Hiking in Switzerland means one thing above all: the mountain calls! Hardly any other country offers such a dense and well-signposted network of hiking trails through the most diverse mountain landscapes. However, the variety does not fall by the wayside: some paths lead up to the heights on countless steps, some meander along the slopes in serpentines, others are literally a ridge walk and others lead deep into the high mountains and are only suitable for experienced mountaineers. What they all have in common is the unforgettable view and the well-deserved stopover. But on the most beautiful hikes in Switzerland, you can also walk along the water: around the famous lakes or to the source of the Rhine, for example.
Switzerland – most beautiful hikes: Valle Verzasca
The so-called Valley of Green Water in the Italian part of Switzerland is a whitewater landscape, but invites swimming and even scuba diving in many places along the course of the Verzasca River. From Sognono, the trail leads through small Ticino mountain villages, light larch and beech forests, across moorland meadows and along river ponds to Lavertezzo with its photogenic Ponte dei Salti Roman bridge. Log cabins and picnic benches also line the trail, so you can enjoy this easy day hike at your leisure.
Along the Verzasca near Lavertezzo
Swiss Tour Monte Rosa
Only something for experienced alpinists is the Swiss Tour Monte Rosa, which is considered one of the most beautiful hikes in Switzerland. The trail leads from Zermatt around the Monte Rosa massif to the four-thousand-meter peaks of the Needle Ridge. You will not only cross the longest suspension bridge in the world (500m), but also several glaciers, which is why the right equipment and a mountain guide are highly recommended. The 162km circular route rewards you with unique panoramas, remote mountain villages and seclusion.
On four stages you follow the 65km long Via Spluga, a trade route that was already used in the Middle Ages to connect southern Germany with Lombardy. The highlight of the hike between Thusis and Chiavenna is the Viamala Gorge, which was infamous among travelers at the time for its namesake bad path, but today attracts hikers to Graubunden with its spectacular bridge structures along the Hinterrhein River. The steep rock faces rise up to 300m on both sides of the trail.
Wooden suspension bridge in the Viamala gorge
Four Springs Trail in the Gotthard Massif
A special experience is also the five-day hike to the sources of the rivers Rhine, Rheuss, Rhone and Ticino/Ticino in the middle of the Gotthard massif – the weather divide of Europe. For more than 80 km you follow the marked hiking trails past rock massifs, high moors, crystal clear lakes and alpine meadows, from the Oberalp pass to the Rhone glacier, where the river of the same name has its source. A hike entirely under the sign of water, which can be divided into five stages.
5-lake hike Pizol
Far above the timberline lie the small mountain lakes that you can discover on the 5-lake hike. You can still reach the Wangsersee comfortably with the Pizolbahn, then the ascent to the Wildsee begins, from where you can enjoy an impressive view of the Pizol glacier. Further on to the Schottensee with its deep blue water. Here you are in the middle of the UNESCO World Heritage Tectonic Arena Sardona, which makes the formation of the Alps by the collision of the continents of Europe and Africa tangible at various geological formations and can be developed on the Sardona World Heritage Trail, which takes several days. The high alpine 5-lake hike leads down to the Schwarzsee and finally to the green Baschalva Lake.
5 Lakes Hike: On the way at the Schottensee near Pizol
Marble trail from Zermatt
Especially suitable for families with children is the Murmelweg, a themed trail dedicated to the life of marmots. The chances to observe the cute animals in the wild are not bad, but even without the necessary luck you can learn a lot about their habitat and their habits through the information boards. The marmot sculptures set up also make this short hike near Zermatt in the canton of Valais an experience for young and old alike. You reach the path via the Sunnegga-Rothorn funicular railway.
A hike along Lake Walen with its subtropical climate is truly idyllic. From Weesen to Quinten in the canton of St. Gallen. Gallen you hike in about 3h along the shore, but the cozy inns along the way and the enticingly clear water of the lake invite you to many breaks to enjoy the view. Not for nothing this landscape is compared with Cinque Terre and called Swiss Riviera. A detour to the Seerenbach Falls is also very worthwhile. From Quinten, boats return to Weesen, so you can really experience Lake Walen from all sides on this tour.
The Alpstein mountain massif towers over the forests and hills of Appenzellerland south of Lake Constance. You can hike it on a wide variety of routes of varying duration and difficulty, but the climb up the roughly 2.500m high Santis is worthwhile because of the fantastic view over Lake Constance. The two-day tour starts in the mixed forest around Wasserauen and leads up to the mountain inn Aescher, which is pressed against the steep field wall. Through the caves of the Wildkirchli the path leads up to Ebenalp and finally over a ladder drilled into the stone up to the summit. You can either take the cable car down or hike along the Lisen ridge to the mountains Altmann and Rotmann, which are also more than 2.000m high mountains Altmann and Rotstein. You will be rewarded by the crystal clear water of the Seealpsee lake.
Creux du Van
Probably the most famous rock formation in the canton of Jura in French-speaking Switzerland is the vertical cliff called Creux du Van, which you can discover on a hike from Noiraigue. At first sight it almost looks like a natural amphitheater in the midst of dense forests. In this sparsely populated area, with a little luck, you will encounter animals such as marmots and ibexes. Nearby is the Val de Travers valley, where the aniseed spirit absinthe, also known as the Green Fairy, originated. The circular walk leads back to Noiraigue in 5h.
The Swiss Way
This 35km hiking trail takes you in three stages from the birthplace of the Swiss Confederation in Rutli around the southern part of Lake Lucerne to Brunnen. It was created for the 700th anniversary of the Swiss Confederation and connects many historical places and sights together. Such as the Schillerstein, which bears that name in memory of Friedrich Schiller, author of the drama “William Tell” about the Swiss national hero, and the Bundeskapelle in Brunnen.