Overview

The Swiss Alps were made for hiking, and no region of Switzerland offers a more picturesque setting than the Bernese Oberland. Our hiking trip is set deep in this mountain valley, in the centuries-old village of Grindelwald. To the south, abruptly rise some of the best-known alpine peaks: The Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau, and three glaciers. Unfolding more gently to the north are meadows of wildflowers, forests, and mountain lakes. Walk along the base of the intimidating Eiger North Wall and wander through acres of green pastures, full of spotted brown cows.

Itinerary

  • Arrival
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    1
    Arrival
    Switzerland’s rail system is among the best in the world: fast, comfortable, and efficient. Passing lakeside towns, changing trains at Interlaken, you’ll see other hikers and climbers. Grindelwald is the end of the line, and as you step out onto the town’s lively main street after several hours on trains, one breath of mountain air will quickly revive you. Our gay hiking week is designed to be enjoyable for hikers at various skill levels, tailored to the activities you want.
  • Above the Glacier
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    2
    Above the Glacier
    Cross a glacial river and pass an abandoned marble quarry along an unspoilt alpine trail above the icy crevasses of the “Lower Glacier.” Hikers who continue after lunch might get to the Schreckhorn hut before turning back. Our final stop is at Gletscherschlucht, the narrow gorge whose vertical walls were carved into the rock by the churning waters of the glacier.
  • Reflections in a Mountain Lake
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    3
    Reflections in a Mountain Lake
    Make use of lifts, buses, and cog railroads to enjoy the valley’s full range of scenery. Hike along an easy trail to the blue mountain lake reflecting a green pasture and distant snow-capped peaks. Pass a cascading waterfall and thick patches of wildflowers. Stop for a late lunch at the mountain inn of Bussalp. Here, hikers again have a choice: to descend by foot, or on one of the ubiquitous yellow “Post Buses” that serve so many small Swiss hamlets.
  • New Perspectives
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    4 Today is a free day with several choices: Paragliding over the trails that we hiked yesterday, or taking the train to nearby Thun (a medieval lakeside city dominated by an imposing castle) or to Brienz (known for their artisan violins and wood-carvings) or down the valley into urban Interlaken. This is a great day to rent a mountain bike, take it up a lift, then ride down to the village (verrrrrry carefully!).
  • The Top of Europe
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    5 Today we will ride the Jungfrau cog rail train over deep ravines and through mountain tunnels carved inside the Eiger and Monch, to Europe's highest railroad station on the massive Jungfrau mountain. View the Aletsch glacier, roam the Ice Palace, enjoy a run of summer skiing, or slide down the slopes on a snow disc. You may ride the train back to Grindelwald or hike part of the day on the recently-opened Eiger trail crossing the narrow, twisted gorges of glacier-fed streams, then winding through forest, until we emerge on the other side of the "Lower Glacier" that we saw on our first day of hiking.
  • A Waterfall Inside a Mountain
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    6
    A Waterfall Inside a Mountain
    Take the train to a picturesque village set in a cleft between two towering cliffs. Waterfalls spout out along either side, as we walk 45 minutes to Trummelbach Falls. Here, every second, glacier-fed streams pour up to 5,000 gallons of water down a series of ten waterfalls. Have lunch in a local café then head up to Wengen, perched on a sunny plateau above us, by aerial tram or on foot along a switchbacking path. Then hike or ride up to the next stop: Mannlichen. You could then ride a mountain cablecar back to Grindelwald, but hiking the high alpine trail over to Kleine Scheidegg is among everyone's favorites. Gently descending as it passes around cliffs and peaks, this trail offers an ever-changing panorama of the mountains: The Eiger, the Monch, the Jungfrau.
  • Marmot World, or a High Plateau
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    7
    Marmot World, or a High Plateau
    Schynige Plateau offers a glorious option today: portions of the trail follow a narrow ridge, dropping to views of the Eiger on the right, and to the placid blue waters of Lake Brienz on the left. The alpine wildflowers never cease to impress. For those looking for a greater challenge, the jagged peak of Schwarzhorn, is accessible by several trails, some easier, some rougher. As we descend, the trail takes us along an area popular with marmots, and again we enjoy a break while watching these gregarious, bushy-tailed creatures.
  • Departure
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    8 Our hiking week officially ends this morning. If you have early connections, you can depart as early as you'd like. Or you may want pack up, store your bags, then squeeze in one last hike. If you've got extra vacation time to spend, we suggest a trip to Geneva, Zurich, Berne, or other Swiss cities.
  • Pricing
  • Testimonials
  • Important Notes
  • Included

Pricing

Title Description Pricing Notes Price
Standard Reservation

based on a shared room

$3098 pp
Single Supplement

for solo travelers who wish to enjoy a private bedroom and bathroom

$790 pp

Testimonials

“The scenery is breathtaking. Bring extra film.”
Paul Anagnostos, Boston, MA
“Switzerland is one of my favorite destinations and the [HE Travel] trip has made me want to go back again and again!”
Peter Workman, Luxembourg

Important Notes

Note: Details File
Activity Level

This trip is for hikers of all abilities. Each day you can join in a group hike, or strike out by yourself or with a friend. If you love hiking in the mountains, you will have complete flexibility to make this your dream vacation.

What’s Included

7 nights lodging in shared or single room, with private bathroom; 6-day pass that covers MOST Jungfrau-area trains, busses and lifts, including the Jungfraujoch train; Welcome packet with map; Breakfast or breakfast supplies; Opening-night reception, orientation, and dinner; Two mid-week dinners; A beer-tasting, featuring regional specialties; Closing-night dinner at a superb local restaurant. All HE Travel tours include complimentary Medical & Evacuation Insurance.

What’s NOT Included

Transportation to and from Grindelwald (easily accessible by train); Meals not listed here; Optional activities, such as mountain biking and paragliding; Personal expenses such as laundry, telephone charges, alcohol (except when provided with a meal) and gratuities for guides.

  • Highlights

* Hike a high and wild path along the base of the giant Nordwand (North Wall) of the Eiger, nemesis of innumerable mountaineers. * Stand at the edge of the 6500-foot high lake at Bachalpsee, with the Jungfrau reflected in the silvery surface. * Listen to the cracking of a glacier as you hike above it to lunch at a remote mountain restaurant. * Take a train through a mountain to Jungfraujoch, the highest train station in Europe, then walk through an art museum where each piece on display is carved from the ice inside the glacier. * Or take a break from hiking for an optional tandem paraglider ride or a mountain biking day, ascending a mountain by lift or by pedal-power, then coasting back down, past waterfalls and fields of wildflowers.

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