There are many incredible hikes in Switzerland. From the famous peaks of the Matterhorn and Eiger to the more gentle paths in the valleys past pretty waterfalls. While winter means that the snow covers many of the hiking trails in Switzerland, the warmer months make hiking in Switzerland in the summer ideal! While it may be a little more crowded, the warmer weather, wild flower meadows and range of paths mean that you can go on some incredible hikes in Switzerland in the summer! Here are 7 of the best hikes in Switzerland for the summer months to choose from.
Huge thanks to Anna for this guest blog post! Anna was born to travel the world having studied languages all her life. Although she has travelled the world, she now calls Switzerland home and spends her time writing about her experiences on Expert World Travel. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Hiking in Switzerland in the summer
Summer is an amazing time to be in Switzerland. Flowers are blooming, the sun is out, and the lakes warm up for swimming. The great thing about the Alps is, even in the Summer, you will still find snow-covered peaks all year long. While it may not be an ideal time for skiing, Summer is the best time to visit for one more thing – all the hiking trails open up. Visitors can get up close and personal with the breath-taking Alpine landscape whether they’re alone or traveling with the entire family.
Crowds in Switzerland in the summer
Since hiking is a popular activity and Summer is a peak season, prepare for crowds in popular attractions. However, with over 65,000 kilometers of marked hiking paths all over the country, there is a lot of room for everyone to go on an adventure.
6 of the best hikes in Switzerland for the summer
Obviously, there are lots of routes to choose from, but here are 7 of the best hikes in Switzerland to do in the Summer:
1. The Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge
Normally, crossing a bridge can hardly be considered a hike. But if the bridge is 494 meters long and suspended 85 meters above the ground, then it can definitely be a doozy.
The Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge was opened in 2017 to replace part of the hiking path of the Europaweg that collapsed. It’s now the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge and is open from May to October. While the hike is pretty straightforward, it’s still a task to complete. It crosses over the Zermatt Valley, rewarding hikers a bird’s eye view of the surrounding landscape. The bridge itself only takes 10 minutes to cross, but the total hike can vary from two to six hours, depending on where your starting point is. It can be accessible by foot from Randa, Grächen, or Zermatt.
2. Eiger Trail
Looming above the beautiful town of Grindelwald is one of the many iconic Alpine peaks, the Eiger. One of the three main peaks in the Bernese Oberland, the Eiger is a popular rock climbing destination. While not everyone is keen on scaling up the 3,967-meter peak, the Eiger trail brings hikers up close to the mountain. It’s a fairly easy trail spanning 7.25 kilometers point to point. On average, hikers can complete the trail in two to three hours.
The hike starts at the Eigergletscher (Eiger Glacier Station) and ends in Alpiglen. Going this direction is mostly a downhill walk. You first have to get to Kleine Scheidegg from Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen, or Grindelwald. Another quick train ride to Eigergletscher (which also goes to Jungfraujoch), and you can start your hike on Eiger Trail. The trail is well-marked and you get to see views across the Lauterbrunnen Valley to Mürren with the peaks of Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau looming over you.
Bachalpsee and First
Another beautiful hike in the Bernese Oberland starts at Grindelwald First towards the bright blue waters of Bachalpsee. Grindelwald-First is a fun, family-friendly area with fantastic views of the Jungfrau region. If you’re traveling with kids, the short hike towards Bachalpsee is a good one to take. The trail is around 3 kilometers long and fairly easy to do even with a stroller in tow.
The trail to Bachalpsee goes uphill, so the hike may take a bit of an effort. The path is mostly flat, though, so it won’t be too much of a challenge. It’s also very popular, so expect to walk alongside lots of people in the Summer. However, once you get to the grassy shores of Bachalpsee, there’s plenty of room to go around. It’s a great place to have a picnic or simply enjoy the view.
The best place for this hike and further options is the Jungfrau website, which is the local resource for the area.
One of the most dominating mountains on the skyline of Lucerne is Pilatus. It is considered the home mountain of Lucerne and is a stunning viewpoint from which to see the whole area.
As a visitor to the area, you are more than likely to get to the top of this mountain sooner or later. However, if you wish to do it on foot, or enjoy a little hiking while you are on the mountain, here are some great options.
One of the hardest, but my favorite, is to hike all the way to the top from the Alpnachstad train station. It can take around 4-5 hours hiking time and is a total of 1627m (5337 ft) altitude gain too. So, it’s certainly no walk in the park. However, you get to walk alongside the cogwheel train during the first part, and then slowly the view opens as you rise. Then as you near the top, you can see the top which spurs you on, as you will be very tired by this point. The views, and the meals, at the top are worth it though!
Another simpler way to enjoy Pilatus is to take the train or cable car up and then do some short walks while you are there. There are a variety of 15-30 min walks above the main viewing area, one of which includes a fun tunnel and viewpoint on the back of the mountain. You can find these options and many more on the Pilatus website.
5. Top of Rigi
Lucerne is a beautifully historic city in Switzerland, popular for many iconic landmarks like the Chapel Bridge and the Lion Monument. Nearby is also it’s “local” mountain, the Rigi, which is a popular destination for both easy hikes and challenging expeditions.
There’s nothing too special about Rigi itself, but the views from its peak reward hikers with breathtaking sights of Zurich towards the north and Lake Lucerne towards the South. There are 120 kilometers of hiking trails for hikers of varying expertise, but many are easy with not too many challenges. You can make your hike as easy or as difficult as you can, following well-marked alpine trails to create your own adventure. There are nine viewpoints in the system of trails, with Rigi Kulm or the top of Mt. Rigi being the most popular one. For the more casual hiker or if you’re short on time, the Känzeli viewpoint only takes 15 minutes from Rigit Kaltbad.
6. Uina Gorge
The Uina Gorge trail is a beautiful hike in the Engadine region. It’s 14.5 kilometers long point-to-point near Sent, in Grisons. There’s an elevation gain of 1,226 meters but is of moderate difficulty. It’s an ideal hike to take if you want to get close to nature and have the chance to see some local wildlife. The gorge is accessible via Scuol in Unterengadin or Schlinig / Sligia in upper Vinschgau / Val Venosta. Either way, the hike will be long.
The hike starts at Sur-En where the Uina Creek joins the Inn River and is surrounded by 2,000-meter Alpine peaks. The trail is precariously placed right beside a steep fall, right where the narrow valley closes into a canyon. The route runs high through the gorge’s eastern wall – a path blasted into the rock between 1908-1910. The course is amazing if not challenging, but there are several lookout points to enjoy views across the canyon. It is one of the most spectacularly located hikes in the area, so highly recommended.
What you like to hike in Switzerland in the summer?
Have you been inspired to hike in Switzerland in the summer? Or have you already hit the trails in this beautiful alpine country and have a favourite summer hike in Switzerland? Let us know in the comments!