Switzerland is a hiker’s paradise. With Alpine terrain, hilltop villages and expansive glaciers, this landlocked country has so many options for hiking.
From the heart-pounding Peak Walk to the subterranean caves of Creux du Van, this is our pick of the most beautiful hikes in Switzerland.
Aletsch Glacier Hike
Located in the heart of the stunning Jungfrau-Aletsch countryside, the Belalp plateau is a beautiful combination of forests, meadows, glaciers and snow-capped mountains. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this undiscovered part of the world is a wonderful environment to escape to. The Swiss Alps contain 2000 square kilometres of glaciers, of which the impressive Aletsch Glacier is the largest in Europe.
The highlight of this awe-inspiring landscape is the endless stream of ice winding its way to majestic peaks. This renowned glacier sits just over 2,100 metres above sea level, and hiking it with a local mountain guide is a great way to explore Switzerland’s nature. On the ascent, hikers will pass traditional Swiss chalets, old mountain huts and a small mountain lake – all giving you a fascinating insight into local Swiss culture.
Glacier 3000 & Jungfraujoch Glacier Hike
German speaking Gstaad is one of the most exclusive ski resorts in the world come winter. Three-hundred kilometres of hiking trails surround this high-profile alpine village, but the showstoppers are Glacier 3000 and Jungfraujoch. After a cable car ride up to Glacier 3000, daring hikers can take on Peak Walk by Tissot. Venturing over the first and only suspension bridge to connect two mountain peaks is an enthralling way to discover Switzerland’s mountains. If you’ve worked up an appetite, lunching at cliffside restaurant Refuge l’Espace pairs traditional Swiss fare with panoramic views.
Well-known Jungfraujoch is an alpine viewing point located between the Mönch and Jungfrau mountains. To reach here, take the cog train from Grindelwald to Europe’s highest train station. At a spectacular 3,545 metres tall, this hilltop station offers sweeping views over the surrounding mountains. For a different vantage point, climbers can hike across the glacier to the Mönchsjoch hut alongside a private guide before returning to Grindelwald via train.
The best of the rest...
Gorner gorge walk
The Gorner gorge – a place of incredible natural beauty – is a short walk from Zermatt. For sufferers of vertigo or less adventurous travellers, walking through the Gorner gorge provides a welcome alternative to scaling Switzerland’s peaks. Wooden walkways between towering cliffs provide a dramatic insight into the power of nature, and ancient rock formations give an ethereal feel. Access for tourists was first created here in 1886, and the serpentinite rocks are a staggering 220 million years old. Since the last ice age, the waters of the Gornersvipe have carved the caves even deeper, so this varied landscape has plenty of nooks and crannies to meander through.
The Gornergrat railway is the highest open air railway in Europe, leading to the Monte Rosa massif and its glacier. Here lies the Matterhorn – one of the highest summits in the Alps and Europe – standing at an imposing 4,478 metres tall. For breathtaking mountain views, travellers can ascend to Hohtälli and Stockhorn in two successive cable cars. Alternatively, hiking enthusiasts are able to undertake the vertiginous walk from Gornergrat to Hohtälli on narrow mountain paths. Those who dare to make the crossing are rewarded with out of this world panoramas, and an unrivalled sense of achievement.
Creux du Van hike
Close to French speaking Neuchâtel, Creux du Van is a natural rock landscape of immense proportions. Located at the border of the Neuenburg and Vaud cantons, these 160 metre tall rock faces offer a world of hiking opportunities. The valley here stretches over 4 kilometres, so walkers who’d rather stick to the ground are catered for too. These 200 million year old cliff faces have been moulded over the years by ice and water erosion. Today, this nature reservation area is a regional icon. As well as dizzying heights, there is a subterranean playground to discover here. The ‘grotte de la cascade’, or cascade cave, is an intricate network of underground tunnels framed by a stunning waterfall.