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Hike the Swiss Alps

Trip Highlights

Designed for ages 25-45. Head out to the adventure capital of Switzerland with DC Club Leader, Erik Ruselowski.This highly active trip is planned with a good balance of group time with your fellow Michigan travelers, as well as time to explore on your own and design your trip experience. Inspiring moments include:

  • Exploring Switzerland’s spectacular alpine scenery.
  • Feasting your eyes on the soul-stirring landscapes of the Bernese Oberland.
  • Enjoying a dinner accompanied by music and folklore atop Harder Kulm, the “top of Interlaken.”
  • Gliding through a canvas of sparkling turquoise water on Lake Thun.
  • Hiking the Lauterbrunnen Valley, relishing its unspoiled natural wonders.
  • Savoring a traditional fondue dinner.
  • Experiencing new adventures in one of the extreme sports capitals of the world.
  • Delighting in the epic beauty of the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch, A UNESCO World Heritage site.

A Note About Activity Levels

This active program is designed for people who are in good health and can comfortably participate in a demanding daily schedule of physical activities. The itinerary may feature full days of ongoing activities. Excursions on this program require:

  • walking distances of up to 3-5 miles, sometimes uphill or downhill
  • walking on cobblestones, unpaved paths and/or uneven and slippery surfaces
  • getting on/off motor coaches, boats and/or trains, gondolas and funiculars
  • tolerating high altitude conditionsDepending on the excursion, more leisurely alternatives may be available.


Day 1 – Depart gateway city

AHI FlexAir passengers depart for Zürich, Switzerland. Please check your luggage from your gateway city to your arrival city. Your claim checks should have the following airport code: ZRH.

Meals – Appropriate in-flight meal service

Day 2 – Zürich, Switzerland | Interlaken

Upon arrival at Zürich Airport, proceed through immigration to the baggage claim area and retrieve your luggage. There are several options available for transportation to the Hotel Carlton-Europe in Interlaken. Rent a car, reserve a private transfer or travel to Interlaken via Switzerland’s quick and efficient rail system.

Please note, if you arrive at the hotel before check-in time, your room may not be immediately available.

Discovery: Welcome to Interlaken! Nestled snugly between lakes Thun and Brienz, Interlaken is the gateway to the Bernese Oberland and is often referred to as Switzerland’s adventure capital. Join your Travel Director and fellow adventurers for a short walk around town. Find out where to enjoy Interlaken’s bustling gastronomy scene and coffee culture, plus see the city’s interesting attractions, lakeside promenade and more.

Enrichment: Introduction to Switzerland. Join a local lecturer to learn about the history of Switzerland and discover what makes this mountainous country unique among its European neighbors.

Tonight, get to know your travel mates during a Welcome Reception, followed by a Welcome Dinner.

Accommodations – Carlton-Europe Hotel
Meals – Appropriate in-flight meal service and dinner

Day 3 – Lake Thun

Discovery: The Wonders of Lake Thun. Cruise on crystal-clear Lake Thun toward Oberhofen. This cobalt-colored lake is bordered by bucolic hills, fishing villages, castles and Swiss chalets — vistas made to order by artists and poets. After disembarking, visit lakeside Oberhofen Castle, an enchanting landmark with Neo-Gothic and Turkish architectural styles, a pretty English-style garden and a quaint turret. Inside, the rooms are decorated in a variety of styles, including Gothic, French empire and Renaissance, and display medieval weaponry, portraits and other noteworthy treasures. Continue to lovely Spiez and settle by the lakeshore to enjoy lunch with an unrivaled view. Following lunch, take advantage of time at leisure to see the sites of this quintessential Swiss town, including a castle and a 1,000-year-old Romanesque church. This is the perfect time to stroll along the promenade or grab a coffee and soak up the tranquility of a lakeside panorama.

Free Time: You may wish to stay in Spiez to continue your discovery or return to Interlaken.

Travelers’ Corner: Later tonight, gather to sample some of Switzerland’s most quintessential flavors: wine, cheese and divine chocolate! Then enjoy conversation over a cocktail at a local establishment. The first drink is on us!

Accommodations – Carlton-Europe Hotel
Meals – Breakfast and lunch

Day 4 – Lauterbrunnen Valley | Mürren

Enrichment: Mountaineering in Switzerland. The country enjoys a long tradition of mountain climbing. Learn about this popular pastime, which draws enthusiasts eager to tackle the challenging peaks of the Swiss Alps.

Discovery: Lauterbrunnen Valley. This picturesque region, home to sweet gingerbread-type chalets and 72 different waterfalls, is an unmissable destination. Hop aboard a train for a ride to Lauterbrunnen, then transfer to a cable car and enjoy an aerial journey to Grütschalp. Revel in amazing views made sweeter by Swiss cows that pepper the landscape below. Arrive in Grütschalp and delight in a gentle walk through fragrant pine forests and grasslands to Winteregg. On a clear day, you’ll witness the imposing north face of the Eiger peak, as well as the peaks of Mönch and Jungfrau for the duration of the hike. Be sure to have your camera handy to capture these storybook moments. Continue walking to Mürren, a tranquil, vehicle-free town with traditional wooden houses and a population of only 350 residents.

Optional Activities

Schilthorn: If you’re a James Bond fan (or just want to marvel at some fantastic mountainscapes), we suggest riding a cable car up the Schilthorn for 360-degree views and scenery that was featured in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” If you wish, revisit 007 history by browsing an interactive exhibition that displays scenes from the epic movie as well as information on shooting the film and handprints from the actors. The summit also boasts the world’s first revolving panoramic restaurant, Piz Gloria. Available at an additional cost.

Mürrenbachfall Hike: If you’re enjoying the thrills and sights of unspoiled nature, continue walking along an easy, well-maintained path from Mürren to Grimmelwald and on to Stechelberg, or take the gondola. Along the way, pass through meadows, cross footbridges and enjoy spectacular views of the Elger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains. You will also be awarded with the photograph-worthy Mürrenbachfall, one of Switzerland’s highest waterfalls.

Additionally, your Travel Director will be available to offer alternative options to suit your interests.

Following time for optional activities, travelers that stayed in Mürren will descend to Stechelberg by cable car and join the remainder of the group. Together, transit by bus to Lauterbrunnen, followed by a train ride to Interlaken.

Dinner is at leisure this evening. Take the opportunity to explore Interlaken’s booming foodie culture. Perhaps grab a few friends to share a fondue dinner. This decadent Swiss dish of melted cheese is served in a communal pot and eaten with crusty bread.

Accommodations – Carlton-Europe Hotel
Meals – Breakfast

Day 5 – Kandersteg | Oeschinen

Discovery: Kandersteg and Oeschinensee. Today, we’ll encounter the spectacular beauty of the Bernese Oberland beginning with a train journey to Kandersteg, a quiet holiday resort that is a paradise for nature lovers, hiking enthusiasts and snow bunnies. Upon arrival, embark a gondola for a ride up to the Oeschinensee. Nestled nearly 5,200 feet above sea level, this idyllic lake is regarded as the jewel of the Bernese Oberland. Follow a gentle path to the lake, pausing to fully absorb the postcard-perfect, glittering lake accompanied by the towering Doldenhorn mountain. With its water-veined cliffs, deep blue hue and startling reflections, this may just be one of the most memorizing sights in all of Switzerland!

Optional Activities

Panoramic Heuberg Loop Hike: This panoramic trail leads you through a spectacular setting along a narrow, well-marked path. Following signs to Heuberg – Ober Bargli, you will cross small glacial streams, pass pretty waterfalls and witness the turquoise lake from above. You may even see some friendly sheep along the way! The Ober Bargli mountain hut, located near the end of the hike, offers drinks and light snacks to fuel up for your return walk down to the lake.

Fründenhütte Hike: The Fründenhütte trail guides hikers along a steep, challenging path above the Oeschinensee. The trail hugs the lake before following a series of switchbacks that lead up, up and up. Fixed cables offer assistance in some areas. Along the way, pass tumbling waterfalls and witness beautiful glaciers blanketing the mountain slopes in the distance.

Alpine Adventure: If hiking isn’t on your Oeschinensee bucket list, you may wish to simply stroll along the shoreline, relax at a lakeside restaurant or delight in one of many optional adventure activities. Rent a row-boat to glide on the water or tackle trails with a bicycle. You can also try the Rodelbahn, a thrilling toboggan run! Available at an additional cost.

Upon your return to Kandersteg, unwind over a hearty lunch with your group. After lunch, take the train back to Interlaken.

Travelers’ Corner: Join your group tonight to celebrate the day’s adventure over a pre-dinner beverage. The first drink is on us!

Accommodations – Carlton-Europe Hotel
Meals – Breakfast and lunch

Day 6 – Interlaken

Free Time: Enjoy a full day at leisure in Interlaken or challenge yourself to an Alpine adventure such as canyoning, skydiving, river rafting, bungee jumping or canyon swinging. If you wish to explore further afield, consider a trip to Bern, Switzerland’s capital city, to view a variety of historic sites, or Meiringen, home to the superb Reichenbach Waterfall. Sherlock Holmes fans will remember this landmark as the site where Holmes and Professor Moriarty fell to their deaths in “The Final Problem.” Your Travel Director will also be available to offer suggestions for your final day at leisure.

Gather with your fellow travelers tonight for a special Farewell Dinner. Travel by funicular to the “Top of Interlaken,” Harder Kulm, located at an elevation of 4,300 feet. A viewing platform awards panoramas of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau peaks above and Lakes Brienz and Thun below. At the nearby restaurant, treat your taste buds to a traditional Swiss meal of delicious melted cheese, meat and chocolate fondue. During dinner, enjoy a folkloric performance with typical Swiss music. Raise a toast in celebration of your epic Switzerland escape!

Accommodations – Carlton-Europe Hotel
Meals – Breakfast and dinner

Day 7 – Depart for gateway city

After breakfast, bid farewell to the Swiss Alps.

AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for a group transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer depart for Zürich Airport for your return flights home. Your Travel Director will provide the details.

Meals – Breakfast and appropriate in-flight meal service


Show Full Itinerary

By participating in an Alumni Association of the University of Michigan travel trip, you have stated that the Alumni Association has the exclusive right to use video and other visual/audio portrayals of You or Your likeness taken during Your trip in any medium of any nature whatsoever for any purpose, including advertising or promoting the services of the trip without any compensation being paid to You. Any such portrayal or likeness shall be the exclusive property of the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan.

  • Sept. 4–10, 2020
(7 days)
Starting price: $1,895
double Occupancy; singles $2,195
Deposit per person: $600
Type: Land

You must be an Alumni Association member to travel with us. Questions? Call Michigan Alumni Travel at 855.764.0064.

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