This summer, we explored our home country in a totally new way. We did a few spectacular hikes, which we haven’t done before, even though they have always been at our doorstep. We are very grateful for the experiences we made while we finally discovered how exciting our home country is. In this blog post, we share our five best hikes in Switzerland.
Best time for hiking in Switzerland
The best time to hike in Switzerland is during the summer months from May to September. The temperatures in the mountains are a bit cooler, and during these months, there is usually no snow at these hiking trails. There are a lot of green grasslands and cows, and the landscapes are dreamy. During the warmer months, you can refresh yourself in the clear and cold mountain lakes, and you will see many pretty flowers during your hike in Switzerland.
Top 5 hikes in Switzerland
1. Riffel Alp, Zermatt
The best hike for us and truly an unforgettable experience was our sunrise hike up to the Riffle Alp in Zermatt. The first day after we arrived in Zermatt, we took the Gondola up to Blauherd and hiked the 5 lakes trail, one of Switzerland’s most panoramic hikes.
In the evening we stayed at Mountain Lodge Ze Seewjinu and had a lovely dinner there. For a bed in a dorm, we paid.. dinner and breakfast are included in the price. They offer double rooms as well. We started our hike in the middle of the night at 3 am because we wanted to be at Riffel Alp when the sun rises.
If you plan to start your hike in the dark, don’t forget to bring a head-lamp. It is also pretty cold at night at this height, even during summertime, so we recommend bringing warm clothes and layer them. The hike started right next to the mountain lodge and took us 2 hours to get to Riffle Alp. It’s quite steep most of the time and not an easy hike, but it’s so worth it.
We arrived at Riffle Lake at dusk, and when the sun started to rise, the tip of the famous Matterhorn started to color in orange. This, combined with the reflection on the quiet mountain lake, was stunning. Just when we thought it couldn’t get more magical, a herd of Capricorn came across. Overall it was one of the most magical sunrises we ever experienced the colors, the reflections, the quietness, and the feeling of getting rewarded for the early rise and hike.
Tip for all wine lovers, this region of Switzerland called Wallis is famous for its delicious, fruity white wine.
2. Saxer Lücke, Appenzell
One of the best hikes in Switzerland for us is the hike up to Saxer Lücke. From Brülisau, it’s quite a long hike, but you will come to different lovely places where you can take breaks. The first part is from Brülisau up to Plattenbödeli around 1.5 – 2 hours, where you can take a break at Sämtisersee. From there, you will walk a lovely trail along with dreamy grasslands and very typically swiss landscapes until you will reach Fählensee, where you can take another break.
From Fählensee, it’s a short but steep hike of about an hour up to Saxer Lücke, where you will enjoy the most incredible views. The complete hike is about 5 hours.
3. Schäfler, Appenzell
The Appenzell is our favorite region for hiking in Switzerland, so another of the best hikes for us is the Schäfler in the famous Alpstein. The hike up here will lead you along the famous Aescher and Seealpsee. The views are beautiful, and you can stay overnight at Berggasthaus Schäfler, which allows you to enjoy the sunset with this spectacular view.
We recommend you take the Cablecar from Wasserauen to Ebenalp and from here hike up to the Schäfler and back down across Seealpsee. It’s a beautiful circular hike and perfect for a weekend with a sleepover in the mountains.
4. Stockhorn, Simmental
The view from Stockhorn is one of our favorites. The hike up here from Erlenbach is around 4.5 hours and 1’500 meters in altitude. Alternatively, there is a cablecar to get up here, which costs CHF 36.00 for a one-way ticket. On the Stockhorn there is a restaurant with a big terrace to enjoy the views. To get the best view you have to walk up from the restaurant for another 10 min. To watch the sunset up there was nothing short but spectacular.
From the top of Stockhorn, you can walk down to the Oberstockenalp, where you will find a pretty lake. You can stay here overnight at the Berggasthaus Oberstockenalp. During the summer months, they offer three bubbles to sleep in, which is a wonderful experience. You can watch the stars and the sunrise from bed.
5. Lauterbrunnen to Wengen, Berner Oberland
A charming hike and popular amongst tourists is the trail from Lauterbrunnen’s dreamy town up to Wengen. They say Lauterbrunnen was writer Tolkiens inspiration for Rivendell, home of the Elves in the famous Lord of the Rings. It is definitely worth a visit when in Switzerland. You can hike up a lovely trail up to Wengen from Lauterbrunnen, where you can enjoy the beautiful views over the valley.
If you visit Lauterbrunnen, don’t miss the Airtime Cafe. This cute little restaurant offers a cozy atmosphere, excellent coffee, and delicious treats. We loved that they have amazing vegan food options (their vegan Banana bread is to die for), which is not easy to find in the mountains usually.
As you might know, Switzerland is quite an expensive country to travel also for us citizens. This should give you an idea of how much a hiking trip to Switzerland will cost you:
- Accommodation: CHF 120.00 – 150.00 per night
- Food: CHF 70.00 per day
- Cablecar: CHF 20.00 – 60.00 (depending on the region) per person one-way
- Train-ticket: The cheapest option is to buy a day-pass for CHF 52.00 if you travel around by train
How to get around
The best ways to get around in Switzerland are either by car or by train. The train and the public transport network are excellent, so there is some station in almost every place. If you travel in Switzerland for longer, you can buy a half-fare pass for CHF 180.00 annually or a general abonnement for 340.00 per month (all public transportations included minimum duration 4 months)
What to bring for a hiking trip in Switzerland
We have listed our top things to bring for a hiking trip:
- Wear good/comfortable shoes
- Bring a drinking bottle; you can refill it everywhere. During the hikes, you will cross fountains with drinking water all around Switzerland.
- Have a rain cover with you; the weather can change quickly in the mountains.
- Bring warm clothes even during the summertime because it’s always much cooler in the mountains.
- If you plan to start hiking before sunrise in the dark, bring a headlamp.
- Always have some snacks with you, we usually bring some fruits and nuts with us.