Switzerland’s Top 50 Hikes for Laidback Hikers

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  • Post last modified:July 29, 2021
  • Post category:Switzerland
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Hi everyone! If you’ve seen our website, you’ll have noticed that we love exploring Switzerland on foot. In the spirit of that, we want to share a mix of our favorite Swiss hikes to capture the essence of Switzerland from all angles – not just the famous bits. We’ll share hikes that we’ve done deep in the Alps, in the rolling Jura, the ‘boring’ flat lands, the forgotten Glarus and the Mediterranean-like Ticino. Our aim is to include as much as variety as possible between peaks, gorges, glaciers, lakes and ridges. After all, Switzerland is not just about climbing peak after peak!

Contents

So let’s set the scene – What type of hikes will you find here? A bit of everything, really! The difficulty will range from super-easy to medium to hard and perhaps even a couple that are beyond most people’s ability. This is all from the perspective of our general approach though, which is laid-back hiking. So we won’t be covering peaks that require ropes, ice axes etc. They will all be possible using your own two feet 😀. 

We have focused on snow-free hiking, which primarily means hiking in the summer, though many of them can be done in the spring and autumn as well. A couple are also good winter hikes, though winter hiking tends to be a bit different so if you’re looking for winter hiking, we have a couple of separate summary pages on winter hikes around Zurich, winter hikes around Lucerne, and also snowshoe hikes around Zurich.

We’ve tried to cover a mix of the most famous and spectacular hikes and also some more left-field off-the-beaten-path options – still lovely places but not so famous. It’s safe to say that not too many people will have been to all the places on this list. Anyway, let’s get started! First up is one of the most iconic parts of Switzerland, which you’ll find in movies like James Bond or books like Sherlock Holmes: the Bernese Alps.

Bernese Alps

For many visitors, this is Switzerland – the Eiger, Interlaken, towering mountains, glaciers, Alpine lakes and of course plenty of photogenic cows! 

If there was just one canton you could visit, then for many people this would be it – the essence of Switzerland. Maybe the rest of Switzerland is giving us an evil look at the moment, but don‘t worry – the whole country has loads to offer 🙂 

Still, the Bernese Alps really is home to some of the most stunning corners of Switzerland, so you won’t be surprised to hear that we were spoilt for choice when picking hikes for this region! 

1. Lotschepass

Alpine scenery deep in the Alps

A view from near the end of the hike

The Lotschepass connects the main Kandersteg valley with the more remote Lötschental via a nearly 2700m pass. Both valleys are well worth visiting in their own right, and this path even heads across the toe end of the Lotschegletscher. This is something that’s normally reserved for the Alpine routes for more advanced mountaineers, since glaciers are normally a no-no without equipment (ropes, ice axes, crampons). We reckon that the unusually large amount of stones covering the lower glacier makes it safe enough to be signposted as a normal path. It’s not an easy path, but not a super difficult one either. You’ll probably find a lot of scouts up here, given that it’s in easy reach of the large international scouting center in Kandersteg.

There’s a map at SwitzerlandMobility here showing the route, though it’s worth bearing in mind that this exact route is designed as the second stage of a multi-day hike, so we started at Lauchernalp cable car station 150m lower down. The end of the route is also a little tricky, as the bus apparently needs to be reserved ahead of time (call +41 33 671 11 72 to reserve, according to SBB), unless you want to walk an extra 7 kilometers or so to Kandersteg, Talstat. Sunnbüel bus stop – this 7 kilometers is actually a fairly flat and very picturesque walk, but perhaps not what you want after a big hike!  

Time: 5h 15 mins
Distance: 13 km
Altitude: 911m ↑ 1300m ↓
Difficulty: T2/T3 (medium/difficult)
Popularity: 4/5
Peak: Lotschepass 2684m
Start Point: Lauchernalp Cable Car Station
End Point: Selden, Gasthaus Steinbock bus stop

2. Schynige Platte

Gentle hiking and panoramic views

H0067_Schynige Platte_19
An imposing view of the Bernese 4000’ers

Schynige Platte is a flattish area around 2000m above sea level close to Interlaken, and is directly reachable by a funicular up from Wilderswil. There are several options if you wanted to walk up to Schynige Platte from the valley below, but as that would be a fairly large walk on its own, we suggest using the funicular to get straight up.

From the top of the funicular, there are several fairly gentle options for wandering around on Schynige Platte. We suggest a loop taking in the peaks of Tuba and Oberberghorn, which will give you panoramic views of the Eiger, Munch and Jungfrau to the south, along with views of Interlaken and the Brienzersee (Lake Brienz) far below. It’s just great views all around, basically!

For an example route, see SwitzerlandMobility here.

Time: 2 h
Distance: 6 km
Altitude: 350m ↑ 350m ↓
Difficulty: T2 (medium)
Popularity: 5/5
Peak: Tuba 2076m
Start Point: Schynige Platte Funicular Station
End Point: Schynige Platte Funicular Station

3. Niesen

Switzerland’s pyramid mountain

A view of Niesen from across Lake Thun

From the train Niesen looks like that perfect triangle shaped mountain we all drew as kids. I suppose that’s one of the main reasons when we moved to Switzerland I looked up and told my partner, now that’s a mountain I want to hike! And hike up it we did ☺.

It is a big hike though, with roughly 1700m of altitude gain to overcome. But the view from the top alone is worth the effort! Several of the routes up have regular views of Lake Thun, and looking down on it far below you acts as a barometer to give you an idea of how far up you’ve come. There’s also a restaurant at the top and a fun ride on a steep funicular, the Niesenbahn, to get back down to the valley floor. So if you’re up for some serious exercise, then this peak is certainly worth a shot!

Time: 5h 15 mins
Distance: 9.5 km
Altitude: 1750m ↑ 50m ↓
Difficulty: T3 (difficult)
Popularity: 4/5
Peak: Niesen 2362m
Start Point: Wimmis Train Station
End Point: Niesen Kulm Funicular Station

4. Eiger Trail

Up close and personal with the North Face of the Eiger

H0065_Eiger Trail_4
Rock everywhere. It’s difficult to get the full North Face in a single photo from this distance!

Right in the heart of the Interlaken area, this famous trail takes you up close to the fabled North Face of the Eiger. Entire books have been written about this single cliff face, so we won’t go into any more detail here – we’ll just say that you should go and look it up if you’ve never heard of it 😉 

The Eiger Trail itself is a far more tameable beast than the North Face. If you keep an eye out as you walk up, you might spot climbers on the cliffs, and the windows of the Eigernordwand railway station on the Jungfraujoch railway are also visible from some parts of the path. With the 1500m high cliffs towering above you, it’s not hard to see why it’s such a daunting climb!

For a map of the route, see SwitzerlandMobility here.

Time: 2 h
Distance: 6 km
Altitude: 800m ↑ 100m ↓
Difficulty: T2 (medium)
Popularity: 5/5
Peak: Eigergletscher station 2320m
Start Point: Alpiglen Funicular Station
End Point: Eigergletscher Funicular Station

5. Stockhorn

A magnet for daredevils and hikers alike

H0014_Stockhorn_Bern

Like Niesen, this is another peak that’s immediately noticeable as you head towards the Alps from Bern. With Stockhorn, though, what sticks out is its distinctive knobbly shape and the sheer cliff of Stockhorn’s northern face.

Despite appearances, this is actually a very hikeable mountain, with several paths up it on the less visible and less vertical south face. We enjoyed walking up from Chrindi, which offers numerous photogenic views of an Alpine lake nestled beneath the summit. The summit offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the flatter areas of Switzerland to the north, and the peak also seems to be used by base jumpers – we once saw someone jump off with a wingsuit! Finally, the cable car back down from the summit goes straight over that Alpine lake, giving you some unusual views from directly above its blue waters.

For more info on hiking up Stockhorn, see our post here.

Time: 2 h
Distance: 4 km
Altitude: 600m ↑ 100m ↓
Difficulty: T2 (medium)
Popularity: 4/5
Peak: Stockhorn 2190m
Start Point: Chrindi Cable Car Station
End Point: Stockhorn Cable Car Station

6. Schilthorn 

James Bond!

H0064_Schilthorn_6
A view up Schilthorn’s ridge.

Well, we mentioned James Bond, and here we are! Schilthorn features as Piz Gloria in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Although this peak was made famous by the James Bond franchise it still makes for a really nice hike regardless of the fanfare at the top, and you’ll get views of nearby Jungfrau in particular. The summit features a rotating restaurant and a Bond Museum, and you’ll find that even the toilets are Bond-themed 😊. That was quite entertaining!

We actually climbed Schilthorn from the back with a big hike that took us from Griesalp over the Sefinafurgga pass, which is a spectacular route that takes in a portion of the Via Alpina, one of Switzerland’s most popular long-distance paths. For a more normal sized hike, though, we would suggest taking one of the routes up the east side from Murren (we suggest starting from Allmihubel below – you can make the walk bigger by starting at Murren, or smaller by starting at Birg cable car station). 

Time: 3h 30 mins
Distance: 6.5 km
Altitude: 1100m ↑ 50m ↓
Difficulty: T3 (difficult)
Popularity: 4/5
Peak: Schilthorn 2969m
Start Point: Allmendhubel (Standseilbahn)
End Point: Schilthorn Cable Car Station

Honorable mentions – Bernese Alps

There are loads of other great hikes in the region that we could have mentioned. Here’s a few that nearly made the list!

  • Faulhorn – a peak high behind Grindelwald that’s accessible in both summer and winter.
  • Mannlichen – more panoramic views just a 20-minute stroll from the nearest cable car station.
  • Lauterbrunnen Valley – an easy and flat stroll between the high cliffs south of Lauterbrunnen – this is particularly loved in the spring for the waterfalls.
  • Augstmatthorn – one of the peaks above Lake Brienz on the long Brienzer Rothorn ridge, high above Interlaken itself.
  • Niederhorn – another ridge peak, this time with views of Lake Thun.
  • Further north, there are also nice hiking options in Bernese pre-Alps, such as the entertainingly named Moosegg Panorama View Hike. See here for our post on that hike.

Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed that we left out the Bernese Jura in the north of canton Bern – we’ve included those in the
Jura
below.

Lac Leman & Fribourg Region

Moving further west you reach the picturesque grapevine-covered slopes of Lac Leman, or Lake Geneva as it’s known in English. Although shared with France, this is Switzerland’s largest lake. It’s shaped a bit like a croissant and stretches from the outskirts of canton Valais through Lausanne and canton Vaud before ending in Geneva. 

The lake is a focal point of French Switzerland. Whether it’s a stroll past Chateau de Chillon, a hike up and down the vineyards of the Lavaux terrasses or a simple walk along the waterfront in Lausanne, good views are usually a near certainty when walking along this lake! If you want to get up into the mountains and get your blood flowing though, there are also a number of options to stretch your legs and explore the croissant-loving part of Switzerland. 

7. Rochers de Naye

Panoramic views of Lac Leman

Rochers de Naye_Dent De Jaman_4
This shot is an old one, so it’s not the best quality. If we’re ever back in the region we’ll make sure to update this photo. Alternatively, if you have one you’d like to share, let us know.

At the eastern end of Lac Leman (Lake Geneva), the terrain ascends steeply straight from the lakeside – kudos to whoever built the freeway along this section, which is perched on some impressive bridges and viaducts on the intimidating slopes above the lake. We’re looking further up for this walk, though – up above the treeline at Rochers de Naye. This prominent peak, which reaches over 2km in altitude and is barely 4km from Lake Geneva, provides fantastic views back along the lake and of the surrounding mountains. 

There’s a funicular railway the whole way to the top, so you can basically make this walk as small or as large as you like – start in Montreux and head up the Gorge de Chauderon if you want a challenge (this is actually the last stage of the long-distance Via Alpina route – see SwitzerlandMobility here), or for a more comfortable sized walk start at a mid-way station such as Haut-de-Caux. If coming by car, Col de Jaman could be a good starting point. 

Time: 2h 45 mins
Distance: 5 km
Altitude: 900m ↑ 100m ↓
Difficulty: T2 (medium, but quite steep in places)
Popularity: 4/5
Peak: Rochers de Naye 2042m
Start Point: Haut-de-Caux Funicular Station
End Point: Rochers-de-Naye Funicular Station

8. Pyramides de Gypse

Quirky alien landscapes at Col de la Croix

H0076_Pyramides de Gypse_
That’s gyspum, not snow…

This is a small walk but we’ve included it because it’s something very different. Basically, it’s a huge pile of gypsum that’s eroded into a warren of tiny little hills. It feels a bit like what you’d get if you were 30 centimeters high and tried to walk along a beach – up and down all over the place! It’s not a long walk, but it’s a bit technically challenging, especially when it’s wet. 

This walk is near Les Diablerets and there should be some nice views of the surrounding mountains as well, though we didn’t see them because we were there in atrocious weather and could only see a few hundred meters, as our photo can attest!

You’ll find some more info here.

Time: 20 mins
Distance: 0.5 km
Altitude: 75m ↑ 75m ↓
Difficulty: T2 (medium, but quite steep in places)
Popularity: 3/5
Peak: Pyramides de Gypse 1842m
Start Point: Col-de-la-Croix bus stop and car park
End Point: Col-de-la-Croix bus stop and car park

9. Lavaux Terraces

Vineyards everywhere along the Lake Leman shoreline

Unesco Lavaux Vineyard Terasses_103

Arguably the most picturesque stretch of Lake Leman is between Vevey and Lausanne. This is where you’ll find the UNESCO vineyards of the Lavaux terrasses. For kilometers and kilometers, stone walls and terrasses line the steep lake side with vineyards. The grapes are primarily of the Chablais variety and there are many opportunities to visit local wine cellars and partake in wine tastings.

The hiking through here is quite customisable, as there are various bus stops and railway stations in amongst the vineyards. You can walk the whole Lavaux Terrasses Route from Lutry to Vevey if you like or could choose just to follow small chunks of it. So yeah, if you’re looking for a picturesque hike along Lake Leman then this is a popular option for good views and some tasty wine to go along with it. 

Time: 4h 30 mins
Distance: 16 km
Altitude: 550m ↑ 600m ↓
Difficulty: T1 (easy)
Popularity: 5/5
Peak: 533m
Start Point: Lutry Train Station
End Point: Vevey Train Station

10. Le Moleson

Sweeping views of western Switzerland

H0063_Gruyere_Town of Moleson
We’ve lost our pictures from hiking up Le Moleson, so here’s a shot from nearby Gruyere instead!

Moving north, Le Moleson is a distinctive mountain on the edge of the Alps that’s visible from large regions of the Mittelland and the Jura. If you’re in the area and need a break from all the chocolate and cheese in the Gruyere region at the bottom of the mountain, this is a nice opportunity for a hike! There’s a cable car to the top, so you don’t have to walk back down either.

By the way – Gruyere itself is very popular with tourists but is still worth a visit, with its castle and old town perched on top of a hill just east of the railway station.

Time: 3 h
Distance: 5.5 km
Altitude: 950m ↑ 50m ↓
Difficulty: T2/T3 (medium/difficult)
Popularity: 4/5
Peak: Le Moleson 2002m
Start Point: Moleson-sur-Gruyeres Bus Stop
End Point: Le Moleson Cable Car Station

11. La Berra

More sweeping views on an easier version of Le Moleson!

La Berra_Fribourg_Winter_Hike1
Le view, c’est magnifique 😀

La Berra is further north still in the canton of Fribourg and is a really nice option as well. It’s an easier version of Le Moleson in some ways – on the edge of the Alps, good panoramic views, and a cable car to the top. It’s a popular mountain with the locals and when you stand at the peak and gawk at the imposing mountains right in front of you, you’ll understand why. 

By the way – we’re usually up for using Swiss public transport to get everywhere but getting to the start of this hike on the buses is not particularly convenient and so this is one of those peaks where you might want to use a car. We actually went up La Berra in winter – it’s a good option both in summer and in winter – and we ended up building an igloo on the way up! Anyway, you’ll find more details on La Berra in our post here if you’re interested.

Time: 2h 30 mins in summer
Distance: 5.5 km
Altitude: 760m ↑ 170m ↓
Difficulty: T1/T2 (easy/medium)
Popularity: 4/5
Peak: La Berra 1719m
Start Point: La Berra car park in Le Brand.
End Point: Top of the La Berra gondola/chairlift. 

Honorable mentions – Lac Leman and Fribourg

Once again, there are a bunch of other nice hikes in the area that we could have mentioned. Here’s a few bonus ideas!

  • Les Pleiades – an easy hike and a good option with kids (see our post on Les Pleiades & its Space Trail here).
  • Tour de Gourze – a small peak with a castle on top near Lake Leman.
  • Mont Vully – an even smaller peak between Lake Neuchatel and Lake Morat.

Valais

At the eastern end of Lac Leman, the river Rhone runs from Valais into the lake. Here, the rolling hills on the Swiss part of Lac Leman transform into serious Alps that form the border between Switzerland and two of its neighbors, France and Italy. 

The huge valley along which most of Valais lies is wide enough for towns and a few small cities like Brig, Sion and Sierre. However, lots of the beauty of Valais lies up its narrow side valleys, at the ends of which you’ll find many of Switzerland’s 4000-meter peaks. One of the most famous valleys here holds Zermatt, home to Switzerland’s tallest mountain, Monte Rosa, and to the iconic Toblerone mountain, the Matterhorn. Away from the tourist hotspots, many lesser-known valleys such as the Baltschiedertal and the Massa valley up from Bitsch (yes you read that correctly) also offer spectacular views and hiking at various difficulty levels.

Like in the Bernese region, the variety here is impressive and we could probably come up with a list of 50 great hikes just in Valais. Since this is a top 50 of Switzerland though, we have curated a small mix of our favorite and most laid-back options (i.e. accessible to the average hiker) here in this corner of Switzerland. 

12. Gemmipass

A gentle introduction to Alpine pass hikes

H0016_Gemmipass_Leuk_Valais

For those of you looking for accessible hikes in the high Alps this one is a good option! Gemmipass is as it says, an Alpine pass nestled between the high mountains of cantons Bern and Valais. Starting at the top of a cable car above Kandersteg you gently wind your way up on easy paths to the picturesque Daubensee lake at 2207m. Even in the height of the summer the lake is still fairly cold, due to meltwater coming down from the glaciers of the surrounding mountains. It makes for a great picnic spot, but personally it would be too cold for a dip! We reckon that won’t be a barrier for everyone though, particularly on hot summer days 🙂

At the pass a cable car takes you down a massive cliff into the picturesque village of Leukerbad, with lots of Swiss style houses, tiny bridges and little streams. For those of you after a challenge, there’s a winding path up that cliff between Gemmipass and Leukerbad (900m of altitude), and if you can walk (run?) up it in an hour you’ll be awarded with a free entry to the spa in the town of Leuk. Even some of the locals we met hadn’t managed it so if you dare to attempt it then we wish you much luck!

See here for our more detailed post about this hike.

Time: 3.5 h
Distance: 8.5 km
Altitude: 530m ↑ 125m ↓
Difficulty: T1 (though the altitude may make it feel like hard work)
Popularity: 3/5
Peak: Gemmipass Cable Car Station 2340m
Start Point: Sunnbuel Cable Car Station
End Point: Gemmipass Cable Car Station

13. Eggishorn

Towering peaks and the largest glacier in the Alps

Aletsch Glacier View

Very few mentions of hiking in Valais leave out a hike on the southern edge of the Aletschgletscher area. And for good reason – it’s one of the most accessible points from which to view the glacier, and the glacier is definitely worth a look!

The Aletschgletscher is next to the higher eastern end of the valley of Valais, and from Fiesch in the main valley a cable car whisks you up to the start of the hike at Fiescheralp. From here the views across the valley are already impressive. The path up to the peak, Eggishorn, is mostly on wide tracks with just the last few hundred meters being on steeper mountain paths. At 2927m, Eggishorn is high enough to provide a barren Alpine landscape with practically no vegetation at all. Oh, and the view of the glacier from the peak is stunning! On a clear day you’ll have mountain views above you in all directions and the impressive glacier just beneath you. It doesn’t get much more ‘Switzerland’ than this!

Time: 2.5 h
Distance: 5 km
Altitude: 750m ↑ 200m ↓
Difficulty: T3 (difficult)
Popularity: 3/5
Peak: Eggishorn 2927m
Start Point: Fiescheralp Cable Car Station
End Point: Eggishorn Cable Car Station

14. Hohtalli

Imposing views of Switzerland’s tallest mountains and their glaciers near Zermatt

The Matterhorn!

The Zermatt area has enough impressive hiking for an entire post on its own, which we’ve actually written here. Considering that, picking a favorite is tricky, but we think the hike to and from Hohtalli ticks the right boxes. It offers both easy and harder routes to the peak with views of the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa (Switzerland’s tallest peak) and numerous glaciers in amongst an array of 4000m+ mountains. Plus, to get to the start of the hike you need to get on board the Matterhorn Bahn, a train that winds up from Zermatt to Gornergrat.  At an impressive 3273m Hohtalli is also one of the most accessible 3000-meter peaks in Switzerland!

Alternatively, if you are keen on getting closer to the glaciers then consider the Glacier Paradise Hike which offers close-up views of the Matterhorn and brings you within a few hundred meters of the glacier! 

Anyway, check our post here for more information on options for hiking up Hohtalli.

Time: 3 h
Distance: 8 km
Altitude: 550m ↑ 550m ↓
Difficulty: T3 (difficult in places on the ridge)
Popularity: 3/5 (except the summit of Gornergrat which is very popular!)
Peak: Hohtälli 3273m
Start Point: Rotenboden Funicular Station
End Point: Rotenboden Funicular Station

15. Baltschiedertal Valley

A varied hike at lower altitude – complete with pedestrian tunnel!

Baltschiederthal_Hiking_Valais_Wallis

Another major feature in Valais is the water channels (bisses/suonen), which account for some of the most hair-raising hiking paths in Switzerland! These are actually historic irrigation channels that draw water out of the mountain valleys and into the drier plains of Valais. Sounds boring, perhaps, but think again – the Swiss seemed to have had absolutely no fear of heights while making them, and so some of the bisses were bunged onto the side of vertical cliffs with nothing but a board of wood to walk on and (only sometimes) a chain for some notion of protection. Fast forward a few centuries and many of the bisses and their tiny paths alongside the water channels are still there, making for some hair-raising hiking!

Not all the bisses are death-defying though, and the hike up the Baltschiedertal valley is a much tamer and safer hiking trail that gently follows one of these bisses up relatively shallow slopes. It leads you across several bridges with picturesque views of the valley. For variety, there’s even a 1.5 km pedestrian tunnel that takes you back out to the main valley – it seems that they eventually put one of Valais’s most dangerous bisse routes, the outer Niwärch, through a tunnel. Walking through the tunnel next to the bisse is an adventure in itself.

So if you’re after a quirky off-the-beaten-path hike in Valais then this is an excellent option for that. We described more in our post here. We’ve also put a couple of other similar bisse walks in the Valais ‘honorable mentions’ below.

Time: 4.5 h
Distance: 14 km
Altitude: 700m ↑ 430m ↓
Difficulty: T2 (medium)
Popularity: 1/5 – off the beaten path
Peak: 1279m (near Ze Steinu)
Start Point: Visp Train Station
End Point: Ausserberg Train Station

16. Mattmark Stausee 

Barren Alpine scenery 

As a final walk in Valais, we come to the Mattmark Stausee. This is a large artificial lake at 2200m above sea level, where a fairly easy path meanders the entire way around the lake. This is proper Alpine scenery in a relatively accessible area (just a few kilometers from Saas-Almagell and Saas-Fee), and despite the accessibility everything felt very remote at the far end of the walk!

Time: 2 h
Distance: 8 km
Altitude: 120m ↑ 120m ↓
Difficulty: T1 (easy)
Popularity: 3/5
Peak: 2250m
Start Point: Mattmark bus stop
End Point: Mattmark bus stop

Looking down towards Stausee Mattmark from Klein Allalin – with the lake frozen and completely covered in snow! We got his view from walking up Klein Allalin in winter, see here.

Honorable Mentions – Valais

  • Bisse de Saviese – one of the most impressive water channel walks, apparently now renovated with proper safety protection and bridges…
  • Bisse d’Ayent – another nice water channel route, although the bisse on this one is no longer maintained.
  • Pierre Avoi – a moutain overlooking the main valley, with steep stairs carved into the rock for the last bit of the ascent.
  • Finally, for those of you who want to hike in Valais but want something fairly small, we put together a post detailing some of our favorite small hikes in Valais here.

Ticino

At the eastern edge of Valais you’ll find some of Switzerland’s highest alpine passes, with the Nufenen, Furka and Gotthard passes taking you towards Ticino – the Mediterranean canton of Switzerland!

Lakes, palm trees and an abundance of sunshine are what most Swiss people associate with Ticino. From Alpine hikes in the north to large valleys and lakes in the center and rolling hills in the far south, once again there’s something here for pretty much everyone. 

You don’t even need to be staying in Ticino to take a look either – with the Gotthard and Ceneri base tunnels now completed, journey times by train from northern Switzerland are also shorter than ever, leaving much of Ticino open for day trips from cities like Zurich, Basel and Lucerne. 

17. Tibetan Bridge Hike

Chestnut trees and a large pedestrian suspension bridge

H0009 Tibetan Bridge Ticino Hike

Starting from the Ticino valley near Bellinzona, this hike takes you up through forests and past picturesque stone-roofed hamlets. The highlight of the walk is a crossing of the ‘Tibetan Bridge’, a huge pedestrian suspension bridge crossing a valley. 

After the Tibetan bridge, the hike continues up with views across the Ticino valley and down towards Bellinzona, before finishing at a restaurant with a spacious terrace overlooking the valley. If you look carefully, you might notice a wooden carving of one of those famous blue and yellow minions along the path up.

See here for our more detailed post about this hike.

Time: 4-5 h
Distance: 8 km
Altitude: 1350m ↑ 250m ↓
Difficulty: T2 (medium)
Popularity: 3/5
Peak: Top of the Mornera Cable Car 1350m
Start Point: Monte Carasso, Cunvént Bus Stop
End Point: Mornera, Cable Car Station

18. Lago Ritom

An off-the-beaten-path option in northern Ticino

Lago Ritom Ticino Hiking

To get a flavor of the northern part of Ticino, a walk around Lake Ritom is a good option. Up here it’s difficult to believe you’re actually still in Ticino at all, as you’re surrounded by towering mountains and there are no palm trees anywhere in sight.

One side of the lake has an easy dirt track with good views of the lake, and the other side has a nice path that winds and twists up and down the mountainside through the trees, frequently offering impressive views down onto Lake Ritom. If you want a bit more exercise, there are also several smaller lakes nestled further up the mountain.

Time: 2.5 h
Distance: 9.5 km
Altitude: 250m ↑ 250m ↓
Difficulty: T1/T2 (easy/medium)
Popularity: 3/5
Peak: shores overlooking Lago Ritom 1900m
Start Point: Piora Funicular Station
End Point: Piora Funicular Station

 
19. Monte Lema to Monte Tamaro ridge hike

A ridge hike high above the lakes of Ticino

Monte Tamaro Ticino Hiking

This hike follows a mountain ridge, starting and finishing at strategically placed cable car stations. With almost unbroken views along the entire hike, this is a great way to get above Ticino! You’ll get views down on lots of Ticino’s main cities and lakes, from Lugano and Lake Lugano in the south to Lake Maggiore and Locarno in the north.

Many of Ticino’s more spectacular valleys and peaks are visible as well, and on a clear day you’ll also have impressive views of some of the highest mountains in the Alps, including Monte Rosa.

You can also just climb Monte Tamaro directly, which we describe in our post on Monte Tamaro here.

Time: 5 h
Distance: 13.5 km
Altitude: 1000m ↑ 1000m ↓ (a bit less if you skip Monte Tamaro itself)
Difficulty: T2/T3 (medium/difficult)
Popularity: 4/5
Peak: Monte Tamaro 1962m
Start Point: Monte Lema Cable Car Station
End Point: Alpe Foppa Gondola Station

20. Pizzo Zucchero

Hiking in the winding valleys of northwest Ticino

Pizzo_Zucchero_Ticino_Hikes

Just getting to the beginning of this hike is an adventure in itself. The only way in is a road (either by car or by bus) winding up from Locarno into the Onsernone valley. The first bit of the road is relatively normal, but as you go further it gets impossibly windy and narrows to a single track, threading through past cliffs and through tiny villages. 

As for the hike, the first part heads steadily up through a mix of meadows and woodland. As you near the top the views open out across remote valleys, with steep tree-covered slopes and peaks all around. With few people around this is probably a good spot to escape the busy spots of Ticino and get a sense of a much simpler life! See here for our more detailed post about this hike.

Time: 5 h
Distance: 11 km
Altitude: 950m ↑ 950m ↓
Difficulty: T2 (medium but good fitness level needed)
Popularity: 1/5
Peak: Pizzo Zucchero 1898m
Start Point: Comologno, Cappellino Bus Stop
End Point: Comologno, Cappellino Bus Stop

21. San Salvatore

Looking down on Lugano and Lake Lugano

San Salvatore is an iconic part of Lugano’s skyline. It’s the peak with a ribbed line in the middle where a funicular that’s lit in the evenings escorts people up and down the hill. The reason why San Salvatore makes it to the top of this list is easy – it’s because of that magnificent view at the top!

Once you’ve summited, you’ll find Lago Lugano (Lake Lugano) below you and a near panorama view of Ticino’s fjord style mountains. On a clear day, you’ll also be rewarded with a ridge line view of the snow-covered Alps looking back towards northern Switzerland. 

This is a popular peak so expect a crowd unless you do it on a weekday or off-season. We’ve suggested a simple walk from bottom to top below, or if you want something a bit bigger try a walk like this one here on Switzerland Mobility, which continues along the ridge.

Time: 2 h
Distance: 3.5 km
Altitude: 650m ↑ 50m ↓
Difficulty: T2 (medium)
Popularity: 5/5
Peak: Monte San Salvatore 913m
Start Point: Lugano-Paradiso Train Station
End Point: Monte San Salvatore Funicular Station

Honorable Mentions – Ticino

Ticino has a lot to offer and a hike up any of the more famous peaks such as San Salvatore, Monte Genoroso or Monte San Giorgio (aka dinosaur mountain) will offer you breathtaking view in nearly all directions. 

Another thing about Ticino that’s special is its valleys. We mentioned the Onsernone valley but sprawling out from Locarno are the Centovalli, Maggia valley and Verzasca valley as well, with the latter being famous for the famous double arched ‘Ponte dei Salti’ bridge! We’ll probably write more about some of the other valleys in the future 🙂

  • Monte Generoso – a popular option towards the south of Ticino, with big views in all directions.
  • Lago di Lucendro – if you want more of the Alpine side of Ticino, walking along this lake offers impressive views within striking distance of the Gotthard pass.
  • Lago di RobieiLago Bianco and Lago dei Cavagnoo – three Alpine lakes on a loop hike all the way up the north end of Valle Maggia.
  • Monte Boglia – a nice walk up from Monte Bre, again next to Lugano.
  • Monte San Giorgio – spectacular views from the south side of Lake Lugano.
  • Ponzione d’Arzo – hidden behind Monte San Giorgio, this is a slightly smaller, harder and more obscure version of Monte San Giorgio, also with beautiful views!

Graubunden

Graubunden is Switzerland’s biggest canton, but doesn’t seem to quite have the same name recognition as its more famous western counterparts in Valais and Bern. The canton’s size and mountainous terrain makes it a big area to swallow, and getting across it by car or public transport in any direction will take you hours. Because it’s large and entirely in the Alps, Graubunden also has around one third of all of the mountains in Switzerland! With many Alpine passes and 150 major peaks between 2500 and 3500 meters on offer, Graubunden is a great place to get off the beaten path! 

Its main population centers are all in the north along the Rhine valley, in Chur, Landquart and Sargans. From here you’ll be able to board narrow gauge trains that take you up to famous alpine towns of Davos, Arosa and St. Moritz. By the way, in St. Moritz you’ll find them playing polo and cricket on a frozen lake in the winter!

Moving further east you’ll find the remote valleys of the lower Engadin and Val Mustair, corners that most Swiss people haven’t even been to themselves. And let’s not forget the two Italian corners of Graubunden with the Italian-speaking Mesolcina valley in the southwest and Poschiavo valley in the south!

Overall, Graubunden is yet another highly varied region and has a ton of hidden gems to discover!

22. Lavin to Zernez

A huge hike into part of Switzerland’s only national park

A lot bigger than most of the hikes we have on this list, this enormous hike takes you into a portion of Switzerland’s only national park. Yeah, we were surprised when we learnt that Switzerland only has one national park, but if this is the only place in Switzerland that gets national park status, you can imagine that the scenery is worth seeing!

After slogging up for around 1000m, you’ll reach a bowl-shaped depression at 2600m, surrounded by a ring of peaks. The depression is filled with small lakes, but we haven’t finished yet – the path continues to climb, crossing the bowl and heading up to the rim. Up to this point, the entire walk has been in forests, then in a valley and then in a bowl. But finally, at 2850m, this suddenly and spectacularly ends as you crest the ring of mountains surrounding the bowl and a huge view opens up – mountains as far as the eye can see!

From the edge of the bowl, it’s not much further to the summit, after which it’s a long and mostly straightforward zig-zag path down through avalanche shelters and forests to Zernez. This last bit of the walk is something of a slog, especially as the knees start grumbling about all the work, but it seemed worth it for all the spectacular scenery at the top!

For a map of the route, check SwitzerlandMobility here.

Time: 8 h
Distance: 22 km
Altitude: 1600m ↑ 1600m ↓
Difficulty: T3 (difficult)
Popularity: 2/5
Peak: Munt Baselgia 2945m
Start Point: Lavin
End Point: Zernez

23. Zugenschlucht (Davos gorge)

Vertiginous views from an easy gorge path 

That’s quite a long way down…

Just south of Davos, the valley gets narrower and narrower until you reach Davos Monstein, where it basically turns into a large gorge. The modern road simply disappears into the mountain to get past this obstacle, and so does the train for the most part, but a wide track (probably the old road?) follows the river down into the gorge. After a few bridges and tunnels, the track starts to leave the river behind – not so much because the track goes up, but more because the river goes down. There are a couple of lookout points here, where you can see the sheer scale of the gorge below. 

The wide track ends here and you could turn round and head back to Davos Monstein at this point, but the path does continue to Davos Wiesen a kilometer further downstream. This bit is a little harder than the track, but still nothing too intimidating. 

From Davos Wiesen, you can hop on the train back to Davos Monstein. By the way, if you don’t want to walk this route is also well worthwhile by train, and in the summer there are even open topped train carriages running, maximizing the sights and sounds of both the gorge and the numerous train tunnels.

Time: 1h 15 mins
Distance: 5 km
Altitude: 50m ↑ 200m ↓
Difficulty: T1/T2 (easy/medium – mostly easy)
Popularity: 3/5
Peak: Davos Monstein Station 1350m
Start Point: Davos Monstein Train Station
End Point: Davos Wiesen Train Station

24. Viamala Gorge

Another of Switzerland’s most impressive gorges

This gorge threads south from Thusis on the way to one of the main Swiss Alpine passes, the Splugenpass – there’s even a highway through here these days, though it’s mostly in tunnels so you won’t see much of it whilst in the gorge. Viamala itself means ‘bad road’ or ‘bad way’, and it’s easy to see where the name came from – this must have been a tough section of the road in centuries gone by.

The two walking paths are presumably the old main routes through the gorge, and are still plagued by rockfalls today – we had to have several goes at this walk, as the paths seem to have been closed a lot over the last few years. So, if you’re planning a trip to this area look closely for closures and do they take them seriously, this is an active area!

We’re suggesting just the first half of Stage 1 of the ViaSpluga long distance path see here on SwitzerlandMobility though you can do the rest too if you like 🙂

Time: 2h 30 mins
Distance: 6 km
Altitude: 500m ↑ 350m ↓
Difficulty: T2 (medium, but not good if you have vertigo)
Popularity: 2/5
Peak: 980m
Start Point: Thusis Train Station
End Point: Zillis, Viamala-Schlucht Bus Stop

25. Arosa Weisshorn

An accessible peak in central Graubunden

There’s only one road into Arosa, winding up from Chur, along with a very windy railway. There are a few more options on foot, with several nice passes heading up from Arosa through the surrounding mountains. We’re not going there with this walk though – instead, we’re making our way up Weisshorn, which is accessible directly up from Arosa. Despite the relatively difficult access route to Arosa (the road and railway from Chur get cut off from time to time by avalanches in the winter, for example), Weisshorn itself has relatively gentle slopes, and is also well connected with a network of cable car routes – this is a ski area in the winter. This combination makes for a nice hike with plenty of views of the surrounding peaks!

By the way, there are no wild bears in Switzerland (or at least, hardly any – see our post on animals in the Alps here), but in addition to the famous bears in Bern they now also have a bear sanctuary in Arosa.

Time: 2h 45 mins
Distance: 6 km
Altitude: 900m ↑ 10m ↓
Difficulty: T2 (medium)
Popularity: 3/5
Peak: Arosa Weisshorn 2653m
Start Point: Arosa Train Station
End Point: Weisshorn Cable Car Station

26. Joriseen Rundweg

High Alpine lakes and passes

Still some snow and ice even in July!

To reach this walk, you first have to get up to near the top of the Fluelapass, one of Switzerland’s highest road passes. Even at the starting point, there are no trees, just a grassy Alpine landscape crossed by streams. The walk wastes no time and immediately gains another 500m of altitude to get you high up on the ridge alongside the pass, and from here you can see your destination – a rock-strewn landscape with several clear lakes. The path continues down past these lakes and then back up to the ridge again, completing a loop back to where you started. This is a great way to get your fill of high-altitude Alpine landscapes in a fairly accessible location.

See here for a map of the route on SwitzerlandMobility.

Time: 4h 30 mins
Distance: 11 km
Altitude: 950m ↑ 950m ↓
Difficulty: T2 (medium)
Popularity: 3/5
Peak: Winterlucke Pass 2785m
Start Point: Wägerhus/Abzw. Jöriseen Bus Stop
End Point: Wägerhus/Abzw. Jöriseen Bus Stop

27. Il Jalet

A short hike up from Ofenpass

Quite a few of the higher road passes have nice walk options starting from the top of the pass, and this is another example. This is another loop walk – a smaller one this time – starting at 2149m at the top of the Ofenpass (Pass del Fuorn). It’s a short hike but steep in places, taking you up to a vantage point with a 360-degree view of the peaks surrounding you. It makes for a nice little hike if you’re passing through – we love the way you can do this kind of hike in Switzerland!

Time: 1h 30 mins
Distance: 3 km
Altitude: 275m ↑ 275m ↓
Difficulty: T3 (not suitable for anyone with vertigo)
Popularity: 1/5
Peak: Il Jalet 2390m
Start Point: Süsom Givè (Passhöhe) – Car Park/Bus Stop
End Point: Süsom Givè (Passhöhe) – Car Park/Bus Stop

There are more details in our post on Il Jalet here.

Honorable Mentions – Graubunden

With something like one third of all the mountains in Switzerland, you can imagine that this list of honorable mentions could get long. We’re sticking to a handful for now, though we might do a longer post on Graubunden itself sometime!

  • Igl Compass – an obscure and entertainingly-named 3000m peak next to the Albulapass (Pass d’Alvra).
  • Pass dil Segnas (Segnespass) – an impressive pass leading from Graubunden to Glarus. Keep an eye out for the Martinsloch, which is literally a huge hole through the ridge just next to the pass.
  • Fluela Schwarzhorn – at 3145m, this is one of the highest mountains in Graubunden you can get up on a normal path. It’s the other side of the Fluelapass from the Joriseen Rundweg walk that we mentioned above.

North-Eastern Switzerland

This part of Switzerland can be divided into three parts: the Santis massif in the north, the Churfirsten in the center, and the Glarus Alps to the south of the Walensee. There’s a variety of scenery here, from very popular corners like Santis and Ebenalp in the north down into quieter areas in the upper reaches of the Glarus valleys. So whether it’s a steep climb up to Santis or relaxing walks along the Walensee, this region again has plenty of options to offer! 

Also, a random side fact: a pair of Switzerland’s least populated cantons, Appenzell Innerrhoden and Glarus, are in this area and both have Landsgemeinde (public ballot voting). Basically, a Landsgemeinde is where the entire electorate of the canton gets together in the town square for elections every spring – well worth a look if you’re in the area!

28. Weissenberg

Accessible hiking deep in canton Glarus

Snowshoe Hike Glarus Mattdorf Weissenberge

Let’s start with an obscure option to the south, in Glarus. From a hiking perspective this seems like a bit of a random choice, as it’s a fairly small loop on some Alps overlooking the valley. What makes this a really nice hike, though, is the views – Glarus is a pretty deep valley and the peaks surrounding it really make for some picturesque photos! 

You’ll find a map of the basic loop here on SwitzerlandMobility.

There are also several options to make your loop larger by heading further up towards the peaks. It’s a really nice area in the winter as well – see our post here on our winter walking in the area.

Time: 1 h
Distance: 4 km
Altitude: 200m ↑ 200m ↓
Difficulty: T1 (easy)
Popularity: 2/5
Peak: 1400m
Start Point: Weissenberge Cable Car Station
End Point: Weissenberge Cable Car Station

29. Pizol 5 Lakes hike

Real Alpine scenery within reach of a day trip from Zurich

Pizol 5 Lakes

This hike is one of the most famous in this part of Switzerland, and it’s accessible as a day trip from Switzerland’s largest city, Zurich, making it an ever-popular option. It will not surprise you at all to hear that the main feature here is a series of lakes – five Alpine lakes, to be precise – on a loop walk high up in the Alps. This hike is only accessible in the summer and the last cable car down is early so with some good planning this is certainly a very ‘Swiss hike’ to check off your bucket list. 

Our post with more details on this hike is here.

Time: 4-5 h
Distance: 10 km
Altitude: 630m ↑ 1000m ↓
Difficulty: T2/T3 (medium but with a couple of tougher sections)
Popularity: 5/5
Peak: Wildseeluggen 2492m
Start Point: Pizolhutte Cable Car Station
End Point: Gaffia (Bergstation) Cable Car Station

30. Walensee hike to Quinten

Lovely views along the Walensee lakefront

H0026_Walensee_Weesen_to_Quinten
The Rinquelle waterfall, the Walensee lake and mountains behind 🙂

The Walensee lake area is close to Zurich and offers some pretty spectacular views the whole way around the lake. The turquoise colored lake is nestled in a steep valley with the Churfirsten, a set of 7 sloping peaks, towering precipitously over it on the north side. They’re so steep, in fact, that there are no roads or railways connecting up that side of the lake – everything goes along the south side.

There are hiking paths on the north side, though, and this particular hike takes you along those. The first couple of kilometers is very easy and is even tarmac to start with, heading along the lake front past vertical cliffs and through short tunnels. After you pass the small settlement of Betlis the tarmac ends, and if you’re up for a small detour there’s also a decent sized waterfall, the Rinquelle waterfall, which in early June still had just enough meltwater pouring down it to cool us off with its spray. The path then winds you up through the woods and you eventually make your way to a tiny village on the lake call Quinten. Since there are no roads leading here, the way home from Quinten is a small ferry across the lake to get you back to civilization!

For more information, including shorter and flatter options, check our post here.

Time: 4 h
Distance: 10.5 km
Altitude: 650m ↑ 650m ↓
Difficulty: T2 (medium)
Popularity: 4/5
Peak: 934m
Start Point: Fli, Hirschen Bus Stop
End Point: Quinten Ferry Station

31. Santis

A rugged mountain dominating northeastern Switzerland

The whole of the Santis massif is impressive, and if you want smaller walks Ebenalp and Seealpsee (mentioned two walks further down) could be good options. Santis itself is a tempting target though, as at 2502m Santis is the highest mountain in this corner of Switzerland. It’s actually one of the most prominent peaks in the Alps, and it’s the highest peak of three cantons as well. The views from the top are striking. On a clear day you can apparently see the following 6 countries from atop: Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, France & Italy. 

The climb up Santis is not for the faint hearted, though, and we won’t suggest a specific route up as all of them are relatively tricky. If you’ve got some hiking experience, though, this is a great peak to consider! For those of you that don’t fancy the hike, there’s also a cable car to the top so you can still check out those magnificent views 🙂

Altitude: Minimum 1250m up
Difficulty: T3 (difficult)
Popularity: 5/5
Peak: Santis 2502m

32. Kronberg

Panoramic views of Santis

One disadvantage of climbing Santis is that you can’t actually see Santis itself properly. Kronberg is an excellent option to solve this, as it’s just next to the Santis massif. It’s also a much gentler hike than the relatively uncompromising paths that you have to tackle on Santis itself. 

The starting point for this hike is actually at the bottom of the cable car up Santis, so you can theoretically do both on the same day if you want!

Time: 2 h
Distance: 5.5 km
Altitude: 500m ↑ 200m ↓
Difficulty: T1/T2 (easy/medium – mostly easy)
Popularity: 3/5
Peak: Kronberg 1655m
Start Point: Schwägalp, Säntis-Schwebebahn Bus Stop/Car Park
End Point: Kronberg Cable Car Station

33. Ebenalp

Popular, and with good reason

The restaurant in the cliff!

Ebenalp is practically Alpine royalty, blessed as it is with its super-famous cliff-hugging restaurant. As well as the restaurant, the path up from Wasserauen to Ebenalp also goes through a cave, of all things, and the Alpine-style Seealpsee lake is also well worth the short detour needed from the main path up to Ebenalp.

It’s one of the most popular hikes in this area so be ready to share the paths with fellow interested hikers! 

Time: 2.5 h
Distance: 5.5 km
Altitude: 800m ↑ 50m ↓
Difficulty: T2 (medium but some steep bits)
Popularity: 5/5
Peak: Ebenalp 1600m
Start Point: Wasserauen Train Station
End Point: Ebenalp Cable Car Station

34. Stausee Garichti

Another hidden gem in canton Glarus

Finally, to round off NE Switzerland, we have another relatively obscure option back down deep in Glarus. Access is entertaining on this one – there’s a tiny road up from Schwanden GL that gets you to the bottom of the cable car, and then a cable car to just below the dam. On our way up in the bus, we were sat next to the driver, and partway up the road a rock suddenly rolled in front of us out of the steep forest, went straight across the road and back into the forest on the other side – spooky!

Anyway, once you’re at the top of the cable car here, there are several options for small and medium-sized loop hikes. The smallest option is just a loop around the small lake formed by the dam, but we suggest a larger option that gets you up onto the ridges surrounding the lake so that you can get a wider view of Glarus as well – see SwitzerlandMobility here for a map of the route.

Time: 2.5 h
Distance: 7 km
Altitude: 400m ↑ 400m ↓
Difficulty: T2 (medium)
Popularity: 2/5
Peak: 1960m
Start Point: Mettmen Cable Car Station
End Point: Mettmen Cable Car Station

Honorable Mentions – NE Switzerland 

So, what else is there in this region?

  • The Churfirsten – all seven of them! These are the peaks on the ridge above the Walensee lake. There’s a cable car up Chaserugg, the easternmost of the Churfirsten, if you’re a fan of only walking up and not back down.
  • Fahlensee and Samtisersee – two more photogenic lakes in the Santis massif.
  • Ofenloch and Hinderfallenchopf – a gorge and more views of Santis with this route.
  • Speer and Federispitz – two peaks on a spiky ridge on the edge of the Alps (though the ridge itself is too hard for normal hiking).
  • Mattstogg – an even spikier peak just next to Speer. 
  • Ortstock – a challenging but very rewarding hike up to a 2700m peak near Braunwald in Glarus (there are easier worthwhile hikes in Braunwald as well, both in summer and in winter – see our winter post here).

Northern Flatlands (The Zurich Area)

By Swiss standards, the lower parts of northern Switzerland don’t get much hiking attention. They’re considered flat and boring. And yeah, in comparison to the Alps it’s comparatively flat. But having spent the bulk of our time in Switzerland in this area we’ve discovered a few hidden gems that have quite the scenery and are definitely worth visiting! 

They range from easy scenic walks, like hiking along the Rhine, to a couple of steeper options as well, such as a local favorite – Lagern. 

35. Lagern

Alpine hiking in the lowlands…

H0001 Lagern Hike

This hike takes you along an Alpine-like ridge not far from Zurich. The typical starting point is Baden, a picturesque town in canton Aargau, and the first part of the hike heads through the old town and up past several viewpoints overlooking the town. Beyond that, you head up a steep and rocky ridge with panoramic distant views of the Alps! Towards the peak, the ridge flattens out and then descends again, ending in the town of Dielsdorf. 

This is a a great option if you want a good hike without venturing too far from the city – just make sure you’re OK with heights!

Our post on Lagern is here.

Time: 4 h
Distance: 13 km
Altitude: 600m ↑ 600m ↓
Difficulty: T2/T3 (some tricky bits – not suitable for people with vertigo)
Popularity: 3/5
Peak: Lagern 886m, Burghorn 859m
Start Point: Baden Station
End Point: Dielsdorf Station

 

36. The Rhinefalls from Schaffhausen

Gentle walking along the Rhine to Europe’s largest waterfall

The Rhinefalls, which are the biggest waterfall in Europe, probably don’t need too much introduction. Starting from the old town in Schaffhausen, a mostly flat and shaded path follows the Rhine down to the falls. It’s not a long walk, so we recommend a short detour at the beginning up to the Munot Fortress in Schaffhausen old town – it’s surrounded by vineyards and offers a good vantage point of the city. 

Another insider tip – if you can get here for the Swiss National Day fireworks on 1 August, then it’s well worth the effort! The scene of fireworks going off over the waterfalls is magical.

Time: 2 h
Distance: 7 km
Altitude: 150m ↑ 150m ↓
Difficulty: T1 (easy)
Popularity: 4/5
Peak: About 400m
Start Point: Schaffhausen Station
End Point: Neuhausen Rheinfall Station

37. Eglisau to Flaach

Rolling hills along the Rhine

Eglisau_to_Flaach

We’re guessing most people have never heard of this walk, but it’s a personal favorite, particularly in the summer and autumn. We discovered the hike when searching for a nice spot for a laid-back summer evening stroll. After all, hiking isn’t only about travelling far and deep into the mountains. For us, it’s also about enjoying what’s around us!

As you file out of Eglisau station, the relative peacefulness of this small town just half an hour from Zurich is immediately evident. The tree-lined path at the very start of the hike, which heads through quiet suburban houses, only adds to the effect. This hike will take you through picturesque vineyards following hiking route 60 on the outskirts of Zurich. 

Our post on this hike is here for more details.

Time: 2 h 45 mins
Distance: 10 km
Altitude: 250m ↑ 250m ↓
Difficulty: T1/T2 (mostly easy)
Popularity: 2/5
Peak: 500m
Start Point: Eglisau Railway Station
End Point: Flaach, Wesenplatz Bus Stop

Honorable mentions – Northern Flatlands

We’ve covered loads of hiking options near Zurich for spring, summer & winter in separate blog posts. So if you’re keen on more options for hiking near Zurich just visit one of those links.

The flatlands and wider Zurich area also has many of Switzerland’s smallest mountains like Pfannenstiel, Lindenberg and Stierenberg, all of which offer a nice taste of the area!

Central Switzerland

This is the birthplace of Switzerland, where the story of William Tell, the famous Swiss guy that shot an arrow off the top of his son’s head, took place, and where the first few cantons, Uri, Schwyz & Obwalden/Nidwalden banded together against a common enemy: the Germans. Ok, it’s not really quite that simple, but we’ll leave history lessons to Wikipedia (here) 😛.

So let’s start at the heart of this region which would be Lake Lucerne (the Vierwaldstattersee). This lake is tantalizingly beautiful and spreads out like an octopus in all directions. Towards the north you’ll find Zug, Lucerne & Schwyz, home to the iconic mountains of Rigi & Pilatus and to lesser-known peaks like Wildspitz with views too good to be true. The two Mythen brothers (Gross Mythen and Klein Mythen) take center stage in canton Schwyz. Moving south there are many small towns encircled by cliffs that perch on the shores of the lake. There’s also the Waldstatterweg, a low-altitude 7-stage path around the entirety of Lake Lucerne which is a (mostly) easy path and most of it has impressive views to offer – see SwitzerlandMobility here.

Further south, you’ve got the mighty canton of Uri with fiercely steep mountainsides and the Schollenen gorge leading you up into Andermatt and up towards the Gotthard pass. Moving westward are Titlis and and Klein Titlis (Small Titlis) with their glaciers and a fantastic view from the top. Melschseefrutt, a hiking and skiing paradise, is not too far away from here either. Finally, coming back closer to the shores of Lake Lucerne you’ll find Stanserhorn with its cabrio open top cable car and many other peaks offering you glimpses of all the beauty this corner of Switzerland has to offer. 

And I could go on, this region certainly has MANY peaks with breathtaking views. So let’s explore!

38. Rigi

Accessible hiking options for everyone

Rigi Winter Hiking Switzerland_2

We’ll start our tour of central Switzerland with a perennial favorite, Rigi. As the most prominent mountain in canton Schwyz, the views from this peak are stunning. It’s the scene of a spectacular winter wonderland in heavy snow, of glistening lakes below you in the summer sun and of hiking above the clouds during the autumn fogs. 

As a popular mountain it’s riddled with paths both easy and hard in all directions. And to get back down there are several mountain railways and cable cars, including the Rigi Bahn (Rigi train), Europe’s first mountain railway (operational since 1871) to chug you down the mountain!

There are loads of hiking options on Rigi for all levels of hikers. We’ve suggested a relatively easy and panoramic option below that skips most of the altitude gain, but if you want a harder option with more leg burn try starting at the bottom at Kussnacht am Rigi station, Weggis ferry terminal, Vitznau ferry terminal or Arth-Goldau station and head for Rigi Kulm!

Time: 2h 45 mins
Distance: 9.5 km
Altitude: 450m ↑ 300m ↓
Difficulty: T1 (easy)
Popularity: 4/5
Peak: Rigi Kulm station 1749m
Start Point: Rigi Scheidegg Cable Car Station
End Point: Rigi Kulm Station

39. Mutteristock

Limestone pavements in the sky

This one is definitely not for the faint hearted – and actually not very accessible by public transport unless you’re happy to add a 10km round trip walking around a lake (the Wagitalersee) to the hike. The walk around the Wagitalersee is actually nice walk in itself, by the way – the Wagitalersee is another one of our favorite spots in Switzerland. 🙂

For those with the experience and stamina to make it though, the landscapes that meet you as you near the top are otherworldly – twisted rocks and huge limestone pavements with lots of expansive views of the surrounding Alps. So that’s why we included it here despite it being significantly bigger than most of our normally more ‘laid-back’ hikes!

Time: 6h 30 mins
Distance: 12 km
Altitude: 1500m ↑ 1500m ↓
Difficulty: T3 (difficult)
Popularity: 2/5
Peak: Mutterispitz 2295m
Start Point: South end of Wagitalersee
End Point: South end of Wagitalersee

40. Melchsee Frutt (Bonistock)

Alpine lakes in central Switzerland

Melchsee Frutt Bonistock snowshoe_winter_hike

Whether it’s summer or winter, Melchsee Frutt has a lot to offer!  It’s got two lakes which are good to dip in on a hot summer day and are frozen in winter offering you some epic scenery 😊. You’re also spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a hiking route. For starters, there are several impressive peaks like Balmeregghoren, Bonistock and Hochstollen. Then, if you’re energetic you can even hike from Melchsee Frutt over into Engelberg via Jochpass, passing more Alpine lakes on the way across. There are points where all you can see around you are peaks surrounding you. Finally, it’s also a great spot for cow-spotting. In the summer, you’ll find them grazing on the high alpine pastures like it ain’t nobody’s business. Go Heidi!

The hiking details below are for the summer, and we wrote more about winter walking up Bonistock here.

Time: 1h 45 mins
Distance: 5 km
Altitude: 300m ↑ 300m ↓
Difficulty: T2 (medium)
Popularity: 3/5
Peak: Bonistock 2169m
Start Point: Melchsee-Frutt (Bergstation) Cable Car Station
End Point: Melchsee-Frutt (Bergstation) Cable Car Station

41. Stanserhorn

Panoramic views of Lake Lucerne

The cabriolet cable car down the mountain!

Heading back towards Lake Lucerne, this is a hike with potential for some serious leg burn! You ascend nearly 1500 meters from Stans, the capital of canton Nidwalden. From the top, you’ll find a spectacular view of the mountains in central Switzerland including Titlis and its glaciers, and Lake Lucerne sparkling below you. It’s quite a fun hike and once you’ve made it to the top you can sit back and relax on the giant restaurant terrasse they’ve built near the top. 

Apart from a spectacular view there’s something else that makes this mountain special and that’s the way down on a Cabrio Cable Car. Yes, you read that right, an open top cable car! It’s got a cabin as you would expect and then a roof top area where you can stand. Once you’re most of the way down a classic funicular train takes you the rest of the way to Stans station, or if there’s a queue you can walk down this last bit.

Time: 4h 45 mins
Distance: 11 km
Altitude: 1500m ↑ 100m ↓
Difficulty: T2 (medium)
Popularity: 4/5
Peak: Stanserhorn 1898m
Start Point: Stans Train Station
End Point: Stanserhorn Cabrio Cable Car Station

There are more details in our post on Stanserhorn here.

42. Gross Mythen

A steep climb up a whole load of hairpins

H0020_Grosser Mythen_near Zurich Hike

The Mythen brothers, Gross Mythen and Klein Mythen (literally ‘big Mythen’ and ‘small Mythen’!), are an impressive sight from Schwyz, where they tower above the valley. From the valley bottom, they both look unclimbable, but over the years a steep but doable path has been forged up Gross Mythen, winding up to the top with dozens of hairpin turns. This is probably one of the most popular hikes in the Alps, but if you’re ok with the crowds then both the walk and the views are well worth it!

There are more details in our post on Gross Mythen here.

Time: 3 h
Distance: 6 km
Altitude: 700m ↑ 700m ↓
Difficulty: T3 (difficult – not suitable for anyone with vertigo)
Popularity: 5/5
Peak: Gross Mythen 1898m
Start Point: Rotenflue (Mythenregion) Cable Car Station
End Point: Rotenflue (Mythenregion) Cable Car Station

43. Schollenen Gorge

Swiss engineering on display

Schoellenen Devil's Gorge Andermatt_2

Now we head further south to a very different landscape, deep down into the towering valley sides of Uri and up to the Schollenen gorge. With the Reuss river crashing through the bottom of the gorge deep below the path, and with the road and railway bridges crossing the chasms, this is an intimidating place. There’s also a gigantic monument to Suvorov’s Russian army, who came through here while fighting the French in the Napoleonic Wars (side note: if you’re into that kind of thing, check out the tale of Suvorov’s journey through the Alps, culminating in the 70-year-old Suvorov and his entire army climbing over the 2400m-high Panixerpass in deep fresh snow… it’s quite the story! There’s an 8-minute video here on Youtube if you speak German).

Oh, and to give you an idea of the difficulty of building anything in this corner of the world – the paths here are closed because of avalanche risk during the winter and into the spring, and they even have to dismantle some of the pedestrian bridges every winter so that the avalanches don’t destroy them!

Time: 2 h
Distance: 6 km
Altitude: 400m ↑ 50m ↓
Difficulty: T1 (easy in summer)
Popularity: 4/5
Peak: Andermatt 1435m
Start Point: Goschenen Train Station
End Point: Andermatt Train Station

44. Fronalpstock

Incredible views of Lake Lucerne

Along the southern tentacle of Lake Lucerne is a peak known as Fronalpstock. The view from atop rivals that of Rigi with the lake below sparkling away on a sunny day! Getting to the start of this hike in Stoos is also quite something – it requires getting into futuristic barrel shaped pods that whisk you up one of the steepest funicular systems in the world. 

Once in Stoos you can hike up or take the cable car up to Klingenstock. This is the starting point for one of the most scenic Swiss ridge walks there is and definitely one of the most impressive places to look down on Lake Lucerne! There are steep slopes beside the path in places, so if you’ve got vertigo this might be one to avoid. 😊 If not, it’s time to hold your breath and admire the beauty this part of Switzerland has to offer!

SwitzerlandMobility have some more details on this hike here.

Time: 2 h
Distance: 5 km
Altitude: 400m ↑ 400m ↓
Difficulty: T2 (medium)
Popularity: 5/5
Peak: Chlingenstock 1935m, Fronalpstock 1921m
Start Point: Klingenstock Chairlift Station
End Point: Fronalpstock Chairlift Station

45. Wildspitz

Medium difficulty hiking on the edge of the Alps

Wildspitz

Just opposite Rigi is a lesser-known peak, Wildspitz, which is the highest peak in canton Zug. There’s no cheating up or down this one with mechanized transport, at least not with the public transport. Instead, it’s roughly 1000 meters up and down on foot. This makes it less popular with the tourists and a haven for local hiking enthusiasts. 

The view from atop is a panoramic sweep of a large swathe of central Switzerland’s most popular peaks. The peak is also surrounded by 3 lakes, Lake Zug, Lake Lauerz and Lake Ägeri which means that in autumn this is a fantastic option for one of those hiking above the clouds moments. The picture of Wildspitz in this post was taken in December when it was grey and cold in the valley and a bucket full of sunshine at the top! Gotta love peaks like this. 

Time: 5h 15 mins
Distance: 13 km
Altitude: 780m ↑ 960m ↓
Difficulty: T2 (medium)
Popularity: 3/5
Peak: Wildspitz 1580m
Start Point: Sattel-Aegeri Station
End Point: Arth Goldau Station

46. Burgenstock (Hammetschwand)

Another angle on Lake Lucerne

Finally, we head back to yet another corner of Lake Lucerne. We wrestled with this suggestion because of its popularity and propensity for large numbers of visitors at the top. Still, the views are undoubtedly jaw-dropping and that’s the reason why it’s on this post! 

The most popular way up this peak is with a ferry across Lake Lucerne plus the funicular up to the Burgenstock resort, a set of luxury hotels perched on the Burgenstock ridge high above Lake Lucerne. From the top of the funicular, you head up to the summit via a cliff walk and the Hammetschwand Lift, an impressive 150m-high outdoor lift. 

If you’d rather hike up yourself, that’s also an option – starting at the bottom in Buochs or Ennetburgen, for example, gives you panoramic views of Lake Lucerne as you head up. 

Time: 3h 30 mins
Distance: 10 km
Altitude: 800m ↑ 350m ↓
Difficulty: T2 (medium)
Popularity: 4/5
Peak: Burgenstock 1127m
Start Point: Buochs (ferry station or bus stops)
End Point: Burgenstock (funicular station or bus stops)

Honorable mentions – Central Switzerland

Well, we said there were plenty of options – so here’s a few honorable mentions 😊

  • Stockli – a 2482m peak between Andermatt and Oberalppass in the south of Uri.
  • Rooterberg – easy hiking on Switzerland’s smallest mountain (see our post here).
  • Pilatus – a popular and quite steep mountain right next to Lucerne.

Jura

The Jura is Switzerland’s second mountain range. It sweeps in a long arc around the northeastern side of the country, split from the Alps by the roughly 50km wide ‘flat’ Swiss Plateau. The main ridge of the Jura rises steeply from the plateau, providing reliably good views down across the valley and panoramic views of the Alps (weather-permitting, at least!)

Another characteristic of the Jura is that it’s dotted with cliffs, steep valleys and gorges, with Creux du Vin perhaps being the most famous. Despite the steep landscapes, though, much of the Jura is easily accessible and the paths are often easier than those in the Alps. These spectacular features, coupled with the accessibility and the relatively long hiking season (the Jura is mostly snow-free from April to December) make the Jura a popular and worthwhile hiking destination.

47. Hasenmatt

One of the Jura’s most prominent peaks

Hasenmatt Jura Solothurn Hike Weissenstein Dinosaur
Alpine panorama views!

This peak makes for a comfortable day trip from Zurich, Bern or Basel and with the promise of a panoramic view of the Alps, it’s certainly worth a shot! 😊 Hasenmatt is one of the highest peaks at the eastern end of the Jura range and offers impressive views in nearly all directions. Towards the east and west you’ll see trailing peaks of the Jura range but best of all is the view of the Alps. On a clear sunny day you can soak in a huge swathe of the Swiss alps in one fell swoop. It’s certainly a different take on ‘Alpine views’.

We’ve been up this peak in both autumn and spring and both seasons offer breathtaking views. We do have a favorite though! This is a great spot to hike above the clouds in the autumn to get away from the frequent grey days down in the valleys. So, if it’s a foggy day down in the valley and you’re in search for some sun have a look at the closest webcam to see if there’s sunshine on top!

There are various ways up, but we’ve listed one from the south side. You’ll find more details and several other options in our post on Hasenmatt here

Time: 4 h
Distance: 10 km
Altitude: 950m ↑ 350m ↓
Difficulty: T2 (medium)
Popularity: 4/5
Peak: Hasenmatt 1444m
Start Point: Oberdorf SO Train Station
End Point: Weissenstein Cable Car Station

48. Creux du Van

Huge bowl-shaped cliffs and mountain goats

Creux_du_Van

Well, here it is – the bowl-shaped cliffs of Creux du Van, another one of Switzerland’s most recognizable features! In fact, it’s one of those bucket-list worthy Swiss hikes.

From afar, the Jura looks like a pretty flat and boring mountain range compared to the jagged skyline of the Alps. But Creux du Van is a perfect example of how untrue that is. It doesn’t rival the north face of the Eiger in size but it’s still huge, and its distinctive semi-circular shape is also very satisfying. 

The hike itself has lots to offer with the trail of fourteen hairpins, lots of Swiss cows at the peak and the chance of spotting ibex scaling the cliffs. It’s a bit like where’s Wally on those cliffs though, so good on ya if you manage to spot one. 

Our post on Creux du Vin is here. By the way, the nearby Gorges de l’Areuse are also well worth a look if you’re looking for more options in this area. 

Time: 4h 30 mins
Distance: 12 km
Altitude: 750m ↑ 750m ↓
Difficulty: T2 (medium)
Popularity: 5/5
Peak: Le Soliat 1465m
Start Point: Noiraigue Station
End Point: Noiraigue Station

49. Chasseral

Something for everyone in northwest Switzerland

Chasseral_Jura Hiking_Winter_Summer_6

Being the most prominent mountain in the Swiss Jura, this makes it on our list for the panoramic view of the Alps. From here you get the ‘skyline’ of the Alps all the way from Santis in the east down towards Mont Blanc in the west.

There are many ways up this peak, so there’s no one way of getting up here! If you’re fit and not too afraid of heights, then our tip would be to hike this one up via the impressive Combe Grede gorge in the summer! 

And whilst we’re all about hiking, you can do lots of other activities around this peak from skiing, to mountain biking and sledging 😊. So I’d say have fun!

The details below are for one of larger hikes you can do on Chasseral, but we have more details on Chasseral in our post here, including some shorter options.

Time: 6h 15 mins
Distance: 18.5 km
Altitude: 1400m ↑ 400m ↓
Difficulty: T2 (medium)
Popularity: 4/5
Peak: Chasseral 1607m
Start Point: Frinvillier-Taubenloch Train Station
End Point: Chasseral, Hôtel Bus Stop

50. Lac de Joux

Gentle hiking around the largest lake in the Jura

And for this very last hike, we go to the western edge of Switzerland. Near he border with France you’l find Lac de Joux, a 10 km long lake in the Jura with many scenic and easy hiking options in the area. It’s unlike the jagged Alps in that it has a more relaxed rolling country feel to it. The lake is a great spot for swimming or flat walking in the summer. Some winters the lake freezes over and becomes a heaven for ice skaters!

The route we enjoyed here was from Le Pont station to Le Solliat-La Golisse station along the west flank of the lake (route 127) via Le Lieu. It takes you along a flat gentle ridge and then brings you down the to the shores of Lake Joux. You can skip stones or just sit along it and soak up some summer sun. It’s a neat little corner and a hidden gem for expats in Switzerland. By the way – some of the place names around here are very literal, which made us smile – ‘Le Pont’ means ‘the bridge’, for example, and ‘Le Lieu’ means ‘the place’ 🙂

The full lake walk (route 127) is described on SwitzerlandMobility here – this is a loop walk that also goes back along the other side of the lake, although we just suggest walking along the west flank fo the lake below.

Time: 2h 30 mins
Distance: 10 km
Altitude: 200m ↑ 200m ↓
Difficulty: T1 (easy)
Popularity: 3/5
Peak: Revers 1096m
Start Point: Le Pont Train Station
End Point: Le Solliat-La Golisse Train Station

Honorable mentions – Jura

Finally, some other nice options in the Jura!

  • Firstly, a shout out to the Jura Crest trail, which is a 16-stage trail leading from the suburbs of Zurich to the shores of Lake Geneva. 
  • Le Doubs gorge is apparently well worth visiting, though we haven’t made it there yet – see SwitzerlandMobility here.
  • Gorges de l’Areuse – as mentioned above, this gorge is worth checking out, and is one of the more impressive gorges in the Jura.
  • Moron – a nice walk with a viewing tower at the top, though we have to admit that it was mainly the name that attracted us to the mountain :p
  • Wolfschlucht – another of the nicer Jura gorges, near Welschenrohr and Solothurn.
  • L’Orbe gorge – there really are a lot of gorges in the Jura. This one is in the south, near Yverdon-les-Bains.

So there you have it – a grand tour of some of the most beautiful spots in Switzerland! Whether you’re planning a first visit to Switzerland or you’ve lived here for years, hopefully this has given you some inspiration for some places to explore 😉