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Guide to Walking in Switzerland

Walking in Switzerland is all about the mountains. One look at these incredible landscapes, towering peaks, alpine forests and rolling glaciers will have you itching for more. In Switzerland, it doesn't matter whether you're journeying along winding trails or scaling iconic summits - either way, you'll be immersed in the mountains and treated to breathtaking views of one of the most picturesque countries on the planet. But where and when to go? Our guide is here to help.

Why go on a Walking Holiday in Switzerland?

With its majestic peaks, crystal-clear lakes, and storybook villages, Switzerland beckons avid walkers to explore its diverse trails and immerse themselves in a tapestry of natural wonders.

Unbelievable Scenery

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Switzerland is a paradise for nature lovers, boasting a tapestry of unbelievable scenery that spans from majestic mountains to pristine glaciers. The Monte Rosa massif, with its towering peaks, is a sight to behold, while the Glacier de Corbassiere showcases the otherworldly beauty of an icefall descending into the Val de Bagnes. Switzerland's landscapes offer captivating views of Mont Blanc, Europe's highest peak, which reigns over the Alps in neighbouring France. The views in Switzerland are truly unparalleled, offering glimpses of the awe-inspiring Eiger and the iconic Matterhorn with its distinctive pyramidal silhouette. The Konkordia and the Aletsch, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, unveil the largest glacier in the Alps.

Pristine Walking Trails

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The country's well-maintained trail network caters to all levels of hikers, offering a diverse range of experiences. Whether you choose an easy lakeside stroll or a challenging mountain ascent, you'll be greeted by stunning scenery at every turn. They guide you through lush meadows, past pristine lakes, and into the heart of the iconic Swiss Alps, where the scenery is nothing short of breathtaking.

Incredible Wildlife

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As you explore the alpine meadows and rugged mountain terrain, you may encounter ibex gracefully navigating steep slopes, chamois leaping across rocky outcrops, and marmots basking in the sun. The pristine natural habitats of Switzerland are home to an array of bird species, including the elusive golden eagle and playful Alpine chough.

Regions to visit while on a walking holiday in Switzerland

Our walking holidays in Switzerland take you on an unforgettable journey through the Swiss Alps and here are some of the regions that you will visit on your way.

Chapex


Champex, a charming Swiss mountain village, is a captivating stop on a walking holiday in Switzerland. Nestled at an altitude of 1,466 metres, it's surrounded by lush forests and offers spectacular views of the Alps. This serene retreat provides a perfect setting for hikers to rest, enjoy local cuisine, and take in the pristine natural beauty, making it an idyllic destination on any Swiss walking adventure.

Zermatt

 

Zermatt, nestled in the Swiss Alps, is a highlight of any walking holiday in Switzerland. This charming mountain town offers a picturesque setting with car-free streets, rustic chalets, and a backdrop dominated by the iconic Matterhorn.

 

Monte Rosa


Monte Rosa, the highest mountain in Switzerland and the second-highest in the Alps, is a prominent highlight of any walking holiday in the region. Its majestic peaks and glaciers are a captivating sight. While hiking in the Monte Rosa area, you can witness the incredible beauty of its rugged landscape, pristine lakes, and the Gorner Glacier, offering a true alpine paradise for nature enthusiasts and mountaineers alike. The surrounding trails provide awe-inspiring views of this iconic massif.

 

Bernese Oberland


This picturesque region is a treasure trove of alpine beauty, with its emerald lakes, dense forests, and the iconic Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau peaks dominating the skyline. Hikers exploring the Bernese Oberland are treated to a tapestry of well-marked trails that lead to stunning vistas, charming mountain villages, and encounters with local culture.

 

What is the best time of year for a walking holiday in Switzerland?

While it's possible to walk in Switzerland all year, each month brings unique experiences and challenges. For the best conditions, it's recommended to wait until the majority of the snow has melted before embarking on your journey, unless you're up for a snowshoeing adventure, of course.

Spring

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A walking holiday in Switzerland in spring can be enchanting. In March and early April, higher-altitude trails may still have traces of snow, with cool temperatures. However, the crisp mountain air and the picturesque landscapes created by lingering snow add a compelling charm to your walking adventure. By May, the snow has melted, temperatures are warmer, and spring is in full bloom. This is an excellent time to witness magnificent waterfalls and spot wildlife. Plus, the summer crowds have yet to arrive, allowing you to savour the beauty of Switzerland's landscapes in relative solitude.

Summer

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The summer months are a spectacular time for a walking holiday in Switzerland. With warm sunshine, clear mountain air, and breathtaking mountain scenery, often under blue skies, you'll be treated to a stunning natural spectacle. All hiking paths are open, and the glaciers have melted, revealing the captivating backdrop of the stunning alpine passes. Longer daylight hours mean you can relish the scenery for extended periods.

Autumn

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An autumn walking holiday in Switzerland is a hidden gem. While the weather can be somewhat unpredictable, the peaks are already snow-capped, temperatures are pleasant, and the landscape is adorned with a vibrant array of autumnal colours. What's more, this time of year sees fewer visitors, enhancing the appeal of a serene getaway in the heart of Switzerland's natural beauty.

How difficult are walking holidays in Switzerland?

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Although our walking holidays in Switzerland cater to all levels of ability, they definitely border on the more challenging side of our adventures. Switzerland’s exciting mountain trails should be something that all outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy, however, a base level of fitness is certainly required before taking on one of these journeys. If you are looking for a walk with a moderate level of difficulty to take on then our 2 week self-guided tour of Mont Blanc is the one for you. On this trip, you will experience the classic Tour du Mont Blanc route at a more relaxed pace with rest days in Courmayeur, Champex and Chamonix. This trip takes you through France and Italy as well as Switzerland, and is one of the best ways to discover the Alps at your own pace.

For those looking for a challenging adventure, our Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn trips offer a strenuous, yet extremely rewarding, journey through the Alps, With steep ascents and descents mixing with the stunning views of two of Europe's most magnificent mountains, this trip has it all. Similarly, taking on the Bernese Oberland Haute Route offers a difficult and rewarding path through Switzerland's natural beauty.

If you are looking for a really tough challenge, then the Classic Haute Route through the Alps will be for you. Taking a dramatic and uncompromising line, the classic Haute Route traverses the heart of the European Alps, linking Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn by a series of high cols and impressive glaciers. Expert guidance is essential on this challenging walking route and during the course of the traverse, there is plenty of opportunity to hone mountaineering skills.

What type of accommodation will I be staying in?

Walking holidays in Switzerland provide a range of accommodation options that perfectly complement the Swiss experience. Whether you are in comfortable hotels, rustic mountain huts, camping, or cosy chalets, the accommodation you encounter aligns with the alpine surroundings.

Hotels

During your Swiss walking holiday, hotels offer a seamless blend of comfort and convenience. You can anticipate well-appointed rooms, many boasting breathtaking mountain vistas. These hotels provide warm and hospitable stays, serving as ideal bases for your daily adventures in the stunning Swiss Alpine landscapes.

Mountain Huts

Staying in mountain huts in Switzerland allows you to escape the crowds and immerse yourself in pristine high-altitude locations. These rustic lodgings exude a sense of isolation and tranquillity. While the accommodation may be basic, the welcoming hut keepers and the camaraderie with fellow hikers create a unique and communal atmosphere. Waking up to panoramic mountain views and sharing tales of the trail over a hearty meal make mountain huts an integral part of the Swiss Alpine adventure.

Camping

Camping during a Swiss walking holiday offers an immersive outdoor experience. You'll pitch your tent amid breathtaking natural landscapes, surrounded by snow-capped peaks, pristine lakes, and lush meadows. The crisp mountain air and star-studded skies create an enchanting atmosphere for a night's rest. While it provides a more rustic experience, camping allows you to be one with nature and relish the serenity of the Swiss Alpine wilderness.

Chalets

Staying in a chalet on a walking holiday in Switzerland provides a simple yet authentic alpine experience. These wooden lodges exude warm Swiss charm, often featuring comfortable living spaces, cosy fireplaces, and stunning mountain views, making them a delightful accommodation choice in the Swiss Alps.

Alternatives to Walking in Switzerland

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For those seeking alternatives to a walking holiday in Spain, France offers a captivating array of diverse walking experiences. In the Chamonix Valley, take in the breathtaking views of Mont Blanc, Mer de Glace, and stunning glacial lakes during a centre-based walking week. Ascend to the Aiguille du Midi on the Mont Blanc massif via a spectacular cable car and explore beautiful segments of the renowned 'Tour du Mont Blanc.' For a change of scenery, immerse yourself in the glamour and beauty of the French Riviera, ascending Cime de Baudon for panoramic views of the glistening Cote d’Azur and Maritime Alps. Dive into the splendour of the region, from the majestic gardens of Menton and the grand Prince's Palace of Monaco to the romance of Luberon and the Alpine mountains, evoking the scenes of Van Gogh's famous paintings. Delve deeper into local life by visiting bustling Provencal markets and discovering incredible Roman ruins amidst a vibrant arts culture in Arles, offering a different but equally enchanting walking experience in the heart of France.

Bulgaria

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Situated in south-eastern Europe on the Balkan Peninsula, Bulgaria is a beautiful mountainous country about half the size of the UK. Although perhaps best known for its Black Sea resorts, the real character of the country is to be found in its mountain regions. There are six very different ranges varying from gentle green slopes and forests with flower-strewn alpine meadows, to high, snow-covered peaks. The rugged Rila and Pirin mountains are the most spectacular of these and in the winter they are host to several ski resorts, whilst in the summertime they offer some of the finest hiking in Europe.

Georgia

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Walking holidays in Georgia offer a unique and immersive experience for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. This diverse country in the South Caucasus region features breathtaking landscapes, including the towering Greater Caucasus Mountains, lush valleys, and picturesque villages. Hiking through scenic trails, exploring ancient monasteries, and savouring Georgian cuisine make for an unforgettable walking holiday in this underrated gem of a destination.

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