Does anyone have information on how to arrange a hiking trip in the Alps. I want huts that provide food and sleeping accomodations as I don't want to carry all that. I don't want to do anything with ropes or other specific climbing gear - just good shoes, etc.
Janie - there are various tours - guided or set up for you to do on your own - one is Alphinehikers.com. They specialize in all the Swiss/French/Italian alps! I will be taking one of the tours the August. Ive heard people talk of other tours as well. This one sounds like what youre looking for - B&B and Alphut overnites, with luggage sent ahead. check out their web site and also look on google for alpine tours. The regional swiss web sites also have links to other similar groups/companys.
There are a number of guidebooks that will give you all of the information you need to do this on your own, thereby saving a lot of money. Some that I have used are: Mountain Walking in Austria by Cecil Davies (Cicerone Guides); Hut to Hut in the Stubai Alps by Allan Hartley (Cicerone Guides); Walking Austria's Alps Hut to Hut by Jonathan Hurdle (The Mountaineers); 100 Hut Walks in the Alps by Kev Reynolds (Cicerone Guides.)
All of these guides give the detailed information you need to plan your own trip. The trails are all well marked and with rare exceptions require no technical climbing.
Both are excellent suggestions. Look at routes offered by alpine tour groups to get ideas, and then check the books recommended above, and look on the web. Or just sign up with a group (best for first-timers).
Switzerland in particular is very user-friendly for hut-to-hut hiking. Another book you might consult is the Alpine Pass Route guide (author might be Kev Reynolds, but I'm not sure). Pick a portion of that. Engelberg to Grindelwald, or onward to Kandersteg, are popular sections.
All the huts offer sleeping accomodations and food, but for some it is advisable to book in advance.
Also, various tourist offices in Switzerland will do all the arrangements for you, mainly for a village-to-village walk, rather than hut-to-hut. They book the hotels, and arrange to have your luggage sent on ahead to your next stop. A bit less rugged than hut-to-hut. Here is one such, in the Val d'Herens (Valais region of Switzerland).
Janie---if you would like more detailed information, send me a private message. Both of the answers above mine are correct--there are some great hiking/tour groups, and it is less expensive to go on your own. But for a first-timer, that can be a bit daunting, when you haven't seen the topography and don't know where to go. Plus, there are some advantages (camaraderie) to going with a group. But Switzerland, at least, is very user-friendly to a solo hiker/traveler. So it just depends on what you want.