Switzerland is a natural paradise for those looking for either a peaceful walking holiday or an adventure hiking experience. The country’s terrain is wonderfully diverse, making each trail you take seem completely different. Switzerland is also culturally rich, as it surrounded by Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Italy and France. And through most of your Switzerland holiday, the Alps mountain range will loom as an enchanting constant.
Let’s delve a little deeper into some Switzerland walking opportunities:
Lake Geneva is found in western Switzerland on the French border. In this area, you can walk alongside wine terroirs, cross the Tsanfleuron Glacier, walk through the lush Forêt du Roud, climb to the top of the Geteillon mountain peak (2015 metres) and walk along ancient paths to view archaeological sites from the Roman Empire. You can spend your nights in Geneva, the culinary capital of Switzerland, to dine at a Michelin star restaurant, attend a wine tasting or visit one of the local markets. Switzerland accommodations are available in Geneva, Montreux and Lausanne; Switzerland chalets are scattered throughout the Lake Geneva/Lake Léman area.
The Bernese Oberland is a natural oasis that will constantly make you exhale with pleasure. Its landscape is a mixture of rolling hills, alpine lakes, rocky terrain and striking mountain peaks. You can take a train from the town of Interlaken to Jungfraujoch (3450 metres) and hike amongst the peak’s glaciers all the way to the alpine shelter Moenchsjochhuette. Also in this area is the Lauterbrunnen village that lies at the bottom of a valley of the same name. To many alpine hikers and walkers, it is the most breathtaking valley in all of Europe as is surrounded by lush green, bluffs and waterfalls. Various mountain resorts and Swiss chalets are found within the valley or nearby in the towns of Grindelwald, Wengen and Mürren.
In and around the town of Zermatt there lies over 400 km of walking and hiking trails. You have the option of a leisurely stroll throughout the valley or to challenge yourself on one of the mountainous hikes. Take a train to the Matterhorn glacier, the highest railway station in all of Europe (3,883 metres), and enjoy a panoramic view that includes France’s Mont Blanc peak, the highest of the Alps, plus the highest of the Swiss Alps, Monte Rosa (4634 metres). When in this area of the country, you must also visit the town of Brig, in the Valais canton. Only a 60-minute cogwheel train journey between the two towns, Brig has a captivating historic quarter, the Stockalper Palace and over 150 km of Switzerland walking trails.
Even though Switzerland is a landlocked country, you can still experience some Mediterranean flair in Ticino where all the locals speak Italian. In the southernmost portion of Switzerland, Ticino is near the Italian-Swiss border and offers opportunities for palm-tree lined promenades around Lake Lucano or over 3,000 km of walking trails up mountains and through forest. You can also cycle or mountain bike on a slew of specialized paths. When your stomach grumbles, you will not be disappointed with the traditional cuisine and fine dining the region has to offer.
Lucerne is regarded as the true capital of Switzerland and can act as your base camp for the central region of the country. You can explore the gorgeous Lake Lucerne by paddle boat or on foot. You can also take a boat from Lucerne to access “The Swiss Path”, a thematic trail that was collaboratively created by all of Switzerland’s 26 cantons. A myriad of alpine excursions are easily accessible from Lucerne that involve travel by cable car, cog wheel train or on foot. Don’t forget to explore the city of Lucerne itself to take in the remarkable architecture, museums, shops and restaurants.
In the south-eastern part of Switzerland, the Graubunden canton is a more pristine, rustic setting and is less touristy than other parts of the country. As you stroll around this part of the country, you will see some of the most impressive views of mountains, cosy towns nestled into valleys, deep blue alpine lakes and a national park that straddles the Italian-Swiss border. In this canton you may also visit the health resort in the car-free town of Arosa; 200 km of walking trails lie within Arosa’s vicinity. North of Graubunden you can visit some walking Switzerland destinations that will access the deepest depths of your imagination. Appenzellerland consists of flower-filled meadows, lush green hills and mountains, such as the Alpstein range (2,503 metres). The area boasts 1,200 km of walking trails. Appenzellerland is also known as a cultural hub for painting, music and producing cheese. Toggenburg is known as the “land of Heidi”. With 300 km of trails to choose from, you can take gentle strolls as you view the setting that inspired Author Johanna Spyri. Appenzellerland and Toggenburg are only about an hour’s drive from Zurich and close to the border of Liechtenstein, a country that also offers many magical walking opportunities.
TouchingNature.co.uk can help you plan the ultimate walking Switzerland holiday suitable to your desires and comfort level. We can personally refer you to walking highlights and routes, Switzerland accommodation or Swiss Alps hotels and to specialist walking tour operators.