Helvetia: Top 15 Best Hiking and Trekking Tours in Switzerland [Video]

06 January 2020

Some travelers focus on cheese and chocolate during their time in Switzerland, but for others, it’s all about spending time in the great outdoors. Trekking the Swiss Alps is every hiker’s dream; there’s no comparison to the stunning beauty of this eighth world wonder. 

While hiking in Switzerland, there’s more than a few can’t-miss hiking tours to add to your bucket list. There are tons of outdoor adventures to choose from, ranging from easy 3-hour hiking trails for beginners to weeklong trekking tours for pros. 

Most of the best Switzerland hiking spots can be added to the itinerary as a day trip, so you should have no trouble squeezing them all in. In most cases, there’s no need to hire professional Switzerland hiking tours to lead the way - self-guided tours will do just fine. 

Here we’ve covered 15 of the best hiking and trekking tours in Switzerland, ranging in distance, required time, location within the country, and difficulty level. 

Uina Gorge Trail

Hiking along Uina Gorge may not be revered as the best hiking in Switzerland, but it’s still a pretty cool adventure. The massive gorge is carved through the rocks of the Engadine Alps, and the views are nothing short of magnificent. There have sadly been a few deaths at Uina, but only for mountain bikers. It is very safe to hike, but that said, it’s not a hike for families with young kids.

Most people choose to spend two days hiking the trail, but there is a shorter alternative if you want to see the gorge on a day trip. For the overnight adventure, you'll start from Scuol and make your way up until you come to the Chamonna Lischana hut for overnight refuge. The highlight is looking down from the top of the gorge, but you'll still be entertained throughout the entire hike. 

  • Distance: 9 miles
  • Duration: 1-2 days
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Accommodation: Campsites, Mountain Hut Refuges

Eiger trail

Eiger Trail is one of the best places to go hiking in Switzerland for hikers in the Grindelwald area. From point to point it’s just under 4 miles, so it can be completed in as little as 2 hours. But it’s suggested that you take your time along Eiger Trail, and not just to take in the breathtaking views.

Portions of the trail are quite steep, so try not to rush through it too much. There are a few steep pitches, so if you don't consider yourself physically fit, maybe avoid Eiger altogether. But if you can handle the steep ascents, hiking trips to Eiger result in the most picturesque views of Switzerland's mountains. 

  • Distance: 3.7 miles
  • Duration: 2-3 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging
  • Accommodation: None Needed

Aletsch Glacier Panorama Trail

Hiking Switzerland is all about taking in the great outdoors, and at times that might mean hiking through glacial landscapes. The Aletsch Glacier Trail has been described more than once as intoxicating, unforgettable, and breathtaking. This is Europe’s largest ice flow, and it’s surrounded by several peaks that reach over 13,000 feet. 

The best time to hike this trail is in the warmer summer months, but don't ever expect to wear your short shorts and a tank top on this one. Even on hot summer days, the breeze remains cool thanks to the glacial ice. This polar landscape is often depicted on postcards, but seeing it in person is 1000x more magical. 

  • Distance: 7.5 miles
  • Duration: 3-4 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Accommodation: None Needed

Pizol Five Lake Hike

Pizol Five Lake Hike is included on most travelers’ itineraries for trekking vacations. Its popularity stems from its close proximity to Zurich (about an hour by car), but the real draw is what you’ll see along the way. Just as the name suggests, PFLH makes its way past 5 different lakes on the 6.2-mile trail.

 

The best starting point for Pizol is at Gaffia-Pizolhütte lift, and it can be completed in less than 4 hours. Although it doesn’t involve any technical hiking, many visitors have dubbed it as challenging. There are lots of ups and downs, especially between miles 2 and 3. 

  • Distance: 6.2 miles
  • Duration: 3-4 hours
  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Accommodation: None Needed

The Planet Path

The Planet Path takes you from St. Luc to Zinal, and it’s one that most people can do, even without much hiking experience. Located in Valais, the Planet Path is just under 10 miles point to point, but the main trail portion is just 3.4 miles. It’s labeled as moderate, so there’s no need to look into guided hiking tours Switzerland. 

So why the name Planet Path?

Throughout the trail, you’ll come across man-made monuments of our solar system’s planets. But that’s not even the coolest part. Each monument is set away from the trail at a distance that would be equivalent to their distance from one another in space. But instead of black skies and twinkling stars, the backdrop for these planets is a stunning Swiss mountain range. 

  • Distance: 3.4 miles
  • Duration: 2-3 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Accommodation: None Needed

Schynige Platte to First

The mountain hike from Schynige Platte to First is a once in a lifetime activity, but don't be surprised if you do it once and immediately want to go again. This trail is located in Switzerland's Jungfrau region and it's a 6-hour trek, so be sure to set aside a full day. Many people say that this is the best hike in the region, which is saying a lot considering the competition it's up against. 

If you’re the least bit interested in Grindelwald Switzerland hiking, this is a good starting point. You’ll begin the journey by riding the Schynige Platte Railway from Wilderswil to Schynige Platte. Then take the gondola from First to Grindelwald. This is a prime spot for Switzerland hut to hut hiking if you prefer to stop along the way, but keep in mind these aren’t always open in the off-season. 

  • Distance: 10 miles
  • Duration: 1-2 days
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging
  • Accommodation: Mountain Huts

Oeschinensee Loop

Some of the most under-the-radar hiking trails Switzerland has to offer can be found on the Oeschinensee Loop. This trail loops around the most picturesque lake you might ever lay eyes on - Oeschinensee Lake. The turquoise body of water is nestled between peaking cliffs and alpine greenery. And like most hiking trips in Switzerland, this one starts with a gondola ride. 

  • Distance: 5.2 miles
  • Duration: 3-4 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Accommodation: None Needed

Aletsch Panoramaweg

Another one of the most-loved hiking tours in Switzerland is Aletsch Panoramaweg. Similar to The Planet Path, Aletsch is a point to point trail that is located in Valais. The entire area is centered on a glacier, which at first glance appears to be a river flowing through a valley. But this is no ordinary river; it's made up entirely of slow-moving ice. 

If you choose to just hike the main Panorama Ridge Trail, feel free to bring the entire family. It's an easy hike that can be completed in just 2 hours. There are even restaurants, BBQ fire pits, and play areas along the trail. Glance at a hiking map Switzerland and you'll see that there are more hiking spots to fill your time here, like Aletsch Glacier Trail or Moosfluh to Riederalp. 

  • Distance: 5.8 miles (from Bettmerhorn to Fiescheralp)
  • Duration: 3-4 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Accommodation: Mountain Huts

Via Spluga

Hiking the Alps in Switzerland will often bring you to old trade routes, like Via Spluga. Via Spluga was a former transit route for traders making their way across the Alps. Now it's one of the best hiking tours Switzerland has, consisting of 4 main legs that add up to a total of 42 miles. This is a prime spot for hut hiking in Switzerland; there are reasonably priced mountain hut accommodations in between each of the legs of the Spuga journey. 

  • Distance: 42 miles
  • Duration: 3-4 days
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Accommodation: Mountain Huts, Guest Houses

Lauterbrunnen Valley Trail

One of the most popular spots for hiking in Switzerland in June is Lauterbrunnen. When the weather is warm, Interlaken Switzerland hiking is at its finest, especially on the LVT. There are waterfalls, wildflowers, and you might even make acquaintances with some friendly cows and horses along the way.

Lauterbrunnen is a family-friendly option; the trail starts as a paved road but then changes into gravel and dirt. There’s no major ascents or descents, making it one of the safer options for hiking in Switzerland. 

  • Distance: 3.4 miles
  • Duration: 1.5-2 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Accommodation: None Needed

Botanical Nature Trail

Planning on hiking in Switzerland in May? This is the perfect time to stop and smell the roses along the Botanical Nature Trail. This Zermatt Switzerland hiking spot begins in Zermatt town, so it’s super easy to get to. The trail may be lacking in distance (it’s only 2.4 miles), but it’s certainly not lacking in life. 

The BNT is covered in lush vegetation, and if you plan your trip at the right time, the colors here are unbelievable. Plan on stopping along the way to check out the unique alpine flowers and crawly critters. This is a local hangout spot when the weather is warm enough, so feel free to pack a picnic and stop for a bite at the Hotel du Trift at the trail’s end. 

  • Distance: 2.4 miles
  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Accommodation: None Needed

Creux du Van

The Creux du Van hike is a full-day adventure, some hikers even break it up into 2 days. For the CdV experience, start at Môtiers and end at Noiraigue Station. One quick look at Switzerland hiking maps will show you that the highlight of Creux du Van is the massive Poëta Raisse Gorge. Just like Uina Gorge, the drop-down is steep, but there's a stone wall surrounding the dropoff to add some protection.

  • Distance: 14.3 miles
  • Duration: 1-2 days
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Accommodation: Mountain Huts, Hotels, B&Bs

Burgenstock Felsenweg

Hiking in the Alps of Switzerland should always include a trip to Bürgenstock Felsenweg. The cliff path up Mount Bürgenstock leads up to the highest point of Lucerne, Hammetschwand. At the top, you'll get amazing views of Lake Lucerne. If you want to take the easy route, just hop on the Hammetschwand Panorama Elevator, which is the fastest elevator in Europe.

  • Distance: 3.1 miles
  • Duration: 1.5-2 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Accommodation: None Needed

Val da Cam

One of the best hikes in the Swiss Engadine Valley is Val da Cam. The main trail starts in Casaccia and slowly makes its way up through alpine wildlife. The views gradually transform as you climb, giving you a full picture of the Engadine Valley landscapes. The descent brings you into the village of Soglio, which many visitors describe as a place "stuck in time". 

  • Distance: 11.2 miles
  • Duration: 1-2 days
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Accommodation: Mountain Huts, B&Bs

The Matterhorn Trek

It's a well-known fact that the ultimate hiking vacation in Switzerland is the Matterhorn Trek. Most hiking Matterhorn Switzerland excursions start and end in Zermatt and take 5 days to complete. If you choose to embark on the epicness that is Matterhorn, expect rustic hut to hut hiking in Switzerland territory that is completely untouched. 

  • Distance: 28.6 miles
  • Duration: 4-5 days
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Accommodation: Mountain Huts