The most challenging and beautiful section of the Via Francigena is its transit of the Alps at the Grand St Bernard Pass between Switzerland and Italy. This unforgettable Alpine walk features snow-capped mountain peaks, towering waterfalls and majestic forests, interspersed with castles, Roman ruins and spectacular mountain scenery. This group walk is timed to allow a snow-free transit of the Alps, and offers overnights in modest, pilgrim-class accommodations, with dinners and breakfasts included, except as specified. Pricing will be set in December. In the meantime, a €250 refundable reservation fee will hold your place.
Friday, August 4, 2023 – Gather in Lausanne, Switzerland– Home to the International Olympic Committee, Lausanne sits on the north shore of beautiful Lake Geneva. Tonight, meet your fellow travelers and prepare for your first day of walking.
Saturday, August 5, 2023 – Lausanne to Vevey (21.0km/13.0miles)– Leave Lausanne on charming lakeside trails, then head up onto vineyard-covered mountain sides on the way to lakeside Vevey.
Sunday, August 6, 2023 – Vevey to Aigle (25.8km/16.0miles) – July’s annual Jazz Festival put Montreux on the map. Enjoy its lakeside promenade and then beautiful Chillon Castle before saying goodbye to the lake and heading up the Rhône Valley to Aigle.
Monday, August 7, 2023 – Aigle to St Maurice (16.6km/10.3miles)– As the valley narrows and the track slowly climbs, mountain towns like Ollon exude Swiss charm. Set along tall cliffs, the town of St Maurice holds one of Europe’s oldest monasteries.
Tuesday, August 8, 2023 – St Maurice to Martigny (16.7km/10.4miles)– The valley continues to narrow while the boulder-strewn route traverses mountainsides in quiet forests to the accompaniment of waterfalls cascading down steep cliffs.
Wednesday, August 9, 2023 – Martigny to Orsieres (18.4km/11.4miles) – The path continues to ascend on narrow mountain paths under tall forests. The valleys are just wide enough for a two-lane road, a train track, and your pathway.
Thursday, August 10, 2023 – Orsieres to Bourg St Pierre (14.0km/8.7miles)– The last night in Switzerland is spent above the tree line in the sparse settlement of Bourg St Pierre after the truly first steep climb of the walk.
Friday, August 11, 2023 – Bourg St Pierre to Col St Bernard (12.6km/7.8miles)– The climb concludes in an enchanting land of heather, cool streams and tall, snowy peaks. Summit at the historic St Bernard Hospice at the Swiss/Italian border where dogs are still trained to rescue stranded hikers.
Saturday, August 12, 2023 – Col St Bernard to Etroubles (14.8km/9.2miles) – The first steps follow cattle trails down the green peaks and then a path alongside a delightful wayside canal that feeds vast, irrigated fields far below.
Sunday, August 13, 2023 – Etroubles to Aosta (13.9km/8.6miles) – Italian Alpine towns like Etroubles dot the countryside as the road continues downhill to the Roman city of Aosta, now capital of the Italian Aosta Valley region.
Monday, August 14, 2023 – Depart Aosta