‘The portion in Switzerland is 370 kms which could take a keen walker over three weeks to cover,’ says Grant. She says that being an alpine trail, the walks are at altitudes between 1000 and 3000 metres so the season is short, from mid June to mid September. ‘One of the prettiest sections is the Bernese Oberland where visitors are drawn to incredible views of the ‘Big Three’; the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau.’ Starting the route in Meiringen, walkers can visit the Sherlock Holmes Museum. From here, the route takes clients past the Reichenbach Falls where allegedly Holmes met his death, then through a valley to Rosenlaui’s glacier and gorge. ‘The village of Grindlewald, with its traditional cuckoo-clock type houses sets the stage for a classic Swiss mountain experience. The imposing granite north face of the Eiger, a spectacular sheer wall, towers above the village,’ adds Grant. From Grindlewald walkers can take the sweat out of the hike up to Kleine Scheidigg by taking the train part way up and walking the rest of the way. The way down to Lauterbrunnen is on forested trails to reach the car-free village of Wengen. Accommodation is mostly in traditional cosy Swiss chalet type hotels with the odd modern one. A Walker’s World has week long walking packages on Switzerland’s Via Alpina.
Alpine walk gives agents more to sell
Agents have a new opportunity to promote Europe to keen walkers and others looking for soft adventure, says Jill Grant of A Walker’s World. Grant recently sampled a small section of Switzerland’s Via Alpina, which crosses the backbone of the country from west to east. It links up with the long distance hiking network of the same name that starts in Monaco on the Cote d’Azur and ends in Trieste, Italy after traversing eight alpine countries - France, Italy, Monaco, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Germany, Austria and Slovenia.