Hiking in Central Switzerland

Wandern in Zentralschweiz

Hiking in Central Switzerland

North of the Alps, in the Swiss hinterland, there are beautiful hiking areas and very varied landscapes. Central Switzerland includes the three large cantons of Lucerne, Schwyz and Uri as well as the three smaller cantons of Nidwalden, Zug and Obwalden. In the center of Central Switzerland lies the beautiful Lake Lucerne, one of the highlights of our hiking holidays in Switzerland with Eurohike.

The hiking regions in the heart of Switzerland are characterized by their diversity and authenticity. There are not only fantastic landscapes to discover, but also spectacular mountain trails, mountain panoramas and unforgettable summit experiences on historic hiking routes await you. The capital of the canton of Lucerne is one of the highlights of Central Switzerland, located directly on the beautiful Lake Lucerne. The lake, which is one of the most popular excursion destinations in Central Switzerland, was created by the Reuss glacier during the last ice age. Lake Lucerne is not only located in the heart of Switzerland, but also in the middle of mountains such as Lake Lucerne, Pilatus, Rigi, Seelisberg and the Stanser Horn. A hiking holiday in Central Switzerland can be a worthwhile experience for all mountain lovers and promises a uniquely beautiful environment for a variety of active experiences on a hiking holiday without luggage.

1. Rigi Panorama Trail

The seven km long Rigi Panorama Trail is easy and mostly flat (with the exception of a few short steep sections) and offers some of the most beautiful views you can experience on a hiking holiday in Switzerland. Most of the path is unpaved and gravel, but the path is well maintained and is easy to walk in any season.

The path begins high up on the summit of Rigi Kulm, directly on the route to the cable car station. Even from here the view is breathtaking, with valleys and green and blue clouds opening up. Drink Have a coffee on a bench or just take a few photos until we get started.

First follow the signs to Rigi. You walk along the train tracks for a while until the path splits, where you take the left path and continue. It is difficult to choose the best view along the way: the green and flowering valleys, the Goldau mountain in the background or the blue peaks in the distance. As you continue walking you will see smaller paths branching off to the side. Most of them are short and allow you to get off the main path, look around a bit and then get back on the main path.

Follow the signs to Rigi Scheidegg and find a free bench in the area of ​​the rock path: the view of the water and the peaks in the distance is breathtaking and is ideal for a quick lunch or a simple break.

As you approach Scheidegg, the path splits into two parts, one slightly steeper and more rugged than the other. Both paths lead to the same place, so if possible take the higher one: the view is clearer and more open.

This path ends shortly before the Rigi Scheidegg cable car. At the station you can sit in the restaurant before taking the cable car back to the valley and taking the train to your next destination.

2. Engelberg Valley

There are so many hiking trails in the Engelbergertal that you could hike for weeks and still have a few corners to discover. The Brunni path is a picturesque path that allows you to discover the foundations of the valley and the flowering pastures surrounded by high peaks. The seven km long hike is not very steep (almost 300 m in total) and should not take more than two and a half hours.

The easiest way to complete this route is to take the Brunnibahn to Ristis station. As you leave the station you will see the signs for the Brunni-Weg: Here, walk towards Rigidalalp. Since this is an educational trail, you will find signs with information about the plant species that cover the meadows.

Follow the path to the Brunnihütte. It is the ideal place for a break because from here you have a great view of the Titlis and Lake Härzli. The hut also houses a small restaurant that serves Swiss specialties such as local cakes and cheese.

A special experience is the BrunniTickle path, a special path around the entire lake that can be walked without shoes. The path has different textures: sand, then gravel, then wood chips. There is soft ground, then water-saturated ground and finally thorny ground.

The descent to Ristis is on the same path, then you take the cable car back to the village.

3. Matterhorn

Matterhorn, one of the highest peaks in the Alps. For hikers who want to test themselves, there is nothing more challenging than part of this 4th.478 m high mountain right on the Swiss-Italian border.

Climbing the Matterhorn is technically a moderately difficult hike and takes between eight and twelve hours, depending on your fitness level, stops and some course changes along the way.

The city of Zermatt is the most beautiful starting point for a visit to the Matterhorn. If you want to limit yourself to a day hike, set out at sunrise, find and follow the cable car line. After three hours on a very steep and straight road with a breathtaking view of the blue mountains, you reach Schwarzsee Paradise, a hotel/restaurant where you can stop off before continuing. While it's not technically on the Matterhorn yet, it's the quickest way to get up enough to reach the next trail.

From here, the hour-long hike on the Matterhorn side is surprisingly flat. At this altitude the weather starts to change, but it is also the last part of the "easy" hike, so a good time to enjoy the surroundings. After about an hour (if you don't take a break), the terrain becomes difficult again: there are a lot of slippery and very steep rocks that require maneuvering and a lot of balance.

After 90 minutes you will reach the Hörnlihütte, the base camp of the Matterhorn, where multi-day hikers spend the night before continuing their journey. Here you can take a break and look very closely at the cloud-covered peaks and the Matterhorn; When the weather is clear, you almost feel like you can touch the summit.

From here the path leads down to the glacier path, from which you have a direct and unobstructed view of the Matterhorn, covered in snow, and the other surrounding mountains. The path is rocky and slippery but flat; At a steady pace it takes two hours to reach the end where the cable car station is.

If you don't want to spend the night in the mountains, end the hike here and take the cable car back to Zermatt

Please note that it is cold on the Matterhorn even in summer. For such a long hike, you will need a jacket and possibly several layers to keep you comfortable throughout the hike.

4. Lauterbrunnen Valley Glacier Valley

The Lauterbrunnen Valley is known as the Valley of 12 Waterfalls. A hike in this area will therefore offer you breathtaking views everywhere. It is an excellent destination for quick and easy hiking as the valley is slightly sloping and the green meadows provide good traction and the terrain is pleasant for hiking.

Start your hike at Lauterbrunnental train station. You see signposts, take the concrete path and walk south. After about 15 minutes the asphalt road ends and you walk on a sandy path with almost no difference in elevation. The next 45 minutes are characterized by waterfalls cascading from snow-covered rocks, rivers and canals and many cows grazing in the distance.

If you see a street intersection with a sign for Stechelberg, ignore it and take the second street. You take a slightly steeper path towards Gimmelwald. The first stretch of the hike generally passes through shady forests and along rivers before entering flowering meadows, surrounded by mountains and some of the impressive waterfalls for which the valley is famous.

Follow the signs to Gimmelwald, which is one to two hours away, depending on how many times you stop to take photos or dip your feet in the river. Finally, you will see the small mountain village of Gimmelwald emerge between the snow-covered peaks; Here you will find a few restaurants, an inn and some shady places to rest.

From here you can continue towards Murren to take the train back, or you can turn around to find your way to the Lauterbrunnen Valley.

5. Höhbalmen Alpine pastures

Just a few minutes from Zermatt, one of the most famous mountain villages in southern Switzerland, is Alp Höhbalmen, a flower-filled balcony with a direct view of the Valais Alps. The Höhbalmen-Höhenweg, which leads past the north face of the imposing Matterhorn, is perhaps one of the most beautiful in the region if you accept the challenge.

It is a challenging 18km hike that takes place at the altitude of 1.605 m begins and at a point 2.740 m reached. It leads through sparse forests, across sheep pastures, to a reservoir and with a view of Zermatt.

The trail leads through valleys and over slopes before beginning the descent to Schwarzlager, past a roaring waterfall and near a restaurant where you can have lunch or dinner before driving another 45 minutes to Zermatt.

6. Mount Titlis

If climbing the Mattherhorn seems too daring for you, the Titlis in the Uri Alps is a much easier alternative. The best part is that this mountain offers multiple hiking trails ranging from easy one-hour hikes to advanced hikes that will take you to the top of the 3rd.000 m high mountain, all in a breathtaking landscape with alpine flowers and green meadows.

The Trubsee circular trail is ideal for an easy hike where you don't have to miss out on the view. It takes less than an hour and features several campfire sites along the way (bring a picnic) and a rest area by the lake.

Another easy (but much longer) hiking trail is the Marmot Trail, which begins at the Trübsee mountain station and can be reached by chairlift. The approximately five-hour hiking trail offers a direct view of the deep blue water of Lake Engstlen.

An excellent option for a winter hike is the Trübsee-Weg at the foot of the Titlis. It is a 3 km long loop around the Trübsee on well-designed paths, even if they are covered in snow. It is an easy and relaxing hike with a backdrop of steep mountains and rolling hills.

7. Ela Park

The Ela Park is a spacious area with untouched nature, right in the heart of the canton of Graubünden, the eastern region of Switzerland. There are many hikes here and the Val Meltger Suspension Bridge trail is a good starting point. It is an eight km long, mostly unpaved path with a total difference in altitude of almost 400 m, which offers a beautiful view of the Oberhalbsteintal.

The path begins in the village of Lantsch, where it climbs steeply through dense and beautiful forests. Following the path you reach the Val Meltger suspension bridge, which was built to replace an earlier bridge that was destroyed by an avalanche. If you cross the bridge and continue along the path, you will come across a unique alpine hut: it is a popular photo spot with a perfect view of the Engadine Alpine valleys and the Julier Pass, a mountain pass famous for its winding route.

From here the descent begins through a green forest, past springs and a small, picturesque lake. You return to the village of Lantsch, which is not far from the starting point of the hike.

8. Oeschinensee Panorama Trail

The Oeschinensee Panorama Trail is an 8.5 km long circular route around the deep turquoise Oeschinensee.

The trail starts with a steep hike but then becomes flatter. However, you have to contend with the rocky terrain of the trail and often maneuver around tight and slippery curves. This tour requires good physical fitness, but there are many nice places to take a break if necessary.

The route starts in Kandersteg, the city that is 2.5 hours away from Zurich. Find the Kandersteg cable car and take it up the mountain; There you will find signs showing the way to Ober Bergli. This is the steepest part of the trail, with some difficult spots, but the views of roaring, cascading waterfalls, snow-capped rocks, and flowering meadows will distract you enough to make the hike more than manageable.

Along the way you will see many cute cows with cowbells grazing quietly in the valley. The path is well marked so that you don't get lost or choose another route. After the Ober Bärgli hut you have reached half of the hike. From here the path leads down to the lake shore.

There is a lot of activity here with restaurants, children's playgrounds and souvenir shops. Pause to enjoy the last tranquil photo opportunities before your arrival. In summer it is possible to jump into the lake and take a refreshing swim. After a break, return to the cable car and head down the mountain.

9. Via Engiadina

The entire Via Engiadina is a risk: The hike extends from Maloja to Samedan and leads over 35 km through alpine pastures, dense pine forests and seemingly untouched villages.

To get a taste of the route, you can do the first part of the hike, a moderately difficult 11 km route between Maloja and Silvaplana. The route begins in the center of the small village of Maloja and leads along a path down into the Engadine, past rustic huts and lush alpine pastures.

Following the road you reach the village of Grevasalvas, the setting of the book Heidi by Johanna Spyri. Surrounded by glaciers and with a breathtaking view of Lake Upper Engadine, the path leads down to the medieval church of Sils-Baselgia and then up to Silvaplana. From here you can take the train back to Maloja.

10. Val Trupchun hiking trail, Swiss National Park

The Swiss National Park, which is part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, is technically the only national park in the country; All other protected areas in Switzerland are nature reserves or parks.

The Val Trupchun hiking trail in the park is one of the most popular in Switzerland. The Val Trupchun is the 14km hike, but don't be alarmed: with moderate terrain and a climb of just over 600m in four hours and 20 minutes, it is a very doable hike with breathtaking views and the possibility of spotting red deer, ibex and even to see the rare Swiss bearded vulture.

To start the hike, go to the Prasüras parking lot - You don't need a car to get here as local and tourist buses stop here. To enter the park proper, from here take the path to the right and follow it until you cross the Punt da Scrins bridge. Shortly afterwards you enter the actual park. Here you can see the valley in front of you, so continue walking towards the valley. This is the best place to spot wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled.

Follow the path from Trupchun to Ova. As soon as you cross the wooden bridge you will be back on the actual path and will see markings to show you the way. There are two rest areas along the trail marked by benches that offer some of the best views of the valley and the wildlife that frequents them. Then the path turns towards the Prasüras parking lot.