The tour starts at the resort town of Interlaken, located, as its name indicates, between the deep lakes of Brienz and Thun, and justly proud of its famous view up the Luetschinental to the towering triumvirate of big peaks: the Eiger (the ogre), Monch (the monk) and Jungfrau (the maiden). These form a spectacular backdrop to our walks in the Oberland. When we move up to the villages of Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen these same peaks, together with the Schreckhorn (terror peak) and Wetterhorn (weather peak) tower above, indeed seem to overhang the village streets.
Few will miss the chance of a ride on the rack and pinion railway which climbs steadily from Kleine Scheidegg through the Eiger to emerge on the Jungfraujoch, at 3475 metres the highest rail station in Europe, surrounded by perpetual snow. The best walk from Lauterbrunnen (the name derives from the sound of the numerous waterfalls that tumble over the near-vertical sides of the valley) is along the valley to Stechelberg, then up to the traffic-free villages of Gimmel and Murren, at 1600 meters the highest village in the Bernese Oberland. For the last two nights of the tour we leave the Oberland and travel by train to Zermatt in the Valais, at the foot of the incomparable Matterhorn.
Day 1: Arrival in Meiringen. The train journey from Zurich is spectacular, passing Lake Luzern and The Brienzsee. Settle into hotel and explore the resort town in the evening if time allows.
Day 2: Meiringen to Grindelwald. There are three possibilities for today's adventure. Begin the walk to Grindelwald, up to the spectacular Reichenbach falls en route. Be prepared to be overawed by the towering Wetterhorn and yet to be soothed by the lush green valley of Grindelwald as it yawns before you. This scenery is then contrasted by the glacial activity prevalent around Grindelwald.
The second alternative is to take the train to Brienz, followed by a cruise on the Brienzsee. For those waterfall lovers, Brienz is an alluring place. If the shimmering green sea of the Brienzersee does not catch your eye, then the magnificent Giessbachfall waterfall will not fail to demand your attention. (c) The third route is the most popular. Take the train to Widerswil, then the mountain train to Schynige Platte, and walk to Grindelwald via the Faulhorn. The long descent from Faulhorn to Grindelwald is made easier by using the Firstbahn 'gondola' cable car.
Day 3: In Grindelwald. Although expensive and very busy, today you could take the Cog railway ride using the highest railway in Europe to reach the Jungfraujoch, stopping at the Eigerwand en route. An impressive and daring start to the day is offered to clients who wish to walk from the train to a lookout cut into the very centre of the Eiger north face. Both glaciers and mountains make for fantastic viewing. On this free day, one might also choose to walk the ridge route from First to Faulhorn then to Bussalp, or to do the complete ridge to Schynige Platte. The First gondola allows an incredible view of the main wall of the Bernese Oberland and the Jungfrau view is one you will long remember.
A third alternative for this day is to cable car / walk to Mannlichen summit, with views all round to the Eiger, Jungfrau and Wetterhorn (7 hours). The two glaciers' trip is your fourth option, offering spectacular views of moraine, crevasses and glacier (6 hours). A must for the avid geologist! For those desiring a rest from the walking, there is still plenty on offer, including boat trips or train rides.
Day 4: Grindelwald - Lauterbrunnen. Ascend to Kleine Scheidegg, descend to Lauterbrunnen via the car free boutique town of Wengen. You will walk right under the North Face of the Eiger and get some fantastic views once again over the Bernese peaks. You can make the day slightly harder by taking the newly opened Eiger trail from Alpiglen to Kleine Scheidegg and make it easier by taking the train to Alpiglen, and then once again down from Wengen.
Day 5: In Lauterbrunnen. This valley boasts spectacular waterfalls and is a popular tourist attraction. From here you can visit Murren, the highest village in the Bernese Oberland and then you can take the cable car up to the Schilthorn, where you can witness the famous 360 degree panorama extending from the Jura to the Black Forest. There are again plenty of walks to choose from and all routes are well signposted.
Day 6: After breakfast in Lauterbrunnen, take the early train to Zermatt to allow yourself a good afternoon's walking or relaxing there. Zermatt is the quintessential Swiss tourist town, the mountain-lover's magnet.
Day 7: Various inspiring walks await you today - the only difficulty is deciding which one to choose. Detailed in our notes are: A walk in the shadow of the Matterhorn (9kms/3-4 hours), Views of Monte Rosa, Switzerland's highest peak (10kms/4 hours), the Trift valley leading to Trift and the Mettelhorn as well as other Zermatt luxuries to entice and please.
Day 8: Depart from Zermatt.
Also see tour packages in:
Europe Switzerland Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking
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