Switzerland is chock-full of stunning hikes and walks. In fact, the whole country is covered with hiking trails, 65,000 km (40,000 miles) of them!
As a result, it is sometimes hard to pick a great hike. Sure, you can do the more famous hikes, but everyone is doing those. That is why I wanted to highlight some of the lesser-known hikes I have done here over the years, so you can enjoy the little-known Switzerland that I love.
Saas-Fee is the lesser-known alternative to Zermatt, which is famous for the Matterhorn mountain. Both are very quiet and car-free villages, nestled deep in the southern Swiss Alps, surrounded by 4000m (13,000ft) peaks.
Although the mountains around Saas-Fee are overwhelmingly high, you don’t have to hike up them to enjoy the scenery. In fact, most years, Saas-Fee offers visitors free lift passes so you can gain a lot of height quite easily.
One of my favourite hikes around the complete cirque above Saas Free is the Gemsweg. We did it quite late in the year, and the full Fall colors were on show.
The only downside was that it was quite icy in sections, but the scenery more than made up for it. It is a relatively easy day hike, at around 4 hours walking time, with gondolas up and down on both ends.
Cabane du Grand Mountet.
This is a stunning hike that also requires quite a bit of endurance. The rewards are worth it, but it’s not for a beginner by any means. You start the hike in Zinal, in the south of Switzerland, and walk for around 5 hours. That alone is tiring, but you also have to ascend 1300m (4300ft), and it’s often over very tiring, rocky terrain.
This one can also be done in one day if you are insane (which apparently some people are). But I suggest overnighting at the hut. The hut is spectacularly located at the end of the valley surrounded by glaciers and some of the highest peaks in the country.
Just sitting here as the sun goes down while sipping a beer (yes the huts have beer flown in Switzerland) is definitely worth the effort to get up here.
One of the most stand-out peaks in Switzerland is Santis, located in the northeast of the country. It stands alone from most of the rest of the Alps and has a blinding white sheen that makes it look like it has snow on it. The hikes here range from the simple, like the popular one to Seeallpsee (also worth doing), to the tiring, such as ascending the whole mountain.
A few years ago we decided to do a lesser-known route over the Zwinglipass, which is nonetheless a spectacular hike below Santis itself.
It takes you over some fun terrain, where the rocks form wavy cracks in the limestone, something that is normally only seen in the Schrattenfluh just outside of Lucerne.
This is a hike I have done a few times, and it is a hidden gem you can do if you are staying in the Interlaken/Grindelwald area. I was lucky enough to overnight here while they were hosting yearly gourmet dinners, where the chef came by helicopter. But alas, they are no more!
The hike is a stunner though, leading you up a narrow valley from above Grindelwald and up to the hut itself. It is a little long for most people to do in one day, so I recommend staying overnight. Just be aware that there are a few “tricky” bits on this hike that involve walking under a waterfall (which can get slippery) and also holding on to chains and railing. It is not insanely difficult or risky, but it’s no walk in the park either.
Cabane de Moiry.
This hike blew my mind when I first did it. First, because we overdid it and hiked from one valley over. Which was a bit much, I think. But mainly because the view and location of the hut, right next to the Moiry Glacier are second to none.
Whether you decide to stay overnight here (hint: it’s one of the best and most comfortable mountain huts in Switzerland) or just hike up for the day, head inside for a look at the main dining area. It’s spectacular!
The views from the terrace outside are nothing short of stunning either. However, the hike up can require a little fitness as it is a quite high altitude.
Perhaps less spectacular than the Moiry hike above, but nonetheless worth doing, is the hike around to the Medelserhutte. I have done this both as an overnight hike, staying in the hut, and also all in one day. So, you can choose your own adventure!
It starts in the Upper Rhine valley, where the Rhine River actually starts and works its way around in a half-circle back to the same valley. On one end is a bus to Caraglia, and on the other, you end up in the main valley which is readily serviced by trains to Chur, which then connects to just about anywhere in Switzerland.
You can make a few days of it around here, as there are more hikes than you can do in a lifetime. This is just one of them!
The last hike I want to mention in this post is one I did last year, and I had actually never heard of before. I am not sure why not, because it is an absolute stunner!
You can get to it from Davos, which is known for the World Economic Forum but is otherwise not my favourite place in Switzerland. This hike, however, sure is.It is a 4-hour loop that you do up to and around a number of aqua-blue lakes, nestled in the mountains above. It’s a little surreal to see lakes of this color, which are quite naturally formed by glacial run-off.
Anna was born to travel the world having studied languages all her life. Although she has traveled the world, she now calls Switzerland home and spends her time writing about her experiences on
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