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The Way of St James: Einsiedeln to Interlaken 2

The Way of St James in Switzerland: Einsiedeln to Interlaken

Overview

Via Jacobi is a pilgrimage route from Lake Constance to Geneva as a part of the Camino de Santiago. Lined by churches, monasteries and chapels, it offers a remarkable hiking experience along historic paths through a diverse cultural landscape. The 7-days tour takes you from the most important place of pilgrimage dedicated to the Virgin Mary in Switzerland – the Benedictine Einsiedeln Abbey to the old Augustinian monastery of Interlaken, nestled between the turquoise lakes of Brienz and Thun. Whether you are looking for a spiritual journey or a hike along the stunning Swiss valleys and lakes, you will be seduced by the magnificent alpine scenery of the surrounding Bernese Oberland, the excellent cuisine and the Swiss hospitality.

Click to view map

*This map is only for general reference; detailed route maps will be provided in your pre-departure package.

Itinerary

Day 1: Einsiedeln

Your tour starts in Einsiedeln, in the valley of the Alp river. Enjoy a stroll to the shores of Lake Sihl and admire the Benedictine Einsiedeln Abbey, located within the village. Considered one of the most important Roman Catholic pilgrimage sites in Europe, the monastery complex and the abbey’s library are well worth visiting.

Day 2: Einsiedeln – Brunnen/Schwyz | 24 km

After breakfast, the trail will take you over Haggenegg through the beautiful high valley of Alp towards the two Mythen peaks. The stately Au Convent and panoramic views of the Glarner Alps and the valley basin of Schwyz and Brunnen are feasts for the eyes. Schwyz and the area surrounding it is famous for its cherry blossom and numerous cherry specialities. Schwyz is also where the famous Swiss army pocket knives come from.

  • Walking for the day: 6.5 hours, 24 km ↑635 m ↓1095 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel City (Brunnen) or similar

Day 3: Brunnen – Stans | 20 km

After breakfast, you will cross Lake Lucerne. Take the ferry from Brunnen to Treib (included), the ancient refuge harbour at the point where cantons Uri, Schwyz and Nidwalden meet. Don’t miss visiting the chapels along the way and the marble sculpture showing the sacrifice of Arnold von Winkelried in Stans.

  • Walking for the day: 6 hours, 20 km ↑650 m ↓670 m + ferry trip Brunnen to Treib
  • Accommodation: Hotel Engel (Stans) or similar

Day 4: Stans – Sarnersee | 20 km

Today, following the first ascent after Stans, enjoy the panoramic views to Stanser Boden, the Vierwaldstättersee and the Innerschweiz mountain peaks. At the end of the section, visit the hermitage of Niklaus von Flüe, Switzerland’s only canonized saint. You will spend the night near the shores of Lake Sarnen with its emerald blue waters.

  • Walking for the day: 6 hours, 20 km ↑800 m ↓750 m
  • Accommodation: Guesthouse Engel (Sachseln) or similar

Day 5: Sarnersee – Brienz/Surroundings | 24 km

Start your day with the amazing views of the village of Flüeli – a feast for the eyes in this magnificent countryside, far from the hustle and bustle. The varied route follows the shores of the lakes Sarnen and Lungern. From Lungern church along the Brünigweg which, as a pilgrimage pfennig (coin) shows, was once a pilgrims’ path. Enjoy the magnificent mountain panorama of the high Bernese Oberland summits and eternal snow.

  • Walking for the day: 7 hours, 24 km ↑935 m ↓800 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Lindenhofor (Brienz) similar

Day 6: Brienz/Surroundings – Interlaken| 23 km

On the last day of your adventure, the trail leads you along sunny slopes above the turquoise-toned Lake Brienz, surrounded by the forested and rocky hills of the high Faulhorn and Schwarzhoren more than 2.000 metres above the lake.

  • Walking for the day: 6 hours, 23 km ↑630 m ↓715 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Carlton-Europe (Interlaken) or similar

Day 7: Departure

Return home or individual stay extension.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodation is in nice 3-star hotels, local guesthouses and inns, in double or twin private en-suite rooms. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Show our default hotels for this trip

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a property of equal standard. We will provide full accommodation details upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Accommodation is on a bed & breakfast basis. Picnic lunches are optional at an extra charge and can be ordered locally. You can have dinner at your hotel or at nearby restaurants.

Difficulty & terrain

This moderate hiking tour leads mostly on comfortable forest trails (read more about difficulty grades). We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to go

This trip is available from mid-April until mid-October. The best time for walking is between June and mid-September when the wildflowers are in bloom, and the weather is generally good. Earlier in the season, there may be some residual snow patches, but this will not require any special equipment or skills. The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date during the season.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options

By plane

Our recommended airport for this tour is Zurich (ZRH).

By train or bus
  • By train: Take the train from Zürich Airport to Wädenswil (40 min) and then from Wädenswil to Einsiedeln (25 min). For more information and timetables, please visit SBB and Schweizerische Südostbahn or use the Omio travel planner above.
  • The train from Interlaken to Zurich airport via Bern takes around 2.5 hours. There are also direct buses available to the airport, twice daily with STI.
  • By car: Parking in Einsiedeln – at Brühl, CHF 20, payable on the spot. Return by train from Interlaken to Einsiedeln to collect your car, approx. 3.5 hours.

Inclusions

Included

  • 6 overnights with breakfast as detailed in the itinerary
  • Luggage transfer when changing hotels (one piece of luggage per person, max 20 kg)
  • Ferry ticket Brunnen – Treib
  • Detailed route notes (1 x per room) & GPS tracks
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as included in the programme

Options, extras & supplements

  • Extra charges may be applicable for last-minute bookings for this specific tour!
  • Single room supplement for members of a group
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights in Einsiedeln and Interlaken are available upon request

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