When you have been living next to the coast for half of your life its hard to imagine not listening to the ocean crashing against the sands and seeing the beach again. My love for the ocean and beach will never fade and has been sorely missing in my day to day life, however here in this beautiful landlocked country I have found a new love that has become something that compensates my passion for the beach life.
Hiking /ˈhʌɪkɪŋ/ noun: hiking 1. the activity of going for long walks, especially across country. "she enjoys hiking and climbing in her spare time"
Being one for adventure and having a love of the natural world it was only fitting that I have fell in love with this pastime. Switzerland has over 65,000 kilometres of trails offering some of the best hiking routes in Europe with the most spectacular views. 80% of the population in Switzerland hike either day to day or for long weekends away, it is the norm here and it is often you see a 80 year old lady zoom past you whilst you struggle to get to grips with a climb. There is no way I can fit everything into one post, so below I will share some of my favourite trails and places that I have managed to experience so far whilst living in Switzerland.
Grosser Mythen at sunrise.
Waking up at 2:30am to go on hike sounds ridiculous to some, but this has to be one of the best experiences I have had hiking. Starting at Brunni at 4am and walking through the forest to get to the base of this peak is a feat in itself at night time with just head lamps, but as the night sky starts to fade you are looking at one of the best peaks in Switzerland. The route itself is a hard graft and for those who are unfit so be sure to take your time and don't rush it, some points are very steep and it has some areas that are without paths. The route itself should take about 2 hours and 20 minutes, but unless you are an expert in hiking I would add another 30 minutes onto that. At its highest point at 1,813 meters (5,9050 ft) it will give you a total 360% view of the surroundings and watching the sunrise from here is nothing short of spectacular; as you can see what looks like all of Switzerland is kissed by the suns rays.
Bring good footwear.
Go early to catch the Sun come up.
Take your time and enjoy it.
Kandersteg - Oeschinensee loop
Camping out in a tent overnight in Kandersteg through a lighting storm was an experience on its own, let alone the joy of waking up to the Sunshine and hiking around this wonderful glacier lake. At an elevation of 1,578 meters (5,177 ft) I found this gem to be just breathtaking at some points. Originally wanting to hike up from Kandersteg we decide to cheat and take the gondola up and start at the Oeschinensee station to take the panorama hiking route. Although we spent about 8 hours walking it should only take about 5 and half hours if you are on a mission, but personally I recommend taking it easy and enjoying every photo opportunity this place has to offer. Surrounded by huge mountains, edges of glaciers resting, picturesque views of the vally, waterfalls and the colours this lake reveals there was no reason not to put this in our Continuous Bucket List.
Its hot in the summer so bring plenty of water and sunscreen.
Bring good footwear.
Stop and pause to take it all in.
The photo opportunities are everywhere so make sure everything is charged.
Seebodenalp - Rigi Klum - Vitznau
I spent two years here looking at Mount Rigi (Queen of the mountains) before I managed to see her glorious views. Starting off on a train ride early morning to Kussnacht and jumping on the first gondola up to Seebodenalp this was a tough hike to the top of the peak for an average person hiking via Gruebi Dussen view point. Given there views from the top at the elevation of 1,798 meters (5,800 ft) there is no wonder why she is the Queen. Over looking Zugersee, the five arms of Lake Luzern and with Zurich in the distant she holds here own when it comes to any of the surrounding peaks.
Leaving Rigi and heading towards Vitznau on the panorama hiking trail this by far has been my favourite trail around Lake Luzern, passing through Rigi Kaltbad on this 14km trail it should take you about 3 hours depending on your fitness levels and stops you make to take snaps and eat, getting to Vitznau Hinterbergen was mostly downhill but I would recommend using hiking poles due to the strain it can put on your knees and it also offers some great photo opportunities here so if you time it well you get an amazing sunset to look forward to. From Vitznau Hinterbergen you can get an old gondola down to Vitznau where you can jump on a boat back to Luzern.
Camera at a ready.
Checkout the Rigibahntunnel.
Watch the sunset at Vitznau Hinterbergen.
Interlaken Harderbahn - Harder Kulm loop
Siting in between lakes Thun and Brienz, Interlaken is a massive draw for many tourists in the summer, but its the house mountain that draws the most attention with its over hanging view point of both lakes and rewarding views of Jungfrau, Monch and Eiger peaks. The hiking trail from the station below is only about a 2 hour hike up reaching 1,265 meters (4,150ft) above see level and deserves a well earned beer at the panorama restaurant, last time I was here I managed to watch a wedding which was fun. Walking back down was okay and will take you another 2 hours depending on the route you take.
Don't rush it and enjoy the scenery.
Try and get there early, before the tours start.
Sihlsee and a detour
Crossing over Sihlsee lake into a little village called Euthal and what should have been a 4 hour hike turned into 8 hour hike due to some detours, nice breaks and great photo opportunities. Heading in the direction of Chli Aubrig this is a beautiful and peaceful walk with winding paths through the forests and upon hill tops at an elevation of 1,642 meters (5,387 ft) it will give you stunning views of Sihlsee and lake Zurich.
Bring hiking sticks and good footwear.