Walking in Switzerland will take you through Alpine meadows, into hidden valleys and over high-mountain passes in the shadow of Europe’s highest mountain. You’ll pass glacial lakes, thundering waterfalls and iconic peaks, and with trails all easily accessed from chocolate box villages on foot, or by road, rail or cable car. Our Switzerland walking vacations guide will help you choose between self guided walking vacations and small group tours, led by expert mountain guides.
SWITZERLAND MAP & HIGHLIGHTS
Switzerland is a country of dramatic peaks and glacial valleys with the Alps, Bernese Oberland and Jungfrau regions providing travelers with an eclectic range of year round activities. Lakes like Lucerne, Brienz and Thun, are surrounded by pungent pine forests, whilst Lake Geneva is renowned for its terraced vineyards, and Lake Neuchatel is equally well regarded for its heritage sites and sophisticated old town ambience. Melting snow forms fast flowing water features with the Lauterbrunnen Valley awash with waterfalls alongside untouched Alpine villages. From Gothic cathedrals and medieval castles, to free roaming cows feasting on fragrant flowers, Switzerland is fresh, clean and perfect for taking your next vacation to new heights.
1. Bernese Oberland
Enveloped in Alpine magnificence with views of iconic peaks such as the Matterhorn, the Eiger and Jungfrau, the Bernese Oberland (Highlands) region is one of Switzerland’s great hiking destinations. Key locations include the gorgeous Lake Thun, and the popular resort of Interlaken, but you might just as easily be based in a small village such as Kandersteg for a center-based walking vacation.
HQ of the United Nations, Geneva is a cultured, cosmopolitan city at the south of Lake Geneva. Not, as some may think, the capital of Switzerland (it’s Bern), Geneva is however a prime gateway to the Swiss Alps and a fantastic starting point for Switzerland cycling vacations that are so well organised they run like clockwork.
A highlight of multi activity vacations in Switzerland, Interlaken is a traditional resort town in the Bernese Highlands, linking Lake Thun and Lake Brienz – hence the name. There are masses of activities available to you here, from Alpine walking around the nearby village of Grindelwald to cog railways, mountain biking or a cable car to the summit of the Schilthorn, famously used in ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.’
Stretching across the Swiss shores of Lake Geneva, the terraced vineyards of Lavaux are an absolute treat for walkers and wine lovers alike with hiking trails from Saint-Saphorin or Grandvaux to Lutry or Cully highly recommended. As a UNESCO site, Lavaux promises just as much from its cultural landscapes as its selection of wine cellars with local vintages and lakeside views combining to fantastic effect.
Close to the Italian border and so a likely stop on Switzerland and Italy cycling vacations (more than 300km of trails surround the city), Lugano perches on the north shore of a stunningly beautiful glacial lake. It’s a lovely place to wander for a few hours when out of the saddle to explore the historic architecture, or perhaps take a boat trip out on the lake.
Romantic Lucerne is reckoned one of the world’s prettiest cities – lakeside, with a mountainous backdrop, and filled with historic architecture: 15th century frescoed houses, quaint wooden bridges and medieval towers abound. Among the most popular day-trips here is the Golden Pilatus which uses five different modes of transport, including the world’s steepest rack-and-pinion railway, and takes you to a mountain summit for staggering views.
In order to protect the environment and views over the Matterhorn, Zermatt is joyfully combustion engine free with battery operated cars creating near silence amid the year round, snow covered peaks. Outside of the busier ski season the transport systems allow visitors to access high altitude hiking routes and glorious views, with the 45-minute ride to Europe's highest cable car section certainly no exception.
Our Switzerland Vacations
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More about Switzerland
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Swoosh into our Switzerland travel guide and throw the stereotypical souvenirs to the wind as you discover how to make the most of your time thanks to our Switzerland map & highlights section that features everywhere from Champex to Zermatt.
Learn about the different routes available, and what’s involved, with cycling vacations in Switzerland, and find plenty of inspiration for your next pedal-powered getaway.
The great appeal of multi-activity vacations in Switzerland is the fact this is a year-round travel destination: there is an incredible range of things to do in Switzerland whether you’re there in spring, summer, autumn or winter.
Walking vacations in the Swiss Alps immerse you in one of the world’s most iconic and beautiful natural landscapes: where pretty green meadows flecked with wildflowers are overlooked by soaring mountain peaks.
Switzerland is a country just made for exploring the Great Outdoors, and with that in mind we’ve gathered some handy Switzerland travel advice and tips from our specialist operators.
Responsible tourism in Switzerland is all about respecting the pristine natural landscapes that make the scenery so iconic, as well as the communities threaded through them.