Lausanne to Grand-St-Bernard Pass guided tour begins at Lausanne Cathedral and continues around Lake Geneva. There are magnificent views of the French Alps and the Lake as you walk through the UNESCO listed Lavaux vineyards. Leaving the Lake we walk from Villeneuve, to Aigle and then St-Maurice through the Rhône Valley surrounded by towering Swiss Alps. Then in Martigny, we visit the St Bernard dogs, the Pilgrim Museum and the Roman ruins. Next begins the climb through the sublime alpine scenery to Orsières, then Bourg-Saint-Pierre and finally the Hospice at Grand-St-Bernard Pass. We visit Castles and Cathedrals along the way, and the many historic sites. We also spoil ourselves on Swiss cheese, chocolate and wine!
Grand-St-Bernard Pass, Switzerland
We arrive in Lausanne and meet at our hotel beside Lake Geneva. After a welcome lunch we make our way to Lausanne Cathedral to stamp our Pilgrim Credentials. Then we take a tour of the old town, St Francis church and the Lake. In the evening we dine beside the Lake.
The walk from Lausanne begins at Ouchy-Olympique Centre and continues along the foreshores of Lake Geneva. Sights on the way include impressive sculptures and the beach at Pully and boat port at Lutry. After 9 km the walk leaves the Lake and continues up into the vineyards to Espesses. There are magnificent views of the vineyards, Lake and Alps for the next 9 km walking through the UNESCO listed Lavaux vineyards and Saint-Sephorin village. Arriving back to the Lake at Vevey there are more lake views, sculptures and the Old Town.
Leave Vevey and walk beside the Lake for 2 km enjoying the sculptures, Lake and views of the Alps. Then there is a short distance along the main road and back to the Lake at Clarens. Walk around the Lake towards Montreux admiring the flowers, sculptures and Lake views. After walking for 10 km arrive at Château de Chillon and visit the Castle. At Villeneuve leave the Lake and head into the Rhône Valley. It is a 14 km walk through fields and vineyards surrounded by Alps to Aigle. Here there is another magnificent Castle to visit and walk across the Napoléan Bridge leading into the historic centre.
It is a 25 km walk to Saint-Maurice through the vineyards, into the Alps, and along the Rhône River. The famous Abbey was founded in 515 CE and it is the oldest Christian monastery in the western world. It has been a place of continuous prayer for over fifteen centuries. On arrival we visit the Basilica, the Archaeological Museum and the Treasury. Finally, we end the day sampling the local food and Swiss wine.
It is a pleasant, level walk to Martigny through fields, pastures, old towns and the Rhône river. The highlight is the Pissevache waterfall in its forest setting. In Martigny we visit the Barry Foundation to see the Saint-Bernard Dogs and the Via Francigena Museum. Nearby is an ancient Roman amphitheatre and the Roman Via Poenina. The Fondation Pierre Gianadda usually has an amazing sculpture garden and art exhibitions.
The walk to Orsières follows the River Dranse and has three steep sections into the Alps. At Martigny-Bourg there is a steep ascent and then descent along narrow gravel trails ending in a bridge crossing over the river to Bovernier. Then there is another steep ascent and descent through rocks and forest to Sembrancher. The walk to Orsières passes through alpine villages and along forest alpine trails with magnificent views of the Alps. At Orsières there is a picturesque old town and the historical St Nicolas Church with its remarkable Romanesque bell tower and a nearby bridge of historical significance for crossing the River Dranse.
We cross the river Dranse and begin a reasonably steep ascent to the alpine destination, Bourg-Saint-Pierre. The walk continues along well marked alpine trails and unsealed roads always surrounded by Alps and pastures dotted with Swiss cows and alpine chalets. At times we walk beside the River Dranse or through forests. The steep ascent is gradually achieved by taking it easy on steep sections and gaining pace where it is level. Bourg-St-Pierre has an interesting old town and church and places of historical interest where Napoléan visited.
The walk begins at Bourg-Saint-Pierre and continues through alpine trails following the River Dranse. Then the trail meanders around Lac des Toules heading above the tree line. After this the ascent becomes quite steep but the scenery is magnificent walking through streams and lichen clad rocks surround by distant Alps. The high alpine tracks lead to the Hospice at Grand-Saint-Bernard with its genuine pilgrim hospitality. Visit the Hospice Museum, the St Bernard chapel and in summer see the Grand-St-Bernard dogs.
This is our last day of the tour and we bid fond farewell and make our way home! This usually means taking the bus to Orsières, and the train to Geneva to fly home!
If you have a specific part of the Via Francigena that you would like to explore, we can design a tour to suit your needs.
Enjoy the hilltop towns, walled cities and magic landscape walking the Via Francigena from Lucca to Siena. Continue reading to discover more about this amazing walk in Tuscany!