Grüezi! Walking holidazs to Switzerland? The Alps don't get much better than in Switzerland. Don't let the French, the Italians, the Germans and the Austrians hear about it, but it is clear that Switzerland may be the best destination for your hiking holiday. In this blog post you will find the three best options for walking holidays in Switzerland. One of them is even shared with France and Italy.
When you think of Switzerland, you think of chocolate, cheese, the most punctual timepiece in the world, fantastic alpine meadows with that characteristic "Heidi feeling", yodelling and, of course, mountains. Lots and lots of mountains. Approximately 70% of the Swiss landscape consists of mountains - it is therefore a Mecca for hikers. These are the three most beautiful routes for your walking holiday in Switzerland!
1) Via Alpina in Switzerland: The Bärentrek
In a unique area and against one of the most beautiful backdrops of the Alps, the long-distance hiking trail Hintere Gasse, also known as the Bärentrek, leads from Meiringen over 8 Alpine passes to Gsteig. Like almost no other pass route it is as varied as the mountains themselves: Hiking trails, mountain paths, valleys, lush meadows, chalk slopes, tourist resorts, lonely alpine meadows, idyllic mountain huts, mountain huts, hotels, cable cars and rack railways loosely alternate.
The Bärentrek is part of the Via Alpina 1. The Via Alpina is actually a network of five long-distance walking routes through the Alpine regions of Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Italy, France and Monaco. The Swiss section of the Via Alpina is 390 kilometres long and is divided into 20 stages. You can choose to cover the whole route or only part of it. The Bärentrek is the most popular part of the Via Alpina 1 and very suitable for a walking holiday. Here you can read more about the Bärentrek and here you can find a suitable package for a walking holiday.
2) Walking Holidays for Beginners: Kesch Trek
The Kesch Trek is normally done in six days, but can also be done in four days. Due to the relatively small distance and 'only' 2800 altimeters in total, the Kesch Trek is also seen as the perfect option for a hiking holiday for beginners. For more information, you can also read this blog post about the Kesch Trek. Arrangements for the Kesch Trek can be found here.
3) Tour du Mont Blanc
The best time to finish the Tour du Mont Blanc is during the summer months, July and August, when the route has little snow and the weather is usually good. Outside these months, the logistics become more complicated because many of the hostels and mountain huts on the route are closed. If we had to recommend a more specific period, it would be the second half of August. During these 2 weeks the number of hikers and mountaineers is lower and the weather is usually quite pleasant. Read more about the Tour du Mont Blanc or take a look at one of our packages.
Solo Walking Holidays in Switzerland, Possible?
Yes, it is certainly possible to walk an individual hut-to-hut tour. Finding a place to stay as an individual is often also much easier, in the shared rooms there is often still one bed left which you can claim. Individual walking is often done by the Swiss themselves. In the huts you often have a quick conversation with fellow hikers, so you don't have to spend your evenings alone.
Safe Walking Holidays in Switzerland
When you go on walking holidays in the Alps, it is wise to be aware of a few points. Even if this is not your first time, you should never underestimate the Alps. Good tour planning and compliance with the regulations on the mountain will significantly increase safety. To ensure that your hiking holiday is a safe and enjoyable experience, the Austrian Alpine Association has compiled a list of 10 recommendations for safe hiking in the mountains. This list also applies to Switzerland:
1) Health in the mountains: Hiking is an endurance sport combined with a beautiful nature experience and can have a positive effect on body and mind - provided one is in good physical condition and has a realistic picture of one's own possibilities and limits. Hiking under time pressure and at too fast a pace is not wise.
3. Fully equipped: Only visit the mountains if you are well rested! Food, rain, cold and sun protection must always be in the backpack, as well as a first aid kit and a mobile phone (Euro emergency number: 112). However, lighter luggage makes walking easier, so don't take too much extra luggage with you. Your equipment should always be suitable for your planned trip. Keep reading for a suitable packing list for your walking holiday in Austria or Switzerland.
4. Suitable shoes: Good walking shoes protect your feet and provide a better fit. Shoes that have a good fit, with non-slip soles, water-resistant and lightweight are a must for more walking pleasure.
5. Proprioception: It is imperative that you stay alert while hiking in the mountains! Excessive speed or fatigue can have a negative influence on your self-confidence and/or concentration. With this in mind, it is better to walk slower and be safer! (75% of stumbles occur due to carelessness on marked paths or roads - not on open terrain!).
6.Stay on marked trails: Austria and Switzerland have an endless number of marked hiking trails - these are controlled and maintained and should not be deviated from for this reason. It is not at all a good idea to make shortcuts or take alternative routes through unmarked terrain. On the contrary, it increases the risk of disorientation, accidents or falls in the mountains. Even steep slopes of packed old snow are often underestimated and dangerous. Are you in doubt? Then rather don't.
7. Regular breaks: Timely and regular breaks not only serve to provide welcome relaxation, but also make it possible to enjoy the countryside. In addition, the body needs regular food and drink to maintain performance and concentration.
8. Child responsibility: Hiking in the mountains can also be fun and exciting for children - provided the route is chosen and planned accordingly. Diversity and playful exploration is much more important for children than altimeters and distances travelled. Dangerous routes require unconditional 1-on-1 help from an experienced adult. Extensive tours requiring long periods of concentration are not suitable for children. If children don't like it, chances are they won't just want to go on a walking holiday again.
9. Small groups: Small groups provide flexibility and enable mutual support. It is also advisable to inform people at home about your plans, what route you are taking and when you plan to return. Even small incidents can lead to unpleasant emergencies.
10. Respect for nature: Leave no rubbish behind, prevent noise, stay on the marked trails, do not disturb wildlife or grazing animals, and respect the protected areas. Many areas are accessible by public transport; carpooling is also a more environmentally friendly option.
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Walking Holidays in Switzerland and the Weather
The most important rule on hut tours and on hikes in the Alps or other high mountains is that the weather changes much faster in areas above 2,000 metres and that there are different climatic conditions than at the altitudes where we normally travel. When planning a hut tour and mountain hikes, the weather forecasts must always be taken into account. Even in the high summer, when the temperature in the valley is over 30 degrees, it can snow in the high mountains. The reason for this is that the temperature can drop by 5-6 degrees per 1000 altimeters. Because cold air can also store less moisture, it rains or snows more often in the high mountains than in the lowlands. In the high mountains a thunderstorm can be particularly dangerous, in principle the chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon increases and the weather can change very quickly due to the altitude.
A possible thunderstorm can be recognised by lightning, or small cumulus clouds, which are piling up more and more. A sharp drop in air pressure is also a sure sign of an upcoming thunderstorm. In case of thunderstorms you should always avoid the via ferrata and other metal objects. Look for shelter in a cave or under a ledge as soon as possible. Nevertheless, good protection from the sun is essential. The tree line in the Alps runs at an altitude of 1,800 to 2,200 metres - above that you are exposed to the burning sun, which is always thick in the high mountains.
Packing List for Walking Holidays Switzerland
Packing the right equipment is key for any multi-day trekking adventure in Switzerland. Below you will find the equipment recommended for hiking in the Alps.
Medium-sized backpack (up to 40 liters gear capacity), including rain cover
Lightweight sleeping bag
Two pairs of socks
Two sets of wicking underwear
Two wicking shirts
Insulation long-sleeve jacket (fleece, synthetic, down, merino wool)
Water bottle/hydration reservoirs
First aid kit
Garbage bag (to carry out trash)
Hat or cap and thin gloves (liners)
Snacks (e. g. fruit, energy bars)
Windproof jacket (e. g. softshell)
Lightweight stuff sacks to keep everything organized
Alpinist Association Membership Card if you are a member
Blister treatments, tape
Bandana or Buff
How do I Prepare for my Walking Holidays in Switzerland?
A hut tour can be done by anyone in normal health. However, if you want to get the most out of your hut trip, it is wise to prepare yourself physically. You don't have the Alps by the back door, so you will have to be creative when it comes to your preparation. For adequate preparation you can pay attention to the following five things.
Cardio: It's best to get moving as soon as you think about your hiking holiday in Switzerland. With the right aerobic fitness you will have a better heart rate, healthy muscles and a large lung capacity. Running, walking, even more walking and and cycling or swimming are excellent training methods. One hour, 3 to 4 times a week is sufficient.
Endurance: Building up your endurance is also important. The best thing you can do is walk long distances, at least once a week. If you can walk comfortably for a longer period of time, you are ready to go.
Train with gear: Use the backpack and shoes you want to use for your cabin trip and add this to your workout as you work on your cardio and stamina.
Altitude: If you can, you can mimic the altitude by walking and hiking in the hills and mountains. If you don't live in the right area, don't panic. The first two points are the most important.
Know your body: This is perhaps the most important part. If you are questioning your physical abilities, it is wise to have a check-up carried out by your GP.
There is no fixed method for preparing for your walking holidays. Your preparation may depend on the duration, the surroundings and what you want to achieve. Not everyone is a mountain goat. Don't think about your preparation. Take it easy and enjoy your time in the mountains.
Hiking in Switzerland and Covid-19
With the current world situation, the huts in Switzerland, like all other huts in the region, had to take some preventive measures. In order to be able to spend the night in a mountain hut during this period, you have to abide by these rules:
- Do not go to the huts if you are symptomatic!
- Huts are not allowed to operate at full capacity, so make sure you book your stay in advance.
- Bring your own face mask!
- You need to bring your own sleeping bag, lining and pillow cover.
- Bring your own travel towel
Where to book a walking holiday in Switzerland?
You can book your walking holidays in Switzerland right here at Bookatrekking.com. We have packages for the Kesch Trek, the Via Alpina 1 and the Tour du Mont Blanc. Did you know that you can also go on a walking holiday in Great Britain, Ireland, the Balkans, Austria or France? Check the following blogs and look ahead to your next adventure!
-Hiking in Wales
-Hiking in England
-Hiking in Scotland
- Hiking in Croatia
-Hiking in Austria
- Walking Holidays in Italy
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