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panoramic view of the matterhorn

The Swiss Alps as Film Stars: Hiking in Switzerland

Hiking in the Alps yields breathtaking views of some of the world’s most dramatic landscapes, many of them made famous in iconic movies.

Generations of filmgoers have visited these locations through memorable scenes in movies like “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,” “The Pink Panther,”  “The Eiger Sanction,” and “The World Is Not Enough.”

hiking grindelwald, Bernese OberlandSome Alpine locations have inspired writers and filmmakers dating back at least to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes story, “The Final Problem.”  In it, our hero confronts his arch-enemy, Professor Moriarty, on the precipice of the Reichenbach Falls, one of the highest falls in the Alps. Its dramatic appearance has been used repeatedly in films, and most recently it played a role in the latest adaptation of that same story, “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,” released in 2011.

Alpine Interface offers a spectacular nine-day hiking tour in the Bernese Oberland area that begins within sight of the famous waterfall.

Hikers will have a challenging-to-difficult level hike, alternating with scenic train rides and comfortable walks through much of the nine-day itinerary, including spectacular views of the Eiger North Face.

“The Pink Panther” series of films spoofed earlier light, European romantic comedies set in popular tourist locations. In the 1975 sequel, “The Return of the Pink Panther,” the film’s producers used Gstaad and the surrounding area, known as the Saanenland, which runs along the valley from Zweisimmen to Gstaad.

The town immediately conveys an image of luxury and wealth, and the setting itself plays a perfect foil to Peter Sellers as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau, attempting to chase down suspects while skiing (unsuccessfully) across beautiful Alpine slopes with views of nearby peaks like the awe-inspiring Eiger and Jungfrau mountains.

Fans of more serious Alpine adventures may recall the film, “The Eiger Sanction,” starring and directed by Clint Eastwood. As the action unfolds, we witness up-close the daredevil aspects of mountain-climbing on some of the most extreme peaks and angles of the Eiger’s North Face, situated within the Bernese Oberland.bernese oberland, eiger trail

Clint Eastwood famously performed all his own stunts, but the tour does not require Hollywood stunt-level skills, or climbing, for that matter. One full day is spent en route from Grindelwald to the Eiger Bahn, and on to the large plateau of the Kleine Scheidegg, just below the North Face, where the Eiger Sanction’s professional mountain climbers lived while filming. A train ride conveys visitors up to the Jungfraujoch and the Sphinx Observatory, through the tunnel made famous in the movie. The tour then takes the group back to Grindelwald for the night.

More than one James Bond movie has set dramatic action scenes in the glorious Alps. The third Bond film featuring Pierce Brosnan, “The World Is Not Enough,” filmed a skiing sequence on Mont Blanc near Chamonix (masquerading as “the Caucasus Mountains”).

Refuge du Col de Balme, tour of mont blancThe Alpine Interface Tour du Mont Blanc – Huts & Inns challenges—and rewards—hikers with this ten-day immersion in the Savoyarde region. Traversing between inns and huts, crossing from France in and out of Italy and Switzerland, all within reach of the stupendous Mont Blanc, hikers can imagine the excitement of the heart-stopping James Bond chase scene. Chase sequences on skis are not part of this tour, but some steep hikes, scenic cable car rides, gentle pastures, and gourmet meals certainly are.

Time spent hiking amid the peaks and glaciers of the Swiss Alps and neighbouring regions is a fun way to relive great moments from film, while achieving new levels of personal fitness, and experiencing some of the world’s most awe-inspiring natural wonders.

The expert guidance and knowledge of a certified mountain guide assures a safe, rewarding adventure for all.

Contact Alpine Interface at 1-800-368-5056 to start exploring ideas for an extraordinary vacation.

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