Known for its skiing and winter weather, Switzerland’s top-notch warm-season hiking opportunities are highly overlooked. Getting to experience mountain hiking when it’s not frigid and blizzarding is a real treat, and some of the best of what Switzerland has to offer visitors who love the outdoors. Diverse landscapes are packed throughout the landlocked country’s roughly 16,000 square miles. But it is the mountains and their valleys that really shine. Here are four of the best hikes in Switzerland.
Tre Cime di Lavaredo
With three rocky prominences (Tre Cime) being the focal point of the hike in the Dolomites mountain range, this loop trail is only 6 miles long and mostly flat, making for good family-friendly hiking. Small lakes surrounding the peaks make for great places to rest or take photos at sunrise or sunset. Along the way, you’ll pass through mini villages, a church (Cappella degli Alpini), and Rifugio Auronzo and Rifugio Lavaredo if you want to stay the night.
Tour du Mont Blanc
A difficult multi-day hike, the Tour du Mont Blanc, is one of the most popular long-distance hikes in all of Europe, and for good reason. At roughly 110 miles (six or so of which actually cross through the Italian and French borders), the TMB will take an average hiker between 10 and 14 days to really enjoy themselves. Glaciers, villages, and seriously dramatic landscapes can be found throughout.
A UNESCO World Heritage site considered to be one of Switzerland’s most beautiful lakes, Oeschinen Lake has various hiking trails of differing difficulties. As their website says, “Several hiking trails lead from Kandersteg to the lake – each trail offers a different route, but all must conquer the 400-meter difference in elevation between Kandersteg and the lake.” There is also a cable car that goes to the lake from the nearby mountain station for quicker access to trails. The lake is about a mile long and more than half a mile wide. The max depth is 184 feet below the surface. It’s frozen from December to May, typically, so go during the summer or fall for the most stunning blue-green color.
The Eiger Trail
Tucked into the Swiss Alps, this trail is quintessential Switzerland. Starting in Eigergletscher and ending in Grindelwald, the 6-kilometer (3.7-mile) Eiger Trail is the closest you can get to the famous Eiger North Face (keep in mind that’s a one-way distance). The Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau peaks are all within view, in fact. While the trail has been used by climbers since the 1930s to access routes on the North Face itself, it’s a most enjoyable hike and screams “Switzerland” in every image you see of it – and presumably even more so in person. The views are stunning north, south, east, and west (though, that could describe nearly all of Switzerland). It’s best to pack your bag and just go for a hike there to see for yourself.