From: August 18 to August 27, 2018

Destination: Grindelwald and Zermatt, Switzerland

  • Day Hiking the Swiss Alps - FULL

    The Swiss Alps, with their jagged peaks and myriad trails, have long been a magnet for a hikers. On this trip we'll hike some of the premiere trails in both the Berner Oberland and the Valais, returning each night to a hearty dinner and warm bed. We'll take advantage of the excellent Swiss transport system to offer shorter and longer hikes each day - you will definitely get all the hiking you want on this trip! The towns of Grindelwald and Zermatt offer lots of other possibilities too, so your most difficult decisions may be just how to spend your time. Maximum group size: 12

    THIS TRIP IS FULL. To get on the waitlist, please register for the trip (no deposit required)
  • August 18, Saturday
    Plan to arrive Zurich not later than 9:30 AM on August 18. We will meet in the airport and take the train, about a 3 hour ride, to Grindelwald. We'll go through Interlaken and past the magnificent lakes of Thun and Brienz, where we change onto the mountain railroad that takes us up the Grindelwald Valley. Our hotel is near the train station and after checking in (or dropping our luggage off if it's too early), we'll start getting to know each other. We'll then have a couple of hours to explore this small town. We'll gather in the evening for a trip orientation before enjoying a four course dinner and what will likely be an early bedtime for most of us.

    August 19, Sunday
    We spend much of today with nonstop views of the trio for which this region is known: the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau. We start the day with a cable car ride up to Mannlichen, the obvious peak across the Grindelwald Valley and known for its panoramic views of the area. We'll first walk to the top of Mannlichen Peak, about a 30 minute hike with stunning views in all directions. From there we return to a well maintained path that follows the ridge with gentle ups and downs to Kleine Scheidegg, the pass between the Grindelwald and Wengen Valleys. At this point we'll be ready to stop for lunch and consider our options, of which there are many.
    If it's a clear day and taking the Jungfrau Railway up to the highest train station in Europe is on your list, this is a perfect afternoon to do it. If you've had enough for the day, you can return by train to Grindelwald. Alternatively, you can hike the path that climbs the moraine ridge up to Eigergletscher (the name of the glacier on the Eiger), about 850 feet in an hour. With the Eiger always in front of you, and the glacier above and valleys below coming into view with every step, frequent stops are a must. Returning to the Kleine Scheidegg we'll take the train back down to Grindelwald for that wonderful hot shower and dinner in town. 3 to 6 hours walking; Ascent 850 feet, descent 850 to 3500 feet

    August 20, Monday
    Today we continue to experience the many options provided by the excellent Swiss Transport system. We'll start with taking the train down to Lauterbrunnen, a cable car to Grutschalp, and a train to Murren. We'll walk through the car free village of Murren, which is perched on the opposite wall of the Lauterbrunnen Valley, to the Allmendhubel funicular. At the top is an Alpine Flower garden (and the flowers will be abundant in July) and the start of the North Face Trail. The trail follows a contour around the valleys and meadows at the base of the Schilthorn with placards that describe the history and show the climbing routes of each of the north faces of the mountains. We'll stop at the Schiltalp to enjoy homemade hot soup and the local alpkase (cheese made from the milk of cows that graze in mountain meadows) for lunch. The trail loops back down to Murren, where we catch a different cable car that takes us down into the magnificent Lauterbrunnen Valley, so named because of the many waterfalls that cascade off its steep cliffs. From there we'll visit Truemmelbach waterfalls, the only waterfall in Europe actually located inside a mountain. Those who have had enough can take the bus back to Lauterbrunnen and spend some time exploring that town before returning to Grindelwald by train. Alternatively the 2 mile walk back through the Valley is quite lovely and it is fun to watch the paragliders perform aerial tricks as they ride the updrafts. Although it may sound like we are forever on transport, the coordination of the system assures that we are quickly whisked wherever we are going - and the non-stop views along the way never stop enchanting.

    August 21, Tuesday
    Both hikes today start with taking the slow and scenic cog railway up to Schynigge Platte, one of the single most scenic spots in the Jungfrau region. Those wanting a shorter hike will head uphill from the train station, climbing about 500 feet up to great views first of Interlaken and Lake Thun. As the path climbs we see Lake Brienz and the mountains rising from the Lake. The path then continues along the ridge to Oberberghorn, where we can choose whether to scramble to the summit with the aid of ladders. The reward for this is a 360 degree panorama with views that include the Jungfrau, Eiger and Monch and many other peaks. From the Oberberghorn the path descends gently to the base of Loucherhorn and then returns through alpine meadows, passing the alpine farm of Oberberg, to Schynigge Platte. There is an alpine garden and restaurant that can be visited before returning on the cog railway. This hike is about 3 hours with a 500 foot elevation ascent and descent.
    Those wanting a longer hike can hike along the ridge to First, by way of Faulhorn. At first the path is moderately up and down, and then starts gradually up until it reaches Berghaus-Männdlenen, a mountain hotel in a beautiful setting where lunch or refreshments are available. From here the trail climbs more steeply onto a rocky plateau and then traverses over to the Faulhorn. The Faulhorn is home to the oldest mountain hotel in Switzerland and if we have time and energy we can climb the additional 100 feet to enjoy its views and refreshments. From here the trail descends steadily all the way to First, passing the beautiful small glacial lake of Bachalpsee. Although we could choose to complete the trail down to Grindelwald on foot, the gondolas at First will save our knees and serve up fantastic views as we are whisked down in 3 stages. The hiking time for this trail is about 6 hours with 3200 feet of elevation gain and 2500 feet of elevation loss.

    August 22, Wednesday
    Today we bid farewell to the Berner Oberland as we take the train to the canton of Valais and the town of Zermatt, one of the most beautiful villages in Europe. Zermatt is nestled at the base of the Matterhorn, unarguably the most easily-recognized of all mountains. This car free mountain town has a unique personality that offers a great base for hiking.
    Arriving in early afternoon, we can either take today as a rest day from hiking or take a short, steep, and spectacular hike. For those wanting a rest day, you can explore the town and/or visit the Alpine Museum in the center of town, to help you get acquainted with alpine history as well as the history of the area. For those who want to hike today, we can hike to the Edelweiss Hotel. Built in 1898, it has the distinction of being the only building in the Trift valley that is visible from Zermatt. The lack of cable cars makes it only accessible by foot. From Zermatt it is steep uphill for about an hour to the restaurant: it's fabled carrot cake and location (it sits exposed on a rock face with a fantastic view over the town) make it well worth it. We'll return by a steep path and then all meet up to share our first dinner in Zermatt. Hiking time 0 to 3 hours, elevation gain and loss 0 to 1100 feet

    August 23, Thursday
    We begin this morning with a ride up the Sunnegga Tunnel and then to the Blauherd platform where we'll take the Seenweg trail. This trail will take us past three beautiful high mountain lakes famous for not only their beauty but for the reflection of the Matterhorn in their clear waters. The 3rd lake, Grindjisee is perfectly situated for a late lunch with plenty of opportunity for foot soaking. After lunch the trail continues through a beautiful old growth forest and on to the Gorrnergrat Railway -- the highest cogwheel railway in Europe. We will be entering the railway at one of it's stations as it ascends/descends to a height of nearly 10,000 feet. Here we'll have to make one of those dreaded decisions --- up or down? Up will take us to the viewing platform at almost 10,000 feet which offers one of the finest panorama views to be had in Europe: the Monte Rosa Massif and a view over the second-largest glacier in the Alps, the Gornergletscher, as well as 29 peaks higher than 10,000 feet. There is also a restaurant, an observatory and even a shopping mall --- hard to believe! Down takes you back to Zermatt and maybe ice cream? Either way is an excellent choice. Hiking time - 3 to 6 hours, ascent 1000 feet, descent 1000 to 6000 feet

    August 24, Friday
    Today we head back to the Sunnega lift but his time we go all the way to the top! Up to the Rothorn Paradise platform where the views are once more amazing: down to Zermatt, over to the Matterhorn, and up to the Findelen Glacier. We continue from the top of the Rothorn to the trailhead for the Oberrothorn, the highest point that a hiker can achieve without mountaineering.The trail is short and steep and the view of the surrounding peaks and glaciers is well worth our effort.Lunch at the top will be hard to leave but as always, more beautiful vistas await us. Returning to the beginning of the trailhead we will once again have the opportunity to choose our afternoon adventure. You can return to the valley via the lift system and have a free afternoon to wander the streets, sit in the sun along the river in town, visit the museum, take the Schwarzee lift up to the Kliene Matterhorn where the Ice Palace awaits and skiers and snowboarders are playing (there's a zip line there too!) or whatever looks appealing. This afternoon just cries out for relaxation and exploration. Or, you can join your AGC guides in hiking down from the Paradise platform to the Baluherd platform and enjoying the continuous views of the Matterhorn (where you'll be hiking to tomorrow) and watching for marmots. Again -- no bad choices here! Hiking time - 3 to 6 hours depending on your choices.

    August 25, Saturday
    This is our premier hike of the week, to the base of the famous Matterhorn.We will take the Schwarzee lift as high as it goes. There is a lovely lake here and for those who have had enough hiking, it is a beautiful place just to relax. For those who want more hiking the path continues up to another plateau. And for those who still have energy we will make our way up to the Hornli Hut, the highest you can get on the Matterhorn before donning mountaineering gear. This is the hut where those planning to climb the Matterhorn spend the night and begin their ascent the following morning at 2am. We will enjoy the view, eat lunch, and actually be able to walk across the snow to the base of the beginning of the summit climb. We will regroup at Schwarzee and as before, it is possible to take the cable car back down or walk. Hiking 4 - 6 hours (to hut and back), ascent 2250 feet, descent 2250 - or more if you hike down.

    August 26, Sunday
    This morning we have to say goodbye to Zermatt and journey back to Zurich by train. We will arrive in time to drop our baggage off at the hotel and then return to the Zurich Old Town for an afternoon stroll with a short orientation to Zurich, and our final farewell dinner.

    August 27, Monday
    Our hotel is quite close to the airport and has an airport shuttle, and you are free to leave any time.
  • $3450 (Click here for travel discounts) $400 deposit. There are 4 single rooms available (only required if you want a room to yourself) for an additional $725. You can read our cancellation policies here

    Trip Includes

    • Two experienced Adventures in Good Company guides (if group size is 8 or more)
    • nine nights double occupancy accommodation
    • all breakfasts and dinners, from dinner on August 18 through breakfast on August 27
    • a 30-day Half Fare Card and all other transportation required for hikes on the itinerary

    What's not included: Travel to and from Switzerland, beverages, lunches, guide gratuities, travel insurance, and additional activities

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  • Common Questions

    If you’ve never traveled with us before, you may have some questions about how we do things and what you can expect. We’ve answered the most common ones below and are always available by phone or email to answer any others.

    How do I pay for my trip?

    You can make the deposit by submitting a secure form with your credit card information after filling out the registration form or calling us with your card information. We will send you an invoice for the balance due with your Predeparture Information 4 months before an International trip and 3 months before a domestic trip. You can get a 3% discount for paying the balance by check.

    What if I’m coming alone?

    The majority of women who travel with us come by themselves. If you want to pay a single supplement to guarantee your own room, or if you want to share a room with someone with whom you are traveling, you can indicate that on the registration form. Otherwise we randomly assign roommates and rotate every time we change lodging – it’s a great way to get to know different women on the trip.

    Can you accommodate special diets?

    It depends on both the trip and on your specific needs. With advance notice, we can accommodate most dietary restrictions or allergies on our domestic trips, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten intolerant. This is not always true on international trips, so please contact us in advance if you have specific dietary needs. We've found that if you are willing to bring some of your own snacks and a couple of items to supplement what is on the menu (peanut butter is always good!) and possibly have less variety than you are used to at home, then dietary needs usually are no obstacle. If in doubt about your specific dietary needs, especially if you have Celiac disease, please give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email.

    What if I have to cancel my trip?

    The amount of your refund depends on how close to the trip you cancel and whether it is a domestic or an international trip. You can read our cancellation policies here. We highly recommend travel insurance because cancellations are always unexpected; we will send you additional information about insurance when you register.

    Will my family be able to get in touch with me in case of an emergency?

    Yes, we always send out emergency contact information. On a few trips, because of limitations in communication, the best approach is to give them the office number and let us make the contact.

    What other information will you send me?

    When you register, we’ll send you a Trip Summary that includes the itinerary, travel information, and a packing list. Three to four months before your trip we’ll send you Pre-Departure information that includes detailed information on how to get to the trip starting point, pre- or post-trip lodging suggestions, suggested books and websites etc. Four to six weeks before the trip, we’ll send you a list of everyone who is registered along with their travel plans; and a Pre-Trip letter with the name of your guide(s) and how to contact them if your arrival is delayed as well as any other important updates.

    Do you help with pre-trip and/or post-trip hotel reservations?

    For international trips, if you want to stay at the hotel where we’re staying the first night before the trip, or at the hotel we’re staying the last night after the trip, we’re happy to make a reservation for you. Otherwise our PreDeparture Information will have hotel suggestions. Our travel agent is also happy to help you with this.

    How does the waitlist process work and how often do people cancel?

    If you are interested in a trip that is full, you should sign up here. If there is a cancellation, we send out an email to everyone who has expressed interest and ask them to respond within 24 hours. If more than one person is interested, we give the space to the person who has traveled with us before or in the order of being put on the waitlist. Frequently, even when we have a long wait list, it is the last person to sign up who is still available to go. Whether or not there will be a cancellation is completely unpredictable, although not uncommon.

    What is the role of the guide(s)?

    On every trip, the primary roles of the guide(s) are to ensure your safety and to make sure that, to the extent possible, you are having the trip you want. The guide(s) will also make sure that you know what is happening each day and what you need to bring to be prepared. On domestic trips the guide(s) will also likely be driving, preparing picnic lunches and sometimes other meals, providing skills instruction, and giving you information about the natural history of the area. On any trip where we partner with another company (which is most international trips and some trips that require special equipment), the AGC guide will work with the local guide to make sure that the trip is conducted in accordance with the AGC philosophy.

    What if I have more questions?

    Give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email. A Program Manager is assigned to each trip. Once you have registered, she will send you a registration confirmation letter that includes her name and email, and she will be your primary contact. Her job is to make sure that you get all your questions answered and that you feel completely prepared for your adventure.

    What if I'm the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape/only single woman/only mom on the trip?

    You might be. Someone has to be the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape person on the trip. And while the great majority of our trips have both single and non-single women, and moms and non-moms, sometimes they don't. But it doesn't matter if you're "different" in any of those ways - what you will share with everyone else is a desire to experience adventure in your life, and an appreciation of the joy and camaraderie of being in an all women's group.

Trip highlights

  • Hiking a diversity of the Swiss Alpine trails
  • Staying in two lovely and quite different Swiss villages in 3 star hotels
  • Sampling local specialties, including Alpkase (mountain cheese) and chocolate
  • Hiking to the base of two legendary Swiss Mountains, the Eiger and the Matterhorn
  • Taking advantage of the excellent Swiss transport system

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