Being active is one of the most important things in my everyday life and although my IG or Facebook feed are not always filled with constant stories about what I get up to, I can assure you if my brain isn't working over time then my legs or arms are.
On a numerous occasions I have stated how picturesque Switzerland is and when I decided to get out of the comfort of my apartment, again it does not disappoint. In part 2 of Wandern in Den Schweizer Alpen I share with you some more magnificent postcard destinations of Switzerland.
Creux du Van
Jungfraujoch - The top of Europe
Jungfrau meaning virgin or maiden in English and Jungfraujoch meaning maiden saddle is an experience that you will never forget, although an expensive day out it is worth the pocket being emptied. Sitting at 3,454 meters (11,837ft) above sea level Jungfraujoch is one of the highest railway lines and stations in the world and the highest on the European continent. Originally constructed in 1912 this remarkable journey is well connected to other major tourist hotspots like Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen and Grindewald which are all magnificent in their own right and has been transporting tourist for well over 100 years now to the top of Europe.
At the top of this wonderful feat you will find the Sphinx Observatory, one of the highest astronomical observatories in the world that also houses one of the Global Atmosphere Watch's atmospheric stations, which will give you one of the best 360 panoramic views overlooking this region. Below the Sphinx Observatory you will find the Ice Palace that is filled with iced sculptures, the Lindt Swiss Chocolate Heaven experience where you can learn all about chocolate and multiple restaurants where you can relax, eat and meet the thousands of tourist that pass through daily.
My highlight of the day was walking across the top of the glacier towards Mönch, the wonderful peak at bottom left below.
Creux du Van:
The Creux du Van is a natural rocky cirque, with a depth of about 150 meters and a diameter of about 1.4 kilometers. It was created by natural erosion, as the water and ice from glaciers gradually carved out the cirque over millions of years. The cirque is surrounded by steep cliffs that offer breathtaking panoramic views of the valley and the surrounding mountains.
The name Creux du Van is derived from a local dialect word "Creux" which means a hollow or depression, and "Van" which is the name of the nearby village. The area has been a popular tourist destination since the 19th century, attracting hikers, climbers, and nature enthusiasts from all over the world.
In addition to hiking, Creux du Van is also popular for rock climbing, paragliding, and mountain biking. The area is home to a variety of wildlife, including ibex, chamois, and marmots. There are also several picnic areas and restaurants in the area, making it a great spot for a day trip.
I was here during the winter months and although windy and very cold it was still magical, the views and hike itself is an adventure and I was really impressed, my favorite part of my hike was sitting on the ledge of the horse shore just admiring the stunning views on offer.
Melchsee-Frutt is a mountain resort located in the heart of Switzerland, in the canton of Obwalden. The area is situated at an altitude of 1,920 meters above sea level and is known for its winter sports activities. Melchsee-Frutt is home to several ski lifts and over 36 km of ski runs that cater to all levels of skiers, making it a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts.
During the summer months, Melchsee-Frutt transforms into a hiking paradise with its picturesque hiking trails that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and lakes. The Panorama Trail is a popular hike that takes you through the heart of the mountains and offers panoramic views of the Engelberg Valley, the Uri Alps, and the Melchsee Lake.
The area has a rich history, and the first settlers were farmers who grazed their livestock in the summer months. In the early 20th century, Melchsee-Frutt was transformed into a tourist destination, and hotels were built to accommodate visitors. Today, Melchsee-Frutt is a popular destination for both winter sports enthusiasts and hikers.
Apart from hiking and skiing, there are several other activities that you can enjoy in the area, such as ice skating, snowshoeing, and ice fishing. Melchsee-Frutt also boasts several restaurants that serve traditional Swiss cuisine and a range of international dishes.
In conclusion, Melchsee-Frutt is a winter wonderland that transforms into a hiking paradise during the summer months. Its picturesque hiking trails, breathtaking views, and rich history make it a must-visit destination in Switzerland.
Tip: Hire a sled and enjoy the rush of heading back down with your life in your own hands, a complete overload when you crash a barrier and get stuck underneath it on the edge of a turn. Scary but I survived.
Zermatt is a world-famous resort town that attracts millions of tourists every year. It is situated at the foot of the Matterhorn mountain, which is one of the highest peaks in the Alps. Zermatt has a rich history dating back to the 13th century, but it wasn't until the late 19th century that it became a popular tourist destination. The town has a unique charm, with its traditional Swiss chalets and narrow streets lined with shops and restaurants.
Zermatt is known for its world-class skiing and snowboarding, with over 360 km of ski slopes and 200 km of off-piste skiing. The town also offers a wide range of other winter activities, such as ice skating, snowshoeing, and sledding. During the summer months, Zermatt is transformed into a hiking paradise, with over 400 km of hiking trails ranging from easy to difficult. Visitors can explore the surrounding mountains and valleys, taking in the stunning views of the Matterhorn and the surrounding peaks.
One of the most popular hiking trails in Zermatt is the Five Lakes Trail, which takes visitors on a scenic journey past five picturesque lakes. Another popular trail is the Gornergrat Trail, which offers breathtaking views of the Matterhorn and the surrounding mountains. Zermatt is also home to several high-altitude mountain huts, offering visitors a chance to experience the beauty of the mountains up close.
In addition to its natural beauty, Zermatt has a rich cultural heritage, with several museums and art galleries showcasing the history and art of the region. The Matterhorn Museum, located in the center of town, tells the story of the first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865, and the impact it had on the town of Zermatt. The town is also known for its traditional festivals and events, such as the Folklore Festival and the Zermatt Unplugged music festival.
Overall, Zermatt is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves the outdoors, skiing, hiking, or just wants to experience the beauty of the Swiss Alps.
The Matterhorn stands at an elevation of 4,478 meters (14,692 feet) and is one of the highest peaks in the Alps. It is a popular destination for mountaineers, and the first ascent of the Matterhorn was made in 1865 by British climber Edward Whymper and his team.
The mountain has a fascinating history and has been the subject of many expeditions and tragedies. In 1865, during the first ascent of the Matterhorn, four members of Whymper's team died during the descent. The incident received international attention and brought the Matterhorn into the public eye.
Today, the Matterhorn is a symbol of Switzerland and is recognized all over the world. It has also inspired many artists, writers, and photographers. The mountain's unique shape and stunning beauty make it a must-see for anyone visiting Switzerland.
Here are some popular hiking trails and routes around Matterhorn:
Matterhorn Glacier Trail: This trail takes you from the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise cable car station to Trockener Steg and offers breathtaking views of the glacier and the surrounding mountains.
Zmuttgrat Trail: This trail takes you from Zermatt to the Zmutt valley, offering panoramic views of the Matterhorn and the surrounding peaks.
The Haute Route: This is a challenging hiking route that takes you from Chamonix in France to Zermatt in Switzerland. The route covers a distance of 180 km and takes around 12 days to complete.
The Europaweg Trail: This is a popular hiking trail that takes you from Grächen to Zermatt, offering beautiful views of the Matterhorn, Weisshorn, and other peaks.
The Gornergrat Trail: This trail takes you from Zermatt to Gornergrat and offers stunning views of the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa, and other peaks.
The Monte Rosa Trail: This is a challenging hiking trail that takes you around the Monte Rosa massif, covering a distance of over 140 km and taking around 10 days to complete.
Randa is a small town situated in the canton of Valais, Switzerland. The town is located between Zermatt and Visp, and is known for its stunning hiking trails that offer breathtaking views of the Matterhorn and the surrounding mountains. The best time to go hiking in Randa is during the summer months from June to September, when the weather is mild and the trails are easily accessible.
One of the most popular hikes in Randa is the Europaweg Trail, which takes you from Grächen to Zermatt, offering beautiful views of the Matterhorn, Weisshorn, and other peaks along the way. The trail is about 31 kilometers long and can be completed in 2-3 days. The trail is well-marked and offers a variety of landscapes, from lush green valleys to rocky mountain passes.
In addition to hiking, Randa is also known for its historic landmarks, such as the Randa Suspension Bridge, which is one of the longest pedestrian suspension bridges in the world, spanning 494 meters across the Mattertal valley. The bridge offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and is a popular attraction for tourists, this was my favourite part of the hike and absolutely stunning.
Each of these hikes offers a unique perspective on Switzerland's breathtaking natural beauty, and provides an unforgettable experience for hikers of all levels. Whether you're a seasoned mountaineer or a casual nature lover, Switzerland has something to offer everyone.
The Matterhorn – One of the most famous mountains in the world, the Matterhorn is a popular destination for hikers. The best time to hike is from June to September, and the hike takes about 10-12 hours.
The Eiger – This famous peak is located in the Bernese Alps and is a popular destination for experienced hikers. The best time to hike is from July to September, and the hike takes about 6-7 hours.
The Jungfrau Region – This region is home to some of the most spectacular hiking trails in Switzerland. The best time to hike is from June to September, and the hike takes about 4-6 hours.
The Aletsch Glacier – The largest glacier in the Alps, the Aletsch Glacier is a stunning sight to behold. The best time to hike is from June to September, and the hike takes about 4-5 hours.
The Lauterbrunnen Valley – This valley is home to some of the most picturesque hiking trails in Switzerland. The best time to hike is from June to September, and the hike takes about 3-4 hours.
The Grindelwald First – This peak offers some of the most breathtaking views of the Swiss Alps. The best time to hike is from June to September, and the hike takes about 2-3 hours.
The Oeschinensee Lake – This beautiful lake is located in the Bernese Oberland region and is a popular hiking destination. The best time to hike is from June to September, and the hike takes about 3-4 hours.
The Pilatus – This mountain offers some of the most stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The best time to hike is from June to September, and the hike takes about 3-4 hours.
The Säntis – This peak is located in the eastern part of Switzerland and is known for its stunning views. The best time to hike is from June to September, and the hike takes about 4-5 hours.
The Valais Region – This region is home to some of the most scenic hiking trails in Switzerland. The best time to hike is from June to September, and the hike takes about 3-4 hours.
One of the most popular hiking regions in Switzerland is the Bernese Oberland, which is home to many of the country's highest peaks, including the famous Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains. The region also boasts some of the most scenic hiking trails in the country, including the iconic Eiger Trail and the challenging Via Alpina.
For those looking for a more off-the-beaten-path hiking experience, the Jura Mountains in western Switzerland offer a quieter, more secluded setting with plenty of challenging trails and stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
Here are the top ten places to hike in Switzerland by popular opinion.
Tour du Cervin
Aletsch Glacier Trail
Trift Bridge Trail
St. Beatus Caves Trail
Lavaux Vineyard Terraces Trail
Gommer Hoehenweg Trail
As stated previously I would not live there again, but there is no doubt in my mind that it offers you the most spectacular hikes, views, slopes and adventures in all of Europe. Yes it is a little bubble and costly for the average backpacker, but it is worth every penny you spend.
Peace, love and safe travels