Favorite Hiking Regions and Destinations in Switzerland
The Swiss Alps abound in great hiking and offer a wide variety of areas and locations where you can enjoy a few days of superb hiking, either as part of an organized small group hiking tour, or as a self-guided hiker
Appenzell lies in eastern Switzerland and abounds in charming cultural traditions, wonderful cheese, and delectable specialty food. It's set in rolling hills with the backdrop of the limestone Alpstein Mountains and Mount Santis, the highest peak in eastern Switzerland. With it's exquisitely-crafted trails and wonderful gasthaus accommodations, any time spent in Appenzell is richly rewarding.
Below the impressive profile of Mt. Collon and in a steep sided valley, Arolla is a small village and popular overnight stop on the Haute Route. Set in forests of larch and Arolla pine, it's also a great hiking destination in its own right.
The ancient city of Bellinzona, with its UNESCO World Heritage Site castles, is the capital of the canton of Ticino.
The Engadine is a long valley in southeastern Switzerland in the canton of Graubünden. The name means garden of the Inn, referring to the Inn River which runs through the valley. Romansch is the indigenous language of the Engadine. It's known for beautiful mountains which rise high above each side of the valley, quaint villages like Guarda, and trendy resorts like St. Moritz. The Engadine is one of the four great hiking regions of Switzerland.
Although hardly in the Swiss Alps, our hiking and walking tours often start and end in Geneva Switzerland. Geneva (Genève in French, Genf in German, and Ginevra in Italian) is served by convenient non-stop flights from the US and cities throughout Europe, and offers easy rail connections to popular mountain destinations in the Alps such as Zermatt and Grindelwald. Geneva is rich is history and an ideal walking city.
Located in the Upper Rhone region of canton Valais, Goms is a relatively quiet agricultural region in the summer. But as winter sets in it becomes Switzerland's favorite cross country ski destination with 100km of tracks set for classic and skate. The most appealing feature of the area is the Combi-ticket in which your trail pass is also valid for transportation on the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn which links the 12 villages along the trail network, allowing you to ski from one 12th century village to the next, then at any point take the train as a shuttle.
This is Switzerland's largest canton, and is located in the southeast bordering Austria, Italy, and Liechtenstein. Its natural beauty and relatively sparse population make it a popular hiking region.
Grimentz is both a trendy mountain resort and a beautifully preserved medieval village with homes and other structures dating to the 16th century. It's a favorite stop on our Swiss Haute Route adventure.
Located in the Jungfrau, and nestled below the North Face of the Eiger, Grindelwald is one of the most scenic towns in the Alps. It is touristy, but also provides easy access to some splendid and off-the-beaten track mountain adventures. You'll enjoy visiting Grindelwald as part of our Alps Photo Workshop and our Exploring the Jungfrau trips.
This seasonal hamlet is a step back in time. On the Haute Route, it's the first German-speaking village you'll come to. Located in the peaceful Turtmanntal valley, there is only one hotel, the small, traditional Hotel Schwarzhorn, where we stay the night.
Lying in the lower Engadine Valley, and set on a natural terrace, Guarda is may be considered the most romantic village in the whole Engadine Valley, and certainly one of the best preserved. No tour in the Engadine would be complete without staying at the Hotel Meisser and having dinner in their award-winning restaurant.
The Jungfrau Region is located to the south of the Bernese Oberland and is centered around the peaks of the Jungfrau, Mönch, and Eiger. The Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald valleys and the Aletsch Glacier are also part of this region. The region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the most scenic and beautiful areas in the Alps and is an exceptional destination for hiking. Alpenwild tours in the Jungfrau include Exploring the Jungfrau, the Best of the Swiss Alps, and the Alps Photo Workshop.
The Jura Mountains is a sub-alpine range arcing across northwestern Switzerland between the Rhine and the Rhone. The name "Jura" comes from a Celtic word meaning "forest." The range gives its name to the Swiss canton of Jura and to the Jurassic period of geologic time. The Jura is a wonderful hiking region, with many nature parks, and offers a vast area for cross country skiing.
Kandersteg is hiker's heaven and a great place for discovering the scenic beauty of the Alps. With it's traditional timbered chalets and lush meadows, it's a must-visit destination on our Alps Photo Workshop.
Lac de Louvie
Just over the hill from the bustle of Verbier, Lac de Louvie is a stunningly beautiful gem along the Haute Route. We stay at the Cabane de Louvie with the Grand Combin as a backdrop.
Located in the Jungfrau and set in the midst of the world's largest glacial valley, Lauterbrunnen is our home base for the Best of the Swiss Alps tour and an essential part of our Alps Photo Workshop and Exploring the Jungfrau tours. The locals are quick to point out that the valley is ringed by 72 waterfalls, but we think there are many more that were never counted.
Just finished climbing the North Face of the Eiger? Then the Monchsjochhütte is where you'll be spending the night in celebration- and sound sleep. It's a mountain hut set at 11,906 feet, and our highest elevation accommodations on any of our trips.You can easily walk out here for lunch on a visit to the Jungfraujoch on our Exploring the Jungfrau tour.
Perched on a hillside above the Lauterbrunnen Valley, Mürren offer great views of the valley and many shimmering mountain peaks, including the Jungfrau and the Silberhorn. It's an enjoyable morning walk from Lauterbrunnen to Mürren, assisted by a tram up the steep valley walls. Mürren is a popular stop on our Best of the Swiss Alps and Exploring the Jungfrau tours.
Located in Val Bernina in the Upper Engadine, Pontresina is an ideal base for hiking and mountaineering in the area.
Originally the quarry for the construction of the Grand Dixence dam, Prafleuri is now a convenient location on the Haute Route for a mountain hut, built on the site of the barracks for the quarry workers. The new hut is comfortable, lively, and a great place to view ibex on nearby rocky slopes.
The larger of the two Sils villages in the Upper Engadine at the mouth of the Val Fex. Once the summer home of Friedrich Nietzsche, his house is now a museum.
For hikers on the Haute Route, St. Niklaus marks the end of the trail and the village where we board the train for the final leg to Zermatt and the Matterhorn. It's a charming village, with an onion-domed church and the steep walls of the Mattertal rising above.
Scoul is the largest community in the Lower Engadine Valley.
Set overlooking the Val Bregaglia, and reached by Postbus via a winding road, Soglio is one of the most beautifully situated towns in Switzerland. Painter Giovanni Segantini called it "the threshold of paradise."
Swiss National Park
Located in the wild region of the Upper Engadine, the Swiss National Park, the oldest in the Alps, is unique in all of Switzerland--a protected wilderness where flora and fauna can develop freely, uncontrolled by human intervention. Wildlife viewing is generally superb and hiking in the park is a popular activity.
Ticino is the southernmost canton of Switzerland. Named after the Ticino River, it is the only canton in Switzerland to be confined to the southern slopes of the alpine watershed. It is bordered on the south by Italy and is the only Swiss canton in which Italian is the sole official language. Because of its southerly location and its rich heritage, it's an ideal location for spring and fall hiking and is featured on Alpenwild's Scenic Alps by Rail tour.
This canton in the southwestern part of Switzerland is comprised of the fertile Rhône Valley and the surrounding mountains and lateral valleys. Switzerland's highest mountains, including the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa, are in Valais, along with the longest glacier in the Alps, the Aletsch Glacier. The western side of Valais is French speaking and the eastern side is German speaking. With its spectacular mountain scenery, Valais is one of Switzerland's top hiking regions, and several popular Alpenwild tours are based in Valais, including the Haute Route, Best of the Swiss Alps, and Cheese, Chocoate, and the Scenic Alps.
In addition to being one of the world's premier ski resorts, Verbier is a great starting point for our Swiss Haute Route. A short gondola ride and less than an hour of walking, and you're in a wildlife preserve with excellent opportunities to view both chamois and ibex.
Located on a perch above the Lauterbrunnen Valley, Wengen is a popular hiking and skiing destination in the Jungfrau region. It's also a lively, car-free resort with enough charm and activity to warrant an extended stay in a vacation apartment. It's a short but popular stop on our Exploring the Jungfrau tours.
Whether you're concluding the Haute Route or starting out on our Best of the Swiss Alps or Alps Photo Workshop, the car-free resort of Zermatt is a favorite of hikers, walkers, trekkers, skiers, and plenty of plain-old tourists. But you don't have to walk very far-sometimes just five minutes-to escape the tourist rush and find yourself in some of the most splendidly scenic alpine settings, with breathtaking views of the Matterhorn at every turn.
The gateway to the Swiss National Park, Zernez also stands at the junction of two valleys, the roadway, and the railway, making it an accessible destination and meeting point. The National Park entrance and headquarters is a short stroll from the center of the town.
An ideally situated hiking center that claims to be the best preserved village in the Upper Engadine. How do you pronounce "Zuoz"? Join us in the Engadine and you'll find out!
Zurich stands out as our favorite arrival and departure gateway in Switzerland. Its airport is modern, efficient, full of shopping, and just seconds from the train station and the Radisson Blu Zurich Airport, our hotel of choice for the final night of the tour when guest have early departing flights