Save up to £100 per person

14-Night French Alps & Bernese Oberland Guided Walking Holiday

Duration: 14 nights
Type: European Multi-Centre
Walking Grade: 2 & 4

Explore two different parts of Europe’s longest mountain range during two wonderful weeks of guided walks. First up is the Haute-Savoie region in the French Alps based in the historic town of Annecy on the shores of Lake Annecy. Enjoy accessible and varied Alpine walks on Mount Veyrier, in the footsteps of the French Resistance on the Glières Plateau and in the Massif des Bauges Natural Park. This nature reserve offers a wide selection of trails and is dotted with wine-producing villages. Explore Annecy with strolls on the lakeshore and visit Vieille Ville (old town), with its famous canals and bridges. Transferring to Switzerland, it’s time to explore the Bernese Oberland - the epitome of glorious Alpine scenery - just made for being explored on foot via balcony paths, along narrow ridges and in high meadows. Our base for this week is the village of Adelboden in the heart of Bernese Alps, surrounded by wonderful flower meadows, green valleys and snow-capped peaks at the head of the Engstligen Valley. There are walks in the Kandersteg Valley and the option to walk across one of the longest suspension bridges in Europe – if you dare! A gondola ride to the beautiful Oeschinensee Lake is sure to be a highlight as is a visit to Engstligenalp – a vast expanse of flower-studded Alpine pasture. There is also the option to reach the summit of Elsighorn from where there are panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and down to the valley floor below.

Holiday Highlights

French Alps

  • Experience the rich culture of Haute-Savoie
  • Follow the footsteps of the French Resistance on the Glières Plateau
  • Visit the Massif des Bauges Natural Park
  • Enjoy walks with views of the beautiful Lake Annecy

Bernese Oberland

  • High Alpine meadows, tranquil valleys and spectacular waterfalls form this most picturesque of mountain landscapes
  • Walk the balcony paths above Oeschinensee where the lake changes colour from azure to emerald based on the cloud cover
  • Have a go at playing the Alpine horn at the hotel
  • Test your nerve - walk across one of the longest suspension bridges in Europe, the Hostalde

What’s included

  • A full programme of guided walks with 2 options every walking day
  • All transport to and from the walks
  • The services of experienced HF Holidays' leaders
  • "With flight" holidays include return flights from the UK and hotel transfers
  • 14 nights accommodation in en-suite rooms
  • Transport between the two destinations
  • Half Board - continental breakfast and evening meal

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

On our Guided Walking holidays, we believe that choice is key. Our walks descriptions will help you choose according to your interests and fitness. The walks are grouped together with care by local experts to give the best experience. While every effort will be made to adhere to the described itinerary, we may occasionally vary the sequence shown here or substitute an alternative route to suit local conditions or for other operational reasons, potentially at short notice.

Welcome to Hotel Splendid. Unpack and settle in.

Option 1 - St Jorioz and Duingt

Distance: 4 miles (6.5km) 

Total ascent:  25 feet (8m)

In summary: First, discover the natural park for the "marais de l'enfer" and walk along the side of the swamp. There'll be stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The swamp reed is home to many kinds of wildlife and we'll hopefully have the possibility to observe many different types of birds on our walk. The second part of the walk follows an easy, man-made path along Annecy Lake to Duingt before boarding the ferry back.

Highlight: A delightful boat trip to end the walk – great views of where we have walked today.


Option 2 - Église Saint-Eustache

Distance: 6½ miles (10.5km)

Total ascent: 325 feet (100m)

Descent: 1,250 feet (380m)

In summary: The walk starts inland, at the village of Saint Eustache. This walk was set up by the Annecy local council and they have called it the "Laudon" river walk. We'll have some excellent views of the lake and the mountains on this walk, which covers a pleasant mix of countryside, forest and villages. We'll finish our walk along the lake's edge and on to Duingt where we'll board the ferry back to Annecy.

Highlight: A delightful boat trip to end the walk – great views of where we have walked today.

Option 1 - Annecy and its Basilica

Distance: 4.5 miles (7km)

Total ascent: 225 feet (70m)

In summary: We'll probably see some locals out for their morning stroll along the lake shore to Le Paquier beach. We'll pass the town hall, which is surrounded by the Jardin de l'Europe before heading inland to the Basilica of Visitation. The rest of the walk will be a city tour, immersed in the little "Venice of the Alps", its canals, history and monuments.

Highlight: The city, lake and mountain views from the bell tower in the Basilica are beautiful. 


Option 2 - Annecy, the Basilica and the Chateau

Distance: 6.5 miles (10.5km)

Total ascent: 675 feet (200m)

In summary: We'll follow a similar itinerary to the Option 1 walk, but continuing further beyond the basilica of Visitation to a higher view point and Annecy Chateau.

Highlight: The amazing views from the belfry in the Basilica.


Option 1 - Tamié Abbey and Valley

Distance: 3.5 miles (5.5km)

Total ascent: 575 feet (175m)

In summary: We'll start today's walk at the Abbey of Tamié, the Cistercian abbey founded in 1132, monks are still living here and make cheese of the same name - "Tamié". We will follow the valley of Tamié which was used by the Romans. During the Middle Ages, because of the presence of the abbey, the valley was a frequent route to bring iron ore from the Maurienne Valley to the town of Faverges, where iron was processed.

Highlight: Views of the surrounding mountains throughout this walk.


Option 2 - Tamié Fort

Distance: 5miles (8km)

Total ascent: 1,075 feet (330m)

In summary: After following the same track as the easy walk track, we will extend our walk up to the fort of Tamié and its view points. Built between 1876 and 1881, the Tamié fort aimed to protect France from possible Italian invasion. It could host as many as 400 men at a time.

Highlight: On a clear day, the views from the fort are breathtaking.


Each week there is a free day when no guided walks are offered. This is an ideal opportunity to relax around Annecy, walk independently or visit local places of interest. Options include:

Visit Château d’Annecy – overlooking Annecy, this grand building was the home of the Counts of Geneva in the 13th and 14th centuries. The castle had many extensions and alterations over the next few centuries with large parts built in Renaissance style. The building was later used as a military barracks. Today the castle is a museum; visitors can explore its corridors, towers and terraces and admire its many fine examples of period art and furniture. The views from the castle are another reason to visit.

Cycle around Lake Annecy – you could hire a bike and cycle all the way around Lake Annecy on the 42km bike path. There are several bike hire shops in the town.

Lunch cruise – board the MS Libellule – a floating restaurant - to enjoy lunch as you cruise across Lake Annecy.

Explore Annecy’s Old Town – wander the winding cobbled streets of Annecy’s old town passing through stone arches and walking alongside its canals. The town is known as the ‘Venice of the Alps’ and has many interesting shops and restaurants. In summer, many of the canal sides are adorned with colourful displays of flowers; the display on the Thiou lock is particularly beautiful. Look out for the Glacier des Alpes ice cream shop which is said to serve the best ice cream in France!

Option 1 - Fier Gorge

Distance: 5 miles (8km)

Total ascent: 550 feet (540m)

In summary: Our walk will start from the village of Chavanod and walk down the gorges in the beautiful Annecy countryside. We'll brave our way through a spectacular narrow canyon on a footbridge
affixed to the rock face 25 metres above the river. While venturing deep into the giant gorge with the River Fier flowing at its base we can stop to admire the boulders stacked up high in all their shapes and forms. The play of light and shadow makes extraordinary faces appear along the length of the rock face. Halfway along the footbridge, a measuring scale on the rock face indicates the water levels reached in times of flood. We'll then walk back to the scenic village of Chavanod.

Highlight: Discover a multitude of Giants’ Kettles carved out by the river over thousands of years.


Option 2 - The River Fier

Distance: 7 miles (11km)

Total ascent: 1,000 feet (300m)

In summary: Our walk will start from the village of Chavanod and walk down the gorges in the beautiful Annecy countryside. We'll brave our way through a spectacular narrow canyon on a footbridge
affixed to the rock face 25 metres above the river. While venturing deep into the giant gorge with the River Fier flowing at its base we can stop to admire the boulders stacked up high in all their shapes and forms. The play of light and shadow makes extraordinary faces appear along the length of the rock face. We'll then add an extra loop on the compestale trail to the village of Lovagny.

Highlight: Halfway along the footbridge, a measuring scale on the rock face indicates the water levels reached in times of flood.


Option 1 - Talloire and Menthon Saint Bernard

Distance: 3½ miles (5.5km)

Total ascent: 675 feet (200m)

In summary: Our walk today takes us from Talloire to Menthon Saint Bernard. We'll visit the beautiful village of Talloire, located on the eastern shore of Lake Annecy. The population has long lived on agriculture and the influence of the Abbey of Talloires, a Benedictine priory founded in the eleventh century and which became a royal abbey in the seventeenth, the site having been transformed into an upscale hotel from the late nineteenth century. Walking through Talloire, we will discover the church and some anciet houses in the village. Roc de Cher is a little rocky peninsula going into Annecy, a natural reserve and protected area since 1977. There are plenty of panels along the peninsula explaining the local geography, history, fauna and flora.

Highlight: The view to the Tournette mountain, Talloire bay, and the south side of the lake, where we walked on Day 1.


Option 2 - Angon Gorges

Distance: 5½ miles (9km)

Total ascent: 750 feet (230m)

In summary: We'll start today's walk above the village of Talloire and walk down the Angon Gorges and past the waterfalls (Cascades d’Angon). This is an ideal start to any walk. The site of the Cascades d’Angon is very well-equipped with barriers and chains along the trail, allowing us to discover a vast canyon. The large waterfall of 35 m at the bottom of the canyon is a renowned spot for canyoning enthusiasts. We will get to Talloire around lunchtime before continuing to Menthon Saint Bernard using the same path as Option 1.

Highlight: The view to the Tournette mountains, Talloire bay, and the south side of the lake where the first walk took place.


Transfers between hotels are via the airport.

These walks venture onto the high meadows of Tschentenegg above Adelboden, and both walks offer excellent views of the Engstligen valley, with Adelboden far below and the surrounding mountains, where many of the walks to be enjoyed later in the week, can be identified.

Option 1 - Tschentenegg, the Hörnliweg and Schermtanne

Distance: 8 miles (13km) with 1,200 feet (360m) of ascent and 1,400 feet (420m) of descent

Total ascent: 1,200 feet (360m)

Total descent: 1,400 feet (420m)

In summary: We take the Tschenten gondola to the upper slopes and, after soaking up the panoramic views, return to Adelboden ascending gradually through meadows to Hörnli Alpine Garden with its rich array of wild flowers. From here we traverse above the village through woodland before descending to follow the river back to the hotel in time for afternoon refreshments.

Highlight: Panoramic views above the Engstligen valley.

Option 2 - The Hörnliweg, Scwandfelspitz and Schermtanne

Distance: 9 miles (14½km)

Total ascent: 2,400 feet (720m) 

In summary: From the hotel we ascend through woodland before picking up the route of the easier group as we traverse above Adelboden to the Hörnli Alpine Garden. After enjoying the beautiful array of flowers, we ascend through meadows to the Tschenten restaurant and zigzag our way to the summit of Schwadfelspitz for superb panoramas. The great views continue as we make our descent into Adelboden.

Highlight: Reach the summit of Schwandfeldspitz, an impressive spur with views in all directions. 


The broad grassy saddle at the Hahnenmoos pass is the historic route between Adelboden and the village of Lenk. The pass was once the site of a local festival where villagers from the two valleys met for trade and athletic contests. From Adelboden we take a long gondola ride of 3 miles to the upper station and restaurant at Sillerebühl, situated at an altitude of just under 2,000 metres.

Option 1 - Sillerenbühl, Flower Trail, Hahnenmoos Pass and Geils

Distance: 7 miles (11km)

Total ascent: 800 feet (240m)

Total descent: 2,500 feet (750m)

In summary: From Sillernbühl we follow a wonderful floral trail to the Hahnenmoos Pass where we will get great views and also spot some of the locals flying model gliders We continue through the Pommern Pass to descend to Berglager and our gondola back to Adelboden.

Highlight: Discover the profusion of wild flowers


Option 2 - Hahnenmoos Pass, Ridges Above Geils

Distance: 9 miles (14½km)

Total ascent: 2,100 feet (630m)

Total descent: 3,700 feet (1,110m)

In summary: We ascend to Laveygrat with views down to Lenk, before descending to the Hahnenmoos Pass. We follow a track towards the Pommern and bypass the prominent peak of Regenbolshore. We then follow a spectacular ridge down to Bütschi and up to Tronegg for more great views over to Engstilgen Falls before starting our descent to Berglager and our gondola back to Adelboden. 

Highlight: the path across the narrow ridge to Hundersattel with the precipices of the Rostock away to the right.


The village of Kandersteg lies in the adjacent valley to Adelboden, just a few miles away as the crow flies. The bus has to go via Frutigen and on the way we will stop to visit one of the longest pedestrian suspension bridges in Europe. Both walks take a gondola and head to Oeschinensee, a picture-postcard mountain lake in spectacular surroundings that change colour from azure to emerald depending on the cloud cover. 

Option 1 - Kandersteg and Oeschinensee

Distance: 5 miles (8km)

Total ascent: 600 feet (180m)

Total descent: 2,300 feet (690m)

In summary: Our route leads us to the Senn Hutte overlooking the beautiful Oeschinensee before heading around the northern side of the lake up to a lovely mountain hut at Unterbargli where we can enjoy a spot of lunch. We retrace our steps to the lake shore and continue to the Berghotel, a popular tourist spot, before descending down the valley to Kandersteg and well-earned refreshments.

Highlight: Enjoy lunch at a typical mountain hut.


Option 2 - Kandersteg, Oeschinensee and High Mountain Alps

Distance: 7 miles (11km)

Total ascent: 1,300 feet (390m)

Total descent: 2,700 feet (810m)

In summary: The harder route takes us along a spectacular path, traversing high above the lake to the huts at Oberbargli perched on a hanging valley. From here we descend to the hut at Unterbargli and on to the Berghotel where we follow a similar path to the easier group to Kandersteg to join them for refreshments.

Highlight: Spectacular views


Each week there is a free day when no guided walks are offered. This is an ideal opportunity to relax around the hotel, walk independently or visit local places of interest. You may wish to use the efficient Swiss transport system to visit the attractive lakeside resorts of Interlaken, Thun or Spiez. Alternatively, you could hire a bike in Adelboden and cycle in the local area.

The impressive Engstligen Waterfall is one of the area’s most impressive sights and is clearly visible from the hotel balcony. The falls drop around 600 metres making them the second highest in Switzerland. Above the waterfalls is the Engstligenalp, a vast expanse of alpine flowers and pastures that was once an ancient glacial lake. The lofty summits and glaciers of the Wildstrubel surround this impressive hanging valley.

Option 1 - Engstligen Valley, Engstligenalp and Falls

Distance: 7 miles (11km)

Total ascent: 1,000 feet (300m)

In summary: Today we take the cable car to ascend to Engstligenalp. We take a leisurely walk in the hanging valley taking time to admire the scenery and Alpine flowers. After lunch we descend using the cable car and continue our walk through woodland to the lower falls where we can appreciate their power. We continue on the path to the bus stop to catch the return bus to Adelboden. 

Highlight: View the impressive Engstligen waterfalls


Option 2 - Engstligen Valley, Hinterberg, Engstligenalp and Falls

Distance: 9 miles (14½km)

Total ascent: 2,600 feet (780m)

In summary: We ascend through the dramatic Hinterberg corrie over a spur to the beautiful pastures of Engstligenalp. We spend some time walking on the high valley before descending, we cross the foot of the upper falls continuing to the lower falls and our bus back to Adelboden.

Highlight: Potentially spot marmots, ibex or chamois


The Elsighorn is the northernmost significant summit on the high ridge that separates the Engstligen and Kander Valleys. We go to Elsigbach by minibus and take a cable car to the slopes above.

Option 1 - Elsigenalp, Bonderalp and Lohnerfalls

Distance: 7 miles (11km)

Total ascent: 1,000ft (300m)

Total descent: 2,800ft (840m)

In summary: Our walk uses a traversing route that heads across the mountainside to the Bunder Hutte for lunch and then to the foot of Lohner Falls by rougher paths. The return to Adelboden is then by good tracks through Alpine forests and valley meadows.

Highlight: Visit the impressive Lohner Falls. 


Option 2 - Elsighorn, Golitschenpass and Stand

Distance: 8 miles (13km)

Total ascent: 2,800 feet (840m)

In summary: We ascend to the summit of Elsighorn, at 2,341m the highest point of the week, which goes on to the Golitschenpass and another summit, Stand, with spectacular views all the way. The descent is via Elsigsee and the friendly Elsighutte taking the cable car part way down, before walking a little further down to catch the bus back.

Highlight: Spectacular views from the summit of Elsighorn.


We hope to see you again soon.

Bernese Oberland Itinerary Map
French Alps Itinerary Map

Hotel Splendid - Annecy

This 3-star hotel is conveniently located overlooking the Canal du Vasse and a short walk from the medieval centre of Annecy as well as the lake, which is access via a large and pleasant public park.

Hotel Steinmattli - Bernese Oberland

The 4-star Hotel Steinmattli is a modern chalet-style property located in a peaceful part of this charming village. All 63 comfortable bedrooms offer a balcony or terrace, en-suite bathroom and beautiful views. A delicious 4-course evening meal is served each day in the hotel’s Alpen Chic Restaurant. The shops and bars of Adelboden are just a short walk away.

Essential Information

Passport Requirements

You may need to renew your British passport if you’re travelling from 1 January 2021.

On the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to both:

  • have at least 6 months left
  • be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left)

Use the government website to see if your passport is valid for this holiday

EHIC cards

The UK government has officially launched the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which will replace the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). UK residents can now apply for one of the GHIC cards, which will gradually replace the EHIC cards as they reach their expiry dates. Every family member travelling requires a GHIC. You can make an application for yourself and on behalf of your partner and any dependent children under the age of 16. Both cards will offer equivalent protection for emergency and medically necessary healthcare needs when in the EU on a temporary stay, which includes holiday, study and business travel. Necessary healthcare includes things like

• emergency treatment and visits to A&E
• treatment for long-term or pre-existing medical conditions
• routine medical care for pre-existing conditions that need monitoring
• oxygen and kidney dialysis

The public only need to apply for their free GHIC cards when their current EHIC expires. The process is likely to take two weeks. For more information visit

The GHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. We advise all holidaymakers to also invest in travel insurance that covers healthcare, so they are covered for other issues that may arise, as well as cancellations and lost luggage.

Essential Equipment

To enjoy walking/hiking comfortably and safely, footwear, clothing and equipment needs to be suitable for the conditions. Safety and comfort are our priorities, so our advice is to come prepared for all eventualities.

  • Footwear with a good grip on the sole (e.g.Vibram sole) is the key to avoiding accidents.
  • Walking/hiking boots providing ankle support and good grip are recommended (ideally worn in), and specialist walking socks to avoid blisters.
  • Several layers of clothing, which can be added or removed, are better than a single layer (include spares).
  • Fabrics (lightweight and fast drying) designed for the outdoors are recommended.
  • Waterproof jacket and waterproof over trousers.
  • Warm hat and gloves. 
  • Denim jeans and capes are not suitable on any walks.
  • Rucksack with a waterproof liner.
  • Thermos flask for hot drink.
  • Water bottle (at least 2 litre).
  • Spare high-energy food such as a chocolate bar.
  • Small torch.
  • First aid kit – your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication or blister kits (such as Compeed).
  • Sun hat and sunglasses
  • Sun cream.

Optional Equipment

  • Walking poles are useful, particularly for descents.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Camera.
  • Gaiters.

Guest Reviews

14 nights
European Multi-Centre
Walking Grade:

Fully Booked

Save up to £100 per person

020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

Add to wishlist Added to wishlist