This Swiss town is close to the more famous Lucerne. Our mothers actually met when they were both pregnant with us. Fabi was born three weeks earlier than Tina and is therefore always two centimeters taller! We both grew up together in Switzerland and have always been best friends.
Why Switzerland should be on your Bucket List
Switzerland is a small place. If you’re driving a car then you can reach the Swiss border within three hours in any direction. Nothing is too far and everything is accessible. Although it’s an expensive country (as everybody says), it’s always worth the price when you consider what you receive.
Visiting the Mountains of Switzerland as Kids
Both of us spent time in the mountains with our families when we were young. While Tina would go climbing and skiing, Fabi would head up Mount Rigi. This mountain offers some of the coolest playgrounds in the world. Fabi and her siblings would often spend days playing there.
Once we got older, and hiking became less fun with our parents, we began to head out on our own trips. It was in Iceland that we fell in love with photography and decided to start wanderblondies. Since then, we have been exploring the mountains and capturing their beauty along the way.
Favourite Mountain in Switzerland: Mount Pilatus
We love all the mountains of Switzerland but our favourite would be Mount Pilatus. This mountain is close to our hometown and is famous for dragon legends and sagas. It’s also a great place to go hiking with a range of easy to difficult hikes offering amazing views over Central Switzerland.
10 Best Hikes in Switzerland
1. Search for the Dragon of Mount Pilatus
Pilatus, the mountain towering above the famous town of Lucerne, can be accessed from every side on foot. There are difficult hikes, forgotten hikes, famous hikes and easy hikes – actually a little bit of everything for everyone!
If you are not into hiking, the mountain can still be accessed by either the steepest cogwheel railway in Switzerland which starts in Alpnach or by an impressive cable car that takes you over steep cliffs starting in Kriens.
2. Hike from Klingenstock to Fronalpstock
This hike is a must for everyone who loves ridges and splendid views. Ten different lakes can be observed during this hike. The ridge itself is exposed but the trail is kept in good condition with stairs and chains. Every little summit climbed during this hike is worth a stop and a picture.
3. Get Lost in the Alpstein Mountain Range
In the east of Switzerland you can find a mountain range called Alpstein. It’s one of the most mystical areas of Switzerland with many hidden gems and beautiful foggy conditions. It has become famous for the little Ascher restaurant which is nestled in the cliffs of the Alpstein mountains.
Our favourite hike in Alpstein takes you up a reasonably difficult path through rocks and stones from Schwagalp to the top of Santis. From here you can take a cable car down to the carpark below.
4. Traverse the Rugged Rocks of Schrattenfluh
Deep in the backcountry of Lucerne lies the biggest moorlands in Switzerland called Entlebuch. The area was designated a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2001. Just next to Entlebuch is one of the largest and most craggy karst wall formations in the world called Schrattenfluh.
It offers a fantastic day hike up to the summit called Hengst. You can also go camping in the wild and explore the old fortresses of the area. For those brave enough, one can even sleep in the fortresses. We didn’t dare though!
5. Spot the Turquoise Lake at Brienzer Rothorn
Brienzer Rothorn is a fantastic summit and the starting point of a 25km long ridge. Adventurers can take on the ridge while others can either hike up to the Rothorn and take the gondola or ride the old rack railway.
Whatever hike you take, from the top you will get to see the splendid turquoise lake of Brienz. The lake gets its colour from the cold water that runs down the glaciers and turns the lake into a picturesque scene.
6. Follow the Historic Water Route of Nendaz
Nendaz, located high in the mountains, is the little brother of the more famous Verbier. It certainly doesn’t shrink in comparison to Verbier though as it offers a charming chalet style and wonderful views over Valais.
As you hike all around Nendaz you will come across hundreds of old water channels (“bisses”). These were used historically as watering systems for wine grapes. They make the hiking trails and paths even more beautiful.
Another couple of recommendations for the area are the hike from Combatselin to the lake Cleuson and the trip up 3300 metres to Mont Fort.
7. Experience a Hidden Summit in Central Switzerland
Central Switzerland is well-known for awesome hiking but mainly to Swiss people. Foreigners usually tick off the most popular spots in Switzerland that are on their bucket lists. Therefore, the summit of Brisen with its starting point in Niederrickenbach is an absolute hidden gem.
This hike is easily accessible from Lucerne by public transport. The route includes a typical Swiss-style gondola and chairlift. One of the best things is that the hike can be shortened or extended. We recommend hiking to the summit – especially in good weather where splendid ridge views await.
8. Go on a Rollercoaster Ride with the Gelmer Funicular
Hikers have the opportunity to trek for 50 minutes from the bottom to the top station of Gelmerbahn – but why would you when you can take the steepest funicular in Europe that reminds you of a rollercoaster ride?
This is one of the most unique adventures in Switzerland. Go on this epic cable railway ride, you won’t regret it! At the top, hike around the lake and treat yourself to a coffee or picnic along the lake’s beautiful shores.
9. Stand in Awe of the Massive Peaks of Grindelwald
There are so many incredible adventures to be had at Grindelwald. Hike to the sparking Bachalpsee Lake and be astonished by the massive mountains that fulfil any mountaineering dream. The peaks reach up to 4000 meters. You can also see many cows roaming through the grass.
Grindelwald will make your hiking adventure in Switzerland complete. We recommend starting your hikes from Bachalpsee to Faulhorn. Here you can try Rosti (Swiss potato fritter) and then hike down to Bussalp. From there you can take the Trottinett back down to Grindelwald.
10. Hike the Paths of Early Romans at Greina Ebene
This hiking trail in the east of Switzerland is rather unknown. Romans used these paths for transporting goods and were just as impressed by the scenery as people are today. The hike itself can be done in one day for fast hikers. However, it can easily be split into two days.
We recommend staying in one of the huts of Greina Ebene. The sunrises and sunsets over this plateau in the mountains are just beautiful.
Cherished Memories from Hiking in Switzerland
One of the best memories we had in Switzerland was when we spent a night outside in the area of Grindelwald. There were three of us hiking up to a little bivouac. The sky showed off that night with an incredible sunset, a thunderstorm in the distance and the clearest milky way ever!
The next morning, Fabi and our friend flew together in a tandem paraglide into the sunrise while Tina followed them on the ridge on her bike. This experience was totally unique and we will never forget it!
Where to Stay on your Hiking Trips in Switzerland
If you’re planning on staying in the same area for multiple day-hikes then it’s best to find one place. The locals will give you the best advice for hikes in the area and might provide you with a hidden gem or two.
We recommend sleeping in SAC-huts if you want to go on multi-day hiking tours. SAC is our Swiss Alpine Club and they offer many small, medium and large huts throughout the country. All of them provide shelter, beds and sometimes dinner if there is a local host at the hut.
Sometimes the huts are situated in extremely remote areas where you would never expect anyone to be! You can find huts on the SAC website.
Best Time of Year to go Hiking in Switzerland
Hiking in Switzerland can be done anytime of the year. In winter there are only the official winter hikes that are open and maintained from ski areas. Everything else needs the right equipment and experience!
Therefore, we recommend coming to Switzerland in the summer. The weather is best (and safest) then and the snow has melted. All of the huts will be open and maintained throughout summer. The only thing to keep in mind is to make your reservation! Because the Swiss love hiking.
Biggest Challenges when Hiking in Switzerland
The biggest challenge, first of all, can be the weather. It can change in minutes – even if the sky is blue and the sun is shining. Therefore, a rain jacket is a must-bring item in your backpack. If you’re unsure about the weather conditions, feel free to ask a local. We are always happy to help.
Another challenge for travellers to Switzerland are the prices. Expenses for food, accommodation, gondola rides and activities can add up quickly. There are a few different ways to travel cheaper. You can book accommodation early on the websites of the tourism destinations.
There is also the option to check for “Sparbillette” with SBB when travelling by train. This helps you find the cheapest train fares. Of course, the cheapest option is to go hiking in Switzerland and wild camping. Do this insofar as you are allowed and make sure you don’t leave any trash behind.
Important Tips for Switzerland Hiking
The best two apps to check the weather for your hiking trips in Switzerland are meteo.search.ch or meteoschweiz. These apps have good rain radars that are updated regularly. You can also locate any little town or mountain.
When staying at the SAC-huts you can call the owners to get information on the weather, the area and about the hike itself. The owners are always happy to help and even more content that you choose to stay with them.
Never go hiking in Switzerland without a map too. We have some of the best maps in the world and Swiss people are super proud of them. They are available online for free and anyone can access the maps. Either check map.geo.admin.ch or get the App Schweiz Mobil.
Both of them show you all possible hikes for free. If you don’t mind paying a little, you can draw your hike and get information about length, altitude and so on. We love it. Thanks for reading our Switzerland hiking guide!