Alpine Flowers of Wengen (RHS Package)

8 Days

From £1895pp

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  • Ably guided by alpine expert Julia Corden and RHS host Simon Cruse
  • Gentle hikes through some of Europe's most breathtaking scenery, taking a different route each day
  • A seemingly endless array of species, both in the wild and at the incomparable Alpine Botanic Garden
  • The nostalgic beauty of Wengen itself, with its timber-framed buildings and pedestrianised streets

Breathtaking scenery, rich green alpine meadows and spruce forests make Wengen a superb destination not just for native flora, but for bird and butterfly-spotting opportunities, too. Join alpine expert Julia Corden and RHS host Simon Cruse in the high pastures of the Bernese Oberland, where the hills are alive with a carpet of flowers.

Lying in the Bernese Oberland region at the heart of Switzerland, Wengen is ringed by some of Europe’s highest and best known mountains – including the Eiger and Jungfrau. Once the snow retreats, a wealth of flowers appear both on the high tops and in the lush pastoral valleys. The list of flowers we see here is endless – Campanula cenisia, Campanula thyrsoides, Gentiana acaulis, Gentiana verna, Gentiana lutea, Globularias, Lilium martagon, Lloydia serotina, Paradisea liliastrum, Veratrum album, and many more. Depending on the season there can be anywhere between 250 and 350 species of plants in the Bernese Oberland area.

In Wengen, timber-framed buildings and Belle Epoque hotels transport the visitor back to another century, an experience enhanced by the town’s car-free policy. In the summer months, it is a popular choice for walkers and climbers attempting some of the higher peaks, but with 500km of walking trails and 15 mountain railways, accessing the alpine meadows is easy.

Each day we will walk a different route of up to five miles, sometimes taking a mountain railway to the starting point. We will also take the rack railway to Schynige Platte, where we will visit the Alpine Botanic Garden, home to 600 different species of local plants.

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Day 1

We depart from London on a flight to Zürich (regional flight connections and overnight accommodation before or after the tour available on request). On arrival we board the train for Lauterbrunnen. We change trains here and continue to Wengen, a car-free village which offers stunning views of the imposing Jungfrau. On arrival at Wengen, we will be met by a representative from the hotel, and walk the short distance to the hotel. Please note that our luggage will be transported separately from Wengen station to the hotel. Our accommodation is at the Hotel Bellevue, a traditional chalet-style hotel in a spectacular location, with breath-taking views of both the Jungfrau and the majestic Lauterbrunnen Valley. All rooms have private facilities with 
south-facing balconies. Following dinner the evening is free to explore your surroundings.

Day 2

Following breakfast we will depart on the first of our outings as we take the train from Wengen to Kleine Scheidegg (6761 feet), gateway to the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau where the mountain farmers converge with their cattle and where some of Switzerland’s most attractive walks begin.  We will walk back to Wengernalp, which offers spectacular views of the surrounding peaks and Ibex Wood, looking for flowers on the way. From here we return by train to Wengen.

Walk – Gentle walk.

Dinner is served in the evening.

Day 3

After breakfast today we take the cable car from Wengen to Männlichen and walk to Kleine Scheidegg, approaching the peak from the opposite direction to yesterday’s walk, and looking for flowers on the way. From here we return by train to Wengen.

Walk – Gentle walk.

Dinner is served in the evening.

Day 4

Following breakfast today we take the train to Lauterbrunnen, the bus to the end of the valley and then an exciting cable car ride to Mürren and on to Schilthorn. We will then have a moderate walk from Birg back to Mürren, seeking out wildflowers on the way. We then return by cable car and train to Wengen.

Walk – Gentle walk with the option to do a moderate – difficult walk.

Dinner is served in the evening.

Day 5

Following breakfast we will have a long but most rewarding day as we take the train to Wengernalp and have a moderate walk from there down to Slipper Valley to look for the most spectacular plant of the area, the Lady Sipper Orchid and the Cypripedium calceolus.

Walk - Moderate to difficult.

Dinner is served in the evening.

Day 6

After breakfast this morning we travel by cable car to the glacier village of Grindelwald.  There's a fine view of the massif that features the Wetterhorn, Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains, and the start of many classic walks. The Upper Grindelwald Glacier terminates a short distance from the village.  From Grindelwald we will travel to First for a gentle walk and look at the flowers in this most scenic part of the Bernese Oberland.

Walk – Gentle walk with the option to do a moderate walk.

Dinner is served in the evening.

Day 7

Following breakfast we will travel on the rack railway to Schynige Platte.  The Schynige Platte Railway climbs for 50 minutes to an alpine plateau (1987 Metres/6519 Feet) from Wilderswil, 4km from Interlaken Ost. This is the finest picture postcard panorama of the surrounding area overlooking both lakes and mountains. It is hoped that we will be able to enjoy a visit to the delightful Alpine Garden with its spectacular flora and fauna. Many of the 500 different species of plants in the garden have been saved from extinction and now the garden contains 80% of the Swiss mountain flora growing above treeline.

Walk – Gentle walk with the option to do a moderate walk.

Dinner is served in the evening.

Day 8

Today we must check out of our hotel – please ensure any extras are paid and take your luggage to reception. Once again our luggage will be transported separately to the station in Wengen. We will travel by train to Lauterbrunnen and on to Zürich in time for our return flight to London. On arrival our group will disperse or travel on to regional airports.

What's Included

  • 7 nights’ dinner, bed and breakfast at the 3 star Hotel Bellevue, Wengen. All rooms have private facilities
  • Return flights from London to Zürich (regional flight connections and/or overnight accommodation before or after the tour available on request)
  • Return rail transfers between Zürich and Wengen and a 6-day Berner Oberland Rail Pass, covering all local rail and bus journeys, plus a 50% reduction on mountain railways and cable cars
  • Visits/walks to Schynige Platte, Kleine Scheidegg, Wengernalp, Mürren, Schilthorn, Grindelwald and First 
  • Services of Julia Corden of the Explorers’ Garden, Pitlochry as tour leader/guide and Simon Cruse as RHS Host

Supplements Per Person

  • Single supplement        £140.00
  • Insurance                      £45.00 (under 65); £90.00 (65-74); £ 135.00 (75-90)
  • Regional flight connections and/or overnight accommodation before or after the tour available on request.
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Departures

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Departure points and times

Depart Return
London
(Heathrow Airport)
0925 2030