Switzerland Hiking Guide

Hello there!

To complement our hiking posts, we’ve started compiling some information that might be useful if you want to plan your own hikes in Switzerland.  Whether you just want a quick overview of the most useful apps, some specifics about Swiss weather, or some information about animals to look out for, we’ve got you covered!

  1. What weather should I expect?
  2. Handy apps and websites 
  3. Public transport and hiking in Switzerland 
  4. Are there bears in Switzerland? Animals to look out for when hiking in Switzerland
  5. Where should I hike?
  6. How do I find a hike that suits me?
  7. Seasons and hiking in Switzerland

Below we’ve listed the topics that we’re currently working on. We’ll be continuing to add information as we build this website. 

  1. What weather should I expect?

Switzerland has a wide variety of weather depending on the time of year – and sometimes quite a variety within one day too! As a starting point, the MeteoSwiss website and app (see here for more details) as mentioned below are a good source of weather forecasts.

For more details on the weather you can expect at different times of year, and for more details of Swiss-specific weather challenges such as the foehn winds, check back soon – we’re planning a more detailed page with information about Swiss weather.

Switzerland Hiking Guide
Clouds at the bottom and sunny on top? Swiss weather can surprise you when you least expect it to, but even in the worst weather times of the year like autumn you can find a little bit of sunshine!

2. Handy apps and websites 

There are a couple of key bits of practical information that are needed for virtually every hike, such as how to get there and what the weather will be like. Here’s our top three websites, all of which have corresponding apps as well:

If you’d like more information on useful apps and websites, check out our more detailed page here.

3. Public Transport and Hiking in Switzerland 

Switzerland’s claim to having some of the world’s best public transport extends to connecting up its remoter areas for hikers as well. Trains generally run all year round, while buses, funiculars and cablecars are often more seasonal, running in the summer and/or winter.

In summer, you’ll find regular buses to many of the highest passes in Switzerland, and the public transport is remarkably reliable in these remote areas – I don’t think we’ve ever been left stranded by a bus that didn’t turn up. On sunny days, they even seem to run extra buses to cope with the higher demand.

For more details about using Swiss public transport for hiking, check out our more detailed page here.

  1. Are there bears in Switzerland? 

Are there bears in Switzerland? Will you get bitten to pieces by insects? The short answer is no, there probably won’t be bears, and we actually only rarely get insect bites – from a wildlife perspective we feel pretty safe hiking in Switzerland. There are a few things to watch out for though, including ticks and overprotective sheepdogs.

For more information, check out our more detailed page here.

Switzerland Hiking Guide
I nickname all Swiss cows Heidi when I see them – and this one is just picture perfect. Cows are probably one of the most common animals you’ll find hiking in Switzerland.
  1. Where should I hike?

Well, hopefully we’ve got you covered there! One of our main goals is to give you some inspiration about where to hike in Switzerland. It’s always good to check multiple sources though, and it’s admittedly still early days for our blog. For more information and ideas, here’s a couple of the websites we sometimes use for inspiration:

  1. How do I find a hike that suits me?

We put various information on our hike descriptions to give you a rough idea of how to do the hike, including stuff like length, difficulty and amount of altitude gain – we’re planning a more detailed explanation of this information soon…

Some factors for choosing a hike are subjective, but others are more about safety and comfort. However, as a rough starting point for beginners: with a decent level of fitness, we’d recommend starting with something relatively short (3 hours or less) and easy (T1/T2 level) with 500m or less of altitude gain. It’s difficult to generalise though because you’ll find such a wide range of fitness and health in people hiking!

7. Seasons and hiking in Switzerland

Summer and autumn tend to be the main seasons for hiking in Switzerland, but you can hike all year round if you’re willing to be flexible about where you go.

At the moment, most of our hikes are about hiking in spring, summer or autumn, but we do have a few posts with snowy winter walks too, both with and without snowshoes. To complement the snowshoe hikes, we have some tips on snowshoe hiking in Switzerland here.

  • In spring, it’s warm and the days are long but there’s still a lot of snow on the ground higher up.
  • Summer can be very hot at low altitudes.
  • The autumn tends to have more comfortable hiking temperatures (at least for Europeans!) but there generally isn’t much snow, meaning more paths will be accessible than in the spring.
  • The winter is cold with fairly short days and lots of snow – winter hiking is mostly about the snow unless you stay at low altitude.

We’re planning to write a more detailed post about this too at some point – watch this space!

Switzerland Hiking Guide
Winter – the opposite of summer. Cold, wet and often grey. But as you see here that’s not always the case and if you ask me the mountains in Switzerland look their best in winter with the snow dazzling in the sun. It really pays off to venture into the mountains in winter!