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Duration
12 days
Activities
  • self guided walk
Accommodation
  • 3 star hotels
Meals
  • 11 Breakfasts

Price

$2190USD

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Overview

Trip Code: FWC

Trip highlights


  • Cross the canton of Vaud, peppered with chapels and medieval towns
  • Pass the UNESCO listed vineyards of Lavaux and the Rhone valley
  • Soaking up the history on the Great Saint Bernard Pass
  • Passing through the beautiful shores of Lake Geneva and the vineyards of Lavaux
  • Staying in warm, comfortable family-run hotels and delighting in their friendly hospitality

From Canterbury in England to Rome in Italy, the 1900km "Francigena Way" dates back to the 11th century when pilgrims travelled across Europe on foot to visit the site of Martyrdom of St Peter and St Paul in Rome. With the modernisation of Europe and the shifting of borders the route became obsolete, until a recent revival of the pilgrimage making it one of the most exciting pilgrimage trails in Europe today.

From the French border, this walk crosses the Canton of Vaud, strewn with relics of Roman times and peppered with chapels and medieval towns, to reach Lake Geneva and Lausanne. The route continues past the UNESCO-listed vineyards of Lavaux, the Rhone Valley and finally crosses the magnificent Swiss Alps leading to the historical Great Saint Bernard Pass. This section of the Francigena pilgrimage route will wow you with its spectacular views, delicious local cuisine and fascinating history.

Note: Due to the weather and altitude this walk is only possible during the summer months

Trip Grading

moderate to challenging

More info about grading system

Arrive Sainte-Croix and make your own way to your hotel. Sainte-Croix is the capital of music boxes and mechanical music. Whilst here take the time to visit the CIMA Museum (Centre International de la Mécanique d'Art), dedicated to the history of mechanical music.

Meals:  Nil

The Via Francigena reaches Switzerland at La Grand’Borne, near L’Auberson, and leads over high plains to Sainte-Croix. You'll start your walk heading downhill to Vuiteboeuf, taking in views on the way to Orbe, your overnight stop. Distance 18.5km/11.5mi, +450m/1476ft -1080m/3542ft

Meals:  B

On leaving Orbe you'll 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 Cluny church 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 to the Mediterranean, the other to the North Sea. Distance 26km/16mi, +660m/2165ft -560m/1837ft

Meals:  B

Today is a fairly flat walk following 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 you continue along the banks and via the Roman town of Vidy to Lausanne. Until the Reformation in 1536, Lausanne was an important pilgrimage destination and where the Via Francigena and the Camino to Santiago de Compostela crossed paths. Today it is home to the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee. Take the time to explore the hilly old centre with its medieval, shop-lined streets and Gothic cathedral. Distance 26km/16mi, +300m/984ft -480m/1574ft

Meals:  B

From the quay in Ouchy, continue on the Via Francigena along the shores of the lake to Vilette. The trail winds through the UNESCO World Heritage listed Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, which date from the 11th century when Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries controlled the area. Enjoy fantastic views over the lake on your way to St-Légier Chiésaz. Distance 21 km/13mi, +455m/1492ft -455m/1492ft

Meals:  B

You continue walking today along the lake shore. When you reach Villeneuve you'll continue on to the Rhone plain and follow an idyllic path along the Rhone. En route you can visit Montreux and before arriving in Aigle you'll marvel at it's impressive castle surrounded by vineyards. Overnight in a small hamlet before Aigle, Yvorne. Distance 23km/14.4mi, Ascent 450m/1476ft, descent 411m/1348ft.

Meals:  B

The walk for today is generally quite flat, as you walk along the banks of the Rhone river. As you enter Saint Maurice you'll be able to see the town's famous cliffside Abbey. For pilgrims travelling the whole route from Canterbury to Rome, this is the half way point. Overnight Saint Maurice. Distance 19km/12mi, Ascent 475m/1558ft, descent 470m/1514ft

Meals:  B

Your walk today follows higher paths and roads to reach Martigny. Martigny, which is situated on the Rhone, has a history which stretches back over 2000 years. The town is home to a restored amphitheatre, Roman thermal baths, temples and living quarters which you can visit. Here you can also visit the St Bernard Dog Museum and learn of the role they played on the Francigena Way. Overnight Martigny. Distance 17km / 10.5mi, Ascent 577m/1893ft, descent 519m/1702ft.

Meals:  B

This stage marks the beginning of the climb to the Great Saint Bernard Pass. From Martigny a sometimes steep path leads over the narrow Les Trappistes pass to the medieval village of Sembrancher. From here you follow the Napoleon trail to Orsieres. The church of Orsières is worth a visit. Distance 18km/11.25mi, Ascent 745m/2444ft, descent 335m/1099ft

Meals:  B

Today's stage will lead you along a forest path, first west then east of the river, and on the historic path from Liddes to the small Notre-Dame-de-Lorette Chapel. Continue to the village of Bourg-Saint-Pierre. The gateway to Italy, the village retains fragments of history from Hannibal, troops of the Roman Empire and Napoleon, and the passage of pilgrims past. Distance 15km/9.5mi, Ascent 1152m/3780ft, descent 416m/1365ft.

Meals:  B

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, in L’Hospitalet and on the Barasson-Pass. The pass is famous for its hospice and St Bernard dogs that were used to rescue weary pilgrims. Overnight on the Saint Bernard Pass. Distance 13km/8mi, +1'045m/3428ft, -305 m/1000ft

Meals:  B

Trip arrangements end after breakfast.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 11 breakfasts: Breakfasts are usually continental inclusive of breads, tea, coffee & juices.
  • 11 nights in 3 star hotels on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities
  • Information pack including route notes and maps per room booked
  • GPS data available on request
  • Luggage transfer
  • Emergency hotline
  • Credenziale, the pilgrim passport

  • Travel to Sainte-Croix and from Saint Bernard Pass
  • Meals not included (lunch and dinner daily)
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Entrance fees (museums, galleries etc.)
  • Tour Guide - this is a self guided tour
  • Travel insurance - mandatory
  • Hotel taxes - allow EUR13 pp (subject to change)

Grading

moderate to challenging  

MODERATE to CHALLENGING – GRADE 4 This is a moderate to challenging grade walk along paths that are well defined and clearly marked. You should be an experienced walker and be able to walk for up to 7 hours a day (most days are between 5 to 7 hours) in potentially hot sun (or rain / cold) on dusty (or muddy) and stony tracks. There are some steep hills, and the terrain is mountainous in some parts. A good level of fitness is required. As with all of our trips it is important that you are well prepared. We suggest that you undertake regular exercise – swimming, cycling, and jogging, three to four times a week for three months prior to your departure. The walking times are calculated from town centre to town centre and may vary depending on the accommodations booked. Breaks are not included in the walking estimate in hours.


Departure dates

Daily from 02 Jul to 25 Sep

Notes

H
High Season
DN1
High season is from 2 Jul to 19 Sep - supplement applies
DN4
Prices valid to 31 December 2021

Want to organise a private group?

Fundraising events, sporting groups, family treats; learn how you can organise a Private Group from just 6 travellers.

Total Priceper person from

$2190USD

Options & Supplements*
  • Single / Solo SupplementUSD$410
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Making Europe Affordable

We offer different levels of accommodation and comfort so that even the most budget conscious can treat themselves to active holidays on Europe's most celebrated tracks and trails. Our trips are great value for money because you only pay for what you want.  

Self-Guided Specialists

Our wide range of self-guided itineraries embody the UTracks philosophy of exploring Europe your way. We handle the logistics so all that's left for you to do is enjoy exploring Europe at your own pace. Most depart daily with a minimum of two people, meaning maximum flexibility.

Our Wide Range

With close to 400 trips in almost 50 countries, including the largest range of bike & boat holidays in Europe, we're confident that we can organise an Alps walk, Camino de Santiago or Via Francigena experience, Food Lovers' trip or a tour in a lesser-known pocket of Europe that you will love. 

Videos

Walking Italy's Via Francigena | Italian Camino | UTracks
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