We are planning this trip for the week during July 4th. The itinerary will run from Geneva to Zurich. The plan is to hike some of the worlds greatest trails while enjoying Alpine culture.
For those of you have not done summer in the Alps - its fantastic! Both the bike and hiking trails networks are the best in the world and everything connects to public transport. Many hikes will start and end at elevation via cogged railways or chairlifts so multi-day ascents & descents are not necessary. Also where else in the world can you find nice mountain huts to nibble on some cheese with wine. The hut above is on a remote trail junction near the Swiss-Italian border.
Saturday Arrive Geneve - transfer to Chamonix
Sunday Chamonix Activity: Mt. Blanc Cable Car or Lac Blanc Hike
Monday Valais Wine Trail - All Day Bike & Tasting
Tuesdsay Matterhorn Base Hike OR Glacier Skiing Zermatt
Wednesday Aletsch Glacier Hike OR Interlaken Boat Ride
Thursday Canyoning or JungFrau Top Of the World Train
Friday Klein Schendig Hike - All Day with option to Paraglide Down
Saturday Bike of low country village and lakes
Sunday Depart Zurich (Geneva & Milan OK too)
What to Bring?
We will be making full use of public transportation (trains, postbus, chairlifts, gondola's, trams and specialized cog railways) as we cross the Alps. As we will be moving point to point without vehicle support, all participants must pack appropriately with light, layered clothing. No food, camping, cooking, or sleeping provisions will be needed. Mountain weather always has the risk of rain and we will go on rain or shine so bring appropriate clothing. A medium sized backpack for point to point should not exceed 30lbs and a small day-pack for return trips for a camera and water. Due to being on the early side of the season - our first choice of alpine trails maybe closed due to snow - some trails open only in late July or August. But this will not impact the quality of the trip - there are great trails open all over the Alps and also we are a couple of weeks before peak season crowds.
If you have knee issues, a retractable walking stick helps a lot for downhills, scree and rain (Walking sticks are used by many hikers.)
Costs will be defined shortly; Transport, accommodation, guides costs will be bundled in a package. This trip will be based on 3 star B&B and wherever possible a Hikers Dorm option will be given.
All hikes are free. There are no national park fees.
Biking, Skiing, Canyoning, top of mountain trains, etc will have excursion costing.
In general, you should budget 50% more for meals and incidentals than the US. While many things are free the cost of regular goods is high.
What are the Excursions?
Hiking and Biking will be included. The main excursions will be:
* Skiing: Zermat has the largest summer ski are in the world with several lifts open. Its typical glacier skiing with almost all intermediate and beginner runs. The beauty is wearing little clothing and being under the Matterhorn. Expert runs are only available through heli-excursions. Summer ski season the lifts open at 7:00am. 8:00-10:00am is usually great spring skiing conditions. Unless its cloudy after 11:30am conditions deteriorate and lifts close at 1:00pm
* Canyoning: Switzerland has some of the best canyoning in the world with an amazing variety and levels of canyons. Each canyon has a season depending on snowmelt. In July some canyons will be closed due to high water levels while others will be perfect. Therefore we'll plan canyon options closer to the date.
* Paragliding: The Alps are the home of paragliding and tandem paragliding might not have the thrill of skydiving but at least you have much longer to enjoy the views. We'll have the option of paragliding down at the end of one of our hikes
* City, History, Wine, Bird, Botany, Lake, Waterfall tours are available at most places we stop.
What kind of shape do you have to be in?
Good shape - but this is for fun - not racing so every-one can go at their own pace and we'll stop for re-group breaks. However, you should be able to handle your pack by yourself. (no valets or limo transfers on this trip!)
None of the walks will be multi-day or utilize the French/Swiss refugee system. This is by design so if people are tired they can take a day off and do a non-walking activity. In fact you could do this itinerary and not hike and still enjoy hundreds of shorter walks and tours.
What about culture - why go to Europe to hike?
We'll experience culture everywhere. Each night we'll stay in a small village. The food and wine will be Alpine. Some villages may have summer festivals and music. Even the trail protocols are different! As far as hiking - every place in the world has its pro's and con's. The advantage of Switzerland is the ability to get to stunning beauty with an amazing transport and access system. This includes the worlds longest tunnels and the most mountain railways. We've explored the Andes and Himalayas extensively and covering the same amount of distance in the mountains would require several days of travel time. Our total travel time on trains and bus will be less than 15 hours!
If you are interested please RSVP. The core package will be organized by Enrouta and pricing will be available shortly.