Why do long-distance hiking in Switzerland?
The answer is quite simple: the longer you walk, the more of Switzerland you will discover. Whether you are doing a leisurely two-day hike with an overnight hotel stay or a challenging hut-to-hut trek over several days – there are many opportunities and reasons to hike through Switzerland over two or more days.
“You haven’t really been somewhere unless you’ve been there on foot.”
Goethe was well aware of this, and he was right. When you go hiking, you discover not only Switzerland’s nature but also your own. The walking pace slows down from that of hectic everyday life. Just slow enough so that you don’t miss anything along the way, with plenty of opportunity to have a nice conversation or to simply enjoy the silence and ponder. The exercise leaves you feeling tired yet content, while keeping your mind free and clear.
Green-blue lakes, delightful rolling hills or passes bursting with panoramic views: what you see on foot, you will remember. Hikers in Switzerland are never bored thanks to the great diversity of the landscapes. There are snow-capped peaks and Mediterranean-style lakeside promenades, urban centres and sleepy mountain valleys. Hikers can experience all that in just a few days.
A strenuous, relentless ascent or a day of bad weather are also part and parcel of a long-distance hike. Even if you are perfectly equipped and prepared, you need to acknowledge that decisions are not up to you alone: the wind, weather and topography determine the route you take. And that’s not a bad thing. If you need a break or refreshment along the way, you can relax in an inn, mountain hut or even a wellness hotel. There are many such retreats in the Swiss Alps, some in spectacular and remote places without any road access.
One thing is for sure: hiking in Switzerland is not a superficial experience, it goes deeper and leaves lasting impressions.
The nationwide hiking trail network
Around 65,000 kilometres are marked as hiking trails, mountain hiking trails or Alpine hiking trails. The nationwide hiking trail network is ideal for multi-day hikes, as all paths are connected with each other. The entire network of hiking trails is consistently signposted in both directions.
Hiking in Switzerland by SwitzerlandMobility has marked out seven national routes and over 60 regional routes as official multi-day tours (with their own route information panels and route numbers.) There are also many hut-to-hut treks and thematic multi-day hikes included in the official hiking trail network that have no specific signposts.
Services on the mountains
Swiss public transport is also superb in mountain areas, making long-distance hiking much easier. Most of the stages and hiking routes are accessible by mountain railway, postal bus, train or boat. So you only need your hiking boots for individual stages or sections of the lengthier long-distance walks. In addition, many mountain railways make it possible to shorten and simplify the longer stages.
If you are travelling over several days, you will need overnight accommodation. From a rustic mountain hut with shared rooms and no hot water, to luxury wellness hotels – everything is possible. You decide for yourself how leisurely or easy you want the multi-day hike to be. Please note that the choice of accommodation is not the same on all the trails. The Via Alpina, for instance, offers a great variety because there are many places for visitors to stay overnight in larger Alpine destinations.
The most famous long-distance hiking trails in Switzerland