In our latest blog post we talked a bit about our first week of “wet” but promising hiking on the Via Alpina trails in Switzerland. And we can promise you that we were not disappointed by the 4 stages that followed ;). The sun finally made its return to Switzerland (and it seems it’s going to last :))! Frankly, it is quite difficult to express in words what we felt during these 4 days… What can I say? Everything is going really well and it this hike through the Alps is all we expected from this walking adventure on the Via Alpina. Swiss Alps are probably one of our favorite places in the world and these 4 days are most likely the best ones we’ve had so far.
Hiking the Alps: From Engelberg to Tannensee
We leave Engelberg in great shape after a good day’s break and in addition under a bright sun 🙂 (finally!!!!!). We tackle the 1200m climb that will take us to the Jochpass (the pass of the day 😉 ). The first part of the climb is very steep and even if the landscapes are beautiful, we must admit that it is a little frustrating to climb under the cabins full of Asian people who take pictures of us;) (we are walking under the cabin that goes up to the top of the Titlis, thus it is very touristic!).
The end of the climb is not going as planned…. Fabienne is nauseous! Probably because she hasn’t had enough to drink and the sun is strong. It must be said that we have not yet been very used to walking under the sun since the beginning of this Via Alpina ;). After a long break by the Trüebsee (Lake Trüeb), things are a little better and we start to climb up to the Jochpass. Once at the top, we did not stay too long at the pass because there are a lot of people. But no big deal… Because the view on the other side was not too bad neither 😉
We decide to picnic with this view of the Engstlensee and the Tannensee (top right on the picture). This second lake is actually the spot where we thought we might bivouac. Once our Wraps with alpine cheese and salami swallowed, we quietly descend towards the shore of Lake Engstlen, enjoying the scenery. It feels good to hike under this beautiful sun after a rainy week!
We then go up to the shore of Lake Tannen. We find an ideal place to camp and we ask the farmer who lives next door if it bothers him that we set up our tent near his home. The farmer is very nice and we start talking about our through hike project. After explaining everything about his cows, he tells us that he doesn’t mind at all if we pitch our tent by the lake. He also sells us a piece of alpine cheese at the local price (Fabienne’s Swiss German helped us with this one;)). We go to bed after eating a good polenta with alpine cheese and admired a nice sunset! This what you could call a dream day:)
Swiss Alps: From Tannensee to the village of Meiringen
After a very rough night (we had a storm that kept us awake for part of the night…), we wake up with a magnificent view of Lake Tannen. After a cup of coffee and some sweets, we set off for the village of Meiringen.
We start the day by following a magnificent ridge that will lead us to the place called Planplatten. This section is really spectacular and we are starting to see in the distance some giants of the Swiss Alps.
Arriving in Planplatten, we are rewarded with a magnificent view of what will be our next day’s program (and even the following day). A gigantic valley opens up in front of us with some giants from the Swiss Alps like the Schreckhorn or the Eiger. We already know that our next day, which will take us to the popular resort of Grindelwald, will be fantastic. But before that, an endless 1600m long descent awaits us to reach the village of Meiringen at the bottom of the valley… our legs still remember it 😉
Most beautiful hike: From Meiringen to Grindelwald
You will think that we keep repeating us… but the landscapes are simply amazing! The climb of the day (1300m elevation gain to the famous Grosse Scheidegg), in the heart of this valley that we had discovered the day before, is just sumptuous. We walk at the foot of glaciers, waterfalls and mountains of more than 4000m. We are so busy looking around that we almost forget the blazing sun that makes us sweat with large drops.
Once in Grosse Scheidegg, the show continues with a completely unobstructed view of the Eiger and Grindelwald below. We were so much looking forward to finally seeing the Eiger up close (well, especially Benoit:)) and we’re not disappointed. We will spend the rest of the descent to Grindelwald with our heads up in the air admiring all these mountains. We now understand why this region of Switzerland is so touristy… the place is really magical! We will end the day in front of our tent with a beer, in front of the Grindelwald glacier and the Eiger… the dream!!!
Swiss Mountain paradise: from Grindelwald to Lauterbrunnen
This stage, we had already noted it in red before our departure on the Via Alpina:). Why? Simply because it was the stage we were going to pass just in front of the Eiger, the Mönch and the Jungfrau, 3 emblematic mountains of our beautiful country!
We start this day with a steep climb to Kleine Scheidegg. We must admit that after the last 3 big days, our legs are starting to get a little heavy and the need for a break becomes greater. But no worries, we easily forget about our hurting legs by looking up and admiring the north face of the Eiger :).
When we arrive at Kleine Scheidegg, we have the impression of being at Dineyland… It’s super crowded! Most people are not hikers, but asians with selfie sticks! It must be said that this is the starting point of the famous and very expensive train that goes up to the Jungfraujoch station (the highest train station in Europe with its 3454m) through a tunnel that crosses the Eiger and the Mönch.
To fully enjoy these magnificent landscapes, we decide to go down a little on the other side for a quiet picnic. Get an idea of the landscapes with these few photos:).
We will finish this wonderful day by going down the mythical Lauberhorn ski slope (any ski fan knows this slope:)) to Wengen and then continuing to the village of Lauterbrunnen. 200% happiness!
Our ebook!Are you preparing the Via Alpina for this summer? In the spring of 2020 we published an ebook that should please you. 🙂 More than 100 pages dedicated to this magnificent hike through the Alps. From the different stages of preparation, safety tips, the list of campsites to our detailed daily itinerary (with maps and GPX files to download): everything is there!
Find more information on the ebook here
If you prefer to have our ebook in epub format (for your e-readers), you can also buy it directly on Fnac/Kobo or Apple books (Then, if you want to get the GPX files of the Via Alpina, contact us by email at contact[at]novo-monde.com with your order confirmation).
4 incredible days on the Via Alpina in video
To end this article in style, Fabienne has prepared a short video about these 4 days which should make you want to join us on the Via Alpina right away;)… Enjoy!
So much for the rest of our adventures on the Via Alpina. We gave ourselves a day off in Lauterbrunnen before continuing our journey. It must be said that the 3 highest passes of the Via Alpina await us during the next stages and we will need all our energy to pass them 😉 . But the weather seems to be on our side for the next few days…. So it promises new magical moments that we will try to share with you as best we can;)
Only 160 km to go to Montreux 😉
Video Via Alpina
November 2017 update: here is a short final video of this adventure. 3 minutes through the most beautiful landscapes of Switzerland with our feeling once back: