Switzerland has a reputation for some of the best hiking in the world, and for good reasons: beautiful scenery, mountains, quaint villages and an extensive trail system. For most people, when they think of hiking in Switzerland, they immediately conjure up images of the Alps and being high up in the mountains. If you pick the right time to go, and the best hiking routes, alpine hiking delivers a memorable and exciting experience.
When To Go
Hiking in the Alps is a fairly short season. The Swiss Alps are located in northern Europe, at a latitude of 46 to 47 degrees north. This is equivalent to Duluth, Minnesota. The optimal time for hiking in this environment is mid-June through Late September. This is when most other hikers will be enjoying the trails. For hardy souls, the hiking season begins as early as May and extends into October, though more extremes of weather such as cold days and even snow should be expected then. Here is a brief description of weather to expect each month:
- May brings a higher chance of rainfall, a chance of snow in high elevations, fewer hikers and a reduced choice of accommodations, but still has the possibility of good hiking
- June brings more of the same, though temperatures begin to warm up and more accommodations are open
- July promises the trails to be open and accessible with great weather and wonderful displays of wildflowers
- August brings blooms of edelweiss, favorable weather and festivals in the towns and villages
- September offers stable weather, fewer crowds and the days remain long
- October provides changing weather, shorter days and the closing of some huts and inns
Where To Go
For many hikers, this is the most exciting question to ponder. There are so many wonderful destinations in the Alps. A number of these hiking routes are known throughout the world. Here is a short list of some of the best hikes:
- Mount Blanc
- The High Trails of the Bernese Oberland
- Gran Paradiso
- The Monte Rosa trek
- The Dolomites
Many of the hikes take a week or so to complete, though you can customize your own trip. You can also take great day hikes.
What To Expect
On nearly every hike in the Alps you will be guaranteed gorgeous scenery of mountains, meadows, wildflowers and small villages. You can choose from fully-guided trips or self-guided excursions that take you into Italy, France, Switzerland and Austria. Best of all, you can travel light and enjoy food, warmth and friendship at clean huts, inns and hotels along the way. If you want to relax while in the middle of your trip, you can also bring a backpacking chair with you so you can recover and have more energy to continue your fun adventure.