You don’t have to be an alpinist to hike the majestic trails of Switzerland. There are routes that even those new to hiking can manage and will take you through the undulating surfaces of the Alps that give you a generous view of the picturesque and breathtaking mountainscapes. Avid mountaineers even go as far as flying over to this part of Europe just to experience what it’s like to hike the famed Swiss Alps.
Switzerland may be small but it’s considered one of the giants when it comes to mountaineering, considering that it has some of the world’s most renowned and challenging peaks. It is also home to some of the largest bodies of water in this part of Europe as it has many glaciers, which add to the water supply and play a role in the formation of lakes, of which the country has no less than 1,500.
That being said, it is no wonder that one of the top Swiss trails lead to a glacier, as water (or ice) is never absent in a Swiss hike. Speaking of which, here are 3 of Switzerland’s best trails.
Zermatt to Gorner Glacier
The journey begins at Zermatt, which sits at the foot of one of the most famous and challenging peaks in the world, the Matterhorn. Considering the place is one of the meccas of mountaineering and skiing in the country – and a very attractive one at that – you’ll feel you’re definitely at the right place and that great things lie ahead of you.
For the duration of hike, which can be completed within a day (about 6 hours), the Matterhorn will remain a looming presence, serving as your lighthouse and stunning go-to view throughout the adventure. Your first stop will be at 2222 meters above sea level, where a couple of restaurants and accommodations are. You’ll also get a fantastic bird’s eye view of some of the Swiss Alps. After trudging along for some time, you’ll see one of the biggest glacial systems in this part of Switzerland, the Monte Rosa (4634m). Not very far from this area is the end point of the hike – the Gorner glacier. It’s essentially one massive river of ice that appears to cascade over a wide valley and in front of some of the highest peaks in the Swiss Alps.
Kandersteg to Oeschinensee
Those still developing their hiking legs or are looking for a quick but unforgettably beautiful hike will like this route as it can be over in about 3 hours or so – less than half a day.
This trip will take you into UNESCO World Heritage territory, which can be considered a mark of guarantee that the place is indeed a very unique and beautiful sight, and thus is definitely hike-worthy! You’ll also get to tread on part of the Via Alpina trail – an iconic route that is on the bucket list of many alpinists.
The trek begins in the village of Kandersteg, moving parallel to a river and passing by a waterfall, and ends at the Oeschinen Lake, which is said to be the most beautiful one in the Swiss Alps. It is cradled by a rocky valley and surrounded by snow-capped mountains. If you’re hiking here in the summer, you can take a dip in the lake or even enjoy a picnic by the water.
Grindelwald to Faulhorn
This trail has scenery so beautiful it earned UNESCO World Heritage Site status. The starting point, the town of Grindelwald, has even been chosen as one of the settings for a James Bond film, and it also was featured in an “Amazing Race” challenge. The town is also situated in front of the North Face of the renowned Eiger and sits high up in the Bernese Alps at 1,034 meters. If you’re seeking high-level sights, this is the trail for you.
You’ll get a heady dose of the beauty of the Bernese Oberland as you walk towards Faulhorn, where a mountain hotel awaits if you wish to stay for a night. The Berghotel Faulhorn has a restaurant at its very summit, which is already 2651 meters above sea level. You can also enjoy an out-of-this-world view of the Eiger, Jungfrau, and even the Interlaken. Definitely a fantastic and rewarding sight after hours of hiking – you’ll be sighing with pleasure at the beauty of it all.
Although you can DIY your Swiss hikes, you can go with a group and an virtually guide yourself if you want to meet new people and enhance your hiking experience.
Have questions or experience with these trails? Let us know in the comments below!