Via Alpina: Bernese Oberland
7 stages . 8 nights . Swiss Bernese Oberland . Guided
Wetterhorn
Guided Via Alpina: Bernese Oberland
Guided Via Alpina
7 stages . 8 nights

Via Alpina: Bernese Oberland
Guided walking holiday


Key information Summer 2023

Start: Engelberg in Switzerland
End: Kandersteg in Switzerland
Season dates: 15 July to 17 Sept 2023
Length: 7 days' walking
Typical walk: 16km, 1,130m ascent
Total distance: 111.5km or 69.5 miles
Highest altitude: 2,834m
Grade: Black 3 (Walking grades)
Group size: 4-8 people

From GBP 2,030 per person


Accompanied by one of our International Mountain Leaders, join us for a 1-week hike through Switzerland’s most famous mountain range. Our week-long trip takes in the best of the Swiss Via Alpina. Begin at Engelberg in the shadow of the Titlis, and head west to Grindelwald with stunning views of the mighty Wetterhorn. The route then passes over the renowned Kleine Scheidegg below the towering Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau to the car-free mountain town of Murren. From here the route becomes wilder, crossing over the high Sefinafurgga and Hohturli passes before descending past the blue waters of Oeschinensee to the end point: Kandersteg.

The full Swiss Via Alpina route offers a complete journey across Switzerland from Sargans to Montreux. Our Bernese Oberland trip is the central section of the whole route, offering a week-long trip of diverse hiking, surrounded by world-class mountain vistas, green grassy meadows and open horizons. We stay in classic rural Swiss towns, such as Grindelwald in the shadow of the Eiger and the car-free villages of Wengen and Murren nestled into the hillside.

On our guided trip, you will be accompanied by one of our fantastic International Mountain Leaders (IML) in a group of 4 to 8. Our IMLs are fully qualified mountain professionals, allowing you to relax and enjoy the walking whilst benefitting from their extensive knowledge of the mountains! Our guides have vast experience in managing groups on the hill which helps facilitates a full and challenging trip for each and every person. Please do ask us for more details of how the trip works.


Alternative trip options
Prefer a different style or lenth of trip? Why not try one of these:
Via Alpina: Bernese Oberland - 7 stages, 8 nights. Self-guided version of the Via Alpina: Bernese Oberland
Via Alpina Switzerland - 18 stages, 2 rest days and 21 nights. The full Via Alpina
Guided Tour du Mont Blanc - 11 stages, 1 rest day and 13 nights. Europe's most iconic hike.
Map
Dates
Scheduled trips 2023
The dates of our guided trip in 2023 are as follows:

People at Alpine Exploratory
VABg1 12 to 20 August 2023
Led by Jonty Mills

Book (Spaces)


Scheduled Guided Trips
Our scheduled guided Via Alpina Bernese Oberland trip follows a schedule of 7 stages and 8 nights accommodation. We use our classic mix of accommodation, staying in 6 hotels and 2 auberges. The maximum group number at any one point will be 8 clients to 1 Alpine Exploratory International Mountain Leader.

Although the walking dates on our scheduled guided trips are fixed, we'd be very happy to book extra nights in Engelberg before or nights in Kandersteg after your trip, for you to explore the area a little more. Please do just ask for more details.

Private Guided
We would be delighted to plan a privately guided trip for your family or group of friends at any time within our walking season. We will find you a guide and book your accommodation on the dates your choose. You will have full flexibility over the length of your trip, your choice of accommodation and your dates. Please see our self guided page for full details of the options available.

Join us any time in our season from: 15 July to 17 Sept 2023

Prices
Via Alpina: Bernese Oberland (Guided)
15 July to 17 Sept 2023
Hutty Classic Comfy
Guided
7 stages
(8 nights)
Not available
GBP 2,030
Singles 280
Main Trip
Not available
Options
Baggage transfer
All stops
GBP 300 per bag
Baggage transfer
Direct
GBP 180 per bag
Accommodation
Where we stay
The accommodation on the Via Alpina: Bernese Oberland is of a high standard, using mostly 3* hotels with delicious buffet breakfasts included on every morning. Our guided trip follows our standard itinerary, there are 6 hotel nights and 2 nights in auberges (comparable to simple hotels). You will have private rooms on at least 7 nights; at the hotels with an ensuite bathroom, while at the auberges your bathroom might be shared. At one of the auberges we may book dormitory places, depending on availability. No huts are used on this trip.

Single Room Supplement
If you are joining the group as a solo hiker, we can book single rooms (instead of sharing a twin or double room). In this case we add our single room supplement. This covers the additional cost of booking single occupancy rooms. The single supplement is only applied to nights where single rooms are available.

Route
Steep descent from the Sefinafurgga on stage 6
Steep descent from the Hohtürli on stage 7
Our approach to the Via Alpina
Our Via Alpina: Bernese Oberland trip gives a complete journey on foot from Engelberg to Kandersteg. On completion you will have walked the central high section of the Via Alpina and passed by the most notable peaks including the Eiger, Jungfrau and Monch.

Where there is a choice of routes, your guide will talk your through the options, allowing you to take the route which best suits your group.


The Terrain
The Via Alpina's terrain comprises the full range of Alpine walking, a typical day starting with wide tracks through forests, tarmac country lanes, then up to zig-zagging hillside paths. Forest tracks in the valleys are straightforward enough, rising to the open meadow where narrow hard-pack paths cross grassland. Above, we venture into the high hills and good balance is needed on rocky paths and steps. The two highest cols in particular, the Sefinafurgga (2,612m) and the Hohturli (2,778m), involve loose paths over scree and shale, with hand rails and wooden steps built in to aid the walking. The Via Alpina has no via ferrata or climbing sections and is considered a trek throughout.

People at Alpine Exploratory
Alpine Exploratory's 2022 research on the Via Alpina was led by Lou in July


Is it for me?
The Via Alpina is likely to satisfy stronger trekkers who like a good day out in the hills. You'll know it if you've had one! In the week from Engelberg to Kandersteg, the difficulty builds up right to the last day, with the crossing of the highest pass, the Hohturli.

The route is relatively even in terms of daily distances, despite this build-up towards the end. This gives a pleasing rhythm and caters extremely well for comfortable trekking.

Difficulty
On the final 2 stages the Via Alpina: Bernese Oberland is at the upper end of the difficulty range for accomplished trekkers, needing confident foot placement and good balance. These days have sections where the path crosses rocky and steep ground including steep scree slopes, plus sections with metal cables as handrails over normal Alpine walking terrain. Crossing open, unforgiving terrain without easy escape routes, these full days of mountain walking calling for self-reliance, especially in wet weather with bad visibility.

Walking Guide to the Via Alpina - our detailed read

The making of our Via Alpina - photos from our research trips
How to get there
Meiringen Train Station
Meiringen Train Station
Your holiday starts in the mountain town of Engleberg and ends in another outdoorsy town, Kandersteg. Zurich and Basel are the most convenient airports, with good quick trains to both Engelberg and Kandersteg stations; Geneva airport also works, as does Milan for the return from Kandersteg.

Travel to and from the trip is not included in the holiday price. We take care to give the most useful notes possible about all the travel options. We supply these both on booking and in your info pack, and we offer personalised tips at any point. The aim is that our trekkers arrange their travel by the simplest and most scenic means as suits their plan.

Included
  • 8 nights accommodation
  • Breakfast every morning
  • Dinner at the auberges (on 2 nights)
  • An Alpine Exploratory International Mountain leader
  • Expert advice and local information
  • Full support during your trip from the Alpine Exploratory team (9am until 9pm in the Alps)
Not included
  • Travel to and from your trip
  • Local transport whilst on the trip unless specified
  • Travel insurance
  • Lunches, snacks, drinks and evening meals in the towns (6 nights)
  • Baggage transfers (available as an extra)

Baggage transfer

We offer baggage transfers as an extra to all stops. Due the high cost of transferring luggage by road and rail in Switzerland, we generally recommend that you carry everything you need for the trip on your back; there is not too much you need during your trek. We can also advise on more cost-effective ways of sending additional kit ahead to meet you on your rest days and at the end of your trip. If you would like more information about our baggage transfer service, please ask.
Got questions about the Guided Via Alpina: Bernese Oberland?
Feel free to ask us any questions you have about any aspects of your planning and preparations! Lucy, Steph, Nicky, Dan and Rob will reply with expert advice. We spend a lot of time walking our routes and more broadly exploring ski and hiking trails around the world so do feel free to ask anything at all.


Via Alpina: Bernese Oberland enquiry form

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Contact Alpine Exploratory
Email info@alpineexploratory.com
Phone +44 (0)131 214 1144
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Since Alpine Exploratory started in 2005 we have loved getting to know our clients from around the world. Along with the UK, our best-represented countries are the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Please use our national-rate numbers for a cheaper call to contact our office in Edinburgh.

The Alpine Exploratory Team
The Alpine Exploratory team in Edinburgh

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Ridge hike from Tannalp to Planplatten
  Ridge hike from Tannalp to Planplatten    Photos from the Swiss Via Alpina


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Alpine Exploratory is a system of knowledge on the best mountain trekking in our areas, giving clients superb holidays based on this exploration.

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