Summertime Alpine holidays are a favourite of ours, not because we do not like beaches or snow but there is a sense of freedom that you get from the mountains that makes you feel alive! Why not take a look at our travel blog for some insight on why!
One of the top reasons it that there is no better way to see a place in 'close-up' than to walk through it and the Swiss Alps offers magnificent walking and scenery. Southern Switzerland is home to one of the most iconic peaks in the Alps, the mighty Matterhorn. The mountain is in the Valais region, also home to a group of peaks known at the Pennine Alps. The range spans over thirty-four thousand meters plus peaks thus providing a stunning panorama as you traverse high mountain paths and meadows through the Simplon and Grand St Bernand passes.
This journey commences in the Bernese Oberland, where you enter the Valais region via an ancient trading route. You will then cross over the Rhône Valley’s vineyards offering a perfect destination for some delightful Swiss wine tasting before heading up into the massive peaks of the Pennine Alps. South of the river offers more classic Alpine scenery and cable cars provide a relaxed and scenic way to reach the spectacular high Alpine paths.
The walk is as dramatic and varied as Alpine trekking gets, with the ultimate scenic view, the Matterhorn, bringing about a real sense of achievement.
Highlights of the trip:
- The trip is self-guided from hotel to hotel
- Detailed daily directions with walking distances and time
- Your luggage is transported
- Use cable cars, buses and trains to access dramatic mountain passes
- trek the best of Matterhorn region
- explore classic routes and little-used trails
- includes all accommodation, breakfasts, dinners and 2 picnics
- half-pass fare card for use on local transport
Please note that there are substantial ascents and descents every day so where possible the trail will start with, or end with a cable car, train or bus. In this way you can really look to enjoy the mountains.
‘At-a-Glance’ Illustrative Itinerary
Your starting point is in the Bernese Oberland with 2 nights in Kadersteg. There are many super walks around which will enable you to stretch your legs and start to acclimatise. Details for either a trail in the Uschene Valley or the Gasterntal Nature Reserve will be available in your travel documents.
Another excellent trip is to use the half-fare card and take a train out to Spiez on the south side of Lake Thun for a boat trip.
Today to embark on the trail with a 5 hour walk/16km from Kandersteg to Leukerbad.
Setting off by bus, followed by a cable car to Sunnbüel and from here you will ascend towards the Gemmi Pass (2,270 metres) via the Schwarenbach Hotel famous for accommodating Sherlock Holmes on his way to meet Moriarty. The pass marks the border between Bernese Oberland and the Valais and it has been an important trading route since Roman times. Your descent into Leukerbad, either on foot or by cable car (seasonal), will be rewarded with time to enjoy the local thermal baths.
Onto Salgesch today which will take around 4hrs to cover 13.5kms.
As you leave Leukerbad you will climb on up through dramatic cliffs before starting your descent. As you walk into Salgesch the lower mountain slopes pass over to swathes of vineyards that are renowned for Grand Cru Salquenen.
Salgesch to Gruben: 13km, 4.5hrs; ascent 1250m / descent 800m
Today’s walk to Gruben is around 4.5hours/ 13kms and will start with a short train ride (included) eastwards along the Rhône Valley. Your destination is Turtmann, a picturesque village up in the mountains which you will reach by cable car. From here you will continue to ascend up through forest, and then traverse the western slopes of the remote Turtmann Valley. This area is one of the least developed valleys of the Pennine Alps, and given the location of your overnight stay you will need to bring an overnight bag with you.
Today will take you over the highest point on the trail with a demanding but absolutely exhilarating route that takes you over the highest pass to this point – Augstboard Pass at 2,893 meters. As you descend the views over the massif of 4,00 meter peaks and glaciers open up in front of you, including the third highest peak in the Alps, the mighty Dom.
The trail is 17kms around 7hours walking but once you are at a small hamlet high above the Matter Valley you can descend via cable car to the station at St Nicklaus for your final journey by rail into Zermatt, where you will finally get to see the awesome Matterhorn.
Having spent the last few days reaching the walking paradise of Zermatt it is only right that you enjoy a day (or more as an extension to your trip) on a circular walk via the lakes:
There are a couple of options to choose from, the first option starts with a classic cog railway ride to Riffelalp, and explores the lakes to the east of Zermatt below the Findel Glacier. The second option includes a gondola ride to Trockener Steg at nearly 3,000 metres, to the glaciers which sweep down from the border with Italy.