The Best Hikes in Switzerland – Trails to Suit All Fitness Levels

Widely recognised as one of the top global destinations for hiking, Switzerland is home to some of the best trails in not only Europe but the world!  Whether you’re a novice hiker, looking to build your fitness, or an experienced hiker just looking to take it easy, these are the following is a list of the best hikes in Switzerland – and they’re all achievable for everyone!

What do you picture when you think of Switzerland?

I can bet it will be some combination of tall snow-covered mountains, rushing streams, lush meadows, pristine lakes, and the sound of tinkling cow bells.

Am I right?!

The best way to experience all of this is through is hardly surprisingly – it’s time to go hiking!

Switzerland has numerous beautiful hiking trails – immaculately marked, with plenty of services along the way and most importantly, views to die for. Hiking is one of the cheapest ways to enjoy Switzerland – well you may still have to pay for the cable cars to take you up the mountain, but that’ll still be cheaper (and more rewarding) than some of the other touristy attractions in Switzerland such as Jungfraujoch or Pilatus.

For novice hikers, Switzerland is a God-sent opportunity – even the easiest of trails will have stunning, unbelievable views. I’m a beginner to hiking (and lean towards being more lazy!) so I’ve managed to ferret out some of the easier hiking trails which do not compromise on the views.

Here’s my curated list of the best hikes in Switzerland, especially amazing for beginners.

The 6 Best Hikes in Switzerland for Novice Hikers

  1. Hike to Bachalpsee

This is my favourite hike in Switzerland and the one I recommend to every first-time visitor.

A fairly easy hike in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland, the trail from Grindelwald First to Bachalpsee will give you an experience of everything that’s most spectacular about Switzerland – stunning mountains, lush meadows laden with alpine flowers, and a postcard perfect lake.

Key Information About the Bachalpsee Hike – One of the Best Hikes in Switzerland

Best time to visit: May to October

Closest town to stay at: Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, Interlaken

How to reach Bachalpsee: Head to Grindelwald FirstBahn and take the cable car up to Grindelwald First

Ticket prices: Return tickets for the cable car cost 60 CHF (discounted rates available with the Swiss Travel Pass)

Hike: Grindelwald First – Bachalpsee – Grindelwald First

Distance: ~6 km

Duration: ~2 hours

Elevation change: ~190 m

Path: Broad, developed path (suitable for bikes and even strollers)

Weather cam: Check out the weather here.

This hike starts from the Grindelwald First cable car station from where you just need to follow the signs to Bachalpsee.

There is a slightly steep ascent at the beginning of the trail but after that the trail is quite gentle. The views all along the hike are incredible and you will want to stop every few minutes to take pictures. Do take a hat with you since there’s no shade along the way and the sun can get really hot.

Once you reach the lake, you’ll find plenty of space to relax, picnic and even swim if you’re daring enough to brave the chilly water of the mountain lake. Do note that there are no restaurants at the top here so carry along water and food. There are toilets available though.

Once you’ve had your fill of the lake (which will take a while!), head back the way you came. If you are feeling more adventurous you can continue walking down towards Bort (one of the intermediate stations on the cable car route from Grindelwald to Grindelwald First), where you can take the cable car back down to Grindelwald.

  1. Hike to Oeschinensee

Oeschinensee is another beautiful mountain lake in the Bernese Oberland region.

Rugged mountains and dense forests define this hike to Oeschinensee, where you will be rewarded by the bright blue lake at the end.

Key Information About the Oeschinensee Hike: Another of the Best Hikes in Switzerland

Best time to visit: May to October

Closest town to stay at: Lauterbrunnen, Interlaken

How to reach Oeschinensee: Head to Gondelbahn Kandersteg and take the cable car up to Oeschinen Bergstation

Ticket prices: Return tickets for the cable car cost 30 CHF (discounted rates available with the Swiss Travel Pass)

Hike: Oeschinen Bergstation – Oeschinensee – Oeschinen Bergstation

Distance: ~4 km

Duration: ~1 hour

Elevation change: ~100 m

Path: There are 2 paths to take to the lake. One of them is a broad, developed path (suitable for bikes and even strollers) and the other is slightly rocky.

Weather cam: Check out the weather here.

From the Oeschinen Bergstation, head down the path till you reach a fork.

To continue on the broad, well-developed path, stay on the main track.

To access the other hiking trails, or to get some amazing views of the lake from a higher vantage point, take a left at the fork. This route takes you through the forest to a beautiful viewpoint over Oeschinensee.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, there are several more trails that take you higher up in the mountains, and are all very well marked.

  1. Central Switzerland’s Two Lakes & The Swiss Grand Canyon Hike

This easy hike in Central Switzerland takes you through 2 lakes and the incredible Rhine Gorge, also known as the Swiss Grand Canyon – all on a downhill hike!

It’s a beautiful trail to introduce you to the beauty of this lesser known region in Switzerland.

Key Information About the Hike to the Swiss Grand Canyon

Best time to visit: All year round

Closest town to stay at: Flims, Chur

How to reach these hikes: Head to Flims Waldhaus and walk down to Caumasee

Ticket prices: NA; If you want to swim in the lakes, you will need to buy tickets to enter the area close to the lakes

Hike: Caumasee – Conn – Crestasee

Distance: ~6 km

Duration: ~2 hours

Elevation change: ~400 m

Path: Broad and well developed, downhill.

Weather cam: Check out the weather here.

This hike starts from the stunningly turquoise lake, Caumasee – it’s a vivid body of water and is absolutely spectacular. This lake is located just a 10-15 minutes’ walk from the Flims Waldhaus bus stop/parking lot. There is a free lift that you can take down to the lake too. You can easily spend a day just at this lake – swimming, boating and relaxing.

To continue the hike, follow the signs towards Conn/Rhine Gorge. The trail is well developed and takes you through forests. There are plenty of benches and water fountains along the way to keep you refreshed. The best views of the Rhine Gorge can be had from the Il Spier Viewing Platform. The Rhine Gorge or Swiss Grand Canyon is a 13 km long gorge and can be explored through several more hikes.

To continue on our easy hike, follow the signs for Crestasee. This emerald green lake surrounded by pine trees is a favourite among locals. You’ll find people swimming, sunbathing, grilling and relaxing around this lake. There’s a restaurant here as well. Enjoy the end of your hike here and cool down in the lake.

To head back, make your way to the Trin, Felsbach-Crestasee bus stop which is about a 20-minute walk away. This walk is just as beautiful as the rest of the hike and takes you through a lush green valley dotted with waterfalls.

From the bus stop you can take the bus back to the parking lot in Flims or take the bus to Chur if you’re staying there.

  1. Männlichen – Kleine Scheidegg Panorama Hike: A Top Hike in Switzerland

This is one of the best and easiest hikes in the Jungfrau region in Switzerland and is a lovely hike in this incredible country.

It takes you around the mountains below Jungfrau with spectacular views of the famous Monch and Eiger peaks too.

Key Information About the Hike

Best time to visit: May to October

Closest town to stay at: Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald, Interlaken

How to reach this hike: From either Grindelwald Grund or Lauterbrunnen. From Grindelwald, take the cable car to Männlichen, complete the hike to Kleine Scheidegg and take the train back to Grindelwald. From Lauterbrunnen, take the train to Wengen and then cable car to Männlichen, complete the hike to Kleine Scheidegg and take the train back to Lauterbrunnen.

Ticket prices: 30-60 CHF depending on which mode of transport you use (discounted rates available with the Swiss Travel Pass)

Hike: Männlichen – Kleine Scheidegg

Distance: ~4.5 km

Duration: ~1.5 hours

Elevation change: ~160 m (descent)

Path: Wide dirt path

Weather cam: Check out the weather here.

This hike starts from the Männlichen summit station and since its a popular one you will find a lot of people alongside you.

The trail is fairly easy with gentle ups and downs and some rocky portions.

You will have spectacular views all along the hike – the tall mountains of the Jungfrau region, the grass covered hills and small lakes and streams.

There are restaurants at both the starting point and the end point of this hike and plenty of benches and some rest stops along the hike.

  1. Zermatt Five Lakes Hike

This is the most popular trail in the Zermatt region, and for good reason too – it’s one of the best easy hikes in Switzerland!

The hike takes you along the 5 lakes of Stellisee, Grindjisee, Grünsee, Moosjisee and Leisee, with the Materhorn always looming in the background.

Key Information About the Zermatt Five Lakes Hike

Best time to visit: June to September

Closest town to stay at: Zermatt

How to reach the Zermatt Five Lakes Hike: Head to the Blauherd cable car upper station by taking the underground funicular to Sunnegga and then the cable car to Blauherd

Ticket prices: ~40 CHF (discounted rates available with the Swiss Travel Pass)

Hike: Blauherd – Sunnegga

Distance: 9 km

Duration: ~3 hours

Elevation change: 240 m ascent and 520 m descent

Path: Variety of tracks, from wide dirt tracks to some switchbacks

Weather cam: Check out the weather here.

The 5 lakes hike starts from Blauherd from where a short walk brings you to the first lake of Stellisee. The Matterhorn’s reflection in this lake makes for a stunning view and you can easily spend hours admiring it.

A downhill walk from this lake, enjoying the views of the mountains and glaciers around you, will bring you to the second lake Grindjisee. This lake is surrounded by trees and partly reflects the top of the Matterhorn.

The hike to the next lake Grünsee is also downhill and brings you to the sandy shores of this beautiful lake.

The route to Moosjisee, the fourth lake is through some steep switchbacks through the forest. This lake has a beautiful blue colour that’s very unique.

The hike to reach the fifth lake Leisee is slightly uphill, but with great views of the Matterhorn.

  1. Stoos Panorama Trail – Another of the Best Hikes in Switzerland

This easy hike has the added charm of riding on the steepest funicular in the world up to the beautiful alpine village of Stoos.

You also have the option of taking up more challenging hiking routes in this area (and we certainly recommend that you do).

Key Information About the Stoos Panorama Trail

Best time to visit: May to October

Closest town to stay at: Lucerne, Zurich

How to reach the Stoos Panorama Trail: Head to the funicular train station at Stoosbahn Grundstrasse

Ticket prices: ~45 CHF (discounted rates available with the Swiss Travel Pass)

Hike: Blauherd – Sunnegga

Distance: 1.5 km

Duration: ~0.5 hours

Elevation change: 240 m ascent and 520 m descent

Path: Wide dirt track

Weather cam: Check out the weather here.

This hike is a short loop along the cliffs over Lake Lucerne. You start with the fun, steep funicular to reach the village of Stoos. A 10 minute walk through the village brings you to the chair lifts at Fronalpstock Talstation.

Once at the top station of Fronalpstock, you can enjoy the stunning views over the mountains and lakes from the observation deck or restaurant.

To begin the hike, start walking on the path that parallels the cliff. It’s a beautiful hike offering you spectacular views of Lake Lucerne and the surrounding mountains.

The trail loops back to the chair lift which you can take back down to Stoos.

Centrally located in Europe, Switzerland is an outdoor-enthusiast’s dream.

With towering mountains, glorious lakes and fields of luscious green, it’s hard not to fall in love with the stunning beauty of this country.

Though it has so much going for it, Switzerland is also an expensive country to visit so the more low-cost entertainment options you can find, the better.  That’s exactly where hiking comes in!

What’s better than keeping costs low and hiking amongst some of the most incredible scenery in the world?

Isn’t it time you started planning which of there best hikes in Switzerland will make it onto your European itinerary?


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Guest post by Smita:  What happens when a management consultant takes up travelling itself as a project? Meet Smita, who is putting her consulting skills (read: extensive excel planning!) and travel curiosity to good use.  A part-time traveller and travel writer for My Faulty Compass, her travel articles aim to include meticulous details – don’t be surprised to even find hour by hour itineraries.  Check her out on Facebook and Instagram.

Switzerland is a hiking wonderland! Regardless of your level of fitness, this guide talks through the top 6 Swiss hikes.  These are trails you just can\'t miss whilst in Europe\'s hiking capital!

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