Switzerland Walking Holidays
The Swiss Alps, or Central Alps, represents just a small portion of the entire Alps range however it is home to Europe’s greatest concentration of 4000m mountains. Often we think of stereotypes - alpine pastures, contented cows grazing lush grass, wooden chalets and snow-capped mountains. Although there is much truth in this narrow view, it does little justice to the spectacular variety of terrain that Switzerland is able to offer the active traveller.
Swiss mountains are among the most dramatic and challenging of all the Alpine ranges however you don’t have to be a skilled mountaineer or climber to enjoy a walking holiday in Switzerland. The Swiss Alps is home to some of Europe’s finest walking terrain, with enough variety to suit every taste and fitness level. Rustic inns and a network of alpine or mountain huts (hütte; refuge; rifugio, cabane or capanna) provide simple dormitory accommodation, generally with meals too.
Our range of self-guided or guided walking holidays in Switzerland will help you come face to face with the most famous names in the Alps including the Matterhorn, Jungfrau, the Wetterhorn, Eiger and much more.
WHEN TO WALK IN SWITZERLAND
The season for walking holidays in Switzerland is short – from mid-June to mid-September and many of the mountain refuges are closed outside this time. In winter parts of the trail are transformed into world class ski runs, evidenced by the comprehensive network of cablecars or téléfériques. Bearing in mind that much of the route is at altitudes of over 1000m, the temperatures can vary significantly.
Please note at the beginning of the season you may experience snow and therefore the walking can be harder and slippery underfoot. Temperatures in summer range from around 6 degrees Celsius to 20 degrees Celsius during the day. Afternoon thunderstorms are quite common and at the higher elevations it is important to dress with layers as cold winds and possible snow falls can happen even in summer.
GETTING THERE AND AWAY
As you would expect, Switzerland is served by a number of airlines (low cost and otherwise), trains and buses from a multitude of European and international destinations. Depending on the region you are going to, we recommend heading to Geneva, Basil or Zurich, where you will find onward local connections.
GETTING AROUND IN SWITZERLAND
Switzerland has one of the most comprehensive (albeit expensive) and scenic public transport systems in the world, making it an ideal place for a walking holiday. While transport is fairly pricey and there are a number of discount cards for getting half price deals on Swiss rail, post buses and cable cars. However even these passes (the most useful being the Swiss Card) are quite an investment and you should take care to make sure whether you will not be out of pocket using them. This is particularly the case if you are a purist walker and don’t intend to use much public transport.
POPULAR WALKING ROUTES/Regions IN SWITZERLAND
Alpine Pass Route
The Alpine Pass Route takes you over some of the most beautiful passes in Switzerland with some seriously outstanding views. It is a challenging route with some long segments quite often on steep rocky paths and one day with 1400 metres of ascent and a similar descent. Great rewards though for the walker as you pass the great mountains of the Bernese Oberland including the Titlus, Wetterhorn, Shreckhorn, Eiger, Monch, Jungfrau, Blumisalpenhorn and Wildstrubel. Alpine Pass Route Walking Holidays >>
Walker's Haute Route
The Haute Route (High Route) from Chamonix to Zermatt is steeped in mountaineering legend, a route first taken by British climbers at the end of the 19th century and is one of the best known winter ski tours in the world. Sherpa Expeditions offers a section of the walkers' version of the Haute Route located in the scenic Swiss canton of Valais and visits some of the most beautiful valleys, villages and mountains in Switzerland between Arolla and Zermatt. Haute Route Walking Holidays >>
The Wildstrubel Circuit is an eight-day loop around the Wildstrubel massif, where the trails apart from around the resort town of Kandersteg, are generally a lot quieter than most our alpine walks. This hike embraces the cantons of Bernese Oberland and Valais, dropping between German and French speaking villages. There is great scenic variety from high ice capped mountains to vast views across Valais Crans Montana. This is a moderate to challenging route, with some long days and once again big passes, sometimes following a high level irrigation canal path called ‘Bisse du Rou’. The climax of the week is the Rawyl Pass (2429m) under the Mittaghorn (2685m), which is the highpoint of the trek. Transport to and from Kandersteg via hourly train service to Zurich/Geneva changing en route in Bern. Wildstrubel Circuit Walking Holidays >>
The German speaking Bernese Oberland is magical region of classic Alpine landscapes, 3000-4000m high peaks, thundering rivers and waterfalls, hanging valleys and the longest glacier in Europe. It's location in the heart of Switzerland makes an ideal location for centre-based walking. Bernese Oberland Walking Holidays >>
For more information on what you can enjoy on a walking holiday in Switzerland we have written a blog article 'Walking in Switzerland' which goes into more detail on the seasons, food & drink and popular routes. Visit our blog >>