View of Lausanne lake and laveaux vineyards
View of Lausanne lake and laveaux vineyards

Via Francigena in Switzerland, Lausanne-Great Saint Bernard

Level
2
Distance
130 km
Duration
9 days | 8 nights
period
Jun Jul Aug Sep
price from
€ 1.491
CO2 footprint
105 Kg/person
  1. Switzerland
  2.  | 
  3. Self-Guided
  4.  | 
  5. Tourcode CHSW010

Picture Lausanne, a lively city snugly tucked in the Swiss canton of Vaud, right by the calm waters of Lake Leman. This is where your alpine escapade along the Via Francigena kicks off – a journey that's like opening a treasure map of adventure.

Starting out, you stroll along the lake's edge, the peaceful vibe a prelude to the excitement ahead. Winding through the Rhone valley, you gradually make your way up, step by step, as if nature herself is pulling you towards the majestic Alps. And there it is, the alluring call of Italy, promising an unforgettable ride.

From Bourg Saint Pierre, high up in the Swiss Alps, the trail becomes a bit of a scramble, guiding you through mountain paths that have stood the test of time. Your destination? The old hospital cared for by the Agostinian Friars – a place that's been a safe haven for pilgrims for more than a thousand years. These kind folks and their trusty dogs have saved countless lives along the way.

As you soak in the scenery, a stunning pass comes into view. Imagine a little lake reflecting the towering mountains around it – a reward that's worth every step. And here's the cool part: with that next step, you're officially in Italy. The Italian stretch of the Via Francigena begins, inviting you to follow its ancient route to Rome and Brindisi, a doorway to the Holy Land. 

                   

  

This itinerary is carried out with funding of Routes4U, joint programme between the Council of Europe and European Union.

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Highlights

  • Stroll along the shores of Lake Lausanne, anticipating the beginning of your adventure
  • Observe the nature as it changes around you as you walk from the Rhone valley to the first Alpine peaks
  • Follow in the millenary footsteps of ancient pilgrims, until the historic hospice of Gran Saint Bernard

Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival in Lausanne

Arrival in Lausanne

You start the journey from Lausanne, a vibrant Swiss city on the shore of Lake Leman; explore this multiethnic city home of the Olympic committee, the gothic cathedral and the Palais de Rumine.

Day 2

From Lausanne to Vevey, 21 km

From Lausanne to Vevey, 21 km

This leg runs partially along the Lake Leman and crosses vineyards of "Lavaux". This incredible wine region of more than 800 hectares is a symbol of the passion and hard work of mankind when talking about the wine production, it’s a perfect example of integration between man and nature. In fact it is one of the very few UNESCO heritage site wine region. Stop by one of the numerous wine cellars to sample it. Cheers!

Distance: 21 Km

Ascent/Descent: +455/-455 m

Day 3

From Vevey to Aigle, 27 km

From Vevey to Aigle, 27 km

The route skirts around Lake Leman, crossing Montreux and proceeding until Villeneuve. Leaving the lake behind, the course continues levelly till it arrives at the entrance of Aigle. It then rises to pass Yvorne and a lovely panoramic point of the Rhône Valley, before descending to Aigle.

Distance: 27 Km

Ascent/Descent: +300/-280 m

Day 4

From Aigle to St. Maurice, 19 km

From Aigle to St. Maurice, 19 km

Leaving Aigle, the route passes a beautiful area of vineyards as it shortly arrives at the castle, Chateau d’Aigle, home of the wine museum, constructed in the 13th Century. Proceeding through vineyards and woods along the coast, the path reaches Ollon. It leads beyond Antagnes, where the route briefly follows the Gryonne till it arrives at Massongex and Saint Maurice, where since the Middle Ages, pilgrims have paused at on their journey to Rome.

Distance: 19 Km

Ascent/Descent: +500/-480 m

Day 5

From St. Maurice to Martigny, 17 km

From St. Maurice to Martigny, 17 km

Just after Saint-Maurice you reach Vérolliez, where a tiny chapel commemorates the martyrdom of St Mauritius and his companions. On the path into the Rhone valley, you meet the famous Pissevache waterfall and the 200-metre-deep Trient gorge.

Distance: 17 Km

Ascent/Descent: +300/-240 m

Day 6

From Martigny to Orsieres, 18 km

From Martigny to Orsieres, 18 km

This stage marks the begin of the climb to the Great St. Bernard pass. From Martigny a steep path leads over the narrow Les Trappistes pass to the medieval village of Sembrancher. From here the route follows the Napoleon trail.

In Orsières, don't forget to visit the church, the bell and its "Saint Gregoire Mass" and inside the church, the exhibition about Maurice Tornay, born in Orsières.

Distance: 18 Km

Ascent/Descent: +745/-335 m

Day 7

From Orsieres to Bourg St. Pierre, 15 km

From Orsieres to Bourg St. Pierre, 15 km

This stage leads you first along a forest path, west then east of the river, on the historic path from Liddes to the small Notre-Dame-de-Lorette Chapel before Bourg-Saint-Pierre.

Distance: 15 Km

Ascent/Descent: +970/-190 m

Day 8

From Bourg St Pierre to Col Grand St. Bernard, 13 km

From Bourg St Pierre to Col Grand St. Bernard, 13 km

Undoubtedly the most symbolic stage on the Via Francigena! The way to the pass leads along a road which has served the whole of Europe for 2000 years. Countless archaeological sites line the ascent, above all in L’Hospitalet and on the Great-St-Bernard Pass.

Distance: 13 Km

Ascent/Descent: +1045/-305 m

Day 9

Arrivederci Gran San Bernardo

Arrivederci Gran San Bernardo

The trip and our services end after breakfast unless you have pre-booked extra nights with us or other extra services.

Details

Is this for me?


This journey is right for you if you have already taken multi-day hiking trips or if you have a good level of fitness and are accustomed to fairly challenging uphill hikes – especially in the last stages, where towards the Great Saint Bernard Pass the uphill elevation gain becomes quite demanding.

Apart from this, it's perfect for those who love the breathtaking landscapes that only the mountains can offer and want to experience the thrill of walking the final stages of the Via Francigena until reaching Italy: we recommend it with a couple of additional stages to Aosta, in order to symbolically conclude your own crossing.

Included


What is included

  • 8 Nights in double room in **/*** hotels , B&B and agriturismi with breakfast
  • luggage transportation from hotel to hotel
  • maps and detailed description of the itinerary
  • Pilgrim Passport
  • Medical and luggage travel insurance
  • 24h phone assistance

What is not included 

  • Transfers to the starting location and from the arriving location of the tour
  • lunches and dinners, if not otherwise stated
  • visits and entrance fees - tips
  • personal expense
  • possible sojourn taxes
  • everything that is not mentioned in the "What is included" section.

Optional Services

These services can be added to the ones included in the base price of the tour:

  • Single room supplement
  • cancellation insurance
  • Transfers to reach the starting location or to leave the arriving location of the tour, which will be quoted on request.

Accommodation


We work with 3* hotels, B&Bs and farmhouses that reflect our way of experiencing travel: they are comfortable and characterful structures, which we choose one by one, managed by passionate and welcoming people.

Unless otherwise specified in the travel listing, all provide private en-suite rooms with breakfast included.

 

Lausanne - Hotel Agorà Swiss Night
Vevey - Hotel de la Place
Aigle - Hotel du Nord
Saint Maurice - Le Dent du Midi
Martigny - Hotel Vatel
Orsieres - Hotel de l'Union
Bourg Saint Pierre - Hotel au Bivouac de Napoleon
Grand St Bernard - Hotel de l'Hospice

When to travel


The Grand St Bernard Pass is open from mid june to early september, to it's possible to travel in this time span. You will experience the typical mountain weather. In June you will still find patches of snow here and there. Like in all mountainous areas, the weather can be unpredictable and can change quickly so always check the weather forecast before setting and always take with you a rain jacket, warm hat and gloves.

What to bring


Clothing and other items
You will need your regular walking/cycling gear, including some sort of reflective garment. For the evenings, smart outdoor style trousers (or shorts) are invaluable, as are quick-dry t-shirts. These can be washed easily and will dry overnight and still look good for sightseeing or having a drink in town.

Take as little as possible to avoid potentially lugging a heavy suitcase up three flights of stairs at the end of the day. Please be aware that laundromats (“Laverie”) are not common in rural areas, so plan to do handwashing of small items.

Lightweight walking shoes/ trainers
For wearing around towns & villages. They can also be a back-up pair.

Socks & underwear
Take only good quality socks with quick-dry and insulating qualities. Road test them before you go on the trip. Take a suitable quantity of underwear as washing facilities are limited.

Warm jacket, hat, gloves
Bring a fleece, Polartec or warm layers for the evenings especially in spring or autumn; be sure it is totally suitable for your needs.
A fleece jacket which blocks the wind (Wind-stopper) is the most preferable. In the summer months a lightweight jacket is suitable for evenings.
If you are cycling/walking in mountainous or coastal areas, even in the height of summer, the weather can change very quickly and unexpectedly and you should be prepared for fog, mist, rain, snow or hail at any time. Always take an extra layer with you, as well as a warm hat and gloves.

Waterproof jacket & trousers
If you are caught in heavy rain, with good waterproof clothing you should remain dry. Remember that most garments will lose their properties over time. Few will remain waterproof for more than five years and many deteriorate in three years or less. We recommend a rain jacket with a good hood and collar and waterproof or thermal walking/cycling trousers or tights.

Dress code
In general, you should wear suitable clothing when entering a church (in many places, it is considered unacceptable to go inside wearing shorts or a tank-top). We suggest that women carry a shawl to cover up bear shoulders or low-cut tops. It also comes in handy when your shoulders get sunburned!

It is considered inappropriate for men to go without a shirt / T-shirt (other than at the beach).

Trekking poles (adjustable)
Highly recommended. A pair works best, depending on what you are comfortable with. If you suffer from back or knee pain this should be considered essential. Remember to practise walking with your pole(s) on different types of terrain in the months preceding your trip.

Walking boots
The importance of good footwear cannot be stressed enough. Your boots should be sturdy and of good enough quality to handle all types of terrain. Lightweight boots, (cordura/leather boots) which have Gore-Tex or sympatex water-proofing are most suitable for this trip. They should provide good ankle protection and be well broken in. Waxing leather boots regularly prolongs their life.

Walking tops & trousers
We recommend walking trousers and shorts and quick-dry wicking t-shirts. These can be washed easily and will dry overnight and still look good for sightseeing or having a drink in town. Wicking T-shirts are fast drying, keep moisture away from your skin and are available at outdoor stores. You should also bring one pair of loose-fitting trousers to wear in cities and for evenings out, etc. Shorts or zip-off trousers are useful in warmer weather.

Practical info

How to arrive


The nearest airports to Lausanne are Geneva or Bern. On departure from Grand St Bernard, it would be convenient to depart from Turin or Milan airports. These airports are served by both major and low cost international carriers and can be easily reached by local transport, which is affordable and offers a frequent service. On arrival, from Geneva or Bern you can take a train and to Lausanne. On departure, you can get a bus or ask for a private transfer from Grand St Bernard to Aosta, and then a train to Turin or Milan.

Mobile App


Use the SloWays APP for iOS and Android smart phones in combination with the written documentation provided.

The App has the detailed tracks and maps that you can use offline and without roaming. Thanks to the phone’s internal GPS, you can check your exact position on the map, so you always know exactly where you are. It also helps you self-navigate you way while travelling. More information on how to use the App inside the roadbook documents.

The navigation features include:

Offline navigation. Mobile data not required after initial download
Accurate GPS tracks
Autorotation of the maps
Daily route summary and elevation chart
Panorama of the track and at street level
Alarm and vibration that alerts you in case you go off track.
Emergency SMS button with position coordinates
Possibility to record and take georeferenced photos of problems on route alerting fellow travelers
Hotel information
Points of interest along the way
Historical background


Wanderlust Nominee Best Specialist Tour Operator 2023
Wanderlust
Nominee Best Specialist Tour Operator 2023
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Touroperating
S-Cape Countryside Travels srl
Borgo Allegri 16R
50122 Firenze FI
P. IVA 05227330486

 
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Touroperating S-Cape Countryside Travels srl Borgo Allegri 16R 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
VAT Nr 05227330486

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