Hiking in the Swiss Alps

There are numerous possibilities for hiking in the Swiss Alps. Two of the best are in the Bernese Oberland and then there is the famous Matterhorn region.


To hike in the Bernese Oberland start your journey by taking the mountain train from Interlaken to Grindelwald. When you arrive there is an array of hotels, restaurants and trails awaiting you here. This is a popular destination so make reservations in advance. Another popular option is Switzerland’s Mountain Inns: A Walking Vacation in a World Apart. We stayed at the Hotel Cabana right in Grindelwald with sweeping views of the mountains including the Eiger.

First, Bernese Oberland

This is a great introduction to hiking in the Swiss Alps.I strongly recommend you take a 35 minute ride on the cable car to a place named First. From the café at the top you have a sweeping view of the mountains and there are a number of well signed trails.

Bernese alps hiking
Trail signs at First

A favourite option is to hike to Bachalpsee which takes about one hour and then you continue down into the valley. Or you can start immediately down the mountain which takes about 2 ½ hours to reach Grindelwald.

Swiss hiking
Bachalpsee Hike

Gletscherschlucht, Bernese Oberland

Gletscherschlucht, Bernese Oberland
Gletscherschlucht Hike

For an easier hiking day the local tourist office recommended this walk. So we walked from Griendelwald to the Gletscherschlucht which is a trail along a ragging river sandwiched between steep cliffs. Then the nearby Trychelegg Trail which is also easy and is a a walk through the forest. Heading back to town we came across and country restaurant with some great apple strudel.

Mannlichen and the Eiger, Bernese Oberland

Hiking to Mannlichen
Hiking uphill from Griendelwald to Mannlichen or you can take cable car

For a second hiking in the Swiss Alps climb up the mountain which takes about four hours. You can also take the cable car to the restaurant at the top which is what most people. From the top ridge you are able to see the mountains in all four directions, absolutely awesome.

Kleine Scheidegg, Switzerland
Hiking from Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg

Continue along the 1 ½ hour hiking trail from Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg located on the north face of the Eiger, the most popular trail in the area. Then from Kleine Scheidegg you can hike part way up the Eiger Mountain. To return simply walk down the mountain or as most people do take the mountain train.

Swiss mountain train
Mountain train to Griendelwald

Gornergrat, Zermatt

Matterhorn, Zermatt
View of Zermatt and Matterhorn

When you think of hiking in Swiss Alps the Matterhorn is perhaps the most famous mountain that comes to mind. To get to Zermatt take the mountain train from Brig for the 1 ½ hour ride up to Zermatt. This is truly a walking holiday destination as you only find hikers, mountain bikes and electric carts in town as no cars are permitted.

The helpful tourist information office is located in the train station. Leaving the train station you must either walk or take one of the electric carts to your accommodation as no cars are permitted in town. You have plenty of options for hiking in the Swiss Alps here as there are 36 mountains over 4,000 meters.

Zermatt hiking
Hiking near Zermatt

One of the best hiking in the Swiss Alps is to take the Gornergrat mountain railway on the valley opposite the Matterhorn. Then use one of several trails to hike to the Sunnegga Funicular for the rid back to Zermatt.

Many hikers chose to take the cable cars to Klein Matterhorn, on top of Europe, with sweeping views of the Swiss Alps. From nearby Schwarzsee is an easy, but long seven hour walk back down the mountain to Zermatt.

Click here for other hiking vacation ideas. Hiking in the Swiss Alps is the ultimate walking holiday experience. Evenings are interesting in Zermatt as everyone is a hiker or mountain biker and they are all walking this scenic village with backpacks before locating a restaurant for dinner after a full day of outdoor walking.

Why a Swiss Rail Pass is so Important

If you have a Swiss rail pass you not only obtain discounted rail travel but just as important you can get discounts from the various mountain railways and cable car operators. It also includes admission to many museums and castles throughout the country. While we cycled between both of these mountain adventures (via Lake Geneva) we could have just taken the train.

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