Day 1: Arrive in Wengen
We’ll arrive independently in Wengen by train (joining instructions to be provided in your information packet and the train fare from a Swiss airport or border is included with your Swiss Card). The final leg up to the village is on a dramatic cog rail way that affords the first glimpses of the glacially carved Lauterbrunnen Valley and its legendary waterfalls. Our hotel overlooks the spectacular Lauterbrunnen Valley and the Jungfrau Mountain in a quiet part of the village. Those arriving early will have the opportunity to enjoy a self-guided walk around the village of Wengen with its views of the Lauterbrunnen Valley, and the Jungfrau, Silberhorn and Breithorn peaks. We’ll enjoy a welcome drink and trip orientation, followed by a delicious dinner in the hotel. Please plan to arrive by 6:00 p.m. Note: Zurich is the most convenient major airport for connecting to Wengen on Day 1 and back from Pontresina on Day 8. Meals: D. Overnight: Wengen.
Day 2: Maennlichen and Kleine Scheidegg
We ride a cable car directly from Wengen up to Maennlichen for one of the classic walks of the area: the hike on the Panorama Trail to Kleine Scheidegg, the base for climbs up the next-to-impossible North Face of the Eiger (don’t worry: that’s not on our docket), and a station for the train up the Jungfrau. We’ll walk beneath the daunting face of the Eiger, on the valley floor or on the more challenging Eiger Trail. We’ll all attempt to find the famous windows in the wall of the Eiger used to rescue climbers and known to us from the movie “The Eiger Sanction.” We’ll walk down to Alpiglen and then take the train back to Wengen. Meals: B, L, D. Overnight: Wengen.
Day 3: Lauterbrunnen Valley and Muerren
We’ll take the train down off our high mountain terrace to Lauterbrunnen and hike out the valley floor past the Staubach Falls that were celebrated in Goethe’s poetry. Our walk takes us to the extraordinary Trummelbach Falls hidden inside the mountain. From there we walk or ride a lift up to the village of Muerren and enjoy a picnic lunch assembled with products from local farms on a terrace looking across the valley. Those with energy to spare can ascend above Muerren for an adventure that combines incredible mountain views with a walk past active dairy farms. If the weather is fine, another option during our visit is the cable car ride up the Schilthorn Mountain for spectacular views of the famous trio of mountains (The Eiger, the Monk and the Jungfrau), and, for James Bond fans, a viewing of a film on the making of “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” which was filmed on the Schilthorn. There would be an extra charge for the Schilthorn ride. We return to Lauterbrunnen from Muerren via the Grutschalp cable car and then take the cog railway back up to Wengen. We’ll have dinner in the hotel tonight. Meals: B, L, D. Overnight: Wengen.
Day 4: Glacier Express and Pontresina
Today we take the Glacier Express across the Alps to the beautiful high Alpine resort of Pontresina. The Glacier Express has been called the World’s slowest express, not a bad thing given the grandeur of this classic train ride. You’ll board the train in Wengen and travel through the mountains across Switzerland. Our hosts from our Pontresina hotel will pick us up at the train and transport us up the hill to this charming town with its Italianate flavor. Tonight we’ll enjoy a wonderful dinner in the hotel. Meals: B, D. Overnight: Pontresina.
Day 5: Muottos Muragl and Paradise Hut
We travel by bus and funicular to the mountain hotel of Muottas Muragl (8,048'). We hike to Alp Languard (7,421') for spectacular views of the entire Engadine Valley, including its many lakes and St. Moritz. After following the splendid balcony trail to the aptly named “Paradis” Hut (8,366’), a quaint mountain restaurant with views of the Morteratsch Glacier, we take the chairlift back to Pontresina. In the afternoon we visit the Morteratsch Glacier where we can see the signs where the glacier has receded and where we can walk up to and touch the ice. We may have the opportunity to visit a cheese farm depending upon the production schedule. Dinner tonight will be in the hotel. Meals: B, D. Overnight: Pontresina.
Day 6: Roseg Valley
Today we take a horse carriage ride into the scenic Roseg valley and a walk to a beautiful glacial lake. At the end of the valley we’ll see the impressive Roseg Glacier towering above us after which we’ll walk back down the valley to Pontresina. There is a more challenging option involving a zigzag trail to the Fuorcla Surlej mountain hut (9,038'), from where we have a very nice view of the peaks of Roseg and Bernina with its Bianco Grat, one of the most famous ice ridges in the Alps. After a rest at the hut we’ll continue our hike to Hahnen Lake and descend to St. Moritz (5,813'), where we take the bus back to Pontresina. Dinner is on your own tonight, perhaps in St. Moritz. Meals: B. Overnight: Pontresina.
Day 7: Swiss National Park/Val Trupchen or Soglio/Val Bregaglia
We will choose from two wonderful outings today: either the Swiss National Park or the village of Soglio. If we opt for the National Park we’ll travel a short distance by train to the Trupchun Valley and walk through dense forests to Alp Trupchun. Hiking over alpine fields and meadows, we’ll arrive at Varusch Hut where an option for lunch could be polenta or any number of other specialties. In this protected environment we may see marmots lounging next to the trail and herds of deer. On our way to or from the Park we’ll visit Zuoz, the best preserved town in the Engadine. Our other option is a hike and visit to Val Bregalia, birthplace and home to the renowned artist Alberto Giacometti. First we travel by Post Bus over the Maloja Pass, once used by the Romans, to Casaccia, situated in a completely different looking valley. We’ll hike on a panoramic trail, an ancient mule track, to Soglio, an historic village perched near the Italian border on the mountainside high above the valley with a gorgeous view that was frequented by the author Rilke. This Italian-speaking enclave has the feel of a different time and place. For our farewell dinner tonight we’ll take the cog railway back up to Muottas Muragl, the location of our first hike in Pontresina, to toast each other and dine in an elegant panoramic restaurant with views of the dramatic lakes and mountains of this beautiful valley. Meals: B, D. Overnight: Pontresina.
After breakfast we’ll transfer independently by train to the airport or to other destinations.