Ten hikes for your bucket list.
Switzerland offers countless hiking opportunities. Only have time for the highlights? No problem. Here are ten hikes that you should do at least once.
Discover the oldest national park in the Alps. Zernez, Engadin
Explore the heart of the Via Alpina. Bernese Oberland
If you’d like to experience the classic Swiss long-distance hiking trail but only have one or two days to spare, we recommend Stage 13, which runs from Griesalp to Kandersteg. The highlights are the Hohtürli Pass, the cosy Blüemlisalphütte and idyllic Lake Oeschinen. And if that leaves you wanting more, the Via Alpina in its entirety will take you through the Alps in 20 days.
Trek across the longest glacier in the Alps. Aletsch Glacier, Valais
A close-up look at the eternal ice: on this two-day tour led by a mountain guide, hikers cross the 23 kilometre-long Aletsch Glacier. It starts on the 3,466 metre-high Jungfraujoch and leads to the Fiescheralp, taking in the Konkordiahütte along the way.
Marvel at Switzerland’s Grand Canyon. Creux du Van, Jura & Three-Lakes
At Creux du Van you will find a gigantic natural amphitheatre measuring one kilometre across. After an ascent of exactly 725m, you will be standing above this impressive rock arena. The box seats in the 160 metre-high rock face are reserved for the ibexes, of course.
Discover the cradle of Switzerland. Lake Lucerne, Central Switzerland
Welcome to William Tell country: the ten-day walk along the Waldstätterweg and the Swiss Path leads you around Lake Lucerne – with impressive scenery and historical sites to enjoy along the way. If you take a boat you can choose from many different starting points and destinations or shorten the hike.
A hike through the vineyards of the biggest winegrowing area. Lavaux, Lake Geneva Region
The terraced vineyards of Lavaux make for an impressive spectacle. Spanning more than 800 hectares, Lavaux is the largest contiguous winegrowing region in Switzerland and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The trail leads uphill and downhill through the vineyards from St-Saphorin to Lutry, with plenty of sights to enjoy along the way.
Ridge walk with a stunning view. Monte Tamaro – Monte Lema, Ticino
The views here are unrivalled: this ridge walk from Monte Lema to Monte Tamaro is a classic among the high-altitude hikes. The panoramic views extend from the Leventina region over the surrounding valleys and up into the Valais Alps to the west and the Graubünden Alps to the east.
Leisurely hike in the rustic Alpstein. Appenzell, Eastern Switzerland
Around the Swiss Dolomites. Jaun, Fribourg Region
The scenic hike around the Gastlosen in the Fribourg Pre-Alps takes just one day. As you walk the trail, set against the jagged peaks of the mountain chain, you can discover an extraordinarily diverse array of flowers and stop off at Berggasthaus Soldatenhaus – a mountain hut that used to be a home for soldiers.
River hike with no ascent. Thurgau, Schaffhausen, Zurich and Basel
For centuries, the route via the Untersee lake and Hochrhein river was Switzerland’s most important waterway. Today you can follow the easy long-distance ViaRhenana hiking trail from Kreuzlingen to Basel, passing through a richly varied river landscape. One highlight is Stage 4 with the Rhine Falls.
Bonus: why not climb the first 4,000-metre peak? Breithorn, Valais
Switzerland has 48 mountains higher than 4,000m – and nearly all of them are in Valais. With the help of a mountain guide, some of these lofty peaks can be conquered even by those without much experience of the mountains. Among these peaks is the Breithorn near Zermatt.