Out of lush green valleys, the Alps burst into the sky in jagged sculptures of rock and ice. The highest mountains in Western Europe, these glittering peaks are the birthplace of modern trekking. Set off on an Alpine journey from the foot of the Jungfrau to the crooked peak of the Matterhorn, and explore in myriad ways: by zip line, mountain bike, or canyoneering.

Days 1-5: Grindelwald, Switzerland

Fly into Zurich and take a scenic ride to Grindelwald, perched above two lakes at the foot of the soaring Bernese Alps. With the famous trio of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains jutting skyward above the town, Grindelwald is an ideal jumping-off point 
for our Alpine adventures. Explore Schynige Platte and head off on a variety of hikes, photographing and filming the amphitheater of ice-glazed peaks that surrounds you. Examine the unusual plant species that thrive above the tree line on a visit to the Alpine Garden with local botanists. Take a gondola up First Mountain and hike to nearby Bachalpsee Lake, carved by glaciers and tucked into the verdant hills. Zip-line back down the mountain with professional outfitters for an exhilarating adventure. Cap off your time here with a journey by cogwheel train past picturesque mountain villages to arrive at Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in Europe. Trek on Aletsch Glacier, the largest glacier in the Alps, and see ice sculptures at the magical Ice Palace along the way. Hone your action photography skills or capture the sense of adventure on film while hiking through narrow ravines.

Days 6-9: Zermatt, Switzerland

Travel south across high mountain passes to the charming village of Zermatt, gateway to the mighty Matterhorn. Take the highest cable car in Europe to Klein Matterhorn, photographing or filming nearly 360-degree views of glaciers and peaks from midair. Then hike through pine forests and train your lens on brilliant lakes with the magnificent mountains as your backdrop. Go mountain biking on scenic trails that provide changing perspectives at every turn. Trace the history of mountaineering at the Matterhorn Museum and discover tales of the daredevils and pioneers who have tackled the Alps’ highest summits. Learn the art of exposure and shutter speed with the gorgeous Alps as your backdrop.

Days 10-14: Chamonix, France

Just over the border in France lies Chamonix, a renowned mountain resort that hosted the first Winter Olympics in 1924. On the near horizon looms Mont Blanc, the so-called “roof of Europe,” measuring 15,782 feet. Settle into this mountain town and take to the trails, trekking to Alpine lakes and meadows scattered with wildflowers and ringing with cowbells. Ride the funicular to the Col de Balme and hike up to the Croix de Fer pass for incredible views and a chance to slide on the snow. Enjoy a picnic lunch beneath the sharp pinnacles of the Aiguille du Midi mountain, first climbed in 1818. Weather permitting, strap on crampons and grab an ice axe for a walk on the spectacular glacier known as the Mer de Glace. Then join experienced guides to try out canyoneering, an exhilarating experience that combines rappelling, climbing, and watersliding through deep gorges. Go ice skating at the village rink or spend a sunny afternoon with local teenagers at the Olympic swimming pool. As we explore, interview and photograph seasoned mountaineers drawn to the area by the challenges of its imposing peaks. Put the final touches on your On Assignment project, then enjoy a celebratory fondue dinner and share your final presentation with your group before returning home.

Pull Quote
The area is bursting with adventure and photographic potential. The home of alpinism has it all, from snow-capped mountain, glaciers, and lakes to the best chocolate and cheese!
Robbie Shone, National Geographic Expert