A small faded pink mountain hotel dating back to 1892 sits at 1835m in Engstlenalp in Berner Oberland, Switzerland. Surrounded by alpine meadows, small farms and ice cold Engstlensee. In the distance, the iconic Berner Alps and Mount Titlis at the other side give an excellent background for all kinds of alpine endeavours.
It’s almost like a set for a Wes Anderson movie. Or Sound of Music. Except real.
Engstlenalp is an excellent place for alpine climbing, a resting point for a road bike tour on one of the most scenic routes in central Switzerland (from Innertkirchen through cute village of Gental), or for an enduro mountain bike tour on Engelberg – Melchsee-Frutt – Meiringen area (there goes a nice flowtrail from Juchpass down to Engstlensee too).
Or for a night or two on a classic Via Alpina hike.
The Swiss section of international Via Alpina – 5000km long hiking / walking trail network through five Alpine countries – draws a cross-cutting line of excellent hiking trail through Switzerland. From Monteux in west to Vaduz in east, Via Alpina offers clearly marked trail with rich variety of alpine traditions, (amazing) views, outdoor challenges and flora and fauna.
And when in July couple of my friends came to Switzerland to hike a few stages of the official Via Alpina from Engelberg to Interlaken, I decided to join them and see what the Via Alpina was all about.
And now I may say that it’s definitely worth a try. For one or two stages or for the whole 390km trail across Switzerland. Topped with the cute little mountain huts and alpine hotels found on the way as the already mentioned Hotel Engstlenalp (in the last pic).
The trail is well marked with the official Via Alpina signs, and the different stages can be reached with public transport which also easily gets you back from the end point of your chosen completed stage. There are also plenty of mountain huts, hotels, guesthouses and restaurants right by the trail or a bit further, easily combined with a multi day tour along Via Alpina.
And don’t forget to keep your eyes and ears open for all the magnificent views, alpine traditions and wildlife.
Internet is full of stories and practical information for the whole Via Alpina and it’s stages, so I will not repeat it all here. But, I could advice you to check the freshly printed My Switzerland guide for Via Alpina, for which my friend who’s hiked all the stages made a great contribution to, for the most comprehensive starting point for your research.
And if you happen to stop for a night in Engstlenalp, leave proper time for a traditional alpine breakfast in their breakfast room which sends you directly to the old times when gore-tex and gps watches where nowhere to be seen.
You will also not find WiFi in here.
Where: Engstlenalp, Berner Oberland, Switzerland