Hiking in Switzerland

Conquer the Matterhorn, trek through the Alps and experience the thrill of Switzerland’s high-altitude hikes.

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Explore a landscape that is as unforgiving as it is unforgettable as you trek past glittering glaciers, thundering waterfalls and vertigo-inducing mountain passes.

High peaks dominate the landscape to both the south and west, where The Alps and the Jura Mountains explode from the edges of Switzerland’s central plateau, giving hikers an enormous choice of summits. The iconic Matterhorn, although not the country’s highest, soars to a dizzying 4,478m, alongside another 47 peaks, all over 4,000m.

As you scale its slopes, take in the foaming meltwater falls in spring, glassy mountain lakes in summer and majestic glaciers year-round, the latter of which cover over 1,000 square kilometres of the Swiss Alps alone.

Here are some of our favourite hikes in Switzerland.

Tour of the Matterhorn

The Matterhorn is perhaps one of the most easy to recognise peaks in the world. Soaring to a lofty 4,478m its sculptural faces and steep ridges are not to be taken lightly, it’s a tough challenge for even the most hardened of mountaineers.

The Tour of the Matterhorn circumnavigates around the Matterhorn’s pyramid-shaped peak. Starting and ending in Zermatt, this 145km hike will take you through 6 valleys, with spectacular views of 25 peaks, all over 4000 metres, however the majority of the tour stays under 3000 metres, so you won’t have to worry too much about altitude sickness.

Considered more challenging than the Tour du Mont Blanc, you’ll ascend, and descend just under 1000 metres of steep, and often slippy, terrain, pass through quiet mountain villages, cool off in high mountain lakes and tackle the occasional section of via ferrata.

The Haute Route

Starting in Chamonix, and finishing in Zermatt, the famous Haute Route is a 180km col to col hike surrounded by staggering 4,000-metre peaks. While it doesn’t require any technical gear, such as crampons or harness, it is physically tolling, and often described as the “mother” of all hut to hut mountain trails. Visit the picturesque village of Trient, cross the wild Fenêtre d’Arpette mountain pass and ascend the Augstbord Pass, before reaching the Matterhorn Valley and arriving in the Swiss mountain village of Zermatt.

There are two possible versions of the Haute Route, both taking between 10 and 14 days. The original began as a mountaineering trail, connecting the two great mountaineering centres. The second is the Walkers’ Haute Route, which is a lower variant aimed at hikers wishing to walk in the shadows of Western Europe’s highest mountains. Either route is best undertaken in the summer months, between May and August, and can be accessed by flying to Milan, Geneva or Zürich.

The Eiger Trail

Although extremely short compared to the mega-trails of the Haute Route and Tour of the Matterhorn, the Eiger Trail is no less spectacular, and will get you breathtakingly close to the North Face of the Eiger (3,967m), well, close enough to see climbers on the Eiger face through your binoculars.

This 6km trail starts with a train ride from Grindelwald to Eigergletscher Station where your 2-hour hike begins. Within moments you will find yourself standing in front of the famous rock face itself, look up and you’ll see via ferrata the climbers use to gain access.

From this point the trail runs along the foot of the North Face. You’ll come across slightly tricky sections that are secured by ropes but these soon peter out giving you epic views of Wetterhorn and the entire Jungfrau region.

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