Bernese Oberland and Zermatt Walking Holidays
The German speaking Bernese Oberland is magical region of classic Alpine landscapes, 3000-4000m high peaks, thundering rivers and waterfalls, hanging valleys, the longest glacier in Europe, beautiful fir, larch and pine forests, golden – green well irrigated meadows bejewelled with flowers, traditional farming techniques, quaint wooden chalets and cows with bells. It stretches over 100km and is the highest part of the Alps that does not form the continental watershed divide (i.e. the split between rivers draining between the North Sea, Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea). Zermatt (1620m) nestles in a different area, the upper Mattertal valley, in a region called Valais, which was totally independent until the 19th Century. Valais is literally one long valley containing the Swiss Rhone and its side valleys, dropping down towards Geneva (Lac Leman). The canton contains most of the country’s highest peaks and is Franco /German speaking.
Zermatt is the epicentre of Swiss mountaineering, skiing and walking; (Grindelwald in the Bernese highlands is a close second). The most obvious reason for the growth and the success of the town has been related to that quintessential mountain of mountains; The Matterhorn which towers over its boutiques, cafes and hotels. Weather here is normally more stable than in the Bernese Alps as these give the area a rain shadow effect.
Although there are the classic long distance footpaths crossing Switzerland, such as the Haute Route and the Alpine Pass Route, involving some long days (both of which we offer); the Bernese Oberland and Zermatt serve as an introduction to the Swiss walking experience, taking in a some of the highlights from these long distance walks.
Our walking holidays in the Bernese Oberland and Zermatt are from easy to moderate grading, which does inevitably mean in Switzerland that you will have some steep gradients (even at the easier end of the scale) to contend with. The beauty of the tour is that in Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen and Zermatt you have effectively two walking days at each place. You can choose from a range of walking routes for each day and then swap the more difficult for easier ones (should the weather conditions deteriorate etc.) in most cases. You can also make use of the World’s most intensive and efficient mountain transport network to reduce or lengthen days to taste (where possible).
Browse Our Walking Holidays in the Bernese Oberland