Hiking has long-reigned as the ultimate Swiss hobby. (Forget sampling the chocolate and cheese!) And when the routes take you through the stunning Swiss Alps, can you really blame the Swiss for loving it so much?
With more than 65,000km of hiking trails that traverse the naturally stunning country, it’s hard to avoid.
Whats more, these trails ensure that there are all sorts of difficulty grades available, which means no matter your fitness level, you’ll be catered for.
And if you would’ve thunk it, the Swiss would’ve already done it! Yup, they have everything clearly listed, categorised and marked so you cannot get lost, go on the wrong route or forget how long the trail is. Because – Swiss efficiency!
WHY SHOULD YOU HIKE?
Affordability and environmental friendliness should already be reason enough!
But if you take a little more convincing to do some exercise (don’t worry, we’ve all been there), then consider the fact you’ll also enjoy the fresh air, ridiculous views, and the peace and tranquillity you won’t and can’t get anywhere else.
Best and most convenient of all, the Swiss public transportation system of trains, buses and boats will take you to pretty much anywhere you need to get to and from, even right up to the starting and/or end points of your hike in most places. Um… did anyone mention Swiss efficiency?
For beginners and easy hikes, we recommend you check out the Jura region or in the flat Mittelland.
HIKE TO A CASTLE OR TWO
If you’d like to inject some history into your hikes, then hike over to a castle of few! These stunners reign majestically over the landscape, reminding us of bygone eras and how extravagantly the rich and powerful used to live. Ah, the lavish life!
There are 10 castle-themed hikes that have been kept deliberately short so you’ll have plenty of time, and not to mention energy, to visit more than one!
A few of our favourites include the ones that go to Chillon Castle in Montreux over by Lake Geneva, the Oberhofen Castle on Lake Thun; Halwyl and Heidegg Castles high above Lucerne; and the Prada Castle in Bellinzona.
HIKE UP YOUR LIFE
For something more advanced that involve overnight stays in traditional mountain huts (don’t worry, these aren’t bucket basics, they’re mostly 3 and 4 stars), we suggest the following three passes. Not only will you enjoy the sublime undisturbed nature, but also get acquainted with the authentic Swiss mountain lifestyle.
Via Alpina – Popular among seasoned long-distance hikers, you’ll go through six cantons and cross 14 of the most beautiful alpine passes. The beauty and pristine nature along this route may just make you cry!
Graechen, Alpenpaesseweg Alpine Passes Trail – Challenging and wild, yet thoroughly breathtaking, this is another route for long-distance hikers and also keen photographers as you’d be surrounded by the dreamy scenery of 4,000m peaks and classic mountain huts.
Jura Crest Trail – The oldest (but easy-graded) long-distance trail in Switzerland that’s not well-known among non-locals, this hike connects Zurich and Geneva over the spectacular Jura mountains.
There’s also a bunch fantastic hotels all around Switzerland catering to hiking routes, so if you’re to embark on a long hike, best you check out the options and routes to see what suits you.
For more ideas, come and find it at MySwitzerland.com/hiking