Fresh air

Paul Gibbins, 14 February, 2019
If you're longing for warm, sunny days in the high mountains, Paul Gibbins' account of his Swiss summer holiday may be just the thing...

Every year, my wife and I have the same conversation: where shall we go on holiday? We usually have very different ideas, but conversation always turns to our bucket list of ultimate destinations: Machu Picchu? Trekking in Nepal? Sailing in the Mediterranean? These are, by nature, very expensive, and remain ‘on the list’ for that reason. But we always decide on something a little different, unafraid to explore independently for a few days. We’re also ‘walkers’, always have been and hopefully always will be. So this year was the turn of the Swiss Alps, and Inntravel’s High Route through the Bernese Oberland.

The Bernese Oberland is a stunning landscape; an area renowned for its access to a beautiful part of the Alps, where hiking and skiing activities have been popular for many years, especially in Interlaken and Jungfrau. The car-free towns of Wengen and Mürren are much admired and the whole region is easy to get around, linked by the ever-efficient Swiss public transport system.

Needless to say, don’t forget your camera; this is the sort of place where you can easily achieve those ‘postcard’ shots – whether you have a top-of-the-range DSLR or just an iPhone, the views are extremely impressive.

We began in Grindelwald, a small town situated just over 1000 metres above sea level and used to having tourists passing through. It’s a friendly place, perfect for getting your bearings for the first two nights. Inntravel has a canny way of easing you into the holiday with a warm welcome at the hotel, impeccable English-speaking hosts, a comfortable room and a four-course dinner.

Blessed with fine weather and comprehensive guide notes, our route was easily followed, assisted by the excellent Swiss signposts with estimated travel times just below the destination. The ‘High Route’ visits Alpiglen, Kleine Scheidegg, Wengen, Mürren and Kandersteg. And be assured, it’s high up, taking you over 2612 metres to cross the Sefinenfurgge and Hortuli Passes. Some sections are very steep but well worth the climb. If you’re not good with heights, walking poles will help and there are alternative suggested routes. In places the ground literally falls away to the side of you; but it’s the scenery and clean, fresh air that keeps drawing you along.

From the final base in Kandersteg, we made the most of an opportunity to take a gondola to the stunning turquoise blue waters of Oeschinensee, a UNESCO World Heritage Site sitting 1578 metres above sea level and surrounded by the spectacular 3000-metre mountain peaks of the Blüemlisalp, Oeschinenhorn, Fründenhorn and Doldenhorn. Popular with tourists and locals, it is an impressive location to conclude a fantastic holiday.

The High Route

The high-mountain ridges of the Bernese Oberland are perfect for anyone seeking exhilarating walks amid majestic Alpine scenery.
More about our walking holidays in Switzerland >
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