BEST HIKES IN SWITZERLAND TO ADD TO YOUR BUCKET LIST IN 2023

SWITZERLAND´S BEST HIKES – MODERATE HIKES, MAXIMUM EXPERIENCES

Are you ready to find out about the best hikes in Switzerland? Then buckle up – today I am sharing my favorite – intermediate – Swiss hikes with you.

Switzerland is known for its spectacular hiking trails and breathtaking scenery. There are hikes suitable for all levels of hikers, from the easy beginner trails to the intermediate and more challenging routes. For those looking for something a bit more adventurous, but not quite ready for the extreme challenge of high-altitude alpine treks, intermediate hiking in Switzerland is the perfect option.

I am not ashamed to admit that I love the easy hikes the most – yes, I am one of the lazy people. And yet, I also do the more challenging hikes in Switzerland. The so-called “intermediate” hikes. Why? I hate uphill hiking, but I am well aware that the best views come after difficult hikes, so I still do these hikes.

Yes, there are many mountain views waiting for us without any hike BUT most often, the very best views come after we do a few extra miles. And thus, I am sharing the hikes that are “doable” even for less fit people. Hikes, which many people can do, but which might challenge us. And the fit people will love these hikes even more – because the views are great for all of us.

Before I talk about those 15 top hikes in Switzerland, here are some very important hiking tips for you.

WHAT IS AN INTERMEDIATE HIKE IN SWITZERLAND?

Hiking levels in Switzerland are typically divided into three categories: 1) Easy – often marked T 1 2) Intermediate – often marked T 2 and T 3 3) Difficult – often marked T 4 and 4) Alpine hikes.

Easy hikes involve short distances and very little elevation gain, often along flat terrain and easy paths. Intermediate hikes generally require more stamina due to longer distances and more challenging terrain, such as climbing up mountainsides or traversing rough trails. Difficult hikes involve more strenuous activities such as scrambling, climbing, and mountaineering.

Intermediate /medium hikes in Switzerland tend to be between three and five hours long, with elevation gains of up to 1000 meters. They may also involve traversing various terrain types, such as forests, alpine meadows, and rocky passages. Depending on the region and time of year, these hikes will have different levels of difficulty – some may require more technical skills or longer distances than others.

When planning an intermediate hike in Switzerland it is important to research the route beforehand and be prepared for the conditions. But no worries, this is what this blog post is for. Here are some of my most important hiking tips for Switzerland.

BEST TIME TO HIKE IN SWITZERLAND

The best time for hiking in Switzerland is from late May to mid-October when the weather is usually at its best and most trails are open. In the winter months many of the mountain trails will be closed due to snow and ice, so it’s best to stick to lower elevations. Many paths are closed until April and the high elevation hikes are sometimes even closed until June.

Most of all, always make sure you check the trail conditions before you set out – they can change quickly in the mountains due to weather and other factors.

BEST SUMMER HIKES IN SWITZERLAND

So, without further ado, here are the best hikes in Switzerland (I will dedicate another blog post for some amazing winter hikes as well as easy hikes in Switzerland, but for now, it is all about the medium hikes).

PIZOL 5-LAKE HIKE

EXPERIENCE: 10/10

Embark on an unforgettable journey and explore some of Switzerland’s most awe-inspiring mountain peaks!

Pizolhike wildseeluggen
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Lake no 4 at Pizolhike
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The Pizol 5-lake hike starts from Bad Ragaz – take the cable car to Pardiel station and change to a lift and go to Laufböden (2226 meters). 

From there, start your hike. From Laufböden to Pizolhütte is about three kilometers, and this part is quite easy because it is mostly flat. The first lake you will see is the Wangsersee, a tranquil lake set high above the timberline. Your trail then continues to Wildseee—a dazzling turquoise wonder with panoramic views of the Pizol glacier and peak in the background.

Stop by Schwarzsee before winding up to Schottensee: a serene blue landscape where you’ll feel like time has stopped still just for you! End your magical trip at Baschalva Lake – as it changes from deep green hues into romantic shades… this is one Alpine escape not to be missed out on.

Then you will be at Laufböden station again where you can take the lift/cable car to get back to Bad Ragaaz.

  • CANTON: Grison
  • STARTING / END POINT: Bad Ragaz/Bad Ragaz (Wangs would also be possible, you can also start at one point, end at the other)
  • LENGTH: 10 km
  • DURATION: 4,5 hours
  • ELEVATION: 440 meters up / 790 meters down
  • CABLE CAR: Yes, from Bad Ragaz or Wangs

5 LAKES WALK – ANDERMATT

EXPERIENCE: 8/10

Come explore the majestic Gotthard Massif with a 5-lakes hike! Witness nature’s beauty up close as you trek along, passing emerald lakes and towering peaks of this picturesque region. Get ready for an adventurous journey that you’ll be sure to remember always!

Passo San Gotthardo Gotthard
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Passo San Gotthardo hike
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Passo San Gotthardo hike one of the best hikes in Switzerland
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Set off on this challenging hike starting at the St Gotthard Hospice – the first three kilometers are a walk in the park! However, soon enough you’ll be facing steep inclines leading up to Lake Lucendro. After conquering that peak and arriving at lake level, follow your True-North compass up towards Lake Orsino – 4.5 km of hills lie ahead!

Enjoy 2.5 hours of mountain trekking before you get to the breathtaking Lake Orsirora and Gatschola-Lücke viewpoints, where unparalleled views await in all directions! A scenic picnic spot awaits – don’t forget your camera!

After a great rest, make your way down the hill to Lake Lucendro for one last stop before heading back. Along the journey they’ll get to take in spectacular views of several smaller lakes and two larger ones – it’s sure to be an incredible Alpine experience!

So hit refresh on your energy levels as you dive into this final stretch of adventure-filled enjoyment – your car is waiting for you at the San Gotthard Pass.

  • CANTON: Grison
  • STARTING / END POINT: San Gotthard Pass
  • LENGTH: 11.5 km
  • DURATION: 4,5 hours
  • ELEVATION: 443 meters up / 443 meters down
  • CABLE CAR: not needed

LAKE OESCHINEN HIKE

EXPERIENCE: 9/10

Take a thrilling ride up the majestic Swiss Alps to discover Oeschinensee, an awe-inspiring mountain lake nestled in Berner Oberland. Start your expedition from Kandersteg village and hop on board one of its cable cars for a memorable journey!

View of Oeschinensee, Arzo Travels
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How to get to Oeschinensee via hiking arzo travels
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This hike starts at the top station of Lake Oeschinen – if you want more challenging hikes, you could skip the cable car and hike up from Kandersteg.

Are you ready for an adventure worth bragging about? Embark on a spectacular hike above the stunning Oeschinensee lake, where gorgeous mountain peaks and powerful waterfalls will take your breath away. And let’s not forget that breathtakingly bright lake!

The hiking trail along Oeschinen Lakes offers incredible panoramas of the Swiss Alps, perfect for experienced hikers seeking a challenge.

However, be sure to use caution as there are steep climbs with no safety railings – not ideal if you like keeping all four feet on solid ground or have small daredevils in tow! Take it slow but enjoy every step: this is one vista-packed route that’s worth conquering. Find out more about this incredible hike here.

  • CANTON: Bern
  • STARTING / END POINT: Mountain station Lake Oeschinen
  • LENGTH: 8,4 km
  • DURATION: 3,5 hours
  • ELEVATION: 443 meters up / 443 meters down
  • CABLE CAR: Yes, from Kandersteg to Lake Oeschinen Mountain station.

TRIFT BRIDGE HIKE

EXPERIENCE: 9/10

Ready to explore the wilds of Switzerland? Then head over to Gadman in Bernese Oberland! This cozy corner of the country is full of amazing discoveries, like beautiful Gelmersee and Grimsel Hospiz. Or for a truly unique experience take on the Trift bridge – it’s an unforgettable adventure that takes you deep into nature!

Lake at Trift Glacier
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Arzo Travels at Trift Bridge
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River, Trift Bridge, Arzo Travels
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Ready to take on a thrilling adventure? Start your journey at the summit station of the Trift cable car and hike until you reach an amazing bridge. Cross it for unbeatable views, rewarding yourself with one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights of the Trift lake and Trift glacier.

The bridge itself is an attraction – and let me tell you, it has been the scariest bridge I have crossed so far. But that just added to all the fun I had.

This hike – so far – takes about 1-15, hours and is quite uphill – once at the bridge you have several options.

Looking for a more exciting way back? How about taking the scenic winding paths of Ketteliweg (hiking scale T3)? The 30-minute uphill trek will take you to Windegghütte – just make sure your mountain goat skills are up to par when it comes time for descending!

Or take the same route back to the cable car station! For some extra hiking, you could skip the cable car and get to the valley station. Here is more about this beautiful Trift hike.

  • CANTON: Bern
  • STARTING / END POINT: Mountain station Lake Oeschinen
  • LENGTH: 2,8 km
  • DURATION: 3 hours
  • ELEVATION: 424 meters up / 424 meters down
  • CABLE CAR: Yes

LAKE GEMLER HIKE

EXPERIENCE: 10/10

May I introduce you to one of my favorite hikes in Switzerland? Hike around beautiful Lake Gelmer and get an unforgettable view of the stunning alpine landscape!

How to get to Gelmersee Switzerland Arzo Travels
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Gelmer Lake Switzerland Arzo Travels
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Take a trip on one of Europe‘s steepest passenger funicular railway, complete with drum-rolling for 12 minutes that will take you way up and reward you at the end with an awe-inspiring turquoise mountain lake. The starting point for this hike is the Gelmerbahn summit station.

Soak in every detail as you make your way through natural brooks, rocky outcrops, and huge rock slabs.

If you’re brave enough to take it up a notch (and have no fear of heights), then stand at the dizzying cliff edge for stellar views over turquoise waters – just remember that sturdy shoes are essential here!

This hike does not include a lot of uphill hiking – the challenge comes because of the climbing section. My kind of hike! Also, this was my first “medium” hike in Switzerland, so I might be biased.

For the adventurous thrill-seeker, nothing quite compares to a hike from Lake Gelmer to Gelmerhütte! Along steep and winding alpine paths, this stunning route will lead you directly into Diechterbach valley.

Get ready for an epic descent onto rocky granite cliffs that overlooks magnificent views of the lake – but don’t forget your hiking boots. Here is more about this gorgeous, gorgeous hike.

  • CANTON: Bern
  • STARTING / END POINT: Mountain station Trift bridge
  • LENGTH: 4.7  km
  • DURATION: 2 hours
  • ELEVATION: 170 meters up / 170 meters down

5-LAKE HIKE ZERMATT

EXPERIENCE: 9/10

With the majestic Matterhorn providing the perfect backdrop, experience an unforgettable 5 Lakes Hike in Zermatt’s stunning mountains, which starts at Blauherd station above Zermatt.

From incredible views of mountain lakes to varied terrain and more – this hike is guaranteed to make memories that will last a lifetime!

5 Lake Hike in Zermatt with Arzo Travels
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Hiking in Zermatt best medium hikes in Switzerland
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Pack your bags and get ready to explore the amazing lakes of Stellisee, Grindjisee, Grünsee, Moosjisee, and Leissee! Each lake has an entirely different vibe: The crystal clear waters of Leissee are perfect for a cool swim with kids; while nearby in Grunsees you can admire Swiss stone pines dotting rocky landscapes. 

Then take a wander around Grindjee’s rare wildflowers or marvel at the misty views over Moosjeese – there will always be something special awaiting you here! In between, you will pass the numerous waterfalls, streams, and more – just be prepared for a quite steep downhill hike at parts.

  • CANTON: Valais
  • STARTING / END POINT: Blauherd / Sunnegga (I actually hiked down all the way to Zermatt village)
  • LENGTH: 9,8 km
  • DURATION: 3,5 hours
  • ELEVATION: 165 meters up / 454 meters down
  • CABLE CAR: Yes, to Blauherd and then from Sunnegga to Zermatt.

HIKE FROM MURTEL – FUORCLA SURLEJ – VAL ROSEG – PONTRESINA

EXPERIENCE: 10/10

It is time to talk about one of my all-time favorite hikes – from Corvatsch Mittelstation (Murtel) to Fuorcla Surlej, and then to Val Roseg, and from there to Pontresina.

View of Upper Engadine Lakes incl Silser Lake, Silvaplana Lake
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Lake Silvaplana

FUORCLA SURLEJ hike - stunning views
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Val Roseg with Roseg Glacier in the background, Arzo Travels
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You have one of the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland, the mighty Roseg Glacier, and more. No, this hike will not disappoint. 

The hike starts at Murtel Mittelstation (which you can combine with a trip to Piz Corvatch) and includes first some uphill walking (from 2.698 meters to 2.753 meters).

There you have this gorgeous, gorgeous lake – Fuorcla Surlej! What a view!

After spending some time at Fuorcla Surlej, it is a steep downhill walk to Val Roseg. Yes, it is a steep hike and it takes a couple of hours but there is no cable car/gondola, so the hike it is. The views are impressive and I really loved the hike because of the panorama.

Then, depending on the time of the day and your fitness level, you can walk closer to Roseg Lake and Roseg Glacier, which takes about 1 hour (one way) or you can start with the 5-kilometer-long, beautiful walk to Pontresina (1774 meters above sea level) – but there is not much up- or downhill hiking included, so it is really nice and relaxing!

  • CANTON: Grison
  • STARTING / END POINT: Corvatshc Murtel Mittelstation / Pontresina
  • LENGTH: 13.5 km
  • DURATION: 5 hours
  • ELEVATION: 100 meters up / 1030 meters down
  • CABLE CAR: Yes, to Corvatsch Murtel Mittelstation 

STOOS RIDGE HIKE – KLINGENSTOCK TO FRONALPSTOCK

EXPERIENCE: 9/10 – just because it is quite an overrun trail

If you feel like a real adventurer, then look no further than the famous ridge trail at Stoos! Take Europe’s steepest funicular train (with a 110% gradient) for an amazing ride up to Switzerland’s alpine village of Stoos. 

Klingenstock to Frontalpstock ones of the best hikes in the world
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Frontalpstock hike hiking in Switzerland
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Best places to hike in Switzerland, Central Switzerland
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With its steep slopes and lack of railings, it’s sure to get your heart pumping. It does look scarier than it actually is but only the steadiest hikers can tackle these tricky parts with confidence.

Hop on the chairlift and take it all in as you soar above beautiful vistas of 4,5 km along cliffs of pure magic – the hike is not long but it is still a rather challenging one as there is a steepish uphill hike and climbs and you should also be surefootedness and not be scared of heights!

At Frontalpstock you can catch another chair lift down – there is for a reason one of the most popular hikes in Switzerland. Thus, it also does get quite busy on sunny days! 

It should come as no surprise I will make it my annual trek here; the views are that gorgeous!

ÄESCHER – EBENALP

EXPERIENCE: 9/10

Enjoy a unique mountain experience by climbing from Wasserauen station up to Ebenalp! Take in breathtaking views of Lake Seealpsee, complete with the mighty Säntis as your backdrop. For an even more amazing adventure, head over to Äscher restaurant tucked on the base of a sheer 100-meter cliff – definitely worth seeing for yourself!

Aescher in Appenzeller Land Arzo Travels
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Best Things to Visit_Hike Down Seealpsee from the Aescher
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Get ready for an adventure – I am taking you on a spectacular hike from Wasserauen railway station to the Ebenalp summit! The journey starts off with a steep climb up to Lake Seealpsee, where your reward will be stunning views of nature’s beauty.

After that comes the challenge: get prepared to test yourself as you ascend even more steeply along rocky paths until finally reaching breathtaking heights at Äscher mountain restaurant and then onwards towards Ebenalp summit.

Don’t worry about getting back down; just hop aboard the cable car when it takes you swiftly straight into serenity valley-side below in no time! Make Appenzell your base and end your town in one of the cutest Swiss towns.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON BEST SWISS HIKES

The best hikes in Switzerland will give you a chance to explore some of the most breathtaking scenery and attractions that this beautiful country has to offer. From exploring glaciers and vast alpine landscapes to enjoying local cuisine at mountain restaurants, there is something for everyone.

No matter your skill level or experience, these hikes have something special waiting around every corner that is sure to take your breath away. So what are you waiting for? Time to lace up those hiking boots and get out there and explore! Plan your next Swiss adventure today!

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