Code of conduct for long-distance hiking in Switzerland
Have you decided to discover Switzerland on foot over several days? Here, you will find a lot of important information about staying safe and having fun while hiking in Switzerland.
Want to hike across Switzerland? You can choose from seven national and more than 50 regional multi-day hikes. From a two-day cultural hiking trail to a challenging mountain tour which lasts an entire month – anything is possible. And best of all, most of these tours are even signposted. Read here what you need to look out for if you want to set off on a long-distance hike in Switzerland.
Choose the right route for you
Choose a route that suits your interests and abilities (fitness level, type of trail, technical difficulty and length). You will find specific information about it on the route and stage webpage. You will find information on types of hiking trails, equipment and safety tips for hiking and long-distance hiking in Switzerland under Hiking Information.
Please note: In the Alps, most multi-day hikes run along mountain trails. These can be narrow and exposed to the elements, so hikers need to be sure-footed and have a head for heights. However, there are also simple multi-day mountain hikes in the Alps.
You need to make sure that the hike duration and the total ascent of the individual daily stages are appropriate for your skill level. The indicated hiking times do not include breaks. They are based on local standards (and the Swiss are a hiking people). It is quite possible that less experienced hikers will take longer than indicated on the signposts and route descriptions. The advantage of indicating hiking time rather than distances is that the ascent is included in the calculation. Short, steep stretches in the Alps can be very exhausting and require more time. This is taken into account in the hiking times on the signposts. So don’t be fooled by short distances!
Do you only have a couple of days to spare? No problem!
The vast majority of multi-day routes can be easily shortened or you can do individual sections of the hikes. Almost all the stages are feasible in one day. This means that each stage has public transport connections or overnight accommodation. On tours in more Alpine terrain (the Alpine Passes Trail, for example), you sometimes have to stay in huts overnight without any public transport. It is not always possible to shorten these individual stages.
Hiking for several days is physically quite strenuous. A certain tiredness may set in but over time you develop your own pace and strengthen your muscles. For longer tours, plan rest days and shortcuts (mountain railways for instance), and ensure a certain level of flexibility in case of bad weather.
Long-distance hiking for beginners
A slow and sure start to long-distance hiking! Choose a more basic route and start with a short one to two-day tour on a hiking trail or an easy mountain hiking trail. Make sure that the individual daily stages do not take more than four hours and that the elevation is not too high (max. 600 metres).
If the long-distance hike is suitable, you can increase the effort and the length. A route also becomes easier if you have your luggage transported.
Offers and luggage transport
If you do not want to organise your own hike, the best thing to do is to join a hiking trip. There are bookable offers on the entire network of regional and national hiking routes in Switzerland, – which can also be customised for you.
A bookable hiking trip – organised by Eurotrek – usually includes hotel accommodation with breakfast, travel and hiking itinerary as well as luggage transport.
On your own, as a pair or in a group?
You can choose. While some people prefer to hike in pairs or in groups, others prefer to travel alone. If you prefer to travel alone, make sure that a third party knows about your route. Choose a suitable difficulty level, as you cannot count on the help of others. If you do not know which you enjoy best, start with a one-day tour.
Accommodation along the route
Safety and equipmentHere you will find the best hiking map for the seven long-distance hikes in Switzerland.
Hiking with connections to – public transport
Public transport and hiking – goes hand in hand. Almost all hiking starting points can be reached by public transport –– mountain railway, postal bus, train or boat. – Many long-distance hiking trails can also be shortened based on individual needs. Public transport stops with timetables are shown indicated on each stage description on the map.