My Backroads guests and I have just piled into the Sunnbüel cable car and we're ready to ascend over 3,800 feet to begin our hike across the Gimme Pass. It's day two of our Switzerland Walking & Hiking Trip and I'm about to tell my guests something that I know nobody will believe.
Glaciers, massive conglomerations of ice, snow and rock, are among the world's greatest wonders. But they're also slowly disappearing. These natural phenomena, which have come and gone throughout Earth's long geological history, appear to be in the process of documenting another chapter in our planet's story. But while most glaciers are receding at an alarming rate, certain destinations still provide an abundance waiting to be appreciated. What many don't realize is that many of Earth's most beautiful places, while devoid of glaciers today, were actually sculpted and created by these fascinating features and are home to unforgettable scenery.
How do you narrow down days of hiking with your favorite people--amid some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable--into a "top 3" list? It's not easy. But I always appreciate tips from other travelers to help me make my travel decisions, so here we go...
If I learned one thing while studying in Switzerland, it’s that fondue brings people together. Fondue in winter warms you up from the inside. Summer fondue is a naughty pleasure, like a morning mimosa. Should you find yourself high in the mountains after a day of hiking or cycling, starting to shiver beneath the green-cheese moon—maybe it’s time to ditch the diet and dip in.
It's said that long ago in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland, there were two monasteries at the top of the world. One, on a peak called the Jungfrau (the virgin), is where the women would stay. The other, called the Eiger (the ogre), housed the men. In the middle stood the most formidable of the three peaks, called the Mönch (the monk), to keep the sexes apart. These mountains tower over the village of Grindelwald. The Eiger in particular, with its steep exposed north face, has long been a test piece for serious mountaineers. Last fall another Backroads leader and I hiked in the shadow of the Eiger--and you can too!
There's nothing quite like hiking in the Swiss Alps. Over the years, I've thought about what makes hiking in Switzerland unique and I've come to the conclusion that it's not merely the perfect signage. Here are a few of the elements that make the land of cheese and chocolate an exceptional place to hike.
Traditional, yet modern. Buzzing with activity, but filled with peaceful pockets of relaxation. Where the Kloster Dhammapala (a serene Buddhist monastery) huddles in the shadow of the Klettersteig (a heart-pumping level-4 climbing path). Whatever paradox you're looking for can be found in Kandersteg, your Backroads gateway to a spectacular alpine adventure and the starting point of our Switzerland Family Multisport trip.
One of the greatest things about working for Backroads is being able to experience unique cultural events around the globe. Ever since I first set foot in Switzerland, I’ve been fascinated by Swiss national sports–particularly Schwingen (Swiss wrestling).