We begin by transferring you to a region less known to international tourist, yet awaiting discovery. Here you will explore the unusual beauty etched out by glaciers and learn about the tradition, flora and fauna of this Alpen region. You then bike into the Interlaken vicinity, spending two days exploring around the most pristine lakes in the country – Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, before we make the car-free mountain hamlet of Wengen our home. This region is world renowned for its beauty and the nearby looming peaks of Eiger, Moench and Jungfrau. You will get to know them by sight very quickly as we embark on several leisurely bike rides that are sure to take full advantage of the regions spectacular beauty. The last day we take you on the most beautiful hike in the Swiss Alps…
Day 1: Unspoilt Villages
After your arrival in Gstaad, we transfer to a 3-star lodge in nearby Lauenen, a small mountain village at the base of the pass of our first full day of trekking. After checking in you have the option of an easy 2-3 hour local hike or we can add another pass to the tour and immediately embark on a 4-5 hour hike over a pass that leads us into the hamlet we stay for the night. If this is your choice please let us know in advance, be dressed to hike upon our first meeting and nourished so that you’d have enough time & energy to complete this first of several passes. Either choice allows for ample time to go over the tour and welcome you with a traditional Swiss schnapps or hot chocolate.
Lauenen, the village we stay in, is unspoiled and displays many fine examples of the wooden architecture typical of the Bernese Oberland, such as the early 16th century St Petrus church noted for it’s traditionally shingled steeple. You’ll enjoy soaking up the Swiss mountain charm of this virtually undiscovered village. For those that want some lively entertainment, the town of nearby Gstaad is very active (ski village charm).
Lodgings are at a small family run hotel outside the village, built in the old Bernese farmhouse style with a chalet-look where the triangle roof almost touches the ground. The balconies are a geranium heaven.
Day 2: Abundant Waterfalls & Glacial Vistas
Today we hike across the Truettlisberg Pass from the Lauenen valley into the valley of Lenk. Lenk is known for its sulfurous thermal baths, first developed in 1688. A fire in 1878 destroyed most of the old village & Lenk is a modern, but pleasant, tourist resort with a large spa center.
Walking up the Lauenen valley we arrive at our first open shelf and awaiting us are gorgeous views of the two waterfalls at the head of the Lauenen Valley. Alp tracks and grassy lanes over fields dotted with rustic charm lead us to the pass. Views expand over the surrounding peaks and valleys while the pass itself features bizarre looking karst formations (limestone.) Through rolling pastures dotted with old wooden barns (farmers use some of them to dry the hay) and Bellflowers, Gentian and yellow Passion flowers we descend slowly (meaning not steep) down into the Wallbach gorge. For a short way we descend on steel ladders and stone stairways past mossy cascades and ponds carved out by the force of water. The gorge opens up into damp, mossy forest and billowing ferns, a cool and pleasant spot in the summer heat.
How about relaxing your muscles and mind in the soothing thermal spring at the beautiful Spa in town, close to the hotel (public spa with different pools, Jacuzzis with jets, showers, sun chairs, café etc. Modern and very clean.)
Lodgings in an extremely friendly family-run 3 star Inn at the end of the valley near a beautiful waterfall and just outside the beginning of our next day’s journey.
Lunch: Picnic at the pass.
Day 3: Gentle Nature & Panoramic Valleys
To cross over the Hahnenmoos pass at almost 6000’ we follow the stream and creeks to the mule trail originally used to cross this pass. Along this ancient mule trail the views look straight down onto Lenk as we near the end of our first ascent and then out across the Simmen valley to the top of the impressive Weisshorn and to several glaciers. Here one almost feels like a bird. One last short ascent after the long open slopes takes us to the pass where the views open up to another equally impressive valley. After soaking in the views to each side of the pass we ease our way past a few tiny farming villages before a long mountain stream leads the way through a peaceful forest and down into the charming rustic village of Adelboden. Anyone wishing can also take a cable car down the last part of the descent.
Adelboden is a classy, “upper style” rustic mountain resort with all the modern conveniences, that includes good shopping for souvenirs. The towns’ church dates back to the 15th century. Cute wooden chalets and flowers are included.
Lodgings in the center of town are in a typical Swiss chalet with cozy rooms of pinewood.
Lunch: there is a little restaurant on the pass where we could eat (Roeschti -the potato thing like hash brown-, salads, soups, sausage, tarts etc) or we carry lunch with us again.
Day 4: Craggy Narrow Pass & Serenity
high, craggy range separates the Villages of Adelboden and Kandersteg. We chose to cross it at the Bunderchrinde Pass, one of the few gaps in the range. The attack of the summit starts past scattered holiday chalets and barns. We then climb up a gully filled with loose rock. Approaching the mountain range we might see climbers enjoying the impressive cragged walls. There are no cable cars visible, since nobody skis here. There is however a small restaurant at the first part of the climb serving cool drinks such as the Swiss all-time favorite soda, “Rivella”, a milk serum based drink that’ll surprise you. Other than this restaurant we are in an isolate, beautiful environment.
The summit is at a small gap in the mountain, appearing like a gap between someone’s teeth. You enjoy views over to the deep blue Oeschinen Lake situated just above Kandersteg.
After the pass, we reach a farmstead featuring views over snowcapped high summits and the sheer walls of the classic glacial Gastern valley. From there we zigzag down besides a lucent gravel-filled stream. Soon the beautiful valley opens up below from the stunning terraced cliffs we just crossed. A steep descent through a partially forested valley leads us down to the roaring Kander stream, which we follow to our Inn.
Lodgings are at a very quiet and relaxing hotel. Located outside of the village in an idyllic park. It’s a great spot to relax while overlooking pastures, creeks and mountains. Very nice people and a very good award winning restaurant with nice presentation and lots of choices
Lunch: Everyone will have to carry his or her lunch in a day bag.
Day 5-6: Eiger, Moench and Jungfrau
Spend a day free in a favorite gathering place for hikers. Several options are available from enjoying the local color to spectacular day-hikes. On this day you will have many options to choose from, from taking a tram up to the famous Gemmipass for an easy hike that highlights vast southern Alpen views, hiking into the nature reserve of the Gasterntal, or just relaxing in town or at the Inn. No matter how you decide to spend your day we will help with your planning and have some ideas of our own for those who wish to join us. Well-rested we should be ready to ascend to the “high doorway”, a stunning pass high above the tree-line.
Before our ascent to this peaceful pass, we stop at the Oeschinensee, considered by many as Switzerland’s most beautiful Alpine lake. We leave the tourist behind as we hike into the vast, icy and rocky surrounding of the high doorway. The Bluemlisalp peak (translated: Flower Alp) is only the beginning of a rugged unparalleled beauty as we ascend from the lake along a narrow shelf and past icefalls to the platform of the Hohtuerli. The close-up view of the Bluemisalp glacier is extremely breathtaking and the ideal sight for lunch. We later make our way down along a ridge that is often laden with ladders, stairways and cables as our only way down. Eventually leading us past the eroding glacial moraines, through the pastures and forest along a cascading stream to our lodgings for the night.
Lodgings: Comfortable Inn within a tiny mountain village
Day 7-8: Eiger, Moench and Jungfrau
Our last day is spent hiking along trails that are favored by many of our Swiss friends. The beauty is continuous and the sense of this being our final day is hard to believe. Along the way, just above the tree-line, we walk through the pastures at the base of the Schilthorn, known as Piz Gloria, from one of the James Bond movies, to the car-free resort village of Muerren. Here we enjoy stunning views down the sheer cliffs of Lauterbrunnen, a shear-walled valley within the Interlaken region--abundant in waterfalls, glaciers and tourist. and its valley. As we descend, the many dots below us become chalets, hikers, cows, tents, trees and flowers. The geranium decorated wooden chalets of Lauterbrunnen are enclosed on three sides by massive Alpen summits, glaciers, icefalls, waterfalls and vertical granite walls.
Once we reach the valley floor we walk through green pastures of dairy cows and chalets to the glacial waterfalls of Truemmelbach. A well-lit tunnel into the heart of the mountain--a rare sight indeed, accesses these world famous falls. This is the primary international gathering place for those who wish to marvel at the beauty of the Alps, yet very rarely see it as in depth as we have for the past 8 days. This evening is our festive farewell dinner.
Lodgings a family-run 3-star*** Chalet in the center of the village.
The following is a list of train schedules for transportation to and from the tour start and end locations. Train departure times and tracks are subject to change, so verify before boarding.
Trains from Zurich to Gstaad (tour start): ~3 hours
Departure Track Arrival
Zürich HB 10:00 15 Gstaad 12:55
Trains from Luzern to Gstaad (tour start): ~3 hours
Departure Track Arrival
Luzern 09:55 5 Gstaad 12:55
Trains from Geneva to Gstaad (tour start): ~2.5 hours
Departure Track Arrival
Geneva 09:36 4 Gstaad 12:12
Departing your tour:
From Interlaken to Zurich: ~2 hours (departures hourly)
From Interlaken to Geneva: ~3 hours (departures hourly)