via francigena in switzerland the aigle castle
via francigena in switzerland the aigle castle

Via Francigena in Switzerland, from Yverdon-les-Bains to Great St. Bernard

Level
2
Distance
186 km
Duration
12 days | 11 nights
period
Jun Jul Aug Sep
price from
€ 2.094
  1. Switzerland
  2.  | 
  3. Self-Guided
  4.  | 
  5. Tourcode CHSW005

An epic and beautiful journey through Switzerland and towards the green-blue waters of the Great St. Bernard Pass, marking the grand entrance of the Via Francigena into Italy.

The path is equally enchanting - from the Canton of Vaud, with its distinctly French romanticism, medieval villages, and castles, to the shores of Lake Geneva.

But there is more - the terraced vineyards of Lavaux, a UNESCO heritage site, and the Rhone Valley, a paradise for wine lovers - we owe it to the Celts, who first began cultivating wine around 600 BC. 

Finally, the Swiss Alps embrace every step of your journey until you reach the Great St. Bernard Pass, where everything ends - and begins again.

Note: due to the weather and altitude, this walk is only possible during the summer months.

Highlights

  • Enjoy the mountain view in Yverdon-les-Bains before starting your trip
  • 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

Arrive in Yverdon-les-Bains

Arrive in Yverdon-les-Bains

Arrive to Yverdon-les-Bains and reach your hotel.

Day 2

From Le Day to Orbe, 13,5 km

From Le Day to Orbe, 13,5 km

Train/bus ride to Le Day. You hike down to the Saut du Day waterfall and follow the course of the Orbe River. The hike takes you through a nature reserve to the village of Les Clées and on to the Gorge de l'Orbe. At the end of the stage, you reach the small town of Orbe - known for its Roman mosaics.

Distance: 13,5 km

Elevation gain: +190/-500 m

Day 3

From Orbe to Cossonay, 26 km

From Orbe to Cossonay, 26 km

On leaving Orbe, follow the path to the medieval town of Romainmôtier. Don't miss the Romanesque church, built between 990 and 1028 in the style of the church of Cluny and considered one of the jewels of the Yverdon-les-Bains region. After this point you continue to what is known as the centre of the world, where one part of the river Nozon flows into the Mediterranean, the other into the North Sea.

Distance: 26 km

Elevation gain: +630/-555 m

Day 4

From Cossonay to Losanna, 26 km

From Cossonay to Losanna, 26 km

Today it is a fairly flat walk along the Venoge River from Cossonay to Saint-Sulpice with its Romanesque church, once the heart of a Cluniac priory, on Lake Geneva (Lac Léman), where it continues along the banks and through the Roman town of Vidy to Lausanne. Until the Reformation in 1536, Lausanne was an important pilgrimage destination and meeting point between the Via Francigena and the Way to Santiago de Compostela. Today it is home to the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee. Take time to explore the hilly old town with its medieval streets lined with shops and Gothic cathedral.

Distance: 26 km

Elevation gain: +255/-440 m

Day 5

From Losanne to Vevey, 21 km

From Losanne to Vevey, 21 km

The stage with which you will celebrate the start of your journey initially runs along Lake Geneva and through the Lavaux vineyards. This wine-growing area of more than 800 hectares is a UNESCO World Heritage site as a testimony to the passion and hard work required for the perfect integration of human activity and the natural landscape. Take a break from your walk to taste some wine in a wine cellar. Cheers!

Distance: 21 km

Elevation gain: +455/-455 m

Day 6

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

Elevation gain: +300/-280 m

Day 7

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

Elevation gain: +500/-480 m

Day 8

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

Elevation gain: +300/-240 m

Day 9

From Martigny to Orsieres, 19 km

From Martigny to Orsieres, 19 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: 19 km

Elevation gain: +745/-335 m

Day 10

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

Elevation gain: +970/-190 m

Day 11

From Bourg St Pierre to Col Grand St. Bernard, 12 km

From Bourg St Pierre to Col Grand St. Bernard, 12 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: 29 km

Elevation gain: +1045/-305 m

Details

Is this for me?


This journey is incredibly beautiful: you will constantly be surrounded by breathtaking views of the Swiss Alps, shimmering Alpine lakes, mountain villages, castles, and vineyards.

Due to the duration of the trip and the difference in altitude, however, it is recommended only for those who have previous experience with multi-day hiking trips, preferably in mountainous terrain. It could be quite challenging for individuals who are not adequately trained or are not accustomed to tackling steep ascents for several consecutive days.

We recommend it only if you have prior experience with multi-day hiking, are sufficiently fit, and do not suffer from vertigo.

Included


What is included

  • 10 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


Sainte-Croix - Hôtel De France
Orbe - Hôtel des Mosaiques
Cossonay - Hôtel Le Funi
Lausanne - Hotel des Voyageurs
Vevey - Hotel de la Place
Aigle - Hotel du Nord
Saint Maurice - Le Dent du Midi
Martigny - Hotel Vatel
Orsieres - Hotel Terminus
Bourg Saint Pierre - Hotel au Bivouac de Napoleon

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

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

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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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