The Via Alpina is a network of 5 linked walking trails traversing the backbone of the Alps through 8 different countries. More than 5000kms long, it has 342 day stages! At one end is Slovenia, at the other is Monaco. Along the way, it snakes across Europe’s rooftop in the Swiss Alps.
This holiday is the perfect opportunity to get close up to Switzerland’s most impressive glaciers and passes – not to mention three of its alpine superstars: the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. Yet it is also a trek of exquisite valleys, dramatic canyons and classic Swiss mountain villages, such as picture-postcard Kandersteg and Adelboden-Lenk.
As for the trail, it is well-maintained and well waymarked, but it is by no means an easy stroll, as there are high mountain passes to cross. We see it, therefore, as a genuine alpine challenge for experienced walkers, who will be rewarded on a daily basis by the breath-taking beauty of the Alps.
On a Collett’s village to village holiday, you do the walking – and we do the rest. Our comprehensive maps and route notes make for effortless navigation, while your baggage is transported daily to the next carefully-selected overnight stop. Each evening you’ll be welcomed into the comfort of traditional accommodation, in charmed surroundings. You decide your dates, and we’ll ensure everything else is organised to perfection.
At a glance
29 June – 15 September 2024
(You can start any day)
Single Supplement – £350
Expect to walk for 6 – 8 hours each day, with between 700m – 1450m of ascent and 915 – 1685m of descent
Handpicked Hotels, 7 nights, Bed & Breakfast in 3* & 4* hotels plus Lenk Lodge
Luggage Transfers each day between hotels
Access to the Swiss Mobility App, which has all you need to follow the Via Alpina
Eurotrek App & GPX tracks
Walk Pack with Route Descriptions, Maps & more
Maps covering the whole route
Service-Hotline which is available 7 days a week from 8am – 8pm and provided by our local partner in Switzerland
Bus, railway and cable car tickets (where used) & tourist taxes (if applicable) are not included (pay locally).
The best airports to fly into are Geneva, Zurich & Basle. From here catch a train direct to Meiringen. The first hotel is a short walk from the rail station.
Fly/Drive – Affordable parking is available at the cable car station in Meiringen. CHF 5.- per day. No reservation necessary.
Day 1 - Arrive
Travel to Meiringen. Arrive and settle in. Located right in the centre of the city, Hotel Victoria is an elegant starting point for this alpine adventure. It’s excellent restaurant provides the ideal place to enjoy dinner and drinks before you hit the hiking trails that await you.
Overnight – 4* Hotel Victoria, Meiringen
Day 2 - Stage 10: Meiringen to Grindlewald
Route Statistics – 14 km, 4½ hours walking, 700m ascent / 980m descent
The route starts by passing the famous Reichenbach Falls before continuing to the nostalgic Rosenlaui Hotel and glacier gorge, towered over majestically by the Wetterhorn. Cross beautiful moorlands over the Grosse Scheidegg, bewitched by high panoramas that include the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. Then enjoy the enchanting descent to the Jungfrau jewel of Grindelwald. A fantastic view of the Eigernordwand awaits you at Hotel Kirchbühl. For over 100 years, family Brawand has been indulging guests from all corners of the world with excellent food and a wonderful spa facility.
Overnight – 4* Hotel Kirchbühl, Grindlewald
Day 3 - Stage 11: Grindlewald to Wengen
Route Statistics – 16.5 km, 4½ hours walking, 1155m ascent / 915m descent
The climb to Kleine Scheidegg over undulating meadows is gentle, whilst the rock and ice of the Eiger’s North Wall will absorb and inspire you throughout the early stages of today’s hike. A sunny, high-level trail leads you to the iconic, car-free village of Wengen, sitting on its spectacular natural balcony in truly unforgettable surroundings. Wengen offers peace and relaxation in the midst of an enchanting mountain landscape, and a stay at Hotel Silberhorn is especially relaxing. Indeed, from its spa area you will enjoy wonderful views of the Jungfrau.
Overnight – 4* Hotel Silberhorn & Spa, Wengen
Day 4 - Stage 12: Wengen to Griesalp/Pochtenalp
Route Statistics – 21.5 km, 7½ hours walking, 1,315m ascent / 1,415m descent
After breakfast you pick up a small woodland trail that features the spectacular Trümmelbach waterfall which spills you out in Lauterbrunnen. You then take a spectacular cable car ascent to the pretty hamlet of Mürren, perched high above Lauterbrunnen opposite Wengen. This sunny natural terrace is directly opposite the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, so your unique visual feast continues! The trail from Murren traverses rich alpine pastures to vantage points such as Bryndli and sturdy huts, such as the Rotstockhütte. Eventually, you approach the Sefinenfurgge, the impressive pass into the Kiental. In early season, please be prepared for patches of snow at the Sefinenfurgge pass. A small oasis in the middle of the summits of the Bernese Oberland – your hotel offers you excellent infrastructure combined with wonderful panoramic views. Relax in the in-house sauna and enjoy regional specialities in the excellent restaurant.
Overnight – Hotel Berghais, Griesalp
Day 5 - Stage 13: Griesalp/Pochtenalp to Kandersteg
Route Statistics – 17km, 7 hours walking, 1450m ascent / 1685m descent
The Route – This is the highest part of the route and perhaps the most spectacular – but also the most demanding and exposed. Having negotiated the steep Hohtürli pass at 2778m, (where approx. 1.5km of the route is protected with ropes/chains and wooden steps) you are treated to an attractive detour to the Blümlisalphütte. Here you can refuel over hearty food and refreshment. The trail then continues down over the “Hohtürli” and glacial moraine to the deep-blue Oeschinensee. Enhanced by a backdrop of near-vertical cliffs, many people think this is the most picturesque lake in the Alps. You are now close to Kandersteg and, if you prefer, you can shorten your day with a cable car descent to this attractive alpine resort. Hotel Victoria is located in the heart of Kandersteg, right in the middle of a huge park. This hotel has been welcoming guests from all over the world for over 220 years!
Overnight – 3* Victoria Belle Epoquee, Kandersteg
Day 6 - Stage 14: Kandersteg to Adelboden
Route Statistics – 11½km, 4½ hours walking, 835m ascent/ 1220m descent
The Route – From Kandersteg’s traditional wooden chalets overlooking flower-filled alpine pastures, you take a cable car up to ‘Allmenalp.’ From here, over some steep sections, the trail brings you to the Bunderchrinde, a breath-taking pass that opens up the glorious Engstligental. Once you have absorbed your amazing surroundings, you start the charming descent into the valley to finish the day in picturesque Adelboden. Bright rooms, creative cuisine and a delightful spa await you – the Bellevue Parkhotel & Spa is not counted among the best accommodations in the alpine region for nothing. You can look forward to enjoying a relaxing stay in one of the best known ski resorts of the world.
Overnight – 4* Bellevue Parkhotel & Spa, Adelboden
Day 7 - Stage 15: Adelboden to Lenk
Route Statistics – 14km, 4½ hours walking, 700m ascent / 980m descent
The Route – From the celebrated village of Adelboden, you climb gently alongside the Glisbach stream, through forest and moorland, over the Hahnenmoospass, then down into Lenk, beautifully nestled in the Hinter Simmental basin with spectacular waterfalls and a dramatic backdrop comprised of the Wildstrubel peak and massif. Amidst wonderful views, dominated by the Wildstrubel, your route guides you down to the Simmental, where your final night in the Bernese Oberland awaits you. Centrally located, your final night is in a chalet-style hotel which offers newly renovated rooms. The hotel has a small spa area with pool and sauna and an excellent restaurant serving specialities from the Bernese Oberland.
Overnight – Hotel Kruez, Lenk
Day 8 - Depart
Independent onward travel from Lenk, or return to Meiringen by train (approx. 3 hours).
Map - Via Alpina
Need to Knows
Terrain – This route uses waymarked and signposted routes only, providing mostly straightforward navigation in good weather. Trails vary from well-trodden woodland paths to steeper paths on looser, rocky terrain. Surefootedness is essential, and you must not be afraid of heights as some sections are considered exposed. Naturally, in the high mountains a certain level of hiking experience and a good level of fitness are essential. Also, in early season on higher terrain you might have to cross patches of snow.
Switzerland Mobility App – The Via Alpina is a national hiking route and it is very well maintained and waymarked. Your primary route notes and instructions will therefore be provided by the SwitzerlandMobility app. Comprehensive and easy to use, it will make navigation easy. You will also be provided with further information online. In addition, at your first hotel, you will receive a Walk Pack with the following contents:
- Description of how to use the Apps
- Detailed description of the individual stages
- Annual subscription to SwitzerlandMobility Plus
Background information and all other documents are delivered electronically and can be downloaded to your mobile phone well in advance.
Luggage Transfers – this is limited to one piece of luggage per person, 20kg max. Your luggage must be clearly labelled with the tags provided.
Minimum Number – two people, due to safety reasons.
Maximum Altitude – The maximum altitude on this trip is 2778m above sea level.
Booking Conditions – be sure to read our full terms and conditions here before booking.
At Your Own Risk – please read the important notes here.
Travel Advice – check your government’s travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice here.
Passport & Visa – any questions should be directed to the relevant embassy of your destination country; find out more here. It is your responsibility to be in possession of a full passport, valid for your chosen destination.
Travel Insurance – having adequate and valid travel insurance is a condition of booking with us. Details of our insurance partner, Campbell Irvine, are here.
Health Information – You should carry either an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) Neither is an alternative to adequate travel insurance. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice and https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/
ABTA – Independent travel advice and help is always available from ABTA by calling 020 3117 0599 or visiting www.abta.com.