and descend through forest along wooded trails to Wengen. Enjoy views of the Lauterbrunnen Valley beneath.

Distance: 8 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 3500/2635 ft.

Enjoy a long ramble up the Lauterbrunnen Valley and view the thundering falls and the vestiges of pastoral culture. Ascend a remote and beautiful valley to Mürren, perched opposite Wengen.

Distance: 9 miles. Elevation gain/loss: up to 2800/300 ft.
Hike extension possible: +3 miles and 1500 ft of elevation gain/loss.

Today, you cross the Sefinenfurgge, with views back to the Eiger and ahead to tomorrow’s challenge, the even higher and more strenuous Hohtürli, or little high door, the pass into the Kandertal. You descend into the remote and lovely Kiental, a pastoral gem beneath the impressive walls of the Blümlisalp massif.

Distance: 9 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 3210/3770 ft.

Ascend to the Hohtürli, right beneath glaciers tumbling from the region’s highest peaks. On the other side lies the pastoral Kandersteg, offering views of peaks, glaciers, and the Oeschinensee, a cobalt blue lake in an amphitheater of rock beneath the dramatic Blümlisalp massif.

Distance: 9 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 4550/4930 ft w/o lift; 4550/3630 ft w/ lift.

Berner Oberland Trek | Switzerland

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